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Illumination | Central Waters Brewing Co.

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262 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Central Waters Brewing Co.
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by CaptainIPA on 06-01-2010

For Trade:
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Reviews: 262 | Ratings: 905
Photo of drabmuh
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured from a bottle into a bruery tulip glass. Beer is amber and slightly hazy. Forms a big head of small bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass but the overall carbonation level is low.

Beer smells slightly piny hoppy and quite malty. There is almost a wheat edge to it.

The beer is medium bodied and quite malty but the malt is not the star. There is great hop character on the mid and late palate of this beer and overall the malt does well to balance it out. I'm not one of those guys that wants a balanced IPA usually, I'm looking for hops hops and more hops, but the maltiness of this one made it more drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of tempest
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Label notch tells me this was bottled in May. The hop character is really fruity and not terribly bitter, reminding me a lot of the big-hops beers from Avery. Pineapple dominated the hops with just a little citrus and spice round the edges. There's also a smooth bready malt backbone providing a bit of balance, but I think it's too much.

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Photo of Tone
3.81/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of citrus hops, floral hops, sweet malt, hint of pine, and a hint of alcohol. Fits the style of an American Double / Imperial IPA. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is also a strong bitterness level. Tastes of citrus hops, floral hops, sweet malt, strong pine, and alcohol. Overall, strong and fresh flavors, good appearance, aroma, and body.

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Photo of Duff27
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Thick(!) near two-finger foam that lasts quite awhile. Pleasant lacing down all sides of the glass. Copper/light red color. Beautiful.

S- Hoppy, makes my nose happy. Citrus.

T- More bitter citrus hoppiness...just one of the things I love most about DIPAs. Some alcohol in the aftertaste but that's just to remind you that you shouldn't be drinking these all afternoon long.

M- Smooth. Medium carbonation.

D/O- As with any imperial style beer, the drinkability suffers a tad when you can only drink so much before your taste buds are shot and you don't taste anything anyways. Overall, a solid solid performance by Central Waters. This is the third or fourth brew I've had from them and they still deserve my attention.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a weyerbacher tulip glass on the late late.

A slight hiss when the cap is popped CWIDIPA pours a bright orange color with a golden glaze within. Some sediment towards the end of the bottle makes it a shade darker. A small cap leading to a small island, no stick.

Smelling the hops from the bottle, in the tulip this just screams HOPS and lots of them. Citrus over malt, in fact I cant really detect any malt in the nose. Some grapefruit and a bail of pine. A splash of alcohol. Pretty one demensional.

This is a hop bomb in every sense of the word. Hop juice with citrus including alot of grapefruit. That's about it for the citrus, not a melange of tropics like the west coast runners. Pine is big and there is some alcohol in the back end. I cant make out any malt.

The hop juice sticks to the mouth and does not quit, long after taste of astringent grapefruit and pine needles. Swish this around a bit in the mouth and watch lupulus take hold. Barely any relief in the end with no bisquit malt or the like to even things out. This is not necessarily a bad thing though, just different. Body is medium and is carbed up nice like. Bitter as all hell.

At 109 IBU's I expected this to scorch the mouth and boy did it. All in all it's a double I that could use a layer or two more of different flavor. One sided, astringent, alcohol on the tounge. Some malt might help. Even though it's a bit unbalanced, I appriciate the biggness of it and I say to myself 'it is what it is'. Two steps away from being a total palate wrecker.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Pours a moderately hazed orange color with a white head. Some lace is left behind on the glass. Aroma is floral and citrusy with a hint of pine. The taste is like dandelion with so much floral but backed by citrus and pine. Floral, bitter and resinous. Medium bodied, well carbonated, semi dry with the sharp hop bite. Overall, an above average brew that is worthy of the praise.

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Photo of John_M
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at TJ's the other day.

The beer pours a copper orange color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is also fairly attractive, showcasing orange citrus and considerable tropical fruit. Given the aroma profile with this beer, I was sort of expecting a sweeter style DIPA, and that's pretty much what I got. There is a lot of tropical fruit flavor in this beer, and it tended to overwhelm the hoppy bitterness. There was some bitterness on the finish, and I appreciate the fact that this beer isn't too boozy (a frequent problem with sweeter style DIPA's), but still.... I really felt the sweet malt in this beer dominated the flavor profile, to the point it was a bit difficult to drink. Mouthfeel was medium bodied to full, with a fairly long, malty, slightly bitter finish.

A decent DIPA, but just not made in the style that I appreciate.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle received in a trade. Poured into my Southern Tier tulip.

Pours a golden hazy copper amber color. 2 inch head forms, good lacing down the glass.

Smells like sharp dank pine needles, grapefruit, pineapple, and orange.

Similar taste. Palate shredding bitterness here from the pine and grapefruit- large amounts of both. A little bit of an alcohol burn on the mouth with each sip. No real malt character that I can detect.

Full bodied, crisp dry mouthfeel. Well carbonated.

A great IPA, and a great extra to receive in a trade. Loved it.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Another generous extra received in a trade with eyncognito, thanks Ian! Poured into a snifter, the beer is dark orange with a thick dirty white head, good retention, and scattered lacing.

In the nose I detect sweet and bitter grapefruit and a perfumey aromatic quality in addition to pine notes. There's also a bit of ripe orange with a little pith. The malt backbone is caramel in character and it creates an impression of a well balanced Double IPA, lending sweetness.

The flavor is bitter up front with notes of unripened grapefruit and orange, with balancing caramel malt sweetness. Alcohol is evident in the finish, but it's well integrated in the well balanced flavor. The finish is bitter citrus and sweet caramel malt. The beer is medium bodied with a soft, sticky mouthfeel and a moderate level of carbonation.

Overall, a well balanced, quality Double IPA that is definitely worth a try. I'm enjoying this take on the style quite a bit after drinking so many dry west coast style DIPAs lately. My only complaint is the ugly label.

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Photo of dar482
4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in a beautiful pink grape fruit color. Something not seen in IPAs.

The aroma has bitter grapefruit juice, a papaya, citrus peel, a light spicy herbal, a candy sweetness.

The beer in front has bitter pineapple, lots of grapefruit juice, onto a burst of perfumey floral, almost like drinking perfume. A light bready malt in the middle. The back has lots of resinous bitter pine, but not abrasive or too aggressive.

A clean drinking beer as the alcohol is absolutely hidden and this drinks a point or two below its ABV.

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Photo of corby112
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Draft at Capone's.

Pours a hazy dark golden range color with golden yellowish tangerines hues when held to a light and a one finger creamy white head. Good retention, slowly fading into a thin lasting ring that leaves sporadic chunks of soapy lacing behind.

Earthy and floral aroma with resinous oily pine notes as well as some sweet tropical and citrus fruit notes. Hints of tangerine, orange peel and dry soily hops. Subtle malt backbone but the nose is all hops.

Medium bodied with a blast of dry earthy pine bitterness that lingers throughout over the sweeter notes and malt backbone into a long dry finish. Lots of earthy pine and sticky dank hops balanced by grapefruit and orange peel. Slightly watered down with a decent malt backbone with hints of biscuit and toast. Nice dry finish.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

- double ipa. reported 100 ibus. bottled apr. consumed sept.

A: Murky cadmium orange in the vessel is topped off by a thick, frothy, tan head. Slow rising carbonation builds the head, lacing is speckled band with a moderate rate of retention. Covering is skim til the end.

S: Fresh citrus, pine of average strength, grapefruity toasted grains.

T: Flavor was grapefruit flower and toasted grains. Nice level of bitterness, some fresh citrusy flavor, spicy, toasted grassiness with everything blending nicely together. Woodsy toasted pine, the malting is very well done here.

M: Creamy malty, lush mouthful, tight tingly carbonationdry with a flowery citrus coating teasing the tongue. Spicy pine bite afterwards.

O: The nose could of used some more backing, but the balance of malts and hops flavor/bitterness wise made amends. The mouthful was decent. Consumed 5 months past bottling this still held up and showed a strong hoppiness with little fade. Nice balance of lightly dry bitterness mingles with some wet hoppiness with no aging effects. Maybe even better when fresh. worthy a try.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From taste notes. Appearance: Smell: Rich, hoppy grapefruit rind nose Taste: Starts malty with some caramel and they gives way to a very pleasant lingering citrus rind bitterness. Mouthfeel: Medium body, rich and creamy, fine soft carbonation, smooth. Overall: Very easy to drink for such a big beer.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Updated 5/9/13

A - Pours a medium orange/honey color, a little bit hazy, and a massive rocky, creamy foam head. The head is quite sticky and the carbonation is light.

S - Moderate resiny peaches, mango's, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, and no malt aroma whatsoever, a HUGE improvement over my last bottle over a year ago. So this is how it's supposed to smell, very nice.

T - Toasty caramel malt underneath and a substantial dose of pine and citrus over the top. The taste is even throughout until the very end where the back of your mouth is left with thick coating of very bitter pine and grapefruit. The bitter aftertaste is very long and lingering with alot of rind and resin on the backside.

M - Medium body and dry finish.

O - This is a solid Double IPA.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle of the recent 2014 seasonal release.

A- clear, slightly hazy light straw yellow body, one finger white head with good retention and solid lacing.

S- Pineapples galore, sweet bready pale malt, some citrus. Smells great.

F- More bready than hoppy in flavour, fairly bitter pine finish. The pineapples do not come out very strong on the palate, but you can taste the typical hop resin oils quite easily.

M- Medium bodied, resinous, slick and coats the palate in a quite strong piney bitter finish. Dry.

O- Very piney and bitter DIPA that smells like tropical fruit and pineapple, comes in inexpensive six packs. Not bad.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into bells tulip glass.

Appearance: Opaque mix of straw gold and orangeish colored body. Thick white head with fine bubbles.

Smell: Pine dominates the nose. Bready smell with hints of citris in the background.

Taste: Smells like it tastes pine dominance, but citrus flavors are stronger than the smell. Grapefruit, orange peel and even some pineapple. This is a fairly bitter IPA, but it is still tastey. The bitterness imparted by the hops is impressive and strong, but does not numb your tongue with bitterness. Malts do balance this beer nicely, but the sweetness is subtle.

Mouthfeel: Dry mouthfeel that is also slightly sticky. The dryness from this beer really makes the hop flavor pop out at you. Medium bodied DIPA with moderate carbonation.

Overall: I expected a good beer and got a really tasty DIPA. Its taste reminds me of Founders Double Trouble, and it is a quality beer. Another fine example of a great wisconsin beer! Central Waters continues to impress me with every beer that i try!

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Photo of sweemzander
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Bottled in May 2010. Thanks to beerwolf77 for yet another bottle!

(A)- Pours a clear orange color that produced a good fluffy white head with good retention.

(S)- A good dry piney citrus with lemon, lime, and pineapple.

(T)- A good dry piney dryness with the same citrus from the smell. Has a light creamy sweetness of pineapple/honey at the end.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Everything you should expect from the style. A good piney bitterness and citrus sweetness.

(D)- A solid DIPA with everything in the right place. A good drinker with a crisp and refreshing feel in a style that sometimes gets too malty. Chalk up another good brew from Central Waters.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's quite a surprise when you trade for 2 bottles of beer and find 10 that you weren't expecting. Joel, one of the finest of traders, blew me away with the box I received today. Among the gems in there, many of which were new to me, was this beer, one that I was quite looking forward to try.

Illumination is clear burnished copper capped with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and plenty of lacing. Apart from being darker, this is a very good looking DIPA. The nose (at least now), reminds me of the Moylans Hopsickle. With plenty of pine, candied grapefruit, pungently so, with some floral and perfume-like character as well. A moderate sweetness is present, but it works well with the hop profile, lending a little balance (which I usually do not like). Very good.

My palate is immediately bruised and assaulted by a copious amount of grapefruit, pith and all, along with a secondary attack of pine. Resiny, pungent and palate-coating, the hop oils are very prominent here, and the candied grapefruit i picked up on the nose is also present. This flavor works very well with the moderate sweetness that's present, quite caramel-like. The finish has a blend of a light sweetness and an intense bitterness with plenty of pine. Medium-light in body with moderate carbonation, this feels quite excellent on the palate. As it warms up, the alcohol does get a little noticeable, but it does not detract or distract from the excellent beer that this is. I'd love to try this fresher. Very reminiscent of Brass Knuckle IMO.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky looking body of orange/copper. Thin dirty white head on top. Lacing is quite full. Balanced out aroma that isn't too forward in any specific area. There's pine, but also citrus. Hop resin and also fruitiness, with tangerine and orange providing the underlying fruit aromas. Flavor is quite good and quite balanced as well. Malt base is crystal based and the hops provide a little of everything...subtly. Grassiness, bitterness, fruitiness, smokiness....good stuff all together. The bitterness is not scathing at all. It's there, don't get me wrong, but not too abrasive. This is a well done DIPA. Wouldn't expect anything else form these guys.

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Photo of drpimento
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

yeah, I can say Palate Wrecker as well as Tastebud Trasher. Just another crank the hops way up and there you are. Prefer a little more aesthetics m'self. Poured with a nice, white, foamy, frothy head and lots of lace. Color is a clear amber. Nose is HOPS, big grapefruit ( not my thang) with a some malt. Flavor's the same as aroma. Finish is the same as flavor plus alcohol and fairly long. Not a session.

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Photo of cbutova
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Random Philly grab, wish this brewery was available closer to home.

A- Bottle poured into a tulip glass. The beer falls into the glass with a hazy, golden-orange body. A head forms to about one-two fingers in size and fills the top of the glass nicely. The head is a mix between creamy and foamy and retains nicely. Thick lace immediately with consistent patches following the beer down the glass.

S- Hoppy upfront, which should be expected these days. The hops have a big citrus component to them with notes of grapefruit, lemon zest and orange. Apricot, pine, floral and herbal hints as well. A bit of deep caramel malts in the background.

T- Citrus hops lead the way again. The hop profile brings lemon zest, grapefruit, orange peel, pine, flowery and earthy notes. Malt backbone is quite present with light caramel sweets, toast and cracked grains coming to mind.

MF- A moderately thick consistency that has a silky, creamy feel due to a lower-end but substantial carbonation. Bitterness isn't huge but saying it is less than big would be a lie.

Reminds me a lot of the Great Divide IPAs, especially a specific batch of Hercules I once had. Has a bit of a Barleywine feel to it as well with the malts which makes me think of it as a hybrid between Hercules and Avery Hog Heaven.

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Photo of maximum12
3.67/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This brew has been vanished fast off local shelves, & most of the first four-pack I bought vanished into my lovely wife, so I'm going to assume this is good from the get-go. Let's see if it holds up.

Pours the color of an orange Freezy Pop, except clear & unfrozen. Smell is a promising tease, a bouffant of hoppy citrus, pine, & a spritz of zested orange peel.

Illumniation is heavy on the grapefruit, belying the nose, & it takes me a moment to adjust my expectations from one sense to another, both of which were a bit confused. Once my palate has been talked down off the roof, I find this that in addition to the grapefruit, there's a bit of the tropics mixed in; pineapple, maybe mango, other fruit you'd find lying next to a palm tree of washed up on a beach. Hop bittering jumps out from behind the palm after the flavors wander by for one last hurrah.

Good beer. Not the gut-slap I was hoping for, the hops are kind, gentle, & loving rather than sticking their talons up my ass. A good, solid midwestern IIPA.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single - probably my 4th sampling of this new DIPA

appearance: tacky label featuring a bright green hop - bright orange-copper body with a nice foamy white cap and strong retention

smell: bright citrus hops - tangerine, ruby red grapefruit, pine, bready

taste: impressive DIPA from a brewery that has never really offered up a great hop-centric brew. Very fresh waves of citrus flavor - tangerine, grapefruit, orange, lemon peel, pineapple. What makes this one a little different is the spicy rye kick and rustic bready notes. I dig this one - keep the special releases coming CW

mouthfeel: big, moderate bitterness, smoothness from the abv, spicy

drinkability: good

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Central Waters tulip.
9% ABV, Bottled On MAR notched on the label. (2012)

A - The sexy sound of the beer pouring into the glass is music to my ears. A densely packed cream head rises quietly and sticks around for a while. Thick, chunky lace coats the glass above a hazy goldenrod yellow-orange-colored beer.

S - Mounds of pine needle and sticky, sappy resin overthrow the inevitable grapefruit citrus nose which is nice for a change. Usually it's the other way around with the American hops, though this beer is certainly not without plenty of tropical fruit aroma. A hearty malty sweetness full of dense bread and caramel cube balances the hops well.

T - The taste reflects the nose quite well. A more powerful pine resin flavor opens up leading into a sweet malty backbone that immediately gives way to a tongue-bruising, teeth-hurting citrus bitter kick. Other nuances pull through after the initial shock of the hop-roundhouse kick to the face wears off. Notes of honey-drizzled toast and a slight spicy yeast component share a low-level spot-light with a very subtle alcohol sensation.

M - The alcohol is almost non-existent in this beer save for the miniscule warming finish and light solvent aroma passed through the olfactory upon retronasal breathing! The medium-full body and light, lively carbonation don't do much to mask the severe bitterness that carries through the finish but the balanced sweetness helps tone down the well-deserved hop-smack. I can't think of a thing I'd change here.

O - Illumination is a great beer from home-boys Central Waters. In sticking with their mantra of "balance, even with big hops" as it were, Illumination serves up plenty for the huge hop head but remains different enough to stand out in a sea of hop monsters. Delicious and drinkable, especially for the high alcohol content, Illumination is a double IPA from Wisconsin that makes me proud.

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Photo of ZAP
4.39/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Clouded deep orange color....little head

S-Bright citrus....Mandarin oranges, tangerines, clementines..along with a tropical malibu rum like aroma....very intriguing...

T-Sweet, bright citrus again....same fruits...good hop flavors and a mild bitterness on the finish...not jagged or abrasive at all..

M-Full bodied...this is a sipper...carbonation is about perfect....drying bitterness on the finish.

D-Very interesting and enjoyable. I love the hop flavors. Prettty unique taste to this....I'd like to hear how they hopped this to get these dimensions.

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Illumination from Central Waters Brewing Co.
4.03 out of 5 based on 905 ratings.
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