Heavy Handed IPA | Two Brothers Brewing Company

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Heavy Handed IPAHeavy Handed IPA

Brewed by:
Two Brothers Brewing Company
Illinois, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Heavy Handed IPA is brewed to celebrate the harvesting of the hops every year. Within moments of harvest we add freshly picked "Wet Hops" to this IPA. Since the hops have not been dried before use, they add a wonderful character found in no other beer. A hop lovers dream. (Available September through December) Each batch is "single hopped" with a different hop variety.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-03-2002

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Reviews: 401 | Ratings: 869
Photo of sonicbloom
5/5  rDev +31.2%

Im having this one for the first time, and I'm a little surprised Heavy Handed isn't rating in the 90's. Great beer.
Pours well, tastes excellent and finishes very nicely. This is a very good IPA. Unsurprising coming from Two Brothers.

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Photo of rolf17
5/5  rDev +31.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Easily one of the best beers in the world. Probably the best IPA I have ever too, better than dogfish head 90 min ipa. If u have never had a beer made with fresh hops, well nothing compares. Its incredibly tasty. I am loading up on this stuff(cases), in st paul mn today (big top more places soon 8-9 bucks a six). Have not had this years yet but if anything like last years then my highest recommendation.
two brothers heavy handed ipa

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Photo of hopman333
4.97/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite local brewery's however over the year's they seem to be hit and miss. One thing I have in my favor is the freshness of this beer being that I live in Chicago and this comes from a nearby suburb. Ok enough chit chat .

Appearance - While it is no longer being bottled unfiltered as in the early year's of this fine brew I will still give it a full 5 for appearance. The reason for this is in it's beatiful dark orange and glowing hue that you know is going to be downright delicious. Last year's batch came out a little flat with no lacing and a kind of drab mouthfeel. This year is back up to snuff to say the least.

The smell of batch # 1, usually hopped with cluster, Is as usual, Malty and bitter with an herbal and almost hemp like aroma that smell's absolutely wonderful. So fresh that you begin to think that this is one of you're homebrewer friend's stash that he only shares with a couple of close friend's upon each and every hop harvest, in other word's a real treat. The beauty of this smell is that it is abscent of the usual west coast one to three c's aroma and has a smell that no other IPA that I can think of has. An achievement in itself.

Taste - As in each an every batch I've ever tasted it starts out with a bitterness that start's at the front of you're toungue and slowly moves back in a graceful manner to completely coat it in a solid bitterness that soon gives way to the sweetness of the carefully and well thought out malt selection. It then seems to become floral and fruity with a green hop finish that just beckon's you for another sip. As I said before, the absence of the usual three c's taste is a real treat. Totally original !!! Dont miss this one, I'm out of space

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Photo of MattBrooks
4.9/5  rDev +28.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I have officially found my new IPA to buy by the case! I have long since loved the high-hopped-up beers in this category like Wachusett, Victory, Stone, Smutty...and still do, don't get me wrong...but here's an American IPA that has all of the flavors and none of the bite. It pours great, with a frothy head and an unbelievable amber color. The mouthfeel is good, and it has aromas of fresh flowers. I am overly impressed with this brewery!

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Photo of AylwinForbes
4.87/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drank at source, served at cellar temperature in a 16 oz glass. This is kind of drinking experience is why one goes to the pub rather than stay at home and save money with a sixer. There is no substitute for a well-made beer served from the cask. An everyday experience in the old country, it is relatively rare here. Fortunately we live near the Two Brothers and there is always one on the cask.

It turns out there are several batches of the Heavy Handed made this year using different species of hops. The tap version was made with different hops from the ones (Cascade) that appear in the cask form. The difference is profound.

Beer appears almost clear warm walnut color with about a half inch of thick creamy head. Ebullient perfumed aroma fills the glass. On the palate there is a wonderful balance of fresh fruit (a hint of citrus but not overwhelming) and long-lasting bitterness.

It's not really high alcohol, but stronger than the average IPA I think; but it goes down with breathtaking ease. Dangerously so.

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Photo of montyshoewalker
4.75/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Heavy handed is a cool beer. The two brothers (from what I hear) bring truckloads and truckloads of dry hops 'cross country from the West Coast to their small brewery in Warrenville, IL to prepare this offering. Just nice big juicy hops full of green wonderfulness.

If I have to describe the taste, I'd say a nice crisp organic(ish) brew with a strong hop presence (well probably due to truckloads and truckloads of hops) and an ease to drink that makes this almost dangerous. I purchased my first 6 pack about 2 weeks ago and I think I've been through 3 since then. Nice IPA.

Overall, 9.5/10. Good brew - the brothers take great pride in their beer and it shows, once again.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.7/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Edit this is the 2009 Two Bros Heavy Handed IPA wet hopped in all of its glory. The year I had it it didn't sit well with me, this year is right on the money. Appears a brilliant copper amber with a tight foaming off white head thick with nice speckled even coats of lacing with each sip. Aroma is like rolling in a field of hops big vinous layers of citrus, earthiness, and pine cone edges. Juicy malt body brings some caramel with that citric bitterness bringing on one of the most complex and hoppy tasting brews I've come across in recent memory. Flavor has biscuit and malt with a touch of honey sweetness to blend with abrasive hop bitterness and flavor. The wet hops are juicy and veggie like in nature with big citrus rind and pine cone flavors alot of herbal weed goodness flows up from my 1/2 liter Gordon Biersch willi glass. This year's version is 65 IBUs with 6.7% abv, I think it's beefier than years past full on resinous slick medium to full body going on, carbonation is soft and natural with each sip. Drinkability is great one of the best fresh hopped beers I've come across recently go and get yourself some if not trade for it.

Appears a deep copper amber hue with a light tan head that flows beautifully leaving lace with each and every tilt of the glass. Aroma has a flowing caramel malt profile combined with hops luscious hops at that with grassy, citrus, and pine qualities galore. Flavor provides a sugary mix of caramel malt and fresh cut hops with ample bitterness that seems a bit stale right now. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slight oily texture and evenly carbonated flowing quite well at this point. Drinkability is mediocre so many other great IPAs why does this one seem like just another fish in the barrel.

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Photo of Rennpferd
4.64/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a room temperature bottle into a clean 12 oz pint glass.

It poured clear and a deep copper color with a slightly off white half inch head. Moderate carbination could be seen rising to the surface. After a few moments the head shrank down to just cover the surface with a bubbled lacing of the beer. A good clingy head was grabbing the side of the glass where it shrank down from.

A great hops smell came from the beer. Piney, bitter, a touch of citric sour. All well balanced and moderate. Just a great smell.

A mellow hop flavor, piney and fresh like cut grass. Just barely medium bodied, yet very smooth. No aftertaste except for the little bit of head clining to my lips.

This is just a delicious beer. Very drinkable. As I consume it, it leaves a lovely lacing stuck to the sides of the glass.

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Photo of salvo
4.63/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Updated 10/08/2011:
Batch 2521 Centennial hops excellent but not as pronounced as described in the review below from 9/2010.

Pours amber brown with a thick head that persists and laces the glass.

Smell is piney and resiny hops that makes my mouth pucker.

Taste is strong hops, all hops, more hops, and happily so in a brew that is not overwhelming either with malt or alcohol. Some mango and grapefruit tinkling in the background, but the foreground is all pine and resin. Lip-smackingly good.

I'm so happy Heavy Handed is back: I was disappointed when there wasn't any at the Hop Juice Release Party over the summer. I remember what a revelation this beer was when I first encountered it, back before my beerevelation and hopvergence. And I've very happy it holds up both in time and to the tasting of many beers over that time.

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Photo of BHwks
4.59/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass. Forgot to note which bottling this was (wrote some notes down while drinking and recycled the bottle, oops)

A - Cloudy orange with very little head, some sediment floating in the glass.

S - A really nice smelling IPA - you can really get a whiff of the wet hops in this one, there's a light grassy note for sure mixed with a bready aroma. The smell of this beer really matches up nicely with it's taste (some really don't)

T - Sweet and malty at first sip, and then turns very crisp and bitter on the finish. You can tell this is a finely crafted brew, it really shines during all points of consumption.

M - Slick and oily on the palate, very full and smooth overall. The body of this beer really compliments the initial smell and finish.

D - Very good - I love IPA's, so of course I'm a bit biased, but within the style this beer drinks much easier than others due to the balance between malt and hops. As much as I love a beer that just kicks you in the face with hops, these beers can become a little tiring as you consume them. Not this IPA, it really defines balance if you ask me.

This is a must-try wet hopped IPA if you're in the Chicago area. Unfortunately, it shows up and is gone really quickly. I paid about 9.99 a six pack and regardless of price, you're not going to find anything that really blows this out of the water. Some may want more hops, but if you pay attention to the finish, they're there - you just don't notice them AS much because of the great balance of the malt. At this point though, unless you have some already it could be tricky finding this on the shelves.

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Photo of UA8
4.59/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a hazy amber color with a creamy off white head.

S- Smells like the rind of a clementine, aka heavy on the citrus hops, sweet citrus with a slight ruby grapefruit backer.

T- A very nicely balanced effort. Leads with orange rind and grapefruit, mid palate is a nicely roasted malts and then finishes with highly resinous and biting hops.

M- Starts velvety and full with a very nice mouth coating texture.

D- This is a really good IPA. Runs up there with the best of them and nears being a DIPA. Very tasty and sessionable.

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Photo of btorsdog
4.58/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a GREAT work of brewing craftsmanship! I've enjoyed every offering that I've tried from these guys and this was no exception!BALANCE is a word that comes to mind for a description of this brew, along with a great flow of how everything comes together. A beautiful Hops blast up front,in the middle and for a finale all being mellowed with an outstanding malty sweetness and carbonation of perfection, very smooth! Don't get much Two Bros. stuff around here so was extremely glad to have found this,a must try in my eyes!

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.52/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a hotel room glass. Crystal clear orange with a thick and sticky head. Nice looking, but oh my god the aroma and flavor were way above average. I think I imagined I could smell the malt underneath the hoppy aroma, but I definitely tasted both. Complex and sweet and thicker than hell. So much more than I expected, I highly recommend it.

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Photo of BitterBrian
4.52/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Set aside the beer typcasting for a minute. I don't know if this is an IPA or not. I don't know if it has enough "IBU" to qualify. But I do know this:

Pours a clear burnt orange with minimal head. There is lacing, but like that of a lazy spider's web; loose and widely spaced. Smells of a sugary syrup mixed with citrus and malts. Tastes. . .


I really like this beer. This is probably one of the most well balanced beers I have had the pleasure to taste. Yes, there is an abundance of flowery, grassy hops in there, but with a sturdy, malted backbone. If I could compare this to anything I have had, it would be Bell's Two-Hearted - perhaps my favorite (or second favorite - after this) drinker.

Has a clean hoppy finish. Hops stick out as it warms.

I would say this beer is a tribute to brewing for taste's sake, regardless of style. You want a session beer? Here it is.

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Photo of Franchise
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is fantastic, it pours a carmalized sugar color. It leaves a thin white lace that not only sticks to the side of the glass but continues almost like the meniscus on a glass of wine. The smell is of citrus, lemon, honey, floural, loads of hop. The taste on the palate is sweet, balanced with the bitterness of the hops. I can really taste the honey as well as a little alcohal on the palate. Overall this beer is great, a fantastic IPA

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle. Leaves a one finger head with good retention and good lacing. Body is a clear copper red. An excellent looking ale.

Smell - Piney hops, grassy hops, floral hops. Some toasty malt bread with hints of vanilla. Mouthwatering.

Taste - Piney, grassy hops upfront followed by toasty malt bread with caramel and vanilla in the middle. Finishes with big taste of good piney hop bitterness. Very good and satisfying.

Mouthfeel - full bodied, smooth, and much hop oil slickness.

Drinkability - this is a very good ale, and very sessionable. A great one for hop heads.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle conditioned IPA delivers a hazy orange-amber body beneath a creamy white cap that holds quite well and leaves some nice strands of lace at the outset of the glass. The nose is bright and welcoming with a combination of gently citrusy and mildly piney hops over a sweetish malt base. The combination of it's very fine-bubbled, restrained carbonation and medium-full body leaves it just lightly tingly on the tongue before becoming creamy and smooth. The flavor is more rounded than the nose suggests with a luxuriously soft pillow of grainy-sweet malt for the hops to sink into. Their flavors are there (orangey-citrus, delicate spruce, floral, and a touch grassy), but they also work off of, and play against the malt, giving the beer a greater depth. It's not complex (malt, hops, the interaction...), but it is rich. All the while, the bitterness is omnipresent but very well-heeled. And that's surprising because, for a beer with such a malt presence it never becomes cloying and always dries in the lingering, malty and leafy-hop finish. I was impressed! And I found it very drinkable! It's definitely worth trying.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a growler of this yesterday, beer was released on Monday, and it really should only be reviewed fresh, as all beers should be, but being a harvest ale and wet hopped on top of that it practically demands to be drank immediately.

A: Beautiful cherry copper with touches of amber and topped with a pilowy off white head, that even after a day in the growler has no trouble sustaining itself as well as leaving behind some nice lacing.

S: This is where things get interesting and the beer defines itself. Just an all out wet hop assault, pine, touches of winy fruitiness, but really just big on the relentless resiny pine. Stacks up with some of the best IPAs out there I'd say.

T/MF: After the initial pine assault I was expecting the same in the taste and feel but really this beer is quite balanced. Don't get me wrong, this beer is seriously bitter, but balanced enough by touches of doughy, caramel, malt sweetness to really add to the depth of this beer. The feel is spot on, chewy, full bodied IPA with a constricting grip all around the tongue that refuses to let go.

D: This beer is really something else, and I am really excited that there are multiple varieties of this beer that are going to be released in the near future. I've had this beer previously and didn't really like it all that much, but having it fresh from the tap, right after the hop harvest, this beer takes on an entirely different persona, which really gets lost after languishing on the store shelves. If you want to experience what this beer truly is all about, get some right now, bottles, growler, on tap and drink it as soon as you can, you will not be disappointed.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber color with one finger of creamy white head.

Scent of fresh juicy spicy hops, citrus, some caramel grass, and a hint of earth. Very refreshing and balanced.

Taste of bitter juicy spicy hops, caramel, and a hint of earth. Finishes with a bitter grassy hop taste. A very tasty IPA with a sharp spicy hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium light bodied with a biting carbonation.

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Photo of BierStein711
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Gorgeous beer!

Two finger head, clear in color, moderate carbonation.

smells of hops, pine, and a hint of oak

Tastes so lush with hints: of apricot, grapefruit, floral hops, biscuits, and perfection

This beer is ambrosia with its sublime mouthfeel!

I will buy a six pack again soon.

"I am drinking ale today." -Edgar Allan Poe

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Photo of CaptainIPA
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

P: Served on-tap at Comet Cafe. Pairs well with a spinach, mushroom (and ketchup) omelet, hash browns and toast. Mmm.
Reviewed from notes.

A: Very attractive: Pours an orangish amber with an off-white head that lingers for a while. Nice lacing throughout.

S: FRESH! Caramel malts, citrus hops, honey, and a trace of vanilla.

T: YUM! An unbelievably well-balanced taste profile that's been dialed into the optimum hoppy/sweet ratio. Heavy-handedly wet hopped, yet exquisitely held in check by sweet notes of caramel and flashes of honey. The balance carries through to the end, thanks to a malty backbone that finishes with suggestions of brown sugar and cinnamon. Outstanding flavor and, again, remarkably fresh.

M: Medium-bodied with a rich and creamy mouthfeel that literally glides over the palate.

D: Awesome drinkability. Find it on-tap.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.42/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass the liquid is a true dark amber gold with low carbonation. The head is a small white pad that leaves some lace.

The smell is great, I love the big malt coupled with a strong earthy floral hops.

The taste is very good as well, this is nice strong bitter finish over taking a very thick and rich lightly toasted caramel malt.

The mouthfeel is thick, better then medium body yet low carbonation still nice.

The drinkability is very good, I would buy this if I could find it.

Many thanks to Vancer for including this in a bonanza of extras.

Prosit MK

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Photo of mckajd03
4.42/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this last season, and it was good then too. The malt background is sweet, which pairs nicely with the abundance of hops- it allows the flavor and aroma to come out more than with a heavier IPA. It has such a smooth mouthfeel- one of the better characteristics. The hop profile is nothing special (though it's still very good), but it is so well balanced that the freshness of the hops is accentuated over the bitterness. Quite good.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.42/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew is damn near orange. A sticky thin ivory white head leaves some nice lacing down the glass. This has a very nice fresh hop aroma. Great dry hopping (or hopback) utilization. Pungent, oily, piney and citric nose. The hops are the main player on the palate as well. Piney, citric, pungent, bitter, floral, rind. Very nice hop flavors. I'd be surprised if those flowers utilized in this beverage were not from the Pac10 region. This is not out of balance though. Malt profile is primarily caramel, but maybe a little bready as well. Nice lingering bitterness on the tongue. Body is about medium-full. Nice tasting 62 IBU IPA.

Two Brothers is a solid Illinois brewery. I actually prefer them over Goose Island.

2010: Lot 2660 (Cascade single hop)

Murky looking dark copper body. Thin and bubbly beige head. Lacing is sufficient. Aroma is citrusy, piney and a little sugary....like grapefruit sprinkled with sugar. Firm enough malt base of crystal malts with a definite citrusy hop flavor and lingering bitterness. A little acidic in a citric acid kind of a way. Good balance. Medium-full body and appropriately carbonated. Enjoyable. (4.0,4.5,4.0,4.0,4.0 = 4.1 OVERALL)

2010: Lot 2500 (Tettnauger single hop)

Murky orange body with particulates in suspension all over the place. Off white head recedes quickly and leaves some droopy lace. Aroma is really light. Some light herbalness and underlying caramel malts. On the buds, there's a definite leathery hop presence. Unique. Kind of an earthiness and herbalness to the hop flavor. Biscuity malt underneath. Decent beer. (3.5,3.0,3.5,4.0,4.0 = 3.5 OVERALL)

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Photo of 2BDChicago
4.42/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quicky review.

Two Brothers did (6)versions of Heavy Handed in 2010, each brewed the same except for a different hop variety.

Did a semi-vertical of (3) versions. I tried to collect all six, but drank em up .

With my fellow BD, sampled the following batches:


This is a very cool way to educate myself on the characteristics of hop varieties. I don't know of another brewer who does somehting like this.

And oh by the way, this is a awesome IPA. Well crafted, top notch ingredants, perfectly balanced, and the lucky strike extra is six similar versions of the same thing.

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Heavy Handed IPA from Two Brothers Brewing Company
3.81 out of 5 based on 869 ratings.
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