Decadent Imperial IPA | Ska Brewing Co.

359 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Decadent Imperial IPADecadent Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Ska Brewing Co.
Colorado, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by RockyTopHeel on 12-30-2004

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 359 | Ratings: 824
Photo of Sammy
3.72/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Boulders on Broadway. Cloudy yellow with some white head. A good bitterness, certainly on the hop delivery side. Sweetness is secondary. The palate needed resting after this.Faint hop only in the aroma.Alcohol warming.Worth having once, not necessarily best example of style.

 285 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.61/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Best by 6/6/15.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, fermented citrus fruit, citrus zest, and grapefruit juice aromas. Taste is much the same with candied citrus zest and grapefruit juice flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with an odd fermented fruit aroma, but I am not getting anything like that in the taste.

 634 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this is going for 6 bucks a pint (yes, a pint!) at illegal petes on evans right now. it pours thick honey colored with a half inch of white head the texture of uncured cement. it smells like an oily hop bomb, not quite a 120minute, but similar hop profile, just juicy and rich. the flavor is bitter as hell, with only a touch of malt sweetness to it. the alcohol is also surprisingly not intense in this, and its in fact a pretty quaffable imperial ipa. theres a certain metallic thing in the taste though, minerally and brassy. it gives the beer a weird finish, but i like it just the same. mouthfeel is real big. its carbonated well, but the body is impassably huge. as it warms the alcohol comes out making it even more bold. this is a daring beer, not for everyone, but its a hell of a deal right now. a pint glass of this is a lot. i went from hungover to feeling groovy with one glass...

 893 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sharp, rough, pungent, abrassive, raw, bitter, grassy, and somewhat dank... I like it!

This nearly intimidating beer pours a deep amber hue with low lights of ruby, garnet, and crimson. Medium haze allows for a diffused glow that seems masculine and brawny. An off white delicate foam stance builds and retains well while light on lace.

Pungent aromas of caramelized malt and aggressive hops weave into varying aromas of pine, molassas, fresh cut grass, medium toasted grains, red grapefruit, maple syrup, and orange peel. Alcohol is evident as it strikes the olfactories with quite a punch. The balanced nose never allows the hops to dominate because of the substantial rebuttal of malt.

Bread crust, toasted grains, lightly burnt molassas all make their way into the early flavor spread. But the hop flavors of ruby red grapefruit, pine resin, grassy, herbs, and spruce all give an abundance of juicy complexity to accompany the dense malt flavor. Though balanced through mid palate, the finish allows the malt sweetness to subside and the hop flavors turn bitter with an aggressive bite and acetone alcohol flavor late.

Full bodied for an Imperial IPA, the beer carries a dense malt texture and full creamy carbonation very deep on the palate and has trouble developing the crisp and dry finish that make all IPAs so appealing. Quite rough with the grassy hops and abrassive alcohols for a warm, almost fusal feel in finish.

Overall, a very tasty IPA that was a joy to drink. But the malt complex and hop balance came together in a similar way as Stone's Double Bastard Ale, but without the elements of finess and control that make that one a standout. Decadent begins to creep into the world of American Barleywines just a bit too much.

 1,745 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Draft serving in a smallish 10 oz. goblet.

The pour is a murky reddish amber with offwhite tan foam that lasts for awhile. It fades to a ring with spotty lace as the glass is sipped slowly.

Sweet caramel toffee and resiny hop greenery, more malt heavy and sweet though. Flavor is similar, heavy and sticky caramel with a moderate hop bitterness and plenty of heft to it. Alcohol starts to creep out a bit, and it gets to be fatiguing on the palate halfway through. Mellow carbonation, slightly viscous and sticky on the lips.

Not really a fan of this super-heavy barleywine-esque DIPA. Something to warm up on the coldest of winter nights, but not with the 80ยบ March weather we're having...

 696 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.88/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

10% ABV confirmed. 650ml brown glass bottle with waxed over pressure cap served into an Odell 90 Shilling pilsner glass in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are average given its current ratings as well as the brewery that produced it.

Not paired with food.

Served straight from the fridge and side poured as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger light light khaki head of nice cream and thickness, and very good retention for the high ABV. Body colour is a clear textbook copper. Translucent. no yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. A typical appearance for the style.

Sm: Some caramelized malt and some floral hops. Maybe some nectary hops. There's not much going on here. Still, it's generally inviting. No yeast character is detectable, nor is any alcohol. Somewhat muted; where're the aromatics? Below average in strength.

T: Candied sugar, caramel, mild floral hops, and plain clean malty sweetness. Surprisingly simple, actually. No alcohol comes through, but I still wouldn't call the booziness itself well concealed. No yeast character is present. I wouldn't call it balanced. It's enjoyable, but lacks sufficient flavour. The hops are quite restrained indeed. Some unconcealed bitterness on the finish. Tropical fruit esters are present but don't fit well into the overall profile at all; I get mango and maybe (to venture into pretension) passionfruit.

Mf: Smooth and wet. A bit too thick. A bit overcarbonated. Fair palate presence.

Dr: ABV is well concealed, but the quality is questionable. I wouldn't want another one; it's just so bland for the style. If you're not going to bring the hop profile, you've got to have balance to compensate; this doesn't. Not recommended. A disappointment from Ska, but then Ska is rapidly declining in my view.


 1,860 characters

Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear copper color with burgundy highlights. It had a thick, tan, two-finger head of foam that left some sticky lace.

S - It smelled of grapefruit and other citrusy aromas. The was also a nice pine smell with a subtle caramel notes.

T - It was very spicy up front with a sharp bitter hop bite. There was a nice burnt toast maltiness with sweet grapefruit flavor.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good Imperial IPA. I greatly enjoyed my first ever Ska brew.

 521 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
2.53/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle thanks to drabmuh. Served in a tulip.

Hard pour yields a copper-orange body with a minimal head and no lacing. Some large bubbles form a collar around the edges. Tue nose brings forward a good amount of caramel malt and accompanying sweetness plus a bit of booze. Some citrus and floral hops in the background.

The taste is quite sweet with a really strong booze presence and a lot of heat in the finish. Some bitterness and some floral hops are there as well. Feel is medium and boozy with lowish levels of carbonation. Not a huge fan of this.

 553 characters

Photo of oberon
3.35/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep clear copper with a rather thin white head wich really didnt stick around long even with a hard pour thee wasnt much head to speak of.Well the aromas seemed a bit odd there was a noticable piney hop profile but there was big cracker malt presence that kinda over shadowed the hops wich was kind of odd.By itself this beer was decent an ok piney/citrus character with caramel malt and alcohol in there as well but with food everything seemed to be off flavors did not meld well at all.Well not really worth a fuss not a big hop monster and flavors seem a little off at times,I wouldnt seek out again.

 613 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At first sip I'm taken back to some of my very first pale ale's. Grassy and leafy hops within decidedly caramelish malt! Watney's Red Barrel comes to mind. But it's even richer, so much more malty, firmer, and entirely more flavorful. It's much more American.

And Watney's Red Barrel is a standard, well maybe a premium, English pale ale. This is more... it's bigger, but is it an "Imperial" IPA? Well, under British standards I'd guess it is. But for American expectations it's just not bitter enough. Herein lies the rub. This is an excellent Imperial I.P.A., but in a more malty sense. I can't even sense the strength. What is it? 10.0 % - oh, geez - it doesn't appear it.

The deep copper body has a reddish note to it, and the creamy and frothy off-white head holds for seemingly forever. The nose is sweet and caramelsih and fruity and hoppy (leafy, grassy). The body is full, or at least medium-full but with a dextrinous side, and it's got a median carbonation. The flavor is rich, sweetish, fruity (apple), and malty, but backed with lots of hop flavor and a firm backbone of bitterness. It finishes drying, and perhaps a touch chalky with lots of apple-like fruitiness and some dark-apple-rind bitterness that lingers.

 1,230 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.77/5  rDev +32.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Acquired via trade from Weisguy, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep orange/brown color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of fruity citrus, floral hops and caramelized malts.

T: The taste is excellently balanced with a strong hops presence, fruity citrus and caramel sweetness and a malt character that isn't as hearty as most beers in the style but it has just the right substance to keep this beer on-par with other highly-rated 2IPA's and still make it light enough to drink continuously. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style. This is a beer that I could drink for a whole evening... or at least until the 10.00% ABV catches up with me. Honestly, I'm baffled by the low scores that this beer has received. Typically I don't reference prior reviews but I know this might not be as good as Dreadnaught (which I gave a perfect 5), but the fact that this is a "delicate DIPA" makes it a very drinkable beer.

 1,260 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.73/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids & Solids, Longmont, CO

Poured a reddish-copper, bubbly, with a small white head that receded to a thin layer of ubiquitous bubbles. Scents of citrus and pine, caramel, lightly toasted malts, and a dash of spice. Leafy. Sweet malty base overlaid with a generous amount of pine and citrus hops, orange zest and apple peel; starts sweet, ends dry and bitter. Medium-bodied and quite drinkable, though can be a little strong, alcohol-wise, so watch yourself.

 505 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Shared with my good friend, AndoBrew!

Appearance: Pours a reddish-copped body with a thinnish, white head.

Smell: Hinting at its impending sweetness, the aroma smells strongly of caramel and orange-flavored candy, with some hints of pine, cinnamon, and fruit in the background.

Taste: Relying heavily on malts, the beer primarily features a heft of sweet, sweet caramel. The piney, citrusy hop flavor tries with all its might, but eventually ends with a rather weak finish. AndoBrew professes it to be "well-balanced" but its a bit too sweet for me. However, we both agree that it lacks complexity.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Low carbonation. Neither silky nor syrupy, its unquestionably marshmallowy. "Like those duckies you get, well, I don't get them personally, but those duckies you get during Easter. Poofs?" Peeps.

Drinkability: Decadent is never luxurious, majestic, or an awe-inspiring display of the brewing arts, but its still decent. I'll give it that. "Second to many!" bellows AndoBrew.

 1,016 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.86/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Shimmering kumquat with butterscotch borders. Very few bubbles can be seen ascending through the pristine liquid before disappearing into the underside of the pastel gold cap. The surface is a mass of glassy bubbles that resembles caramelizing sugar. Loads of lovely lace help cement the above score.

Where is the Decadent amount of hops? We have a bruised apple fruitiness, a modest amount of caramel malt, and a flash of alcohol, but very little citrus fruit hoppiness. It's hard to believe that 99.9 IBUs are present. My expectations of lupulin lusciousness just took a major nosedive.

Wow... and I don't mean that in the good sense of the word. Ska Decadent is not a good DIPA. No how, no way. Even though bitterness is generous (but still not buying the IBU count), good hop flavor is seriously lacking. Unless this bottle is old, SBC needs to take the hop cones off the label... or add more of them to the damn beer.

The flavor profile includes dark butterscotch, orange oil, fermented pine sap and alcohol. If a double-digit ABV can't be masked any better than this, how about lowering it a few percentage points? I'm sure 10.0% was chosen because this offering was originally brewed to celebrate the brewery's 10th anniversary.

The shortage of bubbles contributes to the pleasing plushness. The mouthfeel is at least medium-full and is as smooth as the day is long. Too bad the other attributes can't keep pace with the appearance and the mouthfeel.

Decadent Imperial IPA wants to be big, bad, bold, ballsy beer... but it isn't. It's exhibit A in how to screw up a style that shouldn't be that hard to get right. If Ska is going to ask us to chip away all that red wax, the least they could do is deliver decent beer. What a disappointment.

 1,753 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.62/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber color, with no head to speak of, little lace, but appearence is not all that impressive.. Smell is somewhat hoppy, but definate citrus hints in there, clean smell. Taste is not overwhelming hoppy at all, would have expected more to be honest. A bit of an alcohol aftertaste. The does feel very smooth going down, and does not taste anywhere near as strong as it is. Overall its a good one to try.

 416 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.21/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours light orange/bronze with thick 3 fingers tan head. head retention& lacing both good

Smell: Piney hops dominate, not much else

Taste: Piney hops caramel. followed by fruittyness. Then fruittynes,along piney hops & grapefruity hops intermingle. Later piney hops stick to the roof of your mouth. Finishes grapefruitty & malty.

MF: Medium to thick with good balance & okay carbonation.

Drinks really too damn easy for the style & abv. A little more balance would make this fatal. Very good effort from Ska

 521 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.38/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes 2/25/11.

A: Pours a hazy orange color with white one finger head. Great retention but only moderate lacing.

S: Bright citrus a good bit of caramel and toffee malt.

T: A little grassy, some citrus and floral hops. A lot of caramel and toffee malts with a bitter finish.

M/D: Medium bodied with good carbonation. You can taste a little of the alcohol and has a bitter finish. Moderate drinkability. Could not find a bottling date, but could be older than desired.

 486 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a dark amber color with a nice fluffy white head on top and plenty of carbonation bubbles.

S: Not all that much in terms of hops, here. Quite malty, caramelly, and sweet, but I generally expect that when I see a waxed IPA. There are some notes of grapefruit and a bit of pine mixed in.

T: Not a terrible flavor, but it is (again) sweeter than I like for an IPA. This one definitely leans more toward the barleywine side of things, with lots of caramel and some brown sugar. The hops are subdued and provide just some hints of citrus.

M: The body is nice, medium to full (for an IPA) with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: After awhile, this one becomes a little too sweet and I just start wishing the hops were more alive.

 743 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Slightly hazy yellow color with off-white head. Aroma is hoppy with earthy, resiny notes. Taste is hoppy with nice resin notes and quite dry overall. Not bad but it's quite simple.

 180 characters

Photo of woodychandler
2.63/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This was presented to me with a thin, light tan head with low retention. The color was a deep-amber with NE-quality clarity. The nose had a slightly caramel-ish aspect to go along with the intense hoppiness. The mouthfeel was thin-to-medium with a very hot alcohol bite on the tongue. The finish ... I had to wait for my heartbeat to slow before the finish could register. Zounds, was this an intense beer! Very hot, perhaps too sugary. A larger glass might have Skaletonized me. Oof.

 484 characters

Photo of stakem
2.97/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Wax dipped bomber with a best by date of 8/2/11 care of my friend Ryan who was home visiting but now lives in Durango, Co.

Poured into a DFH snifter, this brew appears a perfectly clear light orange-amber color that vibrantly displays rising bubbles of carbonation coming off of the etching on the bottom of the glass. The head boasts a finger's worth of yellow stained bubbles that lace in large patches about the glass. The cap receeds quickly to a thin layering atop the brew supported by the constantly rising bubbles.

The aroma of this beer is very light citrus and herbal hops with a very bold presence of alcohol. Some light toasty grain, which is borderline musty is evident as well but overall the aroma here leaves a lot to be desired. For a DIPA, it is a disappointment because the alcohol far outshines the hops. After the glass was emptied but before I poured another sample, the smell of this brew lingers inside the glass with a bit of a stinging perfumy scent about it.

The taste is a full on attack of fusel alcohol with the bitterness of the hops playing only a supporting role which is tailed by the malty sweetness. After the initial shock of the alcohol, the hops come through primarily herbal with a moderate amount of bitterness. The malt is quite toasty and exhibits a bit of a musty grain flavor that lingers in the mouth with the taste of the alcohol and herbal bitterness of the hops running rampid.

This is a light bodied brew with a lower than expected level of carbonation. I have mixed feelings about this beer. An imperial IPA that has been dipped in wax signals a warning for me...was it just for looks? Shouldn't it be consumed fresh? In this case I think there might have been some benefit in laying this one down for awhile and attempt to let the alcohol mellow out.

 1,807 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The nose on this beer is typical of what I feel I find in Belgian brews and other beers well made that have a very high alcohol content; that thick sweetness. This one's at 10% and the body carries that load of alcohol fairly well. It mixes with the full bodied flavor enough so that it doesn't stand alone totally. Overall a fairly good brew, but the farther in the bottle you do go, the more the alcohol seems to stand out, probably from it warming up.

 454 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.56/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in trade from depechemode1983, thanks for the opportunity. Pours a deep copper color with a with a thinnish off white head that dissipates rather quickly. Smells of pine and citrus with hints of sweet caramel and bready malt and wet dog. Taste is sweet malty with more citrus than pine and hints of higher alcohol. Finishes really dry. At first sip this one leads me to believe that this is going to be a thick sweet bodied beer, but this changes quickly and finishes quite dry with a lingering hop bite. Sweet and resinous mouthfeel, low level of carbonation. Decent, if not a little weird, Imperial IPA. Not the greatest IPA I have ever had but a solid beverage.
On a side note, why are brewers wax dipping bottles of Imperial IPA?

 743 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.88/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pale orangish amber with a thin layer of pure white head that has decent retention

S - faintly herbal, piny hops

T - bready, faint birthday cake sweetness, piny, bitter, citrusy

M - warm, well carbonated, medium bodied

This is a solidly malty, hoppy DIPA. It's bitter but balanced. Flavorful, enjoyable, drinkable. I'll definitely have this again.

 355 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The Decadent Imperial IPA from SKA is a very BIG beer...almost rude. The beer pours a dark copper, fairly murky, thin white head that is lacing. The scent includes malt and lots of bitter hops. The taste is an explosion of hops and bitterness with powerful Alcohol. The mouthfeel is fullbodied with good carbonation. Overall it is just to bitter and rude for me. 8oz glass is all I would want in a sitting.

 406 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing Co.
3.6 out of 5 based on 824 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.