Decadent Imperial IPA | Ska Brewing Co.

360 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
Reviews: 360 | Ratings: 825
Photo of Jefriedrichs
3.66/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was hesitant on the wax covered bottle. Am I really drinking an Imperial IPA? A-hazy orange with little retention, expected on the high alcohol volume S-sweet and malty, citrus with caramel after notes, alcohol is present T-malty entry with tangy citrus in between and bready finish M-light to medium sits heavy medium on tongue making alcohol presence known O-too malty for my liking of an imperial but since the sweetness and slight bitterness attempts to balance it out I would say fairly drinkable especially for such a high ABV

 533 characters

Photo of thefullmontiii
4.28/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not typically an IPA fan but this one is fantastic. Citrusy aroma, the scent of the hops dances off the pour. Mild head that recedes shortly after pour. Once the foam fades though, you can definitely smell the alcohol. Almost to the extent of getting a quick whiff of a shot poured nearby. Somewhat fruity taste, slight warmth in the malt, followed by the mild hoppy finish. A little bitter on the aftertaste but not nearly overwhelming. The higher ABV is notable but not overpowering. Overall great balance of warmth, sweetness, and bitterness.

 545 characters

Photo of Joey-bags1990
4.18/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Copper with an orange tint. cloudy unfiltered making it very difficult to see through. Poured with a very thin foam head that receded into a thin film atop the beer. Small amounts of retention when the beer is swirled around in the glass. Steady flow of bubbles ascending from the bottom of the glass.
S-Strong use of fruity hops that come through with an almost floral aroma as well. You can also smell how bitter this beer is before you ever taste it. Few hints of nutty malts but the fruity/grapefruit scents outweigh anything else by a large margin.
T-Very hoppy tasting as expected. Citrusy/ grapefruit tasting hops. Strikes a good combination of a fruit loops taste with the bitterness of a grapefruit. As expected from smelling the beer, great hoppy taste that are complemented well by warming malts.
F-Light to medium feel in the mouth. Smooth finish that leaves a very heavy bitter aftertaste.
O-Very good DIPA rich with good scents and flavors. I really liked the types of hops used in this beer which gave it a good combination of fruity and bitter tastes. Fairly typical when it comes to what is expected from a DIPA, but nothing that really sets it apart besides the makers mark style wax dipped bottle it came in. Still a very good ale.

 1,252 characters

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.26/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours out a hazy peach with an inch of head. The lace doesn't stick too much, but for 10%, I expect this.

Carmel and soggy bread start the nose off. A bit of earth and orange rind follow. Hint of booze near the end.

Light caramel, earth and slight orange peel start the taste off. A bit of bready malts take the middle, with a bit of pine at the finish. Goes down with a moderate thickness, very nice mouthfeel.

In all honesty, where are the hops? This is a dipa right? It wasn't bad, but call it what it is, barely a double pale ale. Sorry to say I haven't been impressed by Ska's hoppy brews yet.

 601 characters

Photo of macrosmatic
3.37/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to Glenn for sending this one down! Reviewed from notes. Poured from waxed bomber into an Upland pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy deep gold with hints of orange. Forms a nearly two-finger white head on top of average visible carbonation.

S: Oranges, tangerines, and pith hops, bready malt with a bit of caramel aroma, and a nice yeastiness underneath.

T: Boozy and malty up front, with citrus & orange peel hops afterwards. Some caramel and roasted honeycomb sweetness. It seems a bit oxidized despite the wax.

M: Light body for an IIPA. Alcohol presence obvious, and carbonation sensation on the low side.

O: This really wasn't particularly good. It tasted like it was on the old side, though unfortunately there is no freshness information that I could find on the bottle. Disappointing, although not terrible.

 819 characters

Photo of VanillaHeat
5/5  rDev +38.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really enjoy this one. Nice hops. I found it recently on tap for $5 for a snifter. I don't know what it smells like, but I liked the smell. Good dark color. I have never tried it in the bottle, but both times I have had the draft I found it quite enjoyable.

 259 characters

Photo of ISmith87
3.84/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A – copper/orange/amber body w white head that has very little retention, really clear

S – spicy hops w malt background, caramel, honey, some grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime., hop bitterness

T – Spicy hops w caramel malt at first, pine, then hop bitterness/grapefruit, more alcohol that other IIPAs, but at 10% who can argue

M – medium body, alcohol warmth is very present, peppery feel, mild carbonation

O – great beer, would drink again, for price will have to put up against Hop Stoopid to see which is better

 526 characters

Photo of N17shelfside
3.42/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reasonable IIPA at 10% hits more of the IIIPA territory for me in style. When poured into a Mikasa Ale Tulip produced almost not head, with a little lacing that lingers on the surface. Color is a reddish brown that matches the super tropical notes taken off the hops. The alcohol is not very well hidden, slight burn and hope flavor doesn't linger as much as a typical hopped-up IPA might. This is a little disappointing as the first hit from the beer is pretty intense citrus and fruit hops, that do relax into some bitter fruit that lingers, but only after many many sips.

Overall, if you are looking nice high ABV, super-fruity IIPA this would be a good place to go.

 671 characters

3.16/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I have only had one other beer from ska and thats their double blonde ale whch was decent.

This imperial ipa pours a nice head but only after a very aggresive pour,color is copper,hazy and imo very nice,good lacing.

Smell is not bad more alcohol and hops than anything else,the smell lets you know right off the bat that this is every bit a 10% beer.

The taste would be good if not for the pronounced alcohol tastes.the beer has a good hop flavor and its malt balance is good as well but its all overpowered by the alcohol taste too boozy imo.

mouthfeel is not bad either thin and rather drinkable for such a high abv ipa.

Overall ska imperial ipa is a solid beer for the style not outstanding by anymeans but not bad either.bottom line if your looking for a good buzz and not looking for great ipa taste this is it.For 5 bucks a bomber its not a bad price and its pretty drinkable.glad i tried it.

 903 characters

Photo of gleemonger
4.41/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mostly clear amber color with a nice, creamy, dimply, off white head that lingers for a long time. Just spotty lacing.

Slightly subdued hoppy aroma dominated by citrus, with a bit of a sweet malty background. Not super in your face, but pleansant enough.

Like the aroma, I'm getting mostly a citrusy, grapefuit, flowery hop flavor with a nice, sweet malt. It's a bit on the sweet side, but it actually works since it's pretty unique and tasty when it comes to that part. Not very bitter, which is a plus for me.

Pretty thick, creamy and smooth - a little heavier than usual for the style, but it works for me.

I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The smell led me to believe it was going to be an average citrus/bitter bomb of an IPA, but this is something a little different I think, between the very well balanced hops and malts, and the creaminess. A winner for me. I'm confused about the low score on this one, honestly.

 935 characters

Photo of hoppytobehere
3.39/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Ska Brewery in Durango, CO. 16 oz pour.

A: Amber color, very little head or retention.

S: Caramel malt, sugar, little bit of hop citrus. Strong alcohol presence.

T: Really average for the style. I like more hop-forward double IPAs, and this is definitely not one. Lots of malt sweetness and little hop character.

M: Good carbonation. Drinks pretty well for a 10%.

O: With so many awesome IPAs out there, this one falls short.

 445 characters

Photo of Jparker37
3.78/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

1pt 6oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

S - Pine, plum, honey, mild biscuit malt. Little bit of sweetness to it. Hops are more floral as it warms up.

A - Light copper, great clarity. Medium sized head falls to a small cap, off-white, tight bubbles, little bit of lacing.

T - Big toasty malt. Perfect mesh of citrus and pine hop flavor. Balanced, moderate bitterness. The finish is spicy from a mix of hops and alcohol.

M - Noticeable sweetness that winds up drying out nice. Medium to medium-full bodied, short of moderate carbonation.

O - This is pretty middle of the road for me. Maybe I was a little late on drinking this beer fresh as it was obtained through trade. Aroma never really jumped from the glass. Flavor was all there, it was balanced for the style and featured a delicious spicy finish that had me craving more.

 834 characters

Photo of sprucetip
4.25/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Amber, exceptional clarity in the first couple of pours, but some yeasty floaties in the last one. Thin white head fades fast and leaves little lacing. Not very active. But very attractive.

Lemony citrus and peachy fruit essence coming from the hops, and blending with a prodigious amount of caramel, and some sinus opening boozy heat. Really nice!

Taste follows the nose with peach and citrus fruity hops, some piny hop flavor, medium bitterness, and balanced very nicely by plenty of caramel sweetness.

Enough carbonation, a little more than a little warming, a rich full body, and some moderate but slightly sharp bitterness in the finish.

This one is right in my wheelhouse, somewhat reminiscent of sweet, malty and very boozy DIPAs Majaraja and the Southern TIer DIPAs like Unearthly. I am shocked that I passed up on it repeatedly because my peers collectively view it as a 3.63. Just goes to show, you don't ever know. Thank you to Jonathan at Rob's Beer in Wichita for suggesting it!

 997 characters

Photo of DenverLogan
4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From waxed bottle...poured in Grimbergen chalice.
Ooooh...I should say from the get go that I can see a large array of floaties in this bottle. Hummm...I've bought over a dozen of these...hummm...should I open or return it...where did I buy this...hummm! I'll open it!!
Small cap pop, pours with a small head and some tinier particulates upon pouring.
Aroma of citrus hops, mango scones, young honey dew melon.
Flavors are robust with pine, white grapefruit, light pepper, rich amber malt, rich citrus, pine & grassy hops. There's a funky bitterness that I can detect if I think hard enough, but for me, and my partner Colleen, this is one of the best double IPAs in the overall flavors and's a lovely hop bomb, tasty throughout. I've done a lot of 2xIPAs and consider Pliney the Elder a good benchmark, and this one stands up nicely. This particular bottle does have a bit of age perhaps, or light exposure, or other abuse, but I've had this beautiful wax coated bottle over 2 dozen's a winner in my book. Quite a different profile than the popular SKA Modus Hoperandi IPA...which gets a very high rating, but I think far less tasty than this lovely beast.

 1,185 characters

Photo of Zach225
2.48/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Overall a disappointment. Got it because it was $5 a pint so I took advantage of the price. Not worth writing a full review. The color was a nice amber/orange typical of the style. The noise was lacking. Seriously. Not much there at all, especially for what should be such a hop-forward beer. The taste was mainly that of some bittering hops, but still nothing too impressive. Not much for the flavor hops either. A little citrus, floral, and a sprinkle of spice. Malt characteristics were sweet but lacked depth. The balance of a good DIPA just wasn't there, although the ABV was fairly well hidden. I didn't find it very enjoyable, and this is one of my favorite styles. Would not recommend and would not buy again.

 717 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 blakelive784
2.65/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1 pt 6 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours a translucent textbook copper color with a half finger of thin off white head. Retention is average at best. Standard fare.

S - Buttery caramel, candied sugar, crystal malt and restrained hops. Simple and mild in strength. Not very inviting.

T - Watery toasted and crystal malts open. Indistinct, muddy hops come half way through. Not bitter in anyway. It's balanced, I guess, though there's really not much there to begin with. Its one redeeming quality is that no alcohol shows.

M - Smooth and wet. Heavy.

D - It's drinkable for 10%, though of low quality and is not exemplary of the style. I won't be having it again.

 707 characters

Photo of dpodratsky3
3.18/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber poured into tulip glass

A: Opaque orange, actually pretty dense off-white head

S: Strong alcohol burn and resin hops

T: Dank wet hops, caramel and alcohol, nothing out of the ordinary

M: Heavy, chewy, finishes like liquor

O: Just a very "meh" beer

 265 characters

Photo of TownDunkel
3.87/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decadent, I have been wanting to try this one for a bit now, mainly because that awesome wax seal

Appearance - A curious murky orange that mixes to a light brown. Not at all what I was expecting but way exceeded my first thoughts

Smell - Not much there on smell, mainly light hops

Taste - Sweet, flavorful first hit that tastes like fermented citrus, not a great way to describe it but it is delcious. Mellows out to a normal ipa finish

Mouthfeel - Good carbonation that matches well, the flavor sticks around for quite a while

Overall - Nice beer that is a model for its style

 582 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 harperman69
2.9/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I got to say that I was a little excited by this beer, wax tops always do this to me. I picked up a lot of stuff while I was in Denver and I would say I knew the least about this one and the River North beers I got.

Poured a nice deep golden color with a slight head. Left zero lacing while being consumed. Heavy grapefruit in the nose with a sense of the alcohol to come. At 10% I expect a little burn with what I perceived.

Mouthfeel was a little thicker than I expected for a DIPA. Worst of all, expected more hops that never showed up. Checked the bottle for freshness, didn't see a date. Still had the hot alcohol hitting throat. Hope maybe I just got a bad bottle.

 674 characters

Photo of CHickman
4.07/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As soon as I broke the wax I could smell the juicy hops were unleashed, and it smelt quite inviting! Pours very hazy orange gold color with a 1 finger off white/beige head that was full of bubbles and faded pretty fast and left decent only spotty lacing. Considering the aroma when I broke the seal, this was kind of average looking and a bit of a disappointment, but at least it left rings as it went down.

Smells like a glass of citrus juice, with a combo of grapefruit, guava, pineapple, orange and tangerine with hints of grains, herbs, caramel and brown sugar; some piney hops show up, but this is citra hop central and a decadent use of citrus indeed.

Tastes like it smells and is pretty much the same, with hops, citrus hops, and then citrus fruit; the flavor consists of a combo of grapefruit, guava, pineapple, orange, tangerine, lemon zest, caramel, toffee, grains, herbs, light brown sugar, piney hops/pine cone, floral hops and flowers, biscuit, grass and then another burst of juicy hops with a fruit array like grapes, apple, mango, starfruit and pear – this could be one of the fruitiest beers that I’ve ever had, like a Juicy Juice with alcohol, except the 10% ABV is incredibly well hidden. It’s almost ridiculous how well hidden that 10% ABV is because this beer is so sweet and juicy that it’s almost like drinking a wine or a mild wet hopped IPA. What this lacks in balance it makes up for in pure flavor.

Mouthfeel is heavy and chewy, like a thick viscous citrus drink or shake with some booze added in; it has mild carbonation, a heavy feel, like a viscous energy drink that you’d get at a gym after a workout, and a very bitter grapefruit-like finish.

Balance, not really; flavor, yes indeed; hidden alcohol to make this highly drinkable, hell yes!; typical DIPA…no, not really; fun to drink? Fuck yeah! This was all over the place and very strong and not well balanced, but in the end if you like big IPA’s and citrus flavor then you will love this beer. I’m very glad that I was able to score a bottle of it, because right now I want to crank up some ska music and thrash around. I recommend trying this beer.

 2,158 characters

Photo of TheSarge
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured this one into a small chalice, and the brew makes a finger thick light tan foam presentation, and the body is cleanly filtered with a dark copper color.

The aroma is soapy, floral, grapefruit, and a hint of over ripe plum.

Taste wise I'm getting a slightly caramel flavor, metallic, lemon and grapefruit blended together.

Full in body, oily slick, and warming in the end.

 381 characters

Photo of blackcompg
3.13/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from their red-wax sealed bomber bottle...

Appearance - Poured a finger of creamy thick yellow eggshell head, color of the beer is a slightly hazy yellow-orange amber, really a beautiful bright color, golden yellow accents on the sides. Great lacing at the end of the session.

Smell - Big grapefruit, pineapple, floral hops, and a touch of sweet carmel.

Taste - Wow, this starts with a big explosion of red grapefruit, pineapple, mango and sweet vanilla carmels, then floral and meadowy hops, and then there is almost what seems to be a sharp tart spiciness...oh nooo, it's not spice or tartness at all, it's straight alcohol, and it gets pretty hot by the end of the quaff. There is some lingering green hops and grapefruit pith in there too, but the alcohol provides a tko punch at the end...

Mouthfeel - Starts medium+ body and mouthfeel, then some low+ carb provides some nice tingle and brightness...but as soon as the palate starts to cleanse it all starts turning hot from the alcohol.

Overall - I'm really bummed here - It really starts out with some nice flavors, although a bit on the sweet side - but then all of a sudden there is literally a mad slash n burn from the alcohol. The alcohol is not hidden here at all, and in fact takes over and punches pretty hard at the end of the quaff. After the burn recedes you really are left with some nice hop flavors way long into the finish, but that hard punch of alcohol is impossible to ignore. And as such, I can't recommend this one.

 1,504 characters

Photo of gpack
3.22/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber to Snifter

A- Amber-thick looking/cloudy less than a finger of sticky head that retreated quickly. Lacing vanishes very quickly.

S- Underwhelming at first, as the beer warms the pine shows better with a little sweetness. The alcohol is more evident as the beer rests.

T- Sticky sweet up front with milder hops (piney than I expected. Gets stronger with pronounced alcohol towards the end.

M- Good even feel with pleasant carbonation that was unexpected. Kind of sticky and big.

O- Good, not great IIPA. I have to agree with another review, I would prefer to drink this colder but it smells better after a rest.

 623 characters

Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing Co.
3.6 out of 5 based on 825 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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.