Decadent Imperial IPA
Ska Brewing Co.

Decadent Imperial IPADecadent Imperial IPA
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American Imperial IPA
Ranked #3,856
Ranked #36,449
3.69 | pDev: 13.82%
Ska Brewing Co.
Colorado, United States
Decadent Imperial IPADecadent Imperial IPA
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Reviews: 372 | Ratings: 858
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.05/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Red wax dipped 22 oz bomber with a whimsical top hat toutin' skeleton clenching hops in his teeth on the label that states "Celebrating 10 years of self-indulgence."

Pours a clear amber hue with a lacksadaisical carbonation that leaves the offering sans-bubbles, and topped off with a scant khaki settled thin head cap.

Aroma is a pungent yet even mix of malty caramel and floral hoppy orange.

First swigs: A malty initial flavor of caramel and vanilla ice cream malts meeting with a quick finish of lemon extract. Where's the hops? For a 2IPA, this is all malty caramel a la sugar daddy.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. A bit cloying in the finish. If the label is correct that this is actually a 10% ABV, it doesn't seem it. Diluted feel that lacks a crisp tone. Sort of dissapointing.

Last swigs: Seems more like a red than a 2IPA. Falls apart with a lack of hops and carbonation. $5.49 for the bomber. Oh well! IT's still fun trying diferent beers while I travel.

Beer is always good. Happy unknown beering.

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Photo of PatYoda
3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper with a nice cream colored head that leaves good lacing and sticks around as a big ring around the glass for a long time. Smell is very alcoholic. In addition to the solvent characteristics, one can also detect tropical fruit and a caramel malt flavor. All of these flavors show up in the taste, though not quite to great effect. The malt leaves a strange doughy aftertaste and the flavors don't blend well together. Hops show up in the form of citrusy fruit accompanied by tropical fruit esters, but this is definitely one of the most mellow Double IPAs I've ever had. Not extremely bitter due to the strong malt backbone, which lingers as a toffee taste and the off flavor I described above. Thankfully the alcohol is well hidden, though you can feel a nice warming sensation, which is very impressive at 10%. Overall, it just seems like the flavors in this beer don't blend very well together. Drinkable enough though.

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Photo of maxpower
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. waxed bottle, pours a hazy golden-copper color, minimal carbonation, has a small off-white head that does cling to the glass. Good strong hoppy candy grapefruit aroma, nice hoppy resiny grapefruit flavor, has a good malt balance, medium bodied, finishes bitter and sticky.

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Photo of carln26
3.36/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a copper color, slightly hazy with a fluffy white head that displayed good retention. The aroma… Uh ohhhh, is that grist malt I smell? Indeterminate malt aroma backed by mild citrus grapefruit. The flavor showed more promise with a more assertive grapefruit/hop profile backed my mild caramel malt. There was even a little Granny Smith apple in the taste. Slick, slightly oily mouth feel. Decent drinakbility.

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Photo of weeare138
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hopdog for this...
Appears a glowing amber with an ivory head and tons of lacing. No carbonation levels are present.
Smell is of caramel and biscuity malts with some bitter hops. Nice!
Taste is nice but not as great as the aromas.
Mouthfeel is sugary and malty. Lots coming through.
Drinkability is really nice. I enjoyed this a bunch. Thanks Steve!

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Photo of Shultzerdugen
3.12/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. brown bottle, neck and cap dipped in red wax.

Hazed orange in color, small black flecks that looked like pepper in suspension. Small white froth.

A modest nose of faint caramel malts, ETOH, and a touch of citric hops.

Mouthfeel was medium-full, with a juicy malt center, and quite a bit of stickiness. The alcohol was very well hidden, depite the mellow flavors. The malts were caramel tinted and a bit one dimensional. The hops were citric and like the alcohol, well hidden.

I expect something from an IIPA, and that's a big effin' smack in the face with pure hop goodness. This bottle looked cool as hell, but had no balls at all. Most of the IPA's I drink on a regular basis have twice as much hops and are twice as complex-- including the malt flavors, without the "Imperial" in the name!

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass clear medium amber golden with a white head which was very low and barely laced to try to lap at the sides of the glass.

The aroma was fruity with a strong pineapply aroma and a nice caramel malt aromatic. The fruity pineapple was worth a second mention due to it's very high percentage of the aromatic. The aroma became very slightly resinous as the beer warmed and caramel began to shine through.

The flavor was much lighter than expected. The flavor was mainly a light bit of caramel maltiness coupled with a low level of bittering that was slighly resinous, but never overpowering. The alcohol in the beer never rears it's ugly head though the flavor does contain a slight spice.

The finish was dry with a light caramel and low citrusy and resinous bittering into the afteraste. The body was medium and the beer was easy to drink. Did this really have 10% ABV, if so, it was well hidden and the flavors that comprised it were very light.

22 ounce bottle. Mentor may have given me this bottle, if not, thanks anyway for all the beer you have given me!

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Photo of benito
1.78/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

I found this to be disappointing pretty much across the board. Poured a light, transluscent amber with very little head. No floral aromas or really any aromas that I could detect for that matter. The overall taste was underwhelming for an imperial IPA. The flavor dissipated quickly and left no aftertaste--sweet or savory. The hop punch was absent as were the heavy malt balances. The overall feel was so light that I could have mistaken it for an amber lager. Very drinkable, but for all of the wrong reasons.

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Photo of Viggo
4.7/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange/brown, medium sized thick off white head, tons of lace. Smell is amazing, buttery with pine, floral, strawberries, pineapple, rich malt, some chocolate, nuts, and a little alcohol. Taste is wicked buttery caramel and toffee, resinous pine and floral hops, nuts and alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium to thick, low carbonation, I think one of the best IIPA's out there, superbly balanced and full of flavour, can't wait to get again. The hops are a little subdued and this might be more akin to an american barleywine, but its damned spectacular.

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Photo of filabrazilia
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy copper orange with a medium tan head that leaves a fair amount of lace on the glass.

A strong malt aroma dominates the nose. Even as it I give it repeated whiffs, it only provides me a sweet malt aroma. This is not bad, simply one dimensional.

The taste is better--it is malty, sweet and grassy. The sweet malts are complemented nicely by the hoppy finish. Alcohol also makes itself known to complement the overall flavor.

The mouthfeel is fairly complex with a multitude of sensory experiences available. The start is sweet, the middle is a mix of sweet and hoppy and the finish is very hoppy. The hop bites back in the swallow.

This is a nice beer worth trying again. Despite its price, $5.99, I would buy it again.

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Photo of Hunter
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The wax seal and the skeleton on the label is what drew me to this, I admit.

Appearance: Brew is a rich, deep apricot in color, with some degree of carbonation forming below to support a light tan head that doesn't last long. Minimal lacing effects.

Aroma: Hops is the first thing to reach the nose, followed by a mild hint of caramel malt. But hops is the primary player here, appropriate for the style: fresh, floral, and grassy.

Taste: The alcohol is upfront and in your face, overriding even the hops initially. As the heat from the alcohol hit fades the hops step up, lingering in the aftertaste as well. Even so, there could be more hop complexity here for the sake of a Double.

Mouthfeel: Sharp, thin, and dry, with a clean finish.

Drinkability: 3.5 scores all around. A solid example of an IPA, but I wonder whether it's a victim of a microbrewing trend lately of taking any style and hoisting the ABV to extreme levels. The alcohol isn't enough of a distraction to take away from the character of the beer, but one 650ml bottle is more than enough for an evening.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.04/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Interesting Red-wax sealed bottle. It pours a golden color with an orangish tint. At first pour there was quite a few bubbles that left about a half inch of fluffy bubbles on top. After a few minutes the foam settled to just allow a small wisp to maintain

Aroma: Lots of grapefruit at first! There are a bunch of citrusy hops in this one. As is warms a bit, you can start to pick out a hint of the malt, and the hop character fades to more of a floral presence.

Taste: The hops are the first thing you notice. When cold, the grapefruit and other citrus like oranges slightly sting your palate. This fades to a slightly bittersweet finish. It seems like the bittering hops were reserved compared to the healthy late additions. This beer doesn't taste anything like 10% ABV though! I would venture to guess that it was around 8%. This gives it drinkability points.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.37/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Awesome red wax-dipped bottle neck almost too cool to open. Golden amber pour with a small, sizzling off-white head that dissapears without a trace of lacing.

Aroma is almost a standard IPA with a hot alcoholic bite. Caramel malty tones overpowered by citrus and pine-needle hops. Nice, but nothing special.

Flavor has light malt notes washed over by tangerine, grapefruit, and pine hops. Hoppy for an IPA. Not hoppy enough for an IIPA. Rather bland in the flavor department. Alcohol is hot and almost intrusive.

Body barely makes it to medium, definately lacking. Mouthfeel smooth and slightly creamy textured nontheless. Drinkability suffers due to the heat. Glad to have tried, but probably won't seek out again.

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Photo of merlin48
4.07/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle capped with red wax, $5.99 at the Weinhaus in Asheville, NC.
Appearance: Pours an unimpressive, hazed, rusty orange body with a skimpy offwhite head that leaves very sparse lacing.

Aroma: Smells of juicy and citrusy hops, with a distinctive caramel malt presence in the background. Grapefruit, orange, and some pine are among the hoppy notes in the nose.

Mouthfeel: Smooth medium body, good carbonation, and a creamy(oily) hops bite.

Taste: Juicy, citrusy, hops all over the palate. Caramel malt spine sinks into the abyss. Grapefruit, orange, and a touch of pine front the hops assault. A pleasing tweak of tangerine juice and peach pulp adds complexity to the middle. Hops are assertive, but more tangy than bitter. Minor notes of bitter pine stick around all the way through. Amazing lack of alcohol presence for a 10% brew. Finishes with a bitter, but wet, citrusy hop note.

Drinkability: Tasty and evenly balanced, this is dangerously drinkable. Very well constructed. This is my first sampling of a Ska brew. Looking forward to trying some of their other products.

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Photo of Bumpon10s
4.35/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours deep thick amber, with a nice head, very good lacing.

S - Obviosuly sensing the hops, but not as much as a dIPA usually is. I am picking up a decent amount of citrus also.

T - Dominating hops, very pine like hops. I was told by a peer he is getting alot of fruit, but my pallet isn't getting it. BUT, tons of hops and I'm loving it.

M - An EXTREMLY smooth imperial IPA, very slippery beer.

D - I can see myself getting this again, it's really a shame it's a one-off release because it's so good.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber...pours a golden sunset color with a short lacey frothy head. So reminiscent of cask ale, as is the mouthfeel. Bittersweet malt aroma, mildly hoppy and lots of booze. Alcohol slaps you in the face on the first sip...notes of barrel aged whiskey in the flavor, a bit of sweet mint, and a crisp bitter hop finish. The alcohol is not very well hidden; definitely feels like 10% at least. Mouthfeel is surprisingly not too carbonated as is nicely smooth. As previously stated, if I didn't pour it myself I'd have thought this was gravity poured from a firkin on the Firkinteenth. Drinkability is not moderate due to the booze and it needs a bit more balance. Still, as a hophead, this has a hoppy bite to it that I certainly enjoy. One I'd like to try fresh, or on draught. Thanks to ___ for sending this to me! (I have no memory...if you sent me this, beermail me!! I'm an idiot)

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Photo of mentor
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber obtained from Total Beverage (Colorado) and consumed a couple evening later in July 2005. Pours a clingy and moon-scaped light-tan & yellow head over a nearly clear peach-amber liquid. Citrus hoppy smells are noticable from the glass as I sit here. To the nose, pine, grapefruit pith, lemon, pineapple. Smooth and cream mouthfeel, right from the get-go. Hop flavors start a bit sour pine-sol but quickly turn to pineapple sour hop flavor. Hop bitterness is perceived as moderate, as there is strong malt sweet to counter. The aftertaste consists of the pineapple hop flavor slowing settling down while a floral apricot rises in the back of the throat. Then I notice, as I ponder the apricot, a very late caramel and chalky biscuit or munich malt character rise up surprisingly strong so late after the swallow. While carbonation comes across as mild, I think it's actually moderate because it's pretty sharp on the flat of my tongue. Lacing on the inside of the glass is minimal.

As the beer warms and I've swirled to release some CO2, the hop bitterness stands stronger, as does late apricot esters and caramel malty. It's a bitter punch followed by sweet and tasty. Really nice balance. Md-thick body and the silky nature of it has faded as the beer has warmed. Empty stomach and a bomber of 10%...drinkable, yes I'd love to have another, but I think I'll go to sleep instead.

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Photo of gbontrag
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Properly waxed in Red to contrast the Blue-waxed top of their Nefarious. This transforms my glass to well-used copper. The bubbles are fighting the gravity of the brew as they rise, and top out in a pretty tanned froth. It creates a nice lace that breaks with despair.
This does not singe the air with hot hops.
Still, it's bitter: Deep down bitter. It's making my mouth rust. A really solid malt base throws down a mattress of soft, sweet and chewy beer bread. There's good sours in here. Certainly orange juice, and orange rind. Boiled down, soggy hops squirt anise flavor. There's an aftertaste of resinous tonic.
This manages the palate very efficiently by serving my mouth a complete meal. It's a pleasurable experience worthy of a tip: Drink this fruity-tuity, hoppity-boppity impy IPA, it's a good beer.

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Photo of Gusler
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer forsakes the 22-ounce brown bottle and takes up albeit a short residence in my glass a clarion burnished copper color with a smallish frothy light tan head that erodes leaving a velum like coating of lace upon the glass. Nose has a delightful hint of hop floral spiciness backed by sweet malt, citrus like in its crispness; the start is quite sweet and the malt presence appealing with the top light to moderate in feel. Finish is average in acidity with the hops spicy and pleasant, dry long lasting aftertaste, but does not meet my expectations for an Imperial IPA in the hops category, but the 10 percent ABV certainly warms the belly and what the hell, it’s a fine drinking beer nonetheless in my humble opinion.

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Photo of warriorsoul
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big thanks to absolutesites for this offering...and on the 4th week of New Beer Sunday '05.
Pours a colorful bronze w/ a cloudy feel...cream colored head sits on top and remains there for the duration. Almost looks like an American Barleywine IMO.
The scent is very apparent, but not overpowering...mostly citrus hops w/ some caramelized malt and vanilla...just the slightest hint of alcohol, but inviting.
Taste is fantastic...a hop bomb, but the malt keeps in check. It is just slightly chilled which makes the alcohol a bit more up front, but the bitterness is what I am really enjoying. The sweet, buttery texture is one of the best for its style and it is surprisingly refreshing...could enjoy quite a few of these in an evening. I am really glad I had the chance to try this brew...very good!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.11/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a brilliantly clear amber copper color and is topped by a frothy tan head. The aroma has notes of alcohol, strawberries, and pine. The aroma is surprisingly low on the full force hop attack one expects to find in an IPA, much less a DIPA. The taste is lightly sweet, with a solid caramel note. It is sharply alcoholic as well, which really detracts from the finish. This is sorely lacking in the hop character department, this is more of a strong ale with a balance towards a caramel like maltiness. This has a nice light body, despite the 10% alcohol, if they had put 4 times the hops in this, this would be complete with all of the components needed in a DIPA. With out the hops though this is a flop, and not even worth trying to finish the bottle.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.42/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a wax-sealed 22 oz. bomber with an "X" marked on the top. Label shows a cap-tipping skeleton with a bouquet of hop cones between his teeth and reads "Celebrating 10 years of self-indulgence."

On the eyes, the beer is a clear, burnt orange-amber with a thin, sticky beige head that leaves a good deal of lace on the glass.

The true decadence begins to show in the nose. Beautiful aroma of citrus-packed floral hops with a hint of the high alcohol content.

In the mouth, this beer is a touch understated, full of hop flavor but balanced by the alcohol and a substantial (for the style, anyway) malt presence. It comes across as almost creamy, leaving the mouth wet and slick.

This is dangerously drinkable for such a high ABV brew. I'm a big fan, and will keep my eyes open for this brewery's selections in the future.

It doesn't quite make up for the shoulder injury that will keep me from skiing the rest of this trip, but it's not a bad start.

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Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 858 ratings