Decadent Imperial IPA
Ska Brewing Co.

Decadent Imperial IPADecadent Imperial IPA
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American Imperial IPA
Ranked #3,835
Ranked #36,456
3.69 | pDev: 13.82%
Ska Brewing Co.
Colorado, United States
Decadent Imperial IPADecadent Imperial IPA
Reviews: 372 | Ratings: 858
Photo of DenverLogan
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

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Photo of Zach225
2.48/5  rDev -32.8%
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.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.88/5  rDev -22%
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.


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Photo of blakelive784
2.65/5  rDev -28.2%
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.

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Photo of dpodratsky3
3.18/5  rDev -13.8%
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

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Photo of TownDunkel
3.87/5  rDev +4.9%
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

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
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...

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Photo of harperman69
2.9/5  rDev -21.4%
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.

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Photo of CHickman
4.07/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

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Photo of TheSarge
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of blackcompg
3.13/5  rDev -15.2%
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.

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Photo of gpack
3.22/5  rDev -12.7%
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.

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

From a bomber into a tulip.

A-Murky with orange tones. A one-finger, nearly white head dissipates into a thick ring/collar. There were visible streams of carbonation.

S-Some pine and hops, but not "hoppy" in the traditional sense. I got a lot of citrus, some floral notes, and a touch of honey.

T-Similar to the nose. Some hops, but not terribly complex. No spiciness or intrigue. Grapefruit, lemon, and honey. It was quite sweet overall.

M-Creamy when cold and drinkable. As it warms you notice the alcohol. At the end of the bomber, it was quite boozy. The alcohol kind of dominated.

O-Not a bad effort. I liked it colder, which seemed to produce more floral and citrus notes, and mask what I would call an unpleasant alcohol taste. There are better IPAs out there, but this isn't something I would turn away.

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Photo of timjr2500
3.22/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer falls smack dab in the middle of the scale of what an IPA should be. It doesn't do much to stand out in any way. Medium color, nice crisp, floral smell, tastes of a solid blend of hops and a standard pale grain.

Don't get me wrong, I would drink this beer every day for the rest of my life, but I just wouldn't use it to celebrate a new job or welcome home an old friend. Its just too average. Drinkable; tasty but drab.

One thing I really do appreciate about this beer above others in its category is the price. A bomber generally goes for $5.50 and in my book that's a steal for such a high alcohol beer. You're likely to spend double for a beer as average as this, so do yourself a favor by a couple to keep around for those times after the great beer is gone and you still want more, just don't expect the best beer you've ever had.

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Photo of tdm168
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a tulip
Red wax 2012?

A- Hazy golden orange with a one finger off white head. Nice looking alcohol legs as well. Little retention from the head.

S- Very piney and citrusy, lots of orange and some dark fruits as well. A sweetness and light malts smell.

T- A light bitterness up front, followed by an unfortunately underwhelming hop character . I get a bit too much alcohol taste from this one. The hop flavor Is citrusy and has a lot of west coast qualities. The malts are sweet but really light.

M- A lot of alcohol feel in this one. Aftertaste is dry and bitter. Beer itself is rather light and not too hard to drink assuming you can get past the burn.

O- Had not heard anything about this beer before I bought it. Its honestly a little disappointing but then again, I may have hyped it up in my head more then I should have.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.46/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Brewery FRESH!!! Bought 5/25/12 at SKA
Dated best by - 4/20/13 - Poured into a Southampton Snifter.

Nice, simple, one finger, white foamy head, looks very tasty. Great golden orange clarity. Lots of ambers and reds too. Spotty lacing remains on the walls of my snifter glass.

Very pleasant smooth fruity fullness. Lots of pineapple, orange and grapefruit. Scent is light airy and full. It's not over done like many West Coast IPAs, but it's a very enjoyable scent on a hot day.

Awesome, smooth, creamy, and minimally bitter. Lots of light sweetness mixes with very light (airy) bitterness. No heat and at 10%, that's impressive. Carbonation fits the brew, nice and mellow.

Hands down one of the best DIPAs I've ever had. Perfect for a warm summer evening. Very delightful and well rounded. Quite a surprise for a DIPA. Another killer brew from SKA; well done, keep em' coming. Can't wait for the new Stout Can Series...

I'm not sure Decadent would be as good in a year as it is fresh, but very nicely done! Spot on!

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Photo of RoyalT
2.47/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – This is a terrible looking beer. It is a sad yellowish orange in color with a Bud Light head that showed no retention and foamed down like a soda pop.

Smell – There’s some nice orange rind and pine in the nose but no malt at all.

Taste – The citrus notes are OK but I can’t believe they used any grain to make this beer.

Mouthfeel – Way too thin for the style with an uncomfortable bitterness.

Sinkability – You get the hop kick from this beer but otherwise it’s a far cry from being a quality DIPA.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.27/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pale orangeish color with a huge fluffy white head that goes rather quickly. Nice lacing. Strong, citrusy and piney aroma. The tongue stripping hop presence sneaks up on you. Very solid malt profile at first. A solvent like hop presence comes in behind the malt. At first I thought it was alcohol burn but it is the hops for sure. Sticky and resiny mouthfeel. Very enjoyable and I find myself plowing through the bottle. Found this in NC and know nothing about the brewery. 6 bucks a bottle is well worth it.

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

a beautifully labeled bottle with red wax (ala maker's mark) poured into a pint glass. a clear amber pour with a finger of fluffy head which stays for most of the pour. insane amounts of sticky lacing fill the glass as i drink this delicious nectar. smells of caramel, tree sap, pine, fresh cut grass. a very sweet, bready, metallic taste up front with one of the most bitter after tastes i have ever gotten from any bottle of beer.. it literally tastes like burning tires. notes of caramel, spicy yeast, plum, honey. this one is on the border of medium to full body with a very boozey chest warming sensation, sticky lacing coats your facial hair as the creamyness of the beer coats the roof of your mouth. you are pretty much trapped in this beer... i capped mine with a resealable cap i got from anchor's christmas mammoth size beer bottle and i feel like it's not going to last. my mouth is already prepared. i went through all this work, and now i feel the need to finish.

this is an excellent iipa. not a complete palate wrecker until AFTER you take your first sip. that bitter aftertaste lingers until you drink enough that your mouth gets coated in its creamy body. a great beer to go back to, for sure. i'll be looking out for more of this later this year!

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Photo of ghostwalker
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Body is red-orange. Thin white head, little lacing.

Nose is sharp, bitter hops and too much sweet malt. This is likely to be a sweetness bomb.

Flavor is sweet and hoppy, but not as bitter as I expected. Sweet and thin on the finish.

Mouthfeel is slick and smooth.

A weird DIPA all around. Overall drinkability is pretty good, but it's just not what I am usually looking for from a 10% DIPA.

Glad I tried it, I love the wax on the neck.

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Photo of emerge077
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
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 80º March weather we're having...

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Photo of Juner03
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

an IPA for those of us that don't want an uber bitter IPA! caramelized color, sweet but pungent with an overall hops effect that easily disguises the ABV. I agree with another review here about white grape notes and even sweet grapefruit notes.
The bummer here for me was the package, the end of the bottle is too much. A beer like this deserves a little less like colt 45, a little more like a 12 oz lambic bottle to capture it's freshness

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Photo of Lawl3ss
3.18/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Lightly chilled 22 oz. bomber poured into a stemmed tulip. Bottling date is half rubbed off, but it looks like 12.21.11 or so.

Look- Clear orange/deep amber with two and a half fingers of dense off-white head. Good retention. Thick film of speckled lace remains as the glass empties.

Smell- Caramel, white grapefruit, white grape juice, and a hint of alcohol. Swirling brings out a flowery/perfume-like aroma. Subtle.

Taste- Solid German-seeming malt backbone; crisp citric hop character at the start, fading to a hint of grassy bitterness at the end. Reminds me of caramel apples for the most part. On the sweet side. Ryelike toasted grain flavor towards the finish. Aftertaste is a bit grassy and herbal. Alcohol is well masked. Flavors get bolder as the beer hits room temp, but nothing new develops. As the beer goes down, a vague marmite-like flavor builds, but it's never too noticeable, probably some vestige of the yeast strain they used.

Mouthfeel- Sharp carb comes out on the sip. Body is light to medium, a bit chewy. Finish is clean, slightly dry. Moderate warming. Drinks like heavily steeped herbal tea.

Overall- Malt-forward, decently well balanced, if on the sweet side. Falls short in the hop aroma and flavor department, fair amount of bitterness without much of anything interesting to back it up. This specimen isn't as fresh as it could be, however. Pleasant enough, hides the ABV, but it's not going on my short list.

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Photo of Durtdiggler
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter from bomber bottle.

Amber/Orange hue with huge head. Ton of lacing.

Smell is very citrus oriented, sweet, less of the floral big time hop presence. Bready/Malty.

Taste is very subtle for an imperial style though tastes very good. It's a high ABV but not much complexity you'd probably expect from a DIPA, more of a malt versus a hop profile. A bit off balance, can use more bittering. Clean finishing.

Mouth feel is good. Muted carbonation, very soft feeling, medium body. Very easy to drink.

The beer tastes great, it's just not very complex and leaves the hop heads wondering. I would choose this DIPA for someone who is off put by massive bittering flavor and hop aroma. A bit surprised given the Modus Hoperandi and how awesome that is. Good but better choices in this style.

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