Decadent Imperial IPA | Ska Brewing Co.

Decadent Imperial IPADecadent Imperial IPA
Liked This Beer
3.68 w/ 842 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 842 |  Reviews: 365
Photo of Daniellobo
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pleasing although not too remarkable a DIPA.

Presentation: 22 oz brown capped and waxed bottle. Wax is a unnecessary and luscious red show-off with a long drop coming down the front label, which has the image of a suited skeleton raising his hat and biting a bouquet of hops over a red bowling themed background. Notes main ingredients and 10% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

S - Citrus, caramel, with a fusel fruity note in the back.

T - Expanded hoppy profile, grapefruit and some resin with a caramel sense. Not too bad a balance but a bit tamed, alcohol comes softy in the end with a touch of turpentine.

M - Medium body, soft carbonation, with a sticky final texture and warmth.

D - Not a bad flow but not too memorable.

Notes: Just on looks alone, the beer sets quite a presence, the bottle that is, then the DIPA inside is good but not one that I would look after.

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Photo of mdcrouser
3.23/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On the verge of spring, but still in the midst of a late winter snowstorm, a big IPA seems like the motivation to think to the upcoming season.

A pretty deep orange-gold , with a half-inch of creamy tan head, receeding to provide a thin layer atop the beer. Looks solid. Beautiful rings.

Citrus, piney, and a piece of sugary bubblegum on the nose. Absolutely pungent.

Huge in the mouth - exploding of pine and citrus, with a lasting bitterness on the tongue, closing with a punch of grapefruit.

Mildly carbonated, peppery on the tongue, alcohol looming in the background.

Very inviting, but somewhat disappointing once on the tongue. Overly hopped, losing any ability to be nuanced or fully flavorful.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a deep,hazy,rusty orange with 2 fingers of quickly descending off white foam that resulted in a thin,bubbly film and streaky lacing.

S-Big,jammy fruit(peach,mango) and ripe citrus with assertive sweet malts.Some dull pine and whole grain toast.

T-Tons of malty sweetness upfront.Brown sugar and something reminiscent of ginger snaps.Some orange and tangerine with moderate bitterness.

M-The lack of balance is really felt here.Almost cloying sweetness from the malts meets understated hop bite and more sweet citrus.

D-Just too damn sweet for my tastes!Not horrible by any means but not memorable either.

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Photo of kiddwhiz
3.46/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep copper pour with one finger of white, chunky head. Smells of hops, orange but nothing strong. Tastes of dense hops with orange notes and some hints of lime with a little heat. Not one note but... Overall a good Colorado Imperial IPA but nothing earth shattering. I'd have another.

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Photo of lnashsig
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I love the appearance of this bottle- the wax covering over the bottle cap is really cool. Poured into my Dfh snifter, about 2 fingers of frothy foam stayed around for awhile and then subsided, leaving nice sticky lacing on the glass. Smell- I get some cookie dough sweet flavors, some tropical fruit, but very little citrus. Taste- hop bitterness, followed by a sweet cookie taste, with some fruity flavors on the end. For a 10 percent abv, this is very well masked. Dangerous! I could drink many of these. Mouthfeel- avg. Drinkability- as mentioned previously, I could pound this beer.

Overall, this is a well made dipa, but nothing special. I could however, drink this everyday and be very happy.

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Photo of rrski198
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Done from brief notes at a beer festival

A: Yellow, gold, amber. White head nice and fluffy. Tons of nice white bubbles.

S: Bitter grapefruit, lemon. Caramel sweetness. Nicely balancedd. I like it.

T: Floral sweet oily and coats the mouth in bitterness. Bitterness kicks and sticks around. Puckers the mouth. Wish i had something else here I can't put my finger on.

M: Good carbonation and oily thickness kicks for awhile.

D: This is not a west coast bop bomb. But, it is a nicely balanced beer with great hop characteristics.

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Photo of mjurney
2.46/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Deep bright amber color, clear. Lots of fine bubbles. Head looks pretty creamy, white color. Lacing looks nice on the glass.

Tea, herbal, a little citrus. I can smell the alcohol.

Herbal hops, leafy, tea-like, a little citrus. A little malt, but its not balancing the beer. Alcohol is very present. Very dry rubbery mouthfeel. Carbonation is light.

Rough finish, very dry, burning alcohol, nasty bitter aftertaste that lingers.

Overall Impressions:
Not a good Double/Imperial IPA. It's awful!!

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
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?

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Photo of HOPPYKC
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured out from a 22 OZ. bottle in to a pint glass. I dont see a bottled on date or bb date.

The pour in beautiful, a nice orange and amber color out of the bottle with a 1" light tan head. Shows a little bit of carbonation looking through the glass, and is very transparent.

The smell incredible. Its a very strong smell that is sweet and bitter. Has a very floral smell to it and hops hit the tip of the nose right away. This is up on the top of my list for just the smell alone.

Taste is also amazing. My tongue is coated with a bitter onslaught. It brings a nice piney and resiny flavor. Also a bit of fruit maybe grapefruit and lemon. It has a really sweet taste to it which is great to go with the bitterness of the brew. I also like that the alcohol does play a little bit of a role in this beer. Its a cold night with snow on the way so its just enough to keep warm.

The brew goes down easy and warm. You can feel it all the way down to your stomach which is probably the high alcohol content. If this beer was a bit more affordable i could drink this all day long.

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Photo of swhite11
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A] - Light orange with creamy white head; pours 1 1/2 fingers - retains and laces well. Body is very turbid, homebrew like - hop particles abound.

A] - Light malt sweetness followed by large amounts of pine/spruce/citrus fruit. Bready smell finishes.

T] - Dry, tamed alcohol upfront. Malt sweetness follows - slightly cloying. Palate is then met with a spicy/piney/fruity hop profile. Finish is brain numbingly bitter.

M] - Slightly dry upfron followed by cloying sweetness only to be dried out once more by hop bitterness/hot alchohol presence

D] The 10% makes itself known. IBUs cripple the palate. A bomber was a task.

O] - A decent IIPA with a drier finish.

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Photo of katan
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz into a pint

A - Pours a deep brown color, some almost amber highlights. Very clear, very bubbling and carbonated. Head formation is brigh white, 1/4" and is well retained.

S - Bright citrus and floral hopping, on the sweet side of a hop profile. No malts or yeast notes come through. Very much an IPA nose.

T - Starts off lightly malty, somewhat caramel like. Mid-stream starts to balance out, lots of floral/citrus hops. Some light grassy notes are present. Finishes with a strong bitterness. Aftertaste is a well retained warming alcohol.

M -Moderate body - moderate carbonation. Carbonation doesn't seem to match the appearance or head. Finishes with a cloying sweetness, some alcohol warmth as noted in the taste.

D - For an IIPA, this beer has moderate drinkability. The ABV is just way too high for sessioning. Not that you would normally notice since it hides behind some of the sweetness. Not at all filling - and only a moderate bitterness for wrecking the palette.

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Photo of Sideswipe
2.58/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bomber into a pint glass. Hard pour yields a miniscule head which quickly evaporates. Sticky lacing remains. Cloudy amber color. Smells of caramel and sweet malts slight hop presence. Taste follows the nose. Big caramel notes, awash in hop bitterness and hot boozy alcohol. Tastes like Modus Hoperandi topped with vodka. The booze totally dominates the experience. Mouthfeel is full with low carbonaton. Drinkability is lost to the painfully evident heat of the ABV. I really wanted to like this beer. I love Modus Hoperandi, and it's legacy can be detected here. Unfortunately the awesome balance of it's little brother has been sacrificed on the alter of ABV, and the fault leaves much to be desired.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.32/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

PA- Dark translucent amber in color. A fingers worth of white head

S- Mass hops up front. Bold pine and light citrus notes smell fresh with each scent. No booze can be detected with scent

T- Bold resinous pine throughout. A good balance of hop and malt for the most part. Strong bitter finish that's dry

M- Solid mouthfeel that coats the palate and quenches my hop fiending

D- Finishes smooth and isn't too heavy. I could drink a few of these of I found it on tap. Totally worth the price @ $6.49 a bomber

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.53/5  rDev -31.3%
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.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.21/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I received three of these in rapid succession through BIFs and trades (extras). Fun, I do love a good IPA. This is more of a malty DIPA rather than a dry hoppy one. Oh well.

Beer is dark copper to light brown and hazy with a thin off white head of small bubbles that leaves very little lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low.

Aroma is super sweet with a late feeling / detection of some serious earthy hops. I now fear a malt bomb.

Kaboom! Malt bomb. Lead off is syrup...sweet...midpalate is dried out by the big sweet forward start, the hops are religated to a serious but by comparison weak bitterness in the late palate. The beer finishes a little dryer than it probably should. Oh well, there are much better DIPAs out there.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
2.96/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to drabmuh for this bottle as an extra...

A: Deep Amber-brownish colored beer with a small off white head and some lacing. In the light you see more orange to yellow hue.

S: A little strange aroma, like some artificial fruity flavors mix with some toffee, with hints of tropical fruit hops in there. A little wierd, and kind of over sweet. I want more hops here.

T: This also is sort of strange. Lots of sugary flavors from the the alcohol heat and the malt, with the hops barely making a showing in the background of the flavor again on the sweet/ tropical fruit kind of side of things. It has almost a Barleywine-ness to it, the sugary malts are so there... I actually sort of like some of the malt aspect(though the sweetness is high) but not nearly enough hops here to balance it out. Should have aged this as a barleywine, would have been better with the alcohol cooled down.

M: A huge alcohol presence, the 10% ain't covered up at all. Pretty good roll over the tongue, nice carbo.

D: Eh, not very drinkable at all, very cloyingly sweet and hot. A word of advice to anyone with this beer, age it and treat it like a barleywine, it tastes and feels like one, and would probably better in years to come as it ages as the hops are an afterthought to the sweetness of the malts.

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Photo of Another6Pack
2.98/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: copper-colored pour with a thin head. Little cling to the side of the glass.

S: first warning sign - smells like it is going to be a sugar bomb.

T: Yep, its a sweet one. Tastes like a root beer flavored dum-dum sucker at the start. Faint hop flavor at the finish. Reminds me of a sweeter version of HopSlam.

M: typical for a high abv offering.

D: average. I'll finish it and switch over to Modus Hoperandi for the rest of the evening. Don't need to have it again.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep ruby/amber color with no carbonation and minimal lacing.

S - Moderate citrus hops, mild pine hopping, and caramel malt.

T - Mild pine and citrus hopping with a big boozy presence. Moderate caramel, nice balance, mildly astringent and boozy. Has some pineapple and citrus character - very, very good. Sweet, but just enough bitterness to balance this bad boy out. Can't really explain it - it's "unfreakinbelievable".

M - Medium heavy body body, BIG boozy character, excellent balance between big time malt and hoppy pine citrus.

D - Somewhere between really good and exceptional.

This beer has gotten NO love in the review so I'm in a definite minority, this is an exceptional beer that's really well balanced. I really wish the rest of the reviews followed the same way of thinking. I wish I could find this one out East. For IPA heads, I'm usually below the average, can't understand why this beer has been shown no love. Cheers, Ska Brewing!!

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Photo of portia99
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle courtesy of my sister's trip to Colorado. Poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Hazy brownish, dirty amber with a thick haze to it. A smallish finger of head lingers briefly and falls to a sparse covering on the surface and a thin collar that leaves behind some sheet like lacing on the glass.

S - Aroma is surprisingly subdued. What is there is pretty good though. Rich caramel, unfermented wort/maltose, green and grassy hops with a touch of mint.

T - Imperial IPA?...I'm saying barleywine all the way. This is malty sweet with that touch of cooling mint that appeared in the aroma. Hops are present mainly for balance to offset the high malt content. Sugary sweetness and a noticeable alcohol component in the back of the throat. Probably a bit too sweet for my tastes, bordering on cloying.

M - Thick and pretty well carbonated. Sweet, sweet and more sweet. About every third swallow, the sugar overpowers me and causes a full body shudder. Alcohol warmth on the back of the throat offset by the minty coolness in the flavor.

D - This is a slow drinker. The sugary sweetness, unfermented wort character are a bit overpowering for me. I'm having a difficult time getting thru the bottle on my own. This is one that I wish I shared. A bit more hops and a bit less malt would do this wonders. It still wouldn't be an Imperial IPA in my mind, but would end up being a pretty decent barleywine.

Maybe I'm a victim of expectations on this one a bit. I love Ska's Modus Hoperandi and was hoping for an amped up version, but definitely not the case.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.02/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color is a fiery orange-red-copper thing, and it's nice, but the lack of any kind of haze and the soda-like bubble activity raises eyebrows immediately. The head is a sticky and creamy thing, not the thickest ever, but darn good looking in its bone-white fluff. Decent lace stickage too.

Smell is solid IPA, or like a heavily-hopped big amber/red ale of some sort. Hops are vibrant, equal parts citrus rind and pine, with a dash of cinnamon too. Almost reminds me of Sierra Nevada's Celebration holiday ale. Doesn't quite recall a big double IPA though, lacking the considerable maltiness those usually have, and it's pretty amazing that the 10% alcohol hardly flares the nostrils here.

Again reminded of that classic Sierra Nevada Christmas beer, having that same sweet, spicy and citrusy character. There's a pretty prominent spearmint character here too. Probably could have used a bigger, better malt presence, but as is, there's nothing too out of whack. Alcohol creeps in just enough to add some spice and warmth, but never enough to detract. When we get into the 10% ABV range, it's always impressive when a beer doesn't taste boozy. Finish is incredibly bitter, one of the most bitter I recall in any beer. Everything that came before it, all that the tongue detected, is wiped out by the astringent bitterness that is, unfortunately, the final sensory memory you're left with after all is said and drunk.

Mouthfeel is right on, and my favorite aspect of this beer. I might even call the texture complex. It's sits between the disparate poles of carbonation tingle and velvety creaminess, and also provides a bit of stickiness in the middle of all that. Kind of airy, kind of bright, but still just round and robust enough. An enjoyable and interesting thing to hold in the mouth, that's for sure.

From reading some past reviews (something I usually don't do right before reviewing a beer, but I did this time), you'd think was better called One Hot Mess than Decadent. But I think it's just not the most amazing double IPA. We're all so spoiled with so many good ones that when one merely performs well enough, it gets low marks. Just my opinion. I don't find anything too offensive or off-putting about this beer...I was glad to try it and it went down well from first sip to last. I suppose it just needs some tightening up, and whether that's more malt, a less bracing finish, or higher quality ingredients, I don't know.

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Photo of Ego
2.71/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

wax coating always looks nice, even if it is a pain in the ass... Best by date 8.2.11...
the head is frisky, almost lost that one... three fingers of fluff, carbonation is obvious and plentiful, color is caramel tipped toward orange/amber, very clean and clear. The head retreats slowly leaving globs of lacing down to the beer level.
good looking.

surprisingly malty with a hint of floral hops, some caramel/honey tone underneath with wisps of alcohol, pretty subdued.

taste etc...
hmm, I see the carbonation but this drinks relatively flat, the hops are middle of the mouth and strong, I feel like I am breathing hop fire, this is hot alcohol wise as well, the 10% let's you know it is RIGHT there, the weird thing for me is.. there isn't much overall flavor here, it just has huge bitterness, under carbonated, the malt holds it together but doesn't accomplish much else. This gets tougher to drink si[ by sip. The alcohol really kicks you as well.

not awful, but with all the fantastic DIPAs on the market this one doesn't need to be on your good bucket list, hell, too much of this and you will be on top of your bad bucket...

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.65/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Ska has been one of my absolute favorite breweries since late last Spring when a bartender at Sheffield's in Wrigleyville first introduced me to the ESB and then to Modus Hoperandi. I have since traveled to the brewery in Durango twice and tasted the Decadent there. It stood out while I was there, but I have let this particular bottle sit for about three months now and that seems to have been an excellent decision. It is better thanI remember it.

APPEARANCE: Poured from a 22oz. waxed bottle into a tulip glass. Deep, opaque and gorgeous copper color with a fluffy white, quarter inch head.

SMELL: As soon as the cap was popped I could smell the strong scent of floral hops. It was begging a hop-head like me to take the first sip. Maybe the strongest smelling beer I have ever had. Not terribly complex, just straight forward, sweet and floral hops.

TASTE: The smell seems to just fade into the taste with the first sip. Strong floral flavor gives way to a very sweet floral flavor. The hops, however, balance the sweetness out quite nicely. The finish is fairly smoky and leaves a somewhat drier than expected aftertaste, which leaves the taste buds longing for the next sip.

FEEL: Silky and smooth, almost creamy, maybe too smooth for my taste. The intense hoppyness also provides a bit of a bite towards the end of each sip.

OVERALL: The word decadent perfectly describes this beer. Chocolate mouse cake is what keeps coming to mind as I sip, not in flavor, but in richness, sweetness and, of course, decadence. At a hopped up and malty 10% this beer is not for the faint of heart, but for beer lovers this is a treat.

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Photo of stangski83
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz waxed bomber

pours a bit cloudy and hazy...definitely not a transparent brew. reminds me of a barleywine in color smell and taste, honestly. this is not a super hoppy imperial IPA, and the alcohol definitely warms the palate during consumption. the alcohol is not overbearing by any means, and this 10% brew will definitely sneak up on you if you're not careful.

true to my barleywine feelings, i am sipping this one slowly and enjoying every bit. although it is good, it's not what i expected when i signed up for an imperial IPA. the hops are rather muted and this is definitely not a "hop bomb" kind of brew.

I'm unsure as to the age of this bomber, but it appears that this bad boy would age well due to the alcohol content and I'm almost wishing that I let it sit for a while. Perhaps I will pick up another bottle at the local store and do just that...

long story short, not quite up to the hoppy IPA standards that many people are craving as of late, but overall, a pretty decent high-octane brew in my opinion. I would suspect that this is what an IPA might have tasted like on the high seas hundreds of years back - fairly boozy, not real hoppy, and creamy/hazy with a foam that leaves considerable lacing. (I am not basing this on historical fact...just fantasyland...)

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Photo of kk73
3.26/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into my glass. Thanks to dmunroe for this one.

A - Pours out a honey orange color with a finger an a half of white foamy head. Lacing sticks to the side of my glass and will not go away.

S - Not much here, a little underwhelming. Alcohol and some the piney risney hops.

T - Starts a little on the sweet malty side with some carmel notes. Moves into some bitter, piney, resinous hops. A little underwhelming hop profile. Slight alcohol burn on the finish.

M - Medium bodied, moderate carbonation and sticky.

D - Not bad, could be more hop foward. If I had the choice would take their other IPA modus hoperandi instead. No problem finishing the bottle but a tad to much alcohol and not enough citrusy/piney hop goodness.

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Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid entry into the category, perhaps a little darker and less sweet than the rest of the pack. Citrus and pine hops notes, with a big, moderately sweet body. At 10% the beer is nicely smooth. Finish was an appropriate lingering bitterness and just a little caramel.

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Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 53.1% out of 100 with 842 ratings
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