Decadent Imperial IPA | Ska Brewing Co.

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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

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Ratings: 831 |  Reviews: 362
Photo of Sideswipe
2.58/5  rDev -28.5%
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 +19.7%
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 -29.9%
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 -11.1%
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 -18%
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 -17.5%
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 +13.6%
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 -10%
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 +11.4%
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 -24.9%
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 +28.8%
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 +4.7%
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 -9.7%
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 +10.8%
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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Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
3.52/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best By date of 6/6/2011.

A - Kind of cloudy Reddish Brown color and about a finger of head that leaves a light film.

S - Smells of Caramel, Alcohol, Cherries, and Vanilla. It is very sweet smelling.

T - Tastes of Malty sweetness, Cherries, Citrus, and Honey.

M - Heavy mouthfeel, Oily, Nice Bitterness and good Carbonation.

D - This beer is overwhelming, heavy, and at 10% it would be hard to drink more that one. It would be a much better beer if they dried it out a little and hopped it up more.

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Photo of stakem
2.97/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of HopHearted
3.32/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured an citrus amber hue, decent head retention but that could be the pint glass.

S: Slight hint of citrus with a little piney resin.

T: The hops hit first with the bite, but followed up with sweetness on the end that will make you take one more sip to be sure that you weren't tasting something from earlier in the day.

M: Again not a bad mouthfeel, bit sweet, and the piney, orangey odor will definitely permeate your nostrils before swallowing.

D: Overall an decent IPA that can be had from you local grocery store and at 10% ABV take about 4 to the head and they start tasting pretty damn spectacular.

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Photo of jskoog
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Glowing orange
S: Smelled of citrus and pine with a hint of syrupy sweetness.
T: Just like the smell. A little sweeter than the smell but the pine and citrus hops were good if lacking just a little.
M: Crisp with medium carbonation
D: Doesn't taste like a 10% IIPA. A little too sweet for my taste but I enjoyed a bomber no problem. Decent brew.

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Photo of charmcityboh
3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a little under carbonated, good head develops as I notice this and pour slightly more aggressively than normally. Very clean appearance, little pale in color for what I'm used to for the style. Aroma is sweet and malty. No complaints. Taste is a little heavy on the alcohol, even for 10% ABV. That would be my biggest complaint about this beer, and that tends to fade as the palate gets used to it. Overall, not amazing, but certainly no regrets about cracking this open tonight.
My first from this brewery. Would love to check out a few more from Ska Brewing based on this beer, because this beer is more than serviceable, and I love the style of music.

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Photo of champ103
2.43/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours a nearly opaque reddish/brown color. A two finger white head forms that sticks around for a minute. Light lace is left behind.
S: Big resiny and piny hops up front. A very strong bitterness with a candy like sweetness.
T: Tastes like thick, syrupy, pine resin. A very strong bitterness. There is some sweetness, but does little to balance out the huge syrupy and piny hops. There is some noticeable alcohol.
M/D: Incredibly thick and syrupy. Oily and soapy as well. Plenty of alcohol. Mix that with the huge syrupy, pine, and bitterness makes for a very hard beer to drink.

This is just a huge syrupy and piny mess. There is hardly anything else. I really did not enjoy this. Not something I would recommend.

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

Not bad. I agree with others that it's a bit sweet. Poured with a medium large, light tan head that slowly settled down and lots of lace. Color is great! I have a goblet with a narrower hollow cylindrical base where the color is aaa clear amber and where the body is the color is a copper amber. Two tone beer! Nice. Anyway, the aroma is mostly hop with malt, caramel, a hint of sulphur, and funk. Flavor is similar, but quite sweet. The sweetness is as big as the hops are, but the sweetness is not so complex and so hampers the beer. Body is thick and full and it seems as little under carbonated. Better carbonation would've helped with that sweetness. Finish is like flavor is fairly long and has a huge alcohol component. I can drink this full bomber alone, but I don't want another.

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Photo of brownbeer
3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Great head retention on a bright orange DIPA that shows great clarity. I'll just say that this is a huge beer, almost creating a challenge for the drinker. Floral hops and sweet mandarin orange with a super RICH maltiness and thicker mouthfeel for the style. The alcohol is high and it does show a little. Lacks nuance that separates the great from the good, but I did expect to see it rated a little higher though. It tastes better on draft, but it's still a bitch to finish a glass if you're not in the mood.

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Photo of number1bum
2.84/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a thick looking dark amber, copperish sort of color, with two inches of beige head. Keeps a nice full lace with some decent webbing on the sides.

Smell is very sweet, juicy as well but in a syrupy, slightly medicinal way. It's loaded with sweet caramel, and it's a bit boozy too. Smells more like a barleywine than a DIPA to me. There is some sweet orange and other citrus aromas here, but in a candied, booze soaked sort of way. To me this is off for a DIPA nose; it's overdone, with way too much malt, booze and syrupy sweetness.

Taste is similar to the smell, although not as boozy or syrupy. It's still quite sweet, but the sweetness goes ok with the citrus and fruity flavors. Still, for a DIPA this does not deliver the hop flavor I like to see. It's also so sweet that it doesn't even pack much of a bitter punch. The caramel sweetness is the dominant flavor, not the hops, which is just completely backward for the style.

Mouthfeel is also off for a DIPA. For one, it's too damn thick, pretty much a full body that feels very heavy. More carbonation would help, but so too would more bitterness in the finish. It is pretty creamy with a lot of hop oils going on, but just feels heavy.

I said this a few times already, but this is more like a barleywine than a DIPA. If this were a barleywine I think it could be acceptable, although still not much more than a 'good' beer. As a DIPA though this is not good. I won't slam it more because the syrupy sweetness and booze don't translate to the flavor, which would have completely killed it, but this is not something I'd want to come back to.

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Photo of glid02
4.19/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by Lee - thanks!

Pours a slightly hazy golden-copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of pale malts with good amounts of herbal, citrus, and tropical fruit hops, in that order.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Mild amounts of pale malt flavors are quickly overtaken by large amounts of herbal and tropical fruit hop flavors. Midway through the sip the hops darken up a bit with hints of citrus, carrying through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I didn't have any problems finishing my glass and could easily have a few more.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this beer after not having been terribly impressed with other offerings from Ska. This one's worth a shot.

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

Pours copper with a thick off white head.

Aroma: citrus hops, floral, caramel malt

Taste is kind of sweeter than I expected because of the caramel malts, and the hops are certainly there, but slightly muted because of the higher malt presence. This causes a heavier mouthfeel, which is fine..but it doesn't fit the bill for the style. Not bad, but I probably won't buy it again.

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Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing Co.
3.61 out of 5 based on 831 ratings.
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