Desolation IPA
Amnesia Brewing

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American IPA
3.69 | pDev: 12.47%
Amnesia Brewing
Washington, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 39 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of mzablocki
4.6/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the tap at the Living Room Theater in Portland. Pours an orange-amber color with a creamy white head. Sweet malt at the start, with a slightly citrus and pine follow. This was a well balanced and solid IPA and the first satisfying NW IPA since visiting from the Midwest. Maybe I am getting spoiled with Founders, 3 Floyds and the proliferation of interesting upcoming Chicago brews, but have been largely disappointed with the IPAs here despite really looking forward to coming to the hop mecca of the U.S. This was the first beer that I really liked (admittedly haven't had as much time to try a lot more).

 619 characters

Photo of cbarrett4
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from tap at Amnesia brewery on Mississippi.

I agree with most other reviewers and many of my beer buddies: tasting this next to the Copacetic really ruins this beer! The desolation is more of a true west coast IPA than the copacetic, but it seems to be lacking some ooomph. It is a very good beer by itself. It pours an odd and murky amber hue with some copper tones and a decent head and lace. The nose is less citrusy and less fresh than the copacetic but the hops are not really jumping out either. The taste is perfectly pleasant but not really outstanding.

Everything about this beer says: good, happy, okay. But not great. If this were at another brewpub or among several lesser taps I would say "go for it" but save your taste buds for the Copacetic and Dopacetic.

Worthy (just barely)

 802 characters

Photo of kwjd
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Henry's Tavern in Portland. Pours an amber-orange colour with white head. Smells of citrus hops and caramel malt. Not overly bitter, fairly balanced. This wasn't quite the hop blast I expect from a west coast IPA, but it is pleasant enough. Medium bodied carbonation.

 286 characters

Photo of CaptainIPA
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap @ Urban Farmer restaurant* in Portland on 11-30-10 and presented in a stange glass. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a hazed orange amber with garnet highlights. Two-finger, creamy white head with decent retention and lacing. Aromas of citrus hops and caramel malt.

Sweet caramel malt opening followed by a blast of citrus hops and spicy pine. A moderate bitterness balances the caramel malt, with flavor that's suggestive of a ruby red grapefruit wrapped in brown sugar. Yum.

Medium bodied with a creamy smooth mouthfeel and delicate carbonation. Pairs well with raw Pacific oysters.

An extremely fresh IPA with exceptional balance and interesting interplay between malt and hops. Remember: Amnesia Brewing. Now, don't forget.

*emphasis on local, organic sourcing.

 781 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Amnesia Brewing in the Mississippi. Thanks to ramnuts for taking me there!

A: Pours an extremely cloudy orange-amber body with a finger of off-white head. Retention is moderate and it produces a light collar on the brew. As I mentioned to Frank, I like my IPAs clear, whereas he likes them hazy. This category is probably the biggest source of our ratings difference.

S: A lightly fruity aroma; it was clear next to Copacetic that this wasn't exactly citrusy, but it had some kind of fruit I couldn't place exactly. I smelled more earthy / Noble hops than anything else, along with a slight pepper sting and caramel / toast.

T: Light citrus; it's mainly earthy and grassy. The hop flavor is more subdued in favor of bitterness, which offsets the caramel and toast malt nicely. A peppery bite in the finish. A clean end without much lingering bitterness.

M: Medium-bodied; moderate carbonation.

D: I'm all right on this one. I agree with Frank that it's a solid, dependable product, but it's no Workhorse, Sculpin, or even Copacetic. I'd have it again, but not necessarily over other choices.

 1,110 characters

Photo of MURF0320
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Amnesia Brewing
Hazy orange with creamy one-finger head and nice lacing. Smell was mostly sweet citrus with floral hops present. Taste was not bitter enough for me. Muted by toasted and sweet caramel malt, but some may like that. Mouthfeel was silky and left just barely enough bitterness for me to be happy. You could easily drink a second.
This is a nice little brewery that operates out of an old warehouse. From what I hear, don't expect greatness but all the beers here are above average.

 503 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a orangeish-amber color and produced well over an inch of thick head that was dense and fluffy at the same time. The head had great retention and lacing.

A typical IPA scent, the combined citrus, pine and floral notes we've come to expect. The flavors follow along obediently, although this beer seems to have a touch more malt than most Northwest IPAs.

The body and drinkability are typical for the style, you could have several of these without trouble. If this beer was brewed most other places in the country, people would be raving about it and it would receive much hype. As it is, it's just another average (read: great) IPA that our local and regional brewers pop out with machine-like regularity. Certainly worth trying, and worth some effort to obtain.

 803 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy deep-amber with a ruby cast and orange highlights. Short but creamy white head. Good retention and lacing.
Aroma: Low level caramelish malt and mild floral/spicy hops.
Flavor: Rich, sweetish, and caramelish malt. Floral followed by gently piney hops. Pine and spice in the finish. A very firm bitterness balances it.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full and creamy smooth with a delicate zest on the the tongue.
Drinkability: A solid, basic IPA with good balance and an interesting blend of hops.

 499 characters

Photo of PDXHops
3.05/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the brewery in a shaker pint.

Unfiltered hazy dark orange/amber body topped with 1/2 finger of creamy head. Surprisingly decent retention and lace from such a small head.

Plentiful caramel malt with some toasted grains as well. The malt almost overpowers the hops entirely, although some fruitiness- manages to peek through. Not bad at all, but I'd love to see the hop presence beefed up in this brew.

Medium-full bodied, with a fairly substantial, velvety feel.

Overall impression: A vastly inferior brew to Amnesia's excellent Copacetic IPA. My least favorite brew from one of my favorite small breweries.

 621 characters

Photo of sholland119
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Henry's Tavern in Portland.

Pours a hazy orange amber with a thin white head and some decent lacing.

Smell is rather light, some light citrus hops and some toasted malt.

Taste is a bit subdued as well. Some citric hoppiness and a steady light toasted malt flavor. But not quite as much of either as I would like in an IPA.

Mouthfeel is a little too dry for my liking.

Drinkability is good, not too bitter or heavy. I don't think I liked it enough to want to keep drinking it but it's not bad.


 511 characters

Photo of ccrida
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a large Pilsner type flute, Desolation is a cloudy pale bronze with a small off-white head that leaves heavier lace.

Smell is moderate (served too cold of course) sweeter, floral like hops.

Taste is crisp toasted malt, very bready, with a earthy profile and spicy bite and low hop flavor for a Portland IPA, more like a nice and refreshing pale ale!

Mouthfeel is dry and crisp, with a medium body.

Drinkablity is ok, pretty good taste though not one to satisfy a hop fix, a bit grainy but no indication of strength. While it's been to long, I like their Copacetic IPA better...

 594 characters

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

I picked up a quart growler of this while at the brewery. I poured the sample two days later into a snifter.

A - A deeply hazed dark amber w/ a thin tan speckled tan and white head. The lace was a decent sheet w/ holes punctuating it.

S - This has an aroma like a nectar of citrus hops. Sweet smells both floral and pungent w/ light pepper accents.

M - Smooth, medium bodied, with oily hop feel that envelopes the mouth. Lightly bitter with semi sweet finish and light carbonation which may have been due to the growler
T - A hoppy yet balanced IPA in flavor. Loads of fresh hop flavors w/ citrus playing the dominant role. A gentle taste of malt for the foundation allows a nutty tast that was sweet to coincide. The hops have a peppery spice quality that follows through to the finish. A taste of warming alcohol perks up towards the end.

D - I like everything about this ale. This was really easy to sip. A bit too strong for a session, but tasty nonetheless.

 978 characters

Photo of msubulldog25
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sometimes there's a tap waiting when you least expect it; in this case, it was at Podnah's Pit BBQ, NE Portland. Love this place for it's quirky beer list (Duchesse de Bourgogne bottles??? Konig Ludwig on-tap???) and killer smoked meats. This was poured in a standard pint.

A: Warm, hazy ruby-brown - murky, yet appealing in color. Creamy eggshell head, but relatively thin. Lots of rising carbonation and plenty of good-looking bands of sticky lace.

S: Smells of sweet caramel and toasty grainy. Not as much hop aroma as expected; what there is is curiously fruity, not necessarily citrus. More of a muddled fruit, like passion fruit or pomegranate. Weird.

T: Lots of malty grainy, lightly toasted. Hops seem blanketed with malt. Hops are orange zest and slightly bitter. I'd guess the keg may be old except that I've had this beer before a couple times and always found the hops to be subdued.

M: Nice level of carbonation gives a generally crisp mouthfeel. Clean hop profile, not much aftertaste. Grainy, bitter finish.

D: Moderate hoppiness actually makes this a more enjoyable beer for me. Good grain/hop balance. Good flavor, if not particularly refined-tasting. All in all, a satisfying brew, one I'd have again.

 1,234 characters

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

On draght at brewery. Pours thick fluffy cloud-like head on top of a hazy copper/orange colored beer (the haze knocks down the score of the appearance). Has an intense fresh hop aroma, definitely NW. Centennial or Cascade like. Slight citrus, smelling if you can use that. Smells of chlorophyll, like herbs and grass. Not bad, just interesting. Followed by a nice sweet toasted malt aroma. Aroma is intense and lasts the whole beer, but there is something I am not quite sure I like. First taste is smooth, hops, hops, and more hops. But not over bitter. Just pure American hop flavor (America F**K Yeah!) Very herbal (clover, green grass, a little pine). Nice round malt flavor, sweet not cloying, toasted, caramel, and hops all the way through. Carbonation was nice and light, body was perfect. Filled every void in my mouth, with out being rude. Finishes with citrus hops and me wanting more. Nice beer from a good brewery.

I’ll take another Desolation please!

 990 characters

Photo of freed
4.32/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It has become an increasingly rare event that I find an IPA that really surprises me. Bring that expectation into one made by a fairly recent brewery and I was quite surprised by this beer. Word on the street was that it was tapped yesterday and so this was as fresh as it gets.

Pours a lovely deep golden with a slight reddish tint. The body has a faint haze to it though the cause is unclear. Given its age, it could easily be yeast. Just s smattering of foam on top gives the pint a noble look.

The aroma is shocking in its ripe brilliance. The freshness is certainly to "blame" but the up front citrus and pine smells are untainted by any sharp grassy notes.

The taste is very generous with its ingredient-laden bliss. The hops create a sweet and fruity bundle that greets you quickly, but neither it nor the full bittering body overpowers or detracts from a solid malt backbone. The malt profile is fairly simple - pale and maybe maybe one or two specialties, but its nice and allows you to enjoy the hop contributions to their fullest.

Overall, the beer is a joy to drink. It has the nasty requirement that you drink more of it, and with the exception of having to leave, I could have probably drank it all night. And my mouth is already watering in anticipation of our next meeting.

 1,301 characters

Photo of RedDiamond
3.37/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Desolation begins with a piquant bouquet of herbal hops that smells like a genetic hybrid of cannabis sativa and lemonbalm mint. The smell fades as the head recedes and I opt to drink slowly to coax more flavor from a warmer brew.

There’s lots of late-boil hop flavor in Desolation and I sense it’s derived from some unique specialty hop that I rarely encounter and can’t identify. It is certainly distinctive and defies easy categorization, contributing to a beer that is neither a traditional English IPA nor a contemporary Northwestern variant. It is something of a specialty IPA. A distinct local subspecies – sort of the duck billed platypus of India pale ales. The flavor is clearly lemon-citrus, the body is dark gold, the carbonation and lace are minimal.

The hop component of Desolation is substantial, but it causes a mild though persistent astringency in the mouthfeel. The brewer informs me that although he is still tweaking many of his recipes, he’s more-or-less gotten this IPA where he wants it. I would best define it as an artistic brew in something of an avant-garde vein. It is quite unique though this very property may limit its appeal.

By way of a side note, I enjoy the literary aspirations of the name. “A pint of Desolation” has a great ring to it and Desolation is both a famed mountain in Washington State and the point source for Jack Kerouac’s classic Desolation Angels.

 1,423 characters

Desolation IPA from Amnesia Brewing
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 39 ratings