When Doc crowned Founders Centennial IPA the best IPA in America, he invited the rest of us to do a full tasting note on it.  As Commander of Aleheads Central Command, I feel the urge — nay, the duty — to take him up on that.  While I would not call it the best IPA in America, it’s definitely close, and an outrageously good beer.

NOTES: Bottle @ Herr Direktor’s place

STYLE: American IPA

ABV: 7.2%

APPEARANCE: Hazy orange.  Looks delicious.

HEAD: Fluffy off-white head that subsides into a layer of chewy foam.

LACING: Lots of lacing.  (Let’s all eat ’em up!)  More spotty than delicate.

NOSE: is complex and downright awesome.  If there’s a scent you are pleased to find in IPAs, chances are you will find it somewhere in Centennial’s nose.  It has strong smells of citrus, pine resin, dried fruit, and a surprising amount of malt.

TASTE: Much less complex than the nose, but still somehow tastes like it smells.  This beer is as full-flavored an IPA as you are likely to find (arguably not including double, triple and imperial IPAs).  The front is hoppy… and tingly.  Then comes the malt, and there is a lot of it.  The Centennial is very well balanced, particularly in the heart of the sip (or gulp).  The hops — and I know they’re primarily Centennial hops, but I swear there are others in there — are strong and bitter.  But there is also a powerful sweet, roasted malty flavor.  The finish is astringent but clean.

MOUTHFEEL: I can’t call this beer full-bodied — it is only an IPA after all — but it ain’t light.  I think it’s the haziness.  Regardless, it’s a rich, thick brew for an IPA.

DRINKABILITY: Ummm, given how many I had, I conclude that it’s quite drinkable.  It’s definitely not a session beer, however.  At 7.2% ABV, you can actually have a few of them without killing yourself.  And I think you’ll agree when you try it, you will want another.

RATING: 4 sufganiyot — i.e. fresh homemade jelly doughnuts — take that, Christmas!


  1. I think IPA’s are more subjective in terms of flavor profiles than any other beer style. If you look at my IPA list or even most of the IPA and Imperial IPA tasting notes I’ve done, you’ll notice that I gravitate toward the citrusy, sticky, malty flavors. I like a huge smack of piney hops, but when it’s the dominating flavor it usually doesn’t rank very highly with me. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great IPA, it’s just that I have a certain flavor that I’m seeking and usually don’t stray from that.

    That’s why I love the Centennial IPA, Victory’s Hop Wallop, and Moylan’s Hopsicle – They all have the same backbone that melts me to the core. The Centennial IPA may not be “The” best IPA, but it’s “My” best IPA. Hopefully that means absolutely nothing, because that’s how it’s intended.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the brew Commander. Ah Freilichen Chanukah!

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