Imperial IPA Blind Tasting

Imperial IPA Blind Tasting

Yesterday I had friends Norm, Greg, Heather and Sean over for an EPIC blind IPA tasting.

The Rules:

  • Only two people knew the full list of beers (My wife and me).
  • The tasting was fully blind. My wife selected the order of beers and poured the samples without anyone knowing what we were receiving.
  • We all scored the beer using super-official beer-judging scorecards.
  • Beers were based upon a mix of personal preference, and the “official” guidelines.
  • Final score of a beer was derived as an average of the taster’s scores.

Imperial IPA Blind Tasting

We tasted 16 beers in all. At an average ABV of 8.7%, that’s a lot of imperial IPA!

The Beers We Tasted:

  • Alchemist Heady Topper
  • Back East Double IPA
  • Ballast Point Dorado
  • Ballast Point Sculpin*
  • Black Diamond Rampage
  • Bluepoint No Apologies
  • Captain Lawrence Captain’s Reserve
  • Firestone Walker Double Jack
  • Maine Beer Lunch
  • Marshall Wharf Can’t Dog
  • New Belgium Rampant
  • Port Mongo
  • Southern Tier Unearthly
  • Terrapin Hopzilla
  • Two Roads Road 2 Ruin
  • Wormtown Hopulence

* For the beer-Nazis out there, yes we know that Sculpin is not an imperial.

Imperial IPA Blind Tasting

As we started the tasting, we all admitted that we were nervous – would we all give a great beer like Heady Topper a bad score? As we got a few beers in, a couple of things became clear. First, it would be very unlikely that we could identify a beer from tasting it; there were too many beers in the field. Second, we realized that we just had to trust our palettes; if we scored a “great” beer poorly, it wasn’t the end of the world,

When the beer had been drunk and the results were tallied, the winning beers were…


  1. Black Diamond Rampage
  2. Alchemist Heady Topper
  3. Wormtown Hopulence
  4. Maine Beer Lunch
  5. Marshall Wharf Can’t Dog
  6. Ballast Point Dorado
  7. Terrapin Hopzilla
  8. Southern Tier Unearthly
  9. Bluepoint No Apologies
  10. Port Mongo
  11. Firestone Walker Double Jack
  12. Two Roads Road 2 Ruin
  13. Captain Lawrence Captain’s Reserve
  14. Back East Double IPA
  15. Ballast Point Sculpin
  16. New Belgium Rampant

You can view complete results with scores from all participants by clicking the image below.

Full Results

Many thanks to everyone who came out to the tasting. I had a ton of fun. Special thanks goes to Ben Roesch, co-owner & head-brewer of Wormtown Brewery, who supplied a large portion of the beer. And finally, an extra-special thanks to my wife for being such an awesome host. She opened, poured and delivered beer for over two hours and did it all the time with a huge smile. I owe you one babe!

I’m hoping to hold these every couple of months with different styles, so stay tuned for more blind tastings in the future.


Imperial IPA Blind Tasting