Review: Deadlift Imperial IPA, Widmer Brewing

Deadlift Imperial IPA
Widmer Brothers Brewing — Portland, OR

• Style: Imperial IPA
• Bitterness: 70 IBU
• ABV: 8.6%
• OG: 21 P
• Malts: 2-row Pale, Carapils, Caramel 10-L
• Hops:  Alchemy, Nelson Sauvin, Cacade, Willamette.  Dry Hopped w/ Nelson Sauvin, Cascade, and Willamette
 • Sampled: 12 oz. bottle

Description: “Deadlift Imperial IPA is unlike any Imperial IPA you've ever lifted from the beer aisle. It has the strong hop flavor you'd expect from an Imperial IPA, but no heaviness that could weigh down your desire to take another sip. The unique flavor stems in part from the Nelson Sauvin hops imported from New Zealand. These hops have an intense citrus, berry like aroma and flavor not found in any other variety. Deadlift's simple but fully braced malt backbone muscles up enough malty sweetness and caramel character to spot the incredibly robust hop aroma and flavor. The result will surely be a welcome workout for your taste buds.”— Widmer Brothers Brewing

Random thoughts:  This is an Imperial IPA, which typically has a higher alcohol content and more hops than a "regular" IPA.  Deadlift is sold in a 4-pack of bottles, but was priced at the same level as the other Widmer 6-packs.  So I figured it must be really special!  We will see. 

The tasting:  Color is straw, and is slightly hazy.  Aroma is very hoppy, as expected.  But there was also a tropical fruit smell to it, that reminded me of guava.  Nice aroma overall.  The first taste I noticed was alcohol.  At 8.6% ABV, it does have a high alcohol content and the taste of it comes through, but not in a pleasant way.  Other than alcohol, taste is pretty much all hops and a little sweetness, which doesn't really work for me.  Towards the end of the beer, I was ready for it to be gone.

Rating:  2 star.  Drinkable--but not sure I really want to.  This beer really surprised me.  I love IPAs, and I expected to like this one.  I guess the lesson I learned is that a good IPA is more than just hops.  Given the fact that Widmer is charging a premium for Deadlift, this one rates low on my scale.

Am I being too harsh on Deadlift?  If you've tried it, please let me know what you think.


  1. I tried this one based on the Imperial IPA label. I would probably give it a "3". It was hoppy without the bitterness, which was nice. But you are right, I expected a little deeper flavor. It was a little "light". Maybe a better fair-weather brew.

  2. After reading up on the Nelson Imperial IPA, is this just the new name for Deadlift? If so, I feel a little deceived by Widmer. Maybe the recipe is different. We'll see.

  3. Mark, yes it's exactly the same beer. They just renamed it. For more background about this change, take a look at this.


Thoughts? Tell me what you think.