Brew Review

Beer Review – Samuel Adams Rebel IPA

Samuel Adams Rebel IPA

In between “West Coast Style” and “6.5% Alc/Vol” on the bottom left hand side of the Samuel Adams Rebel IPA label are the words “Brewed For The Revolution”. When Boston Beer Company says “Revolution”, I can only assume that they mean the Craft Beer Revolution and not one of those OTHER revolutions (it’s not like I have to carry a musket or wear a Revolutionary War era soldier’s uniform in order to drink this beer). Or perhaps the word “Revolution” represents an East Coast / West Coast IPA rivalry much like the “East Coast / West Coast” Hip-Hop rivalry from the mid 1990’s. Is Boston Beer Company trying to start a war with West Coast brewers by brewing a beer that can compete with them directly? According to an article from, Lagunitas seems to think that they are (click here to read the article). All I can say to this is “Whatever!”. What matters most to me is what’s inside the bottle and whether or not it’s any good.

Before we get to my review, here is a YouTube video from Samuel Adams that tells us more about their Rebel IPA:

And now for my impressions of this beer…

  • Appearance: Crystal clear, pale orange color with a thick and fluffy off white head that leaves oodles of sticky lacing behind as it dissipates.
  • Aroma: Citrus and tropical fruit scented hops, i.e. orange zest and mango, along with a bit of resinous pine and a hint of honey scented malts.
  • Taste: Medium carbonation that has a slightly fizzy quality. Starts off with slow with some sweet honey notes followed immediately by those fruity hop notes that I picked up in the nose. At mid-palate, the bitterness intensifies a bit but never overwhelms thanks to the lightly sweet malt. The finish is slightly astringent with a lingering yet soothing bitterness.
  • ABV: 6.5%

There are SOOOOO MANY solid West Coast IPAs on the market which makes it really tough to come to a final verdict about the Samuel Adams Rebel IPA. I like the smell, I like the taste, but does it have enough going on to steal me away from beers like Ballast Point Sculpin or even Green Flash West Coast IPA? While Rebel IPA isn’t one of those two gold standard beers, it’s still pretty good and well worth giving a try. Overall, a solid IPA but lacking in enough distinctiveness to make me want to go out of my way for it, though I certainly wouldn’t turn one down if it were offered to me.

9 replies »

  1. Did you read Jim’s post last week on being blacklisted by Sam Adams (Boston Beer) PR firm? The dust-up resulted from something relating to Rebel IPA.

    Thanks to your bust social and blogging schedule I had a chance to try Rebel IPA through a Citra packed Randall at The Brewers Plate in Philly. It was very good. I poured a bottle sans Randall a week ago and was wildly unimpressed. The flavor profile is about as far west as southern Ohio. Virtually no big “West Coast” citrusy/floral punch and only modest aggressiveness. It is not a West Coast Style IPA by any stretch. If it is, its a very poor one.



    • My “reading other blogs” duties have been rather lackadaisical. I can barely find the motivation to get a post done given all of the nonsense of the past 6 months much less keep up with all of the brilliant stuff out there on the interwebz. My apologies to my fellow bloggers! I will do better in the future.

      Like I said, this wasn’t a mind blowing IPA and definitely not on Sculpin or even Union Jack level, but I still thought it was pretty good and quite drinkable. Would I take this over those other two if both were offered to me at the same time? Highly doubtful.


  2. Nice picture! So, what was it missing? More of a hop blast? Better balance? And, let’s hope the East Coast/West Coast doesn’t really turn into a Hop War. The drive by hoppings would be ridiculous.


    • Drive by hoppings! Love it. Almost as good as your “gift receipt” comment from last week. Bravo Sir!

      Re: the beer, it lacked the intensity of those IPAs that I love so deeply. I thought the balance was good. What it needs is more depth which is what I suspect the Citra Randall’d version mentioned by our soon to be defecting Alemonger friend had. Still a decent IPA though in its unaltered form, just not “I gotta have it!” worthy.


  3. ” Jim Koch was bring it all up, East Coast style, while Greg Koch was representin’ West-SI-eed” It’s going down! I’ve walked past this so many times and after reading your review, I may continue to walk past it. Just not sure…..


    • LOL! I can hear Biggie and Tupac all up in this piece!

      I think it’s worth a try. Just stick with one bottle. That way you can come back and lambast me with some snark!


  4. You know, I stared at this for a good long time yesterday before choosing Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye IPA. Looks like I made a solid choice. Not that the Ruthless is amazing, but at least it really is West Coast.


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