|Highest Rated||* Double IPA (92 / 100)
||Average score||70 / 100 (Very Good)|
|Lowest Rated||Dude (27 / 100)
76 / 100
22oz brown bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Bottles in late March, so it's about 2 months old.
Pours a pleasant, slightly hazy, but not opaque peach golden colour, with a gauzy head of white that leaves fine flecks of lace. Carbonation is also fine, and despite the weight of the beer, the body seems slick and fine. Looks good.
Nose is excellent, especially straight after the pour. It has a bright grapefruit sharpness, mingled with a crisp resinous note that smells like cracking a lovely fresh bag of hops. Under it are hints of stewed orange, clove and pepper. The spices get more prominent as it warms.
Taste is also pretty good. The main strength of it is, well, its strength, and the fact it doesn't show it. It has a lovely soft and light body, which allows the hops to shine enough to counteract the booze, with a smooth orange peel character on the back, and a very soft carbonation throughout. It has a slight muted pepper character in the finish—it might just be a little prickle of heat from the booze.
Feel is excellent. Soft and smooth, with a very refined velvet fuzz of carbonation.
Extremely drinkable. Dangerously so for such an immense beer. It shouldn't feel this good. But that speaks to the quality of the brew. I'm honestly quite the fan. I think this is the best beer I've had from Revision so far.
69 / 100
Imperial pint can purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Freshness date of July this year, which is disappointingly close to now.
Pours a fairly bright, clear golden colour, with a fine and persistent white head that stays filmy on top of the body, and leaves exceptional, complex lace. Carbonation is fine, and it glides through the body in powdery waves. Looks very good; very refined.
Nose is a little flat, to be honest. It has a savoury grain note which forms the base of the aroma (which may be the result of age, given the freshness date), with a slight grassy overtone that lends elements of cut fennel and pool chlorine. Slight aromatics lift it a little, with a hint of citrus and crushed vegetation. But it's not overly inspiring in its current form.
Taste is a bit better. It's fresh and weedy at the front, with characters of peeled cucumber dusted with salt. There's a smoothness on the back, lending almost a fragrant vanilla overtone. Mostly, it's based around vegetative hops, but there's a smoothness which softens it a lot.
Feel is pretty good. It's soft and light, with a fine carbonation to enliven it just slightly.
Decent beer. Although I bought this yesterday, I suspect it's been sitting on the shelf for a while and I think it's the worse for it. But it's still holding up, and that's the sign of a well-made beer. As it stands, it's not a stand-out, stellar IPA, but it's very decent for an "old IPA".
46 / 100
12oz can purchased at St. Gambrinus in Brooklyn.
Pours a solid orange colour, deeper than you get in the new wave of hazy IPAs, but it is still hazy nonetheless, forming a cloudy mass in the body which prevents light escaping. Head is a fine cap of white that persists as a film. Minimal lacing. Carbonation is also pretty shy. Looks decent enough.
Nose is weirdly malty—I suspect it's from the Maris Otter they use in the grist, which gives more of a sweet, malt-forward character. The hops are a little bit flat, and given there's no freshness date on the can, I suspect it might just be because it's old. The booze is hidden well at least, but overall, it's a bit unexciting.
Taste matches what you expect from the nose. There's a grassiness to it, which I think comes from the combo of that strong malt note and slightly tired hops. It is fairly light and smooth though, and there's not really at all a hint of the booze, which is an unexpected pleasure. But it's certainly lacking a fair bit of complexity, and I'm overall a bit underwhelmed.
Yeah, it's not a great beer, and when it's trying to compete with all of the great beers in the area, it's a bit of a downer. I don't mind it, and I could drink it. But when there's many many other better options, why should I?
72 / 100
Tried on tap at Gold Star Beer Counter in Brooklyn.
Pours a pear-juice yellow colour, very hazed with a solid weight to the body. Head is a fine cap of just-cream-coloured white that leaves good long streaks of lace. Carbonation is very fine. Looks very good.
Noise is very juicy. I definitely get pear, with sharper characters of starfruit and a slightly weedy, organic character. This turns into a hop pellet character after a while, and gets very subdued once it's warm.
Light, but smooth entry on the palate, Pear skin give a slight organic character which turns into a slight savoury character on the mid-palate. It's fairly juicy on the mid, with a hint of citrus, but this dries out to a prickly, pellety bitterness in the finish. Aftertaste has a slight bite of white pepper.
Feel is slick and smooth, and this honestly helps the beer a lot.
Overall, it's clean and smooth for the most part and definitely easy to drink. It's not the grandest or most insinuating of hazy IPAs. But it does its job well.
33cl brown bottle purchased from Beer Cartel. Has a freshness date on it, but it's been partially removed. Some time in 2018 anyway, which probably means earlier than the second-last month of 2018. Well, we'll see how it goes.
Pours a hazed orange-gold colour, with a gauzy cap of white that leaves tine specks of lacing. Body is fine and firm, with very nice powdery carbonation. Looks good, all up.
Nose does imply a bit of age on it. It has some slight oxidation characters, which add a papery and coppery note to the stewed orange hop character. It has a grassy character as well, which could also come from age, but honestly it adds a slight green freshness which helps.
Taste is also old. It has a darkness to the malt character which gives a kind of candied sugar or toffee note. Finish has some powdery hops character, giving a little dry citrus and bitterness on the back. Mostly, though, it's a bit dead, and that's a bit disappointing.
Feel is nice. Soft, creamy carbonation helps.
It's okay. I'd have enjoyed this more when it was fresh, obviously, because right now it's a bit flat and dead. I don't know if it's very old or just a little old. I hope it's the former.
75 / 100
12oz can purchased from Davidson's Liquor in Denver, CO. Shared with Sam and Rich back in Sydney.
Pours a hazy golden colour, with a full, frothy head of off-white that leaves pretty decent lacy sheets down the side of the glass. Body has some heft, but it's still surprisingly slick. Very fine carbonation. Looks pretty dang good.
Nose is zingy with stewed orange and a marmalade freshness. There's a slight peppery character, and a little weedy, slightly grainy malt character backing it up—it's more of a vegetal connection with the hops than a true malt presence though. Overall, it's pretty good, and it's holding up given it has a bit of age on it.
Taste is smooth, and chewy—it has a slick barley sugar sweetness to it from front to back, but this connects nicely with the orange citrus note of the hops. There's a bit of bitterness on the back, which is a pleasant punctuation point. Mostly, though, it's round and chewy, and forms a very commendable Double IPA—emphasis on the "double".
Overall, this is a great beer, and one that has held up remarkably well given I've held on to it for too long. Next time I'm in the neighbourhood, I'll pick it up fresh. That will undoubtedly be something very special.
62 / 100
Pours a dirty orange colour with a big haze to it. Head is off-white, nice and foamy, some bubbles but impressive retention and density. Nice dense lace too. Looks great.
Smells sweet and tangy. Very citric with mandarin, cumquat (big) and some lime character as well. Quite tart really in the realm of fruit hoppy bitterness. Not amazing but alright.
Tastes tangy, yeah rich and sweet and fairly medicinal. Big sweet citrus character with mandarin, some blood orange and grapefruit. Rich, sweet and dense midway with some thick maltiness late-mid as well. Not that much to it and it needs freshness to it, a little bit stodgy. Yeah quite sweet overall.
Mouthfeel is decent, good maltiness with some pull. Best part of the drinking experience really.
Drinks a bit sweet, maybe slightly stodgy. OK but not amazing.
69 / 100
12oz can purchased from Jane's Been Store in Mountain View CA. I think they have a habit of having pretty old brews, because this one was canned in July 2017. Hmm.
Pours a slightly hazed, but translucent deep orange colour, with a off-white head that starts loose and frothy, but burns down to a persistent ring. Lacing lasts in long ragged streaks. Carbonation is fine, but fast, and the body seems surprisingly light for the ABV. Looks decent.
Aroma is aged—it's got good structure behind it, but it's missing the freshest and most volatile aroma compounds. I get some dark, honeyed citrus characters, with a bit more of a herbal quality like crushed bracken and forest path. There are sharper notes coming through even despite its age—green peppercorns and unripe honeydew. It's still an interesting nose, even missing its high notes.
Taste is also pretty solid. Again, it's well-structured, which means that it manages to ride over some of the inevitable disadvantages of being old. There's pleasant malt throughout, being fairly neutral and straight, which means that it's always clean. There's tempered bitterness, but not too much booze. What's missing in the middle is the aromatic fruit notes that would come through when it was young. Back has a little tobacco bitterness, but it segues nicely into a powdery sherbet finish.
Feel is slick and fairly light. It's surprisingly good, for a fairly heavy beer.
Very decent, and I'll bump up the drinkability a bit for being as consistent as it is when it's old. It's certainly good enough that I'm keen to try it again fresher. For now, I'll just put the blame at the feet of Jane's in Mountain View.
75 / 100
Can given to me by Jez for my birthday I think? Shared with blokes on ANZAC Day.
Burnt orange colour with off-white head, foamy. Lovely lacing. Some bead and haze. Looks great.
Smells malty and citric. Big orange, lemon and grapefruit. Resinous and quite spicy. Woody, fennel. Rich and nice.
Tastes decent: fruit notes that get more intense, has passion and guava with sweet orange and tangerine plus grapefruit. Tangy, with some maltiness that smoothes over the bitterness. Bit of a spike but not a lot. Nicely balanced; I'd almost question its IIPA credentials. Like it's too smooth.
Nice mouthfeel, big and smooth; little bit of pull but well padded.
Good stuff; not so huge and not so rough, just nicely balanced with good flavours.
76 / 100
On tap at Preachers in Hobart.
Pours a burnished amber colour, somewhat hazy. Steady bead feeding a nice beige head that's foamy and retaining well. Fairly nicely dense. Yeah looks pretty good.
Smells lovely. Like a rye IPA should. Big fruity character, West Coast american hops with big citric notes, quite sharp and resiny as well with a good earthy spicy rye character underneath that kind of intensifies it but also provides a complementary character. Maybe a bit intense but good.
Taste is very citric and intense upfront, my first thought is too intense. But then the palate shifts midway with a lovely apple and tropical note coming in towards the late-mid, with some dried apricot and marmalade notes that enlivens and softens the big citric notes. Some subtler rye spice that properly emerges on the very finish but it's otherwise a nice caramel toffee malt character with some creamy notes padding the hops. Really interesting and lovely characters that makes a very intense palate really quite drinkable.
Little rough and dry when it's at its peak but the malt characters are quite well placed to pad the sides.
Yeah it is a double IPA even though its within single IPA territory. Hop notes are big and a little rough, but well constructed otherwise.
Double New England IPA (because yes, there weren't enough NEIPAs) brewed for GABS 2017. Tried at the festival in May 2017 on tap.
Pours a gold colour, slightly cloudy but quite clear for the style, and for the name. Creamy-coloured foamy head, retaining decently. Looks alright.
Smells very fruity and tropical and pleasant. Huge mango character, touch of pineapple acidity, passionfruit and some citrus as well. Not bitter; very pleasant indeed.
Taste is a slight letdown. Big passionfruit and mango character upfront that's quite tangy but devolves late-mid into quite a dry, dusty bitterness. It's quite bright and colourful upfront but flattens out quite a bit and doesn't offer a whole lot in terms of finish.
Decent body, slight warming alcohol. Not bad mouthfeel, goes down quite nicely.
Not a bad NEIPA, but doesn't really deliver that much on the palate.
75 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from Bobby's Liquor (-slash porno shop) in Santa Clara, CA. Bottling date of August 30, 2017. So it's about 6 months old.
Pours a pleasantly clear, fairly deep golden colour, with a surprisingly light body for the ABV. Head forms a lovely, rocky crest of pale creamy white which leaves messy, sticky lace. Carbonation forms in pleasant soft streams. Overall, it looks pretty good.
Nose is quite pleasant. There's a punchy hop aroma that reminds me a bit of Nelson Sauvin. It has some of that sharpness, almost an acidic quality. But it's mellows by the underlying tones of orange and spearmint, which give it a broader base. There's a hint of sweetness, but it's clearly not driven by the malt, despite its hefty weight. Smells good.
Taste is also pretty solid. There's a long palate—you can always feel the malt presence, which gives weight and backbone to the body, but it never takes over the flavour. Instead, this is driven by sweet citrus on the front, turning herbal in the middle, and with a slight medicinal or metallic character on the back. That's not ideal, but it gives a bite which would be missing otherwise. The body is light throughout—it's actually really nicely made to get that kind of smoothness but without the cloying intensity of the malt.
Overall, I'm genuinely pretty impressed with this. It's a really solidly made DIPA, with care and craft put into the balance and the drinkability of the beer. It's not an astonishing IPA flavourwise, but it shows skill in its creation. The fact that this bottle is about 6 months old could well mean that fresh it's a revelation.
71 / 100
Pint can purchased from Jane's Beer Store in Mountain View, CA. A double IPA, with pineapple, peach, mango and strawberry added.
Pours a rather hazy dull golden colour, with a fine white head of foam that leaves excellent lace. Hazing could be from numerous sources, but it's not the thick cloud I associate with a NEIPA. Looks good, with a bit of extra weight from the booze, but still looking like an approachable brew.
Nose is quite sharp, and the citra hops seem to compete with the fruit, thereby nullifying some of their charm. The two together aren't that good a combination, and the nose ends up quite dusty, but with a oversweet undertone which doesn't really connect nicely to the hops. Hmm.
Taste is better—here the fruit is the dominant character, and I start to feel as though this is indeed intended to be something akin to a NEIPA. It's very fruity—almost to a fault, with a strong mixed-tropical juice character the dominant note. The bitterness is very restrained, but the combination with the fruit turns it almost to a cherry flavour, with hints of marzipan, bitter almond and beef jus. I'm kind of surprised at how weird it goes at the end. It's honestly not unpleasant, and there's definitely layers of complexity there.
Feel is very smooth, with very low carbonation. And the booze doesn't make itself felt in terms of heat at all. Although after half a can I can feel the effect.
Overall, it's a very decent beer, and I genuinely love that it's doing something different. I'm not quite sure how to judge the execution, because it's odd, and I don't know how much is intentional. But I'm pretty happy to drink it—and isn't that what it comes down to in the end?
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Menlo Park, CA. Bottling date of November 2017, so about 3 months old.
Pours a pleasant yellow-gold colour, with some very mild haze in the body. Head forms a gauzy, bright white cap, before settling out to a netted film. Lacing is good, forming in long, snaking streaks. Carbonation is languid. Looks good, all up.
Nose is pretty decent, without being spectacular. There's some reasonably pleasant orange citrus characters, with a hint of grassiness and dried marjoram. It has a slight character like wet lucerne hay as well, which is less pleasant. It's entirely possible it's been poorly stored, because I can't imagine this is what they were totally going for—but there's nice things in there even so.
Taste is basically a complete match of the aroma. It has a flat, herbal quality to the hops, and a neutral malt presence which helps cushion it at least. But the palate is also quite grassy, with a character like oregano or fennel on the back when it gets a bit of that bitterness.
It might be one of those beers that really needs to be drunk astonishingly fresh to really live up to its potential. But I'd expect a beer to last at least 3 months in the bottle. And right now, this is tasting kind of mediocre.
75 / 100
Bottle given to me by Jez at Christime. Tried on New Years Evetime in front of the 9PM fireworks (on TV, I'm a sad old man).
A lot of chunky sediment in the bottom of the glass; decanted it a bit, but some inevitably slipped through the cracks. Head is white, decent and foamy and leaves some nice lacing. Those chunks are off-putting, but looks like a good beer overall.
Smells fruity and pleasant. Distinct mango notes with some miscellaneous tropical characters around the edges. Some earthy rye spice behind it as well, giving a slight soil aroma, with some tepid vanilla character as well. Smells decent; a bit sweet and not sure it's balanced.
Tastes fairly good too. Starts off tangy upfront that develops some nice complexities towards the mid. Mango, peach, juicy tropical characters with a big fruit flesh kind of flavour. Slight booziness towards the end, and not a lot of bitterness but it's decently balanced where the rye spice comes through late, and the hops finish clean so the finish is intriguingly crisp, with a slight piquancy that's quite pleasant. That's really rather pleasant.
Mouthfeel is quite nice, too; it feels thin but without being so. Genuinely don't feel the 8%, it's cleaned up but also thinned out so it doesn't feel boozey or marshy.
Drinks surprisingly well; the chunks, the slightly monotonous fruit on the nose, put me offside at first but there's an intriguing spicy character blending with the big juicy fruit and it's a good combo. Enjoying this more and more as I go through it.
73 / 100
500ml tall can purchased for me by Sam for Christmas.
Pours a pretty hazy, but bright golden colour trending towards peach. Head is a fine crest of white that leaves excellent lace. Carbonation is very fine, and implies that there's a bit of weight to the body. Looks pretty good.
Nose is very hoppy—but in a really strong, herbal way, that reminds me of breaking open a pack of (perhaps old) pellets. It has zest and tangerine tones, but also loads of grass and herbal characters—the kind of thing you get when you over-hop something. It's maybe too sharp—or done with the wrong kind of hops that fail to provide that lovely fruit-bowl character.
Taste is better—it's more restrained, and there's a smoothness to the palate which is fairly intense, to the extent that it almost gets chewy. You almost want it to have a bit of bitterness at the back to cut it and provide some balance. But there's lots of fruity hoppy flavour on the palate even so. It's nice.
Feel is thick—heavy and almost gluey. It's impressive, but also makes me raise a skeptical eyebrow.
Overall—it's good stuff. There's some reliance on over-hopping, especially on the nose, and the palate is a trifle unbalanced. But there's nice things to it even so, and it's certainly a beer I'm happy to spend some time with.
80 / 100
Pint can generously brought back to Australia for me by a friend of my brother's, who then gifted it to me for Christmas. Apparently, it's on the order of a few weeks old. Poured into a glass for reviewing because I wanted to look at it, but I'll try it from the can as well and leave my thoughts.
Pours a beautifully bright golden colour, with a slight orange twinge to it, like a Golden Queen peach. Haziness is definitely present, but it's not nearly as pronounced as some of the copycats I've had. Head is a lovely mess of coarse bubbles that leave messy, complex lace. Carbonation is fine, through a slick body that has a bit of heft to it. Looks damn good.
Nose is pleasant, without being the kind of exultant experience that people speak of. There's a nice herbal quality to the hops which gives a brusqueness to the aroma. It's not super fruity, except for an underlying hint of dried pineapple. It's a pleasant nose, but I do wonder slightly if it isn't as fresh as promised.
The taste is very good though. It has a lovely soft palate to it, with some mild creaminess. There's definitely a pronounced bitterness here as well, something that is often cited as anathema to the NEIPA style. But it works—there's a reason big hop-forward beers have that bitterness in the back, and it provides balance. But the extra body, and that cushioned feel does soften it. It's a genuinely lovely palate.
Yeah, this is a very drinkable brew, and genuinely very enjoyable. From the can, it's also very good, but honestly not that different. While it might capture some more of those volatile hop compounds, you also don't get the open cap you might need for the purposes of really getting your nose in there. So it evens out. I found the glass and the can pretty equivalent.
I'm pleased to have tried this, and I'm certainly pleased that it's spawned such an interest in this style of beer. I can imagine people doing it better, but these guys will always have history on their side.
62 / 100
Purchased for me by Sam as part of my #fletchvent beer advent calendar. This was day #22.
Pours a murky amber colour, with a full, frothy and well-contructed head of pale foam. Decent streaking lace. Body is light, with fast-moving carbonation. Looks pretty good all up.
Nose is nice. There's a forward hop presence that gives it some brightness, but the body and structure seems to be based around the malt. To this end, it has a deeper, but slightly raw sweetness, like dark brown sugar. It has a slight spice to it, giving it undertones of stewed cherries with cinnamon. It's interesting all up.
Taste is a bit more basic. There's a warm and slick sweetness all around the palate, but otherwise there's a type of clanging melange of disparate elements. There's a pronounced hop bitterness, which works against some bready grain characters. Together there's a metallic note which sits awkwardly at the back of the palate. It's not bad, but it's also a bit uncontrolled.
Feel is slicker than expected from the body, with a fine buzz of carbonation.
Overall, yeah, I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. It has some nice characters, but the palate is a bit messy, and that harms the drinkability. It has the feeling of someone who doesn't exactly know what they're doing. Still, I'm pleased to have consumed it.
61 / 100
Day 5 of my #fletchmas advent calendar from Jez. Reviewed blind.
Pours a burnished orange amber colour, quite cloudy. Head is lovely when it frothed all over by the jizzing can, sunk after a while to a nice dense cream-coloured crown with dense sticky lacing around the glass. Looks pretty hot.
Smells resiny, in a big way. Hop oils with a touch of passionfruit and grapefruit upfront, some lingering pine resin behind as well. Slightly salty, slightly toasty caramel malt at the backbone. Could use a touch more freshness as it's just a bit on the dank side.
Tastes maybe a touch old; it's nice and fruity for the first couple of seconds in the mouth then it turns quite caroby, with a touch of stonefruit and lemon on the mid-palate and a crystallised orange character mixing with some dank resinous bitterness on the back. Distinct stonefruit too, which actually turns it a little sweet as the malt kind of lingers on the very back. It's all quite pleasant but I feel there's meant to be a bit of a sharp kick to the flavour that just isn't there; instead it's a little flat and I feel it's not meant to be.
Mouthfeel is full, and a little dry but really smooth midway. Quite a pull from the hops but a very substantial body.
Drinks well but it just feels like it's lacking energy. Taste is all there but the palate profile feels muddled and muted.
Not sure how to classify this, because they call it a "Double New England IPA". But it clocks in at only 7.5, which to my mind is firmly in "American IPA" territory. But maybe not NEIPA territory? And it's just an amped up version of their NEIPA?
Anyway, this was day 1 of my #fletchmas 2017 Beer Advent Calendar prepared for me by Jez.
Pours an orangey-yellow colour, stupidly voluminous head at first, and yeah it's still a bit stupid. Sparse webbing out as it goes down. Frothy but insubstantial. Very cloudy body, lacing sticks in clumps. Looks alright apart from the gushing head.
Smells fruity and pleasant; a good one for a hot day kicking off Summer. Passion and mango in there, with a slight lychee, cinnamon and some phenolic character hiding behind it. Yeah slight earthy herbal note under fresh fruit. Pleasant.
Taste is of a similar nature. Tangy tropical fruit upfront, but a big earthy barnyard kind of character takes hold straight away with a big spicy edge to it as well, develops some organic rubber note on the late-mid. Some sweet fruit notes late, hint of caramelised banana and a slight taffy kind of character lingering. Would like it a bit more if there were more cleaning up; there's some nice characters but they overstay their welcome, and the freshness could dominate a bit more throughout.
Decent body; fair bit of substance to the texture but really quite dry on the back.
Drinks like a heavy summer ale; nice refreshing characters but also a ballsy, old-world brewing character underneath it that betrays a bit more strength of character than it needs. Decent though.
On tap at the Royal Albert.
Pours a gold-orange kind of colour, only a very slight haze that seems like chill haze rather than full unfiltered glory. Head is nicely dense, tightly packed white foam, retaining well. Looks like a nice beer; whether it's a good NEIPA is another question.
Smells a bit lacklustre. Fair whack of hops but not nearly as aromatic as I'd expect, for the style. Tropical fruit with passion, mango and a hint of guava. Not much else; for an 8.0 double IPA I feel you can do more than this. It's simple and weak, albeit pleasant.
Taste has more gravitas to it. Hop-centric for sure but a good belt of dark-seeming toffee malt, caramel and burnt sugar on there. Develops those tropical fruit notes midway that then flatten out into a fairly citric bitterness with a bit of woody character as well. Seems to end kind of abruptly, leaving a lingering hang that's quite resinous getting almost medicinal. Interestingly handled; feels very deliberate in the way the palate just stops, but I don't know if it's really effective for the style or what a double version might imply (i.e. more blossoming fruitiness).
Nice body; well padded and a decent drying texture on the back. This is where the greatest presence is felt for sure.
Yeah, feels like another NE IPA knockoff, and not an especially good one. Decent beer but falls short of all the style hallmarks.
73 / 100
Bottle served to me by Jez, sometime in my life.
Pours an orangey yellow colour, cloudy with a thin rim of cream coloured foam, that can grow up to a thin crown with a swish, but hey I would like it to stay there without effort on my part. Lacing is sticky though. Looks pretty good.
Smells juicy and resinous. Pineapple and big grapefruit notes, with a touch of kiwi and lychee as well. Slight sharp acidity which is quite pleasant and cutting, but otherwise juicy and rich.
Taste is tart, by which I mean citric and quite sharp. Big orange, mandarin and grapefruit character, the latter of which sustains to the back, with this light but persistent resinous bitterness, and a rindy freshness to it as well. Yeah gets another nice fruity character late, and finishes bitter but tangy and pleasant. Decent caramel malt underlying that isn't very strong, but gives a good backbone at least early on. Pleasant drop.
A little tingly on the front and a sharpness midway that dries up the feel for the back.
Nice IPA, good ballsy hop character that doesn't get overwhelmed or bogged down in its otherwise pretty robust bitterness.
12oz can purchased from Davidsons Liquor in Denver.
Pours a very lightly hazed golden colour, with gives the colour a bit of depth. Head forms a rock, rather loose mess of white that settles out to a film, with large bubbles around the rim. Lacing forms in fine streaks. Body has some weight behind it, which is quite pleasant.
Nose is rather pleasant. It has a deep fruity sweetness to it, giving suggestions of mango and papaya, atop a slightly grainy but otherwise fairly neutral malt base. It's not a punch of fruit, or hops, but it's pleasantly balanced. As it warms, it gets some additional greenness—a little pine and resin.
Taste is okay. Again, it's nicely balanced, with a firm bitterness tipping the scales towards "This Is An IPA" at the back. On the front there's clear malt cushioning what hop flavours are there—these mostly form a little resin and menthol note that's quickly packed away. Feel is quite smooth, which aids the feeling of balance and harmony.
It's really very drinkable. The balance it nothing to be sniffed at—it's clearly a well-crafted beer. The next step is to take that undeniable skill and add something innovative or more flavoursome to the mix. This is pretty solid as it is though.
43 / 100
650ml brown bomber purchased from Beer Cartel.
Pours a very hazy, rather thick and glossy amber-orange colour, with immensely fine carbonation that forms a very fine, off-white head. Lacing is superb. The hazing isn't unpleasant, but it's a little unusual. Otherwise it's a very fine looking beer.
Nose is slightly rough. It has an earthy, vegetal note from the hops that doesn't match the tropical fruit platter promised on the label. It smells weedy, woody and herbal—but it pummels this home due to the large quantity of hops. Under it, there's what seems to be a rather pleasant syrupy malt note. But it's a little hard to tell.
Taste is very bitter. It starts off smooth, with a chewy, thick body from all the malt. But almost immediately there's a binding astringency from the hops, not too far off from chewing on a hop pellet. This is linked towards the back with a solvent-like alcohol character which is bordering on unpleasant. Finish is woody, herbal and, yes, still bitter.
Feel is great. It's super smooth and slick—it just doesn't help the flavour.
It's not appallingly bad, but boy is it out of balance. The hops are aggressively bitter, without the concomitant aromatics and flavours that would make it worthwhile. I like the malt structure, but it's just not in the right beer.
76 / 100
Pint can shared with me by Aaron while I was in Denver. Who knows where he got it.
Pours a lovely, hazy, not-quite-opaque, but not-entirely orange character, which looks almost towards brown due to the haze. Head is a fine, frothy crest of white that persists as a film, and leaves long streaks of lace. Body is thick, you might even say thicc. Looks good.
Nose is very pleasant. Smooth rounded fruit gives a firm sweet basis. It has some pepper to it, which makes it not entirely smooth and juicy, but even then it has such a richness that's hard to ignore.
Taste is also very good. It's smooth and thick, with a slight vanilla undertone to the malt. But this makes the hops dance on the palate—they are juicy, with hints of papaya and pineapple. Back is a bit sharper—more peppery than the standard NEIPA, although otherwise it's quite similar.
Feel is lovely and smooth.
Overall, I really like it—it's more bitter than the juiciness you would expect, and that might be a good or a bad thing depending on what you want. It works for me, but if it fully embraced its creamy, juicy character it might be very special indeed.
76 / 100
22oz brown bomber shared with me by Aaron in Denver.
Pours a deep golden, almost trending towards amber in the deeper parts, with a frothy, messy head that leaves chunky lace. Body is slick and quite heavy, with some slow broad carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is very orangey. It has a slight barley sugar, boiled orange lolly character to it, which is rather pleasant. There's some brighter, peppery tones as well, which lift it up. It's quite sweet and rather sharp, which is a nice combination.
Flavour is also good. It's smooth and sweet through the centre of the palate, more of that light toffee character combined with stewed orange. There's a pleasant bitterness towards the back, and the body evaporates a little bit which gives it a bit more punch. It's nice.
Feel is fairly weighty, but with a slight froth from the carbonation which leavens it a little.
It's a pleasant, subtle and well-structured beer. The balance is good—it really helps the drinkability. Very nice.
80 / 100
22oz brown bottle shared with me by my good mate Aaron.
Pours a very hazy juicy yellow, with a fine white head that sits as a frothy ring. Minor patches of lace. Body is swirly and thick, with a decent fine carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is very nice. Tropical fruits, with a slight peppery edge that does give it a slight organic, grassy tone. That's maybe a bit off-key, but the other character provide plenty of complexity and enjoyment.
Taste is better. Here, there's a firm bitterness through the centre, but all of the characters washing around it are tropical: mango and pineapple are dominant. The bitterness connects with a dusty, slightly gamey white pepper character as well, which adds some more depth. Finish is quite smooth, with more of that fruity sweetness. It's very decent.
Feel is slick and smooth—not quite to the creamy stage, but still pretty good.
Overall, it's a very enjoyable brew. There's lots of character to it, but it's put together in such a way that it's also extremely drinkable. I'm a fan. Cheers, Aaron.
58 / 100
Apparently an old recipe from Mike's that was rebrewed for GABS 2017. Tried there in a sampler on tap.
Pours an amber colour, slightly cloudy. Nice beige foam on the top, darker than expected maybe. Looks nice. Really nice.
Smells sweet, but with a good subtle tang. Caramel sweetness with a touch of butterscotch (not diacetyl), some apple freshness and a touch of grapefruit. Pretty standard, with the malt kinda dominating, which is kind of how I like it.
Taste takes the same approach but I feel overdoes it. Very very malty throughout. Big caramel buttery sweetness that gets a bit sickly, even medicinal midway. Hops are an afterthought and they emerge subtly on the back with some grapefruit, passionfruit and a subtle spice. Could really use a lot more cut-through as it ends up quite stodgy.
Thin body for the size; allows a bit of boozy warmth to show through.
Not bad, but the hops just need more presence and more character.
74 / 100
Tried in a sampler at GABS 2017 in Melbourne.
Pours a champagne-type colour, fairly sedimenty but not as cloudy as I expected. Head is cream-coloured, large bubbles and not retaining that well. Not bad.
Smells good. Fruity and tangy, with a huge mango character, plus notes of apple, pear, orange, passionfruit and a slight honey sweetness. Pleasant.
Taste is similar, mostly fruit. Lemon and orange citrus notes blending with some tropical characters, mango and apple. Good caramalty backbone that lasts throughout with the fruity hops just playing over the top of it. There is a bitterness on the back that lingers without any big punch. Pleasant drop.
Full body, with some warming alcohol that's maybe a little heavy but not too bad.
Pretty good first NE IPA for me. Juicy and pleasant but without being too light and airy.
I revisited this beer and it ended up my #14 beer of the festival.
22oz brown bomber purchased from Whole Foods, Los Altos. Shared with Sam back in Sydney.
Pours a pleasant pale golden colour, with a fine white head that persists as a ring. Body is slick and deceptively thick. It moves swiftly, but the carbonation is languid, and belies the heavy weight. Lacing only forms in small patches. Looks decent.
Nose is relatively pleasant. There's a smooth rounded hop character, with some fruitiness around the edges of the aroma. Malt is also present; a little semi-savoury sweetness giving some weight. But in one sense it's rather generic. There's nothing that really sets this apart from many of its brethren.
Taste follows the same pattern. There's a smooth, warm malt character to it, with a generic hop flavour across the top. This is backed up by a robust bitterness, to tick the final box for the genre. And it does all of that, but it's not very exciting otherwise.
Feel is pretty good. It's really smooth and slick with a lightness that you don't expect.
It's a really very solid beer. It's quite pleasant. But at this stage, it's either lost its spark of individuality, or it didn't have much of it to begin with.
77 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS in Melbourne.
Pours a pale mango colour with juice nectar-like haze. Solid in the body with some fine carbonation. Head is white forming in a solid crest that persists as a thing ring. Lace is also very solid. Looks good.
Nose is very juicy. Lovely pine and orange characters that do turn slightly resiny and sharp. There's pine in the depths, but mostly is stays on the fruit notes, sweet and rich. Very nice.
Nose is crisp and fine, with just a slight suggestion of acid in the front. Medium bitterness in the centre of the palate which turns the flavour semi-savoury. Back is crisp from some lingering hops, but there's a smoothness from the all-around sweetness which is very pleasant. A slight punctuating crispness in the finish stops it from being cloying.
Feel is full-bodied and rich.
Yep, this ticks the boxes. This was lovely and rich and juicy. On retrying, this ended up being my second top beer of the festival.
22oz brown bomber purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Bottled on 20th of February, which makes this probably a bit too old.
Pours a rather clear burnished golden colour, with a flossy white head that leaves feathery lace and persists as a slightly frothy crest. Body is actually pretty fair: not as thick as you'd expect for such a big beer, and with swift-moving fine carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is pleasant, but generic. There's a relatively sharp, citrus toned but otherwise standard hop character—but it's lost its punch and zest. There is some deep sweetness from the malt, and when it connects with the more aromatic hop notes it gives a slight pot-pourri note that reminds me of my grandmother's house. It's not bad.
Taste is where it really feels tired. Here the malt feels flappy and slack, and it has none of the hop punch that it needs to lift it. Indeed, what hops are there combine with the booze character to provide a rather medicinal, solvent-like metallic twang on the back. The malt doesn't cushion anything, despite the suggestion of the nose, and it's left tasting rather harsh and unadorned.
Feel is okay—the carbonation is tempered, and the body is pleasingly light despite the booze.
Overall, this is possibly just feeling tired due to age, but it also doesn't have the structure you'd expect from a really good DIPA anyway. I suspect it's only so good when fresh—but I'm not making really in a place to make any judgements there.
75 / 100
Earl Grey Double IPA, brewed for and tried at GABS 2017.
Pours a very, very pale golden colour, slightly cloudy with foamy white head. Odd but quite good.
Smells citric and tangy. Big orange and yeah, I guess bergamot note, with a good nutty grain character lingering at the back, touch of cake batter and peanuts. Fresh, and nice.
Taste is quite sweet upfront with a big vanilla malt character. Develops a good tea character midway, slightly herbal but with a good citric twang to it as well, definitely black tea notes to it. Develops a nice NZ hop character on the back, quite bitterness but not overblown. Pleasant.
Decent body with some nice warming booze notes to it. Good texture to pad out the strong characters.
That's a good drop. Nice tea, hop interplay, well balanced.
Retried and shortlisted, this ended up my #8 beer of the festival.
Mango Double IPA brewed for GABS 2017, tried there on tap.
Pours a champagne colour, very cloudy with sediment. Head is dense, creamy and retains well. Bit too cloudy maybe, but looks good.
Smells decent; quite sweet with caramel and toffee notes to the malt. Tropical fruit as well, with hints of passionfruit and mango. Maybe a touch too subtle so it ends up sweet with a hint of tang and I feel it should be ballsier. What's there is good.
Taste is fruity, and light. Mango and passionfruit again, with the passionfruit providing the tang on the back. Very little bitterness given the style, maybe it's meant to be a NEIPA but it just feels insubstantial and it peters out with sweet fruit instead of balancing itself. Just lacking in character and complexity especially for 8%.
Full body, with a tingly carbonation as it goes down. Hint of alcohol warmth. Not bad.
Pretty nice-tasting drop, but just really simple and subdued for a IIPA of any description.
82 / 100
My friend Chris sent me a text one Friday afternoon, with a photo of a can of Heady Topper accompanied with the caption "so when are you available for a tasting?" and, while my initial beer-nerdy reaction was to yell and scream and kiss people and reply "RIGHT NOW OMG OMG OMG DO I NEED TO HAVE SEX WITH YOU TO GET IT? I WILL. I WILL SEX YOU SO MUCH" but actually my first reaction was instead to ask him how old it was. And I like that because I feel like I've achieved a different stratum of beer geekdom. Turns out there's no way of determining the date as there isn't a canned-on date. But he obtained it via a friend whose Mother lives in Vermont and who frequents the brewery to buy Heady Topper every chance she gets. So we're estimating based on the limited availability that it would be 6 weeks old, maximum. It has been muled back to Australia, so depending on your level of fresh-is-best evangelism, take my review with a grain of salt.
Pours a pale yellowy orange colour, quite cloudy with a thin head of dense white foam. Lacing is nice and sticky. Not bad; what I've come to expect from the style, but the head is not what I'd call impressive.
Smells citric; big pulpy orange and lemon character that's somewhat sharp, backed up by light tropical notes with guava and pineapple. Touch of pie spice and crust as well which is really the only hint of malt. Pretty appealing though; juicy and fresh.
Taste is similar. Big fruity notes upfront with orange and passionfruit character. Tangy and develops more rindy citrus - grapefruit and lemon - midway that gets sharpish but never gets astringent. Smoothes out towards the back, with some more tangy orange notes, and lingers with a nice zesty bitterness on the back but feels tangy and refreshing throughout. Yeah that's an extremely pleasing IPA; not overly bitter but a good dose of bitterness, well balanced and handled in a different style.
Tingles with a fair bit of carbonation, then hop pull comes on towards the back. Decent body.
I wish I'd had this before trying all the New England IPAs at GABS. Because this really could be a revelation coming to it for the first time as an American IPA and noting the differences. This is definitely - and perhaps obviously - superior to all the others of the substyle I've had, if only because it's actually more bitter than I expected, but just smooth and soft with how it handles it. Part of me necessarily feels like the reputation of this beer is partly due to its revolutionary nature for the style and partly just due to the scarcity. Because if I came across this in a bottle shop I'd really enjoy it but I feel like the hype stems more from an accumulation of a bunch of people really enjoying it and then a bunch of breweries seeking, and failing, to imitate it.
Best beer in the world? No. Pretty bloody good though.
Pours a dusky amber colour, with voluminous off-white head. Bit lacey and weak as it webs out quite sparsely but leaves a nice foamy substance behind, not really clinging to the glass. Looks alright but unimpressive for the style.
Smells malty, with a good toffee base that gives way to big floral hop aromas - musk sticks and rosewater with a touch of geranium, then fragrant fruit with tangerine dominant, hint of grapefruit maybe and some lychee on the back. Tangy, maybe a touch too sweet for the style, but appealing.
Taste is malty, largely. Nice English toffee character upfront that descends into a similar burnt sugar character for the mid. Some hop character midway - again largely floral and tangy with a musk stick sweetness, then the finish is earthy bitter. Kind of sweet and unguent with its bitterness though, like over-burnt sugar. No real sharpness or cutting - which is not such a bad thing but isn't what I expected. Slightly tangy, and a touch citric but it's still largely floral yet earthy bitter. Soft and not unpleasant but overall quite sweet and syrupy.
Smooth upfront, then a touch of prickliness from the carbonation, possibly too from the alcohol. Quite pleasant though.
Drinks quite smoothly despite not hitting the expected notes. It's not a big unpredictable surprise though, it just feels a bit downplayed in parts where it would usually leap out.
79 / 100
Bottle muled back by Jez and shared with me for my birthday afternoon tea, because I'm old and have afternoon teas instead of pub crawls for my birthday now.
Pours an orangey amber colour with a good sediment in the bottom. Head is off-white, good density, nice bubbling on the top, with some thin lacing trails. Looks pretty standard, but good head retention.
Smells fruity, resiny with a sharpness that's almost peppery spicy. Citrus, slight corporeal character as well. Hint of saltiness that intensifies the tangy notes. Quite impressive.
Taste is tangy, not quite as pungent as the nose suggested. Fruit upfront with orange and lime notes, some character of passionfruit then back is mostly resiny with some astringent citrus rind notes as well. Quite bitter but with a good tangy fruit note that makes the bitterness largely fruity and quite refreshing. It's a touch woody and dry on the back, which adds to the mix which is kind of subdued, and flat, but in a good way. It's round and soft and quite chewy, with big bitterness without it being sharp or rough. Really pleasant.
Full, round and quite chewy, but there's enough hop pull to stop it being viscous.
Drinks well, good malt backing and it's funny because it doesn't seem quite oomphy compared with what you'd expect but it grows on you in its softness and big round drinkability.
70 / 100
22oz brown bottle purchased from BevMo in Menlo Park, CA. Shared with Sam back in Sydney.
Pours a hazed deep golden colour, with a frothy yellow-white head that persists as a large, coarse crest. Lacing forms in sudsy clumps. Body is quite light, with large-bubbled carbonation.
Nose is leafy, with a bit of black tea and sweet orange. Hints of earth, and a bit of dusky malt. It's grainy but quite pleasant. Not a traditional IPA and possibly old, but an old beer that's developed in interesting ways.
Taste has a smoothness, with a pleasant fine carbonation and hints of mild sweet hops. Bitterness on the back has sweet fruit skin characters, with a bite of fresh dried tobacco. Finish is quite long, with an earthy flavour that lingers.
Feel is smooth, with a slight froth from the fine carbonation.
It's very pleasant and drinkable, even if it's not at its peak. There's very nice things to it as it has developed.
61 / 100
Bottle served blind by Jez, not on a brewday. Just to distinguish it from the previous five reviews; this was two days later at Mother's place.
Pours a vibrant orange colour, with nice fluffy white head, sticky lacing left behind. Slow trickle of bead. Decent retention of a nice little crown. Looks good but standard.
Smells neew (that word courtesy of my eight-month-old mashing my phone screen, and I'm sticking with it). Somewhat fruity and a bit malty that smells a little oxidised. Yeah, a little flat and a little dark fruity, mostly. Not particularly enticing really, but there's some intriguing characters on there. Mostly it really does smell neew.
Taste is quite malty and sweet. Big caramel notes with some dark burnt sugar even extending to a touch of bitterness. Distinct candied orange peel flavour as well. Gets some mild bitterness on the back that's a little citric but developing some dank phenolic notes as well. Maybe a bit old, but some decent flavours on here as well, so it's not too bad.
Decent fluidity and a good body to it, maybe a bit drying on the back. Not bad.
Yeah it feels like a good beer, but it's potentially a bit old and the sharp and cutting flavours have become dulled and earthy instead of piquant.
75 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Menlo Park, CA.
Pours a clear deep orange colour, with a foamy, relatively firm head of white that leaves pleasant long streaks. Body is firm, but quite swift moving, like the carbonation. Looks pretty decent though.
Nose is pleasant. There's a nice, rustic, herbal hop character to it: driven towards rosemary and pine. Slight peppery notes, with sawdust tones. Undertones of slight meatiness, which adds a bit of savoury bass to the beer. It's pleasant because it's there instead of a malt sweetness, and it works.
Taste is similar. The malt is again not prominent, but it provides a slickness and texture to the beer. Slight bitterness runs from the front, becoming more biting in the back. It provides a pleasant brusqueness that balances the beer nicely. Feel is slick and smooth, with a slight chewiness that provides more body.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this. It has nice characters to it, and it's all really nicely in balance. It makes for a well-crafted and quite sophisticated brew as a whole.
440ml can purchased from Regional Wines and Spirits in Wellington, NZ.
Pours a slightly hazed pale golden colour, with a white head that persists as a fine ring. Lacing is intricate but very messy, forming in sudsy globs around the glass. Body is a bit light for a DIPA, but it holds nice fine carbonation. Overall, it looks pretty good.
No freshness date on the can, so it's hard to tell, but this smells a bit old. There's a slightly (weirdly) oxidised character to it, lending the malt a flat, bloated aroma. There are hints of hops around the edges, giving a slight earthy, herbal character. But they're muted and rather unexciting.
Taste is slightly better, because it doesn't so much rely on the freshness of the hops. There's a slick malt character that provides all the weight and body the beer needs. Behind this, there's a nicely crafted hop bitterness, which provides a strong vector through the centre. There's really nice balance as a result though, and if feels clean and crisp towards the back.
Feel is slick, but a little flabby, and possibly just a little undercarbonated.
Overall, it's a nice beer. It's balanced and drinkable, and it makes a coherent statement. It lacks the pizazz that would make it really exciting and exceptional though, and as a result, it ends up being just a(nother) IPA.
22oz brown bomber purchased from Whole Foods, Los Altos CA.
Pours a very deep amber colour, quite clear, but certainly dark for the style. Head is a mesh of off-white bubbles forming in loose patches atop the glass. Lacing is great, forming long, intricate streaks.
Nose is quite subdued. There's a slight resinous pine character, but it's dragged down by a semi-savoury malt character, possibly due to the darker malts. There's a heavy sweetness too, which gives a slight cinnamon sugar character. It's not bad, but it makes me look at it a bit quizzically.
Taste is also alright, as long as you're not expecting a double IPA. There's a pleasing structure of malt, giving some toasted malt tones with a slight coppery flavour. There's very little in the way of actual hop flavour, but there's a thin bitterness which sits separate from the malt towards the back. It feels like it really lacks malt and body—which has a pleasant lagery quality to it—but it's not good as a DIPA.
Overall, there are things I like about this. If it classified itself as, say, an Imperial Amber Lager, I might rate it—but this feels as though it's really not doing what it's intending to do. But as a pure beer, free from the labels, I certainly don't mind it.
60 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos, CA.
Pours a pleasant deep golden colour, with a coarse-bubbled head of off-white, that leaves some fine streaks of lace. Body is light, but it holds pleasant, fine carbonation that moves swiftly. Looks pretty good.
Nose is okay, but only okay. There's a fairly pleasant, floral hop aroma, and enough swirling sweetness to suggest some depth and body to the beer. It does have a slight hint of honey, and a booziness that suggests some heat. But it's generally decent.
Taste is rather flat. There's a broad sweetness from the malt, and it's surprisingly pleasant and mild. On top is layered a very mild powdery hop character, that doesn't do much to leaven or drive the beer forward. Finish has an odd twist from the malt, turning slightly organic, with a hint of overripe banana and a solvent alcohol. Feel is slick and flabby.
Overall, it's not all that great, but it makes a decent stab at what's actually a pretty difficult style to get right. But it pretty much doesn't do any of the things that can make a DIPA really great. As a result, it really only manages something like a passing grade.
76 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a deep, clear golden colour, almost toward bronze in the deeper parts. Head froths on the pour, settling to a steady film of off-white, with some islands of larger bubbles. Lacing forms in streaky sheets. Body has a decent weight to it, and holds lovely, voluminous fine carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is pretty pleasant. There's a bright, lemon-powder kind of hop aroma, with sherbet and fragrant crushed vegetation. There's just enough sweetness to promote it, but it doesn't ever interfere with the pleasant hop characters. It's very nice.
Taste is also nicely crafted. There's a pleasant bright smoothness on the front, constructed by the malt, but it then steps out of the spotlight again, rather politely. The hops provide the flavours on the mid and back—again, that pleasant sweet lemon flavour through the centre, and a slight fragrant bite on the back, with some floral, herbal characters providing bitterness. Booze is remarkably well hidden.
Feel is smooth and light, again it helps the drinkability, and helps hide the booze.
Overall, it's an impressive beer. Nicely constructed, with everything making a lot of sense. But there's flavour and enjoyment in the beer too—it's not an academic exercise, but a 9.5% beer that you can happily sit on and enjoy without feeling the weight.
22oz brown bomber purchased from The Willows Market in Menlo Park, CA. Bottling date of 01.19.17, so it's a bit over two months old.
Pours a pretty clear golden colour, with a fine head of maybe just off-white that sadly doesn't persist for longer than maybe ten seconds. All it leaves is a faint trail of film across the top of the glass. Otherwise, it looks pretty good.
Nose is somewhat muted, but not bad. It trends towards the piney end of the spectrum—rather resinous, but not overwhelming, mostly due to the fact that it's not very strong. It's clean though, and there's nothing wrong with it. But it doesn't really excite me either.
Taste isn't bad. The bitterness works well with the malt character, and the two are integrated together to form something coherent and balanced. The flavours are not, again, very exciting or complex though. Mostly there's a smooth, light barley malt character through the centre and a piney flavour in the aftertaste. Booze is well hidden at least.
Feel is smooth and light. Appropriate weight, and it helps aid the drinkability.
Overall, it's decent enough, but certainly doesn't really do anything interesting. It feels like "just another generic IPA" that probably survives on being some local communities fervently loyal DIPA of choice. It doesn't really cut it compared to the best though.
22oz brown bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Freshness date of June 2017.
Pours a rather dark almost-amber hue, like the urine of a severely dehydrated person. Head forms only a fine ring of off-white around the edge. Some minor specks of lace. Body has some weight behind it, although it looks quite slick. Carbonation in fine, but not voluminous. Looks okay.
Nose is really underwhelming. There's a noticeable booze component, which is slightly harsh and solvent-like. Malt is fat and sweet, with a character like cookie dough. Hops are almost non-existent, although a slight pine character works with the solvent alcohol to smell like floor polish. I'm unimpressed.
Taste is similar. In fact, it's probably worse, because there's a blandness to this that stops any character from really expressing itself. There's a dull, flat malt that sort of seeps across the palate, feeling cloying but uninteresting. Feel is slick, but flat, with a slight heat on the back.
This is not good. In almost any dimension it's not good. It's overly sweet, it's overly boozy, and it has no complexity or subtlety of flavour. All up, it's a big miss for me.
73 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a very cloudy orange colour, with a fairly large, but somewhat coarse-bubbled head of just off-white, that only persists as large bubbles around the edge of the glass. Lacing is minimal. Body is slick, with some weight, leaving very fine-bubbled carbonation when tilted. Looks decent enough.
Nose is very pleasant. Robust malt sweetness gives it weight and breadth, and then the hops are layered over the top. These are a little bit subdued, but they work with the sweetness to give characters of candied citrus and some bright, fresh thyme. It's nice.
Taste is pretty similar. The malt is smooth and clear, but it provides a nice basis for the beer. Hops sit pleasantly over the top, with more sweet herbal characters like lemon & basil. Peppery, sharper thyme notes are again noticeable, and the bitterness on the back connects rather pleasantly with just a hint of extra heat to warm and lengthen the afterpalate. It's good stuff.
Feel is smooth and long, adding the extra weight which works with the additional malt character to differentiate this as a true DIPA.
Overall, I'm really pretty pleased with this. Calicraft do the basics just really well. It's not the world's greatest Double IPA, but it doesn't feel like it's setting out to be. But you can trust them to be consistent, and to deliver what they promise. That's no bad thing at all.
85 / 100
Tried on tap at the Royal Albert.
Pours a pale golden colour, steady generous bead feeding a tight white head of dense creamy bubbling. Sticks around gorgeously. Is it pale for the style? Doesn't matter I guess, looks great otherwise.
Smells potent as hell. Huge hop complexity with a big floral bouquet and fruity notes. Citrus is big, with passionfruit, peach and a hint of lychee, rose. Good underlying ballsy malt too, better and more rounded aroma than I feel I've really gotten from Akasha's other brews.
Taste is hugely tangy upfront. Big tropical fruit notes with mango and pawpaw that then gets a good fresh lemon-lime zing to it. Malt comes through early-mid with rich burnt sugar notes going along with that bitterness which starts early and moves slowly. Resinous, with a lemon and grapefruit pith note, really quite strong with a kiss of boozey warmth on it as well. Leaves with a slight hang of citric tang, but is predominantly clean on the finish and doesn't feel like it's destroying your palate even though there's plenty of potency throughout. Really excellent double IPA, malty and hugely hoppy yet massively balanced.
Bit of boozey heat, generally nice body but yeah a little hot on the back, which does mar it slightly.
Hardly a duff note. Big, fruity and pleasant IPA with loads of complexity and balance to go with it. Worth the hype and worth the trip.
56 / 100
Can gifted by Jez for Christmas; tried on NYE with Chris.
Pours a pale gold colour. Big white head, foamy and somewhat sparse, retains a decent crown of bubbles. Lacing is pretty nice, clingy webs of gossamer foam. Pleasant.
Smells huge and resinous. Big citrus tang, with grapefruit and blood orange and lemon; dank and sharp with a slight floor cleaner aroma, and an odd licorice fragrance as well. Bit odd, and seems a bit full on with a lack of malt.
Taste is way up the other end. Really malty, caramel, sweet with some light resinous notes especially on the back. Hops are not big on the palate but just there as acidic bitterness on the back, and it's largely malty that gets a slight metallic character late-mid. Bit stodgy really, and not quite fresh or hoppy enough for me.
Decent body, of course, because it's all malt. Not too heavy though, the hops have a texture on the back more than they have a flavour.
Yeah, not bad but just not that great. Big but just not hoppy enough.
74 / 100
375ml can purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.
Pours a really very cloudy golden colour, almost looking orange in the deeper parts. Body is surprisingly fluid, while maintaining a slickness and holding lots of languid carbonation. Head is a fine cap of pure white that leaves intricate streaks of lace. Looks really very good.
Nose is pretty decent, but it lacks a bit of punch. There's pleasant citrus juice characters to it, though, with an NE IPA aroma of squeezed OJ backed by a little pine sharpness. It's lacking oomph though, and it could use another sharp note to add to the complexity. Despite this though, it's still pretty decent.
Taste is also pretty solid. There's an impressive lack of malt here—and I say impressive, because it allows the juicy hop characters to be the main event. Despite this though, the 9% alcohol is remarkably well hidden, which makes the lack of malt all the more remarkable. Mostly, we get juicy, pithy citrus notes throughout, which is a really interesting thing to happen.
Feel is slick but mild, it's all part of the tapestry that allows the booze to be so well disguised.
Overall, I'm genuinely pretty impressed with how this is made. If it had a bit more punch of aroma I think it would really be extraordinary, and it needs something more complex on the palate. But it's hard to deny
92 / 100
Tried on-tap at Brouwer's in Seattle.
Pours an exceptionally clear, exceptionally light golden colour, with a fine and firm head of just off-white, that leaves some sheeting rings of lace. Minimal carbonation. Body looks quite slick and fluid as well, which is a good look for a beer of this weight.
Nose is absolutely phenomenal. There's a huge, bright passionfruit character that drives through everything, but there's complexity as well. Lots more tropical fruits: mango, guava and pineapple, balanced with a judicious malt backbone. Minimal sharpness apart from the passionfruit, but that holds its end up and does everything it needs to. Amazing, punchy, complex, gorgeous.
Taste is also really good. Smooth and sweet throughout, with a liquid fruit flavour running from front to back, with flavours of froze guava puree, passionfruit again and mango gelato. Malt provides a pleasant sugary structure around the outside, giving faint overtones of fairy floss. Bitterness is tempered; it's cushioned by the malt, but present enough that you don't forget what it is. This is a special beer.
Feel is beautiful. Rich but slick, with just a fine fuzz of carbonation to enliven it.
Overall, I guess you could say "wowee!". What a great beer, and my first beer from Wyoming. I was not expecting that to be this good. But now Wyoming (and Melvin's in particular) has a lot to live up to.
38 / 100
On tap at the Horse in Surry Hills during SCBW.
Pours an orange amber colour. Head is off-white; tiny bubbles of a good finger's thickness and retaining really well. Cloudy. Looks pretty good.
Smells massively sweet, like candy. Orange, sherbet. Smells like opening a packet of jubes (credit to Jez on that descriptor). Jelly sweets with sweet citrus. Maybe lacking malt complexity, lacking hop complexity. Smells like honey bears, too. All candy, not really beer.
Taste is more like the honey bears. Big sweetness. Notes of fruit - again sweet - midway, stays sweet till the back. Yeah this is an odd conundrum. I've never had a beer that developed so little. And it's not unpleasant, but it's kind of off-putting because it's just so sweet, and unbalanced. Yet there are hops on there, too: they just don't give the hop character this beer sorely lacks which is bitterness and balance. Candy, kind of weak on the back. Not good.
Decent body, but not a lot of texture. Yeah not great to be honest.
Yeah way too sweet and for a double IPA it's really lacking hop character and bitterness. I feel like there's something wrong with this but I'm not quite sure what it is.
Not entirely sure why Jez saw the need to enter and review this twice with two different scores... but then it's his website. And he served this bottle.
Burnished amber, some cloud. Head is off-white, foamy with nice trails of lace. Slow bead. Looks quite malty, fairly nice.
Smells a little hoppy, with some malty character, light stonefruit - maybe lychee - and pear as well. Touch of sweet spice, apricot. Little bland to be honest. Sweet, fruity. Pie spice.
Taste is malty, but develops a big brassy metallic note midway, then some earthy clovey spice that's a bit astringent, and some mild sweet stonefruit with apricot and some overripe mandarin. Tastes a bit dank, possibly old? With a dulling kind of sweet edge. Not great but mostly palatable.
Decent body, bit of texture. Bit edge on the back.
Not great. Little stale tasting with a foggy mushy hop note. Kind of oversweet but without complexity.
70 / 100
22oz brown bottle purchased from PCC Natural Markets in Fremont, Seattle.
Pours a very hazy amber colour, with a firm, fine yellow-white head of light bubbles that leave nice rings of lace. Body has some weight behind it, and holds coarse-bubbled carbonation languidly, especially when the beer is tilted. Looks pretty good.
Nose is a bit dead, to be honest. There's a firm, slightly piney character, but it's matched with a slight coppery note that smells of old malt and oxidation. It's not even a clean malt presence, but muddies everything. Hmm.
Taste is actually a lot better, and here the malt is fairly full and rich, providing a bass-and-percussion sweetness on which the hops can layer themselves. It's smoother too, partially due to the feel, which is pleasantly slick and chewy. Back has a powdery bitterness, coming sharp and fairly strongly, going beyond balancing the malt to become dominant in the finish.
Overall, this saves itself a bit. There's no doubt at all that it's a Double IPA. It's chewy and rich, and the malt is much stronger than it would be in a single. So it's good that it's unapologetic about that. It's only just solid otherwise.
22oz brown bottle purchased from PCC Natural Markets in Fremont, Seattle.
Pours a very hazy amber colour, with a firm, fine yellow-white head of light bubbles that leave nice rings of lace. Body has some weight behind it, and holds coarse-bubbled carbonation languidly, especially when the beer is tilted. Looks pretty good.
Nose is a bit dead, to be honest. There's a firm, slightly piney character, but it's matched with a slight coppery note that smells of old malt and oxidation. It's not even a clean malt presence, but muddies everything. Hmm.
Taste is actually a lot better, and here the malt is fairly full and rich, providing a bass-and-percussion sweetness on which the hops can layer themselves. It's smoother too, partially due to the feel, which is pleasantly slick and chewy. Back has a powdery bitterness, coming sharp and fairly strongly, going beyond balancing the malt to become dominant in the finish.
Overall, this saves itself a bit. There's no doubt at all that it's a Double IPA. It's chewy and rich, and the malt is much stronger than it would be in a single. So it's good that it's unapologetic about that. It's only just solid otherwise.
On tap at the Keg & Brew. A double IPA should be a safe bet at this place because it should retain character despite poor handling/storage.
Pours a rich russet amber colour, cloudy with a nice skim of bubbly foam on top. Retains nicely. Lacing is a bit thin, but nice as one expects from the style.
Smells like it's served too cold, firstly. When you get past that there's some nice sharp citrus aromas - grapefruit with some tropical notes behind it. Good grainy malt too. Is there rye in this? Has a nice earthy spice to it. Possibly a bit on the sharp side but pretty nice.
Taste is yeah, very rye-PA-esque. Notes of malt throughout but in particular an earthy, almost chocolatey rye spice late-mid. Hops are on early and they don't disappoint with a sharp stab of citrus early-mid that trails off to a bitter finish with mandarin, melon and stonefruit characters. Possibly a bit too bitter on the back, it just feels a bit astringent and lacks the citric twang that might keep the tastebuds interested. Not a bad DIPA construction though.
Bit of pull and loads of texture - too much, even. Palate stripping at times but ends up just a tad dry, not too much.
Decent DIPA but feel like it doesn't get the full potential of conplexity out of its elements - just seems to flatline a bit even while remaining big and brash and bold.
78 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from Bottleworks in Seattle.
Pours a very pleasantly hazed golden colour, with a coarse-bubbled, persistent head of off-white that leaves little lace. Carbonation is fine where it forms and the body has some weight behind it. Looks pretty good.
Nose is great. There's a big, bold, sharp fruit note to it, giving crisp citrus with a punchy tang. The oak is also noticeable. It doesn't give an overt smoothness or those thicker notes of vanilla though. instead, it gives a sharper woody note, almost like cedar. It almost gives it a rustic tone. It's nice.
Taste is also very good, but it takes me aback on the first couple of sips. Because it's extremely bitter. It not only has a pronounced hit of hops, but the gin-soaked oak gives it a biting botanical bitterness as well, with tones of grapefruit and (again) cedar wood. Back is slightly earthy, but with a clean, clear feel that stops it from getting bogged down.
Overall, I'm pretty impressed: this is using some novel ideas to accentuate and twist an otherwise solid IPA into something unique. This is genuinely very interesting and very enjoyable.
22oz brown bomber purchased from Marketime Foods in Fremont, Seattle.
Pours a pleasantly light gold colour, with a surprisingly light and fluid body as well, that suggests a much lower ABV beer. Head is a nice fine crest that separates into larger bubbles, but leaves exceptional lacing on its way down. Carbonation is quite fine, but very swift, almost disappearing before you get a chance to see it when the glass is tilted.
Nose is quite bright on opening, with a fresh citrus tone immediately apparent. As it gets a bit warmer, it turns more resiny, with green, crushed vegetation tones coming through, almost like the character you get when you overdo the hopping. Indeed, after that initial burst it just starts smelling like Generic Hops, losing a lot of the individual characters that would make it interesting.
There's a similar phenomenon going on with the palate as well. Here, we get a fairly brutal hop bitterness that sits hot and resiny on the tongue. Under it is a surprisingly bold malt presence, but it has almost no caramel element to it, meaning it tastes a little bit like raw barley sugar, and doesn't quite gel well with the bitterness. Later, towards the finish, there's some greener, herbal characters, giving notes of rosemary and stir-fried Thai basil.
Feel is surprisingly light, this partially explains why the bitterness is so forward.
Overall, this is okay. But only okay, and that is itself a disappointment. It feels unbalanced, overhopped without regard for the purpose of the hopping or the combination of flavours. It's a shame, because this should be a stellar brew.
62 / 100
This is as far as I can tell a different beer from the Omega Centauri that Barossa did for GABS a few years back. Bought this bottle from my local suburban bottle shop, tried on a Friday night.
Pours a deep orangey amber colour with very mild haze. Head is beige, dense but doesn't stick around. Some thin trails of lace left behind. Looks a little thick maybe, otherwise by the numbers.
Smells sharp and hoppy. Big citric notes with lemon pith and a touch of honeydew, some caramel toffee as well underneath. Bit too sharp and acidic and pungent but otherwise the right notes.
Taste is a bit grainy malty upfront, with caramel and a touch of oxidation. Gets a little dank midway before the big citric notes take over. Lemon pith and grapefruit plus a touch of strawberry sweetness. Slight astringency and woodiness on back. Nice hoppy notes; possibly a bit old but well-stored: it still tastes potent and mouth-stripping bitter, and it's actually the malt that tastes like it might be a bit old.
Bit of malt presence but not a lot. Hops are not too sharp so I feel the malt base does its job here.
Decent double IPA, but more on the big-hops side so not really my thing. Good but not amazing in terms of complexity. One note hops.
Bottle served by Jez on a brewday sometime, years ago. Reviewed from notes, obviously.
Pours a burnished golden colour. Slight haze. Head is whispy, some webbed bubbling with some sticky but sparse lacing. Nice enough.
Smells malty. Cake batter is big. Caramel, malty. Pleasant nuance, with decent complex sugars. Some zesty notes, not too much. Maybe could use more though?
Taste is a lot hoppier. Far more so, massively. Lemon, citrus, pine resin, quite astringent on the back. Not a lot of that cake batter or caramel, it's just hops. They take over and stay from start to finish. Bitter, quite earthy, rubbery, metallic. Where's that malt gone? Very lacking, could use some more even just to balance it here, let alone because it was quite pleasant.
Decent body though. Fluid, nice malt presence. Hops are there mostly as flavour, not texture.
Would love more malt on the palate. Might love this if it were sweeter and better balanced. As it is I'm a bit lukewarm.
57 / 100
330ml brown bottle, with a bottling date of December 2015, so about 9 months old.
Pours a pleasantly clear golden colour, with very little carbonation but a small cap of off-white, settling out to some large-bubbled islands through the top of the glass. Lacing forms in thin lines as it goes down. Looks decent enough.
Nose is pretty pleasant. There's a nice bright but sweet citrus character that connects to a very light toffee/boiled sweet note. It makes it seem fresh but comforting. As it warms, there's also a noticeable check of booze, that lends it a slightly green, biting edge. It's nice.
Taste is less well-integrated. There's an emptiness on the front of the palate, which means that it launches prematurely into hop bitterness and big biting booziness. There's a slimmed down toffee malt character around the edges of the palate, but it doesn't have the body or sweetness to provide balance. Despite this, the finish drops away, leaving not even a linger of bitterness. It's very underwhelming.
It's not bad, but... I don't really have a qualifier for that. It's not bad. But it's actually been a long time since I've had a big IPA like this—from a very respected brewer no less—that has ended up so middling, underwhelming and dull.
76 / 100
330ml brown bottle with a bottling date of May 2015, about 15 months old.
Pours a deep amber colour, with a slow-forming but ultimately fairly fine yellow-white head that leaves tiny speckly spots of lace. Body is thick and slick: like a chewy syrup. The carbonation is almost static when tilted, eventually pulling itself off the couch to trundle slowly towards the top of the glass. Looks good.
Nose smells like an old DIPA. The malt has taken over the aroma, with the hops only lingering as a faint point of pine needle. There's a very faint oxidation character lending a little cardboard and crushed concrete, but it's actually much less than a beer of this age would often exhibit. Very faint edge of butteriness as well, but nothing that suggests an actual fault: more likely it's an element from the malt that would usually be covered by hops.
Taste is still pretty good. It's chewy and thick, with malt providing most of the interest, but with enough hop bite and booze to provide a sharp balance towards the back. Rounded malt notes give lots of caramel, which morphs into sticky eucalyptus towards the back, with overtones of tobacco. Finish is very long, with a slight lemon drop character mingling with the residual toffee.
Feel is smooth and slick, while maintaining its weight and chewiness. Perfectly appropriate.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this. It's old, but it has developed in the way a good DIPA should. I can imagine that 12 months ago this was hot, sharp and unbalanced. The balance is here now, and it makes for a sippable and enjoyable beer. If the lack of dry hop aroma is what I pay for that, so be it.
58 / 100
330ml brown bottle. Best before date of December 2016, so still a little while to go.
Pours a very cloudy muddy orange colour, with a frothy, full and boisterous head of off-white, that leaves spidery lace. Body is really surprisingly light and fluid, and holds swift-moving carbonation. The head is marvellous, at the very least.
Nose is rather pleasant. It's not a punch of hops, but there's a pleasantly constructed bouquet with some sweet citrus notes and a slight floral undertone. Aromas of potpourri and rosewater come through, along with a slightly grassy, slightly organic note. Malt is very restrained for something as big as this.
Taste is also surprisingly restrained. There's a very pronounced lightness to the palate, that leaves little room for malt body. The balance is still pretty good, which takes some craft. However, the booze is very noticeable, sitting warmly on the back and lending a slight medicinal twang, finishing slightly harsh with resin.
Feel is weak. It's impressive they've got this in a 10% beer, but it doesn't necessarily do the beer any favours.
Overall, it's maybe technically impressive, but not necessarily that good to drink. It's surprising that it's 10% alcohol, but it's also not hard to realise this when you pull back the veil and work out where that burn is coming from.
84 / 100
Can from Chris, shared on election night. It's a funny one as it's a beer I definitely feel familiar with, but have never sat down and reviewed - or, apparently, really paid attention to.
Pours a pale orange colour, cloudy throughout. Head is foamy, generous but not too much, lacing sticks in viscous webs. Looks pretty awesome.
Smells hoppy, with pear and peach notes and a good tangy lime acidity to it as well. Yeah, a big sherbet note, all hops and not much malt though, but it's nice.
Taste is tangy, with lots of lime, grapefruit and pomegranate. Big fruit tang with a big whack of sharpness but then malt comes in padding it nicely, with a nice caramel note and touch of toasty grain. Finishes smooth, fruity sweet but a good belt of bitterness that doesn't really spike. Big IPA, but amazingly well controlled. It's not even my kind of double IPA (As a committed contrarian I prefer them on the malty side) but I have to concede this is phenomenally good.
Smooth, bit of a rough texture from the hops but really well padded at the back.
Absolutely cracking IIPA, huge hops and great malt that's there without dragging it into sweet territory.
85 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Royal Albert in Sydney on CCC Day.
Pours a very deep golden colour, very clear, but with a depth that almost turns it toward amber. Head is a loose, pocked mess of yellowish off-white. Excellent lacing. Body is pretty firm, but still fairly slick and moveable. Looks good.
Nose is excellent. There's a big, bright sharp hop character which is immediately apparent—fresh and potent, trending towards pine needly sharpness. There's a little slight caramel or toffee behind it to support it, with a hint towards marshmallow sweetness. As it warms it becomes more peppery. It's really lovely.
Taste is also really good, but more due to the face that it's really rather similar to the Zoo Feeder. It has a similar lightness, and sits very smooth and drinkable with no hint of the booze. With the supple sweetness, it almost has a citrus candy approachability at the back—it's so soft. Finish has a slight peppery earthiness, which maybe gives it a hint of something different. It's nice stuff.
Feel is slick and smooth, but maintains that light, drinkable demeanor.
Yep, this is drinkable as fuck—almost dangerous due to how little you can feel or taste the booze. It's a cracking brew, really well made.
88 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.
Pours a fairly clear, light golden colour with decent clarity but a hint of haze. Head is frothy initially, but still composed of fine bubbles, settling out as intricate rings of lace and a slightly fuzzy film across the top. Body looks very light for the ABV. Looks good.
The nose is superb. There's a big, bright passionfruit and mango character coming through, with sharper notes like green papaya and the slightly astringent cat-pee aroma (in the best possible way, of course). Under this are more subtle, mineral tones, almost earthy like turned soil. These are not the main event at all, but they add depth to what is otherwise a big, fruity IPA bomb. Lovely stuff.
Taste is also great. Rounded and fruity, with a lovely clean brightness to sharpen things up on the front. There's enough subtle, smooth sweetness through the middle to balance to hop notes, without it ever getting overwhelming. Bitterness is rather sharp on the back, providing a clean vector towards the finish, which is crisp and gorgeous.
The feel is perfect. Clean and smooth, with a lightness that belies its weight, but aids drinkability substantially.
This is supremely drinkable and so well put together. It's a top-notch DIPA: clean, fresh, bright, complex and superbly balanced. Amazing beer from Akasha.
86 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. Shared with Sam in Sydney.
Pours a very clear, deep golden colour, with a very frothy just off-white head that leaves intricate speckling and islands of coarser bubbles in its wake. Body is firm but still quite fluid, holding nice fine carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is very pleasant, with redolent stewed orange characters, peppered with sharper notes of pine and mint. It's one of those noses that you know comes from hops, but which provides delicate non-hop characters as its defining aromas. Very pleasant indeed.
Palate is also extremely good. That stewed orange character is beautifully put together, forming partially of citric hop notes, and partially from a smooth, but robust malt sugar sweetness. Other lilting citric tones bounce around the outside, providing a crisper tone to balance this, with a peppery bite of bitterness on the back. It's lovely stuff.
Feel is very smooth and very clean, with a lightness that belies its weight at almost 10% ABV.
Overall, genuinely cracking beer. Very nice IPA, amped up in all the good ways, but maintaining its approachability and drinkability. A genuinely very fine entry indeed from Bear Republic.
60 / 100
Pours a deep burnished red colour, clear body. Head is off-white creamy, nice and thing with some nice lace sheets left behind. Decent rim. Looks pretty nice, really.
Smells hoppy but not as big as I expected. Citric, slightly resinous with some floral characters but could use more. Touch of rich toffeed malt underlying it. Not bad but could be great.
Tastes hoppy from the get go but not very big. Some malt, fair grainy character, some caramel notes, then hops take hold. Lemon citric zest, orange is big as well. Not much edge to it, and the caramel toffee notes keep a hold on it. Odd. Kind of feels big flavoured yet not really leaning too heavily on malt or hops. Maybe hops are just not used early enough. It's quite bitter but not a lot of character.
Decently smooth. Nice body, touch of texture on the back. Pretty nice.
Don't really know what's gone wrong here. Doesn't really do enough of anything. Needs more hops or malt or both.
16oz tall can purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours a very pleasant clear orange colour, with a fine, but minimal head of white that stays as a fine film. Minimal lacing, but what forms is tight and intricate. Body is fairly light and well-attenuated. Looks good.
Nose is pleasant. Sweet citrus notes come through balanced with a barley sugar character to give it some breadth. Mild herbal or organic notes do come through, giving suggestions of booze. It's not a big, fresh, knock-you-on-your-back hop aroma, but it's pleasant enough.
Taste is also solid. There's a smooth mild malt sugar note that runs from back to front, giving the beer an approachable, slightly over sweet character that's only moderately balanced by hops. These are here though, providing a firm, if swaddled bitterness through the centre of the palate, maybe coming to prominence in the back, when the dry body cleans up the sweetness. It's pleasant.
Feel is very good. Smooth and slick, with a tight bead of carbonation to liven it a little.
Overall, this is solid stuff. It has a smoothness and an integration of characters which is quite pleasant. It's not the world's greatest IPA, but it's certainly very drinkable and enjoyable. I liked it just fine.
22oz brown bomber purchased from Spec's on Smith St, Houston, TX.
Pours a relatively clear deep golden orange colour, with a very fine and persistent head of sticky off-white bubbles. Lacing is sheeting and intense. Body has some serious heft behind it and the carbonation is very fine and languid. Looks great.
Nose is a little bit underwhelming, to be honest. There is a pleasant melange of hop to it, giving a little sweet citrus and faint aromatic herbal note. But it's also not very intense—there's a dustiness to it that detracts from it somewhat. It's not that it's unpleasant, it's just not that exciting either.
Taste is very smooth, which is a bonus in a big beer like this. But again, it's a little bit timid. There's a smooth malt character that cushions everything, and a minimum amount of hop fragrance and flavour, giving enough for some mild marmalade notes, and just a touch of bitterness on the back palate. It's more drinkable for its subtlety, but I'd like my DIPAs a bit more aggressive.
Overall though, it's hard to deny it's a plenty-drinkable DIPA. I do really enjoy the clean, smooth palate, and the alcohol is genuinely nowhere to be found except in the buzz when you polish off the bottle without realising it. Hey hey!
60 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos, CA. I always seem to pick up one or two Hermitage beers while I'm in the area, given that they're super local, and yet I've never yet been really impressed with anything they've done. Let's see if Ale of the Imp can turn the tide.
Pours a very hazy, almost completely sedimented murky orange colour, with a very fine head of yellowish off-white that leaves some pretty good lacing. Body has some heft and weight to it, and the carbonation is powdery and fine as a result. Looks good.
Nose is reasonable, with some forthright generic hop fragrance, giving a bit of pithy orange rind and a slightly herbal darkness. Slight sharp peppery note comes through as well. It's a bit generic, but it's not bad.
Taste is also a little generic, but again, it's not bad. There's a slightly bitter orange note from the hops, which melds with some slightly underwhelming buttery malt notes. Together these would seem to balance each other, but the bitterness wins out, making the back palate pretty aggressive and a little harsh, with a slightly acrid edge to it. This gets more pronounced the more you drink. It's not pulling any punches, at least.
Feel is sleek, with a pleasant crispness that help offset the extra body.
Overall, it ends up being a little bit difficult to digest, and the rather banal flavours aren't enough to warrant wrassling with it to the extent you need to. Unfortunately, it ends up being another of those Hermitage beers that winds up in the "meh" basket.
74 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a pleasant pure golden colour, very clear and relatively full-bodied. Carbonation forms in refined streams of small bubbles. Head is a pleasant slightly coarse-bubbled ring of white that leaves good lace. It's a nice-looking beer.
Nose is very pleasant as well, with an aroma based mostly around strong resinous characters, tending towards pine and cedar. There's enough sweetness to balance it though, and these lend a slight tendency towards fruitiness, without being overt. It's quite pleasant.
Palate is also very good, with a nice balance and restrained hop bitterness. It has a smoothness from the malt, that does go a little bit towards overly sweet, but the fine carbonation and the hops that are there do help pull it back a little. In the end, it feels nicely balanced, even though it doesn't have the intensity suggested on the nose.
Feel is great—smooth but slightly frothy from the fine touch of carbonation.
Overall, it's a very drinkable DIPA, and one with balance and structure to it, which I like a lot. Disappointingly, I found it less exciting than their single IPA, which is probably the wrong way around. But it's hard to deny it's very pleasant and easy to drink for a beer of its size.
22oz brown bomber purchased from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. Bottling date of June 25 2015.
Pours a very murky, hazy orange colour, with a rather insubstantial head of coarse bubbles that leave some scummy lace. Body is quite firm and heavy, holding some minimal, but fine streams of carbonation. Looks a bit underwhelming.
Nose is also a little bit dull. There's a flat herbal note, mingled with something dusty, or almost salty, above a fairly generic but noticeable malt body—at the very least, it does give the impression of being a heavy IPA.
Taste follows the same pattern, with a fairly thick body, but flavours that just don't add up to something particularly enjoyable. Bitter, herbal start to the palate, with a swell of malt that helps mask it a little, but also leads to a surprising dusty grain note that mingles with the eventual back-palate flatness like bitter almond. Slight metallic or organic note on the back is also a touch unpleasant. It's not a great flavour.
Feel is thick, but without the flavours, it's also a bit pointless.
Overall—not a good DIPA. Who knows, maybe it just dies really quickly, but at three months old, this is not tasting good. To be honest, it tastes unappealing enough that I'd probably baulk slightly at trying it again, even if it were fresh from the tank.
22oz brown bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Currently, this is doing the rounds in Sydney, although I missed it being in California, so I thought picking up a bottle (without the Australia Tax) might be a good option. Bottling date of 07/23/15.
Pours a genuinely very cloudy peach yellow colour, with a fine ring of white that leaves some mild streaks and patches of lace. Body is surprisingly light, and even when tilted slowly, the fine carbonation seems to rush through the body. Looks decent all up though.
Nose is fragrant, but a little dark, with a more herbaceous character coming through than I was strictly expecting. Slightly peppery notes come through, which suggest copious amounts of Ella in particular. Otherwise, it forms a rather gritty aroma all up.
Taste is more interesting. Firm bitterness runs through the centre of the beer, but gives slightly astringent characters of grapefruit peel and underripe passionfruit. The aftertaste turns herbal again, giving characters of dried thyme and lime leaf. Finish is slightly antiseptic, with a moderate pine character providing a bitter finish.
Feel is full and smooth. Works pretty well.
Overall, it's solid enough. It's hard to deny though that these Aussie hops don't stack up all that well against some of the more oily, fragrant US varieties here. This is despite the fact that when they're fresh than can be truly remarkable hops. The novelty here isn't enough to make them really shine though.
60 / 100
On tap at Bitter Phew.
Pours a burnished amber-gold colour, clear with slight cloud. Steady trickle up to pillowy head, nice sinkage. Actually head looks cracking, rest looks OK.
Smells malty. Barley sugar is huge, just mega swetness on that. Butterscotch as well maybe simcoe? Some hops but all integrated into swet muddiness. Citric mostly. OK.
Tastes malty, sweet. Barley sugar is huge on that, just tastes like simple sugars, then some decently tangy hops. Some citrus mostly, touch of passionfruit but mostly resinous. Finish tastes boozey, sweet. Caramel and barley sugar. Not a huge fan.
Big body; hops really don't cut through until the end. This is a good thing.
Yeah more in my wheelhouse of DIPAs. But still remains so resinous, acidic, citric. Would like something to rein it in, it just feels so sharp and almost painful to me.
58 / 100
Pours a burnished amber, steady bead feeding an off-white head. Lacing is sheety and nice. Looks good, albeit fairly standard.
Smells like my go-to beer smell. Nice caramelised malt notes with cake batter, and decent citric hop notes for balance. A touch too sweet, but good.
Taste has a tang from the get-go. Underlying caramel notes, touch of buttery, but the tangy hops start and then get sharper towards the back. A little bit too much, gets a bit pithy and acidic with a touch of astringency. Bit too much of that one hop note that I otherwise like.
Bit of harsh texture, very drying at the back. Possible a touch boozey as well.
Decent drop, but the balance on the nose was great, and it's just an unhinged hop bomb on the palate.
84 / 100
500ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a deep amber, genuinely tending towards a red-hued ruby, with a wonderfully full and boisterous head of beige that stays fairly rocky and full throughout and leaves superb lacing. Body has some lovely weight to it, and holds nice fine carbonation. It looks the business.
Nose is great. Big rich malt presence, but overlaid by a fresh and full bouquet of big hops. These tend towards the citric, with lashings of mild aromatic herbs. But the malt is always firm and stolid in the background, providing richness and fullness, and reminding you what this beer is all about.
Taste is also extremely good. Here, there's a significant, firm bitterness that courses through the centre of the palate, but still it's all about the malt when you look beyond the surface. This gives a firm caramel base, with lashings of more aromatic notes like soft liquorice and Turkish delight. When mated with the lively hop presence it really sets it off nicely. It's beautifully balanced, and surprisingly clean on the back, just leaving a tingle of hop bitterness in the tail, and no residual heat from the booze.
Feel is smooth and slick, with a lovely cleanness through the centre of the palate.
Supremely drinkable for a beer of this weight. Indeed, there's something almost sadistic about how easy this 9.3% ABV beer goes down—as though it wants you to get drunk so it can leap out of your glass and rob you of your possessions. But when a beer is this tasty, and this supple, you're almost tempted to allow it.
73 / 100
Tall 16oz can purchased from WhichCraft in Austin. Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with Sam and Rich during a brewday.
Pours a pleasantly hazed golden colour, with a thick and full head of yellowed off-white that holds some larger pocked bubbles. Lacing is sheeting and fairly full. Carbonation forms in coarse bubbles as it streams, but looks finer and powdery when tilted. Looks pretty damn good.
Nose is solid, with rounded sweet fruit characters, giving a hint of citrus but none of the sharpness. Slight dusty floury note does come through a little unfortunately, but there's enough other notes to block it out. Some peachskin and a little melon, perhaps. It's still pretty nice.
Taste is also pretty solid. There's a firm, rigid backbone of bitterness through the centre of the palate, which really help stake it out as a bold, unapologetic beer. This is bolstered to some degree by a firm but neutral malt character, providing body and slickness, and only just enough malt sweetness for balance. Slight underripe fruit notes come through on the back, giving a greenness that mingles with lingering malt to provide a rather juicy finish.
Feel is firm, and a little heavier that it really needs, but it helps it stake its claim as a full double IPA at least.
Overall, it's pretty solid stuff. It's not the juiciest, biggest DIPA I've had in recent memory, but it certainly does the trick. Nicely done overall.
77 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours an orange-amber hue, quite clear in the glass and with a lot of heft to the body. Carbonation is fine and powdery when tilted. Head is just off-white, forming a full, fine ring and leaving some patches of lace. Looks very good.
Nose has apricot and a bit of wood to it. The hops otherwise turn a bit grassy, giving the wood a light cedar tone. Otherwise the hop character is green and a little generic. Sweetness gives a suggestion of coconut from the oak as well. It's pretty nice.
Light, fragrant and hoppy on the front-palate, before the oak and booze characters start to drive through the centre of the palate. Lots of barrel wood, and some coconut from the oak, and a lovely long linger that lets the booze express itself, leaving perhaps a hint of kirsch in the aftertaste. It's nice stuff.
Feel is full and thick.
Overall, this is very decent stuff. The vegetative edge to the hops is my only real concern. Otherwise, it's a very fine beer.
57 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne. Easily the heaviest beer on the roster, clocking in at 16% ABV.
Pours a reddish-tinged golden colour with a very heavy body and excellent clarity. Head is off-white forming only a very fine ring. Lacing is quite impressive though forming crazy rings as it goes down.
Nose is heavy with sticky, oily hops that press through the moniker of resinous to become almost menthol-like. Coupled with this is an intense, thick sweetness which together is really too much.
Very sweet on the front palate, like oxidised sherry, and already with a big tingle of booze. Cloying crystal sugar on the centre of the palate that just gets replaced entirely by bitterness when the hops come in. It's like a dichotomy—it's either way too sweet, or way too bitter, and never in balance between the two. Finish is long and lingering with a slight burn from the booze.
Feel is incredibly thick.
I don't really want to drink it. It doesn't really taste great, and it's so thick and heavy that it takes a heavy toll for what you get out of it. Perhaps an impressive achievement, but I didn't like it much.
73 / 100
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a mid-golden colour, quite clear in the glass and very solid in the body. Carbonation is very fine, and feeds a fine white head that stays firmly as a solid ring. Nice concentric rings of lace as well. Looks good.
Nose is very pleasant: it's a big IPA first and foremost, with fruit developing from the hops giving peach and pineapple and buckets of fragrance. Plenty of mid-malt to hold it as well. Slight pepper comes through as it warms. Very good stuff.
Light and smooth on the palate. My notes say "a bit blasty"—I don't know what that means now, but I like it so I thought I'd include it. Some bitterness comes through on the mid-palate, but the malt is also very heavy and tends to overwhelm it a little. Bitterness is a little generic on the back, and always menaced by lots of malt and booze.
Feel is very smooth.
In the end, it felt a bit heavy to live up to its promise. It's certainly a nice beer, but from an auspicious start it could have really wowed me—so it's a bit of a shame that it didn't.
60 / 100
On-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a pale, pale amber colour, with very solid hazing. Body has a bit of heft behind it, but you'd expect that for 9% ABV. Head is off-white but only really forms as a thin ring. Not much in the way of lace either. Fine, but minimal carbonation.
Herbal and bitter qualities to the nose—I get kale and rocket—which gives it a hoppiness without the nice fruit notes. Instead it smells like old, dusty hop pellets, dry and vegetative. Potent at least.
Full, rounded, spicy entry on the palate, with a slightly harsh hop character noticeable from early on. Earthy and herbal and slightly woody in the mid-palate, but also flat, and without much body to cushion it. Back is certainly harsh: nutty on the finish, but with no malt sweetness, leaving the finish tight and with a slight chewiness that manages to regain some sense to the beer.
Feel is thick, but with a slight boozy astringency to it.
Overall, it's not awful, but I don't love it. Those hop characters give it punch, but they're not pleasant enough to really make me want to drink them.
Tried on-tap at GABS 2015 in Melbourne.
Pours a pale golden colour with very solid hazing. Head is just cream in colour, forming a fine solid ring around the glass that subsequently leave flimsy rings of lace. Fine carbonation though a pretty solid body. Looks pretty good.
Nose is slightly dusty, but with some pleasant dried apricots coming through and a smoothness giving a hint of vanilla custard. Hint of green peppercorns gives it a slight lift, although overall it's a little mild.
Light, funky and slightly sweet-salty on the entry, which reminds me of something I won't mention. Smooth clean malt through the centre though covers over this, and by this stage, we also have a crescendo of slightly biting hops. Back is clean, with some slight aromatic spice. Aftertaste lingers with a spicy bite of dry ginger.
Feel is fairly full, which is quite nice.
Overall, it's not bad. The smoothness hides the booze fairly well, which helps the drinkability. I liked it well enough by the end.
73 / 100
Pours a golden amber colour, clear with beige head - slightly odd for an IPA but nice thickness. Looks good, could maybe use more substance in the body, looks very clear.
Smells almost like buteric acid, but not in a bad way - just very sweet and pungent. Sharp grapefruit notes with lemon and passionfruit for good measure. Resinous, very bitter. Nice.
Taste is slightly toffeed upfront but hops take over too quickly to notice. Huge grapefruit character, gets very resinous and bitter and sharp on the back. Almost turns it all metallic as the toffee character underlies it. Textbook double IPA.
Big body. Thick, with a sharp booze character that's unfortunate but forgivable for the size and style.
Yeah, this would be loved by most people. Can't say I love it, but it deserves to be loved.
Pours a gold colour. Clear with cream-coloured rim of dense lace. Bit listless, but OK. More head would be good.
Smells a little grape lolly estery. Apple, touch of stonefruit and some grapefruit bitterness. Balanced with a touch of rich sweet toffee. Not an ideal blend, seems a bit off.
Taste is timidly sweet upfront and descends into weird fruitiness. Grapefruit/lemon predominantly with a fair amount of bitterness. Somewhat cough mediciney. Not great.
Full body with sharp alcohol on the back. Don't love it.
Bit weird, and lacks mid-palate shape or character. Feels heavy on the back as a result.
43 / 100
Tried on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney during their 4th of July Spectapular.
Pours a pleasant golden hue with good clarity. Head is a thin, fine ring of off-white that leaves a little bit of bubbling as it settles down. Carbonation is mild through the rather thin body. Looks decent though.
Nose is clear and fairly clean, with a slight vegetative quality but some decent hop notes. There's a heightened sweetness as well, a little bit like a vanilla milkshake, which is unusual but not unpleasant. It's not classically biting and redolent with hops, but it's nice enough.
Spicy palate, with a little bit of sweetness at the front which almost immediately gets trumped by a undeniable crush of formic acid—that smell you get from crushed ants. Slight minerally quality on the back like smelted iron filings mixed with squashed prunes. I'm going to be honest, I'm really not a fan.
Feel is thin and clean, but there's enough lingering unpleasantness from the palate that it feels a bit nasty.
Yeah, I really don't much care for this. There seems to be something particularly wrong here. I'm not sure if it's just this particular keg, but I'm actually pretty disappointed.
Pours a golden colour, touch of cloud with off-white foamy head. Looks alright.
Smells very oaky. Big coconutty oak sweetness with bourbon character and a slight rummy note. Needs more IPA, but still, nice.
Taste is similar. Big oak character with a fair amount of booze. Bourbon predominantly with an American oak coconut character. Again, needs more hops, but pretty nice.
Noticeable alcohol on the feel but not sharp - body is thick which helps to pad it.
Boozey and heavy. I feel like more hop character would go a long way to cutting through the thickness.
Pours a golden colour, touch of cloud. Large bubbly head, cream-coloured, retaining fairly nicely. Not a bad-looking IPA.
Smells like an IPA. Grainy with a caramel touch then lots of fruit salad hops. Passionfruit, pineapple and mango making me think citra? Quite sweet, tangy edge that stops it being cloying. Quite pleasant.
Caramel malt upfront, with an English toffee edge to it. Hops take hold early - passionfruit and pine, with some more stone fruit in there - mango and peach mostly, then grapefruit producing fair bitterness on the back. Still retains its sweetness though and the finish sits a bit uncomfortably for me.
Decent body, touch of alcohol warmth, not as much as you'd expect for the size though.
Decent double IPA, lots of edge, but not really my thing.
Pours a gold colour, fairly hazy with foamy cream-coloured head. Bit listless head-wise, but not bad.
Nutty malt on the nose with a big hop character as well, grapefruit and lemon pithiness with a touch of pine wood shavings. Odd vanilla character too but mostly just big hop strength.
Sweet malt upfront - grainy with a honeyed oat character. Hops are strong throughout mid and back with peach tang and lots of grapefruit, resin and a bit of booze character. Really very bitter.
Decent body with a lick of alcohol heat as it goes down. Alright.
Don't love it. I've discussed before how DIPAs either go quite sweet/barleywine-esque or very hoppy-bitter and I'm more a fan of the former. This is a decent example of the latter though.
Pours gold, slightly cloudy. Head is white, nice rim but not much retention otherwise. Not bad.
Smells fruity with little else going on. Bags of pineapple with passionfruit, peach and a touch of pear. Not very bitter; could use a bit more edge. Still, pleasant.
Taste is a little better. Retains that big fruit salad character with pineapple, passionfruit, pear and a touch of coconut. Slight honeyed edge to the malt leads in nicely to the sweet fruit flavours. Finishes fairly bitter but not as much as expected. I like this more than a lot of double IPAs but it still seems a little empty-fruity to me and could use more oomph.
Decent body but has a sharpness to the booze as it goes down.
Lots of hop flavour giving a complex melange; a little sharp on the texture for me.
16% 'Quadrupel IPA' brewed for GABS 2015. Tried in an evening session with the philosophy that it's the only time I'd be drunk enough to handle this while appreciating the inevitable lack of subtlety.
Pours an amber colour, touch of cloud with sparse cream-coloured head, quite bubbly. Decent.
Smells on NZ hops. Passionfruit dominates with mango, peach, a touch of apple and then a slight citric edge harking more to the US west coast; grapefruit and a touch of orange. Not overwhelming, just pleasant. For 16%, wow.
Taste is massively sweet, and cloying. Huge caramel flavour upfront that takes on a sickly honey note, then hops come through in flavour but have none of their cleansing power. Passionfruit and a touch of grapefruit, but there's nothing else there to stop the tsunami of overwhelming booze that follows. Urrgh.
Feels gluggy-thick, with massive booze heat taking over everything else.
Has a nice character as a beer, but at 16% it's just too much; the alcohol stomps everything else underfoot. At 12% I think this would be too much. At 7.5% it would be nice but then that's just Murray's Icon.
Pours a pale gold colour, with weird suspended particles that look like gelatinous sago balls. Head is lacklustre, revives a thin whispy head with a swill. Looks weird, but also not good.
Smells much, much better than it looks. Big new-world hop note with bags of fruit salad - maybe citra? Passion, mango. Smells like tropical fruit juice tastes, but with a nice bitey citric edge to it. Cake battery malt underlying it. Tasty.
Taste is a bit disappointing. Similar characters, lots of fruit juice sweetness. Pawpaw, passion, guava and mango provide a nice mélange start-to-mid, then finishes with a fairly meek passionfruit hop character. Slight citric tang clips off the end. But yeah, feels citra-esque, it has that empty fruit note with no grunt from beneath. Not enough malt or bittering hops. Pleasant notes, but a bit airy and hollow.
Bit of texture from the hops that gradually dries the palate. Body is well-balanced for the style.
Summer quencher. Would be well-liked; just doesn't do a lot for me.
87 / 100
Pours a pale, yellow-tinged amber. Head is lovely: fluffy, cream-coloured sticky lace. Bubbles around the place as well. Just looks stellar. Stellarrrrrrr!
Smells fruity and pleasant. Stonefruit and melon, with rockmelon and guava coming through particularly strongly. Delightful touch of lychee and some light caramelised grain with a hint of organic rubber. Intriguing, but also lovely, enticing aroma.
Taste is not what I expected, but still pleasant. Big, sticky caramel flavour all over the front and mid. Milky, creamy caramel toffee that gets light, fruity notes at the edges. Just some tang: subtle citrus and maybe a touch of spice. Acts almost just as a cleanser, just mild hop notes clearing away the sweet, sticky cobwebs of the malt. But still there for some effect, and the transition is smooth and never gets off-balance. Really superbly-crafted palate, even though it didn't deliver the flavour explosion I'd expected.
Smooth, a little bit light but also a slightly sticky back and mild sting from the hops. A bit dry maybe.
Really excellent use of bitterness is next to cleanliness. Sweet, a bit balanced in bitterness. This is definitely my kind of double IPA: big malt and hops to match rather than dominate. It showcases the very best of beer flavours.
12oz brown bottle purchased from WhichCraft in Austin, TX. Brought it back to Sydney where I cracked it with Sam and Rich during a brewday.
Pours a relatively clear golden yellow colour, but absolutely brimming with odd gelatinous floaties—quite possibly something to do with the peach addition. Head is a coarse lace of white after it settles. It leaves pleasant fine spots of lace though. Body has a bit of weight to it too. Looks pretty good, even with the odd garbage floating in it.
Nose is great, and makes you forget all about the weirdness in the appearance. Hop-forward, with a good amount of green, grassy quality above the more obvious citrus and stone-fruit qualities. Hard to distinguish whether the stone-fruit is from the hops or from the actual stone-fruit. There's a slightly hay-like quality underneath it which is pleasant enough as well.
The taste is where this beer starts to cleave its way into genuinely odd territory. There's a definite stewed fruit character here, with a sweetness almost like bubble-tea. Characters of banana and tinned peaches come through on the front, and linger towards the back. Here, at least, there's a very pleasant clean bitterness, quite neutral in flavour, but providing good balance to the fruit which came earlier. Feel is clean and light, but with a bit of weight to it. It works well.
Overall, it's pretty good—I like a lot that the peach is so front and centre in the beer. It doesn't necessarily make it a better beer overall, but it at least delivers on what it promises on the label.
750ml caged and corked bottle purchased from Spec's in Austin, TX. Brought back to Sydney where it was shared with Sam and Rich during a brewday.
Pours a pleasantly light orange colour, with some hazing that seems to capture rather than stop the light. Head is a magnificent fine crest of pure fine white that leaves excellent, full, sheeting lace. Carbonation is very fine, and forms in snowy flurries when tilted, even though the body looks relatively light. Looks really great.
Nose is also really very nice. It has a pleasant sweet fruitiness to it that tends towards tropical melon with a touch of citrus. Even some mild underripe strawberry comes through giving a touch more sharpness. This is somewhat brought down by some more leafy, slightly dank aromas as it warms, but even this gives it a slightly pithy quality like bitter peachskin. Overall, I still like it a lot.
Taste is also pretty solid. Smooth in the body, and pleasantly build around an always present if not dominant hop character. The difference in this beer comes in the tail, which is sweeter than a lot of DIPAs, and uses an extra kick of boozy astringency to accentuate that bittersweet stonefruit character. Finish is a little dry, and slightly gritty—there's an earthy quality that maybe harks back to the dankness from the hops. It's still pretty good though.
Feel is lighter than most in the style. This aids the drinkability somewhat, but does mean that the booze is more noticeable in the end—it certainly feels booze for a beer that's only just a little over 8%.
Overall, this was solid stuff. I really liked the aroma, and perhaps the rest of the beer didn't quite live up to that. So if I'm a tad disappointed overall, it's only because it first presented itself so very well.
78 / 100
Tried on-tap at Hopfields in Austin, TX.
Pours a deep golden colour, tending towards amber, and very clear in the glass. Head is an almost-pure-white colour, full at the start, but becoming a fine pocked ring rather elegantly. Carbonation is powdery, and very vibrant through the thick body when tilted. Lacing is also lovely, forming in long fine loops. Looks excellent.
Nose is very good. Orange toffee perhaps with a pithy but caramalised marmalade character, brightened with a lash of pink peppercorns but underpinned by firm malt. That's what it does, and it doesn't develop much with time or added complexities—its simplicity is key, and its potency drives it home.
Light prickly entry on the palate with some blunted hops swarmed over by a creamy straight malt character. This drives smoothness into the mid-palate, giving it some weight to become chewy, but with a hint of spice that leavens it an prevents it from getting to heavy or cloying. Back is quite sweet: caramel, a little butter and with a feel that soft, smooth and almost creamy. Finish is long and soft with just a tweak of hops to remind you what it is.
This is really very drinkable for how big a beer it is. The malt is soft, but it's restrained to just creating smoothness rather than cloy or stick. It makes a big double IPA work without booze or excessive hop astringency. That takes some doing.
72 / 100
Bottle given to me be Jez. Shared with Andrew at my place.
Burnished red-amber colour, clear but a bit of haze. Head is off-white, bit sparse and creamy. Doesn't retain much but lacing is awesome, creamy and sticky. Looks great.
Smells resiny, hoppy. Decent whack of spice with soft lemon, grapefruit and piquillo touch. Good biscuity malt with toffee, maybe a hint of butterscotch (not diacetyl) and sherry. Very decent.
Taste is a little muted. Good malt base with caramel toffee and hint of vanilla. Spicy resinous hops hit midway. Touch of grapefruit but lots of pepper and earthy spice. Bit of pine bark. Decent malt with just a mild piquant hop; nice bitterness, fairly soft but could use a bit more hop forward character. Don't think it's too old but it's tasting nice otherwise.
Feels a little thin upfront, then mid is decently bodied and textured. Not bad.
Nice IPA; doesn't have quite the oomph i would expect from a double IPA, but I like the softness, because I don't care that much for doubles anyway.
58 / 100
9.5% "triple" IPA purchased from Southwest Parkway Market in Austin, TX. 22oz brown bomber.
Pours a rather deep copper colour, almost amber in hue, with some faint hazing to it. Body is firm and fairly heavy, which isn't unexpected. Head forms a pocked mass of off-white, becoming filmy as it goes along. Lacing is streaky but fairly minimal. Doesn't look bad, but also doesn't fill me with a stack of confidence either.
In a similar vein is the nose, which is somewhat generic. They mention that they use 10 different hops for this beer, and it's quite possible that it shows—we get a kind of median hop character that's not particularly expressive of anything besides "hops". It's kind of resiny, a little vegetative and herbal, but also flat. This is matched with a rather flat sugary sweetness that doesn't really do it any favours. I can't say I'm a fan.
Taste is maybe slightly better, but perhaps only because it has a bold bitterness that railroads over any other perceived flaws. I can believe at least that it has a stack of hops in it from the bitterness, but again it's a fairly generic flavour—slightly pithy, resiny and alpha-acid bitter without much nuance or subtlety. Malt presence again seems oddly sweet, perhaps an overt use of crystal or caramel malts (which might also explain the deeper-than-usual colour).
Feel is fairly full, and there is a touch of the heat and booze in the back of the mouth. It's okay in isolation, but it doesn't have a great deal to work with.
Overall, I'm not inspired to finish the bottle. It's not awful, but it's either dull and tired or else out of balance and cloying. There's much better out there.
79 / 100
Tried on-tap at Clever Little Tailor in Adelaide, where they had a tap-takeover of the three taps in the bar.
Looks decent enough on the pour—quite pale for a double IPA, forming a slightly hazed golden hue in the glass. Head is a bit filmy, and dull off-white that settles out the a sudsy mesh. Leaves some streaky lace as it goes down. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is really great, and just what you want from a big hop-forward beer. Huge, crisp green hop character gives a smooth clean bite to the aroma, above plenty of malt that manages to also stay quite light and crisp. Hints of sweeter citrus and mango come through as well. As it warms, these all blend and even give a slight suggestion of musk. It's really aromatic stuff.
Taste is also really good. Here the citrus tone takes on a mandarin quality, but still with lovely sharpness from the hops—green and a little herbal. With the sweetness, there are flavours of toffee and marmalade, but with a pleasantly crisp body so it doesn't bog down under the extra malt and booze. Indeed, the lightness to the palate really aids the drinkability, leaving it rather crisp and dry at the finish.
Feel is nice: crisp and very drinkable.
Very drinkable for a DIPA. It's a hop-forward beer, but with purpose and balance. The bitterness is restrained but prominent, and the finish makes you want to take another sip. It's a promising entry from these guys.
Bottle shared with people on NYE. Orange colour, bit of sediment. Some bead. Head is off-white, dense and lovely. Lace is pleasant. Looks great.
Smells floral and pleasant. Lots of fruit and nectar notes; elderflowerb raspberry and apple. More malt might be nice, but pretty decent.
Taste is very floral, very sweet that gets medicinal midway. Finish retains floral notes but gets uncomfortably bitter at the back; not bad but doesn't sit well with the front. Seems an odd mishmash.
Full, bit of booze on the back, quite dry but very smooth and filling for the most part.
Food attempt, but the sweetness transition to bitterness on the back doesn't really work coherently.
Bottle shared with folks at Cammeray Craft.
Pours an orange-golden colour, foamy white head with nice trails of bead. Lace is pretty nice. Not bad.
Smells like toast, with a touch of green from hop pellets. Touch of urine, as well. Cut grass, mushroomy as well. Very weird, but will give it the benefit of the doubt.
Taste is malty upfront, then hops take over. More umami flavour, some grass and lemon pith on the back. Fairly bitter, fairly smooth for the ABV though. Maybe a touch of booze at the very back. Fairly odd. But big rich hop notes, fairly pleasant still.
Full, fairly smooth. Bit of texture on the back from carbonation and then hops.
Decent IPA, bit of a weird character in there, but I have to hand it to Stone, they certainly know how to handle their IPAs.
71 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.
Pours a pleasant, if very hazy dank orange colour, with a lovely fine crest of off-white, which stays as a creamy film throughout. Lots of lovely messy lace, in streaks and specks. Body is very thick, and has fine but fast carbonation. The amount of body remaining in the beer is promising—I'm often dubious of a double IPA that only weighs in around the 7-8% ABV mark, but the extra weight marks this as at least being more hefty.
Nose is very solid. Firm, brisk hoppiness, with a piney, slightly vegetative undergrowth note, mingled with a slightly muted citrus character. Some dustiness, and a little semi-savoury sweetness like carob or crumbled chocolate. Not bad.
Taste is also quite pleasant. Again, the hop character seems to be quite vegetative, with a brusque pine-needle character mingled with some herbal, earthy tones. The malt is indeed very solid though, giving some pleasant crushed grain savoury notes, with a deep firm carob sweetness. There is a weight throughout the body which is pleasant—and despite the lower than usual ABV, it feels justified in calling itself a double IPA.
Feel is smooth and thick, with a weight that allows the body and malt to linger.
Overall, yep, this is a very solid brew. The hop and malt character are well-created and they make for a really enjoyable, balanced beer.
12oz brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. Possibly grey import, who's to say? Certainly not Leura.
Anyway, it pours a pleasantly hazed orange-amber hue, thick and heavy in the body, with a fine, filmy head of off-white. This leaves some pleasant fine specks of lace as it goes down, like a tine leopard has painted its spots with beer foam and rubbed up against the glass. Carbonation is languid, especially when tilted. Looks very good all up.
Nose is hearty and rich. Firm malt backbone, almost heading towards the savoury end of things with plenty of wholesome grain. Above this is a muted (and perhaps somewhat stilted) hop character, which is maybe the worse for wear after it's voyage across the seas to Australia. Still, there's a nice balance to it, although the hops turn a little organic—maybe like a pine-forest undergrowth.
Taste is better. Firm maltiness, with a twist of marmalade to it, bound up in a cage of slightly pine-fragranced hoppiness. Slightly silky and a little too sweet on the back, which lends a character like vanilla which is a little unexpected. Finish lingers a little, more with the silvery slick of sweet malt than a true hop bitterness, but it does extend the palate, which is a plus.
Feel is smooth and thick—it's perhaps this more than anything that suggests that the hops should be more prominent to balance the sweetness.
Overall, this is a very solid brew, and one that's held up well for whatever traumas it's been through on its way to our shores. Obviously, this would be better suckled from the teat of the secondary fermenter lying prostrate on the floor of the brewery—but as it is, it's still a good drop.
330ml brown bottle purchased from Barny's in Alexandria. A self-styled Marmalade Double IPA, brewed with "a vast concoction of citrus peals* and orange liqueurs added at the end of fermentation". *Say the bells of St Clement's.
Pours a very hazy pale orange hue, with lovely fine streams of carbonation making their way languidly through the body. Head is initially very frothy and thick, forming a robust crest of pale off-white. This settles out to a reasonably persistent topping that leaves a few globs of thick lace. Overall, it's not a bad looking brew.
Nose has a slight whiff of that citrus character the name suggests, but it certainly lacks a bit of potency. For the most part, it's pretty dry and flat, maybe with a slight suggestion of brisk grainy malt on the back. There's even a slightly organic character that might come from the yeast—although American Ale yeast should be pretty clean. Hmm.
Taste is certainly a bit better, and quite clean for the most part. Pleasant, pleasing citrus backed on a firm and persistent, but rather thin malt character. In fact the malt is a little underdone, but in a good way—the lack of body gives a slight additional sharpness to the brew, and the hops on the back accentuate some of the bittersweet citrus characters of the marmalade.
Feel is indeed a little thin from the lack of body, but it's a fairly decent match for the beer.
Overall, it is interesting—it's perhaps not quite as flavoursome as it might have been given the style and the claim of "really ridiculously fun beer" on the label. But the idea is solid, and I'll admit that Moon Dog keep getting me to come back to their beers with each release. So they must be doing something right.
74 / 100
33cl can purchased from Drinks of the World in Zürich. The front calls this an "Oat Soda", but the blurb specifies that it's an IPA. Apparently, "Oat Soda" is a Lebowski reference I don't get, but I don't know who's drinking Oat Sodas over White Russians in that film.
Anyway, enough about the Jeff Bridges caricature on the can. The beer pours extremely frothily, after uncapping with a massive hiss that almost made me think it was widgeted. Body is a mildly hazed amber golden hue, with streams of large-bubbled carbonation. Head is rocky and frothy, forming coarse, undermining bubbles if the large, off-white head.Lacing is patchy but sticky, forming in big streaks of crazy. Looks decent enough once it's settled down.
Nose, however, is fairly phenomenal. They've absolutely nailed the big, strong West Coast IPA aroma here, bringing a brilliantly pungent mix of sharp citrus, grapefruit, orange peel and pine resin. There's a sweetness to it that sings through the rollicking sharp citrus though, giving a faint hint of something caramel or candy-like—in fact, it's almost a marzipan character when mingled with the fruit on the nose. In any case, this is a really excellent aroma. Most Californian breweries would be thrilled with an aroma like that.
Taste is also good, but certainly not to the same calibre. Indeed, the main issue here is that it's really lacking a lot of bitterness, especially for a DIPA. Instead, there's a weak toffeed sugar character coming through and here a most definite marzipan nuttiness through to the back of the palate. Body is a little thin—it's not that there's a lack of weight to it, it's more that the characters just peter out after a while, leaving very little on the back—this may just come back to the lack of bitterness, however.
Overall, don't get me wrong: this is genuinely a pretty good beer. The aroma is phenomenal, but it backs it up with a fairly pedestrian flavour otherwise. There's still plenty to enjoy here though, and in terms of hop character, it's a long way ahead of any other Swiss beer I've had—if you like the style and you're stuck in Switzerland, it's definitely worth checking out.
72 / 100
A DIPA brewed with wheat, rye, dried figs and fennel seeds for GABS 2014, which is where I sampled it.
Pours a straight golden colour with solid hazing in thebody. Weight is solid as well, providing a firm base for the head, which forms in a clean ring of white. Not much in the way of lace, and the carbonation forms in thin streams. Looks okay though.
Nose is potent, but a little off-kilter. The hops are funky, almost with an organic pong to them. This is backed by a big syrup sweetness tending towards orange boiled candy and a little butterscotch. It's okay, but not great.
Light entry on the palate that eventually lays down a chewy candy sweetness. This is layered with more interesting flavours. Light fruit, tea, with a touch of aspirin towards the back. Very clean and smooth the longer it goes on though, with a lingering sweetness and a very smooth feel.
This definitely gets better as it goes on. While the aroma left a little to be desired, it at least still had potency on its side, and by the end it was a pretty drinkable drop.
74 / 100
22oz brown bomber purchased from Jane's Beer Store in Mountain View, CA, where the guy called this his "Pliny-killer". Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with Sam.
Lovely clear but deep golden colour with a very fine head that leaves some messy lace. Body is fine, but thick, holding a lot of static carbonation. Really, it looks very good for the style.
Nose is also pretty nice, but perhaps lacking the brightness and intensity of the best examples. There is a really nice rounded orange citrus note that works with the light malt sweetness. Some vague toffee characters help structure it, giving the hop notes a bit more basis.
Taste is very decent, with some nice balance to it. There's a solid toffee-sugar focused basis through the centre of the palate, but lifted by a nice citric hop character that gives it freshness. It does stay pretty flat, without a huge amount of complexity, but that's nice in a way: it has a dichotomous quality to it, with the malt and the hops each very individual, but each contributing to the beer as a whole.
Feel is nice. Very fine and sleek.
Overall, is this a Pliny-killer? Not by a long shot. And that comes from someone who doesn't consider Pliny one of the better American IPAs out there. This is indeed a very solid addition to the IPA oeuvre, but it really doesn't expand or redefine the style.
56 / 100
22oz bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Brought back to Sydney and shared with Sam.
Pours a remarkably haze orange-like hue, but the haze gives it a turbid brownness and traps the light. Head forms a tight mess of white that settles out leaving fairly nice streaking lace. Body is fine, with a touch of weight behind it, leaving languid streams of carbonation. Looks okay apart from the haze and the colour, which certainly make it a little less appetising.
Nose is a little dull, but a forward resiny aroma gives it a certain hop dosage. There's a little slight husky malt character coming through, but it's a little dusky and dank. It certainly smells a little tired. Whether it's from age, it's hard to tell. At least there's no true oxidation character.
Taste has survived a little better perhaps, but it's still a little flat. Booze comes through as well which feels a bit unbalanced with the lack of hops and true body. Thin husky malt with a touch of pepper from the booze and the lingering hop bite, which seems stronger and the front and on the finish, but gets lost in the morass a little in the middle.
Feel is fine, with a bit of slickness to the weight.
Overall, it's okay, but the hops seem a little like they're just doing the requisite work, especially on the aroma. To be honest, it's a fairly pedestrian, below-par IPA, something that I guess they know will sell because of the "IPA" on the label, and not because it's a particular stand-out of the style.
80 / 100
Tried on tap at GABS in Melbourne.
Pours a deep golden colour tending towards a pale amber. Some hazing comes through. Body is very heavy, which is not surprising at 11.9% ABV. Head is yellow-white and forms big frothy bubbles of residue and lace. Looks good.
Huge initial hit of hops on the nose. Big fruity sweetness almost tending towards candy brightness. Like on their Mad Hatter I get reminiscences of Redskins candy from childhood. Mostly it's bucketloads of hops though, and it's done with great style and power. I'm impressed.
Light entry on the palate with that aromatic candy sweetness coming through. This develops into a big true sweetness on the mid-palate, backed with an almost tea-like hop fragrance. Back does have a touch of the booze, but it's well hidden given its strength. Aftertaste lingers for a long time with plenty of clean bitterness. Feel is very smooth and tingly.
Overall, this is a cracker of a beer. Where's that 12% ABV? Were I a skeptical man I would say they're overclaiming—but I choose to believe that it just shows the skill of these guys that it ends up being as damn drinkable as it is for the strength.
22oz brown bomber purchased from Jane's Beer Store in Mountain View, CA. Highly recommended by Jamison who served me. I was going to take it back to Sydney to share with my people back there, but Jamison told me I had to drink it tonight. Who am I to argue with a man with a name like Jamison?
Pours a very hazy amber-orange colour, with a very thick and pleasing head of eggy white that leaves excellent lacing and persists as a fine pocked film. Body is extremely thick, and the carbonation is extremely languid, especially when tilted, staying almost static in the glass. Looks very good indeed.
Nose is also very good, especially on the initial opening and pour. Plenty of fresh, green herbal tones—more herbal than citric, certainly—turning slightly grassy and earthy as well. Malt character is rounded, providing a little sweetness, but it's in no way forceful: this beer is about the hops and it knows it. Powerful stuff.
Taste is somewhat more predictable. Rather flat malt character spiced with a slight pithy hop bitterness that flattens out as well in the morass of the malt. Slight oaky characters come through on the back, giving a suggestion of dankness. For a 144IBU beer, the bitterness sure is weak on the back—but I think the oak couches it slightly. It's pleasantly balanced at least—aggressive bitterness would probably make it worse, but it's certainly no match for the aroma.
Feel is good. Smooth and fairly thick with a good basis.
Overall, it's certainly a good beer. Is it on par with the best US IPAs? No, it's really not. I like it just fine, but it's probably the equivalent of half-a-dozen other similar beers I could have bought just about anywhere. Sorry, Jamison.
22oz bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a clear golden hue, with a sticky fine head of pure white that leaves tiny fine lace, and legs as it settles down. Carbonation is extremely fine through the body, which is showing every bit of its 9.7% ABV. Looks pretty heavy and quite impressive.
Nose is disappointing to say the least. For a beer called "Hop Juice" there's a devastating lack of hops. Mostly, it lacks aroma altogether. There's some cached sweetness, muted and flat and fairly neutral. This is laced with a slight pine disinfectant character and something like fresh kitty-litter. Really not very good.
Taste is similarly disappointing. In some sort of ironic impressiveness, it tastes very neutral—for a 9.7% beer to taste so weak, there's something unusual and skilled going into its production. Malt character gives a faint nuttiness that works off what little hop bitterness there is, but there's not a lot of that either. Mostly, it just tastes pretty bland.
Feel has a slight spritz to it which works nicely against the thickness that otherwise constitutes it.
Overall, it's definitely a sub-par DIPA. There are positive things about it, no doubt, but it needs a way more aggressive hop character to live up to its name. The aroma is extremely weak, and the hop flavour on the palate is pedestrian at best. The base is good though—I would believe you could make an awesome DIPA out of the same basic structure.
83 / 100
Enjoy by 05.16.14: made it with 2 weeks or so to spare. 22oz bomber purchased from Ales Unlimited in San Francisco.
Beautifully clear pale golden colour, with a very fine, sticky and white head that subsides in streaky lacing. Body is fine and sleek, holding plenty of static fine carbonation at its swirled. Big and bold.
Yeah, the nose is big. This is the point of that date blasted on the label. This is fresh, bright and hectic: big pine and herbal characters, crushed and pressed into aromatic bliss. "Devastatingly dank", it says as well, and there's certainly a dank organic character to it, giving a funky overhopped mass. Impressive stuff—just what you expect from a super-fresh Stone beer.
Taste is also superb. Clean, bright and fresh, with a solid smooth malt underpinning that never gets in the way. The bite comes in the back, with a firm bitterness gilded and caressed by a smoothness from the malt and the slightly higher ABV. Aniseed and piquant herbal notes complete the picture on the back, coming through move strongly as the beer warms slightly. It's a really great brew.
Feel is smooth and light with a slickness to help propagate the hop characters.
It's a big beer, no doubt, and yet it manages to be so surprisingly drinkable at the same time. After a while, I can feel the 9.4% ABV, but to be honest until I'd drunk most of the bottle, I didn't really notice it. That's the sign of a really good (or at least really distracting) beer.
22oz bomber purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. "Ale with grapefruit peel added" it says on the bottle.
Pours a beautifully clear, and fairly pale golden colour, with a fine white head that settles out to a fine bubbled film. Lacing is patchy but good. Body has some weight behind it, and allows carbonation to form in powdery waves. Looks great.
Nose is also great. Big peely citrus characters, bright and sharp: piercing in intensity. Under this is a distinct sweetness, like a clear but flat honey malt. The two characters don't integrate all that well, but they're each quite pleasant in their own right.
Taste is similar, although the sweetness takes on a slight marmalade character what with the citric bitterness from the hops and the grapefruit peel. This bitterness probably comes fairly strongly from the peel, as there's a acidic quality to the bitterness—different from the sharper, earthier tones you just get from hops. It integrates fairly well, but it's also maybe a tad too aggressive. Feel is glassy and smooth, with some weight behind it.
Overall, there's no doubt this is a good beer, and a big beer. I'm afraid it may be too much for me: it feels a little unbalanced, while still seeming very sweet and very bitter. But there's stacks that's good in it—it's just not the beer for me.
75cl dark green bottle purchased from Domus Birrae in Rome. Freshness date of 03/15.
Pours a musty, very dirty hazed golden colour, with a coarse, frothy head of white. Lace settles out in falling streaks. Body looks surprisingly light given the size of the beer. Carbonation is coarse as well. Overall, I'm not finding a great deal to like about the appearance, to be honest.
It gets better though. Nose is ripe with a full, albeit generic hoppiness. Fairly clean fruit characters, some pithy orange and a muted resin note. Boiled orange peel, pot-pourri a little sherbet. It's pleasant stuff—not the biggest IPA nose, but solid enough.
Taste follows a similar pattern. It's hoppy and balanced, but it feels a bit dank and tired and a little muted overall. Clean enough entry though with some of those orange-peel hop characters coming through on the mid-palate. There's also a slight yeasty tone to it that's not all that pleasant, and the malt is a little flat. Carbonation is high, making it feel a little overly frothy and slightly bloating.
Overall, I'm really quite astonished at how this turned out. Toccalmatto have quite a reputation, and this is one of their most well-regarded beers according to numerous sources. But this is tired at best, a pretty weak effort. It's not awful, and is certainly still drinkable, but I'm just surprised at how ordinary it was.
77 / 100
Tried on-tap at Bir & Fud in Rome.
Pours a true golden colour, with amazingly good clarity. Head is just-yellow white forming a foamy solid crest that sticks around with some persistent. Body is very hefty, but fluid. Lace forms in sheets. Overall, it's a really cracking looking beer.
Sharp, crisp and hoppy on the nose, just everything you want. Clean citrus, heavy resinous characters and fruit like kiwi or melon. Sharper notes of pine and ozone come through as well, making a solid and heady mixture. It's lovely.
Light and crisp entry, with an immediate bitterness and good fluidity—this isn't a sticky, chewy beer. Some rounded toffee malt comes through on the mid, and the hop character turns towards bitter lemon and quinine. Back is very clean and smooth with lingering bitterness that turns slightly green and vegetative in the finish.
Feel is very solid, but smooth: it managed to tame its massive weight and make it pretty drinkable.
This is very good stuff indeed. It's smooth and drinkable, but heavy and flavoursome at the same time. This is a beer brewed big with purpose—extremely well-crafted.
59 / 100
33cl brown bottle purchased from Domus Birrae in Rome.
Pours a fairly clean orange copper colour, with a fine, filmy crest of white that settles to some pocked bubbling. Lacing forms in tiny specks. Body is certainly solid, at 9.5% ABV, and holds very fine carbonation. Looks good all up.
Nose is clean but dusky, with a solid malty caramel note and some slightly herbal and medicinal overtones. Hops are certainly present, but they have a murky character to them, giving a lot more earth and overripe fruit character than clean crispness.
Taste follows on from this greatly—strong mashed banana and Jersey caramel sweetness, with a crushed red apple character to lift it up slightly. Bitterness on the back is much better, giving it a herbal twang and a hint of something medicinal or mineral. Finish is lingering with pithy fruit and a slightly over-fragrant malt like sprouted grain. Aftertaste has some aniseed. It has a lot going on, but I'm unsure that I like it all that much.
Feel is firm and full. Solid and would support a better array of flavours over the top.
I don't feel like this beer really does enough to warrant its hefty ABV. There are good characters in here, and some pleasant complexity, but it doesn't work together and doesn't create something spectacular enough to make me want to write-off most of the night on drinking it's 9.5% ABV entirety. At the end of the day, that's a little disappointing.
75 / 100
Tried from bottle at Ma Che Siete Venuti A Fà in Rome. 7.5% is a bit low for a DIPA as far as I'm concerned, but that's what they call it on the bottle.
Pours a pale orange-golden colour with solid hazing. Body is very solid, supporting a meringue-white head of very solid, frothy foam. Lacing is messy and intricate. Carbonation is very fine when tilted. Really looks very good.
Nose is great. Big, proper West Coast US IPA characters: citrus, juicy fruit and a touch of pine, prickly but fragrant. A hint of spice comes through as well, which adds a strange twist. Weight is moderated, but it's still very bright and strong.
Clean entry on the palate, with a slight herbal bitterness to it. Savoury hops come through with a solid bitterness. The mid palate tastes a little old though. The malt is clean and neutral but a bit tired, and the hops maybe don't have the zest remaining to cover it up. Aftertaste is pretty clean, with some lingering oils.
Feel is great. Very smooth and rich.
Overall, it's really very solid indeed and I like it a lot. There's some really nice aspects to it, especially the nose and the body. I still think it's one of the better Italian beers I've had.
59 / 100
75cl brown bottle purchased from Cave à Bulles in Paris. Brewed by Get Radical at Brasserie Corrézienne and named after a Rammstein song. The key part here is that no hop pellets or cones were used in its brewing, but 100% hop extract. As instructed on the bottle, I was listening to "Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen" while reviewing it.
Pours a very clear and bright golden orange colour. Body has some decent weight behind it, and holds carbonation in wonderfully fine, languid streams. Head is also great: a really nice firm crest of creamy, fine white that leaves excellent, tight lace. Looks great.
Nose is pretty weak, sadly. Thin, candied orange peters out to nothingness, while a faint barley-sugar sweetness sums up the rest. It's a bit of a shame that there's not more going on, but I guess that's what you get when you throw away all of your oils and resins in exchange for pure alpha-acid.
Taste is similarly fairly uninspired. It's clean at least, with a solid hop bitterness through the middle, but no breadth to the hop characters at all. Malt body is extremely muted, but at least it's there in the background to provide some support. It tastes like an IPA with all of the nuance and character removed: the bare bones around which a better beer could be constructed.
Overall: yep. This is what you get when you brew a beer with only extract. Sadly, it's clearly a pretty well-constructed and skillfully brewed drop of beer. But it's also a bit pointless.
75 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Cave à Bulles in Paris, on the recommendation of Simon, the beer guy.
Pours a musty, reddish amber with a little haze. Body is extremely effervescent, leading to a massive mess of tight foamy head despite a careful pour. Lacing is excellent. Carbonation is fine, but streams very swiftly through the beer. Looks pretty good.
Nose is great: big biting hop fragrance perhaps tending to the more herbal European style but still with plenty of classic US IPA notes of citrus and pine. Solid caramel characters come through as well, giving it something of a base. Aromas of menthol come through as it gets a bit warmer. It's nice stuff.
Taste is also very good. Solid, but restrained bitterness, balanced well with a firm and commanding malt sweetness. More of those slightly herbal hop characters pepper the mid palate, while some nuttiness from the malt comes through towards the end. Relatively long finish, with a continuation of some resiny bitterness in the aftertaste.
Feel is very smooth, aided by the cushion of very fine carbonation.
Overall, this is a very tasty French IPA. Simon said this was "the best IPA brewed in France", which I can believe—it's certainly a very solid example of the American style.
750ml bottle, caged and corked, purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.
Pours a deep orange hue, with flashes of red to it, brilliantly clear and bright. Head is excellent, a big, solid foamy crest that keeps solid to the bottom. Lacing is superb, leaving intricate, solid patterns on the glass. Decent weight to the body, while maintaining fluidity. It's a great-looking beer.
Nose is solid, but with a biting herbal quality to the hops that gives rosemary and a suggestion of eucalyptus. Citrus and fruit is certainly not on the agenda here—perhaps just a faint peely grapefruit quality that suggests bitterness more than anything. Malt is firm, but fairly neutral: there's not much to it.
Taste is also along similar lines. Pronounced bitterness towards the middle and back, with an entry that is ostensibly malty, but without much richness or complexity to the malt flavours. Lingering herbal notes towards the back give more of that rosemary note. Feel is smooth and light, with a kick and a bite from the bitterness on the back.
Overall, I'm a little bit disappointed, although it's still a solid brew. Boulevard have done some genuinely good beers, and I was expecting good things from this DIPA. But it's a little like a baseline: yeah, it's a Double IPA. But it's nothing more.
75 / 100
22oz bomber purchased in California and brought back to Sydney, where I shared it with Rich and Sam.
Pours a rather clear orange colour, with a solid weight to the body. Head is somewhere between white and off-white, which is probably getting too specific, but full and foamy, leaving some sheeting, intricate lace as it goes down. Carbonation is very fine. Looks good.
Nose is spicy with orange pith dominant mellowed by a rounded barley sugar character. Slight peppery tones come through as well, creating a little crispness. It's not a particularly dynamic nose, but it's certainly very pleasant.
Light entry on the palate with some spicy citrus coming through, leading towards a greener, slightly more herbal bitterness through the centre. This is rounded off again by that sweet barley sugar maltiness towards the back, helping it stay balanced. It's rather clean all up, helped by a peppery bitterness which punctuates the ending. Everything is held in check nicely.
Feel is full, but with a pleasant lightness. It works well.
It's extremely balanced for a DIPA, and as a result it's a lot more drinkable. I certainly enjoyed this a great deal.
90 / 100
Tried on-tap at Spooning Goats in Sydney.
Pours a bright yellow colour, with brilliant clarity. There's some weight to the body but it's super fluid even so. Head forms a gauzy cap of white that leaves a little lacing in filmy streaks. Carbonation is fine and looks intense when the glass is tilted.
Nose is insane—and no doubt helped by the fact that this beer is extremely fresh. Huge, crisp and bright with a wonderful fresh hop intensity. Lemon zest, crisp sharp fruit with an underlying mango and green papaya richness. Clean chewy malt characters give it a sweet basis underneath. Absolutely brilliant stuff. On par with the best US examples in my opinion.
Taste is also fantastic. Extremely smooth entry with some sweetness coming through well, but the overall impression is bright, sharp, stunningly clean and drinkable. It's insane. Hops come through crisply on the back, leaving a slight bitter linger and zesty after taste. It's so fresh, so clean, and astoundingly well balanced.
Feel is awesome too: silky, marble-like, but light enough to allow you to keep drinking it.
This is phenomenal stuff: right now, I think it's the equal of beers like Pliny. It's super-fresh, super-good, and super-drinkable. Have it now. Whatever it takes.
81 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.
Pours a hazed, slightly dirty golden colour. Head is great: big white crest of very fine bubbles that leaves beautiful sheaths of lacing as it goes down. Carbonation is extremely fine through the solid but fluid body. Looks pretty great.
Nose is sharp and thick with hop resin, but with an earthy, dank character to the aromas. Slight pine, crisp and heavy, some mandarin skin, and perhaps just a hint of oxidation. The power is there though, and it does some wonderful things even with what it's got.
The taste is where this really hits its stride in a big way. Gorgeous sweet citrus entry, more mandarin and peely orange, before a really pleasant spicy, but nutty malt character comes through. Cleansing bitterness works with the malt note to provide a bubbling conclusion to the beer. Everything it beautifully integrated, and the hop characters are interesting and very tasty.
Feel is good. Thick and smooth but with some effervescence towards the back.
Overall, this is outstanding stuff. Very tasty, but with balance and cohesion. More, it's extremely interesting, and does some things beyond what you expect from a standard DIPA. Wonderful stuff.
59 / 100
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne by Sarah.
Pours a lovely bright yellow-orange hue, slightly hazed, but quite vibrant. Head is great: a full crest of pure white that stays fine and persistent all the way down. Body is pretty light: actually works well for an IPA, but it could be thicker for an Imperial. Love the colour though.
Nose is clean and fairly hoppy, but is missing that big punch of hops you get in the best examples. Instead, it's neutral and clean, lightly herbal, with a bit of resin. But a good DIPA should really smack me about a bit.
Taste is also pleasant enough, but missing both of the key parts for an IIPA in my mind. Firstly, while it's bitter, the hop character only really comes through on the very back, leaving most of the palate fairly dry. And that brings up the second drawback: it has very little body. In a way, this helps hide the booze rather well, but it does present itself with the hop bitterness on the back to create a little astringency. It's okay, but feels very neutral and bland in many ways.
Overall, it's bumped up a bit by the fact that it's actually surprisingly drinkable for its ABV, largely due to the plain nature that it lays out. Were it bigger or bolder, it may be less drinkable, but it would almost certainly be a better beer.
Tried on-tap at Dejavu in Melbourne during Good Beer Week 2013.
Pours a weird non-colour. Brown? Orange? Copper? with opaque hazing. Head is very solid: a sudsy, fluffy mass of off-white that crackles itself out to a wide ring after a while. Body has some weight to it, and holds lines of streaky carbonation. Looks decent enough.
Nose is pretty malt-heavy. Some mild hops come through, along with a bit of roastiness. There's a sharpness and a spiciness either from the hops or the rye, but it's pretty weak aroma-wise. Some caramel and a hint of lemon come through as it warms. Eh.
Very light on the entry to the palate. Clean malt character lays down the foundations before a hot hop presence comes through, spicy but mild. Finish is sweet again, toffee slick with more malt making the hops a distant memory.
Feel is very smooth. It would be great if there were more hops.
More hops. Plenty of 'em. Make it so. It needs something else to cut through the malt. It has a fairly solid body here, but there's way too much sweetness. It's out of balance for what it is.
22oz bomber purchased somewhere in Northern California. Brought back to Sydney and shared with @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a deep golden colour with a full weight to the body. Mildly hazed, but mostly pretty clear. Head is pocked, filmy and white, leaving some fairly fine specks of lace. Pretty full. Carbonation is also pretty fine. Looks very good all up.
Nose is pleasant enough. Resiny characters come through above a bright but light barley sugar character. Some soapy lemon comes through, leaving a slight rusty twang in the nostrils. Peppery spice is also noticeable, while the barley sugar character turns a bit doughy as it warms up.
Light and sweet on the front palate, more of that sugar note, before a little greenery comes through the mid-palate, along with a touch of herbs and a faint citrus bite. Clean finish, which is actually something of a shame, because it could really use more bite. Just a slight soda tingle on the back. ABV is well hidden at least.
Overall, this isn't bad. There's certainly things to like in it. It could use a bit more complexity: specifically, some more integrated complexity. Still, this is a solid brew, clearly well-made. I'd love to try it super-fresh as well.
12oz bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney. Bottled on 07/05/2013.
Pours a hazed deep golden, with a slight amber edge coming through. Head forms a solid mesh of large bubbles and some fine, intricate lacing. Carbonation is fine in the fairly dense but fluid body. Looks pretty good.
Nose is oily with hops, but with a solid sweetness that seems to flatten out the impact of the hops, leaving it slightly fruity but empty. A hint of plastic or plaster comes through as well. It's okay, but doesn't really do anything for me.
Taste is a little better, because it does have a relatively pronounced hop bitterness which gives it an edge and a sharpness. Otherwise, it does still have a little of that flat sweetness again, and some peppery characters on the back. Finish is slightly medicinal, which is preferable to the lingering sweetness through the mid-palate.
Feel is a little heavy, but not to the detriment of everything else.
I think it really needs more hop aroma: I suspect this bottle is not at its peak being on the other side of the world from where it was brewed, and it was probably better when it was fresh. But right now, even within the 1-year-of-bottling date they give, it doesn't really stack up.
Pours a gold colour, very cloudy with foamy white head. Looks OK, not sure about the cloud.
Smells quite nice. Touch of caramel malt upfront before fruity hop notes take over - apple and a touch of passionfruit. Quite new world, fresh and tangy, but ultimately a bit subdued for an imperial IPA.
Taste is grainy upfront, touch of oatmeal to it, before the back end fills up with hops. More of that passionfruit tang and some pear notes, but then the hops take on a very herbal quality for the finish. Touch of basil and white pepper - not quite what I expected and still a little subdued for the style and size.
Decent body but a big kick of alcohol - could use more of that strength on the palate and less on the body.
A bit strong, and yet hop notes could be stronger. Seems like they've raised the ABV without raising the flavour in direct proportion.
73 / 100
Pours a golden amber colour, with thin foamy head. Nice and dense but really a little lacklustre on the top. Looks alright overall.
Smells quite malty, with caramel and a touch of honey before hops jut in. Grapfruit, lemon, touch of passionfruit and pineapple and an odd clovey spice hint. Fruity, floral overall. Very pleasant.
Malt upfront again is a nice start. Touch of cereal grain and oatmeal, slightly caramelised. Hops take over midway, with grapefruit and lemon and a touch of pineapple. Very enjoyable palate, really. Nice malt notes and lots of hops. Not sure if the transition is perfect so it's more a beer of two halves, but both are nice and don't clash.
Light carbonation but body is fine to carry it through.
Nice, good malt/hops balance even if the flavours don't seamlessly fuse. Good beer.
61 / 100
Pours an orange colour, vibrant with fair translucency. Head is off-white, large bubbles but no real lacing. Nice, but not wonderful.
Smells mildly hoppy. Decent citric notes, touch of peach, but mostly just light, fruity hops. Bit sharp and a bit one-tracked, but otherwise pleasant.
Taste is brash and hoppy from the start. Quite American - citric, in your face, bit of fruitiness and then all acidity. Bit of English-style malt there to balance it, doesn't quite manage it though, and the American-ness takes over. How historically apt.
Bit of hop pull; decent body but not quite enough to temper those hops.
Nice IPA stylings. Decent palate, just a bit brash and harsh. Could be mellowed out a bit and I wouldn't be complaining.
62 / 100
Pours a dirty orange-brown, cloudy to opaque. Head is yellow-tinged white, large bubbles, bit thin. Looks alright.
Smells very fruity-hoppy. New worldly, with passionfruit and a touch of mango. Citric edge as well though and getting more acidic as it warms up. Not much else to it besides hops.
Taste is also all hops, all over that. Citric, piney with resinous hop oils coming through on the back of that. Bit of cake better malt, but it's just one-note American citric & piney hop, really. I like, but it needs to show me more.
Feels a little hot at the back. Otherwise fluid but yeah, boozey.
Ticks all the right boxes for the style but it doesn't take it anywhere beyond the "Fuck yeah 'Murica IPA' zone.
60 / 100
22oz bomber purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Shared with Sam and Rich in Sydney.
Pours a slightly hazed deep orange colour, with a properly full and thick head of yellowish white that retains well. Lots of leopard-spot lacing wherever it touches. Carbonation is fine through the deep body. Looks pretty great.
Nose is very robust and piney, with strong resinous characters coming through as the dominant aroma. There's some sweetness as well, along with a little pepper character and some preserved lemon.
Taste is clear and fine-bodied, with a whack more sweetness than I expected, and not really much of the biting bitterness I'd expect from an IPA, let alone an impy. Instead, there's a messy stewed orange character that comes through, along with barley sugar and a slightly clinging cloy. By the end, the thickest part of the sweetness evaporates a little, leaving more pleasant stonefruit characters of peach and nectarine.
Feel is decent enough, with a robust weight to the body, although this accentuates the thickness and sweetness present in the flavour.
Overall, this is okay, but not much beyond that. It's a full-bodied and full-flavoured beer, but perhaps the flavours it have aren't all that welcome in a true DIPA.
71 / 100
Brewed for the GABS festival in Melbourne, which is where I tried it. Just getting around to entering notes some months down the track.
Pours a dull orange hue with very heavy hazing. Body is pretty solid, along with the hazing it makes it hard to pick out if there's much carbonation. Head is a pale white which forms a ring around the glass and leaves little streaks of lace.
Nose is a bit weak overall. There are a few peppery tones along with some plaster and a hint of citrus. It's pleasant enough in its way, but it doesn't punch me. An IPA should punch; and Imperial IPA should destroy me.
The taste is a lot better, fortunately. Fruity peach characters on the front with a lot of spice and some aniseed coming through. Melon on the mid-palate and a little resin leading into the hops, caressed by a very solid body of malt. On the back there's a little pepper, drying out the palate leaving an acidic citrus which is cleaning and clinging. It's nicely done.
Feel is quite clean, but with a thickness to remind you this is imperial.
Pretty good drinkability wise: it's a big beer done pretty well. It it had a kick more of aroma, then it would be awesome.
74 / 100
Moor's strange 660ml bottle, purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney.
Pours pretty much uncarbonated (and didn't hiss when uncapping), and only forms some bubbling on the top due to surface tension, which this beer has in abundance, being pretty thick and heavy. Body is a hazed, tending towards murky orange. It looks very still and thick in the glass.
Nose is quite pleasant: bright, rounded, sweet fruits come through giving some tropical overtones. But this is punctured by an interestingly earthy fragrance—it's like a combination of fruity, tropical hops (perhaps like you'd find in NZ or Australia), and earthy, herbal English hops. It's an odd combination, because you'd almost always find some citrus or pine seeping into the mix in this sort of aroma, and I really don't get any of that at all.
Malt character is fairly well pronounced, but the woody, herbal hop notes take away from any true grain or wholesome character. It's very nice overall.
Taste is pretty nice too. Big, bold malt basis plants itself firmly in centre-stage, while all around it the hops provide the spectacle. Solid woody, almost peppery bitterness slides down the centre of the palate, while the tropical aromatics react with the slight boozy note to provide a heady penumbra to the flavour. Hop bitterness does build up on the back of the palate, which after a while means that there's this dichotomy from front to back: first you sense the big malt flavour, and then very quickly all you sense is hop bitterness. It's interesting.
It's pretty smooth with the lack of carbonation, but I'd like it to have a little. Even a fine tingle across the tongue would liven up parts of it, especially the back with the hop oils coating the tongue.
Overall, though, this is very good stuff. It manages to be big in many characteristics, but still finds balance amongst the different beasts that it brings forth. Some extra carbonation and it would be awesome.
330ml bottle purchased from Oak Barrel in Sydney. Bottle dated 21/2/2013, so it's certainly far from being super-fresh.
Pours a pretty hazed and pretty dark amber hue, with a smooth, slightly fine head of off-white. Lace forms in stretchy streaks around the glass. The body is suitably heavy, and given it's only 8.2% it pretty much matches expectations. Carbonation is fine but latent. Looks pretty good.
Nose is definitely hoppy, but with a husky, vegetative quality to the hop character. Slight herbal tones, some grain-bran and an earthy, dusty character. Minimal malt sweetness, but with a touch of musk and a peppery overtone once you notice the musk. It's not bad.
Taste is similarly "not bad". Pretty smooth entry, with a rounded and solid malt basis that gives off a little booziness and some aromatic caramel and carob characters. The hops that come through later are strong, but a little generic: giving a straight resiny bitterness, but little nuanced flavours. These may have been a little better when it was fresher. Aftertaste has a pronounced buildup of hops, leaving an increasingly robust bitterness sip after sip.
Feel is based on the smoothness of the malt, but has influences from the boozy heat and the build up of resiny hops on the back.
Overall: this is solid stuff. To be honest, I don't think it's as good as the regular Bling, and it doesn't compensate for that by at least being a really proper huge DIPA. It's sort of in the middle: if it had have gone really stupidly big I would at least have been a little scared.
77 / 100
22oz bomber purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos, CA.
Intensely goopy pour, reddish orange and insanely thick and syrupy, forming a solid foam of yellow-white that I imagine only stays around because it's too much effort to sink back into the body. Carbonation is understandably fine and languid in the glass. Looks very intense.
Nose is bold and fresh, with mandarin and sweet orange coming through strongly above a toffee and barley sugar sweetness that not only holds up the other fragrances, but pushes them into the stratosphere like a slightly out of control rocket booster. There a herbal tones as well, which provide a grounding earthiness. It's pretty intense and pretty impressive.
Taste is thick. Thick and sweet with a valiant but ignominious hop character that seems to be a bit embarrassed about why it bothered to show up. Huge sugary barley sweetness is the bulk here, with the hops only providing a slightly earthy, slightly peppery counterpoint at the back that makes its presence felt with the assertiveness of an anaemic accountant stuck in the middle seat on an aeroplane between two obese African elephants. No offence to accountants, or African elephants. Seriously. It's big, it's sweet, and the hops are only an afterthought.
Feel is good and chewy: it's everything you want if you buy into the intensity of the palate.
Overall, this is big and intense. It's also pretty ridiculous—it overrides such petty concepts as "balance", "sophistication" or "common sense", but there's a heady glory in its abandon. I just hope that I managed to let go of my inhibitions and come along on the ride as much as it wanted me to.
82 / 100
22oz bomber purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos, CA. Brought back to Sydney where I shared it with Sam and Rich.
Pours a pretty thick orange, cloudy and opaque and full of chewy weight. Head only seems to form with some coercion, although it seems as though there's a fine bead to it which eventually coalesces into a very fine white cap. Mostly though, the head forms of large bubbles disturbed during an aggressive pour that just stay around because it's too much effort to push through the liquid to pop.
Nose is pretty impressive. Big, intense, and unmistakably hoppy. It has the rounded sweet tropical fruitiness that comes from a big dry hopping, but also the sharper greener notes I associate with (for example) New Zealand Nelson Sauvin. It's sharp and astringent, with a slight savoury note coming through as well. It's pretty heady and powerful stuff.
Taste is good stuff. Very clean, bright, slightly sweaty green hops pervade from start to finish giving a fragrant, vegetative character throughout the beer. Despite the incredibly thick body apparent in the appearance, it's really not overly sweet—mostly due to the insane level of hop character. But there must be malt to it: it never feels unbalanced despite clearly being a beer designed to shout "HOPS!!!". Slight spicy, peppery notes of capsicum on the back. It's very fresh and very fragrant.
Again, because it's so hop-forward, it feels lighter in the mouth than it should do given the size of it and its appearance. I'm impressed.
Overall, this is a big beer with a stack of flavour. I'm impressed at how well it manages to be so hop-focused and yet so balanced. The hops are sharp and crisp every step of the way, but the beer feels much more smooth and approachable than that character, or its 11.25% ABV say it should.
77 / 100
Pours an amber colour, head is yellowish cream, dense and foamy and pleasant. Lace clings nicely to the glass. Looks great.
Smells lovely. Loads of zesty, almost acidic, hops - citrus, passionfruit and a big sweet cake-batter malt. Caramelly, tangy, delish.
Taste is sweet, malty, cakey with caramel toffee and almond meal. Hops are citric but very resinous, giving sticky bitter notes on the back. Touch of oak sweetness, bit of booze heat that's a bit rich, but not hot. Palate is smooth.
Full, bit of sizzle. Feels a little boozey without flavour.
Big hoppy, resinous beer. Rich, but smooth and pleasant.
Pours a vibrant orange colour. Bit of cloud. Head is off-white, sparse bubbling but nice uneven lace. Pleasant.
Smells extremely nutty. Caramel toffee, sweet, earthy, peanut brittle, hazelnut toffee, some citrus zest, salted caramel and marzipan. Sweet more than zesty. Is that a problem? Maybe a slight one.
Taste is a bit cardboardy. Possibly oxidised? Tastes caramel toffee, malty upfront, then gets metallic midway, some slightly old herbs, rocket, some citrus tang. Bitter, bit of freshness but has an empty stale woody flavour as well.
Bit tingly, bit of body to it. OK.
Tastes a bit old, some nice notes but a bit meek. Will attempt to re-try, if possible.
69 / 100
330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a rather pale golden colour, with a solid haze and an even more solid head, forming a firm persistent crown of white froth. Some streaky lace is left behind. Body is quite fluid, and the carbonation isn't particularly noticeable in the glass even when tilted and swirled. Overall, though, it looks pretty good.
Nose is clean with hops for the most part, rounded with stonefruit characters and a suggestion of citrus. There's a faint carbonic and cardboard character that comes through a little bit, but not a lot, and it doesn't really harm the beer beside potentially muting the hops a little. It's a robust nose, but not really close to stupid.
Taste is also far from being stupid, but with a definite kick of resiny hops on the back that bends almost into a minty freshness in the finish. Front is more rounded, with peachskin and a decent malt presence to take up the weight. Finish has a slight medicinal bite to it, while the malt stays long enough to ensure length on the palate. It's pleasant.
Feel is also good: a decent balance to the rest of the characters.
This is probably a little bit old: I can imagine that were I to drink it fresh from the brewery it would indeed be Dangerously Close To Stupid—all of the marks of big hop characters are there. Until that day though, I'm perfectly happy to drink this mellower and more integrated version: it's a mark of quality that it's as good as this even when the hops have somewhat dropped out.
88 / 100
375ml foil-capped bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA. Shared with Rich some months later.
Pours a slightly hazed orange hue, with a messily bubbled, if not particularly thick head of white. Lace forms in tiny specks but no more. Body is extremely pleasantly thick, and holds the fine carbonation very well indeed. Overall, though, it looks very good.
Nose is awesome. Big fresh citrus hops like slightly underripe orange and mandarin. Big sweetness underneath mingled pleasantly with it providing a stretchy toffee character that plays off the citrus fruit wonderfully. This bottle is some months old, I know, and the fact that it still stands up so damn well is a testament to just how good it must be fresh. Fantastic stuff.
Taste is also extremely good. The malt basis is strong, but neutral enough to just give the stage to the hops, which roar through with a pleasant intensity, touching everything as they work from front to back. Clean bitterness throughout, with a brightness that reminds me of Pliny. Slight green kiwifruit and leafy chewiness on the back gives a cleansing flavour, while the bitterness and hop oils linger for some time. It's really excellent stuff.
Feel is clean but smooth, with a thickness that supports everything, and a lightness which lets the flavours do their work.
Overall, this is blissfully drinkable, amazingly balanced and just damn *good*. The flavours are really beautifully put together to produce a beer of great substance and character while maintaining a pleasant approachability. Fantastic stuff.
42 / 100
So I had this on tap at the Local Taphouse as part of their 'Dark Side' makeover. I heard in passing that it was the version brewed at Moylan's but I'm not 100% sure. If I'm wrong please correct me, especially as, well I didn't like it that much.
Pours a red colour, fairly pale. Pale beige head, fairly thin with some decent lace. Looks nice, but pretty light.
Smells like an IPA. Fruity citra-esque hop notes with passionfruit, pulpy mango and orange peel. Decent hops but has no darkness at all.
Thin flavour. Hops are dominant throughout with passionfruit and citrus late. But not much malt or other flavours to balance. Bit of booze heat late, without the sweetness to match. Pretty unimpressive and thin and bland.
Thin mouthfeel. Really thin. For the ABV there's just no presence until the very back. Actually almost impressive how little body there is for the size.
Wow. Have no idea what went wrong here. So much pedigree. Just not showing through.
330ml brown bottle purchased from Beer Cartel in Sydney.
Pours a slightly dirty orange colour, with persistent haze and an off-white head of messy bubbles that don't persist as much more than a film. Nice, light speckled lace in places. Body is light. Overall, it's a bit underwhelming.
Nose is pleasant. Bright US hop characters of sweet citrus tinged with a resiny pine fragrance. It has a pleasant bright woody tone to it for the most part: the fruit characters manage to come through when it's swirled, but the sharper perfume characters are dominant when it's just sitting.
Taste is extremely odd, or at least moderately odd. For the most part, it seems quite a pleasant standard IPA, with a clean bit of hops on the front backed by some slid, neutral malt. But on the back, a distinct smokiness comes through—I'm sure I'm not imagining it. It mingles with the hops to provide a strange metallic magnesium character, and it lingers as a dark undertone in the aftertaste. It's very strange.
Feel is good. Light, but with a slight tingle.
Overall, I'm a little confused, but it's pleasant enough. It is not, however, a good example of a pure, straight IPA. Even if it's not smoke, the palate goes in very strange directions. They're not unpleasant, they're just a little baffling.
57 / 100
330ml bottle purchased for me by @LaitueGonflable from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
The bottle is completely filled to the lip, meaning there's no air at all under the cap, and the beer doesn't fizz with carbonation at all on uncapping. No sediment in the bottom either, so I guess this was just a zealously counter-pressure filled bottle. It does pour with some carbonation at least, forming a misty haze of white atop the brilliantly clear almost rose-golden body. Some fine but insubstantial lacing forms when the beer is tilted. Looks reasonable.
Nose is sharp, and slightly medicinal with a dark metal twang to the aroma, and an undertone of marzipan. Slight other nuttiness as well, subtle and with a syrupy note coming through. Hmm. It doesn't really grip me, and the characters seem slightly too harsh.
Taste is similar. Rounded and nutty on the palate with the malt presence forming quite strongly. But the hops provide a thin, sharp vector that tastes resiny, slightly medicinal and almost phenolic. Almond skin with a jarring bite of metal. The back smooths things out somewhat, leaving the beer a little smoother than it might otherwise have been, but this also means that it doesn't really live up to it's DIPA tag.
Feel is quite smooth, and perhaps undercarbonated after all.
Overall, this is only a slightly above average brew. Despite my criticisms of the harshness that comes through, after a while it just seems to end up pretty dead and flat, which is probably a worse fate for it.
On tap at Vices & Versa.
Pours a russet colour. Head is cream-coloured, dense with small bubbles. Decent lace. Pretty good.
Smells intriguing. Floral and spicy. Citrus, hibiscus and pepper with smoked meat notes and capsicum. More intriguing than outright 'wow, yum' but definitely worth a sniff.
Taste is huge caramel and toffee. Massive malt notes, almost underfermented at times, but yeah big sweetness on the front then hop oils on the finish. Quite big, kinda crystallised sugar on there. Interesting balancing act to it as well with the hops. Not ideal, a bit one way then the other. Like a clothes dryer in beer form.
Foamy, full body, maybe a bit sticky but otherwise superb texture.
Decent big IPA. But yeah, this style worries me a lot of the time, and this is a case in point. Just tone it down a little bit.
74 / 100
Bottle purchased for me by @laituegonflable from Montréal where he'd tried it (and loved it) on tap. 500ml brown bottle bottled on the 18th of June, only about six weeks ago.
Pours a rather deep golden hue, on its way slightly towards amber. Head is excellent: forming a solid, but not outrageous head on the pour, but staying persistently as a full crest right down to the bottom. Plenty of specked lacing as it goes down. Body looks hefty, and the carbonation seems pretty hard pressed to move when the glass is tilted. Looks good.
Nose is surprisingly subdued for an IPA, but still rather pleasant. Perfumed, slightly floral characters come through nicely, along with a restrained, pleasant green herbal note. Some vague estery tones come through a little as well, although they pleasingly meld with some of those floral characters. Very pleasant.
Taste is really nice, and strangely I think coming from an unexpected source: the malt. Light entry quickly gets structured with aromatic, mild caramel flavours that press against and ultimately intertwine with the hop character, which is much more prominent here on the palate than it was on the nose. Back is quite spicy, and you can indeed taste the booze, but it's a subtle transition from hop bitterness to booziness, which provides a pleasant quirk in the tail. The hops are actually quite neutral, which is no bad thing, but they provide a fairly clean bitterness without giving off much in the way of idiosyncrasies. In the end, it means the beer is quite clean and clear for the most part.
Feel is slick but solid, with heat from the booze towards the back.
Overall, this is a very drinkable brew. I found the hop character a little bit muted for a hop-centric IPA, but it ended up being pretty pleasant all the same.
82 / 100
Pours a pale golden colour, clear. Head is white, doesn't retain but lace is spectacular. Looks good.
Smells Belgian and weizeny in equal measure. Banana with spice phenols. Clove, coriander, white pepper. Not bad but not getting a lot of hop character [note added later: I've learned that palisade is not all that great as an aroma hop, so this all made a lot more sense].
Taste is very decent mix. Belgian style but with lots of citric hop notes as well: slight lemony note with cake batter, candied orange, lemongrass on the back and slight vinous oak. Big; nicely reined in though for lots of flavour without too much hang at all. Excellent drop.
Bit of booze, but not too hot and not too dry. Pleasant.
The more I drink the more I like it. Superb Belgian IPA. Absolutely seamless transition between distinct styles. Blending of the hops in with the yeast esters and phenols is very tasty indeed. Wonderful drop.
73 / 100
Tried on-tap at the GABS 2013 festival in Melbourne. They call this an Imperial IPA, even though at 7.5% I'd be tempted to leave it in the single category. But that's maybe just preference.
Pours a hazy orange colour, solid and pleasant in the body with very fine, almost powdery carbonation. Head is white and solid and forms nice rings of lace as it goes down. Looks pretty good.
Nose is pleasant. Orange hoppiness, and some clean resiny characters. There's also a suggestion of pepper as well and with it an invocation of something slightly spicy and Belgian. It's odd, but pleasant.
Spice and orange seems to be the theme here, with those characters dancing together on the front palate. Some greener notes slip in, with a crispness backed up by pleasant neutral malt on the mid palate. Finish is actually predominantly malty, with only enough bittereness to restrain it and provide some balance. There's also a suggestion of heat towards the finish, but mostly it's quite clean and crisp.
Feel is light, which also helps balance the malt characters.
Overall, this is very nice stuff, and I'm impressed. I'd never tried anything from Green Beacon before, but this certainly made me sit up and take notice.
74 / 100
On-tap at the Courthouse Hotel during Good Beer Week 2013. I got the last pour of their one keg (free as a result), so the head was frothier than usual. I promise I won't hold it against it—certainly not as it was a freebie.
Pours a very clear copper colour, solid in the body. Head is a creamy white crest, obviously exacerbated by the keg blowing into a frothy mess. This does settle down though, and leaves some solid speckled lacing. Overall, it actually looks pretty damn good.
Nose is excellent: big, sharp, fruity and bright. Lemon sherbet sweetness mixes with a tart and sharp passionfruit character, more bright orange citrus characters, all underpinned with a mild toffee note to give is some basis. Overall, it's good stuff, and very nicely weighted.
Palate follows similar lines, but is a lot less full and flavoursome. Light orange with a touch of spice comes through on the entry, followed by some grainy cahracters, a suggestion of earth and some muddled copper metallics. There's even a suggestion of smoke. Finish is quite light, with a very restrained bitterness.
Feel is very light and smooth.
Overall, it's a very drinkable IPA with a truly lovely aroma. It misses a little bit more on the flavour side, but it's still exceptionally smooth and enjoyable.
69 / 100
Tried on-tap at Alehouse Project in Melbourne during Good Beer Week 2013. This is a collaboration between the two guys from Epic, plus the brewers from Hallertau and Liberty Brewing. (2 + 1 + 1 = 4! Clever, see?)
Pours a deep golden-reddish hue with some hazing. Body is very solid and hold some very fine, effervescent carbonation. Head is just off-white and forms a very, very fine crest which leaves intricate lacing. Looks pretty damn good.
Big, heavily weighted aromas on the nose: chewy, meaty and malty at its core, with some rounded fusty fruit characters that wallow in all the richness. It's fat. Some peach aromas are the only real lightness to it, where the malty, chewy, boozy characters stand out.
Rich, heavy entry on the palate too, moving towards some marmalade mid-palate. There's still stacks of sweetness though, and only a slight vegetative hop character until the back. Here the hop presence is more pronounced, with bitter heather characters coming through strongly. Even here though it feel heavy and boozy though, with port noticeable and the flavour flattening out once the heat has roared through.
Feel is great, and fits with the rest of the characters: intensely heavy and rich.
I was surprised at how sweet this was. It was always going to be heavy, boozy and hard, but the sweetness was what really surprised me: it almost feels slightly underattenuated. The hops try valiantly (and there are clearly buckets of hops in this, don't get me wrong), but they are fighting a strong foe in the malt here, and it feels just a little bit like it's not quite a fair fight.
69 / 100
750ml DFH-embossed brown bottle, purchased from Whole Food SoMa in San Francisco.
Pours a pleasant bright orange-golden colour, with a fine, slightly filmy white head. Lacing is specked and intricate, falling away in great streaks down the glass. Body looks pleasantly fine, and holds misty, powdery carbonation. Overall, it's a good-looking beer.
Nose is less potent than I expected, but pleasant enough. Sharp, green hop characters give a resiny edge to the beer, while a rounded caramel character provides the bulk. There's some wheaty, husked grain characters which come through too, giving a raw, slightly rustic edge. The hops are present at least, but not particularly potent.
Taste is similar: big caramel malty sweetness provides the basis of this beer, while hops cut through a little but never become dominant. Light lemon-citrus characters, a musky, slightly salt-saline tone and some brisk peppery herbal characters on the back. Finish is dry, but with lingering medicinal herbal characters. It's not bad, but it's not really inspired.
Feel is light but smooth, kept in check by the hop character and a very fine carbonation.
Overall, this is decent stuff. It's quite well-balanced, pretty drinkable even for 8% ABV, and with a good amount of flavour. It is a little bit generic though, and in the end does feel a bit like a beer we've all had before.
72 / 100
22oz bottle purchased from BevMo in Menlo Park, CA.
Pours a lovely clear deep amber-gold colour, with a full, fine and persistent head of creamy-white. Lacing is steady, thick and rich. Body has some weight behind it, very pleasantly, with some large-bubbled carbonation. It looks very good indeed, what a good DIPA should look like.
Nose is a little weak: soft, leafy hop characters cradling a structured malt presence, reasonably well put together, but not particularly strong or aromatic. There's some baked bread aromas, some lemon and rosewater from the hops and a faintly sharper herbal or peppery note. It's all quite pleasant, and reasonably well balanced, but it's just not that exciting.
Taste is similar. Very nicely balanced malt and hop characters are nonetheless muted, leaving a ghostly impression of bitterness and richness without actually creating much in the way of true full flavours. Light, biscuity tones, oily bitterness that fades quickly, some leafy, slightly herbal vapours on the finish. Feel is smooth and light: pleasant.
Look, this is a nice beer, and maybe I'm just an idiot for wanting a Double IPA to punch me in the face from start to finish—but I do believe that's what a DIPA should do. This is well-structured, pleasant and easy drinking, but compared to the most flavoursome examples, this feels a little banal.
Very oddly sized 500ml dark green gueuze-like bottle, crown capped and then foil coated. Purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. Self styled "Emperial IPA". Stats on the bottle claim OG of 1085, IBU of 100, EBC of 5.
Pours a very clear golden colour, astonishingly light in body for 10% ABV, with a fine and reasonably persistent head of quite light white. Lacing is spotty but fine. But I just can't get over how light and thin this looks. I've never seen a DIPA of this strength look so light before. (Given OG of 1085, by my calcs this gives a final gravity of 1010 or less, so it's not surprising).
Nose is sweet and hoppy, almost dusky with hops with a big inhalation. The sweetness has tones of butterscotch and toffee to it, while the hops give of characters of Redskins candy and fairy floss. There's a grassy, peppery tone to them, where the dusky, almost earthy character comes from on the back. Together with the toffee sweetness, it almost gives a chocolate character. It's very fascinating stuff.
Taste is sweet and slippery, with a pungent almost medicinal bitterness through the centre of the palate that nonetheless fails to provide a really pronounced bite of hops on the back. It's more the soapy bitterness of cardamom pods in the centre, with more malt providing sticky toffee and a hint more butterscotch. The feel is where this really just misses the mark for me: it's far, far too light to support even the mildly aggressive characters here, even with the restrained bitterness on the back palate.
However, the lightness gives it a hidden drinkability: perhaps providing a threat in a beer that is genuinely big even when it doesn't feel it. It didn't really wow me, but there's certainly plenty of interest to be had in sampling it.
Pours red, ambery colour light lace. Head is bubbly but pillowy, beige colour. Overall a little thin, looks good but heavy.
Smells fresh and inviting. Sweet, vanilla-tinged aromatic malt with light citric notes - orange, mandarin and some stonefruit. Lychee even. Very pleasant indeed.
Taste is tangy, but a bit too earthy and gravelly. Sweet toffee malt with touches of citrus, pine needle and apricot, but also a bit of banana bread, pumpernickel and balsamic vinegar, none of which I really want. Overall pleasant, but a bit heavy in places and a little confusing in others.
Lingers a bit too long on the bitterness, but decent texture otherwise, for something as big as this.
Bit too heavy in places. Lots of potential, but a bit overblown. Sadly feels inevitable once you get this big.
71 / 100
Squat Italian-style craft 330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne. This is a collaboration between Opperbacco, Foglie d'Erba and Dada, weighing in at 9.2% ABV and 409 IBU.
Pours is a very deep orange colour, with a very heavy haze. Head is a fine but filmy and bubble-riddled affair. Some solid lace, forming decent patches. Thick, juicy body, with a lots of fine languorous carbonation. Looks good.
Nose is a big, spicy, oily, resiny bomb. Stacks of sharp hops, pine, and eucalyptus. There's a smoothness underneath it, which ensures it doesn't feel too potent: some vanilla and caramel that melds with the spice to give a slight dark fruit cake note. It's quite pleasant.
Taste is similar. Big, oily hop presence throughout, always backed up by enough malt to provide support and balance. The hop flavours are very strong, however, and run right through fragrant and spicy to the other end of the spectrum: biting, cutting, resin and pine—almost antiseptic in the mouth. So while it doesn't feel unbalanced, it does have a very intense flavour profile.
Feel is very smooth and fine. Very creamy carbonation—it's smooth and very pleasant.
Overall, this is definitely good stuff. It could use more nuanced complexity to it, especially on the palate: rather than just going for intensity, there's a structure that could help it. But despite this, it's very nice stuff. Big, flavoursome and exciting: there's nothing wrong with that.
90 / 100
330ml bottle purchased for me by @LaitueGonflable for Christmas.
Pours a beautiful hazed peach colour, with a full, frothy head of white, that sticks to the edges as persistent lace. Body is solid and juice, and hold a small amount of fine carbonation. That colour is lovely, and it's the main deal of the beers appearance. Looks wonderful.
Nose is fragrant with stonefruit sweetness, dusted with a slightly peppery overtone. Clean, fragrant hop resin sticks in the sinuses, while the solid sweetness provides richness and depth. Awesome. So fragrant, but well integrated, and pleasingly different from the stock-standard IPA.
Taste is delicious: big stonefruit juiciness again, with mellow preserved lemon, quince and lilly-pilly edges, bitten back by a crisp peppery finish. Sweetness forms as a beautiful nutty amalgam of hops and malt, leaving a sweet-savoury mid-palate that coasts into a comforting finish. Very nicely balanced indeed: juicy, rich and flavoursome, but checked and balanced and masterfully reigned in.
Feel is clean and light, but with a bestowed body to support the flavours on the palate.
Wow. I'm very much impressed. This is my first beer from Omnipollo, and it certainly shall not be my last. This is a superb IPA, up there with some of the best I've tried. It's so fragrant and delicious, but balanced and supremely drinkable. Extremely good stuff.
47 / 100
Pours an amber colour, slight cloud to it. Cream-coloured head, foamy and sticks around nicely. Decent-looking IPA.
Lots of floral hop character, slightly US west coast character overall. A little bit cloying to be honest, needs more zip or tang.
Floral hops again on the palate, and not a lot of complexity to it. Gets very dour and bitter on the back, slightly astringent. Again the floral notes from the hops are slightly cloying and the back is very bitter.
Not a bad feel, really; just a bit muddy on the back and slightly bitty.
Just not really a simcoe advocate, and this has them in spades.
45 / 100
Pours a red-brown colour, clear with beige foamy head. Average retention. Overall looks a bit fluid, for a 'dubbel' cognate. Some haze wouldn't go amiss, or more apparent body.
Huge malty-sweet character with a big bubblegum and burnt sugar character and lots of fruit. Slight hint of tangy new world hops, light and with decent complexity. Smells maybe a bit underfermented. So sweet, needs more spice and phenols to balance it out.
More sweetness on the palate, fruity bombardment. Loads of melon that evolves into a boozey mediciney character towards the back. Gets a little muddy almost, only without the complexity, just a whole load of the one strong flavour. The IPA component should be really ramped up to combat that phenolic character, more freshness. Tastes sweet and heavy.
Not quite full, with a bit of fluidity that allows this otherwise stodgy beer to go down quite easily.
Here's an example of style getting lost by trying to do too much to it. Can't recommend.
80 / 100
Pours a golden colour, clear with webbed white head that settles out quite quickly. Bit watery-looking for the style.
Pleasant IPA nose. Lots of US and NZ hop characters on show, fruity and floral and slightly piney. Hops are lovely and soft, though. It's tricky to get such a nice light fruity hop note for a big beer.
Malty character with US hops and NZ hops again giving fruity, resiny characters both upfront and towards the back. Bit of a boozey note, sweet though with nice hop oils. More sweet and malty on the palate than on the nose. Hops maybe take more of a back seat but it's decent.
Where's the booze here? Smooth, hoppy and good.
Great double IPA. Would be so easy to go overboard but there's a real artisanal feel to it.
79 / 100
500ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.
Pours a juicy and thick deep orange, turning to amber in the depths, with a frothy, fine and very pronounced head of yellowish off-white. Lacing is spectacular and intricate when it forms, looking like a variety of alien limbs. Body is weighty, and holds powdery carbonation when tilted. All up, it's a damn fine looking beer.
Nose is gorgeously ripe and full, with powerful citrus tones, sweet fruit, peely acidity all sharpened by a green herbal presence which gives characters of basic and pine. Some smooth honeyed malt sweetness provides a counterpoint, and even though it's a lighter-style sweetness it does a good job of holding up its end. But really, this is gorgeous stuff—on the sharper end hop-wise, but the Kiwis do such a good job of that that it's completely understandable.
Taste is also good: big powerful resiny hop characters, solid if muted malt, again with a honey overtone, and a finish of pine and pithy lemon. My only issue is that here the sharpness is dominant, and it seems to push aside some of the more subtle hop flavours: the rounded citrus and those delicate herbal tones are lost amongst the piney bite that roars down the centre of the tongue. It's still a very good DIPA: the aggression is no doubt requisite in the style, but I feel like it could have been a better beer if played with a little more subtlety.
Feel is fluid but chewy and rich. Lovely stuff here, although that hop-bite is almost a feeling in itself.
Don't get me wrong. I love it, despite what I personally might want it to be. 8 Wired do a fantastic line in hopped-to-hell beers, whatever their category, so it shouldn't surprise me that their DIPA is aggressively bitter and brutal. It's completely understandable, forgivable and even perhaps inevitable.
89 / 100
Tried at the Local Taphouse in Sydney as part of their Dark Horse AleStars evening, along with a few other of their beers. This was my pick of the evening, however.
Pours a deep, crusty, clouded orange colour, with a fine white persistent head that eventually settles down to a thin ring. Has some very solid lace that forms in patches. Looks pretty good.
The nose is just gorgeous. Big, crisp, sharp orange brightness with a backing of sweet sherbet. Even a touch of fragrant rose, along with floral gin botanicals. It's that clean sweetness mingled with the sharp citric tang: candied peel, fresh lemonade. It's just gorgeous, and so, so pleasant. Love it.
Taste is similar: candied orange flavours, smooth sweetness that melds seamlessly with the sharpness. Spicy characters come forward towards the back, along with a bit of booze, but never enough to damage the smooth, pleasant finish. A touch of pine comes through to remind you it's a big IPA even still, but it's clean, bright and leafy—again reminding us of the fresh fragrance. By the end, the booze and citric melds into a warming character of kumquat liqueur.
Feel is chewy and rich, but clear and pleasant.
Wow. This is really good. For a beer that's over 13%ABV this is stupidly drinkable. This is a really, really good BIG IPA—I'm not sure I've had such a balanced and pleasant IPA this big. It's ridiculous, it shouldn't be possible. And yet here we are.
This was brewed as a one-off for the Murray's Hoptoberfest dinner at their Manly location during craft beer week. It was a 100% Brett-fermented IPA, 11% ABV and packed to the eyeballs with hops. Take this review with a grain of salt: this was brewed to be extreme and to pander to the ravenous crowds who want insanity over balance and poise.
Pours a solidly hazed orange hue with a surprisingly light and liquid body. Head is solid and fine and quite pure white. Some spots of lacing, but the fluid body doesn't really let anything stick.
Aroma is immediately pummeled with a mineral bite, almost like chlorine at the start. Then the hops make their presence felt, leaving a raucous cacophony between the brett and the fruitiness. Think bitter melon, tough lychee skin or tropical juice that has been sat in the sun for too long. The mineral character gives it a saltiness as well, which is just weird.
The taste is actually a lot less cacophonous, but surprisingly less complex as well. The front bites with a biting, slightly phenolic pepper and chlorine mix, before the bitterness from the hops kicks in, leaving a raw line down the centre of the tongue and an astringent finish. It's only after all this has been left behind that the intense booze character appears on the aftertaste. It's powerful but slightly painful, and feels pretty unbalanced. Feel is quite thin and raggedly biting.
I think this needs to go one way or the other: it could really actually use some true acidity to it, taking it down the sour route and properly complementing the funk and all the weirdnesses that come with that. Or else, you could remove the brett funk altogether: for a start, the hopping feels way too high for the brett, melding to form that offensive chemical character.
Whatever happens, this felt very much like an experiment (as it was), but it's not one that I'm particularly keen to repeat.
This was the final beer of the night at Murray's hop-focused Sydney Craft Beer Week dinner. It was brewed with a large proportion of isohop, giving it a lab-tested bitterness far, far above what the human taste buds can justifiably sense. As with the other brews at the dinner, this was an experiment, and wildly divergent from their regular range. Hence, take my review with a grain of salt: it's not indicative of Murray's as a whole.
Pours a light orange colour, with a very heavy haze. Body is solid enough, which isn't unexpected. Head is a solid, slightly frothy yellow-white crown that leaves some patches of lace. Looks decent enough.
Nose is intensely spicy and hoppy, tending towards grassy and funky. Big, pithy lemon rind suggests freshness, before the organic brutality comes through, leaving funk, earth and stacks of grassy, oily, bitter-in-the-nose intensity. It's too much.
But wait! Did I say it was too much on the nose? Holy crap, this is even worse on the palate. Bitter. Bitter. Bitter. Did I say bitter? How about long, and lingering and bitter? Really, this tastes of nothing, and numbs your tongue while it's doing it. Isohop? Check! That's about it. It's stupid. It's unreasonable.
This was always going to be this way. This is pushing beer far beyond the boundaries of sense and reason into something that was always going to be unbalanced and nigh-on undrinkable. That was its goal, and it achieved it. But really, this is a stupid beer that I'm glad only gets to exist as a gimmick.
(Note: I'd probably put this below Mikkeller's 1000IBU, but below the 1000IBU Lightâit has the intensity of both, but less balance than the 1000IBU. Fortunately, it provides a little bit more backing than the 1000IBU light...)
I had this as part of the Murray's Hoptoberfest Dinner at Murray's@Manly during Sydney Craft Beer Week. Pretty much what the name says: the Icon, oak-aged. Note that this was made as a one-off experiment: it's hence not indicative of Murray's beers in general.
Pours a deep bronze-colour, probably a shade or two darker than the regular Icon, from memory, with a solid, slightly billowy white head. Lacing is solid enough, and the body looks solid but fluid. Not bad.
Nose is full of oak, with the hops striving vainly for a look-in. This gives a slightly funky greenness to the aroma, along with a freshness like newly caught fish. But mostly it's oak: vanilla and smoothness with a slight sharp grassiness.
The front of the palate is dominated by the oak, with a woody vanilla flavour starting strongly, and leading into a smooth, oddly flat mid-palate. By the back, there's some prickly hop bite coming through, but it's rather grassy and a little bit lacklustre. Aftertaste has reverted back to the oak, with a very woody but smooth finish.
Smooth in the mouthfeel as well: this is probably the only aspect of the beer that is better than its counterpart.
It's a little bit overwrought at times: the oak is used a bit like a sledgehammer, and it doesn't necessarily complement the hops or the base beer overall. It has a smoothness, but it feels like too much, and the balance is off: it makes it a lesser beer than the straight Icon.
76 / 100
Bottle purchased directly from the brewery as part of a bulk BrewDog order with other Sydney beer aficionados. Shared with @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a burnished red-amber hue, with a frothy and relatively stable head of very mildly off-white. Lacing is speckled but very decent. Body is thick and solid and holds very nice fine carbonation. It looks bold, heavy and deep: all good things.
Nose is C-heavy: huge crisp and sharp fragrant citrus aromas pretty much leave no room for anything else. Very fresh and very pungent, but it's extremely one note. Fortunately, it's a note that is exceptionally good, but still, I'd love a bit more complexity.
Taste is similar, although the body is thick enough to provide a serious basis here, and leaves a bit of caramel and toffee. But still the main event is that pungent, fragrant and biting citrus character. There's a hint of medicine on the end: perhaps the ABV just can't stay hidden for so long. It gives it a slight cherry note on the finish, which adds up to an odd candy character all up. Feel is smooth and fluid.
This is certainly good. Is it better than "good", though? That's the question I've been trying to resolve. I love the directness of the hops: it's intense while still being familiar and lovable. And yet, there's perhaps not a great deal more to it than that. That's the conundrum of this beer. On another day, this might have gotten 5's across the board. And another it might be worse.
Bottle purchased in California, and brought back to Sydney to share with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours a slightly deeper than golden gold colour, with a touch of copper to it. Head is a frothy, inconsistent film that forms some large bubbles in places and a misty nothingness elsewhere. Body is pretty firm and pleasant, and leaves streaks of static carbonation as it's tilted. Looks good.
Nose is hoppy, but in a generic way: clear slightly vegetative or oily pine characters, above a solid cushion of sweet maltiness. It's fragrant, but it doesn't really offer anything above the ordinary.
Taste is a little flat, but it's actually pleasantly balanced. Mild tangy hops above a clean malt presence. It forms a slightly biscuity base, while the hops (while still generic) provide a nice cleansing and slightly herbal bitterness on the back. Feel is slightly thick, partially because of the build up of hops on the back.
Overall, this is a pretty generic IPA, but it has a cleanness and a nice balance to it. Let's just say it does "generic IPA" really very well.
88 / 100
Bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Brought back to @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe in Sydney.
Pours a lovely clear golden colour, with a crackling, but slightly inconsistent head of pocked white. Some patchy speckled lace forms. The body is pleasantly heavy, and it has an unusual consistency in the glass, perhaps because the colour is so light. Looks decent enough.
Ah, yes. The nose is where this was always going to shine. Huge bright US hops, giving a powerful and potent citric punch. Stacks of lemon, mandarin peel and a touch of sharper pith or leaf characters. Brilliantly potent, but still full and nuanced. Amazing stuff.
Taste is also goodâclean fresh hop flavour throughout, with a restrained bitterness on the back that melts perfectly with the until-this-point latent malt to give a slight biscuity kiss on the back. Still, this is about the hops, and we get some lovely orange marmalade characters, leafy tea and a bright crushed vegetation note. It's good stuff. Very good stuff, indeed.
Feel is smooth but light: a good enough vessel for transporting those lovely hops.
Overall, this is really great stuff: one of the better DIPAs I believe I've had. It really emphasises the hop flavour, and while it really ups the ante in this department, it never gets harsh or unbalanced. Great stuff, once again, Messrs. Firestone Walker.
Collaboration between Lobethal & Steam Exchange brewed for the GABS festival in Melbourne. I can't find any info about where this was actually brewed, so filed it under Steam Exchange as they're the first brewery listed in the name in the GABS tasting booklet. There, it's also classified as a "double dubbel IPA", so who knows, maybe you could call it a "dubbel" as well.
It certainly look a bit like a dubbel: a mild brown, reasonable clear hue, with a dark-white head that forms little more than a ring. Some lacing forms, but overall it looks pretty dead in the glass.
Banana comes through first on the nose, along with a bit of spice. Pretty flat overall, and without much weight to drive its point across. It ends up rather dull.
Light spice again on the front palate that drops out leaving an empty mid section. Some bananaskin fragrance comes through before a rather phenolic bite on the finish. It almost feels too boozy, which is laughable. Feel is light, but slightly oily and cloying.
It doesn't really work. It's neither a dubbel, nor an IPA, and it doesn't have enough of either character to make me even consider it a worthy failed experiment: I still don't feel I know what a Dubbel-IPA hybrid tastes like.
83 / 100
First up, apologies for the classification. At 5.5% ABV, this is struggling even to be a regular American IPA, let alone a double. But that's what the brewery classifies it as, what it was classified as at GABS, and (presumably) what the "double" in the name refers to. Fortunately, despite this anomaly, it's a very tasty little beer. On-tap at the GABS festival in Melbourne.
Pours a golden colour, quite clear with a solid body. Head is a yellowish, firm crest that leaves some patchy but reasonably solid lacing. Minimal carbonation noticeable.
Big passionfruit characters on the nose make this immediately bright and vibrant. This mingles with a deeper earthy tone that gives characters of tobacco. It's huge and fragrant and very robust. I love it.
Bight passionfruit on the front palate as well, giving an almost biting, seedy clarity. This becomes a more herbal hop character, with a bit of earthiness but a lighter weight overall. The weight lifts off again towards the back, leaving a crisp, perfectly clear finish, with a slight biting almond nuttiness.
This is a beer that's big in flavourâdespite falling outside what should technically constitute a DIPA, it makes an apologetic compensation by really blowing the hops up big.
76 / 100
Bottle purchased from Plonk in Canberra.
Pours a hazed golden orange hue, closer to orange in the thick parts of the glass, closer to gold in the slimmer. Head is a frothy, extravagant monstrosity, coming closer to a big Belgian ale in size and volume. Lacing, as it collapses, is intricate: it looks like Hindi script. Body is fluid. Looks pretty good.
Nose is mildly fruity, but with some earthier deeper tones. Notes of rosewater, banana and crushed bitter herbs come through strongly, along with hints of overripe peach and white chocolate. It's an oddly fatty aroma: smelling sweet and thoroughly bad for you.
Taste has similar themes to the nose. There is a general sense of "yes, this is an IPA, but yes, it's also weird. By the way, no, you're probably not going to pick up what's so weird about it". More of those banana tones come through, giving almost a hefe estery character to the brew, along with a chalky bitterness, and a really, really long aftertaste that is spread and smeared along the length of the palate, leaving bitter herbs and brusque bush pepper. For all this, it doesn't feel harsh, and the feel probably helps with this: despite looking pretty light and liquid, it sticks to the palate and caresses it, while the flavour bombards it from above.
Overall, I'm again impressed with what Mikkeller can do with a style they've done so much with already. I always sit down with a beer like this and the sense of "Oh, *another* IPA from Mikkeller, what could possibly be different?". But they always provide a different and nuanced variation on the theme. And that's a mighty difficult thing to do.
49 / 100
Bottle purchased from Belmont Station in Portland, after trying their very good American Rye.
This one has a slightly more inauspicious start, pouring a very hazy, murky yellow-copper colour, with a fine and pocked head of white. Body is solid and carbonation is fine. But that colour is really rather unappealing. Hrmm.
Wow, the nose is really uninspiring as well. Wet grain sack mixed with brittle earthy hops that lend a shattering thinness. There's a hint of rubbed grapefruit or something clamouring to be heard, but it just adds to the reedy, unglamorous cacophony. Ew.
Taste is a little better: in fact, a lot better than the nose, and it has a pleasant balance if you can avoid the smell while you're drinking it. Crisp, pronounced green bitterness through the centre of the palate, with a smooth if very mild malt character to keep it in check. Slight astringency on the back gives a whack of bite and a hint of booze. Feel is fine and fluid.
Overall, though, I'm amazingly unimpressed. Their American Rye was a hallmark of rye beer making, but this one (also bought locally, I might add) is verging on offensive without purpose. What a rollercoaster ride are Alamedas beers.
56 / 100
From cask at the brewery in Seattle.
Pours a straw yellow hue with solid hazing. Body is firm, supporting a rocky, sticky, honeycombed white head. Surprisingly, it doesn't leave much lace as it disintegrates, which is a bit of a disappointment. Otherwise, it's a solid looking cask pour.
Nose is surprisingly weak, with very little aroma noticeable at all. There's a whiff of tropical fruits to it, but I feel as though I smell it only because I expect it. Some mild malt perhaps? No, there's not much to it: it's inoffensive, but bland.
Light smoothness comes through on the front of the palate, before some faintly fruity, faintly acrid characters meld with a more pronounced grain note mid-palate. Back is smooth, with a hint of banana skin, but there's a build up of resin, which is the first truly noticeable hop character.
Feel is undeniable smooth and good from the cask.
Overall though, this really should be better. I had a couple of really good beers here, and many that showed very unrealised potential. This is one of the latter.
Among the wilds, the barrel-aged and the spontaneously fermented, Cascade has some surprising forays into other genres. This is the departure I tried at their barrel room in Portland, OR. This batch was labelled 7.85% ABV.
Pours an orange-amber hue with very solid and light-capturing haze. Weight is pretty solid. Head is a wild, windswept white that leaves some solid sheeting lacing where it blows. Fine carbonation, although it's hard to tell for sure with the haze. Overall, it looks really great.
Only mild hoppiness on the nose, but pleasant nonetheless. Slight organic grassy notes mingle with a hint of fresh cherry and some light, malty grain. It's solid, if not groundbreaking.
Clean, bright and spicy entry promises much on the palate, but it disappointingly falls away to a rather thin, reedy mid-palate. There's not much malt to speak of, and this leaves the finish bone-dry, and vulnerable to the grassy clinging bitterness of the hops. Feel is light as well, as a result, but the hop bitterness packs a punch.
Overall, it's not a bad brew. It's a little unbalanced, which is my only real concern. Otherwise, it's a solid, if somewhat pedestrian IPA.
Had on-tap at Bailey's Taproom in Portland, OR.
Pours a rather cloudy and colour-wise pretty standard golden hue. Head is good and thick, forming a foamy, bubbly crown for the beer. Sheeting lace over a lightish body. Not bad all up.
Mild, smooth citrus on the nose, along with a slightly breezy vanilla-imbued malt character. Slightly earthy and organic. Pretty smooth and pleasant.
Tasty on the palate, but slightly skewed and off-colour as well. Light crisp citrus on the front, which morph into some sharper, phenolic notes mid-way through. Slight harshness on the back. Malt is solid, but it lends no real flavours to the beer as a whole. Some apricot is noticeable, but it's a weird amalgam, and slightly harsh and rotten when you get down to it.
Feel is light, but clingy with excess booze.
Not bad all up, but I've had better beers. This one suffers from the harshness which is unnecessary.
650ml bomber purchased from Van Ness BevMo in San Francisco.
Pours a clear standard golden hue, with a fine enough and solid enough head of white, that leaves some patchy lacing. Body is firm and weighty while remaining fluid. Carbonation is fine, but standard. Yeah, it looks the part, but it also looks just like any other.
Nose follows a similar trajectory: it's big, hoppy, west coast, blah. Yep, but we've seen it all before. There's a sharpness to it that is slightly grassy, and adds a touch of interest, but otherwise, it's a stylistically good but straight down the line IPA.
Taste is similar. Clear, clean and direct. Hoppy without being overpowering. The classic characters: orange peel, grapefruit with a touch of grass and clean malt. But it's been done before. And it's not all that special an example of the classic.
I mean: yes, it's ok. Woo, IPA and whatnot. It's solidly made, not unpleasant, no noticeable flaws. But, I mean, why? It's almost completely unimaginative, and just toes the line of every other IPA made on the West Coast. Try something new.
69 / 100
On-tap at GABS in Melbourne.
Pours a pleasant hazy amber colour, very full-bodied with a firm ring of off-white/yellow foam. Carbonation, such as it is is small-bubbled. Lace is sheeting. Looks good.
Yep, it delivers what it promises on the nose at least: huge Simcoe aromas. That odd butterscotchy character, along with a bit of sweaty ass. It big and robust, but I really just don't much like Simcoe. Like I said, it delivers the classic Simcoe smell at least.
Taste is better, once the simcoe derives a bit of sharp, crisp bitterness. Clean entry before a herbal, somewhat minty mid-palate and an astringent vegetative bitterness on the back. Really big flavour profile, resiny finish.
Full but biting feel, partially from the hops and partially from the booze.
It feels pretty heavy-handed overall, and it's pretty one-dimensional, albeit intentionally. My notes conclude with "Yeah, it's a DIPA with loads of Simcoe. Woop de doo."
Pours an orangey colour, quite vibrant with a bit of haze to it. Head is white, decent when poured, thin crown after a while. Decent lace left behind. Looks pretty good.
Pleasant and hoppy on the nose. West Coast American style with citrus note but nice touch of passion and mango as well. Not a lot of malt pervading; it's all hops really, but still nice, tangy hops. My kind of smell, really.
Taste has an odd, and oddly strong biscuity malt character. Lots of hops from the get-go - large upfront but then re-emerging midway, but in the midst this leviathan of malt emerges with caramel and bready notes, some rye grain and just biscuit crumbs. Finishes hoppy, lots of citrus with some melon, apricot and a piquant green pepper as well. Not a bad palate, but the hops are sort of there as tokenistic flavour additions, and don't quite add very much to the overall effect. Almost as if they're "there if you want them".
Bit sharp front-to-mid, OK late-mid feel but then the hop acids are really noticeable on the finish. Not bad for the style though.
A good big IPA, but not quite enough meshing between the malt and hops for my liking.
76 / 100
Pours a big fruity orange colour, kind of cloudy. Off-white head, small bubbles with thin crown retaining. Lace is OK, not very sticky. Looks good, though.
Smells very tangy and hoppy. Big passion, pineapple and lemon sherbet on there. Touch of paw-paw, white peach and thyme as well. Big and fruity, complex enough to intrigue in spite of its largely ungrounded nature. Very nice indeed.
Taste starts with more of those same big fruity hop notes - passion and mango on there, before the malt kicks in with its bold, sticky toffee presence. Gets those resiny hop notes, quite sticky and oily on the back, with maybe a lack of kick or cut to their presence, but the flavours are all pretty pleasant. Lots of melon, with a slight midori character, mango and lemon zest as well. Bitter and boozey, but with a nice twist of fruit both front and back. Heavy beer, but pleasant drinking, especially for the style.
Nice and full body, with a slight sharpness from the hops late-mid. Not bad at all, really.
Bit full-on for everyday drinking, but the fruit notes are intriguingly constructed from the hops - almost Belgian in the way they add mystique to the heavy booziness and stop the beer getting bogged down by its sheer size. I like it a lot.
76 / 100
22oz bomber purchased from Liquor on Oxford in Sydney.
Pours a clear burnished amber hue, with a full-bodied and rather frothy head of yellowish-white, like a good DIPA should. Lacing is patchy and inconsistent, but forms tightly where it does. Body is actually surprisingly light. A good looking beer.
Nose is biting and curling with big resiny classic West Coast hop character bam! Citrus, grapefruit, sharpened pine needles, this has it all. It's just one great big gurgling bundle or those hops, but boy does it pack a punch. Good stuff.
Taste is similar, but perhaps with the oomph and raw aggressive grunt. In fact, here the malt comes a little more forward, giving some honeyed notes on the front, and cushioning the blow of that biting resiny hop bitterness on the back. It comes across as more balanced and caressing than I expected, while still maintaining the character of a good DIPA. Feel is, indeed, lighter than I expected, leaving most of the kinaesthetic element to the resin of the hops.
Overall, a really pleasantly aggressive beer, if there is such a thing. It's a really good example of a big American IPA, and I'm pleased as punch that it's a style we can now get with relative ease here in Australia.
77 / 100
Ah, I love craft beer in cans. Above and beyond all other reasons, they never ever break in my luggage from the US to Australia, which makes them easy to share with my bros back here. Anyway, to the beer...
Pours a really bright and lovely yellow-orange colourâin fact it almost looked lurid out of the canâwith a very fine, filmy but tight-bubbled head of pure white. It looks bright and healthy. Body is quite fluid and light, but it forms some quite amazingly anarchic tiny bubbling when tilted. Looks really lovely.
Nose is fresh and bright with citric and mellow hop characters, giving squeezed lemon and zesty orange pith characters. A slight hint of vegetal brightness gives it more depth, without outplaying the citric crispness. Really genuinely based on the sharp citric fruit, without the reliance on the grushed vegetation or pine needle character that often forms. Very nice.
Taste is smooth and light, and, to be honest, rather disappointingly drinkable. Bitterness is dialled back severely from what I expected, leaving an aromatic malt character through the centre flanked by some mild smooth citric and vanilla notes around the edges. On inhalation, there's the weird aromatics of gingerbread. There's a flash of boozy heat early on, but it falls back and integrates with the rest of the palate.
Feel is smooth but light, leaving a touch of heat on the finish, but otherwise, pretty unobtrusive.
It's a genuinely nice IPA, especially an IPA of this weight. But for some reason, I wanted it to aggravate me more. Give me a bit more bitterness, a bit more intensity, a bit more of a challenge. This was disappointingly smooth and drinkable, when it should have been spitting in my face.
I feel if it did that, it would have been phenomenal.
61 / 100
Bottle purchased from the International Beer Shop in Perth, WA.
Uncaps with a sharp hiss of carbonation, and then soon after delivers on that prophecy, with a ridiculously overcarbonated frothy of off-white foam pouring into the glass. On the first pour, there was almost no body to it, just the foam. After a while, the head crackles its way down to something a little bit more sensible, and the body forms a hazy, slightly murky golden orange colour. Body is surprisingly light and fluid. Despite the head, the carbonation seems quite fine and tempered.
Nose is surprisingly sweet and malty, with big caramel and lightly acidic toffee coming through potently. Some slight resiny, slightly piney hops come through, but they're mingled with an earthy puff at the base of the aroma leaving them subjugate to the malt sweetness. Perhaps there's something I'm missing here to explain it (perhaps the "Norwegian" in their style descriptor means something), but this is a sub-par IPA nose.
Taste is a lot better. A Lot Better, in fact: bright, nutty malt is the only transient sweetness, and this is ceremoniously layered with pleasant crisp hoppy flavours, giving a distinct bitter bite across the palate. Still, there's a touch of that earthiness with the hops giving more flavours of tobacco and tannic tea, but at least the hops are more forward here.
Slight booze on the back lends a bit of heat and astringency, but the feel overall is surprisingly light. With the heat and vapours, and the light feel, it has a texture somewhat like cheap whisky. The carbonation, while perhaps absent in the body, makes its presence felt, leaving the beer bloating and gassy.
Overall, a pretty disappointing drop from Haand, and easily their weakest offering I've had to date. Possibly not their strength as a brewerâI'll stick to your rustic Scandi smoke-and-funk ales, thanks.
81 / 100
750ml bottle given to me by @LaitueGonflable for Xmas. The shape of the neck is a little unfortunate, as it means that you have to pour very carefully to get a steady pour, otherwise it just gloop, gloop, gloops its way out.
Pours a very pleasant, lightly hazed deep orange hue, with a firm and silky head of off-white, that stays persistent, despite being flat and heavy. Lacing is gelatinous and oily, and the body is immensely good: thick, goopy, oily, and holding persistent fine streams of carbonation. It's a really good looking Double IPA.
Nose is fresh, bright and resiny, with west coast American hops dominant, giving lilting citrus and earthy pine needle characters. There's a hint of fragrant, nutty malt to the mix as well, which pings nicely off the hops. It's a very fragrant and very pleasant IPA nose, much in the American style.
Taste is also good, largely because of the lovely balance created by the solid, chewy body and the oily, resiny hops. Together, they latch on to the little malt sweetness, to provide a pleasant savoury orange and bitter almond character, with a clean pine resin finish to clear it out.
The body is wonderful, and makes the beer what it is. It's supple, smooth and liquid, while maintaining a heady, slick weight to it. This allows those flavours of bitter citrus, the earthy undertones, and the supple moderated sweetness to do what they will.
Overall: a very, very good Double IPA. The bitterness is matched perfectly with the weight elsewhere in the beer. I'm always a little confused when New Zealand breweries choose to brew in American styles when they have such a store of local (and in my opinion better) ingredient to draw upon, but this just shows what brewing skills they have too. Probably one of the best US DIPAs I've had from outside America.
76 / 100
They call this an Imperial IPA, even though to my mind it's sitting on the verges of the Single/Double border. Australian brewers do tend to the smaller IPA range, however, so this probably makes sense.
Deep bright orange colour, making the beer shine with a pleasant fresh look. Slight haze captures the light, and the head is a solid, frothy white. Good weight to the body. Overall, it's an excellent looking IPA.
Nose is full and frothily fruity. Big tropical aroma or fresh oily hops, although no one particular ester or fruit character is dominantâit's just a generic hop bang. There's a pleasant juicy, clear malt sweetness behind it as well. Already, I can tell this is a good beer.
Taste is very pleasant. Juicy hop flavours come through on the front, giving a pleasant almost-sweetness, backed up by the robust malt presence which carries it on a bed of caramel and slight butterscotch. Big bitterness on the finish, with potent hops balancing the prominent sweetness. Feel is smooth and thick, with the clinging hop oils providing a cleansing relief.
This is a really nice IPA. To my mind, it's a proper American style single IPA, but probably struggling to be a really memorable Double. I'm happier just to call it a single IPA and call it a good one.
Pours a rich earthy red, the colour of scorched earth. Head is nice when poured, tan colour and creamy with decent sticky lace. Looks quite English; good body to it.
Smells very caramelly with English toffee and an odd note of sherbet. Rosewater that's a bit too sweet as well, and overall smells a bit muddy, with hops coming across quite dank in spite of their floral, tangy aroma. Can't say I'm huge on this.
Taste is also malty, with burnt toffee, rich earth and salted caramel upfront. Gets dank and resinous hop character midway for a slight mouldy note, touch of lemon pith and astringent pepper on the back. Needs way more lift, this is a heavy and murky palate, with only one flavour note. Needs more cut 'n' contrast.
Bit full in the mouth, but ultimately slick. Alpha acids pull the mouth back a bit, still a bit heavy, but not bad stylistically.
Not a huge fan of this; quite heavy and full-on, and would like something there to cut through more.
76 / 100
Pours a burnished amber colour, clear with off-white head. Dense but not resilient, sinks to leave a thin film of yellowed lace. Nice-looking, but the elements aren't in any 'wow' stratum.
Smells very nice, quite malty but a goodly amount of hop character to it as well. Caramel and toffee underlying with a strong metallic character but also plenty of lemon, honey and macadamia nuts. All in good balance for sweet but tangy overall aroma. Very nice.
Taste is tangy from the get-go. Front assault is quite citric, with hop resins and ale esters competing for fruity supremacy. Mellows out in the middle, where there's a slight flavour gap, then the finish is lovely and rich, with some burnt sugar, hop oils and peanut brittle. Hint of lemon myrtle and black wattle, and a slight touch of red box honey. Maybe a bit heavy on the tang, and could have amped up the rich maltiness early on. Good, though.
Not as full as it could have been, but textured and slightly bitty as it goes through; not bad.
A rich and well-layered palate, for quite a big flavour, but all pleasant enough to keep you drinking.
61 / 100
Bottle purchased in California.
Pours a cloudy but still bright golden colour, with a touch of red in the deeper parts. Body is very light, and very fluid. Very fine, but not particularly effusive carbonation. Thick, heavy lace. Looks pretty good.
Nose is piney and resiny, with a really sharp, almost isohop bite to it. Under this is a sugary sweetness; a rather treacle and light brown sugar note. The hops just yell "HOPS!", there's very little in the way of nuanced fruit or fragrance. It's somewhat confronting, and a little one dimensional.
Taste is smooth initially, before the sharp, direct spike of hops comes through and slices the palate in half. Some vanilla comes through, giving a fragrance, but no smoothness, and the relatively light body struggles against the hops, meaning it feels very unbalanced. Feel is surprisingly light, and the booze on the back adds some vapour-like astringency. Phewy.
It's a bold, rugged and unapologetic beer, there's no doubt about that. But it gets to the level where it's actually a little undrinkable. I can believe it's the hoppiest beer ever brewed in Belgiumâit's one of the hoppiest beers I've had in recent memory.
73 / 100
Pours a dirty orange colour, translucent at best with interesting dance of bubbles when first poured. Head is off-white and struggling to live - just a thin film of decent lace, pathetically tried to be kept alive by slow bead. Looks alright for an IPA, but like a lot of the life's been squeezed out of it.
What was that about lacking life force? No sign of that on the nose. Big cascade hop aroma, full of lemon, grapefruit and kiwi. Solid toffeed malt base provides great support, like there is some amusing ascerbic notes, piney and almost minerally over the top. Fresh, vibrant and pleasant.
Hops are all over this from the get-go. Tangy citrus with a mild metallic bent has an early climax like Andy Samberg in a nightclub, with slight acid, pine wood and trailling off in a bitter citric and resinous finish, with a hint of sherbet tartar and maybe some lavender notes. A bit contortingly bitter early, on the mid-palate where the alpha acids really take hold, but it's all well mellowed and balanced out by the finish. The bitterness, while definitely there, is more of a flavour than a philosophy lecture, and quite capable of being enjoyed.
Fair body, but could use more stickiness for a DIPA. Bit of pull from the hops and slight carb texture. Not bad.
A pleasant IPA but certainly not as big and brash as other beers that call themselves doubles. That's a good thing of course, but it really could have been a lot bigger and more awe-inspiring.
Pours a burnished amber colour, fairly dark. Head is quite a pale yellow, small visible bubbles with decent sticky lace. Looks quite nice, could use denser head for more retention.
Smells very floral, with a decent caramel malt and a lot of citric hops. Lemon sherbet and pine needle resin. Hints of lavender as well, it's a very nice tangy hop aroma with hints of resin just for a bit of grounding.
Taste has slightly less tang. Lots of malt, with rich earthy caramel dominating the front. Hops are notable from the mid, with resinous oils giving some grapefruit, a woody mushroom note and a touch of fresh bread on the very back. Feels slightly heavy, with a deficiency of lighter flavour hops and the dankness takes precedence, combined with a touch of boozey heat on the back. Not bad, though.
A bit hot and fairly dry on the feel. Body is alright, but it leaves me wanting.
Good hoppy beer, but not great. Some IPA palates make you fall in love; this one's more of a matesy relationship, and some character flaws get in the way of greater intimacy.
74 / 100
Pours a rich burnished russet colour, clear but with a shimmer to it. Head is off-white, dissipated mostly but lace is good. Yeah, looks nice.
Smells very hoppy. Big floral notes mostly, with rosewater and juniper. Some fresh lemon notes and a hint of white pepper as well. Nice toffee malt to balance it all, as well. Good.
Taste is very pleasant IPA stylings. Plenty of malt upfront with nice English toffee flavour and a nutty edge. Hops come through quite strong on mid, floral with lots of grapefruit character as well, lemon zest and some green pepper. Finishes actually quite sweet for its hoppiness with distinct rosewater backing up. Good palate.
Not as full as I expected, but nice texture. Actually a bit of a hot tongue kiss from the boozey alcohol at the back.
Nice beer, but I can't escape the fact that it just falls neatly into the mould of 'beers I like' and there's nothing really envelope-pushing or outstanding about this example.
70 / 100
355ml can brought back from California to Australia to share with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a translucent, slightly hazed amber orange colour, not particularly red, with a very fine head of thin off-white foam. Body is pleasantly thick, but silky and slick. Speckled lacing that sits up rather prominently when swirled. Very fine carbonation. It's a good looking beer. I'd love a bit more of the genuine red hue, but otherwise really nice.
Nose is clear with fragrant, fruity hops, mellowed with a nice malty basis, giving caramel undertones to the nose. It blends to create a genuinely pleasant American Red aroma, perhaps without the slight hint of roasted characters you get in some. Some boozy notes come through, but they just add a little sharpness to the crisp hop aroma.
Taste is very smooth, with a malty, strong character coming through more prominently. This leads the way for nutty, grainy malt to be prominent. Very little in the way of hop bitterness, but there is a little, which, mingling with the sweet malt, gives characters of stewed oranges. It's nice enough, but I feel it errs a little too much to the side of sweetness, and doesn't bring the nicely binary nature of the brew together as well as others.
Feel is full but smooth. It's quite pleasant. Indeed, it could do with a little more carbonation, but I appreciate the silky nature of this type as well.
A nice American Red, but I've had better. This is just a little bit too sweet for my tastes, and doesn't have that classic skill of combining but keeping separate the grainy malt and the fresh, sharp hops.
71 / 100
Thanks to @epiclurk for the bottle. I believe purchased from the Clock Hotel bottle shop in Surry Hills.
Pours a surprisingly light-bodied, but deeply coloured golden hue. Very clear, with a fine, but insubstantial and minimally persistent head of white. The body holds the carbonation reasonably well when it's tilted, implying that there is some heft to it. Looks reasonable enough, but not at the top of the style.
Nose is lovely, with a piquant zesty citrus character balanced beautifully with deeper and more vegetative resin characters. I don't know the hopping regime, but I suspect New Zealand hops, or perhaps Citra in the mix in dry-hopping. It's a really lovely nose, giving a wide, but beautifully balanced swathe of hop fragrances. Joyous.
Unfortunately, that's the apex of the beer. The flavour, while still pleasant enough, is much lighter than I expected, and truly lacking in bitterness. Big sweet malt characters dominate, with a slight twinge of toffee or butterscotch on the back where the hop oils should clear it out. This leaves a rather disappointing, and slightly meaty character on the aftertaste.
Feel is smooth, but very light. Carbonation is very low, which also makes the palate feel a bit limp.
Not a bad drop, but it could and should have been better. The nose is wonderful, but it really needed something bigger and bolder on the palate. It felt unbalanced towards malt, which is not the direction you want to take in a DIPA, especially a "big" one.
87 / 100
Purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought back to Australia and shared with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a slightly hazed bronzed orange colour, with a very fine and persistent head of white. Some crackling large-bubbled parts to the head, but otherwise pretty good. Lace is patchy. Body is extremely full and pleasant, and the carbonation is fine. Good looking beer.
Nose is a lovely mix of vanilly oak and ripe fruity hops. Minimal sharpness--everything is smooth, rounded and oaky, but the hops do get a look in as a deep, mellow sweetness. Malt is luscious, giving a full basis for everything else. It's a gorgeous nose.
Taste is equally good, with more of the rounded vanilla characters from the oak, and plenty of hop flavour. Juicy tropical characters come through, but interestingly, there's only a light bitterness on the back, almost like the less sweet parts of the fruit. Very smooth and well integrated, and sitting very pleasantly above the malt basis--this doesn't actually lend much flavour, but it lends some body.
Lovely beer. The oak takes the edge off all the IPA sharpness, but this gives the impression it would have been a very smooth and well-balanced IPA anyway. What we get as a result is a mellow, smooth and luscious combination. Great beer.
76 / 100
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer.
Pours a very deep and extremely cloudy amber orange colour, although with the amount of haze it's difficult to tell it's true shade. On opening, there was very little carbonation hiss, and I was afraid it would pour completely flat, but after a little while, a very decent fine foam forms on the top, which leaves some sticky, but high-gravity patchy lace. Body is extremely heavy, and the carbonation is beautifully fine. It looks pretty damn awesome.
Nose is sharp and resinous, with crisp pine characters and the sharper end of the citrus hop spectrum. This is complemented with a boozy spiritous brandy aroma mellowed by some smooth vanilla and oak. The hop characters are what you expect, but the mellowness from the oak gives it a very interesting twist.
Taste is similarâthe hop bitterness is strong and assertive as you'd expect, and in some senses give a pretty generic IPA hop character to the palate. But the oak gives a mellowness, and the subtle flashes of redolent boozy spirits give it a sharpness that indeed has nothing to do with the hops. Vanilla comes through on the back, along with a subtle bittersweet nutty character. Feel is light but smooth, with a touch of heat and sparkle.
Great first bottled release from Moon Dog. This is an extremely full flavoured brew that has enough twists to it to stop it being a generic DIPA (if there even is such a thing as a "generic" DIPA).
Keep doing it big and crazy, guys.
73 / 100
Purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA.
Pours an extremely cloudy orange colour with a full and vibrant head of just yellowish white. Lacing is patchy, but clumping, and pretty persistent. Moderately light bodied considering the strength and style, but it's not bad. Looks pretty good.
Nose is bright and fruity, in a pretty standard IPA way. It's slightly more round than most, without the sharp citric tone that marks a lot of IPAs. Here, there's a softer stewed oranges character to it, and a touch of something earthier, with some tea and crushed vegetation. Not bad.
Taste is similar. Quite bright but rather light, and very rounded, without a sharp bitterness. Indeed, the ending comes across with a strong orange peel character that gives plenty of flavour but little bitterness or crispness. Otherwise, hints of musk and pine break through, but they're subtle.
Good, but it never really breaks any new ground, and while it's a solid IPA, it's not an astonishing one.
Good to see a XXXX that isn't pronounced "fourecks", at least.
Pours a deep, copper amber colour, almost tending toward brown how deep it is. Head is formed of consistent but regular large bubbles of off-white, that dissipate to a foamy film on the top of the beer. Lacing is excellent. Looks decent.
Nose is smooth and crisp, with a good hoppiness in a generic, mild citrus and pine way, without doing anything out of the ordinary. Some smooth malt comes through to give it a touch of depth. It still reeks of "very generic IPA" to me, but at least it reeks of IPA of some kind.
Taste similar in character, giving a robust bitterness though the centre of the palate, but leaving an almost "I Am An IPA" template as it finishes. There's nothing innovative or especial about it, but it fulfills the expectations of the style well; moderate malt character, with a hoppy hit and clean bitterness on the back. Feel is full, but light.
Yep. You get what you pay for. Unfortunately, when you pay for something, you often hope that you'll get something better than what you pay for. And this isn't it: it's decent, but very generic.
76 / 100
The first thing you notice about this beer is the voluminous, crackling, but shining and oily head, which forms in an enormous fluffy mess as soon as the first sip is poured into the glass. Although, after a suitable period of time, this settles down a bit, it is quite literally the crowning glory of the appearance. It sits above a hazed yellow-golden body, but really, who's looking at that? It is, overall a majestic looking brew.
Nose is crisp and piney, with a resinous hop bite and soupÃ§ons of citric twang. Under this is a fragrant sweetness, reminiscent of vanilla orchids. It's milder than some big IPA noses, but it has a pleasant subdued complexity to it that makes it rather pleasant.
Taste is well balanced, although the hop character relies a little too much on that pure citric flavour, that gives it a touch too much astringency, especially towards the back. Otherwise it's a nice mixture of fragrant, citrus blossom bitterness with a mild, slightly nutty malt character to back it up. Feel is smooth and pleasant.
Yes, a very pleasant, well rounded brew. The bitterness does get a little too cutting and coating the tongue after a while, but that's what you get with a big IPA, and it's better than being insipid. A tasty brew, well realised.
61 / 100
Pours a brown amber colour with beige floaties. Head is uneventful with light cloud and nice sticky but thin lace. Not sure about the floaties but otherwise good.
Mega-hoppy nose, with lots of citrus notes; big lemony aroma with grapefruit, rosewater and sherbet. Not much else to it apart from hops, but decent. Not quite as pungent as I'd have though, which after drinking the 1000IBU Light I'm quite happy about, actually.
Taste starts tangy with hops that develop quickly and surely to produce massive hop-bomb palate. Bit of malt underlying provides welcome balance without being really noticeable on the flavour profile. Massively bitter beginning midway with decent floral notes, lots of citrus - lemon and grapefruit, sherbet, rosewater and slight ashy pull with deep bitterness. Too many hops still so I don't really love it, it's a bit overblown, but it's surprisingly drinkable for its big, aggressive bitterness.
Full body at the front but lots of dry pull on the back from the alpha acids. OK.
An experiment, more than anything, but having had the 1000 IBU light first I can safely say don't bother with that unbalanced mess and go with this, this is quite enjoyable for its extremeness.
78 / 100
Purchased in the USA, home of cheap NÃ¸gne Ã, apparently.
Pours a beautifully cloudy oragne-gold colour, with a frothy, thick head of yellowish off-white, that leaves sticky, sheeting, solid lacing down the inside of the glass. Really looks rather impressive.
Nose is crisp and sharply hoppy, with a Citra or almost Kiwi bite to the aroma, giving fresh rubbed lemon, greenery and spicy resin. Surprisingly, it's not all that robustâit certainly doesn't punch you in the face with its potency, but the characters that are there are lovely.
Taste is smooth, with a clean nuttiness towards the back of the palate, and a fresh hop flavour giving a cleansing lemon note throughout, and down the edges of the palate. Minimal true bitternessâit finishes rather light, with a sprightly herbal character like fresh rosemary. Malt is almost indiscernible, although the hops don't feel unbalanced; they just feel as though they have been given free reign in the spotlight.
Feel is also quite light, which greatly enhances the drinkability but somehow without skewing the balance too far to the hoppy bitterness.
Great brew, this one. Even if it wasn't devised by NÃ¸gne Ã, it was executed with style and skill. As always.
74 / 100
Bottle split with @LaitueGonflable at Pumphouse Bar in Sydney.
Pours a very cloudy, and very sediment-laden orange-brown colour, although the brown possibly comes from the cloud and sediment. Very fine yellow-white head. Lacing is fine and grainy, sticking in patches to the glass. Very thick in the bodyâthe sediment sits heavily suspended. Looks pretty impressive.
Nose is livelyâbig, sharp, resinous hop characters with overtones of citrus. Lots of malt sweetness as well to cup and cradle it. Nice.
Taste is also good, but the bitterness is indeed pretty intense. The feel, more than anything help hereâit's smooth and creamy, and cushions the green, sharp, piney hop-resin craziness. The hop-slick sits on the back of the palate, lingering and making each sip seem more intense than the last.
I'd only had the 1000 IBU light to this point, and I have to say, this is way, way better, even if it does still goad and torment me. The feel really helps here, and the sweetness that does exist, while far from being the dominant character, does manage to claw back some decency.
Pours a rich citric orange colour with mild cloudy haze. Head is off-white, retaining a nice crown with lovely cradle of lacing. Looks pretty much picture-perfect.
Smell is very hoppy. Very floral, with rose petals and wattle blending with organic rubber, citrus and ginger. Bit of a twang where fresh hop aromas verge on tannic, but otherwise a pleasant IPA smell.
Taste is quite tangy upfront, with not a huge malt base noticeable as of yet, but plenty of fresh late-hop additions give a fruity, almost jammy front palate, with orange marmalade, cumquat and custard apple notes. Bittering hops take over midway, very dank and citric with a big pull back to earth, a little too heavy on the alpha acids though, as it doesn't really allow enough time to enjoy the lighter hop notes before pulling it all down. Touch of cork on the back with a woody touch a mild residual yeast character. Hop bomb, not as successful as it might have been.
Decent body, bit of pull from the hops but body balances it well. The 8.5% is well hidden.
A very enjoyable double IPA, even pleasant, one might say. Just seems kind of amateurish at times with the overenthusiastic bittering.
69 / 100
Pours a burnished amber colour with lovely off-white-to-yellow head, fluffy and thick with a finger and a half remaining after a while. Lace is pretty special. Slow movement of bead. Looks pretty magical.
Smells lovely. Lots of floral hops giving rose and citrus characters. Nice, sweet nuttiness comes through as well, with marzipan notes. Maybe a slight metallic character but sweet and fresh.
Taste is a bit disappointing. Nice, but there's less to it. Quite malty with caramel and peanut brittle nuttiness to it. Nice hoppy notes come through midway with some rosewater character, maybe some citric twang and woody notes late. Mildly bitter, yeah definitely citric, and overall quite pleasant. Could definitely use more bitterness though, as it's ultimately a bit sweet.
Syrupy and thick mouthfeel, with a bit of a pull from the hops on the back. Not bad, can't say it's wonderful though.
Nice beer, great flavours and so forth, just lacking a bit in the synergy between sweet and bitter, sweet and dry.
78 / 100
Served alongside the Yin, and with the two combined.
Pours a brilliantly clear and deep amber-orange colour, with a phenomenally thick and frothy yellow-white head. Lacing is sticking and clumping. Body is extremely thick, and forms in gorgeous reverse-cascades through the head when poured. It's a heavy and brutal beer, there's no denying that. Looks great.
Nose is fresh and gorgeously hoppy, with big and aromatic citric characters, with a freshness I associate with Citra or New Zealand varieties. The malt is actually well hidden, but with the pure power of the hops, I'm sure it will be there to cushion and balance it enough on the palate. Wonderful.
Yeah, the palate is also big, and it has a green, clipped freshness, especially on the back that speaks to some of the new hop varieties. It also, however, has a rather hot character to it, and the bitterness is pronounced. It's as though the malt went a bit further towards dryness than was intended, and now we have extra alcohol and not quite enough balance.
It's a very nice double IPA, and to be fair, the additional heat and bitterness really does delineate it as a double. I really do like it a lot, and I almost feel like I'm being harsh on it, by not calling it spectacular.
77 / 100
Pours a pale golden colour, head is dissipated to a film with some bubbles around. Lace is lacklustre, as is most of this beer's appearance.
Smell is nutty and tasty. Sweet, with caramel, but salted caramel really, nice balance. Some leafy foliage on there, some lemon thyme, pineapple and tempura batter. Sweet, but so much else going on, each sniff is a new journey. Funderful.
Taste hits you on the front with big malt, caramelised barley that dwindles a bit midway, but leaving flavours of endive and some pineapple sweetness. Oaky on the back with big woody hop notes and lots of nutty character as well - almond, pecan and peanut. A bit lacking on the mid but otherwise, front is deliciously sweet, back is deliciously organic and cleansing. It seems like a little beer with lots of flavour.
Bit boozey on the back, kind of leaves with a lingering heat. Otherwise smooth but not greatly full. Not bad.
This beer seems like a 9-year-old schoolgirl with her hair in plaits who produces from her Hannah Montana schoolbag a massive morning star and proceeds to garrot every mofo in the vicinity with huge fucking spikes. It seems mild and harmless at first, but brother, it ain't.
Pours a red-tinged amber colour, clear body with great head - really dense and fluffy - of cream colour. Lace is nice, looks pretty damn good overall.
Smell is quite nutty, with sweet cereal grain giving way to peanut brittle, toffee and distinct fortified wine notes. Touch of fig and cumquat, just a bit of ethanoic booze at the back. Nice and complex malt-bomb of a nose.
Palate seems a bit lacking in the middle. Starts fairly malty with nutty edge; toffee and peanuts, then develops some quite dirty bitterness on a mid-palate which is otherwise uneventful. Touch of carraway and resinous hop notes on the back, with lemon rind, mild spice and woody notes. Not bad but the flavours don't entirely mesh.
Smooth enough, full enough. Yeah, mouthfeel enough.
The front malt belies the later emptiness. Could use that malt all the way through to carry the palate. Good beer though.
Pours an earthy red colour, head is off-white with just whispy bubbles left behind. Lace is not exciting, just specks here and there. Nice colour but otherwise a bit meh.
Smell is sweet and malty with lots of banana notes on there. Caramel with peanut brittle, pecans and red toffee. Touch of raisins, molasses and figs at the back as well. Enjoyable aroma.
Taste fills the mouth from the get-go. Lots of nutty malt, with caramelised peanut, almond and fig pasted on there. Slight fresh fruity notes midway but still very sweet, so ultimately sherry-esque. Mild hop note late just cleanses it slightly. Nice palate, with good balance for the most part; slightly flabby on the back though.
Smooth, decent body. Bit flat with not a lot of texture, but good malt presence glides it down easily.
Big, bold malty flavour, very enjoyable and would be well-paired with a fruit plate or a sharp blue cheese.
71 / 100
Purchased from New Beer Distributors in New York, cracked open in Sydney with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe to celebrate bottling our IPA and Imperial Stout.
Pours a hazy golden orange colour, quite murky in its depths, with a filmy and patchy head of off-white. Big full body gives it a syrupy texture, but there's minimal carbonation to make this obvious, nor lacing to stick to the sides of the glass.
Nose is pretty delicious, with sweet fruity hops mingling with a syrupy malt base, giving it the aroma of thick, fresh marmalade. Depths of character give it a slightly bready, slightly roasted or baked character. It's a lovely nose, in any case.
Taste is surprisingly not as hoppy or bitter as I expectedâindeed the marmalade sweetness is almost a bit too pronounced on the palate, giving it a stickiness and a slightly cloying flavour that feels like it needs more hops to clear out. Rye characters are noticeable, giving a darkly sour twinge to the basis.
Not a bad beer by any means, but it's super sweet on the palate, and feels unbalanced in that one direction. An interesting brew, and one that I was happy to drinkâjust not necessarily one I'll go out of my way to seek again.
92 / 100
Purchased in New York and brough tot Sydney to share with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours an exceptionally light yellow colour, with a frothy but dissipating head of pure white. Really surprisingly light, both in body and colour. Exceptionally fine carbonation forms, and although the body looks fluid, the bubbles stay in suspension for a long time. Looks surprising, but pretty good.
Nose is a joy. Lovely fresh and crisp hop characters, giving slight citric overtones to a basis of rich stonefruit aromatics. Plenty of peach and apricot stone, with characters of lemon and pine. It's so fresh, bright and enjoyable. And way, way brighter and fresher than I expect from a DIPA, especially one of this weight.
Taste is also exceptionally good. The lightness on the body is no lie, although the fact that it's so high in alcohol is a continual shock. Here we get fresh orange-flavoured hoppiness with just enough body to cushion the increasingly sharp bitterness that comes through on the back, but without giving up any of the limelight the hops so rightly deserve. It's cleansing and fresh and bright, with citric aromatics still coming through and a lightness that makes you want to drink it all night.
Wow. I can't believe just how light, fresh, aromatic and drinkable this is for 9.4% ABV. But the extra potency allows for an absolute bombardment of hoppy freshness, which gives it a intoxicatingly bright and aromatic core. An absolute joy to drink. I'm sure I've not had a more drinkable beer of this weight.
77 / 100
Pours a deeply burnished amber colour with nice foamy beige head, half a finger thick. Lace spreads in impressive curtains. Mild haze, mild bead. Good.
Smells kind of subdued. Floral hops mostly, with a distinct citrus belt, touches of aniseed, cake batter and some white pepper. Fresh, could be really nice but I really struggle to get a lot of aroma from it.
Taste is surprisingly sweet. Mostly malty and quite light with caramel-tinged cake batter providing the meat of the palate, front to mid with just a slight tang late on that segment, before hops make their presence implied with very subtle floral bitterness late, touch of frangipani and some orange peel. Palate is very, very smooth, with no rough edges, but I wonder if it's at the expense of big flavour? Probably not, because there's still plenty there. It just feels muted, overall, in spite of its mellow drinkability.
Smooth, full, creamy mouthfeel. Velvety. No rough edges at all. Almost archetypically smooth, in fact.
Yeah, really, such a nice beer that I wonder why the flavours are so muted. Something this charming could be brasher, more vulgar and more aggressive and we'd still take it home at the end of the night.
75 / 100
Pours a burnished copper colour with ridonkulously proportioned cream-coloured head that sinks steady but still a bit slowly, leaving a nice marshmallowy pattern on top and lovely trails of lace behind. Steady bead; looks pretty good, need not have so much head.
Smell is very hoppy. Resinous with fresh bark, pine resin and a nice tang, with sherbet notes and light citrus. Slightly woody and the bitterness is noticeable, but otherwise it's quite light, tangy and appealing.
Taste is not quite as hoppy as the nose suggested. Slightly malty upfront with a thick caramelly base that continues to the end. Hint of citrus on the assault that gets mildly resinous midway, and then gets that slight lift of sherbety twang towards the end, slightly tartaric that kind of adds a layer of complexity to the bitter, hopy finish which is also slightly spicy. Hops are dominant though, and continue to the very end with a decent enough bitterness. A bit of a hang, but not ashy; pleasant.
Fairly full body, a bit thick, bit of texture from the carb and slight pull on the back from the hop oils.
Yeah, it's a really pleasant, smooth IPA. Few flaws here and there and it's not explosively brilliant, but definitely a 4-star beer.
Looking forward to this beer. It's a tad old, but that's what comes of hauling beer back to Australia from the US. Purchased from Star Grocery in Berkeley, CA.
Pours a burnished coppery orange colour, brilliantly clear, with a firm and solid head of just faintly off-white. Lacing is speckled, but the retention is good. It really looks like a very suitable and stylistically good IPA.
Nose is herbal and sharp with clear American hoppiness, with a touch of strained dust and plastic too it, perhaps an example of the age. Earthy, slightly musty pepper characters come through as well, but not any genuine spice or piquancy. Interesting.
Taste is very sweet, almost wort-like, without a great deal of bitterness to pull it back. Caramel and barley sugar entry with a lingering hint of cough drops and menthol. Hops do appear mid palate, but they only lend a herbal twang and a slight citric astringency that again gets overwhelmed by the malt.
Not quite there, to my mind. Alaskan does some great brews, but this is heavy and thick without a huge amount of purpose. Of course, the aroma hops have probably died a little with the age, but that doesn't explain the under-attenuated body. It's still a decent brew, but I've had better from Alaskan, and better IPAs.
44 / 100
Oh god. What a weird beer. It's a version of their 1000 IBU monster, brewed to only 4.9% ABV. It's a Double IPA without any body to support it. Had on-tap as part of the Local Taphouse Mikkeller Tap Takeover.
Pours a burnished, slightly haze orange-bronzey hue, with a very fine and full head of white foam. Pretty classy and static lacing. Looks good.
Nose is resiny and full, with big pickled orange characters and a sharp citric twang overall. It misses a lot of body and depth, but the sharpness is pleasant enough.
Taste is... Yeah, it's bitter. It's very solid, biting and astringent, and it really doesn't have a lot of body to balance it. It's sharp and direct and green and oh god it's bitter. It's a rather intense experience, and worse for not having any body to cushion it at all. Oh god. I think I'm going to die.
I'm aware that the human palate can't actually taste 1000 IBU, even if Mikkeller did manage to get it there, but they've certainly reached my limit with this anyway, and it's bare-boned and raw, with nothing at all to screen it. Probably the least drinkable beer I've ever had. But not the worst, by any means.
80 / 100
This is the bigger and improved Simcoe single-hop IPA, weighing in at 10.9% ABV. This one I had on-tap at the Local Taphouse as part of their Mikkeller Tap Takeover.
Pours a thick and heavy, cloudy burnished amber colour, with an extremely fine and persistent head of sandy white. Minimal lacing, but the body and static carbonation is gorgeous. It's a hefty looking brew.
Nose is delicious. Big raw and robust Simcoe characters, giving ripe grapefruit, sharp citrus and a raw, earthy and slightly organic, almost sweaty flavour. It's crisp and sharp, and probably one of the most genuinely hoppy beers I've had as part of the takeover. Really delicious.
Taste is very balanced--far more so than I expected. Very round and quite sweet body, with good weight behind it, but balanced with a citric bitterness and a slight crisp vector of sharpness to clean it out.
Really good brew, and I have to say better than the regular single-hop series. I love the extra body and depth to this, and the Simcoe does an awesome job of cutting through and balancing the sweetness.
74 / 100
Pours a lovely, thick red colour, very deep for an IPA, with a crackling and extremely effervescent head of sandy white. Lace is spectacular, leaving alien forms on the inside of the glass. Body is actually a little lighter than I expected for the ABV, but it looks good.
Nose is big and boozy, with a sharp, hot astringency that puts me in mind of an Old Ale or a big barleywine. There is a touch of the citric hops to it, but the roaring fire of the booze is more dominant. Very sweet and heavy, twanged with metallic bite and not really enough hops for the style.
Taste is a little better, perhaps because it's much lighter than I expected. There's still a chewiness to the palate, and a good deal of malt, but the hops do get a look in here, giving a slight acidic bite that leavens the palate, and sends up characters of green sultanas and dried apricot. Smooth port characters linger. Feel is very goodâextremely smooth, which counteracts some of the lightness in the flavour.
It's still not a classic IPAâit genuinely doesn't even have the bitterness for thatâbut it's a tasty brew, and an interesting one.
78 / 100
Birthday gift from @LaitueGonflable, purchased at Warners on the Bay.
Pours a really gorgeous, red-hued, deep orange colour, with a huge and frothy head of very pale yellow, almost as though it's flecked with orange. Lacing is patchy, but solid. Carbonation and body are fine. Looks great.
Nose is wonderfully hoppy, with classic citrus and fruit notes from American hop varieties. Crisp, fragrant rubbed orange skin, crushed greenery, and a bit of pepper spice. Just lovely, very strong, very classic.
Taste is clean and bitter, with a slickness to the palate, but not a huge amount of body. Good fresh juicy hop bitterness persists throughout the palate, leaving a clean and refreshing bite. Just enough malt to balance... almost. The hops do dominate a little too much, but I'd rather it err that way in an IPA.
Great American style from a Belgian brewer. I'm tempted to say this is more of a single than a double IPA, but it's still a cracking American example. This is no hopped-up Tripel, or Belgian-American hybrid. This is the Belgians telling America not to forget who were the brewing masters for centuries.
"Anything you can do, we can do too."
57 / 100
From cask at The Pony Bar in New York.
Pours an deep amber colour. Head is crackly and frothy, forming languidly from the hand-pump pour. Body is firm and fine, with no carbonation at all except the perturbation from the pump. Fine, however. Looks pretty good.
Nose is disappointing, I'll not deny it. Slow, soft marshmallowy malt character, with a hint of pine (the only mention of hops at all) and a touch of carbonic acidity. Very weak and very disappointing from and IPA, let alone a double.
Taste is similar. Although the cask conditioning makes it very smooth, this almost muffles the already underplayed and substandard hop characters. It's still clear and clean, with soft malts, a dried apricot sweetness and a tingle of bitterness, but not a huge amount. Feel is great, though, of course.
Eh, a very disappointing brew all up. I expected a lot more, I'm afraid.
On-tap at The Pony Bar in New York.
Pours a deep, orangey copper colour, with a beautiful, fine head of cream-coloured bubbles. Lacing is rich, languid and fullâit sticks to much that as the beer goes down it looks as though the head just falls into a cavern. Body is surprisingly light, but I forgive that; everything else is awesome.
Nose is big. Resiny, pungent hops with big, sticky, gooey caramel mix together to form a slightly savoury salted toffee kind of character. It's a big brew and a pungent one; not redolent and fruity and tropical like a big West Coast example. It's almost roasty-astringent with hop bitterness. Potent at least.
Taste is biting and bitter, with enough malty, grainy sweetness to drag it back into the realms of decency. But the bitterness is all earth, and roast and bite and astringency. Phew. It's something to wrap your lips around. The thin feel doesn't help the palate overall, making it a bit weak, and lacking the cushion to soften the blow of the hops.
No one's disputing the strength of this. This is a big IPA, full of booze and bitterness. I'd love it to use more of the palate, but there's certainly no complaints at this end about the strength.
I know what they'd say if I complained, anyway.
78 / 100
Pours a metallic gold colour, clear with light steady bead. Head is snowy, dense and creamy with a nice ring of lace left behind. Pretty good.
Smell is very pleasant. Hoppy, with a real grassy edge to it but plenty of lemon zest, lemon myrtle, caramel malt, pecans and frangipani. Really fresh, vibrant, but a great herbal base to it with oregano and even saffron. Lovely and well-rounded.
Bursts with flavour from the first sip. Plenty of malt on it with lots of vanilla, toffeed peanut and a touch of botrytis on there as well. Lots of hops that start early - too early maybe - and carry on towards the back with lemon myrtle, fresh-cut grass and thyme that develops a smooth citric bitterness on the back. Aftertaste is quite a bitter hang, which is unfortunate, but overall it's a lovely IPA palate, clean and fun.
Quite smooth really, but borders on thin on the feel. Fairly drying on the back.
Yeah, I think 'fun' is the best way to describe this beer. Vivacious and tasty with a lot of Summery fruit and crisp bitterness to keep you chugging along all night. It's a party beer.
73 / 100
On-tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.
Deep amber colour, quite dark, but the hazing fractures the light coming through it. Looks delicious. Head is full and fine, lace is frothy, patchy and complex. Looks good.
Nose is hoppy, but a little generic. Not particularly sharp, with a bit of crisp green appleskin. Touch of talc to it. Quite smooth and integrated, but missing something.
Taste is slightly sweet and full-bodied, but balanced with a good, direct but again generic hop bitterness. Sweetness is almost cherry sorbet; as though the sweetness itself lends a little astringency.
Nice beer. It's truly a Double IPAâthe sweetness and depth to the body ensures that. There's a strong enough bitterness to balance it, but the focus is having a big malt presence.
88 / 100
12oz can brought back from the US to Australia and shared with @LaitueGonflable. A little confused as to the difference between this and the "oak aged" version listed here. On the can, this says "aged on oak spirals", as does the photo here. I'm assuming the "oak aged" version is an anomaly.
Froths a little on opening the can, but pleasantly, and pours a shining and slick golden colour into the glass. Plenty of body, and the head is a wonderful creamy and dense sheen on the top. Lacing is speckled, but pretty consistent. Overall, a great-looking IPA.
Nose is fresh and crisp and lovely, with big sharp orange citrus characters coming through beautifully. Creamy underneath, it gives a lovely smooth balance to the sharp, sparkling and redolent west coast hop characters. Lovely.
Palate is possibly even better, with a gorgeous true clean citric hop bitterness balanced on top of vanilla and cream characters from the oak. This cushions all of the oily hop residue, leaving a flavoursome and full-bodied beer, without any astringency or harshness. Fruity and fresh, but creamy and mellow. What an awesome combination.
Wow. This is a truly phenomenal IPA, and probably the best oak-infused one I've had. It does a great job of mellowing the palate, while the hops genuinely give a fresh robustness and a depth of sparkling exciting character. A winner.
Bottle purchased from Whole Foods in Tribeca. Didn't make the cut of beers to take back to Australia, so I drank it on my last night in New York.
Pours a very viscous and thick reddish amber colour, with a fine but patchy head of white. Body is really nice and thick and heavy, and I like a bit of deeper colour in a DIPA. Minimal lacing. Fine carbonation. Looks pretty good all up.
Nose is green and prickled with noble hops, giving a crushed vegetation character, with clipped grass and leafy tannins. Grainy malt character comes through as well, with a rustic funk that's almost like a saison. Interesting take.
Taste is clear and hoppy, without being really that bitter. It certainly has a kick to it, but this is probably the combination of low-alpha European varieties, and the extra sting of alcohol. A hint of phenols as well. Finish is rather sweet, with a golden malt character coming through stickily on the end. Feel is light but slick.
Not a bad brew all up, and an interesting European American IPA, as if that makes any sense. Let's call it an American IPA with European ingredients.
That still doesn't make sense, but I'll stand by it.
Pours a very thick and heavy deep copper-golden colour, with a fine ring of foam that just leaves a slick of film on the top. Carbonation is surprisingly fluid through the body, although you can see the viscosity of it when it's tilted. Not bad.
Nose is heady with sharp, resinous hops layered over a thick, sweet toffee and syrup base. Hints of sherry and olive juice as the boozy redolence skews the hop characters towards oddness. Phew. It sure is a powerful nose.
Taste is, very surprisingly, a lot more mellow, although there's an extended hoppy bitterness through the centre of the palate. Otherwise, some sticky booze sits around the edges, giving a light caramel and raisin sweetness, blended with biting menthol astringency. But all up, it doesn't have huge breadth or complexity, and although the flavours are quite big, they're elusively so, making you wonder why you're there.
Not a bad drop, but not my favourite IIPA by a long shot. Obviously going for the higher end of the scale, and doing a reasonable job tugging things into balance, but I feel somewhere they forgot the excitement.
77 / 100
Southern Tier now export (or get sent by some roundabout way) to Australia, but I'm loathe to try/review IPAs that aren't fresh. Call me a wanker if you will. Anyway, a trip to NY seemed like a good opportunity to check this out.
Pours a heavy burnished golden-bronze colour, with a head that forms slowly and languidly, but which is suitably fine and solid when it arrives. Lacing is minimal, but splodges stay around when the glass is tilted. The body is probably its most impressive feature, being as though it is thick, syrupy and heavy.
Nose is lovely and fresh, with big green hoppy characters coming off like crushed vegetation and savoury fruits. There's a big sweetness to it as well, obviously from the massive amounts of malts, but it complements the hop characters. Nice.
Taste is a bit more brash and unvarnished. Here, the hops form a biting centrepiece which the smooth running malt cushions violently. Lovely peppery vegetative characters throughout, that would be obscene if not for the softening effect of the body and the malt sweetness. It's like being punched by a marshmallow.
Very nicely balanced throughout, as a result, and the extra body and booze is well-placed, and is used to excellent effect.
A lovely Imperial IPA. It makes everything bigger, but doesn't forget the balance and subtlety that is required as well. Great work.
48 / 100
Purchased from New Beer Distributors in Chinatown, New York.
Pours a dirty clear amber colour, with a filmy head of pancake-bubbled-riddled white. Lacing is sheeting and strong. Body is thick, and leaves some anarchic and tiny-bubbled carbonation when tilted or swirled. Decent.
Nose is slightly herbal and rather savoury. Has a slight tinge of barbeque to it, oddly. Some aromas of orange skin, but strangely, all the characters are rather subdued and light. Not a good move for an IPA, let alone a Double.
Taste is also quite off for an IPA. Strong sweet port-like characters, with the associated booziness, with big custardy vanilla characters, and only an afterthought of bitter hop characters.
Not great, and missing a lot. Too big for what it is, and without the balance or complexity of the best examples. Only an average beer, with a moderately humorous name.
71 / 100
Pours a burnished amber colour. Head is off-white and dissipated to a thin cloud, but lovely cascading bubbles when it's swilled or moved. Haze is damn nice too.
Smell is lovely and hoppy. Lots of citrus tang with lemon, sherbet, and floral lavender notes, pine, sawdust and even some coconut lingering at the back. Nice complex hops, good malt base supporting.
Taste is also a pleasant affair. Good malt foundation upfront with rich caramel, toffee and honey-oat notes, quickly turns hoppy with a big citrus-forward bitterness, lemon rind and grapefruit on there, touch of rye and also some lemon sherbet. The lifted flavours don't quite last long enough, though, and the resounding finish is quite resinous, bitter, and just actually not as resonant as it could be. Good, not great.
Enough body to carry the bitterness, but smooth and light enough to drink. A winning texture and very impressively done for 8.5%
Good beer, very enjoyable, but where it might have shone, it instead goes with the flow a bit and becomes slightly pedestrian.
86 / 100
Pours an orange colour with decent haze, but fairly transparent. Head is off-white, and nice and fluffy with a whipped character to it. Lace looks like eyebrow prints regularly placed around the glass, and it's all very pleasant.
Nose is very hoppy. Very hoppy indeed. Lots of citrus, lemon zest with pineapple and sherbet - plus a healthy malt base that's very nutty in character. Pine nuts and wood - mildly sour, spicy with pepper as well. Really, really pleasant aroma.
Taste is quite IPA-esque (der) and pleasant. Nice and malty upfront, nutty with almons, pecans and caramel. Hops take over midway, nice and bitter with citric notes and nice floral characters as well. Bitterness is resinous but has a very nice floral lift to it to get it out of the dank. Nutty and fruity, citric and floral. It's ideal IPA territory here - balance is pretty much on the money, bitterness high but not overwhelming.
Full, bit of texture, bit of bite. Quite drying but never goes overboard. Just noticeable on every front.
Yeah, great IPA. Oomph - check. Flavour - check. Bitterness - check. Balance - check check.
70 / 100
Pours a red metallic colour with pleasant beige head that dissipates fairly quickly, but with a nice cloud left behind. Lace decent. Beer good.
Smell is very nice and sweet. Good toffee character with a tangy citric hop overlying, provides a slight metallic aroma and a bit of cream cheese. Overall effect is sweet, with a good bent towards tangy.
Taste is unusual, really. Nice malty note upfront with a touch of caramel, becomes quickly citric with those tangy hops asserting themselves good and early. And yet, no bitterness - just fruit and floral notes with a hint of sherbet. Finish becomes bitter, but not very hoppy, it's more of a roasty character, with minor resinous hop oil and lots of wood. Again, a bit odd, but there's nothing to complain about, it's all jolly pleasant.
Really rather lacking texture-wise, there's a bit of a pull on the back towards puckering dryness, but otherwise thin. I'd call it an oily feel.
Decent, beer, could have upped the early hopping and malt and I wouldn't be complaining. I'm not actually complaining though.
75 / 100
Picked this up in the US from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought it back to Australia and cracked open with @laituegonflable.
Pours a pleasant coppery gold colour, with a fine, but slightly filmy head of off-white. Lacing is speckled, but decent enough. Body is nicely thick and it leaves some pleasant static carbonation. Looks pretty good all up.
Nose is crisp and slightly metallic, it gives me the impression that it's a little bit old, with the grain notes coming through more prominently than you'd expect in an IPA. Still, there's plenty of greenery, some tight citric bite and a fresh, peppery lift that only hops could explain.
Taste is pleasant, but a little weird. Certainly, on the surface, it seems to tick all the boxes stylistically. Big hop bitterness: check. Malty sweetness: check. Big full body: check. But there are odd characters to it as well. A sherbetty character, a sweet lemonade note, even a hint of gatorade powder. It's an odd mix. Even the sweetness has an oddly confectionery tone to it: like a barley sugar lolly. It's good, don't get me wrong, but it has some oddness.
A decent brew, but with some odd twists. I'll put it down to the "Experimental" in the name, and be content with that.
81 / 100
Purchased in the US for @LaitueGonflable, who wanted me to get as many Avery beers as I could before they start closing down their distribution.
Pours a pleasantly hazed golden orange colour with a fine white head that sinks to a film disappointingly quickly. Lacing is speckled, but the body is very fully and gelatinous. Looks chewy. I approve.
Nose is crisp and slightly resinous, with green hops forming the basis. A little bit of buttered bread coming through, but that's no doubt the very heavy body making itself felt. Very decent aroma.
Taste is probably even better, with that same buttery sweetness lending itself for a very smooth and supple canvas on which to paint hoppy goodness. Here, the hops form a crisp and enlivening dance of sweet lemon, mellow nuttiness and a slightly herbal finish. Feel is very slick and thick, but still, the buttery character lends smoothness.
A very nice IPA. Perhaps not the freshest and most robust example I've had, but very tasty and very sinkable. It's almost evil in how drinkable it is.
88 / 100
Purchased in California, but brought back to Australia to drink with @LaitueGonflable, who I hope appreciates all the great beer I bring back from America for him.
Pours a lovely, and very classic orange-copper colour, with a full and frothy head of off-white that leaves spectacularly anarchic lacing. Oh, it's gorgeous. Looks truly wonderful, just like an IPA should. Retention in the head, wonderful lace, wonderful body, wonderful colour. Clearly, you don't get much better.
Nose is crisp, clear and citric, with very fresh and very classic hoppy aromas. Lovely characters of sharp orange, lemon zest and crushed greenery. It's a very lovely IPA aroma. Not unique, but so on style. You'd be hard pressed to find better.
Taste is also excellent. Genuinely good bitter characters, sharp citric flavours, with a balanced grain character that just lends a little nutty fragrance. Gorgeous. It's such a beautifully balanced and well-made American IPA. Ticks all the boxes.
A lovely brew. It doesn't do anything outside the box, but it absolutely fills the box completely with all the right characters. This is a phenomenally good IPA, and an absolutely stellar example of the style. Almost the pinnacle.
Pours a burnished orange colour, lots of haze in the body. Head is beige and dense, retaining a nice crown with a lovely cradle of lace around the glass. Excellent IPA look.
Smell is very hoppy. Lots of floral character with rose and frangipan notes, plus citrus and fresh cut grass. It's a light smell, but there's a devilish spicey note to it as well. Nice juxtaposition of the bitter with the sweet, and all just hops.
Taste is intriguing, but on first impressions can't say it's entirely successful. Starts with sweet grain notes, pearl barley with some cornbread and walnuts that altogether lasts to the end of the palate. Hops come through late-mid with more of their floral/fruity character, but this doesn't last long. The finish - albeit late - is all hop oil, resinous and bitter. It's not a flavour I dislike, but I was expecting the hops to cut through the malt a bit more at the front, as well as give off more flavour, not just bittering up.
Nice texture, maybe a bit sharp on the back from all the hopping going on. Good and full.
It's a good beer, and I can see peeps digging this, but to me it's the wrong end of the double IPA spectrum. Big hops and slightly off balance.
86 / 100
Pours a pale gold colour with light bead. Head is white, nice and tightly packed, slight trails of lace but not a lot. Looks OK.
Lots of sauvin on that nose. Sharp, tangy passionfruit aroma with lovely tropical characters creeping around it - peppermint, pineapple, cedar and plenty of citrus. It's all about the hops here, and the hops are good.
Taste is enjoyable, clean and well-balanced. Lots of malt with caramel upfront and a slight nutty edge; touch of pecan. Fresh floral and fruity hop notes hit early on the mid with passionfruit, lemon, sherbet, lime zest and fresh mint. Hop oils surface late, providing a robust bitterness that is earthy, rich, deep and just a strong but tender smack of hop. Beautifully handled with a steady hand on the rudder.
Full body, lots of texture, no rough edges though, just a light fizz. Great.
Again Epic shows why they are the kings of hop in the New World (imo, sorry 8 Wired and Emerson's). The temptation would be great to muck this up with too much bitterness, alcohol - too intense a flavour - but it's just a big, complex beer that also happens to be drinkable and pleasant. A true winner.
Pours a darkish red colour, quite hellish with head that, in spite of being over-generous, is wonderful to behold: thick, beige, webbing out and clinging in Mayan patterns of lace. Pretty damn gorgeous.
Smell is nice and hoppy. Lots of citrus and floral notes with lavender and poppy character, hint of grapefruit. Sour, spicy note as well, with black pepper, capsicum and slight soapiness. Interesting blend, not bad at all.
Taste is...intriguing. Not really in a good way. Slight tang upfront that develops into an oddly sweet palate. Caramel malt with touches of fresh wood, lemon and grapefruit towards the mid. Nice piney tropical note as well. Gets kind of a tomatoey flavour late-mid and then the finish is oddly sweet, with some drying traces of hop bitterness just lingering at the edges. Kind of creamy, kind of vanilla, just lends the whole thing a sour note that don't quite work.
Fairly full, with a fair bit of texture. Quite dry as it goes down; not bad.
A bit odd at times, there's potential here for a really pleasant drop but the wood just takes it in strange directions and it seems a bit left-field, the blend doesn't quite mesh for me.
70 / 100
I tried the American Oak barrel version some months ago when I brought it back from America, and was immediately kicking myself that I didn't get the whole series. When I found a bottle of this at Star Grocery in Berkeley, CA, I was delighted. I brought it back to crack open with @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a hefty weight, sliding into the glass languidly and thickly. Body is a pleasantly hazed burnished red colour, with an initially full, thick and weight Belgian-style head. Lace is sticky and clumping. Despite this, the body stays rather light and sharp. Looks great.
Nose is weirdly and oddly balanced between a sweet woody vanilla character, and a burst of tropical fruitiness. Together they blend into an odd wine-like mixture. Green vegetation like a forest of pine-needles, even a hint of banana leaf. It's an odd mix, just like the American oak version, and I love it for it.
Taste is oddly subdued, and although it has some genuinely odd characters to it, it also sits far more like a traditional IPA, with a crisp and brisk hoppiness balanced on a firm smooth malt backbone. Wood, where it appears, comes around the edges of the palate, and on the finish, leaving more of a dryness than any true woody characters.
Very drinkable, and surprisingly mellow for an 11% ABV IPAâno doubt the aging helps with this. Unlike the American Oak version, however, the wood does not pronounce itself very fully here, and I'm a little disappointed about that, given it's the first chance I've had to sample an Acacia barrel beer.
Still, it's an odd experiment, and part of a wonderful series from Revelation Cat. Maybe some day, I'll try the rest.
84 / 100
On-tap at the Darlinghurst Local Taphouse in Sydney, as part of the Kiwi SpecTapular.
Pours a very clear and bright golden colour. Head is full and frothy and bright white. Lace is a bit ambivalent, and the body is light, but it looks great for a crisp Kiwi IPA.
Nose is as fresh as you could hope for, clean crisp Kiwi notes of passionfruit, green apple, and pungent citrus. Still, very light, no malty sweetness or suggestion of backbone. But that just matches so well with the hop characters. Lovely.
Taste is very clean throughout, with a robust bitterness that balances nicely with a very faint malt character; it just provides a cushion. Exceptionally crisp and refreshingâit's just lovely how easy drinking it is for an 8.5% ABV double IPA. Finish give a touch of the tropical fruit flavours, with a green crispness to add a staccato finish.
So light and very well balanced, this is not the ridiculous hop-bomb I was expecting at all. Rather, it's a very soft, very crisp, light and easy to drink hoppy ale. So clean, so ripe, so fresh. Gorgeous.
Pours a burnished golden colour, with very fine white bubbling forming the head. Lacing is firm and fine, leaving intricate patterns down the inside of the glass. Body is firm and holds fine static carbonation. Lacing is great, the body is bright and sharpâoverall it's a great looking beer.
Heavy and smooth nose, rather sweeter than I expected, with just a splash of bright hops to leaven it. Even then, it's only a character of pepper or basil, perhaps a touch of candied orangeâthe only thing which really drags this out of its heavy, sweet faineance.
Taste is very smooth, with almost no bitterness, except a very slight zesty character on the back. Very sweet, with honeyed grain coming through strongly, and a big malt presence the basis of the beers as a whole. The finish, when it comes is slightly bitter with a resin finish, but it doesn't do enough, in my opinion.
It's a tasty and drinkable brew, but it's missing something. However, it's easy enough to drink, despite the heaviness.
76 / 100
Pours a golden orange colour with lotza carbonation; heaps of bubbles around the glass. Beautiful reverse cascade when poured, head is anl off-whte colour and nicely dense. Quite frothy and webbed out in a spun sugar style as it sinks. Nice indeed.
Smells very tasty; lots of hops, very fruity in character with nice complex citrus - lemon, lime and grapefruit with a touch of under-ripe pineapple and good wood resin notes as well, piney and cedary. Nice toffee malt to balance as well, very good IPA aroma.
Taste is really rather sweet. Lots of that toffee malt on there; quite sweet with a bit of richness and then lots of earthy hop oils on the back. Not a sharp bitterness, but a swelling complexity of floral hopnotes with citrus rind and rosewater for good measure. Woody characters come through late, but it's not dry in that way wood can be, because it's so malty with some syrupy sweetness for balance. Notwithstanding the above it's also quite a mild beer, even though the flavours are big.
Nice and full with lots of texture. It's a bit dry on the back from hop oils but decent enough.
Enjoyable drop, not overblown at all; rather a very nicely constrained bigger beer.
I believe this may be my first brew from Texas. Let's see if the excitement of the premise lives up to the excitement of the experience.
Opens with a muted hiss, like a very tired and lethargic hurrah, and pours a flat looking orange-amber hue complemented with a bright haze. Head almost doesn't form, just leaving a smattering of big bubbles across the surface of the beer. Looks very heavy in the body, as though the carbonation can't escape. Quite a mediocre look to it, to be honest.
Nose is very muted indeed for a beer claiming to be an IPA, let alone a double IPA. Slight grainy sweetness, huskiness and a very slight twinge of green hops, almost lending a vegetative quality to the aroma. Very average.
Taste is also quite paltry, with a very mild bitterness vaguely covering a sweet molasses and malt extract flavoured basis. Dry finish, but without the sting I expect from an IPA. To be fair, the only flavours they mention on the bottle are "rich, malty", and "warm caramel", which is not the profile I expect from an IPA, but at least it's delivering what it promises.
Feel is average, and smooth, and to be fair the heat and booze of the 9% is well hidden.
Eh. A poor example of an IPA, but not an undrinkable beer overall. It's not something I'm particularly happy with, but I'm pleased to have tried a beer from the Lone Star State at least. I just hope they're not all like this.
83 / 100
I drank this the night before Nøgne Ø's "Save Two Captains" campaign failed to meet its target.
Pours a murky amber colour with slight red tinge. Head is cream-coloured, nice and dense with decent retention and some really lovely sticky lace left behind. Very pleasant-looking.
Lots of nice hops on the nose, Americain in character with masses of citrus and a really enjoyable tartaric twang. Very sherbety, tangy with some acidity to it, a touch of rosewater and a slight pine resin towards the back. Mostly hops with not much malt but it's lovely and complex and exciting.
Taste is pleasant and IPA-esque, very citrus-forward with more of that nice sherbety tartaric twang at the front. Develops into a rich, earthy mid-palate with a nice toffee malt character underlying, then finish is full of nice, strong IPA hoppiness, citric rind, floral notes with rose and lavender, pine resin and yeah, just rich hop oil that's really nicely flavoursome.
Nice, full body. Gentle carbonation texture but wonderfully padded by the malt. Ideal texture for an IPA. I actually feel good drinking that.
This is overall a pretty standard double IPA but it exemplifies exactly what I love about Nøgne Ø; this isn't a beer that pops and explodes with exciting new vistas that beer can reach, it's just a perfect example of a double IPA, but in being so it highlights everything that is good about the style and makes you want more. Great job.
62 / 100
Purchased from Jackson Wines & Spirits in Lafayette, CA.
Pours very thickly, looking languid and heavy. Colour is a dull orange hue, with a slight hint of translucent haze. Head formed on impact with the glass, but settled down pretty quickly to a fine film. Lots of static carbonation when tilted; it's as though the bubbles can't be bothered working their way through the thickness to the surface. Looks pretty good.
Nose is certainly hoppy, but only mildly so, and surprisingly unfragrant for all the bombastic posturing about "a king's ransom of hops" and "robust ruler of IPA" on the bottle. What's there are some mild West Coast tropical and citrus notes, but mellow and soft without any pungency. Not bad, but not terribly exciting.
Taste is sharp with bitterness, but very green and piney, with little additional flavour released by the hops. At the end, a light soft caramel malt character comes out and provides some accompaniment, but it's otherwise very one-dimensional.
Feel is full and smooth, although the booze is very noticeableâeven though it's not at the high end for an IPA.
It's a bit too much after a while, and because I don't feel like I'm gaining any additional nuances with each sip, it feels like something of a chore to finish. Not a bad beer, but I've had far better IPAs. If this is their ruler, it's time for an uprising.
75 / 100
Purchased from the International Beer Shop in Perth, because I'd seen it as the feature bottled beer at Sydney's Local Taphouse, and couldn't justify the markup on it there.
Pours a gooey and thick hazed golden yellow colour, with a filmy head, which coalesced early on, but settles to nearly nothing. Lacing, however, is still fine and intricate, probably owing something at least to the heavy body, which allows only the finest amount of carbonation to form. Looks good.
Nose is fresh and hoppy, with a robust green bitter character on the nose, which I genuinely delineate from the West Coast IPA character. This is more direct, more pungent and less fruityâperhaps it's fair to say that this is more genuinely hoppy. Nice.
Palate is really beautifully balanced, with a robust vector of hops through the centre, which disintegrates and melds into the light clean malts to give a nuttiness through to the end. Some vegetative greenness throughout, which makes it taste a little like chewing on leaf stalks, but it's lovely and fresh and again well-balanced.
Feel is surprisingly light, but this may just be an artefect of the fresh hoppy notes that lift it.
A good beer, and a good IPA. While I'd say I still prefer the West Coast variety (probably for no better reason than that I am accustomed to it), this is probably the best example I've had from the East that still retains its distinctive character.
75 / 100
Drunk from a growler purchased from Slowbeer. (That's not just a description of my method of imbibing but a description of me a couple of hours later)
Pours a red-tinged amber colour. Head is listless but some nice sheets of lace with not much substance; not thick or sticky. Carbonation is minimal - looks alright but just a bit lacking.
Lots of citrus-forward hops on the nose. Lemon, orange rind with plenty of herbal notes as well, coriander and thyme on there which is really quite tasty. Bit of earthiness rounding it off; very pleasant aroma.
Taste is very hop-centric. Lots of citrus - lemon, orange with touches of tart pineapple on the front-to-back. It's like the pineapple closer to the skin, the more acidic taste. Bit of pine resin to the hops as well. Tangy overall with fruit, sherbet and then floral bitterness with resinous touch. The back is very aggressively bitter but stops short of being overpowering. Great hop bomb here.
Quite a full body with lots of texture. A bit sharp around the edges where the hop acids really assault the mouth but yeah, enjoyable overall.
Well flavoured and brewed IPA. A growler full must be shared with friends but it's definitely a good one to send round a party (as I did, for the most part).
83 / 100
Purchased for me from Slowbeer in Melbourne by @epiclurk. Nice work =)
Pours a hazed and rather still orange colour, with a hint of floating sediment and some languidly forming carbonation. Head is fine, but puffs of pancake bubbles form on the off-white top. Lacing is sudsy but solid. Nice.
Smell takes me back to California. Really pleasant and genuine fresh West Coast hop characters coming through with lovely American freshness. Big citrussy rubbed lemon skin notes, with sweet marmalade and sharp leafy aromas. More subdued than the best examples, but really fresh, bright and stylistic all the same. Top nose.
Palate is also good, stylistically and absolutely. Sharp citric bitterness on the front, which rounds nicely before it crescendoes itself into harshness, mellowing to turned notes of nut and leaf. Barley sugar sweetness on the back. Very nicely balanced, but with a very robust hop bitterness to remind you what it is.
Mouthfeel is smooth and supple, with only minimal carbonation. Sits very pleasantly and softens the palate yet more.
An absolutely cracking IPA. One of the best I've had outside America, and I'd say a good match for most of those as well. Some may argue where the line between IPA and Imperial IPA is drawn, but I don't really care--this is a great beer.
71 / 100
Pours a slight burnished golden colour, mild haze but mostly transparent. Head is pleasant, off-white and foamy, retaining a thin crown. Lace is decent, sticky. Yeah, pretty good.
Smells great, like an imperial IPA should. Lots of sweet, fruit-tinged West Coast hop aromas, with plenty of citrus, pine resin and a good hazelnutty caramel malt underlying. Slight tang to the hops, but otherwise sweet, airy, pleasant.
Taste is decent enough, quite malty with lots of nutty and caramel sweetnesses kicking me in the fact. Hops are a bit subdued - possibly showing its age here - with a pleasant citrus-forward flavour early-mid that provides a slight fruit rind bitterness later, but it virtually disappears by the finish, leaving a nutty back-palate and mild citric aftertaste. Decent, but aged. I will endeavour to grab a fresh one next time I'm in the states. *ahem*
Nice foamy texture to it, a bit drying on the back, but good body. Great mouthfeel.
Very pleasant drinking. Without that aggressive hop bitterness it's very palatable. But will need to judge a fresher bottle, really.
69 / 100
Pours a burnished amber colour with some odd floaties, but not a lot. Head is off-white and sunk to a thin crown with nice trails of lace. Yeah, looks quite nice; not mind-blowing though.
Smells quite malty and nutty for the most part, but with nice hop aromas backing up. Sweet but with fruity and floral characteristics providing citrus, but also pine resins and crisp apple notes. Quite pleasant and enticing.
Taste is fairly pleasant, again a strong malt base with lots of nutty notes that then develops distinctive hop notes late-mid with touches of citrus, pine and a mild note of some cedar wood. Yeah, fairly pleasant and clean but definitely wants more hopping on there. Not simple, but feels a bit underdeveloped, or perhaps just a bit old?
Quite smooth, with a bit of stickiness and a bit of foamy texture. Yeah, quite decent.
Drinks quite well; it's a pleasant beer. Would love to try this fresh from the brewery but even with a bit of age it's a very enjoyable drop.
91 / 100
Fortunately, I've tried this twice now. Once, at the hands of the generous Todd from Beermen.tv, and this second time as a gift from @epiclurk, shared with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable. Fortunately, this is a fresh batch, seemingly much fresher than the examples reviewed in previous reviews.
Pours a pleasant enough slightly hazed orange golden colour, with a fine and reasonably respectable head of white speckled bubbling. Lacing is soft but subtle, leaving a scattergun of specks down the inside of the glass. Looks suitable for the style.
Smell is phenomenal, and almost proves singlehandedly that there should be a style called "New Zealand IPA". Fresh and sharp New Zealand hop varieties, giving big spicy, biting and zingy characters of passionfruit, cut grass and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Capsicum characters and delicious fresh crushed citrus. it so fits the IPA genre, but gives it a life all of its own. It's just gorgeous.
Taste is really deliciously and devilishly balanced. There's a robust hop presence throughout, but it never gets beyond the level of balance, even though the sharp and aromatic NZ hop varieties give a very green and pungent character to the bitterness. Indeed, it spreads throughout the palate very delicately, leaving an imprint of bitterness on the back that just blends perfectly with the malt to leave a slightly nutty finish.
Feel is crisp and light. Maybe lacking a little body, but matching nicely with the sharp nature of the hops.
Wow. What a phenomenal IPA. The fact that the beer I compare it to in my mind is Ballast Point's Sculpin gives you an indication of its quality. But this beer doesn't merely sit in the shadow of one of the greats, it strikes out in a bold new direction, defining something uniquely its own. Just fantastic.
76 / 100
Pours a Hellish red-amber colour with some sparse sediment floating around. Head is overblown and massive but looks great, bubbled around the side and caving in here and there on the top where it should. Lace is left behind and resembles some mystical Mayan carving. Yeah, pretty damn fine if a little too much head.
Smells... really rather funky. Lots of barnyard sourness with a corporeal edge almost like urine but without the unpleasant alacrity. Acidic and pongy at times with a big whiff of washed rind cheese and crisp apples. Walnuts, even. Yeah, pretty interesting and nice.
Taste is interesting in that it isn't crazy intriguing like the nose. Quite a thick malty base with toffee edge that is present on the assault before giving way to the midway funk. Plenty of savoury notes, biscuity almost and a good belt of Belgian-style horsey funk. Doesn't overwhelm the palate though, just an odd, almost mouldy bitterness at the back providing the only polarising note, and even then I'm on its side. A good beer, worth championing.
Good, healthy body with a touch of dryness on the back but just nicely rounds off the funk and complements it well. A good texture.
Yeah, off in places but pleasant and well-handled. It takes a lot of skill to produce a beer that has so many potentially rank characters but ends up being this good.
81 / 100
Pours a rusty orange colour, fair sediment haze. Head is just gorgeously puffy, dense with big poppin' bubbles on the top and nice trails of lacing down the glass. Retaining a good crown, yeah, an aesthetic beer for sure.
Oooh yes. That's what I've been looking for, yes indeed. Good malt base, first of all. Caramel and some fruity ale esters and just a massive hop whallop, just lovely though; zesty and floral with big citrus peel notes, lemon and grapefruit and a delicious pineapple and pine needle character as well. Just beautifully zesty, a great smell.
Taste is quite nice; doesn't quite deliver to the extent of the nose on the hop punch. Starts fairly malty with caramel and toffee on there that develops a citric zestiness on the mid-palate, slightly bitter and fruity but then doesn't quite live up to bitter potential, gaining itself more of a nutty character at times, but some nice citric and floral notes packed in around the edges. Yeah, all the right notes, but in the wrong proportions, and the end result is not quite what it might have been, but is still a very positive result.
Nice body, nice foamy texture, maybe a bit too dry on the back with the carbonation coming through, but doesn't detract.
Yep. Line these up on the bar and just watch me go, thank you very much indeed.
70 / 100
Pours a very clear, but burnished copper colour, with a fine bubbled head off orange-white. Body looks surprisingly light, although when swirled, it leaves some good static carbonation. Minimal lacing. Looks pretty decent.
Nose is sharp with organic hops, but a lot of malt sweetness, which turns what would normally probably be pretty citric and fruity into something a bit darker and earthier. It's an interesting balance.
Lots of brittle toffee on the palate. Some sharp bitterness on the front, which lends itself to a pleasant organic earthiness and slight nutty characters overall. Smooth finish, and smooth in the feel overall.
It's a nicely balanced beer, and the 7.5% is well hidden, although 7.5% isn't necessarily that strong for an IPA, let alone for a double IPA. It's a decent brew all up, though.
81 / 100
Purchased at Leura Cellars for some ridiculous price. Not the $55 some bars are selling it for, but still, enough to make me dubious. Let's see if it matches the price tag.
Pours a reddish-dark orange colour, burnished with haze, enough to give a little sparkle to the body. Head is foamy and thick, but large-bubbled, causing it to froth itself out to a film. Minimal stickiness to it, meaning it leaves little lacing. Love the colour, but the body and head surprisingly leave a little something to be desired.
Full and fruity on the nose, with a big American hop aroma of citrus and a dash of tropical fruits. Pineapple is dominant for me. Really lovely and very freshly robust hop characters. Some spicy booze comes up to accentuate the sharpness in the hops as well. It's a truly lovely nose.
Taste is really well balanced, just as I remember the Hardcore being, although perhaps there's a trace of that nutty Mikkeller character as well. it's not a huge slice of bitterness, but rather it's nicely blended; the sharpness on the front mellows wonderfully into a lightly nutty and sweet finished, which is still held back by the hops. Lovely organics and crushed vegetation flavours though.
Feel is slightly overcarbonated on the front, but in some ways it meshes nicely with the sharp hops. From then on it sits smooth and rather light.
Yep. A cracking beer. I loved BrewDog's Hardcore in a way I've not loved many of their others, and while I've not had the I Beat You, the mix really works nicely.
So, is it worth the price? Given it's a limited release from the other side of the world, and a great beer that has withstood the journey, I'll say probably. But you'd probably be just as happy with one of the originals in isolation.
76 / 100
Purchased at Healthy Spirits in San Francisco, and lovingly carried back in my luggage to Australia to drink with @LaitueGonflable. This was #1 on my list of "beers I'd rather not break on my trip home".
Pours a lovely bright reddish orange colour, with a phenomenally frothy and boisterous head of off-white, that doesn't want to settle down. Crunchy lacing that forms in sudsy rings down the side of the glass. Weirdly, it collapsed from the outside in, leaving a little island of foam in the centre that looks like a dollop of ice cream in my beer. Looks really, really good.
Nose is... odd. It's an odd mix of vanilla, giving some bourbon barrel characters, and a buttery sweetness, mixed with a lingering shadow of sharp, bright piney hoppiness. Wood is all over it, in any case, be it pine-needle sharpness, or smooth melodic oak. A very interesting and surprisingly compelling mix.
Taste is where it starts getting weird, not just odd. Here, the big hoppy bitterness is present, but it really blends oddly with the sweetish vanilla oak characters, to create a dichotomous melange that jangles and fights with itself. A booziness is present here as well that would perhaps only be subtly noticeable if the whole blended a little better.
Feel is smooth a mellow from the oak conditioning, but a little prickly with booze as well. It's an interesting combination.
An absolutely fascinating beer, and one which I'm very pleased to have tried. I'm intrigued that they picked such a flavoursome and robust style for their Woodwork Series. It seems that it causes a good deal of conflict between the style and the barrel conditioning, but it sure makes for an interesting experience.
I only wish I had some of the rest of the series to enjoy as well.
69 / 100
Pours a pale golden colour with white fluffy head, sinking in this wonderful deflation effect, but clinging here and there to the glass. Lots of carbonation, quite strong and prolific. Not bad overall; love that head, too.
Smells quite tasty. An odd mustiness to it but plenty of fresh fruit as well. Citrus and passionfruit and some nice caramel notes underlying. Could use more, need to sniff quite strongly to get much aroma, but what's there is nice.
Taste is wow, interesting. Lots of fruit and tang on the front, with passionfruit and pineapple mostly, descends into mid-palate that is quite malty and caramelly, like peanut brittle with a richness to the sweet flavours. Back is bitter in an IPA way, but it has more funk characters reminiscent of a saison. Very rubery with a strong ascerbic bent, but a nice touch of passionfruit as well and a soothing kiss of boozey warmth. Yeah, strong and bitter on the back but a pleasant sensation, and quite unique even among double IPAs.
Drinks alright, quite full but too much texture on the back, over-carbonated maybe? Not too bad though.
Yeah, don't know if I could handle too much of this at once. Good for a taste, but not every day drinking.
85 / 100
Going off the pictures of the bottle presented here, I had this version rather than the original. Certainly, I imagine this is the most recent version, and this one has a best before date half a year ahead of me.
Pours a lovely deep orange colour, dark enough to have flashes of ruby to it, with a firm and frothy head of white foam. Often with highly hopped beers you get a yellow tinge to the head, but this is clear and pristine. Lacing is lovely and intricate, falling in anarchic patterns as the beer goes down the glass. Very good looking IPA.
Nose is fresh and hoppy, with big pine resin and spicy citric characters. Indeed, almost getting a minty herbal quality. It's a really delicious nose: fresh, heavy and robust, and on a par with some of the great American pioneers of the style.
Taste is really well balanced, exceptionally so in fact: big hoppy presence on the front, but a tempered bitterness that melds really nicely with the light malt and grain characters on the back, to a very pleasant nutty finish, that reminds me of Mikkeller for some reason. In any case, it's a delicious palate, balanced really nicely between malt, grain and hops, with enough body to support it. Oh yes.
What a great beer. This is certainly one of the best brews I've had from BrewDog. Fresh and robust, but beautifully balanced. For once, I believe they're capable of getting the balance right, rather than just skewing insane beers off in insane directions.
A lovely IPA, I'd say comparable with the best.
74 / 100
Purchased in California in September, and brought to Australia for Christmas.
Pours a very light yellow colour, very much like a pale lager, but with a big, voluminous and crackling frothy head of white that leaves clumpy lacing. Lots of streaming carbonation. Body is surprisingly light, but it looks decent enough overall.
Nose is redolent with West Coast hops, giving a big citrus bite. The freshness is something I specifically associate with San Diego, possible AleSmith themselves. Hint of pineapple lurking in the depths. All up, it's all fresh, ripe and pretty tasty.
Taste is nicely balanced for the most part, with the citruc hops coming out strongly here, balanced with a sweet and slightly boozy note which lingers just a tad too long, leaving a big dollop of heat on the finish. Slightly astringent with a faint hint of crushed aspirin on the back, but very pungent overall. Characters of orange marmalade and pine needles creep in later as well.
Feel is sharp, and slightly hot on the back.
A big and pretty tasty IPA. Possibly a little late in the season for its optimal drinking time, but it's summer here for Christmas in Australia, so it seemed like the appropriate moment to drink it.
81 / 100
Pours a clear burnt-orange colour with small beige crown of head. Sinks to more of a film with some nice trails of lacing behind. Slow bead, very minimal, through the clear body. It's one of my favourite beer colours, but overall not hugely impressive.
Smells mega-malty and almost barleywine-esque. Huge complex sweetness with rich caramel toffee and orange peel and a good healthy dose of piney hops. Slight grassiness at the back as well. I love this kind of smell, and yet it strikes me almost as a bit pedestrian, like anyone could just bombard a high attenuating yeast with hops and malt and create this aroma.
Taste is very malty as well, huge amounts of rich toffee and marzipan nuttiness. Quite earthy, really, with a gritty bitterness that emerges late-mid and gives quite a spicy character, resiny with notes of nitrate-rich soil and tobacco leaves, but is complemented really quite well by the continued sweetness, which manages to taste fresh and fairly fruity. A touch of marmalade and of course a big alcohol heat that glides down the throat like liquid fire. Slight rum touch to this particular alcohol warmth, and it leaves you with a slight vegetative aftertaste. Very tasty. Perhaps not as complex a hoppiness as I would like, but it's ultimately just a big hearty beer that you want to cuddle.
Mouthfeel is a bit rough actually, doesn't have the viscosity I expected. But goes down smoothly, the harsh notes are mostly up front.
It's delicious, it's nutritious, it's practically malicious. More, please.
79 / 100
Recommended and requested by a mate in Sydney, I purchased two bottles in California and dragged them back to Australia. One for him, and one to crack open with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.
Pours very thick and heavy amber hue. Quite dark, for an IPA, but not really quite verging into red ale territory. Head is initially full, if rudimentary. It does dissipate rather quickly, no doubt collapsing under its own weight. It's a very heavy brew, no doubt. Minimal lacing, but again, it's all about the body and weight to the appearance. That's no bad thing.
Nose is a huge face-punch of West Coast American hops. Big characters of pungent citrus, cut grass and and oddly rich yeast character on the back. Malt is also big, but it's certainly not the main event. It knows its job - to cushion the bombardment of hoppy goodness. And goodness it is. So classically American, so classically IPA. And certainly big enough to be considered a double. Lovely.
Taste is very nicely done as well. Seeing as though IPA is such a ubiquitous style nowadays, it's often much easier to find fault than to find positives. This is a very well-balanced brew, mixing the nutty malt backbone with the fresh hop bitterness, that never quite goes to extremity, but just stays nicely in tandem with the sweetness. It has a delicious heaviness to it too, something to remind you this is more than your regular run-of-the-mill IPA. Feel is good is a result.
I've had more extreme IPAs, heavier ones, more hoppy ones, more alcoholic ones; but this is probably the most well balanced Double IPA I've had. It does a great job of upping the ante in the flavour stakes, but still manages to keep every part together.
72 / 100
Pours a gold colour, very shiny and clear with no carbonation. Doesn't need it though, because the head is retaining beautifully. Bubbly, but dense on top and thick. Lace is gorgeous, nice sticky webs. Great look.
Smells tasty. Lots of American hops, but a good malt base with sticky cake dough and some light cereal grain. Hops are floral and citric, nice fruity characters but yeah, nice floral fragrances coming off. Slight musky as well. Yeah, pleasant.
Taste is also pleasant. Malty for the most part, caramel with some rich vanilla bean and some slight vinous notes underlying that then evolve into the hoppiness, which is tasty; nice citric bitterness that finishes well. Yet it's still a bit subdued and could use more robust hopping. Nice citric zest and some woody, resiny notes; finishes with a touch of rosewater and some mild licorice as well. Yeah, not a mind-blowing IPA but a very enjoyable one, nicely brewed.
A bit harsh actually on the feel, just slightly too much bubbliness. A good thick, rich body nonetheless.
An enjoyable drop of beer that could have been more enjoyable.
Purchased in California, transported back to Sydney, and cracked open with @LaitueGonflable to celebrate my moving house.
Pours a light but deep golden colour, with a thick and frothy head of white foam, perfectly formed and amazingly rich. Lacing is gorgeous, a sudsy mess of collapsing bubbles. Colour is quite pale, and the body is surprisingly light, but otherwise it's a fine looking brew.
Nose is a little thin, some slightly resiny hop character, a slight medicinal character, but not particularly big or robust. Even a slightly musty grain note, giving a little rankness, and a slight whiff of yeast. It's not a particularly engaging nose, overall.
Taste is more pleasant, a slightly nutty bitterness with a light grain character on the back. Finish has a touch of hop oil to keep it fresh, and a dryness on the back palate which is refreshing. Quite a light feel, with a slight aldehyde character on the back.
It's decent enough, but this beer is a classic example of why the west coast beats the east cost in IPAs every time. It has the astringent hops, but not the flavour and the character. Pleasant enough, and drinkable in its way, but I can probably think of a score of other IPAs I prefer.
76 / 100
Pours a slightly hazed but reasonably light pale golden colour. Head is very fine, a little filmy, but it stays across the top of the beer without breaking up. Lacing is intricate and fine, just like the head. Looks relatively light in body, but is belied by the static carbonation when it's swirled. Looks very nice.
Nose is pungent, cutting and biting. In fact, it's assaulting in quite a range of ways. Huge, potent citrus and grapefruit characters, almost going as far as crushed lemon leaves - the fruit is probably too sweet for this aroma - with a hint of BO and a slight skunkiness. It's not unpleasant, however. The potent notes just accentuate what a powerful beer this is. So many hops, and so fresh, so bold and so extreme. I love it.
Taste is much as I expected after the nose. Minimal sweetness, and a cutting but clean hop bitterness right through the centre of the palate. Citrus is dominant throughout, with a slight astringency coming through and the fruit characters drop away. It's pretty well on-target for an Imperial IPA, but the lightness in the body, and the lack of sweetness almost makes it feel a little unbalanced.
This is unapologetic, and while it really only does one thing - dose you up with clean and fresh hops - it does it well. The lightness in turn aids the drinkability, although at 9.4% ABV you probably want to share a bomber anyway. Tasty brew nonetheless.
41 / 100
Pours a dark orangey amber colour, with a filmy head of white foam. Body looks surprisingly thin for the style and the ABV. Minimal lacing. Colour is decent, but the head is disappointing, the the weak body leaves me feeling a little worried.
Nose is oddly nutty, with a twinge of chocolate and orange. Really, really odd. A little bit of organics, which I can't find the words to describe, except it smells like the leaf mold under ferns in a rainforest. Quite an arch description, I know. Certainly, it smells nothing like an IPA - in fact, it doesn't smell much like anything I've ever sampled.
Taste is also extremely weird. Big nutty vanilla characters, possibly oak super-saturated, but otherwise little in the way of character. Some resin, maybe, very slightly? Hazelnut sweetness wells up later on the palate in an unusual and slightly rank finish. No, there's something wrong with this. It's just grating against me in all the wrong ways. Not a fan.
Feel is smooth enough, and fortunately quite light so the characters don't stick on the palate too long, but again, that's out of character for the style.
Nope. Sorry. Doesn't work at all. There's something seriously off about the beer by itself, and it's way, way off stylistically. Not worth the effort even for itself, and certainly not worth it if you're looking for an interesting oak-aged IPA.
76 / 100
I'd tried this before (see review below), but the new version has ramped up everything and is a whole lot better. Currently brewed to 8.6% ABV. This version I tried at Paddy's Brewers Market Festival in October 2010. Scores are for the new review:
Pours a beautiful cloudy orange golden colour, with a full, creamy and voluminous head of off-white foam, that meringues up in a dome over the top of the glass. Absolutely lovely looking.
Nose is a big wallop of very genuine American hops, big citrus and ripe tropical fruits, and a faint but clear sweet malt note to back it up. Weaker and less complex that some examples, but nice.
Taste is clear and clean with great tropical fruit notes on the front, morphing into a very pleasant citrus bitterness. Hop oil clings to the palate, but cleans out the beer superbly. Mouthfeel is extremely smooth and slick. It's a lovely note in an IPA.
Wow, this is a really great American IPA, brewed with aggression but finesse. Smoothly drinkable for all its intensity, and balanced just right for the style. This is a great beer, and one of the best examples of the style I've had from Australia.
Whatever they've done to change the recipe, I approve wholeheartedly.
Tried at Sydney's Local Taphouse Beer SpecTapular.
Dark coppery amber colour with a thin filmy head of white bubbles. Some lacing. Not extreme. Look pretty good though.
Nice resiny hops on the nose, with a light phenolic or butterscotch character which just detracts slightly. A shame. Some grassiness as well which adds a nice cleaning note to it. Not bad.
Light fruity Australian IPA sweetness on the front, with a very wimpy back palate bitterness to clean it out. Seriously this is not bitter at all and a poor, poor palate for an IPA. More like a weak amber ale. No bitterness. Mouthfeel very thin.
A really unfortunate brew. I can't say I'm a fan. I really think this is what is wrong with the aussie interpretations of American styles. The US styles are good because they take some genre and make it big and extreme. Here we take American styles and dumb them down, coming up with something worse than the original.
A: 3.5 S: 3.5 T: 2.5 M: 2.5 D: 3.0
78 / 100
Pours a clear golden colour, very slow, small bead. Head is very bubbly, like an Aero® bar, but retaining very well. Lace is a bit small but it's there in specks. Looks pretty interesting and good.
Smell is very malty, with nice caramel coming off it and some tang from subtle hops. Quite floral in character with a slight nectar edge to them. Hint of nuts as well and maybe some slight bready notes on the back as well. Appealing and sweet.
Taste is also quite malty, very sweet on the front, with caramel and vanilla, a slight crème Anglaise note, then gets a slight citric twang and hints of crispa apple and pear. Slight bready note on the mid, kind of crouton-esque though rather than that yeasty fresh bread flavour. Finish is fairly earthy with a piney hop character, also a lot of that fresh lemon and slight banana note as well, although malt still remains 'til the end, giving a slight overcooked toffee note to the finish. Pretty damn pleasant overall though, nice and sweet and warming.
Mouthfeel is syrupy and full but with a nice bubbly texture as it goes down.
A sweet sensation that would probably kill you the next morning, kind of like having a one-night stand with your high-school crush. Sweet, sexy but ultimately dangerous.
78 / 100
Pours a vibrant orange colour, very slight haze in the body. Head is mostly thin but leaves some pretty nice sheets of off-white lacing around the glass. Slow bead, looks pretty good.
Smells very malty, but with nice - and slightly odd - fruity notes. Some sort of tangerine on there and hints of pomegranate as well. Overall it's very malty with a huge caramel hit, but that tang just really peps it up nicely. I do maintain, though, that it's a bit odd.
Taste is quite heavy, but enjoyable. Huge maltiness to it, almost earthy with burnt toffee and some really nice orangey notes - orange syrup and orange blossom floral notes. Yeah, a fair amount of hop on the back, nice bitterness that doesn't quite quell the sweetness, it's all blended together with that sweet nectar and golden syrup lasting right to the end. An odd soft drink tang to it right at the end, not unpleasant, just odd. Yeah, I maintain, even now, that there's an oddness to this beer but it certainly doesn't put me off.
Fair foamy texture with a warmth from the alcohol on the back. Nice soupiness to it; pretty good.
Yeah, that tang gives this beer a pop! But otherwise it's still sweet and pleasant. A little heavy, a little odd, but really delicious anyway.
75 / 100
Pours a lovely clear and bright orange, with a fine head of white bubbles, that leave a little sudsy lacing as they collapse. Minimal carbonation, and I'm suriprised at how fluid the body is for a 10% beer. It looks quite light and liquid. Good though.
Nose is fruity and ripe with big New Zealand hop characters. Notes of peach and passionfruit, with a slight citrus bend to it. Minimal spice, but I was told not to expect it despite Motueka and Riwaka being Saaz cultivars. Smells more like classic NZ hops like Nelson Sauvin. Lovely.
Taste is a little odd, and not quite as bitter as I expected. Some fragrant overripe fruit on the front, with a big dollop of melted toffee, and some candied orange peel. Later a small amount of warm bitterness hits the tongue, almost a melange of alcohol heat and true alpha bitterness. It recedes pretty quickly though, not leaving much of a hop oil coating on the tongue. It's quite pleasant, but not as aggressive as I expected.
An interesting beer, and one which is surprisingly subdued for all its statistics, and, lets face it, the rhetoric surrounding its release. Very tasty nonetheless.
81 / 100
Purchased from City Beer Store in San Francisco, and lugged back to Australia to share with @LaitueGonflable and @ToBeerOrNotToBe.
Pours a thick and heavy dark golden colour, with a fine bubbled and frothy head of pale orange foam. Lacing is good, and it forms some very pleasant cascades. Extremely nice overall.
Pleasant sharp hops on the nose, but sweeter than pure aggressive citrus. More candied orange, with subtle pepper spice and a bit of cut grass. Pretty pleasant overall.
Taste is surprisingly smooth and gentle. Pleasant orange and tangerine bite, very clean with a pleasant dry finish. Minimal sweetness except for the esters off the hops, but it leaves it very subtle and very approachable. Mouthfeel is slick, but with lots of tiny fine bubbled carbonation. It's perfect for the style.
This is a really, really good beer. So pleasantly subtle, extremely drinkable, but with such characters and fragrant hoppiness. Lovely drop.
76 / 100
A clear, but very heavy pale amber colour, with the head forming in a reverse cascade when poured. Head is foamy and large-bubbled, but retains well with lacing leaving globs of big-bubbled patterning down the inside of the glass. Looks pretty decent.
Truly pleasant American hop characters on the nose -- big citrus zing, with a bit of green freshness and a slight carbonic acidity. Hint of malty sweetness to it as well, but it's covered pretty well on the nose. Nice.
Taste is oddly dichotomous, with buttery-sweet malt characters lampooned by the sharp and redolent hop character cutting through the middle. Feel is surprisingly light for the look, and the abv, although it really aids the drinkability. Leaves it surprisingly approachable.
Quite a clean beer this one, pleasantly realised, and quite well-balanced. It's not the most exultant, or the most aggressive IPA I've had -- indeed, I think calling it an Imperial may even be a stretch -- but it's a very, very decent beer, and one that's extremely drinkable.
85 / 100
Pours a nice golden amber colour, clear in body with a stunning head, nice and generous, medium bubbles with lace that would stop a lorry. I don't know what that means, but fuck it's good. This beer has a better body than Angelina Jolie in beer form. Nice, slow bead. Pretty goddamn nice indeed.
Nose is quite delicious. Hugely malty with massive fresh coconut notes all over that, lots of caramel and toffee and a slight dessert wine character as well. Very slight lime juice touch just adds a hint of acidity. Somehow this is at once toasty and sweet like a hearty, warm English pub, yet tropical like a sunkissed Belizean beach. Just staggeringly good.
Taste is quite strong and malty, but yeah very boozey on the mid. Lots of caramel on the front with a slight fruity edge, touch of citrus and maybe some plum as well. Coconut comes to the fore on the mid and dominates a slightly nutty flavour overall, with hints of roasted peanut and sesame as well. Finish has a real boozey strength to it though, gets even more heated at the back with a cognacy oomph! just bashing it down the throat. It's a nice warmth, but it really does have the ethanol-style strength, and would be nicer if the malt sweet stickiness continued for longer, or had more powerful hopping to counteract the effect. But an impressive and beautiful beer, I'd say it would be orgasmic with a bit more age on it.
Good body, the beer coats the mouth well with its texture, but doesn't go overboard with stickinesss. Warmth is great for Winter, which it still is.
Overly strong on the back - without the heat this would be more drinkable, but it is still a very nice, tasty sipping beer.
89 / 100
Purchased at Ledgers Liquors in Berkeley, brought back to Sydney and cracked open with my bro @LaitueGonflable.
Pours a very thick and heavy deep reddish amber, with a yellowish white head of creamy foam. Good lacing, and the body looks incredibly heavy. Lovely static carbonation. Really quite wonderful. Head could be fuller, but otherwise, it's practically perfect.
Nose is lovely - big and rich hoppy notes, almost as though they've been compressed to a singularity and then smashed into a galaxy of flavour. But there are big sweet other notes, oak and coconut come through in abundance.
Taste is excellent as well. Big and sweet wood and coconut characters, with a huge welling of delicious fragrant hops that give a finishing bite to cleanse the palate. Slight spice on the back, with a slight alcohol heat. Mouthfeel is superb, slick and heavy without being too prickly. It's got such a weird bent on the heavy and aggressive DIPA style - masses of coconut and a really odd sweetness to balance everything.
Oh hell yes. This is what I love about American craft beer. There are such classic flavours all over this, but they are also twisted and battered into such original and unique forms. Superb.
73 / 100
Pours a darkish golden orange colour, with a filmy head of loose bubbles. Some lacing but not a lot. Some streaming carbonation from the centre of the glass. Looks heavy, but otherwise, a little lacklustre.
Lightly resinous on the nose, with a hint of fresh fragrance like rosewater or jasmine. Bit of booze and a light biscuit malt character. It's all a little subdued, but with some pleasant aromas.
Taste is similar, but with the addition of a drying oak character on the back that adds some resonance to the lilting hop fragrance and biscuity malt. Alcohol is well hidden, and I really do like the oak character, which is not overwhelming, but just adds finesse to the palate.
It's not a stunning beer, and given DFH brew some pretty extreme beers I was expecting something more overwhelming from an oak-aged IIPA. But it's surprisingly balanced and surprisingly drinkable - something certainly worth taking a look at.
Pours a coppery amber colour, with a filmy head of white foam, that even dissipates from film to form a thin collar around the edge. Some lacing, but not a lot of stickiness. Decent amount of body, but not as big as some other IIPAs. Not bad overall, but not wowing me.
Lots of resinous hops on the nose, pungent with pine and lightly boozy acetone characters. Bit of sweet sweaty leather coming through as well. It's the pungent and extremely jagged end of the hop spectrum, but it's powerful at least.
Astringent with herbal grass and lucerne characters on the palate, ripping bitterness around the edges with a long and puckering grapefruit character on the finish. Yep, it's pretty damn hoppy. The harshness suggests huge amounts of Chinook to me - there's very little floral or sweet fruit aroma to counteract it, but this is going for the raw and ragged pure-hop-oil-punch-in-the-face effect, and it achieves that.
This is an extremely bitter and extremely hop-heavy brew. Personally, I prefer a little more fragrance and a little less getting my teeth socked in, but it's difficult not to respect this beer for living up to its name at least.
73 / 100
Pours a dark burnt orange colour with modest head that sinks too quickly but leave some gorgeous beige lace behind. Slow bead in the beer with a fairly clear body. Nice malty-looking beer, if only the head retained better.
Quite malty with some chocolate notes, caramelly and a fair pine resin aroma coming through. Some citrus and pineapple notes as well but subdued, with a buttery character coming through the stronger. Smells quite good but more like a barleywine, needs a bit more hop on there to carry it.
Tastes quite malty as well, caramel and buttery notes on the front with some deeper chocolatey tones. Hop bitterness comes in early with resiny flavours, a bit one-note and blarey, rather than nuanced and complex in the mouth. Phenolic flavours towards the back leaves quite a bitter aftertaste, and yeah overall the flavour is just a big dump truck full of bitterness. Could use more later addition hops, more flavour, less bitterness.
Full and thick on the feel, but not very sticky. Bit of dryness towards the back - yeah, pretty good.
Very drinkable beer though, the bitterness cleans up nicely and is not overpowering.
75 / 100
Pours a deep golden bronze colour, with a thick, fine-bubbled head of white foam. Lacing is excellent, and the retention of the head is good, staying as a fine film of bubbles right down to the bottom of the glass. Fair amount of tiny carbonation. Pretty nice.
Big and pungent nose of fruity and resinous hops. Notes of peach and pine resin, with lots of cut grass as well. Not quite the tropical notes of a big c-filled IPA - it actually reminds me of a US-brewed ESB. The hops are slightly sharper and more resinous. Still, it's a powerful nose, and bursting with flavour. Very nice.
Taste is initially smooth, with a welling of medicinal hops, and a slight butterscotch character on the back that stays around a little too long, leaving the finish slightly cloying. Fortunately, the hops are sharp enough to counteract this effect, leaving a big, biting bitterness slicing through the center. By the time the sweet finish has been subdued, there's still a decent dollop of hop oil sitting on the tongue. Mouthfeel is slick and smooth, with just a slight aeration from the carbonation giving it a little levity. Very nice indeed.
Yes, a very tasty brew. Heaps of character, and although the balance and integration is slightly off, the amount of craziness makes up for it. I enjoyed it a great deal.
73 / 100
Pours a golden, slight orange colour, with a healthy beige head, medium-dense but with visible bubbles. Lacing is very nice, uneven but very sticky webs around the outside. No carbonation - looks a bit flat body-wise, but head and lace are excellent.
Nose very tart, almost astringent in hopdom; a very strong passionfruit aroma (with seeds), nicely acidic. Hints of bready malt and some lychee as well. Fresh and fruity with a strong hop character, overall is a bit one-note though. Still nice.
Taste has a classic IPA palate, with rich doughy goodness providing a darkly sweet molasses-style base, but a lot of hop bitterness layered over this for a pretty crazy bitterness. Tart fruits on the front descend into a mid-palate with hints of treacle and licorice and some citrus zest. Hops are aggressive, coming in for the kill early, quite ashy at times and very bitey. They leave an astringent metallic hang, which is a bit of a turnoff because it's otherwise quite refreshing. Still a fair amount of fruit though, and is very nice and fairly complex.
Medium-full body, not much tingle. Good for the taste, not thick and not thin.
Fairly drinkable, but the bitterness is just a bit off-putting. Just a bit.
83 / 100
Slightly too pale orange gold colour, but with a very impressively pleasant white head. Very solid, and it leaves some really nice lacing. Carbonation is intense - looks quite vivacious. Looks a little thin for a pretty heavy IPA ABV-wise, but otherwise, it's a nice enough looking brew.
Nose is freaking delicious. It was obvious from the uncapping that this was going to be fragrant. I immediately got a big whiff of insanely floral hops. Big west coast notes of grapefruit, sweet citrus, a little acidic seltzer water, aniseed and crushed flower petals. Absolutely awesome, one of the best IPA noses I've had. It's not just that it's big and boisterous, the flavours are so delicious and so well combined. It's just gorgeous.
Really nice on the palate too. Crisp notes of pink grapefruit and sharp herbal notes, but no harshness, which makes it extremely drinkable. The hops are just subdued to the right level on the palate, so you get the fragrance and light citric bitterness, but nothing clinging or cloying. Mouthfeel is sparkling, but pleasant.
This is a really delicious beer, and devilishly drinkable. It feels so smooth and crisp, but with such a wonderful combination of flavours to give it character. It reminds me a lot of Blind Pig in terms of drinkability, but this is a good couple of points ahead of it in ABV, which makes this more of an achievement.
Seriously one of the best American IPAs I've tasted.
76 / 100
Pours full and thick, a superb dark amber-red colour, with an astonishingly full and thick head of yellow cream foam. lacing is excellent, and the head retention is superb. Body looks thick and heavy, the carbonation languid. This is a really excellent looking beer.
Ah, a delightful nose, redolent with unripe pineapple and citrus with sharper notes of pine and turpentine. There's also a pleasant caramel malt sweetness underpinning the fruity hop notes. If it's not as robust as the best IPAs I've had, it's still superbly balanced.
Taste delivers on what Simcoe promises, a long smooth and round bitterness, but without the harsh and grating grassy bitterness found in other varieties like Chinook. This is very clean, a little piney, and smooth all the way through the palate, although the bitterness is very pronounced and clear. I'd perhaps like a little bit more sweetness and body to complement the hops, but it's not essential when the hops aren't fighting to rip up your taste buds. Mouthfeel is clear and smooth - certainly no prickle - but lacking a little body as well.
Overall, a very drinkable IPA, and one that showcases Simcoe very nicely. It's not one that runs the gamut of the Double IPA range, but it does what it does well. There's a reason they put "Simcoe" (® and all) in the name of the beer.
Pours a murky brown-orange colour, with some loose-bubbled head initially. The head dissipates quickly, unsurprising considering the high alcohol content, but there is a little white fizz around the edges. Body looks surprisingly thin considering the strength of the brew. Overall, it looks good, if a little scary.
Extremely strong nose, full of spiritous alcohol and sharp high-alpha hop acids. Citrus is pungent, and the alcohol is redolent of brandy. Little sweetness, although there is a port-like residual sugar character lingering around - mostly the alcohol and the hops take charge, however.
Strong and pungent on the palate, initially brash with citric hop bitterness, before the tingling warmth of booze bellows up from the back, roaring a fire of spicy spirit-like burn through my mouth. The alcohol is the main-event here, slightly sweeter than pure spirits, but almost with the intensity. The hop character even takes a backseat to the booze. I can't deny it's confronting, but it's almost too much - perhaps there is a limit to just how far you can push beer after all.
Overdone. Too full of booze, and too straight up with its roar of dominant power. If you're after insanity, maybe this is the beer for you. For me, while it is in all respects unique, it's so far beyond the realms of decency, and so confrontingly undrinkable. Maybe it mellows with age. Maybe we'll see. Right now, I can't abide it, even if I can respect it.
71 / 100
Pours a slightly murky golden colour, not particularly bright, with a filmy head of fine white bubbles. Some pretty fervent carbonation rises quickly to the surface, which makes a lie of the apparently full body. Overall, there's a little something lacking to it appearance wise.
Nose is much more on par, with a full bouquet of fruity hops. Notes of pineapple, apple juice, and fresh celery are noticeable, and a slightly sweeter caramel note underpins these. Quite pleasant, if not as full and robust as many a DIPA I've had.
Smooth initially on the palate, some sweetness, and a very light slick feel, before a brash hop leaf bitterness wells up, full of resin and tannins. Sharp and herbaceous on the back, leaving a gritty finish that's slightly too pungent to be refreshing. It's a big beer, pretty impressive and unapologetic, and I respect that.
Feel is just a little thin for the style. Despite the spectre of slickness on the front, it doesn't have much of a sustained body. Either that, or the hops bitterness just cut right through it.
Not a bad beer, and a very decent DIPA. You want a DIPA to be confronting and high in bitterness, and this certainly delivers on those two fronts.
77 / 100
Pours a slightly hazy amber-gold, not particularly bright, but the head is an excellent fine-bubbled frothy head. Lacing is truly excellent. Truly an excellent looking brew.
Lots of American hoppiness on the nose, lots of luscious fruit, citrus and a bit of pine or pepper. There's a vaguely undermining diacetyl character, but not huge, but it is really quite reminiscent of a west coast US IPA. Very nice.
Taste is also pretty true to style. An initial pepper/fruit/sweet hybridisation, which wells through a light acidic note before descending to a raw and very robust bitterness. Quite a high level of bitterness - I have to say it's one of the few beers I've yet had from outside the US that has the balls to bitter hop so heavily. Something for the Danish hopheads, and those of us outside who are lucky enough to get a hold of it. Mouthfeel is a big and sparkling adventure.
Big, bold and exciting - it doesn't quite have the freshness, and the balanced complexity of hop characters as some of my favourite American examples, but this is certainly one to savour and rejoice that we can get here in Australia. Nice.
74 / 100
Pours an apricot colour, almost opaque from sediment bomb that's detonated in the body. Head is voluminous to the max, irregularly bubbled and beige in colour, leaves a gorgeous Pollock canvas of lace down the glass. Colour? Tick. Cloud? Tick. Head? Tick. Lacing? Tick. Perfect 5? Oh, you better believe that's a paddlin'.
Nose is very pleasantly fruity with a lot of floral hop character, lots of passionfruit, pineapple, and some pudding sweetness. I love all the smells but there's not much more to it that fruit sweetness. Needs maybe a bit more acid. Or maybe I need some acid to enjoy it more.
Taste is pleasantly fruity with a tart edge to begin with, hops come in quite early and are quite resiny, creating a bit of a bitter hang that isn't unpleasant, blends well with a citric hop towards the end, again quite tart, actually almost tartaric. Nice lilt of flavour on the mid, finish isn't quite as potent as the mid, and has a slightly sweet edgeto it, in fact, which is a very slight turnoff.
Mouthfeel is a bit squelchy - full, but not thick, just a bit sticky as well. Pretty decent.
I'm very, very surprised at how high the ABV is here. I wouldn't have guessed it for the world. Very drinkable, dangerously so. If those little kinks in the finish were ironed out, this would be a very smooth, wrinkle-free beer.
73 / 100
Pours a golden urine colour with tan head, medium thickness with good retention, and a slow and miniscule bead. Lacing is wonderful and sticky, spewing rings around the glass. Not quite sure of how flat and clear the body is, but elsewhere excellent.
Nose is really nice, with a pungent, almost ticklingly strong aroma of hops, very tangy and citrusy but balanced out quite nicely with some rich caramelly malt. Hints of lemongrass and a lot of barley, pretty damned nice, but almost too strong. It makes my nose itch.
Taste is rich in malty goodness, with a great deal of barley and earthy toffee with an almond nougat kind of nuttiness around the edge, and a tart sizzle on the mid-palate not unlike lime. Has a very dank, potently rich and almost funky finish, with a lot of warming alcohol giving it a stately cognac character on the back, but never burning. It goes down smoothly, thanks I think to the hops which are there to lend it bitterness and an almost acidic back, but are noticeably ineffective in terms of exploding with hoppy bitterness.
In fact, the hopping seems very English and it gives this more of an American Strong Ale character than a DIPA. But it might just be that I'm used to the west coast Amarillo/Cascade hopped IPAs. The biggest character I get from here is the booziness. Very pleasant, this, but not a quaffer. Best enjoyed in moderation.
76 / 100
Pours a red-tinged apricot colour with a nice haze, very resilient beige head, sticky and dense and fluffy. Lacing is a very thick, sticky curtain. Apparently there was a reverse cascade effect when poured, though I didn't pour it. That's a pretty white-hot beer.
Nose is delectable, with pungent floral hops releasing their goodness together with orange sherbet, pineapple and vanilla aromas tantalising my olfactory. A slight booze character as well, maybe rum, delightful and sweet; if anything it just needs stronger hopping.
Taste is strong and phenolic, with an odd sickly sweet character, vanilla or maybe butterscotch - in a non-diacetyl way - permeating in an incremental fashion. A long herbal character with mint, anise and coriander having a go with the hops. Rich malt base with a burnt toffee edge, more bitter than sweet. Lots of bitterness throughout, really.
Feel is nice and slick, not as full as it could be but very good for gliding. Quite good flavours; while the bitterness permeates and hangs, there is a very nice tang and sweetness for the most part. Hang is a bit out there for drinkability since it's a slightly ashy bitterness, but otherwise, very nice beer indeed.
74 / 100
Very pale yellow colour, quite cloudy with a nice fine bubbled head of white foam. Nice, but surprisingly light.
What a nose, full of massive passionfruit sauvin-ness. Just gorgeous. Very sharp and sweet. It's nothing more than that, but screw it, I love Nelson Sauvin.
Light bubblegum on the palate, with a pleasant crisp bitterness. Banana and tropical. Quite a note of weizen but with the hoppiness to bring it back to beerland. Very light, but exceptionally easy to drink. Mouthfeel is crisp. Very nice.
A very smooth and drinkable brew. Very enjoyable. I wish this were available everywhere.
Pleasant as this beer is, someone is kidding themselves that this is a Double IPA. Not a chance in a mile - this would be pushing it to be classified a single IPA. I'd be happier calling this an Australian Pale Ale - it's certainly a beer style I'd love to claim for this country.
75 / 100
On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse US Beer SpecTapular.
Cloudy yellow gold colour, with a very decent head of fine creamy foam. Lacing is great. Bubbles sit up when swirled. Nice indeed.
Some resiny hops on the nose. Not huge, but sweet with some tropical fruit. An unfortunate butterscotch note, but otherwise very fruity and flavoursome.
Taste is much better with a clean and crisp American hop bitterness which overthrows anything else. Some light buttery sweetness to it, but the passionfruit and resin bitterness clear it out. Mouthfeel is crisp, nice for the style.
Yeah, a very nice IPA. Has a lot of the nice fruit characters and comes out pretty drinkable. Note that I had this blind, and would have picked it more for a regular IPA than a double. Probably a slight markdown.
Pours a burnished gold colour, transparent with slow bead up the middle and a thin crown of surprisingly pale white bubbles. Looks slightly wobbly in the glass, good IPA look.
Nose is very hoppy, with a passionfruit/Sauvin character but a lot of tropical Cascade as well, nice passionfruit smell, hints of orange sherbet, not much else; just hops. Nice hops though.
Taste is a decent one, with a good barley sugar flavour on the front that descends rapidly, but subtly (as in, without an abrupt jolt) into a nice fruity, floral hop flavour, a bit of ash on it for some reason, maybe slightly salty, but the hops are dominant and very pleasant.
Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the amount of flavour it carries, although there is none of that 7.5% noticeable. Drinking is good: overly hopped, but otherwise well balanced and pleasant.
75 / 100
Pours a very hazy apricot colour, lots of cloud, with a delicious white head that has dissipated to leave a thin crown of foam. Lacing is to die for. What lacing. This beer has 'sexy' written all over it.
Nose is an intense passionfruit affair, with very strong tropical notes, very floral hoppy characters and an almost marmalade sweetness on the back. While it's not unique, it's fruity and complex, very pleasant indeed.
Taste has a long hoppy palate, with the front having notes of grains and biscuity malt, but they're quickly overpowered by an intense, very floral hop note with a lot of tropical fruit, hints of pineapple, guava and of course passionfruit. Has a mildly spicy, resiny finish; hints of white pepper and a little bit of anise - not as complex as I've seen, but yeah very decent drinking.
Mouthfeel is smooth, surprisingly dull though. Doesn't have much of a kick to it. Doesn't detract from the beer though which is a very decent drinking 2IPA.
Tried at the Local Taphouse's July 4th SpecTAPular.
Pours a pale, very hazy appearance, with a little bit of head, has sunk to a ring around the top. Lacing is excellent, cascades down nicely with dense bubbles. Looks pretty good.
Nose is insane. Sauvin hop smell - well, passionfruit. But yeah, very little else on that, just passionfruit and passionfruit seeds. Not too intense though, and pleasant, but really, it's just sauvin hops.
Taste is a burgeoning hop flavour, with a nice development of taste, good passionfruit sauvin flavour with a bit of banana on the middle, some bubblegum on the front and a nice, just slightly bitter pang at the end. Really quite a good palate, well constructed with good use of hops, not overdone. They are very dominant but not too intense.
A bit of tingle on the feel, a little bit champagney with just a light sparkle and slightly puckering. Very drinkable beer, very crisp.
81 / 100
Pours insanely thick, a gooey rush of deep dark gold. Head is insane and the lacing is amazing - it leaves wonderful patches down the glass just from the slight dissipation of the head. Bubbles don't know what to do to punch their way out through the body, but they make a valiant effort. Looks wonderful.
Big piney, almost solvent like pungency on the nose. Pepper, latex, resin, citrus rind and acetone all bubbling and gurgling together in some insane witches' brew of powerful aromas. Oh so grand for an IPA - hoppy up the hilt.
Oh, before you even get a dose of those lovely hops, that heavy belting richness makes its presence felt, with a slick, thick, chewy texture coating the mouth. Once it's there it releases its bomb - a phenomenally astringent hop bitterness cascading over the tongue. Apart from the thick body, there's almost no whisper of the malt backing, but that's ok. That's what this beer is all about.
It's a big hop-bomb this one, almost to the point of insanity. It teeters oh so close to the edge of being irredeemable, but stays gloriously on our side of the realm.
86 / 100
Pours an orangey amber colour with a thin, pockled off-white head. Not much carbonation, bit of a lacing cradle but slides quite steadily down the glass. A bit dull and lifeless-looking, really. Disappointing.
Holy shit that nose peels a layer of skin off your nose. I mean really, that smells like hop pellets smell. Very strong and herbacious with little else to it. I like it, not all that complex but impressive.
Wow, again intense hoppiness on the palate that's like rubbing basil leaves against the inside of your mouth. Intense hop hit - cascade maybe - on the front palate that is like a miniature Everest of hops rising on the flavour. Mid palate is a bit more mild with nice malty characters and it lingers for the back palate to create a delicious bittersweet finish. Palate is very well constructed to hit you hard with hops, then pull back to leave you with a very, very pleasant, satisfying aftertaste. Mouthfeel is smooth and basically, the more I drink, the more I want to drink. That finish is just immaculate, and the alcohol is hidden beautifully.
Delicious. Intense on first drinking but just really nice and pleasant.
Beautiful dark bronze-amber colour, with a sticky head of yellowish pancake bubbles. Carbonation is large bubbled, and passes rapidly through the body, which doesn't give me a lot of hope about the weight of it. Lacing is good, even though the head collapses to a film pretty quickly. Nice looking beer though.
Nice citrus and honey notes on the nose. There's a pretty strong resin character, but it comes off very phenolic. Under this is a type of grainy sweetness. And for all of this, it's not a big, beefy, robust bouquet either. It's not a bad DIPA nose, but it's quite generic.
Also not huge on the palate, but the tropical and citrus notes are pleasant even still. There's not a huge amount of bitterness, although the alcohol heat is very prominent and a little harsh. A pleasant sweetness on the front palate is its best aspect as far as I'm concerned. The longer it lingers, the less pleasant it gets. Mouthfeel is quite nice at least, full and rippling smooth.
It's not a bad beer, by a long shot, but it's not a great IPA when compared to some of the best beers in the style. Quite drinkable, and I wouldn't turn down another bottle - but next time I'll choose something else.
81 / 100
Beautiful orange gold body with a rippling slick head of yellowish foam. Lots of very fine carbonation streaming. Looks absolutely delicious.
Very powerful pine, fruit, medicinal nose. Huge characters of pineapple, leather, citrus and grapefruit. Spike and sharp, feels like it's clearing the sinuses. Amazing, luscious, delicious. It doesn't get better than this.
Sharp on the palate, but not as ruinous as the name may lead you to believe. Very nice pine needle resin character mellowing to a citrussy, but lightly sweet palate. This then dries out, leaving a prolonged refreshing bitterness. Complex and long, but no ruination. It's big and tasty though. Mouthfeel is quite rich and thick - could maybe use a little more sharpness to match the hops.
Still, this is a very tasty, very fragrant IPA. Full of character and extremely drinkable.
89 / 100
79 / 100
Pours quite a light yellow-gold colour, slightly cloudy with a huge white head of fine bubbles. Rather reminiscent of a Belgian tripel, truth be told. Looks really good - I mean, really, really good. The sort of beer I take one look at and say "yeah, I'm going to like that beer"...
Very pleasant tropical fruits on the nose - passionfruit, pineapple, peach, melon, lychee and a hint of banana, cinnamon and anise. Truly has a surprising Belgian yeast undertone to it as well. Sweeter, and not as sharp as many an IPA. Extremely pleasant though.
Again, the taste isn't as biting and sharp as many an IPA - it has a sweet, fruity character under it, and the piquancy of the hops is just an overtone. The hop character is clean and clear, but the sweetness binds it back to earth. It's good.
Mouthfeel is light and frothy, makes the beer quite filling, and probably reduces the drinkability.
It's a good beer, no doubt about that. Very fragrant, and full of flavour. Possibly too bloating for more than a glass. A subtle but very enjoyable double IPA.
81 / 100
What exactly is a double pale ale? And how does it differ from a IPA or Double IPA? Well, let's find out...
Pours very thick and syrupy. Slightly hazy mahogany amber colour, with a yellowish head of thick, thick, thick cream. Everything about this beer looks heavy and full-bodied. Lacing is also extreme. Looks very good.
Very nice sweet, floral, fruity hop presence on the nose. Big characters of pear, peach, pineapple and raisins. There's a floral note to it as well, and an undercurrent of copper, or something slightly astringent. There's a hint of sugary sweetness as well, but it's not overt, and may even be expected in such a heavy beer.
Excellent vegetative bitterness on the palate, a real explosion of resin and eucalyptus. Tasty and smooth, with that coppery heat just cutting through on the back palate. There's a note of that sweet fruit/citrus character throughout, but it just emphasises the hop character, rather than pulling it back. Mouthfeel is slick and smooth, like a cask-drawn English ale. The feel doesn't get better than this from the bottle.
This is a fine beer; sweet where it needs to be, riproarin' raw where it needs to be. It may well just be a tad less aggressive than a top double IPA, and perhaps by omitting the reference to the subcontinent they've saved themselves from unfair comparisons. Overall, a very fine brew indeed.
86 / 100
Served from a 22oz bomber. Love the label.
Pours an obscenely thick, syrupy deep golden-orange treacle colour. Fine bubbles struggle through the body to get to the yellowish head, amazingly fine with creamy bubbles. Lacing is extreme. This is one hell of an impressive looking beer.
I can smell it out of the bottle as I pour it. Really strong citrussy hop character, sour and sweet, with candied lemon peel and Curacao dominant. There's a dark almost peppery undertone to it as well, spicy and rich. Nice. Very nice indeed.
Wow, that must be the longest palate I've yet tried. It just creeps up, and up, and up, moving from an initial malty, syrupy sweetness, through a light effervescent fruity sourness before the hops kick in for the grand finale, a massive welling up of bittersweet freshness. Coupled with this is the second layer which interleaves the main characters - spice, cinnamon, pumpernickel, pepper - it's the dark undertone to the fresh, citrus/fruit characters which seem dominant.
Mouthfeel is sublime, smooth and slick - the alcohol adds a little heat as well.
This is a damn fine beer, with a massive array of flavours constructed together beautifully. The alcohol does start to assert itself after a while, which leaves this heady brew a sipper, but it's a damn good one. A thoroughly delicious beer.