Visual: Hazy apricot to browned. Large off white head made of small froth bubbles. Some sediment in the glass.
Nose: Very resinous. Heather. Bitter hops. Brown bread. Shortbread. Dried apricot and pineapple.
Body: Very bitter. Golden syrup cake. Resin and hop oils. Pineapple. Apricot, and peach syrup. Slight alcohol air at the back of the throat. Lemon cakes. Kumquat.
Finish: Lots of bitterness. Buttery shortbread. Hop oils and resin. Grapefruit. Lemon cakes. Brown bread. Light spirit air.
Conclusion: I was given good advice on this one, chill it down, but let it warm a touch before drinking. It is true, there is a syrupy alcohol feel when it is chilled down, but just a small raise in temperature reins it in and lets the beer really show itself. Thanks for the heads up to the guys at Independent Spirit.
This feels like an even higher abv take on “I hardcore you“, it uses a similar intense bitterness and resinous character against a mass of sweet fruit hop flavours that boom mid body. The contrast is both intense and enjoyable, though the alcohol does come in from the back of the throat to the finish just a bit too high, and it does give a spirity air.
The fruit is really pushed mid body, emphasising the apricot and lemon cake, it saves the harsher elements for the way out. There in the finish you get the pleasurepain of very bitter notes, more an experience than discernable individual flavours.
So, a very fresh fruity mix of apricot and peach for sweetness, then pineapple and grapefruit for sharpness. Not the most original mix, but there is a reason it is a classic. The resin and hops are really fresh, and really intense – I imagine it will reduce with time, but here and now it is massive. It isn’t used as efficiently as, say “Enjoy By IPA“, but this wasn’t designed with that goal in mind.
However, as you may have noticed, I am describing this beer in relation to two of my favourite IIPAs. So is it as good as those two? Just below actually, but still pretty darn good. It’s just a touch too alcohol touched, but does give great intensity in exchange for that. It feels raw, which does give it charm, but the alcohol touch that comes with that feels unnecessary. Despite that minor flaw it is well worth a bottle.
Background: Double Axe Handle is the name of an aerial wrestling move. Not sure why the name brought that to mind, but it did. This was literally pressed into my hands by the guys at Independent Spirit. Apparently it is quite a hard one to find, therefore it was my duty to buy and review it. Good sales technique, and as you see, it worked. This is pretty damn fresh. Bottled on 19/08/2014 and drunk 01/09/2014. I think that is fresher than the Enjoy By IPA I had. Drunk while listening to the Pottymouth album by Bratmobile.