Mikkeller: 1000 IBU (Denmark: IIPA: 9.6% ABV)

Visual: Massive lace leaving, or possibly coffee cup rim bubbles leaving, coffee froth coloured head.  A reddish brown body, with some sediment in due to an over enthusiastic pour.

Nose: Grapefruit, bitter hops, coffee cup remains. Orange peel and crushed peanuts.  Quite dry.  Mixed spices including ground pepper, chilli pepper and so on. Quite acrid.

Body: Solidly bitter and full of hops. Malt and chocolate orange peak through, initially barely come out but reveal themselves more over time.  Touch of pineapple.  Quite a smooth cream styled middle.  Sweetness in the form of sugar coated chocolate eggs makes an appearance.

Finish: Bitter, dry popcorn hops. Clinging texture and bitterness. Milk chocolate hint and orange crème.

Conclusion: Wow, bloody hell, the hops still haven’t left. I put the glass down to do some writing about five minutes back, yet the hops have set up a makeshift town on my tongue and are playing away through the night.

So, yeah I guess you know what the finish is like now, the full affect of the sack full of hops  that go into this beer really take hold there and the more you drink the more it builds up.  I thought the barrel aged version had some kick, but this goes an extra yard and then some.

Now of course the theoretical 1000 IBU is just a silly boast as there no way your tongue tells the difference at that level, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less intense for the bitterness you do recognise, or the fact it seems to be designed to bring the full force to the fore.

Thankfully still a drinkable beer though, though not half as complex as the barrel aged version.  They have done well at giving a smooth main body, laced with sweet chocolate orange that restrains the assault somewhat, holding back the sledgehammer hit until the finish.   A nice trick that makes the beer enjoyable as opposed to just bitter as hell.

So, if you are only drinking the beer for the hop kick, it’s a surprisingly restrained beast (comparatively that is) until the end kicks in. If you are in it for the taste then there are better, the barrel aged version for one.  If you are in it for numbers then there have been higher since.

Still a decent kick at the end, and that’s enough to sell it for a try, though I doubt I’ll be having more than one, favouring instead the barrel aged version if I get the chance to try it again.

Background:  I drank the barrel aged version of this a while back, which I very much enjoyed, but wanted to see how this hop bomb bastard worked in the nude. At 1000IBU it was once the most bitter beer on the planet, though that crown is now held by something around the 2000 mark these days. Not that it matters so much as your taste buds can’t tell the difference at this level, but I am such a sucker for the big numbers.

Mikkeller don’t actually have their own brewery, instead brewing at many different facilities.

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