Epic: Mayhem (New Zealand: American Strong Ale: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Slightly reddened and clear. Just off white head. Quite smooth set of racked bubbles in a coffee froth style.

Nose: Fresh grapefruit and gooseberry with a distinct hop character.  Smooth, tart and fresh. Dried apricot. Toffee and malt sweetness. Riesen chocolate chews.

Body: Tingling hops. Moderate bitterness. Slight milky coffee hints. Thin acidic fruit tartness. Grapefruit. A thick stream of coffee liquor when warm. Toffee.

Finish: Dry hoppiness and popcorn texture. Nettles. Malted drinks. Pink grapefruit. Light toffee and marmalade.

Conclusion: Talk about a disconnect from nose to tongue. This from early on drew me in with a subtle smooth hop aroma and because of that I couldn’t wait to give it a taste. The smell was tart and hoppy into a smooth malt and toffee sweetness. It promised a balanced malt dose to fruity hop bomb.

On main body that subtlety vanishes to give an old fashioned hop tingle that calls more to the simple golding and fuggles hops than the more fruity NZ and USA hops which it is crammed with.

The dominance of the hop character oddly doesn’t come with quite the massive bitterness that you would expect. Unfortunately it doesn’t come with the flavour range that the aroma promised either.

I guess in attempt to ratchet up the hoppiness they lost a lot of the style, a real pity as it promised so much.  It’s still drinkable as a hoppy beer, but it feels like it ends up half way between a American Ale and an IPA without settling either. As such if is nowhere near as good as a dedicated example of each style, for example 8 wired’s excellent Hop Wired IPA.

Overall, as you can probably guess at this point, an excellent nose, a basic hop body with hints of what it could have been.  Not bad but disappointing.

Background:  Picked up from Brewdog’s Guest Beers section. Epic is one of the big names from New Zealand so I thought it about time to give them a try.  Made with the NZ hop  Riwaka and the USA Cascade hop.  Don’t know too much about Riwaka  so this will be an experience for me, the Cascade hop seems to be a quality main beam of the American hops. Apparently this was brewed as  Festival beer in small amounts so I guess I should be chuffed it reached the UK.