Weyerbacher: Double Simcoe IPA (USA: IIPA: 9% ABV)

Visual: Dark browned amber and quite hazy. Large frothy head of solid tight bubbles. A medium amount of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Malt and digestive biscuits. Toffee. Apricot. Vanilla. Heavier mango notes as it warms.

Body: Solidly bitter, Liquorice sticks. Caramel. Honey. Lots of malt. Dried apricot. Passion fruit in the depths. Slightly green.

Finish: Bitter hops. Liquorice sticks again. Honey.  Pineapple. Cucumber. Hop oil.

Conclusion: What we have here is a brutally sweet and brutally bitter Imperial IPA. The sweetness cannot be contained with caramel and honey mixed with dried apricot all working against the massive bitter kick.  It then adds interesting twists top and tail with a very biscuit heavy aroma and strange cucumber like green vibe to the finish.

It feels indulgent to drink, smooth to slip down but you soon realise it has left clinging hop trails on the way down that build up to impressive levels on your tongue.

If there are complaints to bring to bare it would be that the massive malt sweetness sometimes doesn’t quite give the simcoe hop room to roam – it can dominate the conversation somewhat. The hop does always find its way back out again though, bringing out fruity yet green touched flavour. That along with the thick texture bringing hop oil touches to the finish give a distinct fingerprint of the hop character on this beer when it rides back out once more.  The malt may dominate at times, but the hop is what gives it character.

An excellent beer, one of a few minor quirks, but heavy set on flavour and a delicious bitter sweet balance.

Background: Simcoe. A hop with a copyright marker. I was going to make sarcastic remarks about copyrighting nature, but apparently this was a very carefully bred hop to get high alpha acids without increasing (double checks “1001 beers you must try before you die”) cohumulone levels which apparently not good for a beer. It has a harsher bitterness or something like that. Anyway, what I know is Simcoe fricking rules, it is up there with Nelson Sauvin, Sorachi Ace and the like on hops I keep an eye out for. Therefore I bought this beer. That is all.