El Dorado

Brewdog: IPA Is Dead: El Dorado (Scotland: IPA: 6.7% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold. Low carbonation. Moderate yellowed creamy bubbled head.

Nose: Apricot and paprika. Spicy hops. Chilli seeds. Quite dry.  Fresh nan bread and egg plants. Turmeric. Dry curry.

Body: Quite bitter. Dry. Curried chicken. Greenery. Sweet apricot well hidden. Melon. Grapes.

Finish: Dry. Turmeric. Paprika. Fluffy hop character. Popcorn. Peppery. Jolly rancher sweets. Chilli. Liquorice. Gooseberry jam and grape jam.

Conclusion: Hmm, in the prototype I had thought the spice part of the hop, now with spice coming in heavily here as well I’m beginning to think this years batch is leading towards spicy and dry in the base recipe all round.

Very dry, and feels spiced like chilli seed like warmth. The sweetness and juiciness imparted by the hops are present but hidden below for a good chunk of the beer. All the rougher elements seem to ride to the top. From the description of the hop, which I glanced at after the tasting, I’ve got the feeling that juiciness should be more present in the hop character rather than the spiced touches that come in with the bitterness.

There is a bit of odd fruitiness to it, kind of like Jolly Rancher sweets, especially the watermelon ones (Which by my recollection were the flavour hated by the Amiga Power team. Yes that’s an obscure reference, but Amiga Power was bloody excellent and deserves remembering every now and then).

The balance gets better as it warms, more fruit and less dry spice. This one really doesn’t seem to take to chilling well. Warmer you get some gooseberry jam and the like, slightly tart and fresh. The flavours tend towards the lighter, less thick elements of the spectrum which probably explains how they got lost so easily when chilled.

This seems to be an unusual hop, different in flavour to Sorachi Ace, but with similarly unexpected responses. Since I haven’t tried the hop before I can’t quite tell what is the base beer and what is the hop. All those dry, spicy and almost curried flavours seem very much against the jammy gooseberry and candy sweet touches.  I have a feeling the spiciness is the base beer used for the prototype, but cannot say for sure.

I don’t think  this really is a beer for me. It is too dry, the spiced elements don’t work too well and it feels over attenuated. Unusually for an IPA Is Dead I felt I wasn’t really getting a good hop character from it and near the end I got a liquorice element that just intruded.

The flavours are interesting but don’t feel like they are pushing out of the glass enough. Not a beer I can really recommend.

Background: The 2013 IPA is Dead single hop range. Four different beers, each with the same base recipe and a different hop used (oh and one prototype that was used to test the procedure, but that was keg only). This is the American hop of the batch.  As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers.  Drunk while listening to History Of Guns; The Mirror Pond, which can be legally downloaded for free here.

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