Brains Craft Brewery: Boilermaker (Wales: IPA: 6.5% ABV)

Visual: Copper bronze. Clear. Small amount of carbonation. Large off white froth.

Nose: Honey and glacier cherries. Vanilla. Flour and dough. Toffee. Malt drinks. Bourbon. Gingerbread. Fruitcake.

Body: Blended whisky. Malt loaf. Sultanas and Christmas cake. Madeira. Some hop bitterness. Malt drinks. Chalk touch to the texture.

Finish: Bitterness and hop feel. Slightly gritty. Raisins. Hop oils. Madeira cake. Orange crème and malt drinks.

Conclusion: IPA my arse. This tastes like a slightly hopped up English Strong Ale or ESB. So, the first point I must bring up is that this has slight stylistic issues. However, a beer can be nothing like the style it claims to be and still a good beer, so let’s find out if it is.

Well, the aroma has lots of range. Nothing majorly prominent but lots of shifting between elements. Kind of blended whisky booze feel, but the aroma is more bourbon the notes it hits.

The body is where it falls over. It is the texture, a bit too thick for sipping, a bit chalky and kind of syrupy. A thick texture can be used well in some beers but here it just sticks out like a sore thumb. The flavours are malt drinks and fruit cake in a strong ale style, with blended whisky like elements. It feels a bit like those “Whisky malt” beers that you get some times, and like most of them it has that rough unfinished feel to it.

The finish is all malt drinks and a bit gritty in the hop use with clingy bitterness. A whisky IPA is hard to do well, Mikkeller 1000 IBU did it, but this? Not so much. Not impressed by any measure.

Background: Made with brewers from “Thinking Drinkers”, this is one of the brews from Brains comparatively young “Craft Brewery”. Now I have some issues with a big company creating a smaller brewery to call itself craft, but then again, I do appreciate the movement of more experimental beers into the mainstream, so it is a bit of a trade off. This IPA has been aged with Penderyn whisky wood chips, Whisky aged IPAs are unusual, and very rarely work, but when they do they tend to be awesome. Also I’m not a huge penderyn fan, but figured that it has interesting elements that may show better in a beer.