Hardknott InfraRed

Hardknott: Infrared (England: IPA: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Dark black cherry red. Moderate sud bubbles beige toned head.

Nose: Dried mango and passion fruit. Juicy white grapes. Some bitterness and big malt character. Toffee. Cherries. Slight minty menthol.

Body: Moderate bitterness. Mango. Menthol. Cherries and digestive biscuits. Light greenery. Toffee malt. Apricot.

Finish: Mango and hops. Pineapple. Growling bitterness. Peppermint. Chalk touch. Soap sud feel. Aubergine.

Conclusion: Let’s take our time over weighing this one up. For one let’s accept its core conceit of being an amber red IPA. I’ve given up on fighting the IPA colour battle. Mostly.

One) Big flaw, if you chill this down too much it becomes very menthol, minty and with a slight soap feel. This is bad. Don’t do that.

Two) Despite that is holds very nice dried mango flavours and good bitterness with cherry pocked digestives backing it up. Quite unusual fruit flavours to go with the unusual colour, but they still hold with that fruity hop IPA taste that you would hope for. This is pretty neat. Enjoy this.

Three) Warmed up it can then be a bit acrid. This is also bad. Don’t do that

D) Warm however it delivers much more bitterness and a more robust malt character that makes the residual mint and menthol refreshing rather than annoying. Pretty cool and a neat twist.

π +1) So, together it reminds me of Ten Heads High in that it has flawed bits that really should make it a crap beer, but a whole gaggle of unusual and tasty elements that hold the attention and actually make it a charming beer.

10) So, rough edged but now without character and charm. Not a beer I would put as very highly recommended now, but with bit of polish it could be a contender.

20) goto 10

30) How are any of you reading this bit? Darn people not acting like computers.

Anyway, nice feel and settles into a good set of flavours when just slightly chilled, there are those odd twists and unusual elements and if you can keep it balanced the flaws stay concealed.

Hmm, at the end of the beer now, and it has charm enough that it is worth looking at for its unusual character even though it is severely lacking in polish.

Background: I am so tempted to list this as a highly hopped Amber ale rather than IPA. However it does have quite IPA like flavours, so I fell back to my “List it by what the brewers call it” rule. Red IPA. Now I’ve seen everything. Anyway some places list this as Infra Red, on the bottle I have it looks like one word but who knows. I picked this up at Sainsbury – Every year they have a batch of new beers in, and the most popular become regulars. So I take advantage of this to grab a few I’ve not tried before.