Old World IPA

Brewdog: Old World India Pale Ale (Scotland: IPA: 7.5%)

Visual: Reddened amber, large sud froth head.

Nose: Muted earthy hops. Pine cones. Gingerbread. Turmeric. Dough.

Body: Cinnamon. Earthy bitter hops. Salted caramel. Gingerbread. Strawberry syrup. Vanilla.

Finish: Earthy hops. Salted caramel. Bitterness. Greenery. Hop oils. Strawberry. Digestives. Vanilla.

Conclusion: Earthy hopped IPAs are an interesting game, and one that it is surprisingly hard to do well. Odd considering that the style originated in Britain, where the earthier hops tend to come from. Usually for an IPA I am the kind of guy to say the more hops the better, however too much earthy hops in the aromatic side can lead to a beer that feels like you are drinking soil.

Here they seem to have worked the hop level well, working with the malt to keep it balanced. In an interesting characteristic there is also a sort of salted caramel flavour hat counterbalanced the hops, while adding a new rough edge of its own. Adding to the challenge without relying purely on hop character. Despite that it is not a beer of the most complex bent, but it does a few different things with the style while still calling to the beer styles roots. The bit I’m not sure what to make of is that strawberry touch that keep returning, very light but unexpected.

Anyway, despite that, yes, quite simple. The aroma is quite closed and earthy, and the finish continues the earthy hops that the salted caramel fights in the middle. It is easily drinkable but not really exciting. I get the feeling the most interesting parts are coming from the malt rather than the hops, maybe a design choice but one that doesn’t help the beer sparkle.

The bitterness does work well, with a lot of hop oil like character in the finish, again not fancy but workmanlike. In fact workmanlike pretty much sums up the beer.

Ok, but hardly a stand out special beer.

Background: How many beers have Brewdog been turning out recently? There may have been a previous year’s release of this over in the USA. I’m not sure. I know that this (2013) version is definitely a new recipe. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. The bottle label is quite epic, which put me in a good mood.