Derail Ale

Box Steam: Derail Ale (England; IPA: 5.2% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold. Small white head and some carbonation.

Nose: Lightly tart. Elderberry. Hops with a light earthy character. Malt chocolate drinks into choc orange into orange skin.

Body: Bitter hops. Vanilla toffee. Apples. Doughnuts. Greenery middle. Elderberry. Pepper.

Finish: Earthy hops and cider apples. Slight nettles prickle. Slight sour dough. Cheesecake. Peppery. Vanilla toffee.

Conclusion: Either my palette has changed over the years or this beer has changed over the years. Or maybe both. That is always possible.

This comes in more malt orientated than most IPAs, the vanilla toffee middle is very evident and makes for a solid, if not overly exciting base. What seems to have altered over the years is the hop usage. In the early days I remember it being very earthy hop dominated, and for all it has changed I will admit the element is still present in the finish.

It now has other elements coming in around the edge – a mix of elderberry and tart cider apple freshening up and slightly adding tartness to the beer. The beer feels cleaner in implementation as well, allowing more subtle notes like the peppery character to come out. The pepper and apples elements mix to give a surprisingly spritzy character and a refreshing middle to the beer before you reach the earthy finish.

Also the apples mix with the toffee malt base to give a toffee apple feel which is a nice additional element. As an example of the style it is not too great, but as a beer itself it is nicely thirst quenching and tasty. It does feel like a beer playing it a bit safe, there is no big hops or bitterness. It actually feels a bit more like a higher hopped ESB than anything else, but it does satisfy.

A noble thirst quencher.

Background: Rate beer lists this as an ESB. The bottle calls it an IPA. This is IPA week. I tend to go with what the brewers say, so despite my comments in the review, I’m going with IPA for style listing. So, DAY 4 OF IPA (and sod ratebeer when it says otherwise) WEEK. This was a gift from my friend Sharon. Many thanks. I have the greatest friends. I’ve had this in bottle and tap many a time over the years but never got around to reviewing it, IPA week seemed the perfect time to rectify that. This was drunk while listening to a bit of “Plan B”…mainly Ill Manors admittedly but still.