Brau Kunst Keller Mandarina IPA

Brau Kunst Keller: Mandarina IPA (Germany: IPA: 6.1% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy yellow gold. Large white mounded head.

Nose: Tangerine. Vanilla custard. Moderate hop character. Lemon sherbet. Touch of greenery.

Body: Moderate to high bitterness and hops. Grapefruit and pineapple. Madeira orange. Prickly. Light vanilla sweetness.

Finish: Tangerine. Bitter hops. Digestives. Tart lemon. Toffee malt touch.

Conclusion: Ok, this is a beer that earns its name, or probably more appropriately, a hop that earns its name. This is basically bracingly bitter hops, made manageable by … well, ok it is more tangerine than mandarin for the most part to my limited knowledge, but still very orange. Ok, I just did some research, apparently tangerine is a close cousin of mandarin – so that explains that. That is also backed by a set of tart fruit hop notes which works very well to make a very big, and yet balanced, IPA.

That is taking into account that if you put a massive weight on either end of the scale it is still balanced. Trust me, there are huge weights here.

The bitterness starts moderate and rapidly becomes large, the fruit is strong throughout – always favouring the sharp over the sweet, but with elements of both. The malt body? Well it must be in there somewhere holding the whole thing up – you don’t see much in the flavour but the beer never feels light, so it must be doing its job.

This is very nice, though, maybe, just a little bit single minded. Ok, who am I kidding? it is very single minded, but very enjoyable with it. The sharpness of the fruit is what does it – the hops of the beer feel very drying, and I have tried similar beers that ended up unpleasant because of that styling, but here the sharpness keeps you going.

This is an assault IPA, as I like to call them, less about the IBU that the lack of restraint from the malt to hold that bitterness back. This is fresh hop assault with not a thing holding back that fruit and bitterness. My kind of beer.

Background: Hmm, rate beer says 5.9% abv, my bottle says 6.1% – Who do I trust, rate beer or my lying eyes? I suspected Mandarina was a hop name, and on checking it is, and quite a new one from Germany it seems – admitted 2012, or so says the first google link I clicked. My research-fu is lazy. Anyway, picked up from Independent Spirit as a bit more of that craft burst from Germany sounded interesting. Drunk without music. Yes shocking I know.