Shindigger Black IPA

Shindigger: Black IPA (England: Black IPA: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Thin grey brown bubbled head.

Nose: Almonds and peach. Caramel.

Body: Peach syrups and white grapes. Kiwi. Toffee and caramel. Light gritty hops. Brown bread. Malt chocolate. Rye spice.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Charring and some bitter hops. Bread. Kiwi. Light earthy and paprika spice.

Conclusion: This is a bit different from what I expected from a Black IPA – the hop bitterness is way down, but the beer instead pushes the fruity hop flavours way higher than I would expect from most examples of the style.

Because of that it is also much sweeter than most BIPAs – the base caramel and chocolate isn’t massive, but since it is comparatively unchallenged it seems much bigger. Also since the hop flavours tend towards the sweet peach and grapes it combines for a quite big sweet punch to the beer.

The only place you get the harsher elements is the finish, and for a big American hopped beer the hop influence in that finish feels very British. It is slightly earthy and spicy, not that interesting but it works effectively to underline the sweeter main experience.

It is not a bad beer, but it does seem to lack a little in weight. The hops don’t kick, the malt doesn’t push or sooth. It does have a good balance in its flavour, and a very different balance to most BIPAs. In some ways it leans towards a fruit hopped sweet stout in how it comes across, but it needs to do it a bit bigger. As it is it feels like a fruity sweet stout, but also feels like it could be something more with a bit more effort.

An understated BIPA, which is not something I ever expected to say. Nice start, but needs some work to be great.

Background: Not much to say on this one, saw it at Independent Spirit and heard a general buzz there about it being a good brewery so I grabbed a bottle. Drunk while listening to some Hayseed Dixie, had seen them live recently so put me back in the mood for it.

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