Brewdog: #Mashtag 16 (Scotland: IIPA: 10.5% ABV)
Visual: Clear gold with a moderate off white creamy bubbled head.
Nose: Cherry pocked biscuits. Thick hops. Pineapple. Both bitter and fresh. Pine needles. Light sulphur. Thick and musky. Heather.
Body: Clear cherries. Vanilla toffee. White grapes. Good hops and bitterness. Pineapple. Slight golden syrup. Moderate thick texture. Custard. Malt drinks.
Finish: Fudge. Light glacier cherries. Chocolate malt drinks. Custard. Golden Grahams. Good hop character and bitterness. Grapes. Resinous.
Conclusion: Ok, I can admit when I was wrong. I can take the high road and admit my mistakes. Which is my way of saying that I voted against every choice in every category that won this years online poll to decide which beer to brew. So, yeah, this is freaking lovely.
It feels like a raw, big hopped, musty and thick textured beer with good bitterness and a just noticeable alcohol character that makes you aware of it, but doesn't break the smoothness. With the fruity hop character it has, and that description before, you may be thinking that it sounds like a well made IIPA, but it sounds like nearly every American hopped IIPA ever. Why am I raving about it? Well, for one is is very smooth and very well made, but also what breaks the more generic style is the cherries. I knew cherries were being used in the brewing but I expected them to have little impact on the actual beer itself, I thought they would end up using too few for it to alter the flavour enough. Again, I was wrong. There is a lot of cherry influence and combined with the big, sweet main body the cherries end up giving a cherry picked digestive impression which is utterly clear and well used. In fact the toffee from the malt and the cherries from the..well, cherries, pretty much defines the base and everything else works off that.
The hops are big, in a Hardcore IPA style, bitter and pineapple laden, but that backing base is strong enough that you can slide from cherry biscuits early on, into an intensely bitter finish, without ever really noticing at what point it changed. They just shift very organically in a natural progression from one note to the next. You are never shocked and it never feels out of place.
So, yeah, it is like a smoother Hardcore IPA, still resinous and bitter, just packed full of cherries.
Background: I tend to distrust voting. Not that I have ever worked out a better way of doing things, but they tend to go the worst way possible in my experience. And no I am not just saying that because of a recent referendum. Anyway, yeah, so, a beer that people vote on. This time we ended up with a Triple IPA with American hops, sour cherries and oak chips. I had already tried this on tap by the time I did the notes on this bottle – the tap was a bit smoother and the cherries more evident – I would say the tap version definitely is the superior of the two. This was grabbed directly from Brewdog's store, as always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer. Drunk while listening to some B Dolan – mainly Kill The Wolf. Not a big hip hop fan usually, but he is one of the ones that really stand out for me.