Stone: Enjoy After 07.04.16 Brett IPA: 4th Edition (USA: IPA: 7% ABV)
Visual: Pale yellow. Massive carbonation. Massive white bubbled head that mounds up and is long lasting, leaving suds when it finally goes.
Nose: Muesli. Lightly tart. Sour lemon. Peppery. Mild peach.
Body: Bitter. Peppery. Apricot. Muesli. Dried raisins. Moderate thick character. If sipped the head is exceptionally bitter. Tangy, yet cloying.
Finish: Very dry. Dried apricot. Peppery. Muesli. Very bitter hop character. Lemon cakes. Funky. Golden syrup cakes. Earthy hops.
Conclusion: You know, this has a few distinguishing characteristics 1) When looked at, this looks carbonated as hell, yet you don’t feel it on the tongue B) This is dry as heck and ɸ) It is pretty bitter, or, if you actually drink a big gulp of the head, very fucking bitter.
Taste wise it leans towards the earthier, and more rustic end of the saison style, backup up by what feels like a big British bitter earthy hop character by the bucket, attenuated to within an inch of its like, then graced with some fruitier hops to subtly flavour the body.
So, it is very earthy, very peppery, mildly tart and quite funky – you can really feel that fluffy bitter popcorn effect of the brett as it fills your mouth. There is some fruitiness but it doesn’t lean towards any of the expectations you would have of an American style IPA. As mentioned, the bitter hops feel much closer to the British IPA, but the very dry desiccating body does not feel like one that would originate from our shores.
It is always fairly punishing with the bitterness, there is little sweetness to contrast or match it. When the beer was cool I felt that the peppery and earthy character was too prominent and I didn’t really like the beer like that. Warmer you do finally get a touch of sweet balance and freshness mid body – the finish is still a punishing ride, but that soft peach and apricot just gives you some release mid body. The main body becomes creamier as well, still dry, but no longer punishing so.
Had just slightly cool instead of chilled then it is a nice mix of the aforementioned styles – though I will say that while 750ml bottles were a good pick for letting the beer age, for drinking I would recommend sharing the bottle lest that very dry character become annoying by the end. So, a nice beer, but not really worth the amount of time you had to put into ageing it for the result – in the end it is an interesting experiment and an interesting beer, but more so interesting than excellent. Still, it is different to a lot of what is around and I do applaud the ingenuity. In the end feels more like a highly hopped saison than an actual aged IPA, but still distinct enough in what it is.
Background: Drunk 07/07/2016, and not just to prevent transatlantic date confusion. The date on the bottle is American style, so would be 04/07/2016 by UK style. So, yeah, a Brett imbued IPA designed for ageing to at least the date on the bottle before drinking. Which is very unusual for an IPA. I grabbed this back when I was in Canada, and brought it back with me, holding it for over half a year before finally drinking. Then about a month before I drink it, the exact same age stamped one turns up in Independent Spirit. So I could have saved myself a lot of pain. Damnit. Ah well, grab rare beers when you can, you can’t always plan on them arriving again after. Anyway, took care of this temperature wise best I could during the ageing, which, since I don’t have a cellar, is probably less care than it should have. Ah well, ya do your best. Drunk while listening to Clonic Earth by Valerio Tricoli, a weird set of tracks I found out about via Warren Ellis’ twitter.