Brewdog: Ace Of Equinox (Scotland: Session IPA: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Yellowed main body. Some carbonation. Moderate sized white head.

Nose: Passion-fruit. Fresh. Digestives. Moderate hop prickle and bitterness. Slight thick musty notes. Dried pineapple. Flour. Slight smoke?

Body: Prickly. Fresh. Vanilla toffee. Flour. Black pepper. Fresh grapes. Slight chalk. Somewhat spritzy.

Finish: Slight musty bitterness. Sulphur. Slight sparkling mineral water. White grapes. White pepper. Charring.

Conclusion: Ok, this is very different to the other “Ace of”s and, in fact, quite different to the vast amount of other session IPAs. Which, good or not, does mean that I can’t just go on my usual session IPA rant here. I actually need to write new material. So let’s have a gander.

While it does not taste it, I have a feeling that the malt base must be as dry as the other ones in the range – they are all based on the same recipe after all – and there are hints of dryness in the character, along with a very peppery character which would normally indicate that the low abv session IPA curse of over dryness has hit here. However, the bullet is neatly dodged by the spritzy, quite fresh, hop feel. Not huge, nor with a large range of flavour – it is kind of grape like (and let’s face it, it is possible that some of the pepper character comes from the hops as well) and even has that kind of mineral in mineral water taste. Not deep, and in fact not notes that you normally hunt out – but the freshness that comes with them really keeps the dryness in check early on.

By the time the dryness comes to a head it is matched by a much bigger bitterness than before; A bigger bitterness than you would expect from a light beer – not so much in the mid body, but when mixed with the charring and pepper in the finish it is quite the punch.

So, the range of flavour is on the simple end of the scale – though on actually making a sessionable yet bitter IPA this does a lot better than I expected when starting it. Heck, the malt base even seemed to bring some of the usual toffee and vanilla notes you would want from an IPA.

So, not as good as the awesome Neck Oil – but a refreshing and punchy beer. Definitely lacking in depth, but I could imagine kicking back a few as long as it is chilling with friends rather than examining them. A fair decent social lubricant, but not one of the greats.

Background: Last of this year’s “Ace of “ series. A single hopped session IPA. Frankly I very rarely get along with session IPAs – this range started off fairly weak, but the has become ok over time. Which is not really high praise. Hopefully this one will break the trend. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer, and this was grabbed direct from Brewdog’s online store. This was drunk to the odd music mix of Propellerheads and Slipknot. Very 90s.