Mad Dog: It’s All Propaganda (Wales: Black IPA: 5% ABV)
Visual: Very dark brown. Large creamy heads. Not quite opaque in body.
Nose: Bitter cocoa. Light charred notes. Bitter hops. Lemongrass and a touch of key lime. Fresh wet lettuce. Roasted nuts and cashew nuts. Fresh doughnut dough. Coffee.
Body: Lemon sorbet. Malt chocolate and chocolate liqueur. Kiwi. Lemon milkshake.
Finish: Lemongrass. Bitter chocolate. Charring touch. Lemon sorbet. Kiwi. Light apricot. Bitter coffee.
Conclusion: Did you say Sorachi Ace was used in making this? Instant five stars. Would drink again! More seriously, these hops work much better in a Black IPA than I originally thought they would. I had bought this more out of whimsy than thinking it would actually work.
The malt base is definitely present, but not too heavy – kind of chocolate, bitter coffee and slightly doughnut dough like. Those elements show a lot more later on though, as the hops stop doing their thing. Thus the finish especially feels quite roasted stout like, sure, but the first sip is more than malt base mixed with fresh lemongrass and a kind of lemon milkshake creaminess, followed by a nice hop punch. You are always very much aware of the darker set of notes, so your tastebuds feel slightly confused as it tries to reconcile a lemon creamy notes with bitter chocolate and hoppiness. The conflict seems less as time goes on, with the savoury lemongrass as closer match to the black IPA base.
If I was to pick a main criticism it is that, based on expectations of the style, the base feels closer to a general British dark ale than specifically a Black IPA – probably due to the comparatively restrained abv for a BIPA of 5% ABV. So, best view it as a hopped dark ale than a BIPA if you are thinking about if you want to grab it.
Generally, taken as itself, taken as that British dark ale with a bit more hops, it gives a nice bunch of freshness early on, and a solid darker set of notes to dominate the back, with the savoury a line throughout.
So, fun for me, not dominated by Sorachi Ace, but enhanced by it. Not super refined as a beer, and not closely tied to BIPA expectations. However for general drinking I enjoyed the hell out of it. Could it be made more polished? Sure. As is it is a fun one though.
Background: I grabbed this from The Beer Emporium, it hit a few of the things that make a beer interesting to me -new brewery on me, sorachi ace hops, Black IPA. Nice mix of stuff to grab my eye. Especially as the hop choice is a very odd one for a BIPA. I try to grab beers from over in Wales as well – they don’t get much of a look out a lot of the time, but there is some very good stuff there. Drunk while listening to a mix of old school Offspring albums. Used to be a huge fan of them during my teen years, no so much a fan of their recent stuff. I may just be getting old.