Cloudwater: DIPA v13 (England: IIPA: 9% ABV)

Visual: Very cloudy apricot colour. Large yellow white mound of bubbles for a head.

Nose: Tangy. Hint of gherkin. Apples. Slightly musty. Light raspberry.

Body: Thick and creamy. Slight gherkin. Stewed banana. Big peach. Tart raspberry if held. Toffee backbone. Hop oils. Tangy. Slight pineapple. Vanilla yogurt.

Finish: Raspberry pavlova. Tart. Light gherkin. Apricot. Low level bitterness. Bready. Banana sweets. Vanilla yogurt. Chinese stir fry vegetables.

Conclusion: Ok, this is a mix of the great, and the kind of shit. An odd combo. So, erm, here goes. This has a real thick texture – heavy duty and gives a good grip to the flavour. The malt base comes with some toffee character, but is generally a neutral creamy to vanilla yogurt style. Basically something to give room for the hop flavours.

So, onto those hop flavours – well, there is nearly zero bitterness here. A bit unusual for an IPA – even the fruitiest and sweetest tend to have at least a tiny touch of it in the body. Here the only sign is in the bready finish – with some hop oils giving a sheen to the feel, but not a bitterness. Generally this is a bitterness free zone. So, yeah very unexpected for an IIPA.

Ok, so we have a solid base, and a slightly unusual start. Where is the kinds shit stuff I mentioned? The gherkin. The slightly tangy, sour, vegetable gherkin notes. It is very intense early on, especially when first poured – but is still present in a diminished form by the end of the beer. Now, this is an element that can work in beers, but has to be used very carefully. Here it just makes for an uneven, overpowering element that stamps all over the fruitiness the beer has underneath it. I can see what they are trying to do – it feels like it is aiming for a thick, almost crushed cannabis, muggy strength – but in my opinion it severely hurts the overall experience.

Underneath that there is a sense of good stewed fruit and peach melba. Lightly tart in a good way this time – very creamy and moderately sweet. The beer is mostly good in what it does but that one, greenery packed heaviness just makes it one that I really cannot get into at all, instead feeling even sludgy at times. It ends with an almost stir fry veg air – another off note in a beer that felt like it had promise otherwise

I really hope this is not used as the base for any of their new DIPA range.

Background: Had a few of the Cloudwater DIPAs over the past year – didn’t really keep up to date with trying them all as they came out so thick and fast. This one however is their last prototype one off release before they setup a regular line of DIPAs based on what they found out from these. So, thought it may be worth giving another, final go. Unlike some people I have no negative attachment to the number 13, so have no probs with this being their 13th release. Anyway, this was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to Ulver: Childhoods End.

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