Poppels: DIPA (Sweden: IIPA: 8% ABV)

Visual: Dark yellow with brown hints, a massive yellowed head upon that which leaves suds.

Nose: Thick, resinous, oily hops. Some bready bitterness. Malt chocolate and choc limes. Dried apricot and dried banana. Mocha.

Body: Vanilla toffee. Brown bread. Malt chocolate. Apples. Good bitterness. Milky coffee. Resinous hop oils. Orange. Slight peach. Kiwi. White grapes.

Finish: Choc lime. Good hops. Vanilla Toffee. Milky coffee. Good bitterness. Kiwi. Apples.

Conclusion: This is very malt led for an IIPA. I know IIPAs tend to be a bit more malty than their standard IPA cousins, and that the more malt led variants are a recognised thing, but when you get one with this much malt it can seem a tad odd to me. What makes it more odd is how the malt leads – it is surprisingly dark in its flavour choices. White there is a more traditional vanilla toffee character it matches a coffee character – admittedly a very milky coffee character, but still coffee – then even some malt chocolate notes. All stuff I would normally associate with darker beers.

Hop flavours are there, but, apart from the resinous character, they feel more like gentle rounding fruity notes. There’s dried apricot and kiwi that slowly build up over time but are always gentle, creamy flavours rather than body and assertive hops. What is odd about this is that the aroma is everything the body is not – the aroma is thick, oily, resinous and very assertive – which is why I was expecting something big and booming which I did not get.

Still, expecting is one thing – enjoying is another. The beer is still fairly resinous as I mentioned before, the actual hop character a bit more bready – it all results in a more sturdy, heavy beer than you would expect, but with less of the sticky muggy hops that would often come with that.

Together, those darker sweet malt notes, bready and kind of resinous hops, and soft fruity notes, come together in something that is not a standard IPA – even with all the variants in style these days – it is more soothing than brutal, more warming than wake up – but with good flavours. It is like a night cap IPA, which is an odd set of ideas together – but enjoyable in that.

Make of that what you will.

Background: This 80 IBU double IPA was the 2013 winner of best Swedish beer – so probably going to be good. Grabbed from Independent Spirit this was drunk while listening to some Jackamo Brown – another from the batch of music Speech Development records gave away free digital downloads of – nice relaxing stuff.