Tag Archive: IIPA


Brewdog: Prototype: Double IPA (Scotland: IIPA: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale clear gold. Small bubbled carbonation. Medium off white head.

Nose: Fresh, slightly resinous hops. Grapes and grapefruit. Slight hop bitterness. Fresh, but slightly dry. Mandarin orange. Bready.

Body: Kiwi. Toffee and caramel. Clean mouthfeel. Grapes. Juicy. Clean hop oils. Slight bitterness. Mandarin orange.

Finish: Good bitterness and hops. Grapes. Pink grapefruit. Vanilla. Light peach. Hop oil. Mandarin orange. Passion-fruit.

Conclusion: This feels like a double IPA that ties to take elements from all ends of the IPA interpretation range and mash them together into a flavoursome, well balanced beer.

For example – the malt – pretty cleanly delivered and well attenuated to let the hop character show through clearly, yet still has a touch of that sweeter caramel style rather than the more neutral vanilla or toffee sweetness that usually comes in with the drier attenuation.

Another example – the hops – seems fairly fresh in a NZ style early on – tart grapefruit, grapes and such – but if you hold it then old school American peach hop notes come out matched with orange notes that seem to come from the new hotness of the hop range. It isn’t pushing one message, but giving high notes from each hop style’s strengths,

It is very well crafted and shows the advantage in working upon a well known style, rather than the raw enthusiasm of adding in cool new twists as the other two IPA prototypes do – the experience in brewing means that this is very layered, balanced and high quality. It delivers an attenuated, but not stupidly dry beer for easy drinking and big flavour and hops.

It fills the gap left by Hardcore IPA leaving their line up much better than Born To Die does and is a great well crafted beer – general enough to be a beer you can have nigh any time you are happy with the abv, and good enough that you will look forwards to doing so. This had my vote.

Background: Second of the Brewdog prototypes for this year, of which there are now four again as they finally got around to releasing the blond ale. Still debating on if I should pick one of them up. Anyway this is their double IPA, with 80 IBUs according the bottle – a decent kick – the most normal of the initial three IPA styles released. Everyone gets to vote on which one they want to become part of the main line-up. Disclaimer – as always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. This was grabbed direct from their Brewdog store. This was drunk while listening to some Akala – still continually blown away by that guy’s lyrical skill.

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Garage Beer Co: Wild Beer Co: Snake Fear (Spain: IIPA: 8% ABV)

Visual: Very cloudy apricot with an off white heads. Looks bitty on the pour, which dispersers into the haze when settled.

Nose: Dried apricot. Resinous, sticky hops. Mashed banana. Light sulphur. Dried mango. Crusty white bread. Some bitterness. Traditional lemonade. Peach melba.

Body: Thick. Oily hop feel. Kumquat and purple peppers. Quite savoury early on. Dried mango. Mashed banana. Traditional lemonade. Custard. Peach melba. Bitterness rises over time.

Finish: Purple peppers. Oily, resinous hops. Moderate bitterness. Creamy lemon and lime. Light sour cream.

Conclusion: On first pur of this I sighed – seeing the cloudy pour I realised it was a New England take on the IPA style – so I was fairly sure I knew what I was in for. Another beer of low bitterness, lots of fruit, not bad but so very overused at the moment. That is what I was thought. Nope. Nothing like that at all. Bad pre-judging Alcohol Aphorist.

This is full of thick hop oils and resinous character – “Dank” as the “Hip kids” say these days. Or maybe just people younger than me anyway. Hopefully actual kids aren’t drinking double IPAs. Single IPAs are the way to go until you are over 18, as is well and right. Also I don’t think the hip kids say “Hip kids” any more.

Anyway, apart from my age related breakdown – this starts slightly one note with savoury kumquat styling backing the resinous hops. This develops into a quite the range of dried fruit notes along with lighter citrus touches. Everything still feels heavy though – carries a lot of weight and sticky hop feel.

The thing is, the New England interpretation isn’t entirely absent either – there is a creamy character, the obvious visual aspect and the fruit character becomes recognisable banana and peach over time as they rise from the depths.

To my eyes it is the best thing to come from the New England IPA craze – it is influenced by it, but not beholden to it – takes the heavy, sticky hopped side of IPAs and matches it to the creamy NEIPA character.

An impressive creation of flavour and weight. If can find it, definitely try it.

Background: Now there are two things I tend to grab – Wild Beer Co stuff, and stuff from countries I’ve tried few or no beers from. So a Spanish brewery, Wild Beer collab was a must have. Plus the whole metal duck can pic was cool, if nothing to do with snakes nor fear. Unless you are afraid of ducks. Ducks are vicious shits so I can understand that. The can got a bit dented when being brought home from Independent Spirit – I had put it in with the Rodenbach Alexander and the wire cage around the cork had dented the can. I’m fairly sure the contents were fine, but decided to drink it as quickly as possible- just in case. It’s a hard life. Drunk while listening to Crossfaith – Zion – awesome, but I’m still disappointed I’ve not found a way to buy their Omen cover in the UK.

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.

Brewdog Vs Cloudwater: New England IPA V2 (Scotland: IIPA: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy apricot with a large white head. No evident carbonation.

Nose: Slightly milky hops. Mango juice and white grapes. Nectarines. Buttery shortbread.

Nose; Nectarine. Peach. Slight cloying cream. Low level bitterness and hop character. Light peppermint and greenery. Banana milkshake.

Finish: Milkshake. Grapes. Nectarines. Slight bitterness. Very light greenery. Slight cloying cream. Mandarin orange. Sour dough. Bready.

Conclusion: Ok, I’ve had two bottles of this – the first one was had the day I received it and was kind of average. This one was had a week later, so just over a week old and it is much more impressive. Another entry for the “It is possible to have an IPA too fresh” hypothesis.

This has low present bitterness, but still more than the average NEIPA – which is good by me. It still keeps the massive fruit burst I associate with the New England style though – kind of smoothie to milkshake style which seems to be the common trend in these cloudy IPAs. There is a lot of orange variety going on and some slightly tart white grapes as well. This part works perfectly – slightly creamy but not excessively so. I think the bit extra bitterness gives a punch to the flavours not seen in a lot of the style.

For flaws in the beer? Well it has a few minor ones – there is a cloying, slightly sour cream note in the middle – kid of akin to what happens with Punk IPA occasionally as a refreshing twist; Here it is present throughout the beer where it gets a tad wearing rather than refreshing. Apart from that – well there is a slight greenery that seems out of place – minor notes really.

Despite that this is another NEIPA that I can approve of. Again I think it is the slight extra bitterness that makes it work for me – it is small but does stand out. Another one that makes me respect the style more than I did before.

Background: While I wasn’t massively enthused about the first Cloudwater vs Brewdog New England IPA, the buzz around this one was big enough that I grabbed a few bottles from their online store – it has been whirlpool hopped with Mosaic hops, and dry-hopped with Citra, Mandarina Bavaria and Mosaic. Sounded a very tidy hop set to me. This one is an IIPA rather than just a standard IPA so I was hoping the extra weight could work to compensate for the slightly lighter character of V1. Drunk while listening to a random selection of my most played tunes, so guaranteed to have some stuff to put me in a good mood on.

Tiny Rebel: Captain Insano (Wales: IIPA: 10% ABV)

Visual: Hazy peach skin colour. Large mounded white head.

Nose: Dried apricot. Gherkins. Muggy, thick hop character and hop oils. Slight cucumber. Dried banana. Vanilla ice cream to raspberry ripple.

Body: Thick. Kiwi. Kumquat. Key lime. Hop oils. Moderate bitterness. Peach. Green hops. Resinous. Stewed apples. Custard cream biscuits. Nettles. Muggy hop character. Stewed banana.

Finish: Fudge. Kiwi. Hop oils – oily sheen. Apple pie. Pears. Nettles. Thick hop character.

Conclusion:This is thick and full of green, resinous, oily hops. In fact it very much reminds me of being around people with bags of cannabis (As always a disclaimer, I’ve never actually tried cannabis so this is purely from being around friends – I make no claim that it is like the actual cannabis experience). It is full of thick muggy hops, a mix of very fresh feeling and very pungent character dropped straight into a fresh green fruit dominated body. There are slight tart and fresh elements, but mainly the beer follows the thick, almost oppressively weighty style. Which I mean in a good way. Heavy laden flavours in every sip.

There is a hell of a lot of malt in the base, and normally that would be dominating the beer, but here the weight of the muggy hops actually shoves it to the back. You get custard cream biscuits, fudge and vanilla ice creamy from the malt, but it easily becomes second string to the high levels of green feeling hop action. It still kind of works – neither becoming too heavy or too obvious. It is as if by having two heavyweights smashing against each other they cancel each other out.

Probably one of the least subtle ((I)I)IPAS I’ve ever encountered – all of the stewed fruits, all of the hops, all of the malt, everything is desperately trying to be seen from the first sip. Sure as hell isn’t dull.

One of the rawest (however many “I”s it has) IPAs I’ve had of this abv range – I have run into rawer low abv ones, but this manages to match all the raw hop exuberance of an IPA with the massive malt load of an IIPA. Far from a refined, every element mastered, experience – but an enjoyable super enthusiastic hop bomb. Very raw and very enjoyable.

Background: Grabbed this one for two reasons. 1) Tiny Rebel’s Hadouken beer is very nice, so going for a triple IPA from them sounded like a fun thing to do. 2) Insane artwork pink can looked so cool! As always I am kind of easy to sell to. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to the epic metal influenced heaviness that is Buckethead’s Cuckoo Clocks Of Hell album. It seemed appropriately heavy and odd for the beer. I had just got back from seeing the stage play of “The Addams Family” had been a bit of a let down – they really didn’t seem to get what was the appeal of the original characters. Ah well.

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.

Mikkeller: Nuclear Hop Assault (Denmark: IIPA: 8% ABV)

Visual: Apricot skin colour. A lot of carbonation. Hazy body and thin off white head.

Nose: Nettles. Greenery. Lime. Dried apricot. Dry. Slightly rocky bitterness. Heavy hop feel. Closed and musky. Dried passion fruit.

Body: Solid bitterness. Greenery and hop oils. Nettles. High levels of gritty hop character. Dried apricot and vanilla. Dry body. Light brown sugar sweetness. Tart lemon sherbet. Tart orange juice.

Finish: High hop oils. Heavy bitterness. Heavy hop character. Vanilla yogurt. Dried apricot. Dry in general. Slight squeezed lime. Pineapple air. Orange juice.

Conclusion: Ok, this lives up to its name – it feels on a hop level akin to 1000IBU but with a much drier, less malt led body against it, resulting in an overall harsher, hoppier and heavier beer loaded with bitterness.

Initially that is all you get. Hop oils, harsh bitterness and harsh hop character. Lots of it expressed with greenery and prickling nettles. With nothing to intrude into that bitterness it does hit hard. Not a beer for a lot of people then – but for hopheads you have to respect how it delivers raw hop bitterness with nothing in the way, without feeling just rough and undrinkable.

Time does give it another layer – but only just. So, let’s be plain. It is still a brutal hop bomb – but now there are a few other elements struggling to get out there. The first one noticeable is a dried apricot note -which matches the dry character well, and meshes well with the bitterness. The next few are more contrasting – lemon and orange notes, and a pineapple air – all which freshens the beer oh so slightly. It gives nothing near the freshness of, say, a New Zealand hopped IPA, nor the fruit level of the fruit smoothie style IPAs that are so popular these days. It just adds a little extra, a touch to take the edges off.

Without that extra note this would be an interesting, but only try one, assault of a beer. With the extra notes? Well, I think for most people this would still be try once – it is rough edged and unbalanced. However for people, like me, who have become a tad blasé due to over exposure to high hop levels – this is very nice. The dry character gives it some extra punch to surprise without making it utterly one note, or undrinkable.

So – not a super flavour range – but, there is definitely something here for a masochistic hop head. In a lesser brewer this would be undrinkable shit. From Mikkeller, it just about holds together.

Impressive and intense. Not for everyone, but achieves its goal well.

Background: Ok, this is called Nuclear Hop Assault. An IIPA made with Hybrid hops. From Mikkeller who made the awesome 1000 IBU. There was no way I was not going to try this, was there? Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit – This was drunk after catching up on some Progress Wrestling – they have seriously got me back into Wrestling in a big way over the last few years. So in a fine mood for an intense beer. I wanted equally intense music so put on Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip’s Repent, Replenish, Repeat. Utterly brilliant album with the haunting Terminal being a stand out amongst many great tracks.

Tempest Brewing: The Old Fashioned: Bourbon Barrel Aged (Scotland: IIPA: 9.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy, cloudy, reddened apricot with medium caramel touched white head. On later pours the head grows to be utterly massive.

Nose: Ginger bread. Orange liqueur and orange bitters. Lots of rye bourbon. Crushed mint leaves. Musty hops. Vanilla and toffee.

Body: Vanilla. Orange bitters. Peppermint cream. Rye crackers. Peppery. Gingerbread. Caramel notes. Moderate hop bitterness. Lemon cream. Thick. Bananas. Key lime.

Finish: Peppermint chewing gum. Greenery. Musty hops. Vanilla. Peppery. Light oak. Seville orange and marmalade. Bourbon. Kiwi. Creamy bananas. Sour lime.

Conclusion: Does the concept perfectly? Tick. Just about can still see the DIPA below it? Just about tick. Thick texture? Big tick. Tons of bourbon? Huge tick. Lots of ticks kicking this off.

On the cocktail concept side of things – this has tons of orange, orange bitters with the IIPA hop bitterness, zest marmalade into the finish. Lots of very well defined, rye touched and similarly orange influenced bourbon notes. This is pretty unusual, usually I expect just the vanilla and spirit notes from the bourbon ageing – but you really can taste the range of bourbon notes in here.

That alone would be interesting enough, but if you take your time and let it warm, there is actually even more to this. Initially the body underneath everything is lovely and creamy and thick – with vanilla notes but not much else. A solid delivery system for the concept but not much else. Then, as it warms more hops in kiwi and key lime and the like float out form underneath. Lovely green fruit notes that complement the beer and give contrast to the core conceit.

Now, to enjoy this beer you have to buy into the concept – but it doesn’t exactly hide that. If you do though, it does it so well. Lots of malt character in sweet custard and toffee to compensate for the hop and orange bitters, giving it a lovely balance of tart, bitter, fruity and malty character.

What would normally be a flaw – the muggy nature of the hops, probably due to the ageing, is not too out of place here. The hop flavours aren’t so crisp and prickling, and due to that they seem to merge with the orange bitters styles better. That was either utterly great planning, or bloody good luck in developing this beer.

Any which way, a brilliant idea well done. If you aren’t fundamentally against the concept then, damn, try it.

Background: Another beer it was hard to pick a beer style for – Ratebeer lists it as part of the wide category “American Strong Ale”, The base beer is a Double IPA according to the bottle, and they advise to drink it fresh due to high hop character. I went for Imperial IPA, but it is a toss up really. Anyway this is the aforementioned DIPA, made with orange and ginger, and aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels to mimic the flavours of the “Old Fashioned” cocktail – one I drank my first of in only the past … year I think. I lose track of time easily. It is also in a wax topped bottle. Fuck that wax. Fuck it in the ear. Took me fucking ages to get it off. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to some riot grrrl punk from Heavens To Betsy – “Calculated” to be specific.

Stigbergets: API Lairepmi (Sweden: IIPA: 8% ABV)

Visual: Hazy, with a milky apricot colour. Moderate bubbled, yellowed head.

Nose: Banana. Creamy hop character. Milkshakes. Mashed kiwi. Vanilla custard.

Body: Pumpkin. Apricot and peach. Slight musty hop bitterness and light hop prickle. Banana and custard. Toffee. Slight kiwi.

Finish: Banana and banana yogurt. Popcorn hop feel. Light greenery and growing bitterness. Dried apricot. Buttery shortbread.

Conclusion: This is very easy going for an 8% abv beer, and, in fact, very easy going for an Imperial IPA. There is very little hint of the alcohol – unless you count the obvious additional sweetness from the bigger malt load as a tell, but in this case I do not.

As indicated above, flavour wise it, initially, seems pretty easygoing as well – feeling like sweet banana milkshake or smoothie. It even matches the character down to the creaminess and the kiwi notes that can be used to beef up a lot of smoothies. There are some other notes that complement this – peach and vanilla custard that really does make it feel like rich, full mix of milkshake and smoothie. The fruit feels full, and far from artificial in character.

However, the eagle eyed of you may have noticed I said “Initially” it was easy going – That is because the hop character does grow, as you would expect of an IIPA. Initially (there’s that word again) the hops are fairly light, which alters into a kind of popcorn texture hop feel, then growing slightly into greenery touched bitterness. It is never particularly heavy, but it does make sure that the beer is recognisably in the IPA range.

For weaknesses of the beer, and I’m not sure if this is just due to travel time to the UK, but the hops can feel a tad muggy, which is an aspect that doesn’t work well with the creamy smoothness and easygoing style of the rest of the beer. It does lead out into a kind of buttery shortbread style finish, which does work ok, so a reasonable trade-off, but one of the weaker elements of a good beer.

So – generally good – not a huge range, but works well with what it does. The hopped banana milkshake of the beer world. Feels like the beer take on a banana cocktail, albeit hopped rather than sugar shock styling – which works for me . Good times of soothing and chilling in the sun styled beer.

Background: Ok, it is no secret that I am a touch of a leftie. So, yeah the rise of the far right has been worrying the shit out of me. So, I must admit the concept for this beer touched a cord with me – a beer hoping for a shift to the left. Now, let’s face it – a beer isn’t going to change the world, but it is nice to see people standing up. Anyway, now I’m fairly sure a chunk of my readers are not lefties, and that is fine – I can accept difference of opinion – it is the massive levels of hate that come with the alt-right (aka fucking Nazis), EDL (Aka bigoted shits), etc that worry me. So, as long as you are not a bigot or someone who shits on the poor, etc, I’m cool with you. Also, yes I know the extreme left can have worrying views and acts as well – however since right now I am more likely to die by being impaled on a unicorn horn than them get anywhere near power, I’ll hold off worrying about that to another day. Anyway, this was grabbed from the Brewdog guest beer shop. Also, lovely metallic style art on the label – absolutely wonderful to look at.

brewdog-hop-shot

Brewdog: Hop Shot (Scotland: IIPA: 22% ABV)

Visual: Apricot colour, some bubbles. No real head. Mild amounts of carbonation.

Nose: Peach. Musty hops. Kiwi. Apricot. Thick. Solid bitterness and hop oils. Light floral notes.

Body: Thick and syrupy. Golden syrup and honey. Good hop oils and some bitterness. Custard. Kiwi. Big peach. Syrupy alcohol. Pineapple.

Finish: Big kiwi, grapes and pineapple. Big hop bitterness. Thick sheen. Alcohol gin air. Big peach. Drying. Passion fruit. Hop oils.

Conclusion: This is actually a lot better than I expected. After the atrocious misstep that was Watt Dickie I feared that this would be similar.

Instead this actually feels roughly akin to an Imperial IPA, albeit one that has been crossed with golden syrup and had the alcohol feel turned way up. That may not be the most promising sounding description when I put it that way, I will admit, however I’m enjoying it. It has calls to Sink The Bismarck – but while that was was a raw onslaught of a beer, this is smoother and more refined. Now don’t get me wrong – you can totally tell the alcohol – but the very thick, very sweet texture compensates surprisingly well to control it. It feels like slightly thinned golden syrup slowly oozing over your tongue – dispensing varied honey to custard notes as well as its native syrup character. Very, very sweet indeed.

The fruitiness is the second biggest thing this has to offer, layered over the syrupy sweet notes. It is exploding with peach and kiwi notes, amongst a smattering of others. There is nothing subtle, subtlety would not work here. It all has to be big, all the time.

That is why I find it odd that of all things, it is the bitterness that is comparatively restrained. There is a lot of hop character, and definitely a lot of hop oils feel, but the bitterness? Well, with the exception of the finish, it is always restrained. Even in the finish the bitterness gets overwhelmed by the indomitable momentum of the sweetness over time.

So, it is a party piece rather than one to have often. Too insanely thick and strong to have several of. Despite its huge flavour everything is up front so it is not one to contemplate either. It is very fun though. So a sugar shock, fruit hop heavy, golden syrup thick thing of an Imperial IPA. You will either have great fun with it, or hate it. Either way you will only ever probably have a couple then go back to more balanced drinking fare. Still – fun!

Background: Grabbed from Brewdog Bristol, this tiny bottle is Brewdog’s latest attempt at freeze fortifying beer. Generally they have been pretty good, but the last attempt – Watt Dickie was freaking terrible. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer. I grabbed the smallest glass I had for this one – a third pint glass from the Great British Beer Festival – at 110 ml the bottle still barely made a dent in the glass. Still, plenty of room for the aroma to roam. Drunk while listening to the hauntingly wonderful Alver album – atgclvlsscap

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