Tag Archive: IIPA


West Berkshire: Renegade: Snake Oil (England: IIPA: 7.5% ABV)

Visual: Yellow to apricot. Thin off white head. Clear and mostly still body.

Nose: Peach. Popcorn hop character. Pumpkin touch. Slightly dry.

Body: Good bitterness. Slight granite grittiness. Slight sour peach to peach stones. Pumpkin. Light vanilla. Dry touch. Light turmeric.

Finish: Slightly rocky. Good bitterness. Pumpkin. Flour. Slight sour tang. Pumpkin. Some earthiness. Gooseberries. Flour.

Conclusion: This seems like it is aiming to match the prototypical take on the American IPA, or double IPA in this case, probably west coast influenced if I remember rightly. Well mostly anyway, but we will get to the differences later – one thing at a time.

It is the dry backed, fairly neutral in flavour malt body that makes me think of the American take on the IPA, along with the emphasis on the brighter fruit – the peach, apricot, and mildly oddly, pumpkin notes – the stuff you would expect from the old school USA hop favourites – albeit in a slightly more sour, fresh off the stone kind of way. Something that gives it a bit more tang than is traditional with its American cousins.

It is a good look – accentuated by tart gooseberry notes at the end. Now, it does deviate from the template a touch, as alluded to earlier. There is a turmeric to earthy bitterness late on and into the finish that is more of a call to the traditional British style IPA. It is a mixed blessing – when done well it adds some weight, but occasionally it gets a bit granite rough which is a tad overly harsh in an overly dry APA kind of way. Similarly it has a flour touch which adds weight, but also can get wearing over time.

So, a generally good IIPA, with big flavour and a lightly soured take on the American IIPA style. It has room for polish and improvement, but is very solidly done. Also, as was pointed out to me, it is comparatively cheaper for an IIPA, especially at UK tax rates for high abv beers, which never hurts. So, pretty good, not perfect, but has a lot of promise if they take their time and give it a polish.

Background: I think my mind linked this with the awesome Snake Fear IPA, so with that it mind it was inevitable that I would get around to grabbing it eventually. Another Independent Spirit bought one in case you were wondering. On googling it looks like Renegade is a craft beer arm of the West Berkshire Brewery. Not all brewers make the jump to craft beer successfully when they are used to the more traditional style – some are downright embarrassing. Hopefully this lot can make that jump. Once again listening to some of Television Villain‘s new album when drinking this – it definitely it a good one in my mind. Though as mentioned I know them, so I am biased.

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Lervig: Liquid Sex Robot (Norway: IIPA: 7.9% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot skin. Medium off white head. Cloudy.

Nose: Peaches and cream. Vanilla. Smooth hop character. Creamy lemon. Custard. Light grapes.

Body: Moderate hop oils. Light cream. Peach melba. Good hop character and bitterness. Light greenery. Apricot. Grapes. Kiwi.

Finish: Good hop character. Fluffy feel. Moderate bitterness. Slightly resinous. Some moss. Creamy. Vanilla.

Conclusion: Ok, this seems to be trying for the New England IPA cloudy style, the Dank IPA resinous and oily style, and the …erm… showy hop style, all in one. Ok, I kind of hit a brick wall on styles at the end there. Run with me on this one.

So, this is pretty creamy in that NEIPA style – it is fairly light on the resinous notes, but brings in a moderate amount of hop oils with it. It creates a creamy and sweet to bitter and oily war of character. The fruit flavours are secondary to that conflict, but they fit in pretty well. It is fairly standard in the flavours – mixing apricot and peach – though admittedly the peach leans into odder peach melba notes which is nice. All the flavours are backed by a mossy hop character and decent bitterness.

For all this beer pushes a range of different style influences, it ends up feeling fairly standard. Good admittedly, but standard. Solidly resinous, solidly bitter, solidly creamy and solidl…ok, moderately fruity. That last aspect may be what lets it down – the New England to … ahem … Dank balance is well done, but it means the fruit feels kind of basic. If they managed to tune that bit up this would be far more exciting.

So not one to avoid, not a must have – a solid take that dances amongst the IPA styles without polishing any element to perfection.

Background: Yes I just grabbed this one as it is called “Liquid Sex Robot”. I am childish. I also did like how the human being on the robot is pretty much gender neutral – a nice touch on an intrinsically sexual image which helps stop it feeling sexist. Anyway, big double IPA made with Mosaic, Citra, Azacca and Ekuano hops. It was getting a tad windy outside as I broke this open so I snuggled up in a blanket and put on some of the 11th Doctor’s Doctor Who music in the background. Spoiling myself rotten that is. This was another one grabbed from Independent Spirit.

Burnt Mill: Fieldwork: Dank Mode (England: IIPA: 8% ABV)

Visual: Gold to apricot. Large, slight brown to yellow touched head.

Nose: Light smoke and hop oils. Light dust. Slight granite. Soft lemon.

Body: Apricot. Heavy oily hops. Sour grapes. Granite bitterness. Soft lemon. Floral.

Finish: Greenery. Granite bitterness. Oily hops. Floral air. Dried apricot. Fluffy feel. Dusty. Resinous.

Conclusion: This is another Burnt Mill beer that shows skill in making, but also really doesn’t grab me. It does have more that appeals to me than my last experience with them though. By which I mean it has oily hops. It was in the name so it was hardly a surprise.

The base behind the oily hops is fairly dry and seems to bring with it somewhat musty, granite and dusty interpretation of the style. When the oil is up that isn’t a problem – you get enough sticky, resinous bitterness to hide it, and mix of grape and apricot fruitiness that clings to your tongue and reward you. However when that hop element goes light then the rougher, drier elements are enough to leave your mouth feeling a tad overly dry and dessicated.

So, it is a beer of ups and downs..oh and oddly floral and greenery touched -which seems to be a Burnt Mill house style based on the whopping two beers of theirs I have drunk.

So, outside of the two main poles of the dry character and the oily hops there isn’t actually a huge amount to shout about. There is some fruit, some greenery, some floral character, but it doesn’t feel like a that well defined experience – showing only the more obvious notes.

Oddly, what with “dank” being cannabis slang, this pushes its greenery in a way that can be best described as what a non cannabis user thinks cannabis feels like. Very green, very oily, very full of the imagery I get when I am around people smoking it. It is interesting, and ok, but doesn’t really sell the beer in that element.

Basically, I figure Burnt Mill, for all their rep, are not for me.

Background: I wasn’t too impressed with my first encounter with Burnt Mill, but since they a good reputation I decided to give them another shot – This, calling to Sticky and oily “Dank” hops in its name, and showcasing the awesome Mosaic and Enigma hops seemed like a good one to go to to give them another chance. If they can’t land this one then I just have to accept they are not for me. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit. For some dank heavy beer I put on Godspeed You! Black Emperors’ wonderful and moody “’Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!” as a background.

Brewdog: Native Son (Scotland: IIPA: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale clear gold. Moderate small bubbled carbonation. Moderate sized off white head.

Nose: Peach, kumquat and musty hops. Thick feeling aroma. Resinous. Dried apricot. Light tart pineapple. Flour.

Body: Lemon sherbet. Oily hops. Moderate bitterness. Kiwi. Apricot. Mandarin orange. Greenery. Apples. Peach. Smoke.

Finish: Creamy lemon. Good hop character and bitterness. Creamy lime. Mandarin orange. Popcorn. Greenery. Dry. Ashes.

Conclusion: What we have here is another example for the fact that you can actually have heavily hopped beers too fresh. I had a can of this when it first arrived and, back then, it felt rough and kind of dull. Now, a few weeks later, I break it open to do notes, and I find something much more pleasant.

It still has solid, prickly and musty bitterness with a rough ash tasting hop character on the way out – but now it also lets the fruit really play in the mid body. When it bursts with fruit it pushes out peach, Mandarin orange and lemon – it is dry based, but just slightly creamy in the fruit flavours.

Now it still isn’t perfect. For example, you may have seen the words “rough ash tasting” earlier and thought “Now, that doesn’t sound pleasant”. And you would be right. It isn’t. The finish still goes into rough and charred notes making the oily bitter character now feel burnt. When the rest of the beer is playing well it isn’t ruinous, but when there is a lull it comes out and is an unfortunate end to each sip.

It is a pity as the dry body that keeps out of the way and lets a mix of fruit and oily bitterness do the job is moreish – but those last moments stomp over that. Nearly very good, but not. Considering how much it has improved in the last two odd weeks I do wonder if it will become a proper working beer with a few more. However, let’s face it – the beer should work now. Good front, but unpleasant end – close, but not quite good.

Background: This would normally go in the IPA glass, but I, erm broke that – so I wondered how it would work in the wheat glass. Didn’t really suit it visually but worked ok. Anyway, as always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer. This is their new west coast style IPA – big fan of a good west coast so thought I’d give it a try/. Grabbed directly from Brewdog’s store, and drunk while listening to Andrew WK’s new album – You Are Not Alone. For a guy who loves partying so much it is a pretty heartfelt album – cheesy but I won’t claim not to enjoy the hell out of it. It is just crazy fun and feel good.


Northern Monk: Glory: Triple IPA (England: IIPA: 10.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon to apricot. Huge yellow white head.

Nose: Big hops. Solid bitterness. Slight granite. Lightly floral. Light gherkin. Oily hops. Apricot.

Body: Peach syrup. Oily hops. Good bitterness. Crushed Blackpool rock. Custard slices. Slight rock character. Pineapple. Smoke. Prickly hops. Gherkin. Kiwi. Apples. Greenery. Apricot.

Finish: Crushed raspberry hard sweets. Hop oils. Gherkin. Custard. Kiwi. Dried apricot. Peat.

Conclusion: This a thick and oily (Triple? Double? However many 10.5% really is) IPA. The malt character is thick with lots of mouthfeel heaviness and with that some custard sweetness. However, unusually for a 10% and up IPA, for roughly half the time the sweetness is actually beaten into the background.

The front flavours are the oily hops and bitterness – showing greenery and very … damnit I have to use the term… very dank as they say. That oily hop character is the dominant element – almost smokey, oily heavy hops. It can be almost peaty at times, though not as intense in that aspect – it is in feel as much as flavour in a lot of ways.

There is sweetness though – dried fruit and peach syrup which either hits on the front, or comes out again if the beer is held. The malt even brings out some big, intensely sweet Blackpool rock like notes at time – however often these notes will slip back down leaving the hop oil character to take precedent.

Over time there are releasing moments from the oily hops – you get green fruit – kiwi, apple mixed with pineapple and apricot, though still matched by greenery hop notes. For such a big beer this feels like most of what it gets from the malt is feel not flavour.

This is intense, swinging between the two poles of dark and fruity. The only real flaw is that it never reaches a nice balance between the two, instead showcasing one or the other at a time. If you are happy with swinging, intense flavour then this is lovely stuff.

Background: OK, I love IPAs,but the term triple IPA always confused me – this is just over 10%, is a standard IPA meant to be under 4% then? Naming conventions, huh? Anyway, Northern Monk has been a good go to, so this seemed like a nice chance to try a big beer and have a fair chance of it working out well. Another one grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while chatting with friends on Skype.

Verdant: Putty (England: IIPA: 8% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy apricot. Huge white head that leaves suds.

Nose: Dried apricot. Custard. Fluffy hops. Light bitterness. Mandarin orange. Palma violets. Purple peppers. Light hop oils and resin. Aubergine. Flour.

Body: Oily – very oily in a hop oil way. Cream. Good bitterness. Resinous. Grapes. Kiwi. Apricot. Mandarin orange.

Finish: Aubergine. Kiwi. Milk. Good hop oils and bitterness. Apricot.

Conclusion: “Oh no, not another New England IPA hidden away under the Double IPA label” I thought as I popped this one open and poured it out. Woe is me. I was not really looking for a bitterness light, creamy beer. I wanted hop kick and big flavours.

Turns out I didn’t have to worry. This is great. Or more accurately – this is aimed directly at my preferences, which, given this is my subjective opinion, works out as exactly the same thing. This is great.

The initial aroma seems lightly fruity, but not special -which continued my first impressions that this was going to be be another light side of the New England style. The first sip though … oh that kick of so much hop oils, followed by more hop oils. The bitterness here is delivered mainly through that oily character, that only slowly subsides to reveal the fruity notes.

You do get the creaminess of the NE style here, but with a ton of hop character – while it is bitter that aforementioned oily character actually makes it more manageable. It is slowly building and easing rather than the straight up punch of crisper hops.

If I had to change one element, I would probably up the fruit hop character at the back, behind the oily hops. The fruit you already have is good, but sometimes it gets lost under the oily bitterness. Apart from that this is a wonderful, oily feeling, big flavour, great mouthfeel and bitterness beer. For comparison Snake Fear is similar, but with the better range of flavour that makes it that touch above. This is still pretty damn shiny though.

Background: I nearly didn’t grab this beer. I’ve had a few verdant beers and they have been ok, but never quite up to their rep. However the people at Independent Spirit sung this thing’s praises – mentioning that it was originally a one off batch for a beer show and considered the stand out beer of the show. So I succumbed and bought myself one. Big fan of IPAs and imperial/double IPAs so this thing is right up my alley. Drunk while listening to a random bunch of The Offspring tracks – while I still enjoy them I can’t help but notice certain things such as,well, blatant transphobia in the song” Don’t Pick It Up” and similar, questionable notes in other songs. A pity, but the past is a different country as they say. Hopefully they will have changed their views over the years. Hopefully.

Beerbliotek: Du Luktar Lite Som Första Gången Jag Träffade Dig (Sweden: IIPA: 8% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot. Some creamy streams in the liquid. Massive white head.

Nose: Crisp hops and light bitterness. Creamy.

Body: Vanilla. Very creamy. Some toffee. Kiwi. Grapes. Peach. Light hop oils. Light sour cream and chives. Dried apricot.

Finish: Tart grapes. Hop oils. Resin. Slight cannabis air. Greenery. Dry bitterness. Milky.

Conclusion: This is very creamy. As in, this IIPA is far more creamy than a New England IPA tends to aim for – like, milky at the end creamy. Thick is what I am trying to communicate. The bitterness is not as low as you would expect given that but still not a huge part of the beer – it is a fairly solid bitterness in the finish, but not exactly intense for the rest of the beer.

The flavour profile seems to go back and forth – sometimes the creaminess dominates, other times it reins it in a bit – still creamy but now backing a wonderful set of peach, grape and kiwi notes. It really is a beer that is of that moment when you drink it, and you cannot use that to extrapolate to the rest of the beer – you have to take it as you view it in that moment.

Behind that varied character is an oily, resinous style which is the best tell of the beer’s IPA toots – showing slight greenery, even cannabis like in the air of the finish (Says a non cannabis smoker – this is all based on second hand experience so take that with a pinch of salt).

Overall its a solid feel but too creamy dominated for me – I’m enjoying it for the most part – it has definite range and use of hops, but at a lot of the time the milky, creamy character takes the front and it feels kind of empty in that, For some of you the creamy element may be a plus – for me it is ok, but not a beer that I would return to.

Background: So, I shoved the name into google translate. Comes back as “You Smell Little As The First Time I Met You”. I think it lost something in translation. Anyway, I did not realise the breweries name is a pub on bibliotech. Because obviously I am a muppet. Anyway, another one grabbed from Independent Spirit – mainly as I had not run into the brewery before and Sweden has a fairly solid beer scene at the moment. Had just random music for this one – felt I possibly could have chilled the beer just a touch more down for best experience – yes this from the person who famously hated chilled beers a bunch of years ago. People change. Don’t think it would have made that much difference, but thought it was worth mentioning.

Tempest: Attack Of The Killer Crab (Scotland: IIPA: 9.2% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow. Clear body with many bits evident floating in it. Medium sized white head.

Nose: Dried mango. Thick hop character. Musty and slightly resinous hops. Lightly bready.

Body: Creamy mouthfeel. Cake sponge. Grapes. Good hop bitterness and hop oils. Peach. Dried apricot. Mango. Light hop prickle. Thick hop feel. Resinous. Caramel.

Finish: Kiwi. Good hop oils. Dried apricot. High bitterness. Lightly bready. White grapes. Resinous. Fudge.

Conclusion: Ooohh, a nice, bitter, oily, resinous double IPA matched with sweet fruit flavours. Sign me up! This is right in my wheelhouse. There is sweetness from the malt, but it is offered up twisted and spanked by the oily hops to create a bittersweet sensation. The malt provides more a creaminess and thick mouthfeel than anything else, so everything else in this beer really grips.

To go back a moment, this is visually an odd one – not cloudy like the New England IPA style, and it definitely doesn’t taste like that style, but it has lots of floating bits in it that gives it a very odd look to the eye. As you drink the bits swirl around the glass, catching and reflecting the light. I was temporarily worried I had grabbed a bad bottle until I sipped it and found out that – nope – it still tastes great.

When I say tastes great, I mean genuinely great – I like the … sigh ok I’ll call it “dank” hop character. I love the oily and resinous style with big bitterness, but it uses the creamy mouthfeel and sweet peach, kiwi and grapes to punch through making for great contrast. This is a beer that loves balance – everything is intense, but it doing that it creates a fragile true between the elements that lets everything work without having to compromise either side.

We are early in 2018 and we already have the first truly great beer. An old school fruity, USA style double IPA with extra resin and hop oils. Just what you need when you are beginning to think you are getting blasé to the style.

Background: Been a while since I had a tempest beer, and this one’s name and art caught my attention – so it seemed like one to grab. It was only after I bought it that I worried that it may actually contain crab. Thankfully the “Vegan Friendly” label on the side made me fairly sure there is no crab in this. Unless crab got redefined as a vegetable recently and no-one told me. Which is fairly unlikely. I think. Anyway, grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to the new Arch Enemy album – “Will To Power” – which I’m presuming is a reference to the original Nietzsche not the dickhead Nazis who appropriated and misused it.

Odyssey: Simcoe DIPA (England: IIPA: 8.5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy yellow. Lots of small bubbled carbonation. Large white head with a yellowed hue.

Nose: Pineapple. White crusty bread. Good crisp hops and bitterness. Light flour.

Body: Juicy peach. Brown bread. White grapes. Tart pineapple. Slightly dry back.

Finish: Hop oils. Palma violets. Brown bread. Moderate hop character and bitterness. Egg plants. Dry apple.

Conclusion: Ok, this is good, but surprisingly one dimensional. Ok, it is single hopped which may explain some of that, but Simcoe is an awesome hop and can usually bring an entire beer worth of flavour by itself. I am surprised to not see more range here.

Still, I’m opening up with too much negativity for such a well brewed beer – well attenuated to give a dry, but not drying, backing. The malt base is quite flavour neutral, just setting itself up as a well attenuated, dangerously easy to drink beer. It feels more like a slightly bigger flavoured IPA than a big malt DIPA – the mouthfeel is akin to “restorative beverage for invalids and convalescents”, and by that I don’t mean the newer version which Brewdog tinkered with and made not as good as before – I mean the sublimely awesome original version.

It keeps itself solidly fresh and with pineapple tartness for the most part. Early on there was a big juicy peach interlude which led me to expect more complexity but that was short lasting. Instead it plays the tart notes with savoury egg plant like backing and a good use of hop character – nicely bitter but without the booming bitter bite I normally expect with Simcoe.

Still, slight lack of complexity aside this has awesome dry drinkability and tart character and actually compares well with old school Restorative Beverage, even if it doesn’t quite reach those heights. Still a bloody good beer to be compared to. Dangerously easy to drink for the abv – is pretty good as a stand alone beer, and if they used it as a base to make a multi hop beer with? Well I think they could have something amazing on their hands.

Background: So, this is an Odyssey beer – yep. Hop lead which is their speciality – yep. Single hopped with the awesome simcoe hop – yep. Ok, this was a must have and grabbed from Independent Spirit as soon as I saw it. Basically I am a huge mark for Odyssey beers, so was hyped for this. Drunk while listening to Siouxsie and the Banshees – Hyaena, an old album but comparatively new to me and I love the strange surreal sound to it.

Haand: Brewdog: Stone: Inferno IPA (Norway: IIPA: 10% ABV)

Visual: Caramel brown to ruddy red body under an inch of caramel brown touched head.

Nose: Kiwi, grapes and hops. Shreddies. Ovaltine malt drinks. Brown bread. Dried apricot.

Body: Thick, prickling hops. Nettles. Good bitterness. Hop oils. Toffee. Thick texture. Low hop burn. Sticky apricots. Cream. Kiwi yogurt. Sticky mouthfeel.

Finish: Caramel. Dry hop bitterness. Low hop burn. Brown bread. Good hop character in general and good level of bitterness. Sticky hop oils and resinous. Palma violets.

Conclusion: This is fairly “dank” in its hop use. Yes I am putting quotes around that, I still find the current meaning of the word “dank” to be odd. Anyway, this is sticky, resinous with lots of hop oils and a pretty solid level of hop bitterness. That really seems to be the core of this beer – Thick, sticky and hoppy.

To back that up the malt load is heavy, thick and sweet – almost fondue impression giving thick feel that gives what would be a big sweet character to back up the hop oils. Not too sweet in reality though despite that, with the hop character coming through it ends up as a big bready to shreddies malt style – very stodgy, thick and quite savoury when everything comes together.

Hop flavour wise is a more subtle deal – there is creamy fruit with some kiwi and some apricot that are present but mainly as backing notes. There is a touch of hop burn with it that adds a mild acrid note, but it is low enough to only add a prickle below this heavy beer rather than damaging it.

It doesn’t have a huge flavour range – the sticky hop side of things really dominates. I would by lying if I said I didn’t enjoy thus, more for the feel than anything else, that sticky hop resinous feel makes a very pleasant sensation as it goes down.

However it could do with more to it than just feel. It has a good mouthfeel, but needs to do more with the hop flavours. Still, a sticky hop experience is an enjoyable one. With work this could be the basis of an awesome beer, it just isn’t there yet.

Background: So, as always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers, best get that out there first as they are a collaborator for this beer. I am an unbiased actor on Stone beers, unless you considerer thinking them an awesome brewery for the quality of their beers, especially their hop forward beers, is bias. Don’t know much about Haand, but always happy to try more beers from Norway. It just feels more metal. So, with metal on my mind I drank this while listening to … No Doubt again. Listen, I only thought up the metal link later on, ok? Anyway this was grabbed from Brewdog’s guest beer selection.

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