Tag Archives: Imperial IPA

The Target: Mikkeller’s Hoppy Lovin’ Christmas

Brewed by: Mikkeller (brewed at De Proefbrouwerij)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Style: American Double/Imperial IPA
ABV: 7.8 %

Commercial description: India Pale Ale brewed with Ginger and Pine Needles.

APPEARANCE (5/5)

Pours a light amber/honey that is fairly cloudy. A massive three-finger off-white foamy head with great retention and a crazy amount of sticky lacing. There is a dense rocky island in the middle of my snifter.

AROMA (10/10)

Relatively mild, floral hop aroma, particularly for this style. Malty notes of caramel, sweet toffee, and bready crusts help balance a zippy hop profile comprised of light pine, grapefruit rind, and slight tropical fruitiness. A whiff or ginger and alcohol at the end.

FLAVOR (18/20)

Follows the nose a great deal. Oily, piney hops are assertive and bitter, but there are some sweet fruity notes coming through, with green apple, orange, and grapefruit being detected. More malt balance than the average hop bomb, with sweet caramel malt, toffee, light nutty notes, and some toasty flavors too. Bitter like a DIPA but balanced like an APA. As it warms the pine is very strong in the aftertaste but is tempered a bit by the sweetness. It has an interesting transition from bitter to sweet to bitter again. Not as much ginger as in the nose, just a hint in the aftertaste.

MOUTHFEEL (4/5)

Nice carbonation, with a smooth feel to it. Light to medium bodied, and not too thick or hot like some DIPAs tend to be. A nice, easy drinking mouthfeel that compliments the balanced profile really well.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (9/10)

Overall this is a well-hopped IPA that offers up the subtle hints you’d expect from the name. The holidays portrayed with a gingerbread cookie-like sweetness and hints of pine. An aggressively hopped DIPA with some nice complexities but it doesn’t ruin you as some of the genre do

FINAL SCORE  (46/50)

 

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The Target: Evil Twin Disco Beer

Brewed by: Evil Twin Brewing
(Brewed at Brouwerij de Molen)
Copenhagen / Brooklyn, Denmark
Style:Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 10.5 %

Commercial description: Disco Beer is a vinous IPA thoughtfully blended with 10 % Chardonnay white wine. This Champagne of beer is a real party starter, no more shy beer geek. Drink it and you will own the dance floor.

APPEARANCE (5/5)

Poured a deep dark amber orange with a fluffy three-finger white head. Subsided to a compact and loose head slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass.

AROMA (10/10)

Nose is of floral and herbal hops. Lots and lots of sweet citrus–lemon, orange, pineapple, and grapefruit. It has a candy-like aroma. The wine comes through with a kiss of alcohol with a lightly sweet caramel and nutty malt backbone. Smells absolutely great!

FLAVOR (18/20)

Taste is similar to the aroma, but there’s also some herbal flavors and peppery spice noticeable. Piney hops, sweet grapefruit, bready malts and strong oak notes. Some hints of apple, grapes, vanilla, and spice in the background. Slightly grainy backbone tries to poke out and balances it very nicely; never letting the hop character overtake it. Lightly bitter finish but it remains very smooth and robust.

MOUTHFEEL (4/5)

Average carbonation, an appropriate amount of dryness on the palate, some stickiness, rather light-bodied for the style. Extremely smooth, but with a slight tingling from the alcohol, and a tiny burn on the lips, but it faded away nicely as it warmed up.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (8/10)

Adding actual chardonnay to the blend gives it a completely interested and different character. The wine truly does make itself present and obvious, and the IPA is formulated in a way to allow this to happen. I enjoyed this beer immensely. It does not fall in line with what I tend to look for in a DIPA, but an interesting journey off the beaten path.

FINAL SCORE  (45/50)

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The Target: Boulevard Double Wide I.P.A.

Brewed by: Boulevard Brewing Company
Kansas City, Missouri USA
Style:Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 8.5 %

Commercial description: The classic India Pale Ale is a traveler’s beer, aggressively hopped to withstand the long, hot ocean voyage to the British East Indies. Our Double-Wide I.P.A. also travels well, and is right at home in the most exotic ports of call of the Midwest. While this modern-day prairie schooner may not resemble a graceful sailing sloop, our liberal hopping regimen does make her virtually “twister-proof,” with toffee and caramel notes balancing out the lingering bitterness. Enjoy this beer fresh to best appreciate the complex blending of hop aromas, ranging from minty to citrusy, with subtle hints of pine.

APPEARANCE (5/5)

Pours a golden copper color with ruby red highlights. A huge, billowing and foamy egg-shell colored head. The lacing is spectacular and the retention is about the best one can expect: the one finger sized head lasts for the entire trip.

AROMA (10/10)

Nice big hop nose with a solid caramel malt backbone. Its a nice mixture of apricots and pine in the nose, although the pine seems the more dominant and noticeable and the duo. Slightly sweet form the malts with light tropical fruits.

FLAVOR (19/20)

Very well balanced. The sweet malt profile hits the palate up front followed by a rush of hops bliss. Predominantly piney hops, but there is also some nice grapefruit citric bitterness as well. A hint of lemon zest and bubblegum, even.The balance is obviously more favorable to the hops than the malts, but for the style it is dead center. The finish is piney, lasting and makes you want to go right back for more. Some hints of alcohol warmth creep in at the end, the only indication of the alcohol content.

MOUTHFEEL (5/5)

The body is medium with a nice pleasant carbonation. Feels a bit creamy. This beer is very dangerously drinkable.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (9/10)

A truly great beer. Hoppy then sweet then bitter at the end; one of the most solid and least agressive DIPA’s I’ve had.  Complex enough to hold my interest, but subtle enough to refrain from taxing the tastebuds. This probably qualifies as a hop bomb, but not to the extent of some tongue searing DIPAs and powerful IPAs. Damn fine beer. Kudos to Boulevard for making some really outstanding brew.

FINAL SCORE  (48/50)

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The Target: Stone Enjoy By 11-9-12

Brewed by: Stone Brewing Company
Escondido, California USA
Style:Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 9.4 %

Commercial description: You have in your hands a devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers- especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs- we’ve taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We’ve not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’re getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the bottle, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and beer fans. Instead, we’ve sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA.

Batch List:
Enjoy By 09-21-12
Enjoy By 11-09-12

APPEARANCE (5/5)

Pours brilliantly clear pale gold body capped by a big frothy head. Perfect transparency and two fingers of off-white froth that lingers for a few minutes, eventually receding in a rocky head. Lots of lacing.

AROMA (10/10)

Strong Nelson hop aroma; very floral, pineapple, mango, lemon, orange, grapefruit.  Light malts, and some yeasty sweet sugar aroma at the end. There is a deep, dank smell which adds a bit of charm without being unpleasant. There’s even a bit of hop spice aroma to even things out. There is a good amount of sweet malt, but there’s no mistaking it – this beer is all about the hops.

FLAVOR (19/20)

Tastes follows the nose. Extremely dank hops dominate, with a few citrus notes in the beginning. Citra and Nelson Sauvin goodness dominate. Notes of lemon zest and orange midway through the taste, and the hops seem to linger in the background, but are very well kept under wraps until the swallow finishes, and then you can taste that dankness. As you drink it, the complexity heightens, and that lemony citrusy goodness comes through until you finish it, never really losing any momentum. Hints of lavender, onion, chive and basil? Awesome.

MOUTHFEEL (5/5)

On the lighter side of medium, this feels light and bright with an almost silky smoothness in the mouth – carbonation is plentiful but not harsh; begins smooth but then has some bright, nearly sharp edges near the back of the tongue. Finish is on the dry side with some slight hop oils on the palate.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (9/10)

The complexity of hops here is beyond description – huge citrus notes, floral and herbal hop and just enough sweetness. Your mouth will be alive after each sip. One great DIPA! The entire experience was enjoyable because no one aspect dominated; it’s bitter and hoppy while being sweet and tropical at the same time.

FINAL SCORE  (48/50)

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Beertography and Review: Oskar Blues Gubna

Brewed by: Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery
Longmont Colorado USA
Style: American Double/Imperial IPA
ABV: 10.0 %

Commercial description: Emphasizing that complexity of character can arise from simple elements, this ale is made with 3 malts and 1 hop. Its light amber color and slightly spicy malt character are derived from the use of German Dark Munich Malt and Rye Malt respectively. North American 2-row barley combines with the other grains to lay the foundation for the hop onslaught to come. Summit hops are used exclusively in the boil for bitterness, flavor and aroma but it doesn’t end there. Post-fermentation dry hopping allows the 10% ABV monstrosity to gently coax the citrus rind and grapefruit aroma to join the 100 IBUs already present. This beer will greet you with a pungent citrus blast, provide a spicy yet round middle and finish with a brisk, clean bitterness.

APPEARANCE (5/5)

Gorgeous deep orange with golden tones. Upon the pour, a two-finger off-white head develops and  quickly dissipates into small rocky islands of foam. No doubt the high ABV is responsible for the lack of staying power.

AROMA (9/10)

Complex and extremely floral bouquet of lavender and jasmine at first, with a pineapple, apricot, and honey sweetness in the middle, and finishing with piney, resiny hops at the end. Also has a weedy, hemp-like quality.

FLAVOR (18/20)

The taste delivers the promise of the nose. Tropical fruit quality lands the first punch in the form of mango and pineapple.  Grapefruit, blood oranges and perhaps a hint of lemon as well.  The generous malt backbone is sticky sweet with caramel. It helps balances out the intense notes of wet and juicy hops nicely.

MOUTHFEEL (5/5)

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied Bitter and piney up front with creamy, slightly sweet middle and long bitter finish. I found the  carbonation level spot-on. Just a warning…it’s extremely drinkable but at an ABV of 10% it will catch up with you.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (9/10)

Refreshingly drinkable and doesn’t wreak havoc on the palate even though the hop profile is so intense. I would not hesitate to put it in the company of Dogfish Head 90 Minute, Bell’s Hopslam, and Avery’s Maharaja. This has to be the best combination of thick, piney, syrupy, resiny hops combined with a crisp, clean, fresh floral aroma. And extra points to Oskar Blues for the homage to the Mel Brooks masterpiece, Blazing Saddles. Every can is ring with the phrase, “Give the GUBNA a Harrumph. Harrumph.” Unfortunately, Oskar Blues is not distributed in Ohio at this time. Luckily, our neighbors to the east in Pittsburgh have plenty on hand 🙂

FINAL SCORE  (46/50)

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Beertography and Review: Stone Ruination IPA Tenth Anniversary

Brewed by: Stone Brewing Company
Escondido, California USA
Style: Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 10.8%

Commercial description: And as Stone Ruination IPA turns 10, we thought we’d make ourselves a nice little birthday present to celebrate. But what kind of selfish jerks would we be if we didn’t share?! Behold, the Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA. (Clever name, eh? That’s why us folks in the Marketing Dept. get the big bucks!) It’s an amped-up version of Stone Ruination IPA, with a bit more malt to bring the ABV up from 7.7% to 10.8%, and a very heavy dose of hops. “Classic” Ruination uses 2.5 pounds of hops per barrel–which is more than double the amount we use in any other of our core beers–but for Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA, we went double again, using an impressive 5 pounds of hops per barrel, including about a pound each of Citra and Centennial in the dry hop. (Hell. Yes.)

APPEARANCE (5/5)

This beer pours a clear golden color with amber highlights and is crowned by a big fluffy two finger head with good lacing and retention.

AROMA (10/10)

Outstanding aroma! Really fragrant and fantastic. Big, juicy and tropical. Pineapple, candied orange peel orange, grapefruit, peach, apricot backed by some dank pine, caramel malts, and a bit of biscuit. The alcohol is not very prevalent in the nose.

FLAVOR (19/20)

The palate opens bitter with rather pungent orange peel, grapefruit zest, orange zest, tropical fruit (mango and papaya.) The hop profile follows the smell and is seriously complex. Mild sweetness is present on the mid-palate, and is complemented (and then dominated) by the hoppy flavors. Some sweet malt sneaks through, followed by a perceptible, but clean alcohol. There is enough malt and booze to balance it out and help clean the palate. Alcohol presence is stronger in the finish and it gets to be a bit much when the beer warms up.

MOUTHFEEL (5/5)

Smooth texture, full-bodied, with medium carbonation and a super dry finish. Plenty of oily hop resins linger on the palate. Some alcohol warmth reveals the double-digit ABV.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (10/10)

For me, one of the best beers to come out this year. A very satisfying DIPA that is unfortunately a limited release. Complex, delicious, and rich. This is one of those rare beers that makes hopheads and non-hopheads happy. Buy this one before it’s all gone!

FINAL SCORE (49/50)

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Beertography and Review: The Alchemist Heady Topper

Brewed by: The Alchemist
Waterbury, Vermont USA
Style: Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 8.0 %

Commercial description: An American Double IPA, packed with over 120 IBU!

APPEARANCE (5/5)

Pour reveals a cloudy, golden-orange body with sediment topped by a large rocky white head. The 2 finger head displays good retention and dissipates to a thin cap, leaving some nice lacing as it slowly recedes.

AROMA (10/10)

The smell is amazing! Big dank resinous hop oil upfront. Bright grapefruit, orange and lemon peel followed by tropical fruit; mostly pineapple and mango. Also has a little bit of sweetness in the nose, similar to honey. Just a touch of bready malt, but not much. It is all about the hops here.

FLAVOR (20/20)

Instant zing of citrus and grapefruit with a hop wallop, but without the crazy bitterness. The hop flavor creeps up on you after swallowing. However, it doesn’t have that drink-with-caution bitterness that can overwhelm the palate. It takes all of the tastiness one would love about hops while leaving some of the bite behind. The freshness of the hops is really unparalleled, it is by far the “juiciest” DIPA I’ve been able to track down. The hops are complimented by a sweet bread malt backbone and it is extremely well balanced. Very little booziness in the taste however, just loads of super fresh and pure hoppy goodness.

MOUTHFEEL (5/5)

Chewy and full bodied with somewhat low carbonation, but it’s spot on. A little oily and sticky on the lips, as expected. This is dangerously drinkable. I could drink this stuff all day it’s so damn good and it goes down so easy.

OVERALL IMPRESSION (10/10)

One of the few beers that actually exceeds the hype. Are there more insane DIPAs out there? Of course. But this has to be one of the freshest and “purest” tasting DIPAs I have ever had. It’s near flawless and quite remarkable. The is one of those rare DIPA that will satisfy the hopheads as well as the fans of something more balanced. This is easily one of the best beers I’ve ever consumed. That’s why it gets my first perfect score.

FINAL SCORE  (50/50)

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