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09-25-03

Beer Review #308 Shipwrecked Double IPA

09-25-02I’ve been on an IPA swing recently and I came across a new beer and a new brewery while at the beer store the other day, so I had to grab a bottle or two to try. The beer is Shipwrecked Double IPA and the brewery is the Mission Brewery out of San Diego, California. This bad boy comes in at 9.25%.

Shipwrecked Double IPA pours a nice burnt orange color and looked mostly clear but might have had some haze. It was hard to tell if it was clear or hazy as the glass got coated in condensation pretty quickly after the pour. There was a medium off-white head that stuck around longer than most double IPAs. The nose is super unique, unlike any nose that I’ve smelled before. You have the normal hop citrus and slight pine but the main hop odor is kind of stinky. It’s almost like a foot smell. I don’t know if I just got a weird batch but the nose, while not unpleasant, wasn’t overly outstanding either.

On the first taste I was thrilled to find that the malt bill on this beer is top notch. There are some great caramel notes along with some nice bready notes as well. The malt by itself is very nice and well brewed. When the hops hit, they hit quickly. They are very clean and leave your mouth as fast as they came in. There is a slightly grassy feeling to this one while drinking but it doesn’t end on a grassy note or even a bitter note, it just leaves.

The mouthfeel is full but it seemed a little under-carbonated for my tastes. I wonder if the feet smell could be associated with an improperly crimped cap. This isn’t a bad double IPA but it is far from my favorite. I really wanted more assertive hops out of a double IPA but this beer left me with memories of a great malt flavor. It’s not a bad thing for a beer, but not a good thing for a double IPA. (more…)

06-20-03

Beer Review #297 Torpedo

06-20-03I told you that I was on an IPA kick and today I have a “newer” IPA from one of the country’s largest brewers, Sierra Nevada.Torpedo is an “Extra IPA” (according to the bottle) that comes in at 7.2%. It can be found in both bottles and cans and had a uses a new hopping technique developed by Sierra Nevada called Torpedo. A number of their beers are now being brewed with this method of hopping including Rhizing Bines.

Torpedo pours a light orange color. It has a thin white head and it is crystal clear. The nose has some slight hops but not much else. I was expecting this one to produce some much larger aromatics, but it just didn’t come through for me. Perhaps I had an older bottle or my senses were not locked in the day I tried this.

On my first taste I was really surprised to see the amount of sweetness that comes on the front end of this beer. I really like IPAs that transition to hops and don’t knock you out with the first punch. The hop flavor does come in midway through the beer and it kicks hard. The hops are very earthy and rich in flavor. There are some citrus notes in there but the main parts that I found were an earthy, dirty pine flavor. Torpedo finishes dry with some lingering bitterness.

I really, really like this one. This could become a go to IPA for me. It has all of the flavors that I really like, and while I didn’t get wowed with the nose, the flavor is solid. This is a full feature beer and the hop flavor is more complex than some I have tried recently. This beer has been out for a year or two now and if you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing out. (more…)

06-14-03

Beer Review #296 Blind Faith

06-14-03Along with Elder Betty and HiC├╝, Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me Blind Faith, an IPA that comes in at 6.2% ABV. Magic Hat puts out a lot of IPAs as part of their IPA tour and this is one that I’ve had the chance to try before. I’m on a bit of a IPA kick right now so a free IPA made me super excited.

Blind Faith pours a deep orange color. It is perfectly clear and has a thin off-white head. The nose has a good amount of hops. The hops are pretty grapefruity with other citrus flavors in there. I guess the best way to describe them is floral and bright. I didn’t get much in the way of malt; just hops.

On the first sip I was really to find that this beer has a malt backbone. There are some light caramel flavors to begin with that lead into some bready flavors. A light hop flavor of citrus comes in and reminds you that you are drinking an IPA. The citrus is light and really warms the beer up and then a good smack of pine flavor comes in at the end to clean it all up and assert the IPAness of the beer.

I’m always a fan of a balanced beer and this one fits the bill. The hops are clean and bright and pack a good helping of flavor. The malt balance is spot on as well. While I’ve had better IPAs before, this is solid and could be a staple of some other breweries. (more…)

Beer Review #286 Wyld Extra Pale Ale

04-18-03As I have previously mentioned, Uinta Brewing Company is one of my favorite “new” breweries. They are one of the Top 50 Craft Breweries by volume, so I’m not alone in thinking that they make some quality beer. Today’s beer is a pale ale that comes in at just 4% ABV. A sessionable pale ale, wonderful.

Wyld Extra Pale Ale pours a very light orange color. It is slightly hazy and comes with a thin white head. The nose is packed with a strong hop aroma. There is a good amount of pine resin aroma along with a bit of citrus hops. This beer smells very aggressive for a pale ale and very hop forward. The hops are very clean and bright, which is something that I always like to see in a beer. I didn’t get much in the way of sweetness or malt character from the nose.

Unlike the nose, this beer has a nice malt taste up front. A very nice clean hop flavor┬ápermeates the malt and gives a good does of pine flavor. Usually I shy away from straight pine in hops, but this pine is softer and more rounded. It’s not a “Christmas tree ale,” but it should how full the pine hop flavor can really be. The hops end on a bit of a grassy note. I’m not sure how this beer manages to combine clean hop flavor with grass, but it works.

I really dig this one. It is wonderfully balanced and tastes like a beer that is much bigger than it is. As I said, this beer is sessionable. Drinkable, check. Sessionable, check. Full of flavor, check. I really could enjoy this beer year round and regularly. I don’t often give beers the re-buy nod, but this one gets it. (more…)

Beer Review #278 Rum Barrel Golden Ale

03-26-03Evolution Craft Brewing Company of Salisbury, MD is undergoing a lot of change. I remember when they started in Delar, DE/MD as a small brewery, but now they are quickly expanding. They always seem to have something new out and their distribution is growing slowly. It’s been really interesting to watch a brewery start from nothing and grow at the rate that Evolution has. As part of that growth, they have gotten into barrel aged beers under the name Migration Series. With the brewery located in the eastern shore of Maryland, geese are a staple of the area, and the series name/logo work perfectly.

Rum Barrel Golden ale comes in at a rocking 10.5% ABV. According to the bottle, I have bottle number 754 of 1200 bottles produced for this particular beer. The bottle says, “ale aged in oak rum barrels,” which isn’t a surprise given its name. This beer was also released last year, but I just got around to opening it up now. It pours a dark golden to orange color. It has a thin off-white head and is super hazy. There is a nice yeast cake at the bottle of the bottle once you muster the courage to drink enough of a 10.5% beer to get there.

03-26-04

The nose has a good rum smell with some spiced rum odors mixed in there. It is very sweet on the nose and there isn’t a drop of hops to be found. I was half expecting a more complex nose, but it is not surprising that rum and spiced rum aromas dominate. On the first taste I got a nice mix of rum flavor and sweetness. This beer is super sweet and there isn’t much that dries it out. The spiciness that I noticed in the nose comes in at the end of the beer to clean it up a bit. A good amount of oak flavor mixes through the beer with hints of vanilla and wood resins.

This is an interesting beer. There is a lot going on and the oak flavors that mix into the beer are exactly what barrel aging should be about. The oak compliments the beer, but it is not the star or overdone. I just wish this one dried out more than it did. It stays really sweet and it made getting through the 750 ml bottle a bit more of a challenge than I would have liked. Overall this is a good beer and with a few tweaks I think it could be a real winner. (more…)