American Red Ale (IPA) – Recipe and Review

American Red AleAmerican Red Ale, Red IPA, Hoppy Amber Ale, taxonomy aside, I think it’s a great style of beer, especially as a fall seasonal.

As the days get shorter and the leaves turn to hues of red and orange, it seemed befitting to create a hoppy beer that has a nice toasty malt flavor and a little more heft than I typically like in my hoppy beers.This sounds infinitely more appealing than the overly spiced pumpkin beers that tend to corrupt the season. It is also a great opportunity to clean out the freezer of last season’s hop crop in anticipation of the upcoming harvest. This is truly a harvest beer as it pertains to the ingredients found in typical beer. Huh, maybe Harvest IPA is the right classification.

Mind you, this should absolutely not be a sweet beer. Nor should it have too many deep caramel flavors that are better suited in beers where hops are not playing the leading role. This recipe focuses on the toasty and biscuity flavors imbued by melanoidin rich malt rather than leaning heavily on crystallized caramel malts. The beer finishes very dry, giving the beer a high level of drinkability as well as the requisite ability to warm you from the inside out (a key requirement for the fall season).

American Red Ale Recipe

Size: 3.5 gal
Efficiency: 67%
Attenuation: 81.3%

Original Gravity: 1.060
Terminal Gravity: 1.011
Color: 14.26 SRM
Alcohol: 6.3% ABV
Bitterness: 78 IBUs (does not account for whirlpool addition hop isomerization)

Malt Bill:
8 lbs (88.3%) Briess 2-Row Brewers Malt
0.5 lb (5.5%) Briess Victory Malt
0.5 (5.5%) Weyermann Carared
1 oz. (0.7%) Briess Midnight Wheat

Mash Profile:
149°F – 60m
170°F – 5m

Water Treatment:
Extremely Soft NYC Water
4g Gypsum (to mash)
2g Calcium Chloride (to mash)

Kettle Additions:
0.5ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – 15m
0.5tsp Wyeast Nutrient – 10m

Kettle Hopping:
16g Warrior (15.4% AA) – 60m
1 oz. Mosaic (12.3% AA) – 15m

Whirlpool Hopping:
1 oz. Mosaic (12.3% AA) – 15m
1 oz. Citra (13.7% AA) – 15m

Wyeast 1056 American Ale

Dry Hopping:
1 oz. Galaxy (16.1% AA) – 2 Days
2 oz. Mosaic (12.3% AA) – 2 Days

Tasting Notes:

Judged as 2015 BJCP Category 21B Specialty IPA – Red IPA

Aroma (10/12):
Medium to high tropical fruitiness—overripe mango, pineapple, Juicy Fruit gum. There is a very low caramel malt nose, much less than the color would indicate. Underneath the hops, there is perhaps a touch of lightly toasted bread. The hop combination is primarily fruity / tropical with just a hint of pine resin. Very clean fermentation. No alcohol.

Appearance (1/3):
Medium brown with a reddish tint, though I’d really like the color to pop with a more saturated red tone. The beer is hazy, but not milky. The beer has a great tightly bubbled tan head that persists until the pint is finished.

Flavor (15/20):
There is quite a bit of nice malty character on the palate that is slightly sweet with some nice toasty / biscuity flavors and just a touch of toffee. Somehow, given the high level of attenuation, there remains just a touch of sweetness. The beer has a very firm bitterness that is tempered by this slight amount of residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel (4/5):
Medium body and medium-high carbonation with a fair amount of creaminess / softness on the palate. I am becoming more and more of a believer in the ability of hop compounds to produce a certain lusciousness in mouthfeel for a beer. The bitterness is just a bit astringent / biting.

Overall Impression (8/10):
I had a great time finishing this keg of beer. When super fresh, the beer hits you in the face with awesome bright hop aromatics. Over the period of about a month, the beer dropped bright, much of the punchy hops settled down, and the beer became more of a showcase in balance and malt. It aged quite gracefully; not becoming less of a beer, just a different style of beer. I actually preferred the beer most after about a month of cold storage.

Excellent (38/50)

Bioreactor Culture A – Gen 2

Bioreactor A2

Bioreactor A2 – Sour red with a subtle toasty background.

The somewhat laborious process of maintaining mixed cultures via what I’ve called, for lack of a better name, my Bioreactor Project is beginning to bear fruit (or in this case, sour beer). The recipe and review below represents the second generation fermentation of mixed culture “A”  grown up from the following beers:

  • Cantillon Gueuze
  • Tilquin Gueuze
  • Russian River Beatification
  • Crooked Stave Surette
  • Jolly Pumpkin La Roja

I’ve managed to consistently maintain the bioreactor on a 4-month refresh cycle. The results so far have been positive, although I’ve noticed that the fermentations have rather sluggish starts, which is a bit concerning. If I were to implement this program on a commercial level, I would decrease the refresh cycle to something more reasonable, perhaps refreshing every couple months. Unfortunately, the practicality for doing this at a homebrew level is somewhat limited (at least for myself).

For this iteration of the recipe, I wanted to see how the souring culture might synergize (or clash) with a slightly toasty malt background. Vienna malt plays a prominent role in the beer bringing a subtle toasty note to what should be a fairly funky sour beer.

Size: 1.25 gal
Efficiency: 66%
Attenuation: 85%

Original Gravity: 1.054
Terminal Gravity: 1.014
Color: 11.13 SRM
Alcohol: 5.25% ABV
Bitterness: 0 IBU
Terminal pH: 2.60

Malt Bill:
2.75 lb (91.7%) Weyermann Vienna Malt
0.25 lb (8.3%) Weyermann Carared

Mash Profile:
160°F – 60m

Water Treatment:
Extremely Soft NYC Water
Added to mash: 2g Calcium Chloride

0.25 oz Aged Cascade Hops (0.0% AA) – 90m

Kettle Additions:
0.25 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15m
0.25 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10m

Bio Reactor “Culture A” – racked from a 4-month old fermentation using the same culture

Tasting Notes:

Judged as a BJCP 28B Mixed Fermentation Sour Beer

Aroma (8/12):
Prominent pie cherry, fruity Brett aromatics on the nose with a punchy level of lactic sourness. There is a nice soft, bready malt nose featuring light toast along with some oxidized dark fruit (think prune). Some of the more funky Brett aromatics of wet hay and earth are subtle, offering background complexity. As the beer warms, the beer exudes a nutty, almost Amaretto-like aroma.

Appearance (0/3):
The beer strikes a deep copper tone with light chill haze. A vigorous pour offers up a very slight white foam that quickly dissipates. The beer is a bit under-carbonated, making head formation a difficult task. Also not helping matters is lactobacillus’ ability to degrade foam positive proteins.

Flavor (12/20):
The beer strikes a medium acidity, primarily lactic in nature although a touch of acetic acid is perceptible. The first sip reveals a prominent THP flavor that is reminiscent of Cheerios, which is actually quite pleasant when tasted in concert with the lightly toasty Vienna malt base. There is a low level of residual sweetness which helps take the edge off of some of the stronger acetic acid notes. Interestingly, when tasted at 4-months old, the beer had a fairly robust plastic-like phenol which seems to have been transformed at this point into other more positive flavors.

Mouthfeel (1/5):
The beer has a medium to medium-light body with a very low carbonation level. The beer is in desperate need of something to lift it off the palate; a task that the acidity only marginally accomplishes.

Overall Impression (6/10):
The beer falls a bit flat, but does offer up some interesting complexity, particularly in the commingling of some of the THP and toasty Vienna malt characters. The touch of oxidized malt flavor plays nicely with the Brett fruitiness—something that I think could become even more interesting if actual fruit (think tart pie cherries) were introduced into the mix.

Good (27/50)

Gueuze Blending for the Homebrewer

Gueuze Blending

The nine individual blending components spanning a 3-year-period that will become my Gueuze style beer.

All the way back in 2013 I started what was both my first mixed-fermentation beer, as well as the first part of a three-year long project to produce a Belgian Gueuze style beer. When I started the project, three years was an almost impossibly long time for me to look into my brewing future. I had only recently begun brewing again after a nearly seven-month hiatus following a cross-country move from Seattle to NYC. Committing the space, time, and cooperage to an extended project like this was definitely a leap of faith. But the funny thing with time is that it makes a habit of flying by and here I am, three years later, writing about my Gueuze blending experience.

In many ways, Gueuze transcends the boundaries of what we typically consider beer to be. While the ingredients are basically the same as most beers we know, to those uninitiated to the world of sour, it is an entirely different beast. Acidic, fruity, funky, earthy, spicy, dry, spritzy—all of these commonplace Gueuze traits add to the synergistic complexity characteristic of these beers. It is a balance obtained through a rigorous blending process which ultimately produces a harmonious beer comprised of individual characters that on their own can be somewhat polarizing.

For me, Gueuze stands out not only for its delicious character, but also for the almost mythic process in which three annual vintages of Lambic beer are blended together to create the Gueuze blend. There is a romantic notion associated with the idea of blending different vintages of wild beers to create a happy harmony that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is pure liquid alchemy.

Blending Gueuze is not unlike the blending methods used by winemakers. As a vintner takes varying percentages of different grape varietals to produce a composite product, Gueuze production is approached in a similar manner. For my blend, I was able to choose between nine different 1-gallon batches—the result of splitting the original three batches three ways with secondary fermentation incorporating varying mixed cultures propagated from a host of commercial batches of beer.

Base Culture: Wyeast 3278 Belgian Lambic Blend

Secondary Cultures:
– Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus
– Tilquin Gueuze
– Russian River Beatification

Base Culture: Wyeast 3763 Roeselare Ale Blend
Secondary Cultures:
– Russian River Framboise for the Cure
– Jolly Pumpkin La Roja
– Blended House Culture of Various Origins

Base Culture: Wyeast 3763 Roeselare Ale Blend
Secondary Cultures:
– Sante Adairius Cellarman
– de Garde The Duo
– Allagash Cuvee d’Industrial

Tasting and Blending

Gueuze Blending

From left to right: the three-, two-, and one-year-olds.

Tasting nine individual batches of beer can be somewhat complicated. Simply keeping track of each beer is a chore, as is understanding the traits of each specific component. I found it necessary to simplify the process and hone in on specific traits and characters that I wanted to balance out in the final blend. I focused on trying to think about each beer in terms of broad categories: fruitiness, alcohol heat, sweetness, dryness, bitterness, astringency, acidity, and funkiness. Knowing that I would only be blending out five gallons from my 9-gallon stock allowed me to be picky and only choose the best of the class for my blend.

On my first pass, I found that specific samples stood out as delicious examples that could stand on their own while others exhibited specific off-flavors or traits that would be a problem in the final blend. The 3-year-old batches all exhibited a rather bitter/harsh/astringent character—something that I’ve since chalked up to the somewhat high levels of hopping these beers incorporated (using hops that were labeled as debittered, but which I suspect maintained a fair amount of their bittering capabilities). This trait made me confident that the final blend would likely only include these batches in a somewhat minimal fashion where the astringency would act to produce mouthfeel, balance, and complexity without being overbearing.

Four out of the nine batches stood out from their peers as being pretty exceptional on their own. All of the 2-year-old batches and one of the 1-year-old batches had a great balance with moderate to high levels of fruitiness, acid, and complex funk. These would act as the base for my blend.

Once all of the batches were methodically accessed, I began the process of producing a handful of test blends. Using a graduated pipette I created varying blends for trial. Having a second palate throughout the entire blending process was indispensable. Luckily, The Homebrew Wife was around to lend her taster and expertise to the process. We all have varying tastes and sensibilities when it comes to beer. Having two or more tasters at your disposal helps to ensure you’re not blending something that is flawed due to a blind spot in your own taste buds.

Ultimately, the final 5-gallon blend utilized seven different blending components:

10% – 2013 w/ Tilquin Gueuze
20% – 2014 w/ Russian River Framboise for the Cure
20% – 2014 w/ Jolly Pumpkin La Roja
20% – 2014 w/ Blended House Culture of Various Origins
10% – 2015 w/ Sante Adairius Cellarman

2.75 gallons of the leftover beer was racked over to a clean carboy with 3 lbs of apricot puree for additional aging.


After such a commitment of time, it was with a lot of anxiety that I packaged this beer. My main concern was achieving a high level of carbonation in the beer. This presents a challenge in terms of choosing the proper bottles as well as ensuring that the yeast in the beer can ferment out the priming sugar in such a harsh, acidic environment.

To achieve a high level of carbonation, I primed the beer with dextrose to a calculated 3.1 volumes of CO2 with the anticipation that I may receive a slightly higher level due to a low amount of additional attenuation in the 1-year-old portion of beer. When priming a beer to this level of carbonation, it is extremely important to use heavy glass bottles specifically designed to accommodate high carbonation. Using standard beer bottles to carbonate to this level will cause dangerous bottle bombs!

To hedge my bets in terms of achieving carbonation at all, I packaged the beers with a fresh slurry of Safale US-05 yeast that had been fermenting in a wort starter that was pre-acidified to a pH of 4.0 using lactic acid. This strategy was employed based on research completed by Matthew Bochman from Indiana University in regard to terminal acid shock for bottling conditioning yeast in sour beers. The IU study concludes that using an acidic growth medium to pre-adapt yeast prior to bottling conditioning in acidic environments can lead to better consistency in successfully bottle conditioning sour beers.

Tasting Notes

Judged as 2015 BJCP Category 23E Gueuze

Gueuze Blending

The Final Blend

Aroma (12/12):
The beer emits a beautiful nose that is both incredibly complex, but also very refined and well composed. The aroma starts with a prominent lactic component intermingled and energized by intriguing fruity aromatics reminiscent of both pie cherries and some bright tropical fruit. The bright fruit is kept in check by a substantial amount of barnyard funk with aromas of leather, earth, and hay. No alcohol, nail polish, or other common flaws found in sour beers. Fantastic.

Appearance (1/3):
The beer is a medium gold with just a whisper of haze. The head is bright white with medium to low persistence.

Flavor (20/20):
Amazing. The beer is highly acidic, yet remains soft and supple with a balanced and quenching disposition. Somehow underneath the cacophony of complex yeast and bacteria-derived compounds, a beautiful touch of slightly sweet pilsner malt character remains. There is a light touch of tannin, likely from the aged hops, that brings another balancing agent to the table. The flavors fall along the entire spectrum of sour beer, from fruit to funk with beguiling flavors that elude flavor description. One of the best beers I’ve tasted.

Mouthfeel (5/5):
The beer leaves an overall impression of dryness and effervescence. The beer is quite light bodied, but the acidity provides a soft roundness.

Overall Impression (10/10):
It is not hard to love a beer when you are acutely aware of the dedication and sustained effort required to produce said beer. But falling in love with a beer is a whole different matter. And I am definitely in love with this beer. I can unequivocally say that this is the best beer I’ve ever created and believe it would hold its own if consumed alongside some of the best sour beers in the world. The beer manages to be wonderfully complex, but also incredibly approachable and highly quenching. Having learned a great deal about long-term aging, mixed-culture fermentation, and blending in the process of creating this beer, it is profoundly rewarding to have also arrived at such a satisfactory end product.

Outstanding (48/50)

Gueuze Blending

Looks like I’m not the only one that loves this beer.


A Trip to the South’s Craft Beer Capital

New Belgium Brewery Outdoor Deck

Enjoying drinks on an outdoor deck overlooking the French Broad River? Not a bad way to spend a beautiful spring day.

The hot break on the simmering kettle of craft beer is reaching a fevered pitch and damn near cresting the kettle’s edge. Ten years ago, very few people would have predicted the growth that the craft beer world has experienced— reaching nearly 13% market share with a population of more than 4,000 breweries. The phenomenal growth has resulted in several craft beer capitals scattered throughout the western part of the country—the usual suspects being Denver, Portland, San Francisco, and San Diego. But out on the other side of the country, it’s Asheville, NC, that is holding court as the regional craft beer capital.

While it may have been difficult to anticipate the borderline absurd growth of the craft beer segment (and predict where it’s headed), certain municipalities saw the writing on the wall and positioned themselves to capitalize on the growth. It’s not by chance that Asheville finds itself on the beer pedestal that it currently sits. With progressive policies and economic incentives in place, large, corporate breweries looking for easterly expansion and more efficient distribution naturally gravitated to this region of western North Carolina. A local population already inclined to support the arts set the stage for robust brewery development—bringing in new jobs, tax revenue, and tourism to stoke the flames of the local economy. In a post-industrial America, breweries in Asheville are serving as a new model of manufacturing that can be economically viable and provide additional layers of resiliency to the economic landscape.

This past spring, we (myself, the Homebrew Wife, and the pugs) loaded up the car and spent a few whirlwind days touring around Asheville. The road trip—complete with crazy holiday traffic (e.g. sitting on Staten Island for two hours) and spectacular thunderstorms—made for a challenging drive, but the rewards that awaited us were well worth the effort.

The Breweries

Asheville has a rich craft brewing community, from reliable veterans like Green Man and Highland who have been at it since the 90’s to relatively new start-ups like Wicked Weed and Burial who are generating most of the hype among the hordes of beer geeks. And at a whole different level are the pioneers of craft beer, New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, and Oskar Blues, who have all set up shop with impressive breweries in or near Asheville. While in town, we were able to make our way to a number of these breweries.

As previously mentioned, my day job has recently (and fantastically) collided with my beer fandom as I find myself a part of the design team working on a couple of new projects for Brooklyn Brewery. My awesome clients at Brooklyn Brewery were able to arrange private, behind-the-scenes tours for my wife and me at both New Belgium and Sierra Nevada. The craft beer industry has always prided itself on its comradery and willingness to share information; it was nice to both witness and experience that philosophy firsthand.

New Belgium

New Belgium rolled out the welcome carpet for us, giving us an unbelievably detailed tour of their brewery (still closed to the public at the time of our visit), packaging line, and offices. We were absolutely blown away. The brewery is located on an old industrial site in the River Arts District overlooking the French Broad River. New Belgium meticulously restored the site, turning what was once an environmental liability into a public amenity. The tasting room, which includes an impressive deck that overlooks the river, seamlessly blends indoor and outdoor spaces. Perched in the landscape above the tasting room is the main production brewery, offices, and warehouses. The architecture itself, for the most part, was rigorous and beautiful with an expressive structure, handsome detailing, and warm, pleasing finishes.

Sierra Nevada

Located about 30 minutes outside Asheville proper in Mills River, Sierra Nevada has built a 200-acre bucolically landscaped campus. While here, it quickly becomes obvious that no expense or idea, no matter how outlandish, was edited from the project program. This brewery has every trick in the book. From a copper-clad pilot plant that literally outshines almost every brewery I’ve ever visited to the actual antique copper-clad production brewery complete with molten basalt tiles, viewing mezzanines, and beautiful wood ceiling fabricated from timbers felled on the site during construction, this brewery has it all. At times, the design felt a bit obtuse and in desperate need of an editor (e.g. copper air ducts), but it was really fun to see what is possible when the sky is the limit. The brewery is in many ways analogous to the Biltmore Estate, the other local landmark of indulgent luxury. Built over a hundred years apart, both compounds feature extravagant materials, lush grounds, and cinematic approaches to the main building. The strongest element of the Sierra campus was the brewery’s “backyard,” which features great drinking patios, gardens, and opportunities for casual recreation, ranging from corn hole to live music.

Wicked Weed

Perhaps the most hyped brewery in North Carolina (and maybe even the South), Wicked Weed is the reigning king of hops and funk in Asheville. We toured their sour beer, barrel-centric Funkatorium and enjoyed a delicious dinner at the brew pub. The beers at both locations were solid, above average beers, but, with all of the hype surrounding the Wicked Weed name, I was hoping to be absolutely blown away. Although the beer was not mind-blowing, both locations had a great vibe and should be a part of any Asheville brewery tour.

Burial Beer Co.

Admittedly, I had never heard of Burial prior to arriving in Asheville. We ended up there after very enthusiastic recommendations from our hosts at both New Belgium and Sierra Nevada. The brewery is currently housed in a warehouse space, but there are plans in the works for a second location. The vibe was cool and the side yard provided a comfortable spot for drinking. The beers themselves were outstanding—easily the highlight of the trip, in terms of pure beer enjoyment. Styles veered towards the hoppy and funky, but all were approachable and balanced. I left with the feeling that I had discovered a local favorite—something that I imagine will likely blow up in the near future, if it hasn’t already.

Green Man Brewery

Green Man

The Homebrew Wife was a fan of the Meddler Berliner Weisse.

We had a couple beers in the dusty outdoor space of Dirty Jack’s, Green Man Brewery’s original tap room (just up the street from Greenmansion, the brewery’s shiny new 20,000 SF expansion). Again, the vibe here was great, laid back, and unpretentious. The beers were also awesome. I was jonesing for a simple session beer, and their Sunseeker Pils hit the spot.

Although beer was our main objective while in Asheville, the city has a ton to offer in terms of entertainment and exploration. Some of the highlights include a vibrant downtown, the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Biltmore Estate—an icon of the Gilded Age. Our time in Asheville was short, but we had a great time and plenty of amazing memories.


Double Tap (Vermont Style) Recipe and Review

dipaLove them or hate them, “juicy”, hop-heavy double IPAs in the same vein as Heady Topper are here to stay. These massively hopped fruit bombs have a fanatical following, drawing hordes of thirsty drinkers to the remote wilds of Vermont, Massachusetts, and other New England locales.

Recently, some of the vocal hosts of The Brewing Network have had a good time poking fun at fans of these beers and claiming that they are simple cloudy, poorly made versions of what West Coast breweries have been making for years. The comments are typically made in jest, but they fail to recognize that there is a fair amount of intent involved in making these beers, in terms of ingredient selection and process. The biggest contributor of the haze in these beers is likely a specific yeast strain popularized by a brewery in Vermont and now used by a number of breweries producing these types of hoppy beers. This strain produces a very unique fruity ester that tends to harmonize with hop flavor and aromatics, making excellent hoppy beers. It is also quite dusty, leaving a fair amount of haze in suspension. The combination of this particular yeast strain with an obscene amount of late and dry hopping, flaked adjuncts, and an unwillingness to use heavy filtration, makes for a well-made, albeit very hazy beer.

Curious about this particular strain of yeast, I decided to take my Double Tap recipe, using Giga Yeast’s GY054 Vermont Ale strain and brew up a massive hoppy double IPA. I ended up using a heavy hand of Azacca hops, a strain that I’ve been enjoying quite a bit lately.

Double Tap – Vermont Style – Recipe

Size: 4.5 gal
Efficiency: 74%
Attenuation: 84.0%

Original Gravity: 1.084
Terminal Gravity: 1.013
Color: 6.12 SRM
Alcohol: 9.37% ABV
Bitterness: 72.4 IBUs

Malt Bill:
7lb (50.0%) Weyermann Pilsner Malt
4lb (328.6%) Briess 2-Row Brewers Malt
1lb (15.4%) Weyermann Munich Type I Malt
2lb (14.3%) Corn Sugar

Mash Profile:
148°F – 60m

Water Treatment:
Extremely Soft NYC Water
4g Gypsum (to mash)
2g Calcium Chloride (to mash)

0.5 oz Warrior® (16.0% AA) – 90 m
1 oz Citra™ (12.7% AA) – 10 m
1 oz Azacca (10.8% AA) – 10 m
3 oz Citra™ (12.7% AA) – Whirlpool 15m
1 oz Azacca (10.8% AA) – Whirlpool 15m
2 oz Mosaic (11.6% AA) – Whirlpool 15m
1.5 oz Citra™ (13.2% AA) – Hop Back
1.5 oz Azacca (11.3% AA) – Hop Back
2 oz Citra™ (12.7% AA) – Dry Hop 3 Days
2 oz Azacca (10.8% AA) – Dry Hop 3 Days
1 oz Mosaic (11.6% AA) – Dry Hop 3 Days

Kettle Additions:
0.5ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – 15m
0.5tsp Wyeast Nutrient – 10m

2L Starter on Stir Plate – Giga Yeast GY054 Vermont Ale

Tasting Notes:

Judged as 2015 BJCP Category 22A Double IPA

Aroma (10/12):
A massive, juicy hop aroma explodes from the glass with aromatics reminiscent of mango, pineapple, and other tropical fruit. The beer has an overripe character not unlike a tropical fruit punch. It is hard to get much aroma of anything beyond the in-your-face hop profile. As the beer warms, a touch of hot ethanol reminds you that this is a nearly 10% ABV beer.

Appearance (1/3):
The beer is a deep golden hue, but muddied by a tremendous amount of haze. The head is big and pillowy with large white bubbles that persists for days.

Flavor (12/20):
The beer’s flavor falls somewhere between hop tea and tropical punch. There is a fair bit of residual sweetness that is emphasized by the fruity hops and the fact that the beer is a bit under-bittered for the gravity it started at. The beer tastes well-attenuated and dry, but is lacking a sharp bitterness for balance. Although similar to the somewhat low-bittered Vermont style IPAs, it needs more sharpness to be in line with the BJCP style definition.

Mouthfeel (4/5):
The beer is extremely creamy, almost oily. I suspect that this yeast strain produces high levels of glycerol that, when combined with exorbitant hopping, gives the beer a very full mouthfeel. This is accentuated by the slightly low level of carbonation in the beer.

Overall Impression (5/10):
I absolutely love the aroma of this beer, although it falls a bit flat on the palate. I think this is mainly due to the fact that when you combine an under-bittered beer with a huge mouthfeel, you tend to limit the beer’s drinkability. In future batches I will definitely increase the bitterness in order to account for the beer’s substantial mouthfeel.

Very Good (32/50)