June/July 2009

Double IPAs
Double the pleasure, double the fun,
Double IPAs for the adventurous ones.

Titillating, with a kaleidoscope of hop flavors, Imperial India Pale Ales are fairly high strength
and thus more of a ceremony than a sessionable celebration style. A takeoff on the British India
Pale Ale, Imperial IPAs are primarily brewed in the U.S. and appreciated by hearty beer
lovers and obsessive hop heads alike.

The Beer Beacon panel swilled and savored the glorious hops at the wildly anticipated
IIPA tasting held at the lively Pizza Plant Walker Center, in Williamsville.

To all the kind breweries that sent Double IPAs to the Beer Beacon for this
tasting, we are both grateful and honored to taste your beers. Until we pony up for
our next Beerventure, try extending your range of beer experiences to include
a new style. And let us know what you'd like to hear more about in the Beer Beacon.

Next: Pilsners

The Place:
Pizza Plant, Williamsville, NY

The Tasters:
The Beer Beacon Tasters included our loyal 5-pack: Vinny, Hop Jack,
the Magistrate, Evil and Gerg; no one dareed miss this massively hoppy beer session.

The Method:
Tasters are served each beer, with only the information of the style the
brewery is emulating, when there is a style. The beer name and brewery
are revealed to the tasters as the subsequent round is served.

The Beers:

2009 Correction Ale, Lagunitas Brewing Company
1280 North McDowell Boulevard, Petaluma, CA 94954

A big head, a fresh hop aroma and a vigorous hop taste with a citrus-tingly finish, a perfect start to any day, thought the Beer Diva. The Magistrate commented on the nice, citrusy aroma and raw, green, hop flavor. Evil likened it to “the breakfast of champions”. Hop Jack agreed “piney hops and grapefruit juice with a hint of malt and a huge west coast nose”. Gerg thought it was sessionable, “hops candy for big boys”. Vinny liked the stiff floral tropical fruit nose and juicy hop body that has a clean flavor that lasts - how sweet it is!

Lost Continent Double IPA, Grand Teton Brewing Co.
430 Old Jackson Highway, Victor, ID 83455

Hop Jack thought the aroma was fruity with the malt and alcohol showing big time. Evil found the start sticky sweet, with a nice hop back bite - a bit of an “alcohol creeper” at the finish. Vinny noted the sharp apricot nose and robust attack of sweet fruity alcohol with a mother lode of hop flavors. The Magistrate said it was well balanced with a strong estery flavor of apricots and melon and a boozy middle and a lingering aftertaste of bitter hops.

Warbird, Flying Bison Brewing Company
491 Ontario Street, Buffalo, NY, 14207

“The hop flowers dance nicely over the velvety alcohol body” commented Vinny. The beer reminded Gerg of a ”hop candy
jelly belly” that wasn't as big as he expected. The Magistrate
agreed, there were enough hops for the style with a balance
toward the malt, but thought it lacked freshness. In hoppy beers
there is usually no benefit to aging, most should be consumed while fresh. Although not extremely hoppy, the Beer Diva thought this beer was exceedingly drinkable.

Double IPA, Long Trail Brewing Company
Route 4 & 100A, Bridgewater Corners, VT 05035

Vinny described this beer spot-on: “pineapple maple hops in your nose with a lush fruity hops taste that induces a lupulin high”. Both Hop Jack and the Magistrate noted West Coast hops aroma, a sweet hoppy well-balanced beer that hides the alcohol and finishes clean. Less inspired, Gerg thought it was melony and hoppy. Evil said “buy it”, this beer has everything you'd expect in a double IPA. The Beer Diva agreed, the smooth hop present was gone before she knew it.

Iniquity Imperial Black Ale, Southern Tier Brewing Company
2051A Stoneman Circle, Lakewood, NY 14750

Hop Jack liked the nice hop bouquet with a hint of chocolate and said it was “beautifully balanced”. Evil appreciated the “outside the box” originality and called it “Miss Congeniality”. Gerg agreed, the coffeeish nose with a hint of bacon smoke and booze was hip hop and artsy. Vinny found the lightly roasted, hop and malty flavors both complex and tasty. The Magistrate thought it was more like a big juicy porter with lingering hops and renamed it Uniquity.

Hercules Double IPA, Great Divide Brewing Company
2201 Arapahoe Street, Denver, CO 80205

Vinny noted the sweet almond fruit nose with hot hops and a malty alcohol that “heats you up… and then down”. The Magistrate liked the big soft vanilla cream nose and aggressive hop flavor and wondered if the beer was barrel aged. Gerg found the alcohol evident and a hop bitterness that lingers in the finish. Evil could feel his tongue getting thicker as he swallowed and then the astringent finish almost swallowed his big tongue. Hop Jack thought the malt flavor dominated while the hop flavor drags on the tongue and presented a high cohumulence. Hop Jack explained cohumulence as a high bitterness in the hops that can sometimes be too harsh, but not necessarily unpleasant. “Harsh and bitter, real beer for real friends”, commented the Beer Diva.

Maharaja, Avery Brewing Company
5763 Arapahoe Ave # E, Boulder, CO 80303

The Magistrate found this beer magnificent with a cirtusy and hoppy nose, malt in the middle and a hop smoothness that lingers nicely. Hop Jack was in Hop Heaven with the huge hop nose and solid hop flavor. The Beer Diva loves the fresh “hops in the morning” aroma that makes “hoppy dreams come true”. Vinny described the nose as stingy grapefruit with massive hops taste and alcohol that sweetens the tongue - a delicate and well developed balancing act. Evil called it Hop Venom and was afraid it might bite him back. Gerg was impressed, a “hops bomb” powerful and incredibly drinkable.

Oak Aged Unearthly IPA, Southern Tier Brewing Company
2051A Stoneman Circle, Lakewood, NY 14750

“Imbibo emptor!” declared the Beer Diva. Vinny remarked on the blast of floral hop nose and the incredible smoothness of such a high alcohol beer. Evil likened it to a Triple Prima Pils. The Magistrate liked the big vanilla cream nose that changes to almost a Belgian, estery flavor with a velvety soft hop finish. Hop Jack thought the hops jumped right out at you and yet it still had great balance with the malt. Gerg found it funky fruity with big hop flavor and a decent malt backbone.

Wood Aged Unearthly, Southern Tier Brewing Company
2051A Stoneman Circle, Lakewood, NY 14750

Hop Jack said it was “bold and pleasing - a “Tony” elegant Double IPA. The Magistrate thought the wood aging was evident and delicious, very smooth with a more subtle hop character. Evil noted the sugar sweet nose and flowery hop taste with a wood burn bite. This beer reminded Gerg of a piney peppermint Christmas cookie. Vinny enjoyed the light wood and alcohol fragrance, the sweet intense hops and alcohol that was mellowed by the oaky accents. Overall, a very classy beer - “definitely diva worthy”.

Hopnotic, San Diego Brewing Company
10450 Friars Rd. Suite L, San Diego, CA

A beautiful golden orange color with a Vinny commented on the pungent dried fruit nose, the mellow alcohol and fruity sweetness that melds well with the hops to create a pleasant and unique flavor. Hop Jack was wowed by the big malt hit and then hop blast finish. The Magistrate liked the fresh citrus hoppy nose and the sweet malty and hops mouth feel that finished clean. Gerg detected a slightly earthy, veggie flavor with a superb hoppy, melony finish. A brilliant finish to an insanely hoppy beer tasting.

--- by The Beer Diva, Beer Beacon columnist

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