Anniversary Post! Double IPA – Firestone Walker Double Jack

Just to start this post off, it’s our 1st Birthday today! The response we’ve got from this blog over the last year has been incredible. We’ve got to try some amazing beers, go to some amazing events and meet some great people! Thanks for coming along for the ride, it doesn’t stop here so thanks for your support and lets carry on spreading the word of good beer! Speaking of beer…

(PS. Apologies for the cheesy edit, I couldn’t resist)

What better way to celebrate a First Birthday than a Triple Dry Hopped, Double IPA from Firestone Walker?! This week’s beer is Double Jack, and if you’re living in the UK there’s going to be a link at the end on where to buy this beer! It also arrived very fresh, I’m not sure how it happened but the fact is I can have a beer I’ve admired for a long time without going all the way to California and smuggling back a few bottles!

Let’s start with Firestone Walker‘s description of the brew:

A dangerously drinkable Double IPA.  Double Jack opens up with bright grapefruit and tangerine American hop aromas. Beautifully crafted undertones of stone fruit are revealed upon first sip, followed by the essence of blue basil and pine. A sturdy pale and crystal malt backbone brings balance to high hop intensity. Complex and aggressively hopped, and flawlessly balanced.

A to the point description with this one, almost like a wine description with the amount of flavours suggested in the brew! However, Firestone Walker are from the Wine region of California so it’s understandable.

Let’s get on to the recipe, as this is a Double IPA lets start with the Hops. In this one, the bittering Hops are Warrior and Columbus, the late Hops Cascade and Centennial. After this is the crazy Triple Dry Hopping with Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial and Simcoe for 3 days. As for the Malts, from the recipe it seems to pack a good Malt bill with 2-Row, Munich and Light Crystal. It’s fermented with a pretty Standard California Yeast.

This beer pours a lovely Golden colour with a Medium White head with great retention. Rings of lacing line the glass as you drink, making for a really attractive looking brew! On the nose there’s lots of Grapefruit, Orange, Pine, Caramel and that signature Firestone Walker Vanilla. On the Palate you’ve got a big initial hit of Tangerine, Mango, Citrus and bitter resinous Pine. This is all backed up by a fantastic Chewy Caramel backbone throughout which really carries the beer and makes it insanely drinkable for a 9.5% brew! This beer is very well bodied with medium carbonation and finishes quite dry.

This is one of my favourite beers, it’s been really hard not to fanboy during this one! As promised, you UK Visitors can grab this beer from: Bier Deluxe and grab a few other hard to get beers there too!

Now we’re off to Celebrate our First Birthday in style!

EST. CALORIES: 285   ABV: 9.5%

Advertisements

1st July – IPA – Scottish: Brewdog Born To Die 04.07.2015

This week’s beer is Brewdog’s tribute to Stone’s Enjoy By, which I reviewed earlier this year. Although this beer is a tribute, it’s definitely Brewdog’s twist as it’s definitely a different recipe but with the same intention – to brew an IPA that’s not meant to last to drink fresh. It’s one for all you Hop-Heads out there!

Let’s start with Brewdog’s description of the brew:

This beer is Born To Die.

Savagely bitter, exceptionally dry, this IPA is born to die on a predetermined day. It proudly displays its short-lived life span front and centre.

There is no better time to drink this than the moment you get your paws on it.

Awesome bitterness backed up by unrelenting aromas of resin, citrus, and juicy fruit. Born To Die is a eulogy to the hops that sacrificed themselves in its creation.

An incredibly ambitious and satisfying small batch brew.

This is one of those Brewdog descriptions we’ve come to expect, brash, bold and tonnes of hints at the flavour. Although, it has been noted that Brewdog seem to have stepped down the comedy and over exaggeration in their descriptions lately. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing! In a way I miss their funny descriptions full of things against “the man” but on the other hand it’s nice to see a company evolving!

Anyway, let’s not get into politics! This beer hopped a lot, as it’s an Imperial IPA. The Hops in this brew are Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe. I hadn’t had a beer with Citra in for a little while, so this excited me. As for the Malts, we’ve got Extra Pale, Marris Otter and Pale Malts. Quite a similar Malt Bill to Enjoy by but with the added Extra Pale malt and lowering of the other Malts giving it a paler colour. I’d say that this beer is probably Dry Hopped with Citra and Mosaic and fermented with a San Diego style yeast.

When you pour this beer it’s Amber with a Medium White head, it dissipates down to a thin cap which stays on top of the beer for most of the time you’re drinking it leaving dotty lacing on the sides of the glass. On the nose we’ve got a little bit of Bready Malt, Lemongrass, Tropical Fruits and a splash of Pine. On the Palate, the Bready Malts come through first which is a nice surprise, these carry throughout the beer providing a backbone which the Hops shine off! First a big hit of Citrus and Coriander, then Pineapple and Mango with hints of Bubblegum. It finishes with a Resinous Pine kick. The beer is very well bodied, with quite high carbonation. It finishes dry. This beer is perfect for the summer weather, let’s hope Brewdog release another batch!

You can ask Brewdog to E-Mail you when Born to Die is back in stock or get down to somewhere like Bottledog, who might have a few more bottles left. Grab it before the 4th July! (I know it’s not long).

EST. CALORIES: 255   ABV: 8.5%

Barrel Aged IPA – English: Siren Whiskey Sour

This Friday, something completely different to the beer on Wednesday.

This beer starts life as the fantastic Mikkeller, Siren Craft Brew, Hill Farmstead Brewery Limoncello IPA and is then aged in Bourbon Barrels. More on that later! This beer’s a little stronger at 10.2% and is a great brew to warm you up during those cold evening, even though it’s not a dark one!

Let’s start with Siren’s Description:

The crazy invention that is Limoncello IPA, the collaboration between Siren, Hill Farmstead & Mikkeller, has been aging in bourbon barrels.  The infusion of the oak and bourbon has added huge layers of complexity and hits the spot as a Whiskey Sour.  Slice of orange and a cherry anyone?

I quite like the description of this one. Not as in depth as a lot of other Siren Brews, and also not as nautical themed. I think it’s quite qwerky, assumes you’ve tried the Limoncello IPA and tells you about what they’ve done to it and what you should expect. Quite a good description here, to the point and not too over the top, gimmiky or arrogant!

The recipe for this beer is much the same as the Limoncello IPA, Pale Ale malt and some Malted Wheat to help the sourness of the brew. A sour mash is then added to aid the sour tartnessCitra and Sorachi-Ace. A very well informed hop choice, as Sorachi-Ace is a hop that injects tonnes of Lemon aroma and flavour into the brew, whilst Citra is a crazy fruity hop that will help with the Citric Acid tones in the brew but also add some delicate Gooseberry and Lychee smoothness to the beer. After this, a bucket full of lemon zest and juice is added for good measure. It’s then aged in Buffalo Trace Barrels to impart the bourbon flavours.

When you pour this beer, it’s not as fizzy as the original. The barrel aging has mellowed the carbonation meaning there’s no head. It pours an amber colour with bubbles resting on the bottom of the glass. It really does does look like it could be a cocktail, and it’s a similar colour to a Whiskey Sour. On the nose of this beer, you get tonnes of bitter Lemon and bitter Orange, after this there’s lotes of Bourbon notes to remind you it’s been Barrel Aged. What an inviting smelling beer, and so close to an actual Whiskey Sour! The aroma brought me back to a classy Cocktail bar in Cambridge and I couldn’t wait to take a sip. When you taste this beer, it starts with sour Lemon and a little bit of Glacé Cherry in there too, so far so good as far as it being like the cocktail! After this you get a huge hit of Bourbon and then some Bitter Orange on the finish. The mouthfeel is very smooth (like a well mixed cocktail!), crisp, clean with a dry, bitter finish. This really is a fantastic beer despite some untoward reviews and definitely something to keep you warm in the winter!

You can buy Whiskey Sour at:

Chester Beer and Wine (IN STOCK at time of writing)

For any bars/shops wanting to stock this, contact Siren Craft Brew Directly.

EST. CALORIES: 306   ABV: 10.2%

Double/Imperial IPA – American: Stone RuinTen

To expand the content of this blog, I’ve decided to write about some of the harder to get (in the UK) beers I’ve had the pleasure of getting my hands on separate from the Friday posts.

Today’s beer is the great RuinTen IPA from one of my favorite West Coast Breweries – Stone. This beer is released once a year in June to commemorate the creation Stone’s awesome Ruination IPA. Originally released in 2012, there was such a huge demand for this beer that Stone decided to make it a Seasonal offering. It was too good to just be one of those “one off” brews.

Let’s start with Stone Brewing Co‘s online description of the beer:

We first released this decidedly indelicate beer in 2012, as Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our belovedly bitter Stone Ruination IPA. Stone RuinTen IPA uses the same recklessly hoppy recipe as the 2012 release; only the name has changed, since we’re now unleashing this belligerently delicious hop monster upon the public on an annual basis. We packed a whopping five pounds of hops into each barrel, and cranked up the ABV to stand up to the hop onslaught. The results are glorious, and we know you’ll rejoice in tasting this audacious gem of hoppy splendor once again. You’re welcome.

The description of the beer on the bottle is a little different, although has less sarcasm than some of Stone‘s other offerings. However, it definitely tells us what to expect – a hell of a lot of Hoppy flavour and a little bit of alcohol warmth.

After a little bit of research and having a look at the website, this beer uses a malt backbone of 2-Row and C15. Now for Stone’s specialty – the Hops! Stone have used a Hop blend called CTZ which stands for Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus, Centennial and Citra. The beer is also dry hopped with Citra for that extra Hoppiness. As soon as I found that out I really wanted to try this brew, as Citra is one of my favourite hops.

This beer pours Golden with a white creamy head. It dissipates quickly, which is expected for a beer that’s over 10%. It leaves a dotty lacing on the glass which is inviting and a thinner head that seems to stay throughout drinking. On the nose you’ve got some Pineapple and Tropical notes from the Citra and some Citrus and Nectarine. This beer really smells inviting, and so deceiving with an IPA over 10%! When you taste this beer, you get a wave of Pineapple, Tropical fruits, a hint of Bubblegum ending in a massive Grapefruit crescendo. The beer is medium to high carbonated and ends with a nice long, clean bitterness. On the finish I would say it’s medium sweet. I really like this beer, and honestly think it’s a contender for the much sought out Pliny the Elder I tried earlier this year.

Although I said this one is pretty hard to find, you can buy Stone RuinTen IPA at:

Brewdog Online Store

It’s currently in stock over there, so grab it whilst you can! Hopefully it’ll be back next year.

As always, a google search is good too!

For any bars, shops etc that are interested, unfortunately Stone beer is flown in by shops that stock it currently but Stone plan to open a brewery in Berlin next year which means wide distribution of Stone Beer soon!

EST. CALORIES: 324   ABV: 10.8%

Imperial Coffee IPA – English: Siren Americano

This week, I’ve got yet another interesting brew from Siren Craft Brew in Wokingham, England. This is another crazy concoction from Siren, an Imperial Coffee IPA. Siren really have been pushing the boundaries of Beer Styles since they started in 2012 and as well as offering their Core Range they are always releasing interesting brews that push all different styles of beer.

Like the Limoncello IPA collaboration brew I reviewed earlier in the year, this one sits at a healthy 9.1%. For a specialty brew, this is becoming a normal strength in my opinion, especially in Siren’s case.

Let’s start with Siren’s description of the beer:

What do you get when your Head Brewer leaves some dark malts in the tank before brewing an IPA? A chance to be creative!

A true ‘American Mild’ sitting at a measly 9.1%. Packed full of Citra, Columbus, Cascade, Chinook, Mosaic, Comet and enough coffee beans to keep a barista on their feet for days.

A grande mistake made (very) good.

A very descriptive blurb for this one, almost so descriptive I don’t need to write the next part about the ingredients! Although I’m not always a fan of some brewers blowing their own whistle, the addition at the end of the description just concretes the fact that Siren think that although a strange (and therefore interesting), this is going to be a fantastic brew.

After a little research (apart from the hops of course!) I think the malts used in this brew are Maris Otter, 2-Row, Acidulated Malt, Crystal 40 and a small amount of Roasted Barley. I don’t think it’s Black Malt due to the colour of the brew unless it’s a tiny amount, and then I don’t think it would contribute to the roasty flavours. More on that after the hops! As stated in the description, it’s hopped with Citra, Columbus, Cascade, Chinook, Mosaic and Comet. What an assortment of hops, which leads me to believe that Ethiopian coffees are used in this brew. The reason for this is a lot of these hops have a lemony/citrus profile, along with the light roasty flavours imparted by the Roasted Barley this would be a perfect match to allow the Ethiopian Coffee to shine in this brew. The Coffee from Ethiopia also has a light roasty/lemon/citrus flavour which would work perfectly with the Hops and Malts chosen.

When you pour this beer, it almost looks like Coffee to begin with. A brown colour with a ruby/orange tint, after the fluffy head starts to form you realise it really is a beer! The head is an off white, starts rather thick and foamy which retains rather well for a 9.1% beer and fades to a thinner head leaving sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. The smell of this brew is so complex, hints of Lemon, Citrus, Coffee, Roasty notes, Caramel and even some Cocoa. After smelling this beer I needed to dive straight in, the first inital hit is some resiny pine notes, then the Eithiopian Coffee, Speciality malts and hop profiles start to take over with bursts of Lemon, other Citrus, Roasty coffee notes and some Caramel. Truely a tasty beer! The alcohol is hidden surprisingly well, but not well enough for it to be considered something that can keep you warm in the winter! It finishes medium/dry with a sharp carbonation comparable to champagne. Carbonation is in no way overpowering and helps with the carbonation, and the fact this is a great sipper on a cold day!

Who knew such a strange combo could work? But like Siren have said since the brewery started –

Our desire is to constantly discover ways to excite curiosity and share our knowledge of our craft. In so doing we believe that beer can be enjoyed in the same way as wine drinkers enjoy the finest wines

Siren seem to have got very good at this over the years.

Unfortunately there’s no official page for Americano, but you can purchase it in the UK at the following places:

Eebria

Beer Merchants (In Stock at time of Writing)

Alesela (Limited stock at time of Writing)

Also, a Google search never goes a miss!

For any bars/shops wanting to stock this, contact Siren Craft Brew Directly

EST. CALORIES: 273   ABV: 9.1%

Imperial IPA – Collaboration: Danish: Mikkeller, English: Siren Craft Brew, American: Hill Farmstead Brewery: Limoncello IPA

I’m going to finish August off with this awesome collaboration brew from 3 great breweries – Siren Craft BrewMikkeller and Hill Farmstead Brewery.  This is an Imperial IPA brewed to mimic Limoncello, honestly an extremely refreshing beer and something I’d never had before until a few weeks back. After tasting it, I knew I had to put it on the blog.

Although this is definitely a summer brew, it’s something you can drink on the colder days to help keep you warm too due to the 9.1% ABV!

Let’s start with Siren’s decription of the beer:

This is a truly different beer. The concept was to develop the flavour and mouthfeel of Limoncello and fuse with the carbonation and lemony hop hit of an IPA. Using pale and wheat malts, the base beer goes through a 24 hour sour process to add to the tartness of the beer. Tons of lemon zest and juice are added to the boil along with all the citrusy lemony hops available.

A very informative, short but sweet description of the beer by Siren. So we’re expecting a nice tart flavoured beer with underlying hop tones and sweetness. Sounds incredible even from the description and very interesting indeed!

After doing a little bit of research (didn’t have to go far!) I found out that this beer uses Pale Ale malt and some Malted Wheat. Wheat usually goes well with a tart tasing beer, and will also help the head creation and retention on a brew with this much ABV! This is then made into a sour mash to aid the tartness. The hops used in this are interesting, Citra and Sorachi-Ace. A very well informed hop choice, as Sorachi-Ace is a hop that injects tonnes of Lemon aroma and flavour into the brew, whilst Citra is a crazy fruity hop that will help with the Citric Acid tones in the brew but also add some delicate Gooseberry and Lychee smoothness to the beer. After this, a bucket full of lemon zest and juice is added for good measure and some Lacto or Lactic-Acid to help with the tart flavour of this brew. I think all in all, this is a great attempt at trying to mimic Limoncello in beer form!

When you pour this beer, you’ll notice the awesome hazy-amber colour of the beer and the big white head forming. It really does take a few pours to get this all into a glass, and rightly so (after all that wheat!) The head dissipates quite quickly after sitting for a while, there is some sedimant in the beer but I think this is due to the lemon zest as it does not seem to have the typical hazy yeast appearance. When you finally get to smell the beer after it settles down, you get a big hit of Lemon Juice and fresh citrus with some citrus hop aromas and some lacto coming through. It smells a bit like freshly squeezed lemonade! Now comes the taste, if you think this is going to be similar to shandy or a lager top you will be disappointed. I was plesantly surpirsed, this beer really is something different. You get a massive hit of clean lemon flavours which then desends into a sour bite. The lemon definitely has the front seat in this beer and the sourness comes after which is a pleasent surpirse. I noticed some lychee and a little bit of freshly cut grass on the tail end. This is a truely different flavour but works out to be extremely refreshing. Obviously you can’t have too many of these due to the percentage, but this beer works well in the sun and after a hot, sweaty days work (or gym session!). It finishes quite dry and sour but with a crispness from the lemon which is second to none. 

Overall, this is a great beer and truely different and surprising compared to other IPAs that have fruit added.

You can purchase Limoncello IPA in the UK at:

Eebria

The Grumpy Goat

And at Brewdog bars and Bottledog Kings Cross.

There may well be some other places too, check google!

For any bars/shops wanting to stock this, contact Siren Craft Brew Directly

EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9.1%

Triple IPA – American: Knee Deep Simtra Triple IPA

I know last week I said that I’d be doing easy drinking summer beers, but this one is good on a hot evening. Unfortunately it’s not as easy to drink as others! Needless to say, on hot and humit evenings sharing this with some friends Knee Deep Simtra Triple IPA is great.

However, I must stress that this is definitely not an easy drinking brew at 11.25%!

Let’s start with Knee Deep Brewing‘s description of the beer:

Simtra Triple IPA delivers a punch in the face with its very danky hop aroma derived from Simcoe and Citra hops. You wanted more hops you got them.

 

Although short, I think this is an adequate description. If you like hoppy beers, this one really does punch you in the face with a massive hop kick. Dank means “potent” in the Marijuana world and has recently surfaced in America to mean super hoppy. There’s a theory that Hops and Marijuana are linked, but it’s a sort of yes or no maybe answer.

Double and Triple IPA’s are not like English IPA’s at all, they have 2 or 3 times the hops and usually a massive bitterness. Citra hops are relatively new, and they are very interesting as they have flavours of tropical fruits and a sweetness to them which has made them very popular.

Aside from the shedload of Citra and Simcoe hops in this brew, I’m guessing it’s made like a usual American IPA with 2-Row Pale Malt, Crystal Malt and maybe a bit of German Wheat for head rentention. Judging by this beer after it’s poured, there’s definitely wheat in it! More on that later. After this a usual American Ale Yeast is used and it is then Dry-Hopped whilst it ferments, just to get that extra hop kick we obviously all need in an already insanely hoppy beer.

This beer pours a dark amber, almost red hue with a thick, dense white head (hence the comment on the wheat earlier!) which calms down eventually into a medium head leaving loads of lacing on the side of the glass. This beer smells like a tropical fruit buffett in Hawaii, loads of Tropical Fruit with a touch of Citrus and a Grassy note in the background. When you taste this beer, it’s a lot like the smell; a big kick of sweet tropical fruit, guava and Glacé Cherries. It eventually finishes off with a tide of very bitter Citrus and Pine with a bit of warmth from the alcohol percentage. The alcohol is hidden quite well, and you won’t be able to tell this is 11.25%. It goes down smooth and finishes crisp and not dry. Definitely one to share with friends on a humid summer evening, or even in the winter.

I’d recommend trying this, if IPA and hoppy beers are your thing or if you’re looking for something new. I’d definitely buy again, but not drink an entire bottle to myself!

You can purchase Knee Deep Simtra Triple IPA in the UK at:

Beers of Europe

Unfortunately after writing this arcticle, it seems this is quite rare beer to aquire in the UK. If you can get your hands on it I definitely recommend!

EST. CALORIES: 338   ABV: 11.25%