Hopsecutioner is an American IPA, and a rather big one, from Terrapin Beer Co out of Athens, Georgia. While it’s styled as an IPA, to my senses, its closer to what I’d identify as as Imperial IPA than a standard IPA. It is heavily hopped (with 6 varieties) but balanced, so lots of malty goodness as well which gives it that strong resemblance to an Imperial. The foam is light and full, but dissipates quickly. The nose has strong orange notes, a bit of caramel, and some licorice. The middle has some slight piney bitterness, balanced with sweet bread dough, orange and some lemon. The lemon comes on more strongly in the finish. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is moderate 7.3% ABV. An interesting beer with the alcohol of an IPA, but the complexion of a DIPA.
I give it 3.7 out of 5.
I’ve finally gotten my hands on a 120 Minute IPA. It’s immediately apparent that it’s big, with nose full of honey and molasses and lemon. The body is heavy, with a strong alcohol presence and the middle is punchy with the huge quantities of hops and malt required for this brew. There’s more honey, as well pear, apricot, pine and pepper making an appearance here. The finish is sticky and sweet, with orange and honey predominant. This is an interesting beer with an interesting niche. It’s not what you would expect of a typical Imperial IPA, more like a barleywine or Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but far hoppier than either of those styles. It may actually be a beer that appeals to whisky or fortified wine fans more than a fan of typical beer styles. It’s certainly got enough alcohol for that, at ~20% ABV. (Variable for each batch.) I’m very impressed with the construction. This is really a special beer.
I give it a 4.7 out of 5.
Dark Penance is a big 100 IBU Imperial Black IPA from Grand Rapids, MI based Founders Brewing Company. It’s certainly hoppy, but it has a solid malt backbone that balances it out, making it fully worthy of that Imperial classification. The nose is spicy with prunes, caramel, and earth. The middle has sweet dark fruit and brown sugar, balanced by bitter coffee notes. More earth and spice and tart cherries are waiting in the finish with a slight metallic bitterness right at the end. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is a stout 8.9% ABC. This makes for an excellent fall or winter evening beverage.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
This review is the second 9.3% ABV Stone offering in a row, and this is the Collective Distortion IPA, an Imperial IPA brewed with elderberries and coriander. It’s not just a touch of elderberries and coriander either, their presence is pronounced. The nose is heavily scented with elderberry and citrus. The coriander is a strong note in the middle along with honey and licorice, and the finish brings back the elderberry and heavy grapefruit. This is a sticky, full bodied, full flavor beer. The flavor is unique and strong and I like it, but i don’t love it.
I give it a 4 out of 5.
It is October 31st, 2014, and so on this night traditionally dominated by fancy dress and confections, I find the time has come to enjoy my bomber of Stone’s Enjoy By 10.31.14 IPA. The “Enjoy By” series is an occasionally brewed Imperial IPA meant to be consumed fresh, thus the prominent date in the title. It, like any Stone IPA is massively hoppy and staggeringly good. The nose is packed with heavy citrus and pine. The middle laced with lemon, grapefruit, pine, and just a hint of grass and brown sugar. The finish is bitter and piney and gives the beer a profile that is reminiscent of Stone’s ultimate hop-bomb, Ruination. The body is fairly heavy and the alcohol is a hefty 9.4% ABV, but it’s actually quite subtle, buried under the intensity of the fresh hops. Another top-notch offering from Stone, and you should look for an Enjoy By if you like massively hoppy west-coast IPAs.
I give it a 4.8 out of 5.
Since yesterday was IPA Day, I decided to celebrate it last night with the biggest, baddest IPA around. Stone’s RuinTen is an “extreme” version of their already insane Runation IPA which is an Imperial IPA designed to “ruin your palate” with over-the-top intensely bitter hops. So yeah, an extreme version of that. True to its billing, this is a big version of Ruination. I wouldn’t say that it’s any more bitter, however. It generally has the same flavor profile and intensity, but with a heavier body and more alcohol. They’ve cranked up the quantity of ingredients to get here, of course, but if any of it shows through, it’s a bit more citrus sweetness from heavy orange and grapefruit notes in the middle and finish than any additional bitterness. So overall there is a ton of pine, and a ton of grapefruit and orange, both bitter and sweet. The body is heavy, and the alcohol level is a relatively high 10.8% ABV. This is still a big, over-the-top bitter west-coast style Imperial IPA like Ruination, but if anything it’s slightly more well rounded and an excellent, excellent beer.
I give it a 4.9 out of 5.
Trust the Canadians to come up with an excellent pun for the name of an Imperial IPA of the American style. In this case, it’s the Canadians of Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company of British Columbia. The nose has faint citrus and pine, and is predominantly malty, reminding me of maple syrup. The middle packs a bitter punch of citrus rind and pine. The strong bitterness is reminiscent of Stone’s Ruination or Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker. The finish is well rounded citrus flavors with some sweet grapefruit and orange to temper the bitterness. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol is 8.0% ABV which is about what you’d expect for a big Imperial IPA. This is a big, tasty, bitter beer, and more proof that the Canadians know how to brew a beer properly.
I give it a 4.4 out of 5.