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.
On the bottle, Le Freak is described as a “Belgian Imperial IPA.” The Green Flash website expands a bit, explaining that it’s a hybrid of a Belgian Tripel and an American Imperial IPA. Interesting. The head is beautiful. Big and velvety, and it lasts for minutes. The nose is distinctively Belgian, with loads of fruit. The hybrid nature comes through in the middle with something I might describe as a battle between the sweet and complex Belgian, which is definitely here in full force, and the strong bitter west-coast style IPA that Green Flash is known for, which is just as present. There are spices, cherry, plum, pine, orange and grapefruit all mingling and alternately coming to the fore. The finish has some bitter citrus rind from the IPA, but is more Belgian in character with marmalade and a bit of licorice. The body is quite full and heavy, and the alcohol is 9.2% ABV, about what you’d expect for this style of ale. It’s probably not the next big thing, but it’s a fun mix, certainly enjoyable if you like the component styles, and well executed.
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.
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.
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.
Moylan’s Brewing Company of Novato, California is a specialist in big beers, be they Imperial IPAs, Scotch Ales, or Barleywine-style ales. (Among others.) However, they felt they hadn’t taken the Imperial IPA theme quite far enough, and perhaps to rectify that, a Quadruple IPA might be in order. Thus, we have Hop Craic, a American Quadruple IPA. This is a massive IPA in every measure. It’s got a heavy body, the alcohol is a stout 10.4% ABV, and the hop notes are huge and balanced with strong malt flavors. The nose is strongly orange citrus but with a bit of molasses in the background. The middle bursts with lemon and orange, followed by pine, but then transitions into a heavily malty finish with notes of toasted grain and packed with brown sugar and syrup. The end of the finish is burned toast and pine. It’s exceptionally well balanced for such a powerful beer, and I’m enjoying it immensely.
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.