Friday, June 3, 2011

Hop Head Red Ale

Thanks to Josh Schipp for picking up a four pack of this last night and donating one to the blog. Tasted in the evening Friday after a productive day of running and getting some of my paper done. I've had some of the other beers from this company, and have heard all but good things about this one, so here we go...

Appearance: Thick beige head with a congregation of soapy bubbles mixed in. Lacing is dense and speckled dry on the glass. The beer itself is a bronzed red with a poor clarity and many flocculent particles swirling within, as I'm assuming it is trub and hops...maybe yeast. Lacing all the way down the glass like white curtains.
Aroma: Huge caramel malt sweetness at the nose. To complement, toffee and dark fruit like raisins and dates round through to the finish. Floral  but an undertone of citrus arises. Almost some chocolate notes. Floral.
Taste: Rich and sweet. Some alcohol vapors erupt at the end to complement the dark fruit and woody undertones. Toffee and caramel form the base of this beer with the dark roasted fruity sweetness not far behind. From the name, I would have assumed this beer would be more hoppy, but it focuses more on the malt. Some grapefruit appears, but its difficult to decipher behind the other malt adjuncts. However the grapefruit zest and sweetness does present itself if one thinks about it, and focuses on the finish. The aftertaste is somewhat of dark chocolate bittersweetness. Gradually, once the palate adjusts, the beer is pretty well balanced, though initially, more emphasis is placed on the malt. Alcohol finish.
Mouthfeel: Thick and full bodied, especially from the huge malt profile. Carbonation is medium and presents itself up front, but quickly dissipates thereafter leaving a smooth liquid to exit down the throat. Finishes dry and slightly bittered. Not necessarily refreshing, but smooth and consistent.
Overall Impression: A great beer, it maintains a wealth of complexity as the combination of malt and hops clash together creating a rush of alternative flavors. I find that the malt is a bit overwhelming at first, and perhaps the beer may be a bit too woody and boozy, but the palate soon adjusts.


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