Thanks to Eric Mathis for giving me a bottle of this a couple weeks ago during one of our weekly beer dinner events. I'll be heading to Madison around February 5th and will surely be getting my hands on this one! I got around to reviewing it while cooking up an organic pea-soup pizza. Literally, a pizza crust with pea soup as the sauce based. I survived on this in Australia!
Appearance: Mahogany amber with an ever persisting reddish tint. The head is negligible a it performs with only a slight blanketed coating of film and soapy bubbles around the inner perimeter of the glass. Highly turbid, leaving little to be seen within.
Aroma: A perfumy scent of plums erupts from the surface of the beer, while there are faint notes grapes, strawberries and apricots. There is an undertone of rosemary too! Dark roasted fruits and a mild biscuit malt bill carry the rest on through.
Taste: Very sweet, but with a conflicting bitterness that leads one to think this beer may even have a fruit incorporation into it. The front is represented by caramel and bready base malts, presumably a load of crystal or 30-37. Rich notes of hop based fruit resins and a brief character of tannins. Huge citrus and tropical fruit profile with even flavors paralleling grapefruit and pineapple and apple juice. Still, there remains a slight herbalness, that I personally thing adds a tremendous quality and unique enhancement to the flavor over many the many Double IPA's I've been tasting lately. Alcohol is present, but nicely covered up. Citrusy and almost sour tasting (from the hops) as the beer warms up.
Mouthfeel: Big bodied and even a bit tacky at the front. The carbonation is high, but not so much to mask any of the flavor. In fact, the prolonged bite that is provided, helps expose even more of the tropical fruit zest flavors and bitter undertones. Some stickiness on the lips.
Overall Impression: Amazingly complex. Fruit flavors, malt base and tropical zest bittering units all come together to create one of the best Double IPA's I've ever had. The alcohol warms the throat, while the body provides a near chewy texture, All the while the bitterness drys and refreshes the throat. Impeccable flavor. I love it.