Imperial IPA

Due South – Category 5 IPA


Ah, good evening faithful readers. It’s another lovely Thursday vesper, and I have an extremely special beer tonight. Now look, I know I say that…almost every review, but it’s true damnit! Tonight’s player is brewed in one of the few South Florida breweries that exist today. Specifically Due South, and it’s the first time this beautiful beer has ever been brewed! Ah…nothing like tasting a piece of history in the making.  I can’t begin to tell you readers how happy it makes me to have this bottle in my possession. Well I could, but we’d be here for a while. I’ve been longing for a bottle of locally brewed bubbly goodness for a while. It’s not just the beer, it’s the fact that the local brewing scene down here is growing, and the alcoholic in me is ecstatic! And to top it all off, it’s a nice Double IPA. Well let’s get on with it then, shall we?

What a gorgeous girl we have here. She sports a lovely golden color, topped with a very generous helping of foamy goodness, and has a striking clarity.  She’s like a gorgeous sunset on the Atlantic Ocean, complete with a sky full of the fluffiest, most delicious clouds you’ve ever laid eyes upon. And the best part about those clouds? Well, it’s the lacing good sir! As I write, her generous helping of head subsides and leaves a hefty amount of lacing… Her appearance alone beckons to you, promising a glass full of greatness. Let’s see if her aroma will follow this promise as well.

Oooooh yeah….those hops baby! A fine aroma if I ever smelled one, and lord knows I’ve smelled my fair share of fine aromas. She smacks you in the face with hops first and foremost, a very citrusy, and almost piney aroma with a very nice bite to it…if that even makes sense. The aroma becomes much more subtle after the initial hop scent hits you, a lovely malt flavor is there, coupled with some sweetness. Yes, she is living up to her promise already; she smells like a damn fine Double IPA. She’s hoppy alright, but also more complex than simply hops. Let’s try to discern her other secrets.

Mmm…there’s my IPA fix. She’s a very balanced delicious girl with a nice crisp bitterness to her finish. But let’s not get too hasty here….never that! Let’s take it slow with this girl.Let’s enjoy every subtle nuance she has to offer.
She begins with an exquisite balance of citrusy hops and sweet malts, a lovely start to a lovely beer. But she’s not even close to finished yet, oh no. She waits until your comfortable, and then sends a category 5 hurricane of hoppy bitterness crashing across your tongue… Poseidon himself would be humbled. And once those crisp waves has subsided, the remnants of the storm remain with you quite vividly… begging for just one more trip to the hoppy deep. Far be it from me to deny such requests….Ahh, now that’s a good beer. And, to support this whole experience, a full yet light body encompasses the entire ocean. It’s not too light to leave me wanting, but light enough to allow the flavors their well deserved spotlight.

Overall, this is a damn fine Double IPA from start to finish. It’s a shame it won’t be around for long, but that makes it so much more special. And the fact that it was created about 20 miles from where I live…pretty damn cool if you ask me, and I know nobody asked me but I’m gonna say it regardless. So if your a local South Floridian (or an advocate of travel), and a fan of hoppy yet balanced Double IPAs, make sure you get some of this brew before it’s gone.

Until next beer, this is Brian G. signing out!

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Stone – Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA


Well hello again avid readers. As I sit down today to write a review I do so with a smile (it’s rare that I don’t actually) I have one of the truly great Imperial (or Double) IPAs in my hands. Her name is Ruination, brewed by Stone, but there’s something special about this particular beauty. She has been ruining palates for ten years now and decided it was time to wear something bold like never before! The hop masters at Stone threw in twice as many hops for this version, and man does it show! Without further ado I present to you: Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA

Mmm, she wears a golden, maybe slightly amber color, with a very nice helping of head which immediately leaves lacing, and I mean immediately! I could make a joke about lacing, extra head, and immediacy right now… but for once I’m gonna take the high road. (Don’t get used to it) Man, she is looking extremely delicious right about now, and you can tell her strength by how opaque she is.  I can’t even see my hand through the glass, it’s just a subtle movement that you see. With so many hops in this brew you’ve gotta have a lot of malt to balance it. Let’s see how she smells.

Ohhh yeah….dig those hops baby! Actually, I didn’t really say ohhhh yeah when I smelled it. It was more like oh-ho-ho-ho-hoooo. I felt guilty about the false ohhh, I had to come clean. Regardless of my false onamonapia I truly do dig those hops. Ultimately that’s the first thing I notice…it’s really quite difficult not to. It’s a pretty damn piney hop smell which I tend to prefer over the fruiter or citrus hop aromas, like I’m in the middle of a dense evergreen forest surrounded by beer. (That’s a reoccurring dream of mine actually) Some people tend to avoid the piney IPAs, but lately I’ve been really enjoying them. There’s really not much else to smell in this baby except those sweet, sweet hops. There is a malty hint to the end of the experience, but it’s a lone grain in a forest of pine. Well, let’s see if I can taste more than hops.

Man….(I really said that)…what a beer! It’s like three separate blasts of flavor. I guess you could say it’s like a party in my mouth and everyone’s invited…if you really had to say that. Frankly, I wouldn’t stoop to such levels as to state something so cliche’. Moving on…I gotta take this one slow to fully describe this all. Well let’s see…First there’s a definite sweetness which is overpowered pretty quickly, but then slides back into the mix towards the finish. Like in Matlock where they show you the villain at the beginning but then he disappears until the end.

But the sweetness is definitely not the main actor in this scene of a brew. No, the lead assuredly belongs to our good old friend Mr. Hop. He’s featured in so many IPAs already you can’t blame the casting director for picking such an experienced player. But that’s not to say he doesn’t let his supporting roles shine, no, there is quite a bit of balance to this scene. Ok…I’m done with the acting metaphors…moving on.

All fancy writing aside, this is a hoppy beast of a brew, and rightly so to pay homage to the normal Ruination. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s slightly more balanced and leaves a much less bitter finish. It’s amazing there’s 10.8% in this beauty but there’s so much hop flavor I can see how they hide it. But man…it’s pretty damn balanced for being so hoppy, the malts are  right where they should be, providing a solid foundation for this massively hopped beer.

Overall, this is one of the best Double IPAs I’ve had. It’s not as balanced as Pliny but its much more bold and that says a lot IMAO. Sometimes you want an extra bold flavor… man does this deliver. If your a hop-head get one of these if you can, you won’t regret it!

Until next beer this is Brian G. signing out.

Categories: Beer, Imperial IPA | 2 Comments

Stone Sixteenth Anniversary IPA


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Hello there avid readers! It’s a lovely quiet Sunday today and seemed like the perfect time to review a beer. In fact, I happen to have a beer that isn’t supposed to be released yet. It’s Stone’s 16th Anniversary IPA which will come out Monday (8/13/12) when I post this review. Somehow, some blessed way, some bottles found there way to South Florida and into my extremely lucky hands. I gotta say, if Stone’s 10th anniversary Ruination is any indication to how they do special anniversary beers, this one is gonna be a treat! Well, enough speculation let’s get down to bidness!

This beautiful double IPA pours out a lovely golden amber with a hefty helping of head to top it off. Now this is a fine lookin’ brew right here… The head is thick and foamy, like shampoo being worked into a gorgeous young woman’s hair. The lacing, oh the lacing! It leave’s an impressively thick lacing, which mean this is one fine lady to spend an afternoon with. There’s nothing I enjoy more when finishing a beer than seeing a glass full of lacing…like the ruins of some great culture, it’s somehow beautiful in it’s destruction. Speaking of destruction, I have a hunch this baby may have a wreckin’ ball of hops aimed directly at my nose.

Mmmm, not quite a punch in the face like I was expecting. No, instead she opts for a more graceful aroma to seduce and entice your taste buds. She sends a gentle breeze of lemon past your nostrils which crescendos quickly into citrus and hop aroma, and then fades of with the slightest hint of alcohol. None of the scent is overwhelming though, it’s all very subtle and pretty damn balanced IMAO. Let’s see if the taste follows suit

Oh man…yeah this is a double IPA right here! Any doubt of a hop-forward flavor was just blasted away by a canon of the Humulus Lupulus. (That’s science talk for hops….sorry I just like to feel smart) Kidding aside, this baby firmly embraces the double IPA belief of extravagant amounts of hop flavor. Now let’s take it one step at a time and try to describe it…

Up front you can taste a hint of lemon, quickly followed by a citrus hop flavor. Then a wave of bitterness washes over your tongue as if to proclaim: “Here I Am Tongue!”. “Indeed Mr. Bitterness” she says with confidence, “you have been acknowledged! Now I push you away with a lingering fruitiness, perhaps  a bit of apple if you please?” But bitterness shall not be beaten so easily, he come’s back after seemingly subsiding to remind you who truly reigns supreme in double IPAs.

Appropriately, this beauty has a solid body to back up her taste. It’s rich and full, which mean about the same thing… so maybe that was a repetitive thing to say. Regardless, I have no regret, for that is what came to my mind immediately. The carbonation is perfect for a full bodied beauty like this one. A foamy, luxurious head to perfectly complement her bodacious body. Truly she is a goddess among IPAs.
Overall this is one hell of an IPA. It weighs in at 10% which is astounding because it’s very hard to detect the alcohol. It’s there….ever-so-slightly at the end if your really searching for it.The lemon is a nice twist and goes well with the fruitier hop flavor in this brew. I’m glad to have gotten this baby early, and hope to get more because one bottle just isn’t enough!

Until next beer, this is Brian G. signing out!

Categories: Beer, Imperial IPA | 2 Comments

Russian River – Pliny the Elder


Well hoppy #IPAday to you all! In case you didn’t know this Thursday also happens to be national IPA day, so raise an IPA in toast to all IPAs on this wondrous day.

To celebrate here is my review of the best IPA I’ve tasted to date!

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Well a very special greeting to all of you readers today. I’m sitting next to one of the most beautiful beers I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Her name is Pliny the Elder, named after the man who discovered hops. This beer is aptly named because it has hops in spades. I had to trade someone in California some Great Divide brews for this beauty. Man am I glad I got six of them because it’s honestly the best damn double IPA I’ve ever had the honor of tasting. Well allow me to attempt to capture a glimpse of this feeling for you all.

First and foremost this beer pours out like rays of sunshine cascading across your glass. It beckons seductively wafting piney hops past as you impatiently watch your cup fill. The gorgeous head of this beauty is as thick and luxurious as any super-models head of hair…but a lot tastier. It comes in at a respectable 2 and a half fingers and immediately leaves a nice portion of lacing on the glass. Ahh…the remnants of greatness. Although this beauty is quite clear, it’s confusingly opaque at the same time. I don’t know how they do it but my homebrews always look cloudy compared to beers like this. Ahhh…one day
But there is a stronger force beckoning, the force of aroma begging for my action. Well I will deny it no longer!

Oooohhh….man I had to set it down immediately lest I become overwhelmed with this beer. The smell is like a punch in the nose with a fist full of pine. Yet there is a subtle sweetness underlying it, promising good balance to this brew. It’s a very piney type hop smell which is right up my alley, maybe even a little citrusy. Now I’m not the biggest fan of OJ (the juice not the football player) but sometimes a little citrus is a nice extra. Like when you find that beer in the back of the fridge you forgot you had. Truly this is one of the best aromas to have ever come from a brew. Strong, yet balanced, like a good golf swing. Well let’s see how she tastes.

Mmmm now that’s a good IPA. Upon touching this sacred liquid to my tongue I awoke suddenly as if the rest of my life had been a dream. It’s a testament to Russian Rivers brewing ability. An outrageously hopped IPA that is somehow completely balanced. It’s sweet and bitter, hoppy and malty, black and white, yin and yang. This beer is all that should be IPA.It doesn’t finish overly bitter, it finishes with a slight bitterness lingering that tastes just as good as the beer you’ve just swallowed.

Overall this is the best IPA I’ve ever had in my life…and I mean that! I’m glad I went to the trouble to try this beer. If your a beer lover and haven’t had a Pliny get one! It’s definitely worth trading and there are plenty of reputable BA members that would be willing to trade. It’s easy for some to get, for me it was well worth the trouble. Please don’t go through life without tasting one of these beautiful miracles of brewing.

Categories: Beer, Imperial IPA | 7 Comments

Knee Deep Brewing – Simtra


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Well hello there again loyal readers. Today we have a very special beer coming all the way from the west coast. It’s called Simtra, and apparently it was only brewed once by Knee Deep and it weighs in at a extremely high 10.1%. Now they call this beast a triple IPA. I’ve never heard of a Triple IPA but it seems like an apt name for an IPA this strong. Lets do some research and see what comes up. Not much, apparently it’s pretty limited and I was lucky enough to get a couple by trading some beer with a fellow alcoholic all the way in Cali. I’d like to say thanks again to my trading buddy! Well let’s get on with it then.

It pours out like a ray of sunshine, truly a beacon of beauty. It’s a pretty clear brew and very bright if that even makes sense. It probably doesn’t, just the rambling of an alcoholic. It had a decent head, while not overly impressive, it was about a finger’s width and went away at a moderate pace. It did leave a bit of lacing and that’s just alright with me. Let’s see if she smells as good as she looks.

Oh…..my goodness. Wow…this beer give your nose a reason to exist. You can smell the hops dancing around putting you in a trance of pure bliss. My mouth immediately waters to taste this hoppy wonder. I can tell this beer is gonna be good by the smell alone…It’s piney and hoppy yet balanced with a nice sweet touch. This is probably the best smelling IPA I’ve ever had the privilege of possessing. Man I can’t hold back now let’s taste this beauty.

Wow….I’m truly blown away. It’s like an explosion of hops right in the middle of tasting it. Alright, I’m gonna try to taste it one step at a time and describe this experience. The first thing I taste is almost like a bit of caramel if you can believe it…maybe I’m just imagining things but it has a certain sweetness to it. Like the bitter old lady next door that feels bad once in a blue moon and gives out huge candy bars at Halloween. She’s primarily bitter but has a hint of sweetness to her. Then you get blasted by the piney hop flavor…like a shotgun full of hops from 2 inches away. When you swallow this wonder you get a crescendo of bitterness and malts that lingers just the right amount. It’s not to say you don’t get a lingering bitterness, but it drops off greatly before staying so it’s not as obtrusive as other IPAs like Ruination.

Overall if your a hop lover try to get one of these bottles while you can. I’ve never had a Triple IPA but I believed this beer is deserving of that title. What’s funny is I can’t even taste the alcohol in it yet it’s a whopping 10.1…. man this is a creeper beer. Just make sure to share the love if you do get one of these beauties

Until next beer this is Brian G signing off!

Categories: Beer, Imperial IPA | 2 Comments

Great Divide Hercules Double IPA


I’d like to give a toast in honor of §í£vê®Ð®âgôñ and his new elevated membership in my secret club! Congratulations sir! You are the Hercules of what you do for us, so I offer this toast in the name of progress!
Here’s to you §í£vê®Ð®âgôñ! (*insert drinking*)

Ah, what an aptly name beer for a lunch break review. It states right on the bottle “Not for the Faint of heart”. There’s nothing like a nice strong beer at lunch to lubricate the rest of the work day. This particular brew emphasizes a lot of hops in the brew and a high ABV. Sitting at 10%, this beer is a serious contender in the realm of ABV.

I’ve had Great Divide’s take on Belgian Ale in the past. It was good, but not my typical choice in Belgian Ale. It was much lighter than I prefer with Belgians. Nonetheless, it was still a great beer.  This Hercules Double IPA seems to be their flagship brew. It’s not a fact, just an alcoholic assumption on my part.

It pours a nice medium dark amber with a finger width of head that dissipates quickly. Ah memories…I do miss IPAs, it’s been a long while since I’ve had one actually. It’s a nice change of pace from all the darker brews I’ve been sampling. I have some idea of what it will smell like based on the label’s description, let’s see how accurate my assumption really is.

Oh yeah, dig those hops baby. This is hop city USA right here sweetheart! The hops jump right out at you and up your nose, almost rudely. There is also a sweet undertone to the smell, probably the malts. Whatever it is, it provides a pleasant backdrop to the hops. Enough about her smell, let’s see how she tastes. (Please don’t take that last sentence out of context!)

Oh yes, this is a good IPA. It’s got that hoppy bitterness that’s prominent in most of Sam Adam’s beers but not as strong. It’s at just the right level IMAO (in my alcoholic opinion). While the hops are prominent they don’t overwhelm the other underlying flavors. You get the hops at first, followed by a sweet subtle taste of malts and nuts….ahem. This is followed by an aftertaste of more hops and alcohol. A pleasant brew through and through.

Overall I’m glad to have a nice change of pace. This brew is a refreshing splash, unlike the Belgians which are more refined and subdued. I’m gonna grab some more IPAs on my next trip. It’s time to get back to my roots!

Until next beer this is Brian G. signing out.

Categories: Beer, Imperial IPA | 2 Comments

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