Style: Double IPA / Hoppy Maibock-style Ale
From: Holyoke, MA
Bottled On: 12/10/13
Brewer’s Note: “The Brewmaster Jack Hop Essence Series is our take on a single hop series. Rather than keeping the same malt bill and just roating the different hops, each beer in the Hop Essence Series is crafted to complement the specific hop variety used. That means different malt, different yeast, and even some special herbs and spices. Everything about the beer is built around the hops. This beer is best consumed fresh son don’t wait for your friends. Enjoy it now.”
The beer’s label is simple, and almost barren, but the brewery font is funky and crisp. I wish the beer name font was a little more eye catching, and the text at the bottom just seems to be floating on nothing. The background is funky and swooping, leaving abstract images for the mind to fill in. This label is classy and sleek, but could use a couple of changes to really pop at the eyes.
To begin the review, I would like to note that I have no idea what a Maibok-style Ale is, let alone a Hoppy version. I am going to be reviewing this beer as a DIPA, as that is what I think it is most likely going to resemble. The beer pours a muddled, orange brown, almost bronze. The beer forms a pretty, lasting head of midsized, slightly creamy white bubbles that leave a slippery, fluffy, fat lacing. In body, the beer is clean and clear, but surprisingly opaque and a bit hazy. On the nose, the beer smells like a big old DIPA. Prickly, floral hops blend pine resin, cat piss, grapefruit pith, and even a bit of mango alongside earthy spice notes, which seem to be a blending of the malt and hops. Touches of onion do come across the nose. On the tongue, the beer is cleanly bitter, though faint bready sweetness can be found in the middle and on the finish, and a light acidity can also be sensed in the hop character. The bitters are strong in this, but have some wonderful, subtle balances that keep them from being an utter palate wrecker. Touches of alcohol can also be sensed in between the bitters, but they are light. In flavor, the beer begins as grassy bitters, unfurling into mellow medicinal bitters and then exploding briefly with juicy fruit and a touch of mango, persimmon, and apricot. The juiciness in these hops are restrained and subtle, but beautiful and expressive, which I really like. This is a big bitter beer that finds rich complexity with its hops and the light, toffee and bread flavors that the malt puts out just before the finish. The finish is a strong punch of citrus pith and pine resin, which lasts briefly on the palate. In the mouth, the beer feels smooth and medium bodied, with a soft astringency, and a bit of chewiness to the mouthfeel. Carbonation is fluffy, and middling, and the finish is dry and bitter. The mouth is left with pools of saliva on its edges. Overall, this is a great DIPA. I think I see where Brewmaster Jack was going with the “Hoppy Maibock-style Ale” style, but this is just a nice bitter DIPA with a very soft malt background. Rich and subtle complexity all around on this beer, the bitters are strong, but the flavors found within them are rich and delicious. This is a beer to try.
4.05/5, 41/50 BJCP, B+ in Style