Tag Archives: Imperial IPA

272. Southern Tier Unearthly IPA

This may be an example of an old bottle ruining a good beer but I could not find any bottle or freshness date on the bottle. Being an imperial IPA it really should be consumed fresh so the hops are still apparent. After time the alcohol seems to take over and you lose the taste the brewer intended.

No doubt this is a big beer with a great orange color and huge off white head. Plenty of lacing on the glass and only a mild aroma. Again this may be more subdued if this is an old bottle.The taste of this bottle was over the top alcohol with almost no hop or malt character.

Giving this 2 stars (below average) as I believe there is a good beer in there and will keep an eye out for a fresh bottle in the coming weeks and months. When I find one I will update this post accordingly.
Alcohol Content: 9.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): Lots
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Brewers Website: Souther Tier
Brewers Description: At the Southern Tier Brewing Company, virorously hopped beer is our standard and inspiration. We continue a commitment to innovation with our  most aggressive offering yet. Unearthly is a manifestation of the brewers craft; skillfully balancing art and the forces of nature to produce a divine liquid. Delicately pour a taste into a fluted glass. Smell the enchanting aromas of the hops waft forward as your first sip divulges this beers fervent soul. To underestimate Unearthly is to trifle with the mysteries of the universe, so please consume wisely. FOOD PAIRINGS: Particularly tasty when paired with sharp artisan cheeses, curries, smoked brisket, spicy foods.

268. Founder’s Devil Dancer

Another beer from Founders that made its way to Maine. This is a specialty beer from Founders meaning it is only available occasionally and is hard to find when it does appear. Not as hard to get as KBS but still difficult. I purchased this at Bier Cellar in Portland but I am sure they are gone as he only received a few in.

The label identifies this as a Triple IPA but I’m not sure that is a recognized style. Basically the alcohol content is VERY high so they are calling it a triple instead of a double or imperial IPA. Color is a nice deep red with decent white head that goes away quickly. Overall a nice looking beer. Smells of booze and pine – guess it is hard to mask the 12% ABV – the aroma does not draw you into the beer.

Taste has lots of malt and alcohol. There are some hops in there pine, resin and grapefruit but they are overpowered by the alcohol and malts needed to balance this out. Bitterness lingers as your throat burns from the alcohol. This beer is thick and not overly pleasant to drink on its own. I should have enjoyed this with a meal as it would probably have been much more enjoyable.
Pros: Lots of alcohol
Cons: Lots of alcohol
Alcohol Content: 12% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 112
Rating: ★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Founders Brewing
Brewers Description:  When you dance with the Devil, the Devil don’t change. You do. Massive in complexity, the huge malt character balances the insane amount of alphas used to create it. At an incredible 112 IBUs, it’s dry-hopped with ten hop varieties

256. Russian River Brewing Pliny the Elder

Pliny the Elder (and Younger) are beers that I had read a lot about but didn’t think I would get a chance to try any time soon. Out of the blue a beer friend contacted me saying he had an “extra” bottle and would like to trade. Fortunately I had a beer that he wanted and we made the trade last week.

Pliny the Elder has a great label letting you know you NEED to drink it fresh, do not age, etc so I was sure to enjoy at my first opportunity. This is an Imperial/Double IPA which is my favorite style of beer lately.

Color is what you would expect from an IPA nice orange with a thick white head. Lots of aroma with plenty of pineapple, resin and a bit of alcohol. Very pleasant and draws you into the beer. Taste has everything you want from big IPA, lots of fruit tastes; pineapple, grapefruit and some pine bitterness. Malts are there to balance things out with a slightly sweet ending. This is one of the best Double IPAs out there and if you get the chance be sure to try it.
Pros: Everything
Cons: Not available in Maine 🙁
Alcohol Content: 8.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): High
Rating: ★★★★
Brewers Website: Russian River Brewing
Brewers Description: Pliny the Elder is brewed with Amarillo, Centennial, CTZ, and Simcoe hops. It is well-balanced with malt, hops, and alcohol, slightly bitter with a fresh hop aroma of floral, citrus, and pine. Best enjoyed FRESH! That is why we make it in such limited supply. Actual bottling date is printed on each bottle!

Where did we come up with this name? Back in the year 2000, our friend, Vic Kralj, who owns the Bistro in Hayward, California, decided to have his first ever Double IPA festival. Vic invited 10 breweries, 6 of whom (including us) had to brew something special for him since we had nothing that would fall under this style category. Vinnie had made a Double IPA at Blind Pig in 1994, but was not brewing one at Russian River Brewing at the time. He had an idea for the recipe, but not a name. After much research in beer books, brainstorming, and deliberation, we came up with “Pliny the Elder”. Pliny, the man, lived in the first century- 23 to 79 A.D. According to our brewing references, he and his contemporaries either created the botanical name or at least wrote about Lupus Salictarius, or hops, currently known as Humulus Lupulus. That was a very early reference to an important part of any Double IPA! Pliny the beer has now become one of our flagship brews!

Pliny the Elder was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who wrote about his uncle succumbing to ash and smoke during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. while rescuing people. Cheers to the scholar, historian, officer, writer, and Roman Naturalist- Pliny the Elder!

249. Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA

Found this bottle of Stone’s 14th Anniversary IPA in my local IGA of all places. They have a decent selection of Stone, Rogue, Allagash and a few other bombers but apparently do not sell many of them. This beer was released in June of 2010 and since then Stone has released their 15th anniversary and must be prepping the 16th anniversary versions. I was a bit skeptical with a nearly two year old IPA but figured I would give it a shot.
The color is beautiful cloudy yellow with a very solid white head. Lots of different aromas with nothing really standing out over the rest; certainly some citrus and pine hops, something sweet and earthy in there as well. So far it appears the beer has held up well.
I did not try this beer fresh so I have nothing to compare it to but I think the hop taste has probably faded a bit over the years. There is still a fair amount of hop bite here but there is also a sweetness that may not have been there when it was brewed. Ends with some grapefruit flavors that linger. Overall this was better than I had hoped and I may just grab another bottle to age for a couple more years to see how it holds up.

Pros: Appearance
Cons: Not as hoppy as I had hoped
Alcohol Content: 8.9% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 100
Rating:  ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Stone
Brewers Description: We went to England this past spring as self-styled “IPA Hunters” on a mission to learn more about the confusing and often contradictory history of India Pale Ale – to look for some certainty where those before us have found mostly mystery and mercantilism. While our success in this pursuit is open to debate, there can be no question that we returned home inspired by the ghosts of Burton and by the experience of poring over 150-year old brewer’s logs handwritten in (India?) ink. Stone Brewing Co., after all, traces its lineage back to the British Empire’s brewing history: we make ales, and all of our original offerings used traditional British styles as a jumping-off point. If this seems a roundabout way of letting you know that, yes, we are in fact brewing another IPA to mark our Anniversary, well, so be it.

This one however, promises to be different! From the imported white malt to the “Burtonised” water to the rare yeast strain to the most pungent hops Kent has to offer, we used all British ingredients to brew our “Emperial” IPA.* While we may have brewed Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA with our own distinctively modern, San Diego-style touch, what good is history if you can’t rewrite it to suit your tastes?

In this case, our tastes called for highly intemperate quantities of Target, East Kent Goldings, and Boadicea hops, bestowing upon this dry-bodied ale a powerfully spicy, earthy aroma. On the palate, peppery hops assert themselves early and often, with malt sweetness making a brief appearance before being beaten back by a long, complex, and decisively bitter finish. What better way to contemplate the fate of empires past, present, and future?

*Um, except for our filtered Colorado River water, of course

187. Diamond Knot Brewing Industrial IPA

My third Imperial IPA of the week and a bit of a disappointment when compared with reviews #184 & 185. Color of this one is probably the only thing that is better than the first two, but it has a very small head with little lacing left on the glass. Aroma is hops and alcohol. Taste had less citrus than the others and more sweet, spicy bitterness. Malts are there to balance things out but really do not add anything to the taste. Overall this is a quality beer just not quite as good as the my recent reviews.
Pros:  Appearance
Cons: Little to no head
Alcohol Content: 8.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 80
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Diamond Knot Brewing
Brewers Description: The Surly Big Brother of our regular IPA! Dark copper in color, a distinct malty sweetness followed by an intensely hoppy middle. A floral finish imparted by the Dry Hop will leave you begging for another.