Total Score: 7.35/10
After the featherweight 4 Pines Indian Summer Pale Ale this 9% ABV 84 IBU 4 Pines Keller Door Imperial IPA is going to be like getting a sandwich carefully crafted for you by Mike Tyson… that is a knuckle sandwich. As I’m mentally preparing myself for the giddying high one gets from hops and alcohol combined en masse it occurs to me that this will be the biggest beer I’ve had since Jan 2016, and it’s already March – wow! [cracks fingers and neck] OK I’m going in – Brewronimo!
Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Presents with a clear perfect amber body and a chunky 2 cm off-white head that retains well – a complete 180 on the Indian Summer Pale Ale – if I were to choose between the two beers based on looks this one would definitely take the win. 8/10.
S: Pineapple chunks in pineapple syrup with a light pineapple glaze on top. You get what I mean – this is a pineapple lovers wet dream. Heaps of sugary malt and other notes – piney, light cannabis herbal hop characters as well. Overall the aroma is heady and sounds a giant klaxon with a Tannoy message playing out “Warning: Prepare for sticky/gooey pineapple!” Love it. 9/10.
T: Flavour is an all-malt sugar assault on the senses, with some hops thrown in. Soooo much sugar! I’m actually booking in an appointment with my dentist right now. What about all that pineapple? It’s there, in an advisory capacity to the malt, but really sweet sugary malt is the chief of staff with this brew. So let’s recap the flavours: Malt upfront, pineapple/herbal/piney hops centre and finishes with a light (for IPA standards) hop bitterness. Aftertaste is like some sort of odd hop honey. What is missing? Balance between malt/hops of course, duh. 7/10.
M: Medium bodied, some hop oiliness is present, with a borderline flat carbonation. 8/10.
D: I bet you $1 billion (which I don’t actually have) that this has NZ hops in it – because the hop aroma is fantastic but the flavour is malt dominated – as I’ve found with the biggest hop brews coming out of NZ. Which is a shame because everything else is great and it doesn’t nearly feel as weighty as other 9% brews can be (i.e. the alcohol hides well here) and I do quite enjoy 4 Pines Keller releases (in fact I believe most of these brews should be made year-round), however there is simply too much sugar happening in this ale as it stands and I cannot afford to become another blip on the rapidly growing western-world diabetes statistics. 6/10.
Food match: Turkey stuffed with Insulin and a side of mash with gravy.