Total Score: 8.9/10
If this Last Rites The Big Smelly Doona is an Imperial Pale Ale at 9% ABV I’ll eat my hat! No, actually I won’t, because it’s clearly a Double or Imperial IPA at that ABV. Plus I like wearing my hat on my head – why would I eat it? This limited edition (says it on the can label) brew already uses a word that I refuse to use to describe a beer: “dank”. Well beer is wet so technically every beer ever made is dank, what a stupid terminology! Anyhow I didn’t mind the Ella Springtime Ale, so I thought I would give The Big Smelly Doona (an Aussie word for a type of quilted blanket) a go… hmmm, wordplay intended there? Yes, I’ll roll with it, let’s move on to the review whilst grumbling about how “a listing of the hops used would have been nice”.
Poured from a 375ml can into a nonic pint.
A: Cloudy deep amber hued body and a nice creamy Ecru-coloured head that drops back to a half cm blanket leaving some platform lace inside the glass. The fact that this has decent head retention at 9% puts it up there with the best. 9/10.
S: Like a colossal battle between malt/hops, this IIPA wages a war my tongue is inviting in for tea and biscuits. Aroma is bready/biscuity malt sweetness mingling with herbal, cannabis, orange peel, piney and earthy hops. There is a whiff of a great beer that all craft beer drinkers (as old myself) will remember from the early days of “bigger and bitterer = better” in IIPAs (aka “those west coast IPA dayz”*). 9/10.
T: Promises and absolutely delivers with a West Coast IIPA the likes of which I have not tasted in some time. Flavours noted above: bready/biscuity malts, herbal/cannabis/orange peel/piney and earthy hops. Throw in a bit of dried apricot too for sweetness. Also has a pretty sublime balance between sweet/bitter, finish is medium bitterness. Such an approachable beer at this ABV, I’ve been completely disarmed by its charm. 9/10.
M: Mid to heavy bodied, like a warm smelly doona – the name is appropriate then, with a dense/creamy carbonation. This may be slightly too thick IMO. 8/10.
D: An elegant IIPA for a more (bitter and) civilized age. With a well-hidden 9% ABV too. There’s nothing like a good IIPA that has aged well (brewed 12/12/17), tbh I probably would have found this too aggressively hopped had I tried it fresh but now it’s just right to drink. Cheers Last Rites! [don’t read them to me] 9/10.
Food match: This versatile brew would ace it with gourmet pizza or BBQ fare.
*Needs to be spelled with a ‘z’: because.