Black Hops Super Hornet Double IPA

Total Score: 8.7/10*  PapayaMango1HopFlower1Orange1Tulipglass1

Pretty excited about this one too [do I just get excited easily when it comes to beer? I don’t think so, but I could be wrong]: Black Hops Super Hornet Double IPA. I’ve tried original Hornet, it’s good, not great but a solid enough IPA. I’m excited about this though – you see there’s a hype train for this brew and it’s left the station and is now heading for its destination: my taste-buds [population: approx. 2,000-8,000]. Pretty solid hop bill as well: Dr Rudi, Motueka, Mosaic, Cascade, Kohatu, Vic Secret – that’s a great ANZUS profile containing the best of the best, Mosaic in particular is my favourable hop (used it in many semi-failed homebrew experiments)… Motueka [watch out orange flavours!], OoOo Vic Secret and Dr Rudi *salivating begins now*

Poured from a 375ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Classic West-Coast IPA appearance: slight-hazed orange/amber body with a cream-coloured cappuccino foam head that leaves splotchy lace blobs on the side of the glass as it goes down, hard not to feel a warm familiarity right now. 8/10.

S: Holy f**ken hops this brew is a beast! Freshness confirmed with a: 24/05/18 canning date. Aroma is hop-forward to say the least: heady tropical lychee/paw paw/mango notes, hints of rubbery character (I’ve found this often in really fresh DIPAs), piney notes, touch of orange rind. Malt? In there somewhere/who cares? This is a real top-notch aroma, one of the best. 10/10.

T: Subtle like a tiger waiting to ambush its prey – this is one of those DIPAs that I categorise in the “really-really sneaky given their ABV” DIPAs with its 8.7% ABV flying right under my radar. Flavours are exactly as expected from the aroma (lychee/paw paw/mango, piney notes, orange rind, grassy hops and OJ too) with a thin dry cracker malt letting the hops be a total showboat. Profile is a bit less intense than the aroma would suggest, depending on how you like your DIPAs this can be a good or bad thing, for me I like them BIG [Bearing Immense Gusto] so in this case I was a bit “huh” about it… still it’s a top drop, with the flavour belying the ABV. 8/10.

M: Medium bodied, as good as any decent US DIPA, with a dense/creamy carbonation and some hop oil stickiness. On point. 9/10.

D: I can confirm: Super Hornet is super. This brew deserves a spot in the echelon of “rather grand Australian DIPAs” along with KAIJU! Aftermath, Green Beacon’s Uppercut, Pirate Life IIPA, and Bacchus Top Knot – it really is a great time for Aussie IPA/DIPAs. 9/10.

Food match: This is a great brew to pair with a Thai Pad mee Korat.

*see what I did there?

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Mikkeller 1000 IBU

Total Score: 7.4/10 HopFlower1Earth1CutGrass1Tulipglass1

Well, here we are! #1,000! Woo-Hoo! *releases streamers and balloons from ceiling above of everyone who reads this review – at great cost I might add – instantly* And what better way to celebrate review #1,000 than with Mikkeller 1000 Eye Bee U? Only it’s not my 1,000th review! Psyche! This is my 999th review. Truth is I was suggested Mikkeller 1000 IBU by some great people on BeerAdvocate, but in the meantime I found something better TBC soon. However now is the time for Mikkeller to shine. I’ve reviewed 5 Mikkellers so far, it would have been more but they’re both hard to get and expensive in Australia. One similar theme is concurrent with my 5 Mikkeller beer reviews: they’re all tasty. Expect the same from 1000 IBU.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: I was actually so surprised by how dark this beer was during the pour that I spilled some of it. Hazed deep caramel body – that can’t possibly be right!? I marvelled at the dark IPA as a beige head swirled into a non-existent patchwork of thin bubbles. This is a seriously dark IPA, and now my left wrist smells of beer. 7/10.

S: It smells like a rich resin run off from a bucket load of hops. Aroma is hop forward with notes of piney, resin, forest floor, juniper, hints of bitter orange… essentially the aroma of a hop bomb with little disregard of any malt base. Hey, it’s what to be expected from a 1000 IBU beer – which in case you were wondering is actually measured by the amount of hops added to a beer, not the end result: which is why some beers can say “30 IBUs” and taste stronger than a “200 IBU” beer BTW. 8/10.

T: Very hop-driven beer, though it’s got that real raw and earthy/grassy hop character that you get in a hop tea (hops in boiling water). It’s not as nuanced as I was expecting from a Mikkeller beer. The flavour is quite raw and unfinished IMO, it’s like a dare beer that Mikkeller didn’t develop further. Those piney, forest floor and resin flavours make it in too. Finish is drying, there’s very little in the way of malt flavour (caramel), with a final medium bitter orange hop note. 7/10.

M: Decent body (thanks oats!) mid to heavy with a creamy/dense carbonation – it’s heavier than most DIPAs at 9.6% ABV or above, plenty of hop oils too. 9/10.

D: Coincidentally this beer is my intro to Mikkeller IPAs, and it was shocking to see how dark it was, but overall it was disappointing as it’s such a hum-drum American DIPA, there’s not much to see here, and the craft of Mikkeller’s other brews is lost in this, all-in-all it feels like Mikkeller did this 1000 IBU on a dare. 7/10.

Food match: It’s not Thai-fresh, more of a Malaysian cuisine DIPA.

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KAIJU! Beer Aftermath Double IPA

Total Score: 9.2/10 Bubblegum1Orange1HopFlower1Tulipglass1

I really like KAIJU! – at least according to my BeerAdvocate ratings which has me polling them above average on 4 of the 5 beers I’ve reviewed versus a multitude of tickers (i.e. people who feel that they can somewhat randomly attribute points to a beer in a haphazard instantaneous fashion). I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy, maybe (well not maybe) taste is subjective, I’ve met the brewers and maybe I’ve developed an unconscious bias based on that, but I really like KAIJU! I like that they’re pushing boundaries that some Australian brewers are “meh” about. I like that they jam a massive amount of hop cones into each brew. I like that Nat didn’t give a fuck about me telling him his beers were expensive. I’m ready for Aftermath [comes science?].

Poured from a 375ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Perfect hazed amber – about as good a colour as any Double India Pale Ale: Ever. Head is off-white, began at 2 centimetres and dropped back to a thin blanket, leaving small splotches of lace on the inside of the glass. 9/10.

S: Can smell the aroma without even lifting the glass to my nose – bubble gum, Starburst orange candy, piney resin hints. Then I brought the glass to my nose, wow! This is one fresh DIPA, straight up hop flower aroma, piney/forest floor hints, that rubbery note you get when hops are really fresh in a beer, jackfruit. Yep, this is a real hop bomb, spectacular! 9/10.

T: Surprisingly the flavour doesn’t hit you with a bushel of wet hops – this is one well moderated DIPA. Flavours of the above: bubble gum, Starburst orange candy, piney resin, forest floor, rubbery note, jackfruit. The amazing part in this hopstravaganza™ is how mild the bitterness in the finish is. It’s medium at best. You more get a hop tingle on the tongue – to say “hey, hops is here mon”. 9/10.

M: Medium bodied with a decent presence of hop oils and a dense but thin carbonation. Given the 9.1% ABV it could probably use a bit more body… but then it doesn’t need more body, it’s pretty spot on the way it is. 9/10.

D: It’s been a great year for Aussie IIPAs with this (yes this has been out for a while now) and Green Beacon Uppercut, which I called 2017’s best IIPA. I’ve got to say they’re both great for different reasons: Uppercut is a tropical 8% facepunch, whereas Aftermath is a 9.1% bubble-gum/orange candy buttkick. Uppercut has this on being more responsible, but this beer is a platform for awesomeness, and hops. Just don’t ask me to pick between my children. 10/10.

Food match: Vietnamese, then Thai, and then stomach pump: in that order.

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Clown Shoes Galactica Double IPA

Total Score: 7.3/10 Caramel1HopFlower1Biscuit1Tulipglass1

It’s been a while between drinks for me and Clown Shoes, having tried Clementine and Chocolate Sombrero back in 2014 and liking both. Well fast forward to 2017 and Galactica Double IPA popped up in my local bottle-o (Black Sheep Newmarket). I usually avoid East Coast IPAs now due to the length of time spent in transit to Australia and my 1st hand experience with ‘hop fade’ (Google it). However this Clown Shoes is in a can, and I believe cans stay fresher for longer than bottles, I’m sure there’s some sort of science behind that theory. Armed with this (fervent) belief I eagerly cracked open the can to find inside: Beer! That delicious amber fluid I suspected I would find, yay! PS: Watch this space as I am coming up to a milestone review (#950) and I always go BIG or go home for those [I chose BIG again].

Poured from a 473ml can into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazy deep amber/orange body with a boisterous beige head that sits tall at an inch and remains resolute for some time before dropping back. Didn’t even give it that much of a hard pour either, just a bit of agitation… a jibe or two (“yo wort so ugly even hello kitty said goodbye” that sorta thing). 7/10.

S: Hmmm, piney, caramel, toffee, biscuits, earthy note, hint of passionfruit… yep, that there’s your standard West Coast Double IPA aroma, she’ll go from 0 to 60 (IBUs) in under 3.4 seconds, with a top IBU of around 105, whilst doing about 3-4 malts per gallon (of wort). Tasty drop that. 8/10.

T: Reminiscent of SN Torpedo and Founders Centennial, though armed with the knowledge that there was hop fade in both those brews when I originally reviewed them I’m now less impressed with this DIPA from Clown Shoes. Flavours are pretty malt forward (caramel, toffee, biscuits) with a piney/earthy hop presence, and if I close my eyes and try really hard to picture it there’s a touch of passionfruit in there as well. Finish has a medicinal herbal hop note with a medium bitterness. Little indication of the 8% ABV as well. This is a decent DIPA then. 7/10.

M: Mouthfeel could be better with peers like Founders (of course!) crushing this area, Galactica has left me wanting more with a medium body and a flat dense carbonation. 6/10.

D: Overall I might sound a bit harsh, and now spoiled by ‘hop fade’ facts and all the great beers out there now, but this is a middle-of-the-road brew from Clown Shoes, who are not known to play in the middle-of-the-road. 8/10.

Food match: Gourmet pizza – rocket, walnut, prosciutto and truffle pecorino… yeah?

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Stone Fruitallica Double India Pale Ale

Total Score: 8.45/10 Orange1Kiwi1Chili1Tulipglass1

Strangely enough I almost didn’t buy this Double India Pale Ale from those masters of mayhem: Stone Brewing, in collaboration with Beavertown and one of NZ’s finest: Garage Project. It struck me as an odd cacophony of flavours, however last time I thought that was Stone Mocha IPA, and we all know how well that went with me [pretty, pretty good]. Then I was speaking with one of the bar tenders at Bloodhound in the valley (Brisvegas of course), and he rated this brew very highly, so who am I to refuse another awesomesauce brew from Stone? Here’s a bit of the bottle blurb: “… with a power trio of kiwi, yuzu and habanero. Yuzu and habanero, sure, but who knew kiwi fruit could be so metal.” Well I kinda always suspected kiwi to be a little bit metal, have you seen a kiwi fruit before? It’s like a shaved head.

Poured from a 650ml US bomber bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy orange sunburst body with a nice meaty cream-coloured head that slowly drops back leaving a bit of lace on the sides of the glass. Looks pretty standard, I happen to like my DIPAs cloudy, so thanks there Stone. 8/10.

S: Aroma is BIG [Bearing Immense Gusto] and bold with a sharp citric stab no doubt provided by the yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit that is sorta half-lemon/half-grapefruit in flavour). Hints of kiwi, piney notes, and a dash of habanero round out this juicy DIPA fragrance – so looking forward to the next part. Any criticisms? Perhaps the kiwi and habanero could be a little more elevated, but it’s a minor critique. 8/10.

T: Wow, yeah! Old mate from Bloodhound wasn’t kidding – this is an absolute ripper of a DIPA! Very citrusy, that yuzu comes through well along with orange juice and pink grapefruit. Kiwi is adds a slight background sweetness, and habanero a slight background spiciness, both of those flavours could use a dial up. Piney/tropical fruit (bit of the old pineapple chunks) come through as well. Finishes a touch on the sweeter side with a reasonably mild earthy bitterness (some hop fade is noted here). Once again Stone have nailed a big juicy DIPA. Ahhh, the habanero comes through as some heat in the aftertaste. That 8% ABV is barely registered too. 9/10.

M: Mid to heavy bodied with a dense and creamy/light carbonation. 8/10.

D: Once again Stone have shown themselves to be the masters of their domain, the kings (& queens) of their castle, which is brewing great big beers that taste interesting and go down waaay too easy. Once again I must tip my hat to Stone. Cheers you big old Wookie Greg Koch! 8/10.

Food match: Malaysian or Mexican, both would work well with this.

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To Øl D’Juicy IPA

Total Score: 7.9/10 Caramel1Pineapple1Peach1Tulipglass1

Next from To Øl its D’Juicy IPA, which I imagine is the juiciest DIPA To Øl have ever crafted! EVA! Erhm, yes, so I’m curious if that means the NEIPA craze has reached Denmark, and thus the globe. It’s like beers version of Beatlemania – NEIPAmania! Or it could be that D’Juicy IPA is a standard West Coast DIPA… I did some googling and came up with this: “Our version of a juicy DIPA – citrusy citra, fruity mosaic and well rounded centennial, BUM!”… so inconclusive. Damn you and your tiny beer descriptions To Øl! The label description is interesting though: “The funky colours of the sunset gradient contrast the hazy appearance of the plant. The design tries to inject some nostalgia and longing into to this juicy and fruity IPA”. Juicy.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazed, almost cloudy, golden-amber body with a massive 1 inch off-white head that leaves bits of lacing as it descends. Looks rather like a beer, yes. Like the golden hour sunrise colour of the body. Aroma-time commence! 8/10.

S: Straight away I can tell there’s a bit o’ the old hop fade going on [my arch-nemesis]: malt-forward caramel with a piney/citrus hop hint the background. Not a great start, also not To Øl’s fault this beer got to me too late to appreciate the hops – thems the breaks on a vast sea voyage. Hint of peppery spice character in there as well, not a total loss then. 7/10.

T: Damn! This would have tasted soooo fresh canned (or gotten to me earlier). Flavours are moreish enough even with a decent dollop of hop fade – solid caramel base, hints of canned fruits in syrup including pineapple, peach and mango, slight piney/herbal character. AND! Annnd! Hardly any noticeable alcohol (apart from that provided by a dump-truck of sugar) at 8.5% ABV. Actually reminds me of Victory DirtWolf with a different flavour, and that’s my favourite DIPA right there – high praise indeed! 8/10.

M: Mid to heavy syrupy bodied with a thin but dense carbonation and plenty of oiliness to boot. Slightly cloying as a result. 7/10.

D: Damn. I can tell this is a real cracker of a beer even with hop fade, it certainly lives up to the D’Juicy name, and in answer to NEIPAmania – it has commenced now that Denmark is brewing a NEIPA in this D’Juicy IPA [because that was the only criteria for NEIPAmania: Denmark had to produce a NEIPA]. To Øl seriously need to can this liquid gold so we can all enjoy it in the southern hemisphere. 9/10.

Food match: Look, I know it’s an old favourite but: THAI!

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Brewski Conan DIPA

Total Score: 7.1/10 Passionfruit1PapayaMango1Coriander1Tulipglass1

I realise going in to this review that there’s like a 50% chance this is going to be another dud, by dud I mean: another over-fermented brew, from Brewski. Whom I happen to like, despite the problems I’ve had already with Mango Hallon Feber and Pango IPA. I chalk those gone-bad brews down to luck of the draw and move on. So next up is Conan, then I’ve got their Barbarian IPA… wait, Conan and Barbarian? There’s some cultural reference to be found there… Anyway hopefully this will be another Donkeyboy, Donkeyboy was pretty damn tasty – I ended up getting a 2nd bottle of that and downing it along with a bottle of Omnipollo Texas Vanilla Ice Cream Pale Ale… I should have cooked up some Swedish meatballs too, oh well.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy AF Goldenrod body with a thin white cappuccino head on top, looks heaps less excitable than the bad Brewskis I had above, so fingers crossed. These guys definitely like the NEIPA style too. 8/10.

S: Fresh ripe passionfruit tap-dancing all over my olfactory senses, really nice, and explosive passionfruit aroma! Grassy hop note and hint of mango towards the back. It’s difficult to get past that massive passionfruit fragrance though. 9/10.

T: Well my fears have been allayed! This bottle is OK! Flavour is a sweet, almost confectionary passionfruit with hints of mango, pear esters and a slight herbal bitterness towards the finish. It’s a bit sweet with very little to balance it out though, unlike Donkeyboy which had a razor-sharp balance. Which is a shame because you could see where they were going with Conan – NEIPA styled as it is, however it really needs a bit more hop character to balance out the sweetness. At least the bottle is fine, hopefully Barbarian has also survived the long sea voyage to Australia. 6/10.

M: Medium bodied with a nice compact carbonation, sits right in that “sweet”-spot in flavour (literal) and mouthfeel (figurative). 8/10.

D: Were parting not such sweet sorrow, this Brewski DIPA finds itself in a bit of a weird zone for categorisation, being both a DIPA and a Dessert Beer with all this sweetness on hand. If it had a bit more depth to it I might have been a fan, but it’s just a singular minded passionfruit affair, with a few minor other flavours. Overall I’m still glad I bought these Brewski beers with their cute labels, each one has been a different adventure into flavours expected and unexpected. This however is a brew for someone who is more a sweet-tooth than I. 7/10.

Food match: Roast turkey with a cranberry and quinoa salad.

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