Total Score: 8/10
4 Pines Keller Door is like the East Coast [Australia you knuckleheaded Yanks!] version of Little Creatures Single Batch… only not as good… but I have a feeling that 4 Pines may be on to something with this oddly named Imperial India Brown Ale (which initialises as IIBA). Let’s stop and have a look at this bizarre etymology: Imperial (from Russian Imperial Stout, high ABV beer made for the Czars), India (from India Pale Ale, high ABV beer made for British troops in India) and Brown Ale (we know Brown Ale). The peculiar part of the name is having “Imperial” and “India” together – which both denote higher ABV brews, and this is only 8% ABV, not exactly challenging for someone who drinks Belgian Tripels for breakfast [I wish!].
Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Hazy dark chocolate bodied with an ample enough 2cm beige head. 8/10.
S: A pleasing mixture of spices (allspice and pepper), dark berries (blackberry, currant and mulberry), a hint of vanilla, and a bold floral hop back note. Quite a tasty full aroma, in fact I sat for a moment simply taking a couple full whiffs before proceeding. 9/10.
T: Flavour brings out brown sugar, dumps it on your tongue, with that floral hop finish. There is some nuttiness in there as well, along with pine/citric hops, and the dryness of the dark berries plays out as well. Fruity, nutty, berry interesting and complex, this is by far the best Keller Door release yet… unless the ESB was a Keller Door release, that was cracking too. 8/10.
M: Medium bodied with an almost flat carbonation. 6/10.
D: I’m impressed by this solid effort from 4 Pines, proving they aren’t just a 4 trick pony (Get it!? Get it!?). This is one brew I could sip sitting by a fire in my wingback chair [I do actually own a wingback chair] and quietly while away the evening puffing from my Meerschaum pipe [I don’t actually own a pipe]. One criticism – the price is a bit of a swift kick in the man-plums, 4 Pines really need to reign in their penchant for sailing around in elaborate gold plated yachts and reduce the price of their brews a little. 8/10.
Food match: I could really imagine drinking this with a delicious Beef Rogan Josh or a Chicken Korma, maybe that’s why they put “India” in the name? More likely I’ve been sub-consciously railroaded into thinking about Indian food because of the name, either way.