awaisanen (1304) - Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 29, 2005
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
Clear amber pour with foamy head. Initial hops fragrance is mind-numbing and piney-strong like gin. Flavor is very strong and bright, but cedar and spruce hoppy flavors overpower all other palate dimensions. Abrasive for casual IPA drinkers, but heaven for the intensely-hearted drinker.
Philip (436) - Illinois, USA - DEC 29, 2005
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Sampling from a 2 year old cellared bottle and a fresh one side by side. The hops in the fresh bottle are bracing, too much for my liking personally. However the aged two hearted reveals true craftsmanship, with a excellent balance of malt and hops. Notes of butterscotch and dried cherries along with the grapefruit and pine that is so overwhelming in the younger version. Iíd drink the two year old anytime, I find the young a bit too brash for my palate.
TheBeerOrg (2145) - Louisville, Kentucky, USA - DEC 25, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: MAR 13, 2007 Pours orangish golden with a thin foamy, mostly maintained tan head. Aroma of sour orange, mango, and sweet grapefruit. Taste is citrus and flowery hops. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and slightly resinous. Delightfully smooth IPA, no aggressive bitterness. Yum.
DrunkenWeasel (224) - Portland, Oregon, USA - DEC 22, 2005
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours dark amber with thin white head. Smell is wonderfully hoppy with sweet malt undertones. Taste is piney and floral with some citrus and caramel tones. Coats mouth and leaves a complex hop aftertaste in the mouth. Great!
ross (2104) - weddington, North Carolina, USA - DEC 21, 2005
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
yellowish orange colored pour, white head. standard looking ipa. smells hoppy and malty and fruity. taste is pretty bitter, good balance of malts, and a nice little fruity like kick to it. simply put an awesome ipa that backs up its ratings. probably one of the best regular ipas ive ever had. never been disappointed with bells yet.
acertain (249) - Seattle, Washington, USA - DEC 19, 2005
3.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 11/20
I just didnít like this beer: too bitter. It smelled very nice, with floral hops and grapefruit aromas. However, for me the bitterness when I tasted it overpowered everything else.
Sregnar35 (991) - Rotterdam, New York, USA - DEC 18, 2005
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Excellent IPA. Strong citrusy hop aroma, beautiful orange-yellow color with a great frothy white head. Flavor is citrus and pine, with a smooth sweet malt character. Extremely creamy mouthfeel really makes this brew stand out.
bigdaddy50 (5) - green bay, Wisconsin, USA - DEC 17, 2005 does not count
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
This was the first IPA I tasted - several years ago. Nothing I have tasted since has topped this. Very attractive pour. A fairly hard hitting bitterness that is softened by a fruitiness that makes it special. Itís pricey but well worth it. To me, this is a special brew for special times. Kalamazoo is one awesome brewer!
Cletus (6354) - Connecticut, USA - DEC 10, 2005
4.6 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: SEP 11, 2006 Pours amber with a white frothy head. The best way I can describe the smell on this one is that it conjured up images of the nasturtium in my garden as the sun beat down on them on a hot summer afternoon. Tastes of lavender, rosemary, sage, pine, and grapefruit. Damn near perfect mouthfeel with a lasting bitterness that stays behind for some time.
Update: I am currently enjoying another bottle of this. IMO the best IPA Iíve ever had. I was going to write up a re-rate, but my initial feelings on this still hold up.
OldMrCrow (2034) - Seattle, Washington, USA - DEC 8, 2005
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: JUN 28, 2010
Hand-pulled at Ashleyís in Ann Arbor
Pours a hazy light amber with a reasonable head.
The nose is big candied grapefruit peel and spice; the flavor follows, again an almost sweet, fruity and heavily spice-like beer,. definite floral tones, a warming hint of alcohol, and of course with a long and deep bitter hop finish that leaves the mouth watering deliciously for more. It doesnít come with the devastating oily resin of many of the PacNW competitors, and for this beer, that works beautifully.
This is a first-rank IPA. Iím sure Iím tossing it an extra couple of points for the delight of coming on cask, but this was a wonderful beer-drinking experience. (Addendum: after a repeat on tap at Red Hawk, the 4.5 stands though admittedly it was probably a point shy on tap. In the bottle, itís a different beer again, with less citrus and more malt coming through. Even there weíre looking at 4.2 to 4.3. Great beer.)
Further addendum March í09: cracked another bottle that someone sent me last night. I was starting to wonder if it really deserves the 4.5 I gave it. After tasting again, I think so. This is definitely 4.3 territory out of the bottle; it stands right up there with Pliny the Elder or Green Flash or any of the top IPAs, but itís a more midwestern beast (is that a style?) better balanced and reminiscent of the delights at Town Hall.
Bottle again, 2/10/10. Every time I get back to Michigan and have the chance to drink another bottle, I wonder whether itís really as good as I remembered. The answer is always yes. Amazing stuff, lovely fruity hop flavors. Iíd say I was too kind to Green Flash above; itís more PtE ties with two-hearted, and Green Flash comes a decided third place.
Tap 6/10 in Atlanta. Yep, bloody solid. Itís a frigging crime that Alesmith tops this one as #1 IPA.