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 (6355) - 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 (2309) - 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.
biz82 (1328) - austin, Texas, USA - DEC 7, 2005
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Hazy dull yellow with a rocky firm head. Very floral and resinous aroma with some pine. Clean, sweet caramel and hop flavor. Robust in body. Lightly carbonated. Really nice, soft and nourishing yet satisfying ale.
hair-old (191) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - DEC 6, 2005
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Batch 7094,Bells has a website to decode this firstname.lastname@example.org.
A swell ipa from bells,looks goofy but
the taste is a must for the hopmeisters.
MoreHead (355) - Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA - DEC 4, 2005
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: NOV 17, 2007 Had during a beer tasting party. Poured copper with aroma of grassy and floral. Taste has bitterness and ends with a long finish. Have gone back to this many weekends as my stand-by. Not recommended for beer cheese soup though, hops took over.
sneagrams3 (2337) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - DEC 2, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
12z bottle. 7094, I guess thatís the batch number? Golden, orange hue with a slight tint of yellow(or straw). Nice head upon pour, but quickly dissipating. Orange citrus and pine in the nose. Good full mouthfeel, with a generous amount of piney, dry and crisp hops. Good malt background, with a little biteersweet chocolate and light roasted coffee notes. But damn, the hops smack you in the face. Maybe not the hopiest beer Iíve ever had, but definitely one of the most balanced. As it warms, the bitter hops subside just a tad, and are replaced with a smoother, sweeter balance. Fantastic example from quite possibly the best micro in the country!
illinismitty (2270) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - DEC 1, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: NOV 22, 2006 Bottle. Pours and orangey red, with a quarter inch white head. Nice hoppy and citrusy aroma. Intense hop flavor nicely balanced by the malts. Some spiciness. Hops stay on the palate. A very crisp and refreshing IPA. Itís at its best fresh. Always check the Batch number before you buy. 1 year old bottles are not as good, and there can be old ones sitting on the shelves.
antzman (316) - Clarksville, Indiana, USA - NOV 29, 2005
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. This poured a cloudy copper with a thick white head. The aroma is hoppy and full of citrus. The taste is a great blend of malts and hops for a nice even flavor. The hops linger on the palate. One of the better IPAs on the market.
Illini08 (542) - Raleigh, North Carolina, USA - NOV 27, 2005
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
12 oz. bottle. Poured a murky copper color. Sweet smelling aroma of hops and citrus. This is a well balanced beer! Obviously very hoppy, but with plenty of malts to balance it out. Iíll be drinking more of this in the future!