Empire Strikes Back is a concept beer that answers the question, "What happens when you make a big Northwest-style IPA with all-English malt and hops?" We are unabashedly local when it comes to raw materials here at Double Mountain, and rightly so, given their impeccable quality. But as a big fan of big British beers, I figured a Brit-inspired brew (on steroids) would make for a nice contrast to our regular lineup.
Straight out of the gate, we knew this would be a malty affair, as the Maris Otter "pale" malt from Crisp Maltings appeared anything but pale. Maris Otter is floor-malted and turned by hand, which suggests some inherent variability. Our batch of 20 bags was a darkish khaki color with some mild scorch marks -- not at all like our beloved house Pilsner malt grown in British Columbia. We added a bag of Crisp "Coloured Malt" to add richness and color. The malt yielded particularly well, giving us a nicely high starting gravity above what we’d been shooting for. (In our world, this is a good problem to have…)
As expected, the Fuggles and Kent Goldings hops we sourced via Hopunion were very muted by Yakima standards; the Fuggles were nicely spicy, the Goldings herbal. We packed the hopback with copious quantities, then saved a bunch for dry-hopping. After a two week fermentation with our house yeast, we rested the beer on 1+ lbs per barrel of Goldings for about two weeks. The final product came in at around 6% ABV and 65 BU.
The resulting beer is big and aromatically malty, very mouth-filling for its strength, with a decided lean towards sticky toffee flavors and aromas. The hopping almost devoid of the citrus character we associate with "hoppy" beers here in the Northwest, but they do provide a backbone of clean bitterness, and a tad of spicy/herbal hop aroma. The mid-palate hop flavors are pretty much overwhelmed, however, by the massive malt attack. Definitely a malt-lover’s IPA…I don’t think anyone would ever guess it had over three lbs per barrel of hops in it. But that’s how it goes in the world of one-off brewing.
Beardface (1517) - Eugene, Oregon, USA - AUG 11, 2010
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap at the release party at the Moon and Sixpence. Nice orange pour with about an inch of off-white foam capping it. Smells of toffee malt mainly, with a bit of nuttiness and some definite spicy earth hop notes as well. Flavor profile is also heavily toffee malt, very nicely balanced with earthy/spicy hops and also a little nuttiness in the flavor as well. An interesting beer, but I enjoyed it. Had multiple pints actually.
neepsntatties (1717) - Portland, Oregon, USA - MAR 30, 2010
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Had this on tap recently at Bailey’s Taproom in Portland, OR. Colour... translucent golden-apricot with no head. Nose... grassy, lightly hoppy and husky. Palate... lightly bitter, kind of fruity and floral like jasmine flowers, hay and cut grass. I dunno.... seems more pale ale-ish than IPA-like. Rather one dimensional.
boFNjackson (4199) - Portland, Oregon, USA - MAR 15, 2010
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Tap @ Belmont Station... Poured orange with an off-white head. Aroma of toffee malts and crisp, earthy hops. Wonderfully smooth, caramel malt flavors, and light ginger like spices and musky hop flavors that lent to a light lemon, tea-like quality. I’m not too into the British style (ingredients and all) beers), I’m a big west coast pale ale guy, but Double Mountain did this justice. I think it’s their house yeast, which does so many wonders to their beers.
Join us! RateBeer is made by beer enthusiasts for the craft beer community.
Your basic membership is free and allows you to read all beer ratings.
Click here to create your account... and give your opinion!
Join Us »
Tick this beer for your profile
- Currently 0/5 Stars.