ClarkVV (4003) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 12, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: DEC 15, 2006 2006 draught samples at Kennett Fest on 10/7/06
Orange-copper-blond colored beer is quite hazy, showing tiny bubbles rising at the surface to create a cascade-like effect of colors and carbonation, leading to an enamel-colored, dense head that shows medium to high retention and light lacing.
Highly fruity hops in the nose are pungent and very aromatic. No immense hard resin or obnoxious grapefruit overdose here. Bright and crisp for sure, but softened, somewhat, by a modest amount of caramel-honey sugariness. The malt and hop combination produces cherries and ruby red grapefruit notes, with some coniferous suggestions on the very end as the hop acids mix with the alcohol esters. By no means is it overly alcoholic in the nose, however (which is impressive for this abv). You can almost smell the texture, which just seems like it is going to be rather thick, comforting and fully supportive of the hops. Some nectarine and lemon zest notes, on the back of a very pungent spruce note really shows interesting complexity. Not just another mango, grapefruit, pine concoction.
The flavor really impressed me the most, however, being sweet, or as it sweet as it needs to be to balance, but seemingly going no further. Caramel and light honey, with some touches of bread/dough suggestions, immediately form a supportive texture and are attacked by the bitter grapefruit-like sharpness. It almosts reminds me of lemon juice, the hops being very dry through the middle and extremely pungent (almost sour). But as quickly as it comes, the caramel malts wash it away (mostly, anyhow) leaving flavor combinations of cherries, raisins, marmalade, sweet strawberries and sweetened limes in its wake. A snap of alcohol warmth and/or hop acidity closes it out and malt sugars comfort the palate until the next sip, not allowing any significant acidity (relatively speaking) to build.
Carbonation was quite appropriate, though low and mostly engaging. I think a little bit more would have even been beneficial though, as the malt seemed to take the upperhand slightly, by the end. Still, at this IBU and ABV, itís remarkably well-done and not sloppy. Missing the near-perfect balance/attenuation of Pliny the Younger and PP Hop 15 and perhaps some more pils malt in place of the caramel malt would make it seem a little brighter. Still, this is fantastic stuff and a very difficult beer to accomplish (triple IPA).
muzzlehatch (4422) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - NOV 30, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Multiple half-pints sampled draught at American Flatbread in Burlington, VT. Solid, scintillating apricot juice color with a lasting wisp of head and bit of chunky lacing....nose is all luscious fruits, grapefruit dominant but sweet cherries and apricots making themselves known as well, hints of caramel and maple subtly insistant but the fruits continue to dominate....the body is even nicer, just as sweet and fruity-jammy, very very malty which helps cut those immense IBUs into something manageable (this sample has a few months on it, anyway) with a round, thick, oily feel in the center and only at the very finish showing its IIPA mettle as serious woody dry hops belt you mercilessly; with warmth the hop attack dominates midpalate more but it never becomes less than drinkable, and the alcohol simply isnít present at all. So so glad I got to try this before it disappears forever!
sloth (2602) - Ceciltucky, Co., Maryland, USA - OCT 17, 2006
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Draft @ KSBF:06 Small tan head, good retention and a fair amount of sticky lace hanging around. Lightly hazy amber/orange glow. Nose is big, citrus, grapefruit, pungent hoppiness, a touch piney. Body is full, oily and resiny, sticky. Lots of hops in this beer! Fruity, citrusy, with notes of melon, over ripe peaches, juicey and a hint floral. A massive hop bill! Hidden caramel malts come around as it warms as does some alcohol flavors. Finish is big and fruity, hoppy with a massive hop bite. Nice hop juice! Enjoyed several samples of this monster. My fave at the fest!!
Dickinsonbeer (5076) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - OCT 16, 2006
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
KSBF 2006. Pours a bright orange mostly clear with a slight haze and a nice fluffy white sticky head. Aroma is sharp hoppy citrus and mango with some pine, sappy, resinous and a piney- almost warrior-like hop character. Sticky piney hops in the flvor with mor ecitrus, a bi tof mango and other wierd fruits, some thcik sweet malts and a strong sharp bitterness that almost becomes prickly in the back of the throat. Dman this was good. Had to go back for at least 3 refills during the VIP session. Freakin awesome!
TomDecapolis (4604) - Milton, Delaware, USA - OCT 9, 2006
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
KSBF 2006. Pours a translucent golden amber with a foamy off white head. Aroma of grapefruit, various citrus, light pine and some caramel. Very hoppy aroma...loved it. Flavor has lots of citrus, grapefruit, major up front hops but a very nice body.
hopdog (9580) - Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 25, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Sample courtesy of weeare138. Poured a deeper amber color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of citrus, caramel and pine. Tastes of caramel, pine, with a citrus/grapefruit finish. Nice balance. Wow, 10.5%, just noticed that and would have never guessed it.
egajdzis (5509) - Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 24, 2006
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Poured an amber color with a small, off white head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of pine, tobacco, floral hops, caramel malts, and citrus fruits. Taste of caramel malts, pine, citrus fruits, more tobacco, with a bitter, dry, grapefruit finsh. None of the 10.5% was detected.
weeare138 (936) - Collegeville, Pennsylvania, USA - AUG 3, 2006
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Much thanks to grassrootsvt for this growler of hoppy nectar...
Appears a dense, glowing amber with a fluffy 2 finger off-white head that slowly fades out into a gentle floating cap. Small amounts of CO2 rise to the top. Tons of scattered lace is left around the glass.
Smell is of huge amounts of resinous pine sap, rich sugary orange, and grapefruit. This is a hop-headís heaven.
Taste is rich, sweet caramelized malt with toffee notes and huge, huge amounts of sap-like hop presence. This is even more hoppy than Spawn of Oliver, and Darkside. An insanenly estimated 215 IBUís. Wow!
Mouthfeel is rich, sugary, bitter, chewy, and full bodied. Very extreme, and a bold newcomer for Double IPAís. I would actually tag this one under the "Triple IPA" monicker that has been growing ever popular in the U.S. as of late. This one could go against the big boys any day of the week. The ABV is there but this is what this one is all about...big, ballsy, and BOLD! This hoppy mutant is uncanny. (The X-Men reference was unintentional but while weíre on the comic book references...). When I heard that this one was going to be called Hell Spawn, I immediately thought of the obvious connection...The Shed brewer made a deal with Malebolgia to create this Spawn, ahem, Hell Spawn. This one is a war general that will lead armies of hops instead of demons across your palate. Very complex and intense brew. Wait to see what kind of dreams you have after drinking this one!
Shaun Hill has proven thus far that heís one of the premier brewers on the East Coast. Seek The Shed!
OldGrowth (2854) - the Containment Area, North Carolina, USA - AUG 1, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pint during Hop Head Throwdown @ Public House. Great nose, sweet. Pine is big. Hazed orangy brown, Nice head & lacing. Bittersweet. Grapefruit bite a sweet malt background. Thick body, oily creamy mouthfeel, Bitter!!! finish. F#@*ing yeah, wonderful IIPA.
SuIIy (1983) - Burlington, Vermont, USA - JUL 30, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Draught at Public House 7/29/06. Pours a bright copper color with a thick foamy white head. Nose is full of fresh floral and piney hops. Palate is bitter bitter and crisp and actively bubbly. a great texture and a bitterness that shocks the entire mouth. Flavor is all kinds of fresh magnificent hops, piney resiny and earthy notes.