DMarra (9) - IRELAND - FEB 18, 2013 does not count
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
This was my first experience with White Gypsy beers and I must say that I enjoyed it very much. This beer comes in on the strong side of Pale Ale at around 7% abv which gives the beer a nice, round mouthfeel. There is substantial hop bitterness balancing out the rich malt profile though this beer does not seem to have been dry-hopped, or at least only conservatively so. There is a moderate, grassy hop aroma without venturing into the level of hop aroma found in many American IPA’s brewed to this strength.
As a Pale Ale, this beer pushes the limits of the category. In terms of strength and body, it enters the realm of what I call a Strong IPA (stronger than a normal IPA, but not as strong as I’d expect from a Double or Imperial IPA). On the hops side, the overall profile is more in line with Pale Ale than IPA. My final verdict style-wise is that this beer sits firmly between the two styles of Pale Ale and IPA: it has aspects of both styles but the complete profile of neither.
To sum it up, this is a delicious pale ale unlike just about anything else currently being brewed in Ireland. It is a beer that I will purchase again and one that deserves a place in my "rotation."
I also think that this beer leaves room in the White Gypsy product line for a monstrous IPA which would use this beer as a springboard. I can see a beer using the exact same grain bill (don’t fix what’s not broke, this malt profile is really lovely) but with enough grain to push the abv to 10% and a hop bill that would see 50% of the IBU’s coming from late, 5-15 minute hop additions (not quite hop-bursted, but almost) as well as a generous dry-hopping. I know this is a stretch for an Irish brewery, but after talking to the growing number of Irish craft beer enthusiasts, I think the time is right and the market is ready for a beer such as this.
My comments re: other reviews of this beer:
Overall, this is probably the best pale ale currently produced in Ireland. Other reviewers seems to have slightly misunderstood this beer. The reviewer who said to have expected more hops from an American Pale misses the fact that this beer is a Pale Ale, not an IPA. I have tasted many American Pales with hop levels at or below this. Also, I would imagine that quite a lot of hops are used in this beer (to balance the considerable maltiness) but that these hop additions are rather early in the boil.
Another misinformed criticism that I read from another reviewer was that around the colour. The reviewer complained that the beer was not pale at all, but way too dark for the style. This is completely incorrect. The official BJCP description of colour for American Pale Ale is thus: "Pale golden to deep amber. Moderately large white to off-white head with good retention. Generally quite clear, although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy." This beer has an amber colour, but does not go into the "deep amber" area - so well within the typical range. It is also perfectly clear.
omhper (20929) - Tyresö, SWEDEN - FEB 17, 2013
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottled, from The Drink Store, Dublin. Hazy amber, firm head. Concenrated grapefruit aroma. Mid sweet with medium body and well rounded mouthfeel. Lightly fruity with plenty of grapefruit and long finish with balanced bitterness. Thoroughly well made strong pale ale.
garthicus (2786) - Dublin, IRELAND - DEC 27, 2012
3.3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle. Bomber. Appearance: Dark brown/red medium off white head. Aroma: Grassy hops, sweet, a little malty with caramel. Not the hop profile I’d expect from an APA, light grapefruit detected. Flavour: Big spicy flavour up front, quite an aggressive maltiness with a big sweetness running throughout. Chewy mouthfeel with a long spicy finish.
Beermack (720) - Dublin, IRELAND - NOV 21, 2012
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
75cl bottle. Pours amber/copper with big fluffy white head that lasts brilliantly; loads of lacing throughout. Aroma is grapefruit (although not as much as I'd like) and plenty of caramel malt, few earthy/woody hop notes in there too. Taste is certainly grapefruit-oriented, plenty of pithy lip-puckering citric hop notes. Some orange peel too. The malt character is again fairly heavy handed, with plenty of caramel and bready flavours coming through. Bit of pine resin in the aftertaste and a nice citric hop zing. This is pretty well balanced US-inspired ale, but it's lacking something in my eyes. Could do with a bit more hop character. To be fair, this is good, but I'm dying for an Irish brewer to have a go at brewing a nice crisp, dry, seriously hoppy pale ale/IPA - the wait goes on!
Beersiveknown (3833) - NORTHERN IRELAND - NOV 10, 2012
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle at home courtesy of drinkstore, thanks! Chestnut brown (not pale!) fluffy white head. Pineapple and grapefruit on the nose, gentle carbonation, sharp citrus, ginger, balancing malt. A lovely strong bitter.