Double Mountain Empire Strikes Back

Formerly brewed at Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom
Hood River, Oregon USA
6% American Pale Ale | 3 Ratings | 65 IBU | Special Release |
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.

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Comments


Beer Rating Assistance


Aroma is one of beer's most complex features. Aroma is propelled by lively CO2 and dampened by pillowy heads - especially nitrogen foam.

Malt
caramel bread hay cereal chocolate coffee nuts toast roasty

Hops
resin floral grass spruce citrus herbs

Yeast/Bacteria
dough barnyard cheese basement aromas leather earthy leaves

Other
alcohol banana bubblegum butterscotch clove cooked vegetables cough drop ginger licorice raisin rotten eggs soy sauce skunky smoke vanilla woody
Appearance is how a beer appeals to the eye and includes notes on color, the liquid's visual texture and the head -- the beer's foam top.

Color
pale golden amber orange red brown black

Liquid
clear hazy cloudy sparkling

Head
rocky frothy minimal white tan brown
Taste is what can be appreciated with the tongue. It's easy to mistake aromas for tastes -- the tongue only senses sweet, bitter, sour, salt and umami.

Sweet
light medium heavy

Bitter
light medium heavy

Sour
light medium heavy

Other
salty umami
The palate includes touch sensations on the lips, tongue, gums and roof of the mouth.

Body
light medium full

Texture
thin oily creamy sticky slick thick

Carbonation
fizzy lively average soft flat

Finish
astringent bitter abrupt long

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