Sunday, December 26, 2010
Day 26 of the 31 beers of Christmas
I can't feel too bad about never having tried this next style of beer. Black IPA hasn't been around long enough for people to even agree on what to call it -- it's also called Cascadian Dark Ale, Dark IPA, India black ale and several other things. I'm cheating a little -- well, no, not cheating, I'm changing the rules a little. Up till now I haven't looked at descriptions or other reviews of the beer I'm sampling because I didn't want it to influence my taste buds. But I'm interested to know more about this oxymoronic sounding beer and what I should be looking for when I taste it. Here's a description from the Great American Beer Fest judges: medium high to high hop bitterness, flavor and aroma with medium-high alcohol content, balanced with a medium body. . . moderate dgree of caramel malt character and medium to strong dark roasted malt flavor and aroma."
The one I'm sampling is Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale (purchased at eth Charleston Beer Exchange for $6.69), which has 90 IBU. which is high even for this high-hoppy style. But I'm not scared.
APPEARANCE: Black, with a a frothy off-white head that's not going anywhere fast. The black blocks all light so I'm not sure what the bubbles are doing.
AROMA: Pine. I smell pine. Lots of pine. And some old but not rotten plums. And I guess that's hops behind the pine and the plums.
TASTE: Wow, I just might turn into a hophead after all. I wouldn't say this is exactly balanced, because the hops do dominate from start to finish, but there is a definite undercurrent of malty, citrus sweetness fighting to get up. Not sure what happened to the pine I smelled as I don't really taste it. The black color is not the only thing different from a typical IPA. The mouthfeel is thicker too.
BURP TASTE: Oh, there's the pine!
DRINKABILITY: This is the perfect beer to drink when it's snowing outside and -- unusual for South Carolina -- it is snowing outside.