Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BrewDog Hardcore IPA Review

Brewery: BrewDog Ltd. | Beer: Hardcore IPA
Style: American Double India Pale Ale | ABV: 9.0% | IBUs: 150
Serving Method: 22.4 oz. bottle poured into tulip glass

BrewDog Hardcore IPAOf all the breweries that started to show up in my neck of the woods last year, BrewDog was one of the ones I was most excited to try. The Scottish brewery was founded in 2007 by James Watt and Martin Dickie with a distinctly anti-establishment attitude. It has grown swiftly into Scotland's largest independent brewery, with distribution reaching far enough to stock our shelves here in Houston.

For simplicity's sake, I've listed this as an American Double IPA, though that seems like it may be a little inaccurate. Its backbone is built from Maris Otter Extra Pale Malt. As for hops, the beer is "hopped to hell" and "dry-hopped to hell" with Simcoe, Chinook, Amarillo, Warrior varieties. Here's how BrewDog describe Hardcore:

This explicit ale has more hops and bitterness that any other beer brewed in the UK. This is an extreme beer rollercoaster for freaks, gypsies and international chess superstars.
Hopes are high here, so let's get this show on the road.

Appearance: A thoroughly hazy golden-orange capped by a slow-to-form finger of off-white head that leaves good lacing.

Aroma: Mild citrusy and herbal hops over a caramel malt base. Missing the punch you'd expect from a "Hardcore IPA."

Taste: Where in the hell are the hops? According to the bottle, this bottle will still be fresh for over six months, so I'm sure this isn't a freshness issue. Some grassy and herbal bitterness builds up as time goes on and it warms, but it never really gets much "hoppiness" going. With the hops not making much of an impression, the plain caramel malt body makes up the bulk of the flavor profile. Plenty of butteryness and unmasked alcohol throughout, making a boring profile into something unpleasant. The aftertaste is bitter and boozy.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with smooth carbonation and some slight burn from the alcohol.

Drinkability: Rather poor due to the flavor profile and alcohol content.

Verdict: Hardcore IPA is a thoroughly confusing beer; I was ready for something different, but I've never had to search for hops in an IPA. Even if you take style off the table and try to rate this beer in a style-vacuum, it's still not a very pleasing beer. When you take into account that this bottle cost me over seven dollars, this really becomes a hot mess.

Grade: D+

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