Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental IPA Review

Brewery: Deschutes Brewery | Beer: Hop Henge Experimental IPA
Style: American Double India Pale Ale | ABV: 8.8% | IBUs: 95
Serving Method: 22 oz. bottle poured into tulip glass

Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental IPAClocking in at almost 100 IBUs, Hop Henge Experimental IPA is the hoppiest beer in Deschutes' Bond Street series of hop-forward beers. It was first brewed in 2006, but has gone through a significant recipe change since then. As the name implies, this beer is meant to embody Deschutes' more experimental side and their "commitment to innovation."

As usual, Deschutes provide lots of detail on construction. Each barrel is brewed with several pounds of Centennial and Cascade hops, with even more hops employed for dry-hopping. The malt body is built from Crystal, Pale, and Carastan varieties and "creates an overall biscuity characteristic that is dense and muscular, building the alcohol base to support the monstrous hop profile."

All this hop talk has got me mighty thirsty, so let's open it up and hop in.

Appearance: A slightly hazy, burnt-copper body capped with a generous and creamy off-white head that features brilliant staying power and lacing.

Aroma: Sweet, somewhat juicy and citrusy hops and moderate alcohol character over a substantial caramel base.

Taste: Just as you'd expect from a Double IPA, there's a generous flourish of hops up front. They're citrusy, piney, resiny, and nicely bitter. That nearly nine percent alcohol content is hidden rather well with. Underneath all of this, there's a solid enough caramel malt backbone to keep it all together. Lots of resiny, bitter hops and a few wisps of booze in the finish.

Mouthfeel: A fuller than medium body with moderate carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: Perhaps a little above average for the style in this department, despite the high IBU rating. Just watch out for the nearly nine percent alcohol.

Verdict: Hop Henge is a tasty and quite serviceable Double IPA, though I might stop short of calling it "experimental." A definite pickup for the hopheads.

Grade: A-

Note: While this review is being published in August, the tasting notes contained within were taken when the beer was fresh in spring 2009.

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