ClubGonzo's Panther Power

Panther Power by ClubGonzo, Black IPA, 7.1% ABV, 58 IBU.

Black IPA is one of my absolute favourite beer styles. In theory. In practice however, I often find BIPAs to be either too malty or too hoppy, only a very few specimens have turned out to be really well balanced with equal amounts of roasted malty sweetness and and bitter hoppy fruitiness.

The dark brown body is completely opaque. The head is a bit too frothy. But in this picture, after the head has reduced to a reasonable size, the beer looks yummy!

Lets start with the appearance. It turns out that the beer is quite eager to show itself off, it starts rising in the bottle as soon as I remove the cap. This gentle gushing seems to stir up the sediments in the bottom of the bottle, so the liquid I pour as slowly as possible is very cloudy, almost murky-looking, and to be honest doesn’t look that inviting. The head forms way too easily, and I end up with a frothy, huge, light-brown head consisting of lots of small bubbles. The head is fully lasting, and never reduces beyond a .5 cm layer, and lots of foam clings to the glass.

Panther Power, a.k.a. Solo batch 8, by ClubGonzo.

The first sniff of the beer leads me to believe that this one is slightly on the malty side. The aroma is quite strong and has some very nice roasted malty notes with coffee. The aroma is rather clean, but there are some dirty yeast notes, possibly due to the light gushing. Better still, there are also some nice hoppy notes in the back, a faint fruity touch mainly with citrus, but also a whiff of tropical fruits. This one really grows on me, and as the head settles and the yeasty components more or less disappear, I find the aroma quite well balanced and nice, although I’d prefer even more aroma hops.

But it’s the tongue that’s the boss, and the tongue says: “hell yeah!”! There is a nice and filling light to moderate initial sweetness and a surprisingly gentle moderate bitter long-lasting citric finish. Maybe a bit too gentle bitterness, this should maybe be called a Black APA? The flavours are more balanced than the aroma, I get far more hoppy notes, and the dirty yeastiness is completely gone. The malty part consists of roasted notes and equal amounts of coffee and chocolate, while the now quite aggressive hoppy part is a mix of general fruits, grapefruits and tropical fruits.

This is a very more-ish brew, I finished the bottle too quickly and immediately wanted another one. The body is medium to full, the texture is lovely oily and the carbonation ends up as quite moderate, despite the initial over-carbonation. As for the ClubGonzo/JoKr Brewers trademark, the alcoholic feel… What on earth have you done with this one? Whatever it is, keep doing it! The alcohol is incredibly well integrated, it’s so well hidden that I’m tempted to suggest that you made a mistake when measuring the FG! The lack of stinging alchol further enhances the drinkability of this beer.

Conclusion: a gentle, drinkable, tasty and well balanced BIPA. A bit more aroma hops, a tad more bittering hops and a bit less carbonation, and this would have been even better.

Aroma:     7/10
Apperance: 3/5
Taste:     8/10
Palate:    4/5
Overall:   14/20
Ratebeer score: 3.6/5.0