ClubGonzo’s Hipster-ish IPA

India Pale Ale, 6.5% ABV, 42 IBU.

ClubGonzo's Hipster-ish IPA, batch 78.

ClubGonzo’s Hipster-ish IPA, batch 78.

Ordinary IPAs are just so 2014, white IPAs are a thing of the past and Black IPAs are passé. Welcome to the next big thing for the hopheads: New England IPA!

Looks like an IPA.

Looks like an IPA.

In the glass it has a cloudy amber body, maybe a bit too dark and too little orange juice-like to be a school book example of a NEIPA? Ah, now I see, NEIPAs are yesterday’s news as well, this must be an ANEIPA (which of course is Amber New England India Pale Ale). Or, as it would have been called a year ago, a Pale Ale.

The head is large, creamy and off-white.

The aroma is very strong, and of course very hoppy. I get lots and lots of sweet tropical fruity notes, including peach and mango. There is also a spicy touch, some gooseberries and caramel.

Strong flavour of tropical fruits, grapefruit, citrus peel and spices, with some caramel in the back, and hints of a bit too pronounced and stinging alcohol (without me drawing the “solvent” card once again). The taste is light sweet and the very dry finish is moderate bitter. The mouthfeel is on one hand very pleasant – the body is close to full and the texture is smooth and almost creamy. On the other hand the astringency of the citrus peel and the peppery dryness of the spices makes the aftertaste a bit demanding.

Conclusion: ANEIPAs might be a bit to hipster-ish for me, I prefer a regular IPA with more bitterness and less spiciness and astringency. Or maybe a more juicy NEIPA.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    11/20
Ratebeer score: 3.1/5.0
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Dr. M Lønn for strevet

Lønn for strevet by Dr. M, India Pale Ale, 6.3 ABV, 140 IBU.

Interleaved between all the Belgian ales that Dr. M usually brews, here’s an IPA!

IMG_8641It has a crisp, moderate aroma with a generic fruitiness, pale malts and faint citrus, and there are also some herbal traces. And then there is something strange… You know this beetle that excretes a not-that-nice-smelling liquid when disturbed? Just a moment, let me google that for you… Ah,  green shield bug, Palomena prasina! Yep, I actually find hints of bug excretes in this beer! You haven’t seen that one in a beer review before, have you? The lack of tropical fruits, pine, a citric punch or other elements that tend to pop up in IPAs, combined with the strange Palomena prasina makes the aroma very far from that of a regular IPA.

The flavour is a bit faint, with notes of pale malts, fruitiness and a bit unclean boozy hints. What kind of yeast have you used in this one? I get some yeasty notes that I don’t find very typical for an IPA, maybe I’m biased due to Dr. M’s previous brews, but I find it more Belgian than e.g. the good old US-05. Light sweet taste with a moderate bitter finish (I don’t believe for a second that this one has 140 IBUs!).

It’s mid-bodied, has a moderate carbonation, and there is a light dryness in the finish.

Overall: an unusual, faint and not too exciting IPA, with some strange off-flavours. Not undrinkable, though. Are you wondering about the name, Lønn for strevet? It turns out that Dr. M has added maple syrup to this one, but I fail to pick up any clear syrupy notes. Unless it’s what I identify as bug excrete.

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      5/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    8/20
Ratebeer score: 2.5/5.0

Den Skjeløyde Mann Lettkledd 1 and 2

Lettkledd 1 and 2 by Den Skjeløyde Mann, Session IPA, 4.7/4.3 ABV, 50 IBU.

Den Skjeløyde Mann loves his IPAs, this time I’ll compare two batches of the same brew – a watered down session IPA based on the Nøgne Ø IPA recipe.

Before I start, I need to mention that I forgot the bottles in the freezer, so they were both served far too cold (4ºC, I guess).

Lettkledd Batch 1 to the left, Batch 2 to the right.

Lettkledd Batch 1 to the left, Batch 2 to the right. Trust me, the colour is in fact very similar, but Batch 1 looks lighter in this shot since it’s placed closer to the window.

In their glasses they look as good as identical: cloudy, a bit dirty-looking, medium amber colour with an average-sized beige head of average life-time.

The moderate aromas are also quite similar, I get restrained tropical fruits, hints of caramel and a lager-like, pale malty sourness from both. I also get hints of the same booziness as you find in imperial pilseners. 2nd Batch is maybe a tad sweeter, with the caramel bordering on butterscotch that is somewhat unpleasant.

The moderate flavours are also comparable: generic fruitiness, bitter grapefruit, citrus peel, resin, pale malt, caramel and hints of tropical fruits. The big difference is that in 2nd Batch the caramel is replaced by some disturbing notes of sweet butterscotch and light diacetyl. The taste of both beers is light sweet followed by a quite heavy bitter finish.  1st Batch feels a bit more bitter, but that might be due to the fact that 2nd Batch is somewhat sweeter.

Both batches are quite dry on the palate, but 1st Batch is a bit drier.  They are both fairly lively carbonated, and has a surprisingly bold body for such low ABV brews, with 2nd Batch having an even fuller body. I actually like the mouthfeel of both beers equally well.

Conclusion: 1st Batch  is a decent session IPA, without being a highly successful brew. 2nd Batch has the same positive elements as 1st Batch, but it’s also pretty messed up by  the butterscotch. Both batches lack a bit of intensity and hoppy punch in the aroma and flavours. So, ok, try again.

 

Lettkledd Batch 1:

Aroma:      6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    11/20
Ratebeer score: 3.0/5.0

Lettkledd Batch 2:

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      5/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    10/20
Ratebeer score: 2.7/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Bryggselv IPA #3 – The Girl From Ipanema

Bryggselv IPA #3 – The Girl From Ipanema by ClubGonzo, India Pale Ale / Spice/Herb/Vegetable, 6.2% ABV, 60 IBU.

A light IPA

A light IPA

Bryggselv IPA #3 - The Girl From Ipanema, Batch no. 59 - Contract brew no. 11.

Bryggselv IPA #3 – The Girl From Ipanema, Batch no. 59 – Contract brew no. 11.

Another take on the Bryggselv IPA brew kit (here’s the last attempt), this time it’s spiced up with habanero chillies. The readers of this blog will know that I’m a sissy when it comes to chilli, so let’s see if I survive this one…

To my surprise the Bryggselv IPA #3 looks nothing like #2, this one is much lighter, it has a clear, pale amber colour, almost golden. The averaged-sized head is off-white, long-lasting and laces the glass well.

The aroma is quite strong and to my relief it doesn’t smell much like habanero. Instead it’s a rather standard IPA aroma, in other words fairly sweet tropical fruits, orange, and caramel in the back. Or are there also hints of something vegetal (in a good sense) far in the background?

But hey, once in the mouth it’s pretty obvious that there are chillies in this one! And it works! Sure it’s hot, but not undrinkably so. Instead the habanero contrasts the sweet tropical fruits and the light caramel, giving a refreshing and palate-cleansing brew. It’s difficult to give a qualitative description of the bitterness level of this one, since the spiciness governs the aftertaste. The brew is mid-bodied, moderately carbonated and have some sweetness in the initial taste.

Conclusion: hot and spicy, but also refreshing and tasty! The reasonable amounts of habanero has resulted in a spiced IPA, not a flaming hot chilli beer with hints of hops. 

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    13/20
Ratebeer score: 3.5/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Bryggselv IPA #2 – Citric Assault

Bryggselv IPA #2 – Citric Assault by ClubGonzo, India Pale Ale/Fruit Beer, 6% ABV, 75 IBU.

Bryggselv IPA #2 - Citric Assault, batch no. 57 - Contract Brew no. 10.

Bryggselv IPA #2 – Citric Assault, batch no. 57 – Contract Brew no. 10.

Looks like an IPA.

Looks like an IPA.

ClubGonzo has played around with the Bryggselv IPA brew kit once again (here’s the first experiment), and has created a highly modified version that is brewed with zest and juice of grapefruit, lime and lemon.

It pours an amber body with a rather large, light beige, very long-lived head that reduces to a fully lasting layer.

The aroma is very crisp and strong, and is extremely citric, especially the lime is very obvious. The fruits don’t drown the hops completely, this is definitely a hoppy IPA.

The flavour is very strong, and dominated by the lime. The grapefruit doesn’t contribute that much to the flavour, but the mouthfeel is that of undiluted grapefruit juice. I suspect the main contribution of the lemon is to add quite a bit of acidity to the taste.  The bitterness of the dry finish is pretty heavy.

It’s a mid-bodied beer with a moderate carbonation.

Conclusion: a fine, crisp and acidic brew, but with a bit too much citrus for my taste.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.3/5.0

Den Skjeløyde Mann Bryllupsøl

Bryllupsøl by Den Skjeløyde Mann, Session IPA, 4.7% ABV, 50-60 IBU.

Den Skjeløyde Mann Bryllupsøl.

Den Skjeløyde Mann Bryllupsøl.

This is the first beer from Den Skjeløyde Mann that isn’t an Ægir IPA clone!

It’s clear and quite dark amber in the glass, with a large, creamy, long-lived, beige head that sticks to the glass.

The aroma is strong and very hoppy, with delicious notes of grapefruit, well ripe tropical fruits, and an obvious caramel background.

The flavour is strong and clean, and follows the aroma, but with even more emphasis on the grapefruit and some extra resin. It’s a very bitter brew, but it has a firm and sweet malty background that handles the bitterness well.

It’s a bit thin and watery on the palate, but it’s crisp and refreshing, which I guess is the whole point of this style. The carbonation is moderate.

 

Conclusion: a tasty and easy-to-drink brew that’s not extremely exciting, in other words a perfect session IPA.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     3/5
Overall:    13/20
Ratebeer score: 3.4/5.0

ClubGonzo’s Bryggselv IPA #1

Bryggselv IPA #1 by ClubGonzo, India Pale Ale, 6.5% ABV, 75 IBU.

Bryggselv IPA #1, ABC Hop Sanatorium, batch 55, contract brew no. 9.

Bryggselv IPA #1, ABC Hop Sanatorium, batch 55, contract brew no. 9.

The brewer insisted that I should taste this beer as soon as possible, since it often takes a few weeks after receiving a new batch of beers before I find the time to rate them. Therefore, with hardly any further ado, here’s a rating of an almost fresh IPA.

In the glass it looks cloudy, a bit dirty and almost opaque, it has an amber colour and a quite large, light beige head that is very long-lived and leaves some laces on the glass.

The aroma is fresh, hoppy and very strong, with delicious notes of sweet tropical fruits in the front, and a firm malty backbone.

A refreshing brew a lazy summer evening!

A refreshing brew a lazy summer evening!

Very strong flavour of tropical fruits, especially spicy mango. There are also citric notes, orange being the most prominent. The heavy bitter finish comes with refreshing piny elements. All the hoppyness is elegantly backed up by caramel. The finish is quite dry, but the initial taste has a reasonably amount of sweetness. It’s a mid-bodied brew with moderate carbonation.

Conclusion: a well balanced IPA with the right amount of intensity both in the aroma and flavour. Too bad ClubGonzo didn’t make the recipe himself, I look forward to taste his upcoming variants of this brew. 

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    14/20
Ratebeer score: 3.5/5.0

 

Den Skjeløyde Mann Schmægir v2.0

Schmægir v2.0 by Den Skjeløyde Mann. With the label of the v1.0 brew, edited by hand...

Schmægir v2.0 by Den Skjeløyde Mann. With the label of the v1.0 brew, edited by hand…

Schmægir v2.0 by Den Skjeløyde Mann, India Pale Ale, 5.5% ABV, Unknown IBU.

Den Skjeløyde Mann’s first attempt at a Ægir IPA clone was not all that successful, but here we go again.

Look, I've got a new IPA glass! Yeah, I know, this blog isn't about me but about beer, but hey, A NEW GLASS!

Look, I’ve finally bought a Spiegelau IPA glass! Yeah, I know, this blog is about beer and not about me, but hey, A NEW GLASS!

In the glass it has a very hazy, almost cloudy medium to dark amber colour, with a large, beige, long-lived head that laces my glass very well.

The aroma is very strong, very fruity, very hoppy and absolutely clean, I get no traces of sweaty brewer’s hand this time. There are also lots of tropical fruits and caramel.

The flavour is pretty strong, but it’s a bit simple and it could need even more distinct and fresh tropical fruits. There is a firm malty caramel background, with hints of bitter burnt sugar. Finally I get faint traces of red berries. The taste is light+ sweet and the reasonably long-lasting finish is heavy bitter. The bitterness is not that amazingly pleasant, it has a slightly astringent 9V cell battery quality to it, it reminds me a bit of the feeling I often had when I tasted my very first IPAs. And do I detect hints of higher alcohols? Ok, I’m very strict now, it really is a nice brew, but since it’s so much better than v1.0 I’ll have to try to detect any flaws!

It feels like a real IPA on the palate, it has a light to medium body, the carbonation is moderate and the texture is dry.

Conclusion: A nice IPA, although not exactly world class. I could easily drink a few more of these, and I’m looking forward to v3.0!  It’s been a while since I tasted Ægir’s original, so I don’t know how close to the original Schmægir v2.0 is.

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      6/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    12/20
Ratebeer score: 3.3/5.0

 

 

Den Skjeløyde Mann Schmægir

Schmægir by Den Skjeløyde Mann, India Pale Ale, 6% ABV, Unknown IBU.

IMG_1301

In this picture the beer looks pretty inviting, but I can assure you that is really cloudy and dirty-looking. Good head, though. (I never get bored of writing “good head”)

 

Den Skjeløyde Mann Schmægir. Look at that hipster label! How iconic, ironic and old-school! Or maybe Den Skjeløyde Mann is a lazy bastard.

Den Skjeløyde Mann Schmægir, batch 002. Look at that hipster label! How iconic, ironic and old-school! Or maybe Den Skjeløyde Mann is a lazy bastard.

I was very satisfied by the first batch from Den Skjeløyde Mann, let’s see if he can make two successful IPAs in a row! Schmægir is of course the brewer’s attempt at a Ægir IPA clone.

It looks a bit dirty once in the glass. The colour is medium to deep amber and the head is off-white.

The aroma is quite strong and has some of the tropical fruity notes I expect from an IPA. However, there is also a strange mix of other elements that are both unusual and hard to pinpoint. I get hints of butter, gun powder (ok, so I haven’t smelled gun powder, but “unlit fireworks” doesn’t sound as cool) and a dull autumnal background. It’s not very bad, but it’s not in the same league as Hopsy Palesy.

The flavour is strong and it’s a bit cleaner than expected from the aroma. Still, there are plenty of vague but somewhat disturbing off-flavours. Some are familiar, like vague hints of butter and hints of solvent, but some I have never encountered before (I think I need to join one of Norbrygg’s beer judge courses). However, it’s not all bad, there are also some nice notes of tropical fruits, and it has a nice moderate bitter finish, so the general impression is «close to ok-ish».

The mouthfeel is very pleasant, it’s got a very smooth and creamy texture, it’s mid- to full-bodied and the carbonation level is pleasantly soft.

Conclusion: Ægir Schmægir, you’ll have to make a new attempt if this is supposed to be remotely close to one of Norway’s best IPAs. Still, I almost finished the bottle.

Aroma:      5/10
Appearance: 3/5
Taste:      5/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:   10/20
Ratebeer score: 2.7/5.0

Den Skjeløyde Mann Hopsy Palesy

Hopsy Palesy by Den Skjeløyde Mann, India Pale Ale, 4.5% ABV, ~60 IBU(?).

Well... You might need to work on those labels, bro!

Well… You might need to work on those labels, bro!

Hopsy Palesy in the glass. Looks good, doesn't it?

Den Skjeløyde Mann Batch #001 Hopsy Palesy in the glass. Looks good, doesn’t it?

A new brewer on the block! Den Skjeløyde Mann is a huge IPA fan, and when he told me that he was pretty satisfied with his very first attempt at brewing an IPA, I had to have a taste. Not only is this his very first IPA, it’s also his very first homebrew altogether! A big hand for batch #001!

In the glass the beer has a craft beer-ish haze, the colour is light amber. It is topped by an average-sized, pretty creamy, long-lived, off-white head that laces the glass very well.

The aroma is strong and definitely very hoppy. I get delicious notes of fresh hops, lots of slightly overripe tropical fruits and newly cut grass. There is also some caramel in the back, and notes of wet leaves. It’s quite simple, but it works very well.

The flavour is strong and it follows the aroma, with an additional truckload of pine in the finish. The taste is light sweet and the finish is moderate to heavy bitter. The IBU isn’t given on the label, but I’d guess it’s around 60. I got two bottles of this beer, the first one I tasted was a few weeks old, and the second one I had 3 months later. The beer was, not surprisingly, less fresh after 3 months, and it also had developed even more of the wet leaves-like notes. They’re still not ruining, but they make the beer a bit less crisp and inviting.

It’s a dangerously drinkable, more-ish, refreshing and crisp IPA, at least when new. On the other hand, with an ABV of “4-5%” (according to the label) it might not deserve to be called “dangerous”. The body feels fuller than many beers in this ABV range and it’s quite softly carbonated.

Conclusion: a very nice tropical IPA indeed! I’m really looking forward to the next beer from Den Skjeløyde Mann!

Aroma:      7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Taste:      7/10
Palate:     4/5
Overall:    13/20
Ratebeer score: 3.5/5.0