Those of us in the Northwest can either label themselves ashamed or proud, to live in a region with so many India Pale Ales. It's no secret that to the west of Snoqualmie Pass, south of Portland, or just east of Boise, lies a hop valley so vast one cannot help but get weak in the knees. Its this plethora of hops and abundance of varieties that make the Northwest home to some of the most unique and wonderful India Pale Ales, man (or woman) has ever tasted.
But if we as humanity are nothing but predictable, we are constantly seeking the biggest, the fastest, or the most impressive. In the realm of beer and India Pale Ales, we seek the hemi equivalent, the Double or Imperial India Pale Ale.
A couple of days ago on our way to the door we noticed a package resting on our doorstep. Featured within the package was a sample of Widmer Brothers' latest India Pale Ale, Dead Lift Imperial India Pale Ale. Those of you who are active subscribers to this website more than likely saw the story regarding this beer. Those of you who haven't subscribed I have saved you the trouble of navigating this quagmire of information by attaching it below.
Dead Lift Imperial India Pale Ale, is another in a series of Double / Imperial India Pales Ales, that only recently (past 10 years) have come onto the scene to challenge peoples perceptions of a "hoppy beer". Although the name of the beer is Imperial, this is still arbitrary at best and often you can find similarly named beers with style names like Double, Extra, or Extreme.
The term Imperial here is reference to the amount of hops added to the beer to produce a more bitter, character. Often as a side affect, the beer also requires some balance from malt which in turn contributes more sugar for the yeast during the fermentation process. As the yeast churns through this sugar, what you end up with is a higher alcohol and higher IBU (International Bittering Unit) beer.
Typically an Imperial / Double India Pale Ale must have an OG (Original Gravity of between 1.070 and 1.090), an IBU (International Bittering Units) range of between 60 and 120, a FG (Final Gravity) of between 1.010 and 1.020, a SRM (a measurement of color) of between 8 and 15, and an ABV of between 7.50% and 10.00%.
Taking all this information into account before trying our first Imperial India Pale Ale from Kurt and Rob Widmer, we embarked with some hesitation.
Cracking the bottle top of this beer we heard a small pop, that was followed by some minor mist escaping the bottle. We chose a 16 ounce pint glass as our glassware and since we had no Widmer glassware, we chose a generic pint.
Pouring the beer into the glass we noticed the copper and slight reddish hue this clear ale produced. As the beer rose to the top of the glass, a thick off-white foamy head was produced at the top that stayed there leaving a tattered curtain of lace behind as it faded. Swirling the glass around and moving it under one's nose, you acquire a resiny aroma of hops mixed with minor grass (earth tones) and strong grapefruit, another swirl and waft under the nose and one also picks up some slight fruti-ness and a bit of floral. Taking a sip you detect medium grapefruit citrus, minor copper, for a medium hop bitterness, with an underlying medium caramel malt balance, and leaves some burn as it rests in the stomach. As the beer rests on the tongue it produces a medium mouthfeel
Overall this is a good entrance from the Widmer Brothers and we look forward to see what other styles they produce. If you can find this on the shelf go ahead and take this one home and try it out, you might be a little bit surprised.
Overall 8.4 / 10 (4.2 / 5.0) A-
About Dead Lift Imperial India Pale Ale
Deadlift Imperial IPA is unlike any Imperial IPA you’ve ever lifted from the beer aisle. It has the strong hop flavor you’d expect from an Imperial IPA but no heaviness that could weigh down your desire to take another sip. The unique flavor stems in part from Nelson Sauvin hops imported from New Zealand. Deadlift’s other component, a simple but fully braced malt backbone muscles up enough malty sweetness and caramel character to spot the incredibly robust hop flavor and aroma.
Deadlift Imperial IPA uses Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand’s best hop growing region: South Island’s Nelson. This region produces some of the most flavorful hops found anywhere. These hops have an intense citrus, fruity, berry-like aroma and flavor that makes them unique. The result will surely be a welcome workout for your taste buds.
The legend goes like this: During the 1970's, a decade remembered by some for its various social movements, Kurt and Rob Widmer began to formulate a movement of their own. After graduating from Oregon State University (Rob) and the University of Oregon (Kurt), respectively, the Widmer brothers set out into the "real world" only to find out the "real world" wasn't for them. Each falling victim to the proverbial "quarter-life crisis," fueled in part by jobs that barely benefited their wallets (let alone their souls), Kurt and Rob Widmer set forth on a path toward opening the brewery we know today. [more] –source, Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
About the photos’ author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.