Already we are in the first full week of Spring and for the folks of the Northwest it might as well be another week of Winter. Between the rain and the overcast clouds, it seems destined that we might never see sunshine. Then again days & nights such as these were made for something a bit stronger.
A few weeks ago we announced the imminent release of another in short list of Alaskan Brewing Co. Pilot Series beers. With both a Double India Black Ale & and a Raspberry-infused Wheat Ale under their belts, the brewery decided to take a stab at an Imperial India Pale Ale.
Historically Imperial (or Double) India Pale Ales have been viewed as uniquely American. Much like our cars, our buildings, and our country, we crave bigger and more powerful. Chances are if you asked someone their perfect Imperial India Pale Ale, they might mention something from Southern California or maybe a certain brewery in Santa Rosa, CA. Believe it or not there are some great breweries in our own Northwest backyard, like Hopworks, Deschutes, Black Raven, and Boundary Bay, all producing exceptional examples of an Imperial IPA.
Because of this it makes it more difficult to rate the perfect or near perfect Imperial IPA, so we instead let the Brewers Association do the talking.
Imperial or Double India Pale Ales have intense hop bitterness, flavor and aroma. Alcohol content is medium-high to high and notably evident. They range from deep golden to medium copper in color. The style may use any variety of hops. Though the hop character is intense it’s balanced with complex alcohol flavors, moderate to high fruity esters and medium to high malt character. Hop character should be fresh and lively and should not be harsh in quality. The use of large amounts of hops may cause a degree of appropriate hop haze. Imperial or Double India Pale Ales have medium-high to full body. Diacetyl should not be perceived. The intention of this style of beer is to exhibit the fresh and bright character of hops. Oxidative character and aged character should not be present
The aroma is resiny with notes of fruit, pine, and spice bitterness along with roasted caramel malt.
Sipping on this you can pick up a definite English-style influence from the noticeable fruity hop bitterness, followed midway by elements of biscuit and roasted (almost bread-like) caramel malt. Overall the beer has a medium body to it, while reminding you of its malt bill with a lingering stickiness, along with some alcoholic warming.
Consider It. Although the brewery description bills this as a hop bomb of sorts with the mixture of citrus and other fruity hops, we almost feel like the brewery added more malt to compensate for the hop aroma and flavor. Still one to grab if you are looking for an entry level Imperial India Pale Ale.
Thoughts by your Colleagues
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.