Saturday, August 8, 2009

Weyerbacher Hops Infusion IPA


3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - APR 30, 2010
It’s funny how some beers can be absolutely packed full of flavor, but since taste is arbitrary, an intense flavor doesn’t necessarily equal a good flavor. Weyerbacher Hops Infusion is something of an example of this since it is indeed a high performer in the taste department, but that taste is only good and not great.

APPEARANCE AND AROMA

The beer has a slightly hazy dark amber/light brown appearance. It produces an average-sized, off-white, creamy/foamy head which dissipates fairly slowly and leaves some decent lacing on the glass. The aroma is citrus and flowers with a dry maltiness quite prominent as well. However, I was surprised that all these scents were quite mild.

TASTE

One of the best features to an India Pale Ale is the distinctive hop bite most brews of the style tend to have (especially American versions since we sure love our hops here!). Upon my first taste of Hops Infusion I was quite surprised by how creamy and malty the beer seemed, especially considering how it promotes itself as being an infusion of seven hop varieties.

The prominent flavor here is indeed a hoppy pine taste I’ve encountered many times before. It’s thick, sticky, bitter and finishes with the dryness of an imperial. The palate is not crisp or tart as I would prefer since the pine flavor in addition to the toasted caramel malts makes this beer drink more like a classic British IPA. I wouldn’t describe the beer as sweet, per se, although the maltiness does give it a rich, syrupy-like quality.

I think the dry back end hampers what is otherwise a flavorful, enjoyable palate. I was prepared for a juicier palate with grapefruit notes (as indicated on Weyerbacher’s website), but I detected only trace elements of such at first, although a slight lemon zest spice was a pleasant surprise.

DRINKABILITY

Hops Infusion is definitely a bitter beer by anyone’s standard, however, the actual mouthfeel itself is soft and creamy. Normally, hoppy beers like this tend to dance on the palate but this one only tip-toes. Those who dislike bitterness or a dry aftertaste may not find it quite as drinkable, but hop heads will be able to slug this down no problem.

WEIGHT

Weighing in at 6.2% ABV, this beer is about average for an IPA. What’s interesting is that I’ve noticed beers with thicker viscosity tend to feel heavier on the system than those with crisp palates despite the ABV statistics. One bottle of Hops Infusion made me content and I could probably drink another, but I’m not sure this would work well as a session brew.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It still never ceases to amaze me how many subtle variations there are on the basic IPA formula. A beer with lots of taste is always a good thing, as Weyerbacher Hops Infusion shows, but a beer with the right taste is even better.

Grade: 7/10