Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA


It only took me 516 episodes to get around to reviewing an Avery brew - and what a brew! Chris Steltz of http://youtube.com/BeerGeekNation said this was the BEST beer of 2010, so it's one I've always wanted to try. I saw this beer when I was in N.J. a few weeks ago and knew I absolutely had to pick it up. You know I try not to get caught up on reputation that a beer has, but with an endorsement like that I certainly went into this review with some expectations. Would it live up to the hype? Let's see....

4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (643) - Albany, USA - AUG 10, 2011
I poured a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Very dark shade of orange bordering on brown. Mostly clear complexion but slight haziness with little carbonation visible. Forms a good size, eggshell/off-white frothy head which retains and laces extremely well.

Smell: Very pungent aroma of tropical fruits: peach, mango, passion fruit and lighter citrus and candy fragrances too. I can also smell a sweet, maple-syrup or resin-like smell - indicating this is going to be a hop bomb from the nose alone.

Taste: The Maharaja hits the palate with a simultaneous attack of rich sweetness and sticky hop bitterness. Some beers rotate between sweetness and bitterness across the palate, but this beer has both simultaneously. The first thing I notice is a rich, tropical fruit juice flavor of the aforementioned fruit variety. It’s amazing how rich and sweet it is and for a moment it’s actually quite refreshing.

Although very noticeable up front, the bitterness is even more pronounced in the second half. The taste and sensation is that of pine sap filtered through wet hop cones. It’s a rich, thick, heavy bitterness that hits the palate with a thud, not a bang. This bitterness weighs in at 102 IBUs and it actually pairs amazingly well with the consistent rich juicy sweetness. It’s definitely delicious.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied all around, although soft and tepid - never obnoxious. Only a slightly sticky, slightly dry aftertaste.

Drinkability: For such a big, bold beer in more ways than one, The Maharaja is surprisingly drinker-friendly. The palate is soft and goes down very smooth with a pleasant aftertaste of syrup that’s not drying or cloying (and quite clean, actually). The 10.46% ABV is nowhere to be found in the palate - no heat, nor warmth. The food pairings are too long to list, but it’s one of the few truly huge IPAs I think can be drank and enjoyed on its own.

Overall, Avery Maharaja is another fantastic example of what American breweries can do with hops. I just wish it wasn’t such an exclusive beer because everyone should be able to try this brew.

Grade: 10/10