Monday, April 9, 2012

Three Floyds Gumballhead

Another of Three Floyds' core releases that I've never tried before. This is their "wheat beer" although I use that term loosely as you'll see in the review. Not that Three Floyds is strict adherants to style guideline anyway. I was really interested to see what they would do with a wheat beer (which, up until recently, was a summer seasonal only). Thanks ago to Proper Hops for the bottle!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (644) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 8, 2012
I received a 12oz bottle in trade with a friend (thanks, Joe!). I poured it into a wheat beer glass.

Appearance: Banana skin-yellow hue, almost glowing. Surprisingly clear for a bottle-conditioned brew. Forms an average-sized, bright white, foamy head which retains and laces well.

Smell: Fresh oranges dominate the nose due to the Amarillo hops. Not much of anything else, though.

Taste: Three Floyds classifies "Gumballhead" as being a wheat beer of some sort, which is odd because it has few qualities I would associate with a beer of the general style. This is much more in the line of an American pale ale than anything wheaty. From beginning to end it’s lemony, zesty (almost peppery), hop flavor and accompanying bitterness. There’s a tingle across the tongue throughout the entire swig, so it’s quite energetic for such a relatively small brew. It ends with a quick hop bite, a hint of chalky aftertaste, and then slowly fades away cleanly.

What’s remarkable is that considering how hop-forward this is for the style (and in general), it’s very refreshing. This would be an ideal summer beer, but has enough flavor to satisfy in any situation. My only complaint would be that it’s a one-dimensional palate. I’d prefer some more familiar qualities of a wheat beer instead of something bordering on a pale ale.

Drinkability: According to Three Floyds’ website, Gumballhead is 5.5% ABV and 35 IBUs. I can definitely see the potency as this beer has a thicker, longer-lasting, and energetic palate than your average pale wheat ale. Although the 35 IBUs actually seems a little low as this seems to have as much hop presence as many pale ales and single IPAs I’ve tried. A smaller, lighter body would enable it to be a true session beer, but for now it’s just a tasty, enjoyable pale wheat ale that I’d happily buy if I could get it.

Grade: 7/10

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