Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Uinta Dubhe Imperial Black IPA

After two straight days of ho-hum wheaty beers, I decided to go in a different direction entirely and drink an imperial Black IPA. This bottle was given to me by (thanks for the beer, guys!). They said they weren't fans of it, oh great, does that mean three days in a row of crappy beer to review?

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (692) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 10, 2012
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Opaque black body, forms a rather large, brownish, creamy head. It does dissolve a little quicker than I’d prefer, but not completely and leaves decent lacing on the glass.

Smell: Big grapefruit and general citrus aroma with an underlying confectionery sweetness.

Taste: It seems like everyone is brewing a black IPA these days, some stronger than others, but what separates Uinta Dubhe Imperial Black IPA from the pack is the fact it’s brewed with hemp seed. This helps to accentuate the earthy/resiny/piney characteristics of the hops. And this certainly is a hop bomb with strong, dank bitterness immediately. As it changes to the second half a sharp, somewhat astringent quality appears momentarily, but then quickly fades away (I’m assuming this is from the hemp seed). The finish is mostly the same as the beginning, but with an additional malty sweetness. It’s more akin to a porter than a stout, which is a little odd considering how big the beer is.

And while the hops certainly are the main attraction here, there’s still a noticeable sweetness to the palate. After a few swigs the beginning starts to seem sweeter with dark chocolate and coffee creamer flavors. Maybe a hint of caramel, too, and the aftertaste also has these flavors. It’s a very appealing palate and the complete lack of alcohol taste or warmth makes it all the more impressive. Had they left the hemp out it’d be a perfect beer as that astringency is a tad distracting, but easily tolerated.

Drinkability: You’d never know this beer was 9.2% ABV if it weren’t on the label. It has the body and weight of something half its size. The mouthfeel is soft, full-bodied for sure, but isn’t sticky and chewy like many imperial IPAs often are. The texture is velvety and creamy and it slides across the tongue and down the throat with ease. The only caveat is the hops do linger, leaving an almost cloying resiny film on the tongue and drying out the mouth. Paired with a robust meal or as a liquid dessert is the best way to drink this beer.

Grade: 9/10

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