Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lagunitas Lucky 13

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (966) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 12, 2013
I poured a 22oz bottle into a nonic pint glass. It appears to have been bottled on May 4, 2013. I got this at #BBC13 (the last beer of that epic haul).

Appearance: Though technically a red ale, the color is more of an amber or orange hue. Clear with visible carbonation. Forms a large, white, frothy head which leaves plenty of lacing on the glass.

Smell: A sweet aroma of citrus and flowers, not unlike a West Coast-style IPA. A slight earthy undertone as well.

Taste: It’s kind of a cliché to expect a West Coast beer to be overly hoppy. However, I often find it’s a stereotype that’s based in reality. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Lagunitas Lucky 13, since the label describes it as a "mondo large red ale," though based on my experience with the brewery I expected it to be hop-forward. I was absolutely right. Not that that’s a bad thing since the net result is a tasty, highly drinkable beer that’s atypical of the style.

The hops are prominent in the nose and they’re prominent in the mouth, too. Right away the tongue is greeted with citrus and a sweetness not unlike that of a children’s cereal. Slightly dry, but not sharp. I detect an earthy character as well - not dank and resiny like piney East Coast-style hops, but rustic like tree bark. The second half is completely different, and yet complementary. The hops back off to allow for a strong tea or herbal-like flavor. It’s reminiscent of unsweetened iced tea (but with a lot of hops). The lemony hop character on the finish is in perfect harmony with this taste. I enjoyed this for its originality and great use of ingredients.

Drinkability: Beers over 8% ABV I usually have to brace myself for, but in the case of Lagunitas Lucky 13 it wasn’t necessary. While quite hefty at 8.65% ABV, it doesn’t feel or drink like a beer as heavy as it is. There’s no alcohol presence, though there is plenty of flavor. The mouthfeel has a good level of consistent carbonation to prevent the hops from becoming cloying, but not so high as to be spastic or uncomfortable. Okay, there is a bit of a drying sensation, but it’s easily tolerable. 
Grade: 8/10