Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lawson's Finest Liquids Big Hoppy

4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (977) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 29, 2013
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date on it, however, it’s their latest release and was purchased on the day of (thanks to Jason for picking me up a bottle). It cost $8.99 ($0.41 per ounce).

Appearance: Opaque dark black body, no visible carbonation. Pours to a large, tan, frothy head which laces and retains extremely well.

Smell: Like the description indicates - it’s dank and resinous. Plenty of pine with subtle roasted malt scent as well.

Taste: The Black IPA is still a fairly new style and pretty much every brewery has a different take on it. I haven’t been sure which approach I like best, that is until I had Lawson’s Finest Liquids Big Hoppy. This is an East Coast-style IPA that stands up and is proud about it. Huge piney hop character all around with a dense, dank, resiny character as well. A little light on the stout characteristics, but it’s still easy and fun to drink. Now I know what makes for a good Black IPA.

The palette starts off surprisingly light and malty. Slight iced coffee and milk chocolate notes, though nothing I’d describe as particularly sweet since it’s quite tame. It changes on a dime into a beast of hoppy proportions (considering the name, this isn’t surprising). A dank, astringent bitterness swoops in from out of nowhere and coats the tongue in resin from the alpha acids. There’s a great taste of pine needles, sap, tree bark, and subtle burnt toast flavor all on the finish. The aftertaste continues this, leaving a lightly sticky, somewhat cloying aftertaste. If only it had more overt stout character it’d be perfect, but for what it is, it’s pretty excellent.

Drinkability: Black IPAs tend to be the best of both worlds when it comes to drinkability. Lawson’s Finest Liquids Big Hoppy has the full-bodied, highly energetic palette of a strong or double IPA, but has the velvety smooth and comfortable mouthfeel of a pub-style stout. To call it "smooth" is to state the obvious. Though on the heavier side at 7.5% ABV, it doesn’t drink, feel, or sit like a weighty beer. I had no trouble sipping on the entire bomber myself. 
Grade: 9/10