Sunday, August 31, 2014

Finch's Hardcore Chimera


4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1164) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 31, 2014
I poured a 16oz can into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date. It was gift from a friend (thanks, Jon!). Appearance: Bright glowing orange hue over an extremely hazy body. Pours to a large, white, frothy head which retains and laces fairly well.

Smell: Strong hop aroma of all major characters, especially citrus. Some alcohol is noticeable, as is the malt.

Taste: If you’re going to make an imperial IPA, you’d better go all-out, and Finch’s Hardcore Chimera is a good example of what I mean. Brewed with five different hops and heavily dry hopped, this is a really well-rounded brew. It’s not simply just arbitrary hops over arbitrary malts, there’s a distinct balancing of both malt and hops here. It’s sweet, citrusy and bitter – that’s what makes for a great IPA.

It’d be easy to describe this palette as a West Coast-style IPA, but that doesn’t seem entirely accurate. There’s notes of candy, stone fruit, pine needles and flowers here thanks to the varied hop selection (the Mid-Western breweries tend to be the best at blending so many different hops). Peach, passion fruit and grapefruit all are noticeable right away. There’s also a strong pale malt base which creates for a full body and a sweetness to offset the hops. Though I wouldn’t describe this beer as being extremely bitter per se. Alcohol imparts some rum-like spice and leaves a slightly vanilla-ish aftertaste. This is a complex palette for sure and all the flavors are mighty enjoyable; but not quite to the point of being mind-blowing.

Drinkability: IPAs of this caliber tend to be difficult to drink as they might be sticky and cloying, but Finch’s Hardcore Chimera is much more drinker-friendly. Sure it’s a full-bodied palette, but it’s comfortable in the mouth with a soft presence and smooth texture. The 9% ABV does make itself known in the form of a gentle warmth in both taste and sensation, but it’s nothing too intense. Great to pair with a big meal, or enjoy a single serving on its own merit. 
Grade: 9/10