some odd reason, there are American breweries that make IPAs in the
English style. Perhaps that due to the fact so few authentic English
IPAs are actually available here, so it’s always nice to give one a try
when I can find it. Fuller’s Bengal Lancer is probably an IPA in name
only, even for an English-style entry. This is much closer to an amber
ale as it’s remarkably sweet and the hops are quite tame. One of the few
malt-forward IPAs I’ve had.
I poured a 500ml bottle into a tulip glass. It had a best before date of 11/19/14 and cost $4.99 ($0.30 per ounce).
Appearance: Golden/amber/orange color. Body is fairly clear with a bit
of haze, but carbonation is visible. Pours to a small, off-white, foamy
head which retains and laces fairly well.
Smell: Sweet scent of orange sherbet and caramel candy.
Taste: This is one of the sweetest non-imperial IPAs I’ve ever had.
Right away there’s a sweet malty taste of honey, caramel and
butterscotch. Some orange fruit as well, but this doesn’t seem to be a
hop flavor. In fact, the hops are not very pronounced here at all. Some
mild bitterness through the middle imparting just a touch of dryness.
There’s additional confectionery-like sweetness and flavor on the finish
with a touch of butter and astringency. Perhaps this is an old bottle
and the hops faded (which wouldn’t surprise me), but I don’t think I’d
consider this an IPA even if it were fresh. Bengal Lancer works well as
an amber ale – too bad it’s not marketed as such.
Drinkability: Another overtly English character to this beer is its
relatively light body. At only 5.3% ABV, Bengal Lancer is closer in size
to a pale ale than an IPA. On the plus side, it’s easily quaffable. The
mouthfeel is thin and crisp and leaves little aftertaste. I might even
consider it refreshing at times. It could use more body and more flavor
to truly be considered an IPA.