Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fuller's Bengal Lancer


3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (1172) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 11, 2014
For 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. 
Grade: 6/10