only had a few coffee IPAs and those that I’ve had have been wonderful.
You wouldn’t think those flavors would work together, but they actually
do when balanced right. In the case of Captain Lawrence Hopsomniac IPA
it’s more of a standard, almost trendy, American IPA with some coffee
added rather than a “Coffee IPA” outright. It works well as the former,
though I would’ve preferred the latter.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a goblet. It was bottled on 10/27/14 and was given to me by friends (thanks, Alex and Marissa!).
Appearance: Pretty copper hue, nearly crystal clear with plainly visible
carbonation. Pours to a two-finger, off-white, foamy head which retains
and laces very well.
Smell: Earthy/herbal hops with sweet iced coffee lingering in the background.
Taste: This beer is almost a victim of its own success. It’s brewed with
two of the hottest (i.e. fashionable) hops of the moment: Mosaic and
Sorachi Ace. Both have unique characteristics and both are quite
prominent. The Mosaic creates for a rustic earthy, almost salty
character while the Sorachi Ace imparts a lemony, almost “fishy” quality
(beers brewed with that hop are fantastic with seafood and sushi). The
coffee character only shows up briefly at the beginning, coupled with
some amber specialty malt to give it a sweetness and toasted character.
Maybe even a touch of caramel can be found, which harkens of iced
coffee. But through the middle the bitterness increases rapidly as the
Mosaic flavor overtakes the coffee, which then gives way to the
spicy/herbal flavor of Sorachi Ace. Altogether, the palate works well as
an American IPA, but it probably could be even better had the hops not
been so prominent.
Drinkability: I’m not entirely sure of the ABV of Captain Lawrence
Hopsomniac IPA as it’s not listed on the bottle, nor on the brewery’s
website. There is an original gravity listing of 16.5 Plato, which
should create for a 7.6% ABV final potency, though it drinks and feels
like something closer to 6%. There’s a full flavor to the mouthfeel,
though it’s not sticky or particularly viscous. Crisp on the tongue, but
the bitterness chomps down on the palate even at only 65 IBUs and
leaves a lingering dry bitterness.