Monday, November 17, 2014

Captain Lawrence Hopsomniac IPA

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1219) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 17, 2014
I’ve 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. 
Grade: 8/10

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