Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ballantine India Pale Ale

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1270) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 29, 2015
Everyone that knows craft beer should know by now that what we call an American IPA in the 21st Century bears little resemblance to the original British IPAs of the 18th and 19th centuries. That doesn’t stop breweries from making and marketing beers that claim to be old school as Pabst has done with Ballantine India Pale Ale. It’s clear this beer is inspired by some of the most popular mainstream examples of the current style with its citrusy hops and big body. I highly doubt this is based on an old recipe, but for a new brew it’s not bad at all (especially considering who makes it).

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 10/22/14 and cost $2.45 ($0.20 per ounce).

Appearance: Extremely hazy shade of dark orange/rusty brown. Particulates can be seen floating in suspension. Pours to a large, beige, frothy head which laces and retains pretty well.

Smell: Yellow lollipop sweetness plus orange juice concentrate. Some pine needles.

Taste: I could probably list off a dozen IPAs that have a similar palette to Ballantine India Pale Ale. It’s pretty traditional for the style: an emphasis on citrus aroma with a distinct malt presence. There’s actually a lot of malt here, so much so that there’s genuine sweetness. It reminds me of lemony yellow lollipops, though that’s often an indication of oxidation. Little in the way of specialty malt except for some toasted notes and caramel. Otherwise, the hops dominate with a strong presence of orange. Light piney/earthy flavor on the backend is also nice. The bitterness is dry through the middle and finish, which isn’t surprising considering the beer is 70 IBUs. Alcohol also plays a role here; it does seem a bit under attenuated. As a straightforward IPA, this beer succeeds.

Drinkability: I was surprised to see the 7.2% ABV indication on the label, as I figured a macro brewery making a supposedly vintage recipe would be much lighter. The weight of the brew is present throughout; the mouthfeel is tepid, chewy and warm from the alcohol. It goes down smoothly and the hops do linger and leave a dry, pasty aftertaste. This would be a good beer to experiment with food pairings, and considering the price it wouldn’t be much of a risk to do so. 
Grade: 7/10