all for experimental brews as long as the result is tasty, drinkable
beer. In case of “Points Unknown IPA” – a collaboration brew from
Ecliptic, Wicked Weed, and Stone brewing companies, it’s a blend of a
double IPA with a Belgian tripel that’s aged in barrels previously used
to store tequila and red wine. With all that in mind, this should at
least be an interesting beer – and it is. Though “interesting” is not a
synonym for “amazing.” I will say it is a very good beer.
I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 4/29/15 (thanks to Stone for the bottle!).
Appearance: A pretty shade of copper/light burgundy. The body is hazy
but constant carbonation can be seen streaming within. Pours to a fairly
large, fluffy/frothy eggshell/ivory head which laces and retains
Smell: Earthy/herbal hops with a slight pepper scent. Not as citrusy as
most Stone IPAs, nor is it particularly Belgian-esque. A little mild
Taste: An experimental brew like this really has no frame of reference.
The double IPA side of the palette appears to be the most dominate,
though. It opens with a rather hefty malt character – not sweet per se,
but definitely more than just a base malt. Perhaps I detect a bit of rye
or some kind of acidulated malt. Through the middle the bitterness
emerges rather strongly with a flavor that’s more East Coast in nature:
pine/earthy/herbal. Not the hop character you usually associate with a
San Diego DIPA. Bitterness increases on the finish with an assertive
dryness, maybe even spiciness. Only trace banana/clove flavors are
noticeable – and that’s only in the aftertaste. For a supposed
DIPA/Tripel hybrid, this brew definitely favors the former. The blue
agave is mostly an afterthough; I really detect no barrel character
here. Overall, it’s an interesting and fine-tasting brew. I commend the
breweries for their ability to experiment. I’d be interested to see what
happens to this beer with some age.
Drinkability: Any way you slice it, Points Unknown IPA is a big beer at
9.5% ABV. However, it’s amazing how easy and enjoyable it is to drink. A
full-bodied brew for sure, though the mouthfeel is not intimidating at
all. The texture is soft with a smooth finish and surprisingly clean
aftertaste. I do notice a bit of alcohol presence in the form of warmth,
but it’s not distracting. I had no trouble drinking the entire 22oz
bottle myself. Though, I’d probably rather drink this with friend and
family on a special occasion instead of casually.