Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ecliptic/Wicked Weed/Stone Points Unknown IPA

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1361) - Albany, New York, USA - MAY 30, 2015
I’m 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 wonderfully.

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 overall.

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.

Score: 8/10

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