hate getting burned by unknowingly old beer. The only thing I can do to
“get back” at the brewery for not fresh dating their bottles is to
review the beer as it is. I’m inclined to believe that River Horse
Hopalotamus is a decent beer when it’s fresh, but I probably won’t know
as we don’t get their beers here in Albany (I got this bottle
downstate). This has all the makings of an old IPA: a lack of hops,
pronounced malts, tangy astringency, and general off-flavors and aromas.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date and it cost $3.39 ($0.28 per ounce).
Appearance: Surprisingly dark rusty orange/light brown. So cloudy with
sediment that it’s opaque. Pours to a small, off-white, foamy head that
mostly dissipates and leaves a little lacing.
Smell: Some kind of spoiled, bacterial aroma. Malty notes can be found
lurking in the background, but are not enough to salvage the nose.
Taste: There isn’t much to say about this beer because there isn’t much
here. The malt base has held in rather well and creates for a peanut
brittle and toffee flavor along with lemon lollipops (oxidation). Hops
are pretty much gone except for light piney flavor up front and a touch
of earthy resiny on the finish. Otherwise, it’s mostly a sharp, dry
astringent flavor and a tangy sourness on the finish and aftertaste. I
can’t imagine this is how the beer was supposed to taste.
Drinkability: Weighing in at 8.5% ABV and 93 IBUs, River Horse
Hopalotamus is definitely a big beer. Though not flavorful, it’s at
least drinkable. The mouthfeel is still well carbonated with noticeably
viscosity. The malty sweetness lingers on the tongue for a moment, but
fades and leaves a lingering starchy after flavor. This kind of
mouthfeel would be fine if the palette had held up.