Saturday, September 26, 2015

S&S Test Batch IPA

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1463) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 26, 2015
Test batch brews can be a gamble, since – as their name implies – they’re merely a test batch and may not be intended for permanent placement in a brewery’s portfolio. In the case of S&S Test Batch IPA, I hope that it does earn a spot on the regular lineup since it’s an impressive, unique and memorable IPA with both American and Southeast Pacific characteristics. It’s also remarkably drinkable and looks and smells great too. 

I poured a 16oz growler fill into a tulip glass. I had it filled at the brewery last night for $5 ($0.31 per ounce).

Appearance: Beautiful copper/orange hue with noticeable haze, though carbonation can still be see within. Pours to a 2-3 finger, bright white, frothy head which laces and retains extremely well.

Smell: A fruit basket aroma of stone and tropical fruits along with noticeable piney scents. A touch of pink bubblegum is present as well.

Taste: This beer is brewed with Cascade hops grown on-site at the farm brewery. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of piney hop character to be found in this brew. Right away, the pine jumps out and has just a touch of sticky/resiny character. There’s an accompanying bitterness that is firm, but restrained (I’d estimate it around 50-60 IBUs). The palette changes almost on a dime as it hits the apex and becomes sweeter and fruiter. Distinct flavors of kiwi, strawberry, mango, and bubblegum all emerge on the back end. A bit of a dry bitterness as well, though it’s perfectly in line with everything that proceeded it. The malt creates for standard amber/toffee character and supports the palette quite well without distracting from the hops (but does give it balance so as not to be a hop bomb). This is a textbook, to-spec American IPA and I really enjoy it.

Drinkability: I was worried that because this was a growler fill the body may have started to go flat by the time I drank it nearly 24 hours after the fill. Thankfully, S&S Test Batch IPA was as lively at home as it was at the tap room. This is at least a medium-bodied brew at 5.7% ABV; plenty of presence and weight in the mouth but with no alcohol distraction whatsoever. Smooth texture and soft body and still enough CO2 so as not to seem like sap. This is strong enough to stand up to a meal, though enjoying a pint on its own merit is quite enjoyable.

RATING: 9/10

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