Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Avery Raja Double IPA

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1480) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 21, 2015
I remember when Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA was THE must-have beer of the time (circa 2010-11). This version, “Raja”, seems to be a toned-down edition of that original recipe. Whereas the original was a true imperial/triple IPA, this is more of a straight double IPA with lots and lots of hops and not much else (for better or for worse). I have a feeling it’s capitalizing on a current palette trend in the craft beer world, but it’s still a very good beer anyway.

I poured a 12oz can into a tulip glass. It was canned on 9/20/15 and cost $5.05 ($0.42 per ounce).

Appearance: Bright banana-skin yellow hue with a mostly clear body; some carbonation visible. Pours to a fairly large, brilliant white, frothy head which retains and laces quite well.

Smell: Tropical fruits and juice with a subtle spice rack seasoning in the background.

Taste: I haven’t had Avery’s original Maharaja in years, so I can’t say how this compares to that. However, it is quite familiar to Heady Topper and other New England-style DIPAs that are all the rage right now. The flavor is tropical fruits right away; especially mango and papaya and tangerine, quickly followed by peach and other stone fruits. On the second half, it becomes intensely bitter with a spicy/dry sensation. Garlic and onion notes are quite prominent, presumably due to Summit hops. Not much in the way of maltiness, though. There’s no sweet base to the brew – it’s just all hops all the time. Perhaps it’s repetitive, but the average hophead should enjoy this immensely.

Drinkability: Though only slightly lighter at 8% ABV, Avery Raja seems to be half the size of its forbearer (10.5% ABV). The mouthfeel is surprisingly crisp and thinner than you’d expect. Not sticky/cloying sensation whatsoever. Alcohol is noticeable, but it’s in no way distracting. The hops do linger on the tongue with a dry/spicy flavor. This would be fantastic with garlic chicken wings (or pretty much anything made with garlic).

RATING: 8/10

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