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).