Monday, October 26, 2015

Captain Lawrence Palate Shifter Imperial IPA

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20Chad9976 (1485) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 26, 2015
Captain Lawrence is one of New York State’s most well-respected breweries. Their Captain’s Reserve IPA blew my mind when I first tried it a few years ago. With Palate Shifter, they seem to be trying to improve upon their original claim to fame, though I don’t see what the hook is. Plenty of citrusy and tropical notes, but plenty of heavy boozy quality as well.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 5/26/15 (why is my beer store just getting this now?) and cost $3.60 ($0.30 per ounce).

Appearance: Bright shade of orange with golden highlights. Very hazy body but some carbonation is visible. Pours to a fairly large, white, frothy head which retains and laces quite well.

Smell: Alcohol is the first thing I notice and it’s a bit distracting, but there’s also plenty of citrus and tropical fruit aroma as well. It’s quite sweet, akin to juice concentrate. Good, but not great.

Taste: There’s certain things I expect in a true imperial IPA and this beer delivers on all accounts. The palette is big and bold in all aspects. Lots of hops, lots of malt and plenty of alcohol, too. Flavor is predominantly juicy with characteristics of orange, grapefruit, peach, passion fruit and pineapple. There’s a lemony sweetness as well due to the malt, though some of that might have to do with oxidation. The bitterness hits the tongue with a thud as the brew finishes; it’s pretty dry with a minor astringency. Alcohol comes through in the form of a vanilla character which is quite strong in the aftertaste. This is an interesting, and frankly – unusual – choice of hops for an East Coast brewery’s IIPA. But the final product is a tasty and interesting brew, so that’s always commendable.

Drinkability: At 9% ABV and 90 IBUs, Captain Lawrence Palate Shifter Imperial IPA is a big brew by any measurement. Full-bodied as the day is long; the mouthfeel is thick, soft and slightly sticky. The alcohol is pretty warm on the throat, but not completely distracting. I’d enjoy this beer solo for the best experience.

RATING: 8/10

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