an IPA boasts big stats on the label, it definitely builds up an
expectation in your mind. Going into Big Storm Arcus IPA I was prepared
for something amazing considering it’s 6.9% ABV, 81 IBUs and honey is
added to it. What I got was a fairly nominal IPA in all aspects – not
that it was bad at all, just underwhelming.
I poured a 12oz can into a tumbler glass. There was no freshness date
and it cost $2.19 ($0.18 per ounce). Thanks to Mike for this can!
Appearance: The can didn’t gush when I opened it, but when I poured it
into the glass it immediately foamed up massively. This is usually
indicative of infection. It slowly dissipated and I topped it off,
though I lost a few ounces to the foam-over spill. The body is a dark,
murky, opaque shade of copper. The foam did linger and lace very well.
Smell: Perhaps the faintest trace of sour or tang, but otherwise there’s
a typical assortment of pine and citrusy hops – though they’re actually
muted by all the foam. Malt sweetness is present, too.
Taste: I was worried this can might be infected, but despite the
appearance and smell, there was nothing in the taste that pointed to
that being the case. This is a remarkably sweet beer for the style,
though that might be due to the fact honey is added “at the end of the
brewing process.” Usually, beers claiming to be brewed with honey have
little actual honey flavor since the yeast eats it all up, though the
malt bill might account for the flavor here. As for hops, there’s a
general bitterness present, but it doesn’t seem nearly as intense as the
81 IBUs mentioned on the label. Some orange juice concentrate is
noticeable as well as some sticky pine and resin. Overall, it’s a
fine-tasting beer, but not nearly as good as it could or should be.
Drinkability: It didn’t surprise me that the mouthfeel to Big Storm
Arcus IPA was thick and chewy. This is one of the few hop-forward brews
that might actual benefit from being nitrogenated. The hops linger a bit
and leave a dry, citrusy, almost medicinal aftertaste. The alcohol is
subtle in both flavor and warmth, but in no way distracting. I could see
this pairing well with dessert rather than any kind of savory dinner.