Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Night Beer: Southern Tier Unearthly



Unearthly
Imperial India Pale Ale
Southern Tier
Lakewood, New York
11%

Something interesting tonight. I picked up an armload of interesting beers in Vancouver, not available in Onterrible. If you're a Vancouverite, get ye to Brewery Creek on Main (I think). This is a hop head's beer. An Imperial India Pale Ale (or DIPA- D for double). These are the hop-monsters of the beer world. American IPAs are recognized as being the most bitter of beers, and Americans, being Americans, decided to Imperialize them, that is make them stronger, more flavourful, and more bitter. Loads of hop bombs available down South, but this is one of the most well-known. The silk screen label tells you it is thrice hopped. Kettle hopped with Chinook and Cascade, Styrian and Goldings are added in a hop back, and finally a good dry hopping of Cascade, Centenial and Chinook.

Pours copper-penny red. Big off-white head settles quickly to a thick film. Nice web of lacings all the way down. Beer is completely clear. Nice slow-moving bubbles floating to the top. Looks good.

Surprising nose. Here I was expecting a big smack of hops to rip my nostrils apart. Instead I get some big caramel aromas. Adding to the malt profile, there's fresh-baked bread, and a touch of butter. Resinous pine is the only sign of hops, and it doesn't really stand out that much.

Flavour is in keeping with the aroma. Burnt, heavy, caramel on the tip of the tongue, with strong honey flavour developing soon enough. Butter rounds everything out, and leaves a bit of an aftertaste. It's funny, one sip doesn't give me a tonne of hops, but you really begin to feel the resiny bitterness start to build at the back of your mouth. Very sticky hop oils. My glass is about 3/4 empty and the back of my mouth is starting to feel almost numb. Very interesting.
Good smooth mouthfeel, goes down really easy. Drinkability is shocking. Alcohol is very well-hidden. An interesting beer, not entirely on-style, but I've never been a stickler for that.
A really interesting beer. I was expecting something with stand-out citrussy American hop flavours. Instead the hops are a bit stealthy, they sneak up on you as you drink and just cling to the back of your mouth. I feel like my tonsils are being melted. Yikes!
Closest thing in the LCBO would be Southern Tier IPA.
Apologies for the bad formatting, I copy my reviews over from somewhere else, and it buggers up my tags for some reason.

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