Evergreen Imperial IPA Tasting Notes

Original Post: Evergreen
Style: Robust/American Porter
Brew Date: June 2, 2013
Tasting Date: September 19, 2014
ABV: 10.6%
IBUs: 158 calculated… probably somewhere between 80-100 in reality.

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I just opened the beer in the sink, as I’ve learned well is the only way to do it. The geyser of beer flowed straight down the drain, and in fact, continues to now. I must say, though, the aroma is still exquisite.

There is a lot of Citra and Columbus hop aroma being blown off as the beer erupts out of the bottle in foam form. Considering that this was brewed well over a year ago, that is pretty impressive.

Okay… its been a couple minutes, I’m going to go see if the beer is ready for me to pour it into a glass yet.

I got it. I’m down to somewhere between eight and ten ounces, so this may be a pretty quick set of tasting notes, but I’m ready to get started.

I’m drinking from my Duvel glass, which is my favorite thing to drink IPAs from because of its curvy shape and extremely wide top that lets me get most of my face inside to sniff things out. The Citra hops are still the most evident aroma. There is some citrus, but despite the name, I get just as much pine from these hops. Simcoe is rearing its head, too with some slightly harsh, bitter, dankness evident. As I sniff harder and harder, I’m starting to get some alcohol fumes, as well. At over ten percent, that is to be expected and is actually hidden fairly well.

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Now, to finally take a sip… wow. That is bitter. Maybe it is closer to the 158 IBUs than I though. The extremely high carbonation makes it ever more prickly. There is some estery fermentation character, but it is knocked out by bitterness and alcohol before any more sensory information can be gleamed from it.

There is some hop flavor still here, despite being fifteen months from brew day, but it is definitely diminished. That fermentation character was not detectable when this was fresh. The hops have faded but they are not going down without a fight.

The hop bitterness is still intense and the flavor is still heavily leaning on pine. This beer is obviously strong, there is so much flavor that there is obviously a lot of… stuff in it. The actual alcohol is not overly apparent, though. It was originally masked by the hops and bitterness, not the fermentation character is surpassing the actual hop flavor while the bitterness still looms over everything.

Have you noticed that I have yet to mention malts? There is a reason for that. This beer is intensely dry and bitter. There is not malt flavor to speak off. It got a healthy dose of sugar during fermentation and the grist was made up of only American Pale Malt with tons of light extract and a small amount of wheat extract. No character malts. And that is just fine. This is the malt character I want from huge, resinous DIPA. Namely: none.

To match the mess of flavor and aroma going on, this beer also looks like a disaster. It is orange with yellow highlights and cloudier than your favorite Hefeweizen. There is so much yeast build up in these extremely over carbonated bottles that it is ridiculous. This one, honestly is not as bad as others that I’ve had.

As this beer warms, I’m getting more citrusy hop flavor from it. It is almost all pine while colder. I’m not sure how to explain that, but it is interesting.

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Anyway… this beer is a disaster. But a fun one. Fantastic Damage? Beautiful Struggle? I don’t know. Here’s the thing: I kind of love it, but I don’t expect anyone else to. I think it is a wonderful recipe that was pretty badly botched during packaging. Considering this was already my second attempt at this beer, I should probably just move on, but I still really want to give it another shot next Summer. I’m not saying I’m definitely going to, but… maybe.

I also think that this and Fruit Spectrum would be a very nice pair of IPAs for a commercial brewery. One showcasing fruity Southern Hemisphere hops and one showcasing citrusy/piny American hops.

And again, despite its extremely aggressive flavor, the 10.6% ABV in this beer is well hidden. I’m just about done with my bottle now though, and it is becoming apparent. Bottle bombs, sneaky alcohol… this beer is all kinds of dangerous.

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