Having recently tried, Tokyo Extra Stout by the Brewdog Brewery in Fraserburgh, Scotland, I allowed my tastebuds a couple of days to recover and then turned my attention to the brewery’s ‘Hardcore IPA’.
Hopefully I need not expound too much on the origins of IPA… it was originally brewed in Bow (East London) in the late 17th Century by George Hodgson, and later adopted by the Allsop brewery. India Pale Ale was brewed with a higher concentration of hops to exploit the preservative properties offered by the hops, thus enabling said brews to survive the long sea voyage around the coast of Africa to refresh British troops in India.
It’s a style of beer that’s become global, certainly in the top three with lagers and stouts, and American Pale Ales have taken the style to new levels of hoppiness.
The Brewdog website describes their Hardcore IPA as “an extreme beer rollercoaster for freaks, gypsies and international chess superstars.” and as an “explicit ale (that) has more hops and bitterness that any other beer brewed in the UK.”
Okay, so that’s the hyperbole over with, maybe some more information?
“2,204 malted Maris Otter grains gave all they had to offer the world to provide the robustly delicate toffee malt canvas for the ensuing epic.
6 Hop Cones willingly sacrificed themselves in fiery cauldron that is our brew kettle to ensure your mouth is left feeling punished and puckering for more.
9,900,000,000 yeast cells frantically fermented their little hearts out as the sugars were magically turned into alcohol in the dark depths of our fermentation tanks.”
In more mundane terms that’s a recipe that includes Marris Otter Extra Pale Malt; Simcoe, Chinook, Amarillo and Warrior hops. “Hopped to hell, then dry-hopped to hell too”.
With a bitterness rating of 150 and name like “Hardcore IPA” I think it’s reasonable to expect more than a few hops.
Oh, and I don’t think I mentioned, it’s brewed to 9% ABV! – That’s hardcore. The same brewery’s ‘Punk IPA is brewed to a mere 6% ABV and has 65 IBU’s
So, I poured this IPA into my antique Edinburgh crystal goblet, and was greeted with a strong, honey coloured head. Again it subsides quite quickly, and leaves no lacing.
And perhaps surprisingly honey is a keyword for this brew, the nose is of honey and elderflower, actually rather pleasant, and beyond hoppiness.
Flavourwise, well the honey and elderflower are still in there, but there are hops all the way, the honey sweetness balancing the hoppy bitterness, all backed with a malty richness. Where the Tokyo Stout is reminiscent of brandy or port, this extreme IPA is redolent of a (very) dry sherry.
I’m going to give this four stars, a great IPA, even going beyond IPA, and based on the first two beers I’ve tasted from Brewdog, I’m looking forward to trying the rest for The Brew Club!
What about you? Ever try the Brewdog Hardcore IPA? What did you think of it?