26 December 2016

Highs and lows

I've been a big big fan of BrewDog's Aces series so far. Huge. So when the third in the set came my way I grabbed it without a second thought. This time it's posterboy Citra in the driving seat, and the specs are otherwise the same: a medium-gold, vaguely misty, 4.5% ABV pale ale. I was expecting big bitterness from Ace of Citra but oooh that aroma: soft mandarin and honeydew, a little bit of spicy marmalade and a cheeky pinch of oily dank. One is left wanting for little, smellwise. A gulp and, aha, there's a fault: it's a touch thin and overcarbonated. I'm wondering if there's supposed to be more of a hop punch up front and whether I've let that escape by waiting an inappropriate couple of months before opening it. Everything's in order in the middle, however: the dankness takes the reins, delivering a friendly hop-oil burn, fading to a pithy finish. The flavour isn't as complex as the aroma but it's still very nice. A pint would be just the thing.

I bought the bottle of Mr President prior to the American election when the world was brighter in general. Now its 9.2% ABV seems comforting. I read that this double IPA is a straight rebadge of BrewDog's classic Hardcore, but it's over eight years since I reviewed that so maybe a reappraisal is worthwhile. It's certainly darker than the 2008 edition: a deep orange-amber. Warmth and spice are the hallmarks of the aroma, with marmalade, pomegranate and a harsher metallic buzz. A surprising liquorice bitterness opens the flavour but it struggles to make an impact under sheer density of the body. It's like drinking syrup. The carbonation gets buried under this suffocating blanket so palate-cleansing is not a feature. I get a diesel fuel sharpness and then a faint citrus pithiness right on the end, but very little and very late. This thick and heavy beast is one of those beers that makes me think I don't like double IPAs. Can't fault it for trueness to style, I guess.

Big hops: there's a right way and a wrong way.

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