16 May 2018


Perusing the shelves in Fresh with a few quid burning a hole in my pocket I settled on a couple of spendy offerings from Siren: triple IPAs, no less; €14 the pair.

The Tickle Monster is your basic mango and cedar IPA, 11% ABV and a bright hazy orange. It smells herbal, almost medicinal, with eucalyptus and bitter tarragon. The alcohol is immediately apparent on tasting, dry and hot like an overclocked vodka. More subtle features roll in behind this: I get an oily coconut taste first, then a gentle spritzy fruit (maybe mango, why not?), then a faint spice on the end which could easily be cedar. It's really not as much fun as it would have you believe, being mostly about the booze heat. At least the bourbon wasn't going to ruin anything delicate.

Bourbon, you say? The Kentucky Tickle Monster didn't endear itself to me from the outset, with its headless appearance and sickly, sugary-cider aroma. It's sickly to drink as well, with a syrupy texture and almost no carbonation. A hugely sweet vanilla flavour is at the centre, laced with bitter orange and grapefruit in a not-at-all complimentary way. The spice from the cedar is still just about discernible, and provides a modicum of relief, though there's only so much it can do to counter a very obvious 16.3% ABV, and everything it brings with it. A 33cl bottle of this is plenty to share with three or four other people, just not necessarily ones you like.

Triple IPA is mostly not for me; barrel-aged ones even less so.

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