Sunday, 10 June 2012

Hops, Hops, and more Hops

Jubilee weekend. A long bank holiday. Perfect excuse for celebrating and cracking open some exciting bottles of beer that have been sat in the cupboard, gently whispering "open me!" every time I venture into the kitchen. Myself, Mr. T and Mr T. Snr., spent en evening with Kernel and Mikkeller, and some lovely matured cheddar for palate cleansing (yes, was trying to be a bit sophisticated!). What an evening!

59: Export India Porter Columbus, The Kernel, 6.3%
Lost quite a lot of the beer as it bubbled over the top of the bottle on opening. First impressions were confusion. In my experience (vastly limited as it may be) porters are not usually hoppy, and yet the aroma coming off this beer was very hoppy, with just a touch of caramel. To taste, it is caramel, malty and bitter orange chocolate. Hints of coffee and a dark depth of flavour. Did something strange to my teeth... made them a bit fuzzy and squeaky. Odd. This beer was more what I would would expect from a porter, and done very well. This is what I imagined a Black IPA would taste like, and a whole new type of beer for me.

60: Nelson Sauvin Pale Ale, The Kernel, 5.5%
Lovely lovely smells. Peachy passion fruit. A little motor oily weirdly. Just before you take a sip you breathe in the smell again and it's yum yum yum. Flat, not fizzy. A very dry bitterness. Tastes just as it smells with a little bit of pine. My favourite part of the beer was that moment, just before taking a sip where you breathe in the aromas. Beautiful.

61: S.C.C.A.NS, The Kernel, 6.9%
Brewed with five types of hop, including Nelson Sauvin again. A stronger abv than the Nelson Sauvin Pale Ale, but a familiar similar smell. A bit fresher and less oily perhaps, but definitely similar. Peachy, fruits and tang. Tasted of peach and was crisp and bitter, and definitely there was tangyness. Slight malty sweet finish. I felt that the extra hops added flavour, and complimented each other.

62: Green Gold, Mikkeller, 7.0%
Smells a bit boozey, port or sherry, and slightly unnatural. Some red apples, a bit sweet and sharp. Tastes biscuity, and sweet followed by bitter. An IPA, and the most unique IPA I've had. Not sure about it to be entirely honest.

63: 10, Mikkeller, 6.9%
An IPA brewed with 10 different hop varieties. To date, my record is 5 I think. A complex tangy smell, but well balanced and pleasant. Very difficult to pick out flavours though because there are so many there that they meld together, the most stand out was of light orange. Crisp taste. Very bitter initially. Clearly it's very skilful to successfully mix 10 hops into one beer, and make them work. Very difficult to pull out any flavours, but maybe that isn't the point, maybe it ought to be celebrated as a whole and not to be picked apart and analysed. For my amateur palate, I think single hop IPAs still are leading my preferences of taste, despite enjoying this bottle. I'd rather have the simplicity at the moment. Maybe more distinguished palates will feel differently.

64: 19, Mikkeller, 6.8%
Just to be sure, the 19 hop IPA next. Concerned that this will really be too much. A really fruity smell. Fresh crisp, light smell. Again, aroma blends together really well. The taste, lovely. Really really lovely. Can't pick apart flavours, just know that it is beautiful. I take it back. 19 hops are certainly better than 10.

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