Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Spunky Imperial IPA....Ska Decadent IIPA

I didn't know much about Ska Brewing before diving into their Decadent Imperial IPA.  So I decided to check out their website.  The first thing i noticed was the blaring Ska style music coming from the page, and then the really awesome web design they have.  It's an awesome website, I recommend you check it out.  These guys seem like they have fun doing what they do and this is part of the joy of craft brewing.  I also have a special place in my heart for Colorado breweries.  My sister lives there.  We vacationed there a lot when I was a kiddo.  It's one of the most beautiful states in our awesome country.  No coincidence that Colorado produces some of the most awesome beer in the country either.

I have had their Modus Hoperandi from a can previously and really enjoyed it, so when I landed the Decadent Imperial IPA in a recent beer trade I was ecstatic to give it a try.  One of the benefits of having friends located throughout the west coast and rocky mountain area is that I am lucky to receive some awesome beers that are not local.  These are real treats.  So let's dive into this wax-dipped gem....I mean, if it's dipped in wax it has to be awesome right?  Here is what the beer geeks at Rate Beer have to say about this one.
Choose Your Vessel:  For this brew, I went with the Bells 16 oz Tulip glass.  I do actually have a Ska Brewing Pint Glass I received from my sister, but it was for a different beer and I wanted to use a tulip.  The larger Bell's Tulip is awesome for these larger bottles.  Getting into this brew was a bit of work.  The wax didn't want to come off easily and I had to be careful to not get any wax in the beer during opening.  I like the look of wax-dipped bottles, but in actuality, I'd rather this practice disappear.

The Pour:  Deep orange in color and fairly clear.  As the beer fills the glass I thought for a minute that no head would form, but thanks to the design of the glass the head begins to form towards the end of the pour.  A solid one and a half finger white foamy head appears and really sticks around for a while.  Indicates to me that this will have some nice lacing, which it did, and would also be somewhat resinous, which again it was.

Aroma:  Mostly citrus hops.  Orange peel and some grapefruit.  I'm getting a hint of some sweet mango as well.  Also present is the slight smell of alcohol and a hint of some sweet caramel malt.

Taste:  Tastes less hoppy than it smells.  Definitely get the orange and grapefruit hops with a little bit of malt.  Alcohol swarms the palate towards the end but the beer ends up rather sweet and somewhat syrupy in mouthfeel.  Alcohol is not as well hidden as with other Imperial IPA's I've had.  However, in a strange way, the beer is quite balanced and incredibly smooth to drink.  Sweet and maybe just a trace of bitterness.  I definitely get some sweet tropical notes as I progress through the beer.  I also am getting more malt than I expected with this one.  Bottle says best before 4/2013 which tells me this is pretty fresh.  So I expected more hops especially with the advertised 95 IBU's.  Quite drinkable.  3/4's of the way through I really start to feel the 10% ABV.  A little more carbonation would make this brew more crisp, but I did enjoy it quite a bit.

Overall:  Not the most incredible Imperial IPA I've had.  Does have some uniqueness which is what I always look for in a beer.  I expected it to be hoppier than it actually was, but it definitely had a nice balance of sweet flavors with the hops which you don't see often from Imperial IPA's.  These guys know what they are doing. I look forward to trying more beers from Ska in the future.

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