#14 – Ballast Point Sculpin IPA (can)

ballast-point-sculpin-ipa-can-cropBallast Point Sculpin IPA is a damn fine IPA, and is exactly what you expect from a West Coast IPA. It smells like fresh fruit, mango, peach, apricots.

It pours golden amber with a roughly inch head that fades to a collar as it warms up. The smell is absolutely amazing, everything a West Coast IPA should be. The “sting” that Ballast Point mentions definitely is there. The hops very much stick around and coat your mouth. It’s a damn smooth IPA, at 7 % ABV and 70 IBUs. It’s not super bitter, and it’s not super hot.

Now to the Ratebeer style review:

Appearance – Golden amber, light carbonation, off white head

Smell – Smells like fresh citrus fruits, with malt slowly sneaking in. Alcohol smell creeps up as it warms

Mouthfeel – Lightly carbonated, coats the mouth. It definitely sticks around.

Taste – Tastes like it smells, with herbiness as it fades out. You get some heat, with the 7 % ABV

Overall – 4/5 . A very solid IPA. I can’t compare it to bombers (but I’d love to) or draft (but I’d really love to), but it’s very good. I was happy to see it on my trip home from work, One Stop Market in Haverhill, MA has a great beer selection and I look forward to getting more from not only Ballast Point but everything else they carry.



#10 – Stone Brewing Company “Enjoy By 02.14.14”

The Stone Enjoy By series is one of my favorite recurring (but slightly changing) beers. This is a beer that is specifically crafted to not last. The flavors and aromas in this beer will not be nearly as good after the “Enjoy By” date, and you WILL NOT find that batch on the shelves after that date. If you’re a hophead (and in a state that the current batch of Enjoy By is distributed to), definitely pick one or more up. You’ll probably see this one near you, as this was the largest batch made, and it was released to roughly half of Stone’s markets.

You have in your hands a devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers – especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs – we’ve taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We’ve not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’re getting this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the label, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and consumers. Instead, we’ve sent a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA

It smells like dank, wet, West Coast hops. Tropical fruit and sweetness. Definitely some of the Simcoe “cat piss/onion” smell, but not as much as previous versions.

Color is a dark golden amber, with a thick head that turns into a few millimeter ring of bubbles. Not a whole lot of bubbles in the glass. Very clear.

Simcoe really shows up in the taste, especially when you first get it in your mouth. The herby, resiny flavor sticks to your tongue. Not super bitter, but lots of flavor. The malt backbone brings out good sweetness. Can’t really taste the alcohol, despite this version running at 9.4% ABV.

Very smooth in the mouthfeel. Not too thick, but it definitely clings. As it’s not super carbonated, there’s not a super dry feeling.

Overall, this is definitely a favorite for me. It hits all the BJCP notes to a T.  This is a beer that seems to fly off shelves, if only partly because of its scarcity. This is a scary smooth, easy drinking Double/Imperial IPA. Buy this one if you can.

#6 – Smuttynose – “Bouncy House”

Next came NH’s Smuttynose, from their Short Batch series, Bouncy House. As the implied, this was a limited run, all bottle in November 2013. Smuttynose’s main goal was to make a beer that is low in alcohol, high in flavor, and hoppy. Some might call this a “session IPA” as it is hoppy and runs at 4.9% ABV, but Smuttynose wanted to avoid labels and called it a hoppy ale.

From Smuttynose:

When you taste Bouncy House, you’ll taste a modest malt bill of North American 2-row, British pale ale malt, C-60 and Aromatic malt mashed for a refreshingly light body that leaves plenty of spotlight for a melange of Warrior, Calypso, El Dorado and Citra hops.

This was a very smooth, low ABV IPA with detectable hops, but they weren’t over the top. Malts were definitely there, and while complex, also very light. We enjoyed drinking this beer, and it was a nice slow ramp up to the beers coming later. Another good quality, flavorful, easy drinking beer.

#1 – Sierra Nevada Torpedo

Appearance: Pours golden amber with a very thick, roughly one inch head. Hazy, and very well carbonated. 4/5

Smell: Smells like fresh hops. Clean, cirtusy 7/10

Mouthfeel: Thick, but a lot of carbonation went into the head. 3/5

Taste: Lots of citrus and grapefruit, but not in overwhelming amounts. Very clean tasting, not a whole lot of lingering bitterness. 8/10

Overall: Overall, I really enjoy this beer and I know a lot of other people do to. I wish I hadn’t taken so long to finally drink it. NOt overly complex, not too light. Everything works together very well. A sturdy, very drinkable IPA that’s available to a wide number of people. This is a good beer to start this blog, and I look forward to many more great ones. 22/30

Seacoast Craft Beer Reviews: Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA

Beer #2 of last night (we drank this while letting Pliny the Elder warm up) was Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA . This was a very good way for Stone to celebrate the innovation and change that they have brought to the craft beer scene.

This is a light bodied, excitingly hoppy beer. The malt is not your typical IPA Crystal malt, instead German Pilsner malts are used. The hop profile that Stone brought to this one is all unusual to American beer drinkers (Herkules, Hersbrucker, Magnum, Merkur, Opal, Smaragd & Strisselspalt. Dry-hopping with Sterling, a U.S. hop with Saaz parentage, lends a bit of familiarity,)

This is a big beer, clocking in at 9.5 % ABV. You can definitely taste the alcohol in this one as the hops in your mouth fade. You definitely taste all of the 102 ABUs. Lots of alcohol and lots of hops means that this is a beer best shared. It was fun to drink, while it lasted. I look forward to seeing what Stone comes up with for their 18th Anniversary.

Appearance: Hard pour brings out a large, 2 finger off white head that lasts. Good lacing. Clear amber with no particles.

Aroma: Light malt reminiscent of a pilsner. Lots of herby hops, with pine sneaking through as well. No yeast smell. The ABV is very evident, cutting through the thick head.

Palate: This is a very light drinking, but full in the mouth. Its smooth and creamy, with a little alcohol

Flavor: The hop flavor is very long-lasting. The flavor is exactly what the aroma leaves you expecting. One fun note is that it brings some very tasty burps.

Overall: This is a very fun beer to drink. Lots hops, and flavors I hadn’t tasted before. Very resin-y, very thick hops.