Beer Review: Founders ReDANKulous Imperial Red IPA

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For the thirteenth installment of their Backstage Series Founders has brought us ReDANKulous, an imperial red ipa packed with Mosaic, Citra and Chinook hops. The backstage series has been a really great series thus far and brought some of Founders best and most unique releases. ReDANKulous comes in at 9.5% ABV and 90 IBUs.

Appearance: Deep red, amber or even a light brown color. Nice big 2 finger head and some really sticky lacing down the glass.

Nose: Pretty juicy and fruity. Tons of tropical fruit and pine resin are what I pick up primarily. You also get some nice flowery, earthy and spicy hop aromas as well. Fair amount of caramel sweetness in there as well.

Taste/Mouth: Toasty and caramel malt flavors come to the forefront initially and are followed by a lot of piney, resiny hop flavors. You get some spicy and tropical fruit flavors from the hops as well. Super balanced and super drinkable despite the high IBU and ABV of this beer. The ABV is very well hidden under the balanced flavor, beer is way too crushable for the ABV.

Price/Availability: One off as part of the Backstage Series which is a rotating big beer series. All the Backstage beers are priced around $10 and this one was no different.

Overall: I am a huge fan of this style and I wish more breweries would explore it. This beer took home gold for it’s category at the 2015 GABF and it was well deserved. Would love to see Founders bring this one back in some way in the future as I would love to have it again. Pretty near perfect Imperial Red Ale.

Grade: A

Beer Review: Mikerphone I Want My IPA

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Mike Pallen, the head brewer at Mikerphone, has finally managed to really launch Mikerphone into a full blown brewery teaming up with Slapshot Brewing in Chicago as their head brewer. This was my first Mikerphone beer I got to try after seeing there beers at the store quite a bit (they are hard to miss in the big cans). An IPA with Mosaic and Citra hops, okay you have my interest Mikerphone. I Want My IPA comes in at 6.5% ABV.

Appearance: Pretty dark for an IPA, deep copper color with a nice 1 finger head. I will be honest this is usually darker than I like to see for an IPA. Really liking the can design, throwback to early MTV.

Nose: Mosaic and Citra’s usual aromas coming through. Mosaic dominates though with juicy tropical and melon notes as the primary aroma. Some citrus, fruit punch notes coming through as well. Pretty dank and delicious nose on this one.

Taste/Mouth: Nice juicy flavors which follow the nose pretty closely. Lots of tropical fruit and some earthy notes as well. Finishes pretty bitter and dry. It has a pretty balanced feel through the whole experience, the mouth feels a little thin but the flavors are really great.

Price/Availability: Pretty new brewery and beer, I believe as of now most of their beers are rotating availability.

Overall: An awesome new Citra and Mosaic IPA from a relatively new brewery. Would definitely buy this again if I saw it and hope to explore some future releases from this brewery. I would say potential is the key word here, I can see this brewery doing big things in the future.

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Revolution Mosaic Hero IPA

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Revolution Mosaic hero is an IPA showcasing the unique and amazing hop, Mosaic. Rather than it being a single hop IPA, it utilizes Warrior and Zythos to help put Mosaic on display in all its glory. Mosaic Hero joins the other beers in this series Citra, Crystal, Jukebox and Galaxy. Mosaic Hero comes in at 7.5% and 75 IBUs.

Appearance: Dark copper or a light amber color. 1 finger head and pretty decent lacing. Big fan of all the art for the hero series. They have also since began canning it.

Nose: Super juicy. Lots of tropical fruit, mango, pineapple and some pine resin notes as well. Nice nose which definitely showcases the awesome aspects of Mosaic.

Taste/Mouth: Nice amount of bitterness with a small malt backbone to help keep everything even. Nice juicy tropical fruit flavors dominant the flavor with some pine resin also making its way over from the nose. Pretty easy drinking with a medium mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Can easily put back a few pints of it.

Price/Availability: Around $8 for a bomber and about $12 for a 6 pack of cans. Seasonal rotating release part of the hero series.

Overall: Another nice beer in the hero series, the heroes which showcase single hops are especially solid. Love to support Revolution as well so that is always a plus. I will buy this one again for sure when it rotates into season. I am a huge fan of Mosaic and glad they began to can this one.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Harvest Newly Developed Hop IPA

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I have always been a fan of Sierra Nevada’s Harvest series which is a rotating series of beers they release and in 2015 the Harvest series explored diverse hopping methods including single hop, fresh hop, wet hop and wild hop beers. This is the newly developed hop variety which showcases some brand new hops: 472, 05256, 431, and 06300. Newly Developed Hop IPA comes in at 6.5%.

Appearance: Golden amber color with a 1 and a half finger head. Some real nice lacing, slightly murky look to the beer.

Nose: Nice earthy, citrus, orange, lemon/lime. You get some aromas from the Sierra Nevada house yeast which you can pick up in just about any of their beers. The orange aroma on this beer is the most pronounced and quite enjoyable.

Taste/Mouth: I was surprised by the taste as the nose wasn’t huge and I was a little disappointed it wasn’t more aromatic. I will say though the taste is huge. Lots of citrus and orange which carries over from the nose and some tangerine as well. Some nice earthy and woody notes in it as well. I can definitely get the coconut as well which they mention in their tasting notes. Very different, as expected, with some brand new experimental hops. Finished pretty dry and bitter.

Availability: Brewed once as part of the harvest series. Price is solid as usual for Sierra Nevada bombers, think it was around $6 and easy to get.

Overall: I will always buy the beers from this series as Sierra releases them. Can’t beat the price and the quality is always there as well. Just another IPA to add to Sierra Nevada’s long list of solid beers in their catalog. Hope to see some of these hops used again in future beers.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Surly Todd the Axe Man

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This beer is brewed in collaboration with Amager a brewery in Denmark and named after head brewer Todd, who happens to be quite the guitarist as well. Todd the Axe Man showcases a single malt variety, golden promise and is hopped up with two of my all time favorites Mosaic and Citra. Todd the Axe Man comes in at 6.5% ABV.

Appearance: Pretty murky with lots of floating sediment. Nice amber/orange color with a 1 finger head thats dissipates quickly. Has some decent lacing, love the can art.

Nose: Huge nose, so dank. Lots of citrus, pineapple, mango, floral, resin and earthy notes. Super juicy nose on this one, awesome showcase of two of my favorite aromatic hops Mosaic and Citra.

Taste/Mouth: Wow, really just wow right off the bat just such awesome flavors. Lots of citrus rind and citrus peel. Piney and spicy as well. Malt backs up the huge bitterness and hop flavors well with a nice dose of golden promise. Follows all the great characteristics of the nose just a little more muted. Really such a delicious, crushable beer.

Price/Availability: It is a seasonal/occasional release. Kind of pops up randomly now. Around $14-$16 for a 4 pack which can be viewed as it’s only downfall. Not too difficult to find in Chicago or Midwest when it is released, can get snatched up quick.

Overall: An incredible IPA, one of my favorites of all time for sure. Citra and Mosaic together is magical and Surly showcases them incredibly in this beer. Seek this one out if possible, you will not be disappointed. Keeping shredding Todd.

Grade: A+

Beer Review: Stone’s 19th Anniversary Thunderstruck IPA

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About this time last year Stone brought us their 19th anniversary beer, an IPA called Thunderstruck (important to note that is when I drank and made notes on this beer). Now Stone has had some incredible anniversary beers and a few that were forgettable. I do prefer when they stick to IPAs (or doubles) when releasing their yearly anniversary beer. Thunderstruck features 4 Australian hops, classics Topaz and Galaxy along with newer varieties Ella and Vic Secret. Thunderstruck IPA comes in at 8.7% ABV.

Appearance: Very hazy with a glowing orange color. 1 finger head with some really nice lacing and some active carbonation in the glass. Pretty classic Stone anniversary artwork.

Nose: Tropical fruit, citrus, peach, mango, pineapple and resin. Super juicy fruit notes, really a very dank and enjoyable nose. The fruit notes really come out and it is easy to grab all the different ones.

Taste/Mouth: Pine, grassy, earthy and solid hit of bitterness right up front and on the back end of the taste as well. Finishes dry and bitter, it has some malt sweetness in the middle which balances both ends of the beer nicely. The fruit flavors from the nose come through but not as strongly as I would have hoped. No heat or alcohol flavors despite the 8.7% abv.

Price/Availability: Part of the Anniversary series so it was brewed once to celebrate Stone turning 19. Great pricing as usual from Stone at around $7.

Overall: An awesome display of Aussie hop varieties, especially great to get some newer ones in there. Great juicy, tropical and citrus nose on this one was a highlight for sure, it  was also very enjoyable and easy to drink. Stone kills it with (almost) all their IPAs, this one was definitely a winner.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Mikkeller Nuclear Hop Assault Imperial IPA

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More Mikkeller following the review I did of his single hop Citra a few days ago here is a review of the imperial IPA, Nuclear Hop Assault. I am still playing catch up converting my notes to actual reviews for the blog so I did get this and drink it when it was fresh. This beer has only been brewed once and I had it in the summer of last year when it first came out. Nuclear Hop Assault comes in at 8% ABV.

Appearance: Very hazy golden yellow/orange with a 1 finger soft head. Nice lacing as you move down the glass.

Nose: Clean, citrus, pine resin, floral and super juicy. Some mint and earthy notes as well. Fresh pine needles and pine sap. A nice nose really showcasing some great earthy and pine notes.

Taste/Mouth: Very drinkable for 8%. Citrus zest, grapefruit, earthy and floral flavors up front. Some nice pine flavors coming through from the nose as well. Juicy taste, clean feel and finishes dry with another dose of heavy citrus.

Price/Availability: Brewed once back in the Summer of 2015, unfortunately as usual the biggest issue here as it is with all Mikkeller beers is finding it fresh and coming to terms with the high price point. This beer in particular was $7 for a 12oz.

Overall: It is a good beer, very drinkable and a good showcase of some new hybrid hops. That being said it comes with quite a steep price tag, so unfortunately it loses some points there as pretty much all Mikkeller beers do. Glad I got to have it and I will continue to occasionally buy Mikkeller beers here and there but I doubt I need to buy this one again if they decide to brew it again.

Grade: B