Beer Review: Pipeworks Sunburst Peacock IIPA

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Fish, Unicorns and Ninjas are a few of my favorite things when it comes to Pipeworks beers. In this review I have Sunburst Peacock from Pipeworks with honey, guava and citra hops! This series, as most of Pipeworks double ipas, has impressed me quite a bit. Sunburst Peacock comes in at 9.5% ABV.

Appearance: Very hazy, deep golden copper color. Very small head, sticky lacing not a ton of head retention.

Nose: Guava is the big component. Passionfruit, pineapple, orange and mango come in big as well. Tropical fruit, for the most part it smells very fruity and kind of syrupy.

Taste/Mouth: Guava, mango, tropical fruit with not a ton of bitterness. Medium carbonation that finishes dry and sticky. High ABV is really well hidden as usual in these big pipeworks beers.

Price/Availability: $10.99 a bomber which is solid pricing as usual and it is a rotating beer.

Overall: Another well executed double IPA from Pipeworks, not their best but they are always solid. They do a great job with balance and masking the usual high ABV in these big hoppy beers. Sometimes the fruit addition works and sometimes it doesn’t, I think it adds a nice aspect to this beer. I would buy it again for sure.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Half Acre Double Daisy Cutter Pale Ale

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Half Acre, in my opinion, is the best brewery in Chicago and possibly the Midwest right now. Their year round lineup is incredible and their limited releases are equally as great. Double Daisy Cutter is the bigger version of their year round pale ale Daisy Cutter. Same basic malt bill but the hop additions are increased quite a bit. This beer drops only a few times a year and I look forward to it every time. Double Daisy Cutter comes in at 8% ABV.

Appearance: Hazy, golden copper with a 1 finger head. Frothy and nice sticky lacing down the glass. Always great artwork on these releases.

Nose: Dank resin, pine, some citrus, passionfruit, sweet candy notes and some pineapple. It is huge dank and citrusy with some juicy notes as well. It is like a beefy Zombie Dust.

Taste/Mouth: Tropical and citrus fruit notes, passionfruit, pineapple, grapefruit and orange. Nice dry bite of bitterness. It is really balanced nicely considering the huge amount of hop flavors. Good cereal and caramel malt notes as well. It is super balanced but full of such great hop flavors.

Price/Availability: $10 for a bomber at the brewery.

Overall: This is another bomb Double IPA from Half Acre. They continue to impress as Chicago’s best brewery in my opinion and this is a must have from them. There distribution foot print becomes bigger and bigger so it becomes easier to get, if you see it around definitely grab it.

Grade: A

Beer Review: Stone 10th Anniversary IPA

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Next from Stone’s encore series I have the 10th Anniversary IPA which comes in at a whopping 10% ABV.

Appearance: Deep reddish, copper, amber color with a 1/2 finger head which dissipates to a thin layer that sits above the beer. Decent lacing.

Nose: Caramel malt, resin, pine, woody, earthy, floral and some orange zest. You can sense some heat on the nose as well from the high ABV.

Taste/Mouth: Follows the nose closely with pine, resin, citrus, orange and is balanced out nicely by caramel malt. Some toffee and earthy notes as well. Surprisingly not a ton of heat but it is definitely there, chewy and full feel. Very balanced all the way through, good carbonation as well. It very much feels like an American Barleywine.

Price/Availability: Available in the 4 pack of bombers for Stone’s Encore series celebrating their 20th anniversary. The 4 pack was around $23.

Overall: This is a Double IPA very much bordering an American Barleywine. Pretty awesome, like the 5th anniversary, to finally get to try this beer. Stone and beer have some a long way since this, especially the Double IPA style, but this still stands the test of time as a super solid beer. The fact that Stone can bring back these beers from 10-20 years ago and they are still great is a testament to how well crafted their beers are, thanks Stone!

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Foundation Venture Maine IPA

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This is from when I took my trip up to Maine a few months ago and was able to make my way to the Foundation Brewery. They had a ton of great offerings on draft and I took a 4 pack of Ventures home with me to make sure I would be able to get a review of it up. Venture is a Maine IPA brewed with Cascade, Chinook, Columbus, El Dorado, and Mosaic hops. Venture comes in at 8% ABV.

Appearance: Active carbonation, 1/2 finger head and is a nice hazy golden orange color. A really nice looking beer, their cans are also very aesthetically pleasing.

Nose: Mosaic definitely comes out a lot in the aroma. Tons of mango, tropical fruit and citrus. Pine, strawberry, grassy and herbal notes are present as well. Very dank and deep nose.

Taste/Mouth: Creamy and full mouthfeel, drinks sort of like a session IPA and not a Double. Mango, tropical fruit and berry flavors stand out, it is pleasant and easy to drink. Definitely pretty juicy as well with pineapple and citrus juice flavors.  Not as complex and deep as Epiphany.

Price/Availability: Grabbed a 4 pack at the brewery for around $12 I believe.

Overall: It is definitely no Epiphany but it is another solid “Maine IPA” from Foundation. It has some nice deep juicy flavors and a dank aroma but lacks some of the complexity found in Epiphany. I am excited to continue to have more of Foundation’s beers as they continue to grow. I need to start to plan my next trip back to Portland ASAP. This one was super easy to drink and I went through the 4 pack like this was a Session IPA not a Double.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Stone 5th Anniversary IPA

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Obviously a little late posting these next few reviews of Stone’s encore series but as usual they were drank fresh and notes written at that time! First up is the 5th anniversary IPA, a beer I have long wanted to give a try to and one I had heard a lot about. Stone 5th Anniversary comes in at 8.5% ABV.

Appearance: Nice deep honey, copper, orange color with active carbonation and a half finger head. Great retention and nice lacing. Stone always makes a pretty beer.

Nose: Citrus, resin, west coast all the way. Caramel, orange, tangerine and piney as well. The caramel along with some fresh bread notes compliment the hoppy notes nicely. It has a classic Stone nose.

Taste/Mouth: Perfect balance of hops and malt in a brutal west coast hop bomb! A trip down IPA memory lane really as this was probably the motivation for so many brewers and beers of today. Pine, resin, earthy, floral, lemon and grapefruit dominate. Caramel, honey, bready malt for balance and a piney, dry and brutal finish on the palate. Heat is there but well hidden.

Price/Availability: This beer was brought out of retirement for Stone’s 20th anniversary as part of the encore series. It was featured in a 4 pack of bombers which ran around $23, great pricing.

Overall: What an awesome 4 pack of bombers and what an awesome beer. Such a great idea to do this encore series and so happy they decided to bring this particular beer back. If you are a hophead you really need to experience this beer as it is certainly the building blocks for a lot of today’s beers. This was probably one of the earliest examples of a Double IPA, I don’t even think the style existed at the time this was first brewed. It is a great trip down memory lane and amazingly still holds up really well today. I loved getting to have this beer, thank you Stone.

Grade: A

Beer Review: Brown’s Burst Valencia Orange IPA

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As becomes typical for me I am a bit behind on my reviews. All of the beers are drank fresh and notes are written at the time, I just get behind in converting the reviews onto the blog. This is a beer I got in a trade back in August from a friend in NY. This is the first canning Brown’s had done at the time and it is their Burst Valencia Orange IPA. Burst comes in at 7% ABV.

Appearance: Great hazy deep orange copper color, a nice looking beer. 1 finger head with some nice lacing as you drink it down. Not really a fan of the can.

Nose: Pine, resin, orange zest, citrus fruits with some earthy and floral notes as well. Smells like a classic west coast IPA.

Taste/Mouth: West coast feel. Pine and resin with a nice bite of bitterness. Finishes kind of rough, super dry and kind of harsh on your palate. It feels like they went too heavy on the bittering for this one. Reminds me a lot of a home brewed IPA, which people tend to over bitter. It has potential, the recipe just may need some tweaking.

Price/Availability: This was the first canning from Brown’s that I am aware of so not entirely sure of availability as of now.

Overall: A very average to below average beer. Don’t get much from the orange zest added, it is just a west coast style IPA brewed with moderate success. As I mentioned I think it has some potential it may just need some tweaking in the hop addition to tone down the brutal super dry and harsh finish on this one. Unless I heard that they changed the recipe I probably wouldn’t try again.

Grade: C-

Beer Review: Other Half & Holy Mountain By and By

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Managed to get some more stuff from Other Half from my friend back East in one of our recent trades. This is Other Half’s collab with Holy Mountain out of Seattle called By and By, it is a Brett IPA and comes in at 6.5% ABV.

Appearance: Huge fluffy 3 finger head. Milky, hazy golden orange color with lots of active carbonation. It retains the head for a while and then settles in to a thick layer with sticky lacing.

Nose: Fruity, yeasty aroma with pear and green apple. Smells a little Belgian-esque at first but the Brett is definitely present and you can pick it up as you dive deeper into it. Peach, pineapple and fruit punch aromas are very present as well.

Taste/Mouth: Just slightly tart with some pineapple, lemon, orange zest and lots of floral hop aromas. Some bready and yeasty flavors as well. It feels very carbonated. The mouthfeel is kind of harsh and the amount of carbonation kind of takes away from the flavor of the beer. You get some heat and it finishes really super clean.

Price/Availability: As far as I know this beer has only beer brewed one time, I got it in a trade.

Overall: This beer kind of locked in my feelings toward Brett IPAs, I am just not a huge fan. I had heard only great things about this beer and was obviously super excited to try it. Even with my doubts after having some Brett IPAs in the past that I didn’t love, I went in with an open mind. I found parts of this beer I really loved but it felt slightly overcarbonated and despite having some really nice pineapple and floral flavors it was harsh on the palate and felt hard to drink at times. I am glad I had it but I don’t think I need it again.

Grade: B-