We (Nick and Rob) were tasked with reviewing an IPA. Typical brewers only want to drink hoppy hoppy hoppy beers, right? WRONG! Lately we’ve been drifting more and more into the world of Lagers here at O’Connor’s (we’ve already brewed 3 this season and have a couple more on deck). However, this was a special occasion. Western Michigan has found itself the center of the Midwest beer universe and that means a lot of eyes are on our region to create and produce some of the best beers in the world. How can we say that we make amazing IPA’s without judging ourselves against the undisputed champions of the IPA-Stone Brewing? So, when the “Enjoy By” series made its way to Grand Rapids it was time to do some serious judging. Literally speaking, this is not an IPA unless you are incredibly liberal with the ABV range, so we judged it to style in the Imperial IPA category. Once again, we are using our O’Connor’s HBS official beer scoring sheets and guidelines.
Appearance: 15 out of 15! This beer was fined, filtered, or centrifuged. Crystal clear with a pretty golden hue and a white rocky persistent head.
Aroma: 30 for 30. Smelled like delicious hops. Rob and I really tried to find something to critique, but in the end we decided that we were really just saying what we could do differently. Basically our critiques were invalid, and Rob and I decided that we couldn’t improve the aroma, just change it for fun. Malt aroma was cookie-ish (that’s a real beer aroma). As far as hop aroma goes, it ran the spectrum: woody, floral, grapefruit, pine, and resinous.
Flavor/Mouth feel: 40/40. It tasted like what it smelled like. It was amazing on all counts. With most Stone IPAs the hops completely overpower the malt bill. However, the malt was very well balanced with the hops. Malt left a light bready flavor with a medium mouth feel. Hop flavors were citrus, earthy, pine and floral.
Overall: 100/100. Rob and I could not find any flaw in this beer. Its rare that a beer lives up to its hype, but this one is flat out phenomenal.