This is a Scottish microbrewer's take on a modern American style known as 'Imperial India Pale Ale' or 'Double IPA' - essentially a stronger, hoppier version of an American-style IPA. In other words, this is intended to be an extreme beer.
It pours an amber-gold colour, with a fine-bubbled head that lasts reasonably well. Aroma is hoppy, but surprisingly restrained (I was expecting it to be overpowering some distance from the glass) - mostly citrusy grapefruit notes and a bit of resiny pine, plus some tropical fruit. In the mouth, however, it soon becomes clear where the hops have gone - bitterness immediately assaults the tongue, clinging to it in a syrupy, oily fashion that is barely covered by the word 'cloying', and refusing to go away long after any sensible aftertaste would have given up. Flavours are of grapefruit, orange zest and resin, with a touch of butterscotch (diacetyl). Finish and aftertaste are unrelentingly bitter, though the smooth mouthfeel and relatively low carbonation make it surprisingly easy to drink for a 9 ABV beer (if you can handle the bitterness, that is).
A good effort, especially given how few British brewers are prepared to risk brewing such extreme beers, but frankly it could do with a little more hop aroma, a little more body to counteract the bitterness (or - dare I say it - a little less bitterness), and the hint of diacetyl probably shouldn't be there either (though it doesn't spoil the flavour in this case). Certainly worth a shot if you're a UK-based hop addict, but there are better alternatives to satisfy your IBU cravings. For a start you could try Punk IPA and Chaos Theory, both IPAs from the same brewery.
OBBD reviewer: Sparks
ADD A COMMENT TO THIS BEER