Review - Karl Strauss Brewing Company's Big Barrel Double IPA
"To kick off this series of intense hoppy beers, we wanted to go big. Imported New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops provide a vibrant tropical aroma that raises eyebrows and expectations. Aggressive amounts of Warrior and Ahtanum hops produce an assertive bitterness that stands out against a firm malt backbone. Balanced even at 90 IBUs, Big Barrel leaves a considerable first impression that serves as a prelude of things to come." -- Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Pours a light cloudy amber color that quickly brightens up, and the active carbonation generates a very healthy two finger head with a chunky, frothy white head with excellent retention. Super-sticky lacing clings tightly to the glass and doesn’t let go. Settled body color is sort of a dark, murky golden hue. Initial aroma gives off floral/grassy notes of moderate to harsh strength. Citrusy grapefruit and mango and passion fruit come through with tenacious force, and the balance from the biscuity soft malts in the beer gives no warning of the high ABV. Initial taste is insanely fruity without cloying with notes of kiwi, lemon, and grapefruit. Towards the finish, it is a bit more balanced by the malts with a nice smooth finish with a touch of sweetness in the middle before again finishing with a long hop duration. Body is light to medium with slightly watery consistency. Mouth puckering harsh hop presence lingers and masks the alcohol very well with only a slightly warming finish. Slightly dry/slighty wet. This is a very fun beer to drink. The tropical fruit notes are spectacular and really make this beer stand out from the other strictly Northwest hop doubles. If not for the 9% ABV, we could drink a ton of this brew as the taste never becomes overwhelming but remains captivating from start to finish. A truly unique DIPA that separates itself from the pack without having to break the mold, it is a fantastic example of how a subtle change can completely create a beer that, while staying true to its style roots, becomes something transcendent.
Reviewed on October 5th, 2010.