It’s been too long since my last post back in December – @AdamShafi (an excellent blogger who writes about beery walks in locations mainly in Scotland –walkingandcrawling.blogspot.co.uk ) asked for some new Irish Craft Beer blog posts. I’ve been lazy tbh – so here goes with the strongest beer in Ireland (please correct me if it isn’t but I’m 99% sure)……
This is a barrel aged Black IPA, brewed with roast barley, pale, crystal, chocolate and wheat malts. Hops are Galena, Nugget, East Goldings and Liberty ( http://www.porterhousebrewco.com/beers-devils.php ).
The beer poured like pitch black oil and had an impressive light tan head that slowly dissipated away. I was expecting a fair amount of alcohol on the nose for the abv, but it was fairly well hidden. It had mainly a quite rich fairly sweet dark malt aroma, some wisps of the whiskey barrel-aging (done for 6 months), a dab of dark chocolate in there and certainly some hops in there which had a soft dull citrus nose.
The flavour was much the same, plenty of dark malts, quite a rich flavour, the alcohol was certainly noticeable here and not particularly well hidden. I’m not a fan of beers with too much hot alcohol but it seemed to work fine in this. There was sweet dark fruits and raisin, fairly bitter hops and some slight floral notes. I liked it that the barrel-aging was fairly subtle – often I’ve found this, if done aggressively, can mess up beers. It had a rich body with soft carbonation and was quite sweet and smooth. The finish had a lot of warming booze – it did cross my mind that maybe the beer might have been better balanced brewed at a lower ABV.
An interesting flavoured beer, however, it didn’t come across as a Black IPA, but a beer hard to classify — maybe more as a rich ‘dark’ barley wine/impy stout hybrid (??…I know it makes no sense!) as it wasn’t overly hoppy and the malts weren’t very deep and rich – I usually expect a lot of e.g. massive citrus zest, tropical fruit hops, pine etc. over rich dark malts for a beer to be considered an ‘Impy BIPA’ . Anyone, forget stylistic classification and judge the beer on it’s own merits – it was decent beer, with it’s own unusual characteristics and certainly worth getting a bottle if you do come across it.