BrewDog IPA is Dead
Since 2011 BrewDog has released their IPA is Dead 4-packs once a year. Each of the four beers has the same base recipe, but was dryhopped with a different hop variety. In this year’s edition they chose Comet, EXP 366, Amarillo and Kohatu hops.
Over the past few days I tasted and compared the four. All four IPAs are based on a milder version of BrewDogs Hardcore IPA, brewed with Maris Otter, Crystal and Cara-malt.
The EXP 366 was first on my list. EXP 366 is a new, yet unnamed American hop variety. The IPA is amber with an eggshell-colored large-pore foam head that quickly falls apart and little carbonation. The aroma is malty with pine, orange peel and lemon notes. The taste resembles sweet bread and also has a resinous hoppy pine flavor. The finish is reminiscent of bitter grapefruit, but its taste fades quickly.
Next up Comet. Like the EPX 366, this one also has a clear amber color but with a narrow white head and leaves nice lacing on glass. Its bouquet is a blend of citrus, grapefruit and pine. The taste is malty-sweet with mango and also lemon and grapefruit flavors and a hint of resin. For me, the bitterness is a rather mediocre medium bitterness with lots of resin.
Next, I decided on Kohatu. Again, this is a newer hop variety from New Zealand and unknown/”un-tested” to me! Like the first two IPAs it is amber in color. It is clear with a full soft white crown. I first notice mango and lime in the aroma followed by hints of pineapple.
The taste is very interesting. First, bitter-sweet with a hot alcohol sharpness which fades fast and is overpowered by pineapple and herbal pine aromas. After a few seconds I taste sweet sage – a finish after the finish! Wow!
For my final beer, I have set aside the Amarillo – one of my favorite hops, which has a very balanced, fruity aroma. It also has a nice amber color and is the clearest of all four. When pouring a narrow eggshell colored head builds which dissolves quickly and leaves little lacing. The nose is almost tropical: passion fruit and orange peel, very fresh, slightly grassy. The aroma is repeated in the first sip and reminds me of a mango-passion fruit and banana smoothie with a slightly bitter-sweet finish.
The hop flavors are good in all four IPA’s, but I would have liked to see a slightly fuller body in all of them. My favorite is the Kohatu because it surprised me and the aroma-flavor combination was the most interesting.
I definitely recommend the 4-pack. It is interesting for those who love hops and everybody who wants to learn more about the individual hop varieties and their characteristics.