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Evan!

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OB sent me a couple bottles the other day---His Hopacles superimperial IPA, and the ol' EF Porter. Reviews to follow...
 
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Evan!

Evan!

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Edmund Fitzgerald Porter

First off, I've gotta say that there's nothing quite as awesome as the wife opening the fridge and asking, "hey, Evan, what's EF?" Werrrd.

Pour/Aesthetic:
I don't know if you bottled from a keg or not, but the carbonation on this one was a little high for any beer, and especially for a porter. I poured gently and ended up with a good 2" of foam that took awhile to settle down. The head was off-white with a large bubble matrix due to the high level of CO2. The color of the beer itself was dark brown to black, with some slight red at the very edges.

Aroma: As usual, the overcarbing lead to a weird metallic smell that took a few minutes to dissipate. After that, it was all chocolate and roasted notes. No hop aroma. A little coffee, a little raisin.

Palate:
This is where it really shines. The balance is impeccable! I love the chocolate notes, I love the slightly smoky roasted notes, and there's a faint hop flavor too in the form of spiciness. Best of all, the mouthfeel is silky (after I let it sit in a glass and offgas some of the carbonation, that is), and the body is nice and full. It reminded me of eating chocolate ice cream while drinking coffee---so, actually, like an Affogato (espresso on gelato). Freakin' delicious. I wouldn't change a thing about the palate.

Proximity to Style:
I've never had the "real" EF, but I'm a fan of Robust porters and as such have tried plenty. This has everything the style demands, except for the carbonation level.

Overall Impression: The one and only flaw was the high carbonation. Otherwise, this is a masterpiece and I wouldn't change a thing. Make this your house porter, and brew it alot. And then send some more to me. The roastiness is beautiful without being over the top, and reminds me almost of grilled red meat. The chocolate flavors are wonderful, and are accentuated by the creamy texture. Thanks for sharing!

Score: 43/50
 

ohiobrewtus

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I sent the same 2 brews to Yooper as well and she also stated that they appeared to be very 'bubbly'. Obviously the FexEx guys in WI/MI and VA are conspiring against me here, but I digress.

The EF was not bottled from a keg. It was from the 2nd time that I brewed it. I kegged 5 gallons and a buddy took the other 5 and bottled it. I had him bring me up a 6'er to compare. I had 2 of the bottles and the carbonation in them seemed to be about right (low to mild). I stashed two and sent the other two out. I'll have one this evening from the same stash and see how the carbonation is.

Yoop said she was going to let them both sit until tonight, so I'll be curious to hear if she experiences the same carbonation issue.

It's a bit ironic that we're talking about the EF and carbonation since Hopacles is the one that I was worried about. I undercarbed it in the keg because that's how I like my beer. So I pulled 2 dueces from the tap and dropped 2 carb tabs in each of them before shipping, so I have no idea what the carbonation on that will be like when you open it.

I actually have 10 more gallons of this in secondary right now. It has become my house porter and 5 gallons of it will be kegged. The other 5 will be bottled and sent to competitions to be judged. I think it's a very good beer, but there's only one way to find out if it's really as good as I think it is.

Thanks for the thorough review, Evan. I hope you enjoy Hopacles just as much.
 

Yooper

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Hopacles IPA

Pour/Appearance: Well, this beer opened with a nice pffft sound and had a very nice head that faded to 1/4 inch in about 2-3 minutes. It's a beautiful color and looks great. I note some cloudiness- I'm not sure if this is chill haze, or a result of the shaken it must have expereinced in transit. It does not detract from the appearance, since it is minimal. It was in my fridge for at least a week or 10 days, to give it time to settle.

Aroma: Well, this at first "nose" smells sweet with not alot of noticeable hops aroma. If I had to pick a style right now, I'd say this was a high octane Belgian. I poured it into a pint glass- maybe a tulip glass (I have none!) would give me a better idea of the aroma.

Taste: Well, the first sip was "hot" tasting with the warmth going all the way down to my mouth and throad. There is a great balance of bitterness and sweetness. Again, this taste says something different to me. I think "American Barleywine" now as I sip this. The bitterness at first seems a bit harsh, but then fades and becomes overall very smooth. The only flaws I see are I'm not getting the "Intense hops aromas" and I think it's not as dry as an IIPA would normally be. I would think this beer could be hopped more in later additions, including more dryhopping. It is more malty than I expected, but I suspect that the malt backbone is there to support the high bitterness. I think that the flavor is awesome, though!

Mouthfeel: Awesome. Just perfect. A smooth medium body (maybe leaning a bit more to heavy) with a low to moderate carbonation level. Maybe more carbonation would off-set some of the sweetness, but as part of the mouthfeel, it's perfect. Very smooth alcohol warming. I would render a guess that this beer is in the 9% range, just from that alcohol warming.

Overall: This is a really nice beer! I'm enjoying it very much. I think that it may have too much residual sweetness to make it a perfect IIPA, along with not quite enough hops character. I would have guessed this as a barley wine rather than an IIPA, though. That doesn't mean it's a bad beer- on the contrary- this beer is excellent! There is a beautiful maltiness that shines through and it's very well made. There is a moderately bitter maltiness still on the palate after swallowing. The alcohol warmth is nice, and is definitely appropriate in this beer! I would LOVE to see the recipe, and the actual ABV because I detect more malt than I expected and feel the alcohol warmth!

This is a great beer! Thank you so much for sending it to me to try. I'd be so curious to find out what other hopheads think!
 
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Evan!

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Sorry for the delay. I completely forgot to throw this up here.

Hopacles IIPA

Pour/Aesthetic: Unlike Yoops, I didn't get no carbo on this one. Sad little panda, me! Not really. It was still nice. I know OB had issues trying to bottle from the tap here, so...A for effort! The color is a nice golden, almost orange. I couldn't wait for this to settle out after shipping, so it was a little cloudy.

Aroma: Huge hop aroma, despite the lack of co2. Spiciness & citrus dominate. This is all hops, no malt whatsoever, but the hop aromas are so bloody complex that it's a joy to just revel in it all swirling around your olfactory receptors (yay, big words make me sound smart!) Seriously, only a beer this incredibly hoppy could put off such an amazingly pungent nose without any carbonation.

Palate:
The balance is really nice. It's bitter; incredibly, amazingly bitter. But not that much more bitter than my version, Destroyer of Worlds, and from all accounts, I believe OB used like twice or 3x as much hops in this as I did in mine. I'm beginning to believe more and more the assertion that once you go past 100 or whatever, humans cannot perceive the difference. Either way, the hop flavor is as complex as the aroma, with some hot alcohol esters showing through (probably more than normal due to the lack of carbonation). There's a tremendous malt backbone, which I prefer over the dryer IIPA's (Ruination comes to mind).

Proximity to Style:
Hard to really compare this to a style, especially when he was intentionally going overboard, and further complicated by the lack of co2. All I know is that, had this had carbo, I'd probably prefer it over Ruination (which happens to be one of my favorite hop bombs).

Overall Impression: Well, this balances out the overcarbonation from the EF, I guess :D. I wish it'd been carbonated, but from what I can tell flat, it's one excellent beer. I loved it flat, so I can imagine how good it is with bubbles. I'm not sure how much it benefited from throwing that much hops in there for bittering (wasn't it like 10 lbs ;) ). If I were you, I'd try the same recipe, but drop the IBU's to like 150, and see if you can tell a difference in bitterness...cuz hops aren't something to waste in these dark times. Thanks again for sharing!

Score: 40/50
 

ohiobrewtus

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Thank you for the thorough review, Evan. I'll try to get the carbonation right the next time I send you something. :D

Soulive - I wish I had more Hopacles to send out. I almost cried when I kicked that keg.

To answer Evan's comment about the quantity of hops - I believe that we both used the same amount (13 oz total between boil and dryhop). I front loaded mine and you made a lot of late hop additions. I made an IIPA last year that was 120 IBU, and compared Hopacles side by side with HopSlam, DFH 90 and Ruination... I certainly think that frontloading hops like that leaves a marked increase in bitterness as Hopacles seemed to have a much stronger bitterness and hop presence than any of the commercial examples that I compared it to.

I can't wait to brew this again. I think that I'll be adding some dextrose to dry it out a bit more though, and I'll get much more agressive with the dry hopping schedule. I was a little disappointed in the nose on this one.
 
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Evan!

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ohiobrewtus said:
Thank you for the thorough review, Evan.

Soulive - I wish I had more Hopacles to send out. I almost cried when I kicked that keg.

To answer Evan's comment about the quantity of hops - I believe that we both used the same amount (13 oz total between boil and dryhop). I front loaded mine and you made a lot of late hop additions.
Gotcha. I guess it was the IBU's that struck me.
 

ohiobrewtus

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Evan, what was your impression of the abv? Did it drink like a 9.3% beer to you?

I ask because I purposely left this version a bit malty to help mask the abv. It worked, but in retrospect I don't think that it was necessary because the hop presence is so strong that it serves the same effect.
 

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You know, reading Evan!'s review and mine, it's hard to believe you sent us the same beer!

I got almost no hops aroma, but plenty of malt, some sweetness, and carbonation. He got a very hoppy uncarbonated beer. Do you think the carbonation level would affect this? I mean, I'm a hop loving beer snob, and I tasted a totally different beer. Don't get me wrong- it was a GREAT beer.

I'm just wondering how we differ so vastly!
 

ohiobrewtus

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YooperBrew said:
You know, reading Evan!'s review and mine, it's hard to believe you sent us the same beer!

I got almost no hops aroma, but plenty of malt, some sweetness, and carbonation. He got a very hoppy uncarbonated beer. Do you think the carbonation level would affect this? I mean, I'm a hop loving beer snob, and I tasted a totally different beer. Don't get me wrong- it was a GREAT beer.

I'm just wondering how we differ so vastly!
I was thinking the same thing. Obviously the carbonation is going to have some impact on the aroma and palate, but I would think that it would be fairly minimal. I generally (slightly)undercarb everything that I have on tap because that's how I like my beer, so I figured that I should help out what I sent out to both of you and dropped in 2 carb tabs in each. I am unable to logically explain why there was such a vast difference in carbonation between the two.

I pulled both 22's one after the other, so I can tell you that it's the same beer. :D

I guess my evaluation was somewhere in between. I was a bit disappointed in the nose. I wanted it to have a more dominant hop aroma, but I only dry hopped with 1 oz of Amarillo for 7 days so next time I know to be much more agressive with the dry hop schedule.

When first poured, this beer was all hops with just a hint of maltiness and alcohol warmth in the palate. As it warmed (or maybe as my palate adjusted to the bitterness), the malt came though and balanced fairly well with the bitterness.
 

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ohiobrewtus said:
I was thinking the same thing. Obviously the carbonation is going to have some impact on the aroma and palate, but I would think that it would be fairly minimal. I generally (slightly)undercarb everything that I have on tap because that's how I like my beer, so I figured that I should help out what I sent out to both of you and dropped in 2 carb tabs in each. I am unable to logically explain why there was such a vast difference in carbonation between the two.

I pulled both 22's one after the other, so I can tell you that it's the same beer. :D

I guess my evaluation was somewhere in between. I was a bit disappointed in the nose. I wanted it to have a more dominant hop aroma, but I only dry hopped with 1 oz of Amarillo for 7 days so next time I know to be much more agressive with the dry hop schedule.

When first poured, this beer was all hops with just a hint of maltiness and alcohol warmth in the palate. As it warmed (or maybe as my palate adjusted to the bitterness), the malt came though and balanced fairly well with the bitterness.
Well, as I told you in my review, I got the bitterness (and it was not harsh, it was good) and the malt, but almost no hops aroma and flavor. I thought was very much barleywine-ish. I wish Evan! and I could have sat down together while sampling, to see what the other person was tasting/seeing/smelling.
 
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