Tuesday, November 9, 2010

423. Kevin Lolli Imperial IPA

Yes, I know it looks like I’m drinking a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, but that’s only because someone needs to learn to clean bottles. I’m looking at you, Kevin. I’m also drinking this beer out of a Knoxville Brewers’ Jam tasting glass, which, while a seemingly innocuous and by proxy super-uncool glass, was smelted by hand from the bones of my slain enemies, and then painted with their blood and viscera. So color me bad ass.

In addition to holding beers, this glass reminds me of crushing my enemies, and seeing them fall at my feet.

Pouring a tea-colored copper with a creamy, long-lasting head that provides a fair amount of lacing, Kevin’s Imperial IPA is the second version of this beer that I’ve sampled of late that is based upon the recipe in Jamil Zainasheff’s Brewing Classic Styles. The nose is big hops with a slight underlying candy caramel aroma—I get evergreen, resin, pine, and citrus, followed by a slight amount of grassiness—sort of like if they made a hoppy version of kettle corn. Flavors start bitter with a big caramel front, the former helping to keep the latter in check. The middle has a drop in sweetness, allowing the bitterness to come the forefront, along with resin and evergreen hop flavors. There is a touch of candy sweetness that comes back in the finish, as well as some grassiness, along with a nice long lingering hop bitterness. The beer has a medium to heavy body and a creamy mouthfeel mixed with a touch of astringency from the hops, although nothing overbearing. There is a slight tang of alcohol heat, but it is pretty subdued, and the carbonation gives the beer a bit of silkiness on the tongue, helping to round the beer overall. The grassiness does build a bit as the beer warms (and it tastes like pellet hops grassiness as well—the green sludge mixed with the yeast helps confirm this), especially in the lingering flavors on the back of the tongue, as does the alcohol heat, but this is overall a solid and enjoyable beer. It does have less overall hop complexity as compared to Jeffrey’s version, but this beer also has less alcohol warmth and astringency. And seriously, the head is still hanging around. Thick, too—not some of that thin covering crap. The beer is gone, but there is a layer of foam left in the bottom of the glass. Now, how about cleaning the labels off those bottles, tough guy?


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