Thursday, February 3, 2011

450. North Peak Diabolical India Pale Ale

That’s right, I’m officially back. Sorry for January. But I was having so much fun. Anyway, two in almost as many days from North Peak. And that’s nothing to sneeze at. If you missed it, which I’m not sure is possible, our last one from North Peak was Vicious. Grrrrr!!!!

Pouring a rich, dark copper, Diabolical is clear with an eggshell-colored head and a spicy herbal and citrus hop nose. I didn’t get much else in the nose, although Elli thought the malt character was a bit too juicy in relation to the hops—she called it “plump,” which I liked, so I put it in quotation marks to call attention to it. Flavors start with a light, dry malt sweetness that is quickly taken over by hop bitterness. The middle does have some biscuit dryness along with a bit of spicy and citrus hop flavor, but it all bows before the bitterness, which is the primary presence in the middle. The finish has a brief rise of caramel candy sweetness—brighter and sweeter than the opening, in fact—along with more of the bitterness from the middle, although it is a bit more subdued in the finish even as it lingers pleasantly on the palate. The mouthfeel is better than Vicious—it is more full-bodied and rounded—but the hop flavor is better in Vicious. The carbonation lends a creamy element to the body as well, and tames some of the sharpness from the hops. Again, a good beer, but nothing that really stands out. Although the label has a rabbit with horns on it that is totally awesome. That’s an easy Top 10 Best contender—behold the jackalope, my minions!

From the North Peak website: “The devil made us do it. From the ABV and IBU figures to the fiendish use of Cascade, Perle, and Willamette hops, Lucifer was whispering in our ears the entire time. Citrus and pine scents greet you and are followed by the sharp bitterness expected of an IPA. The beer’s true wickedness is revealed in the smooth Pale, Crystal 30, and wheat malts that surreptitiously broaden the beer’s appeal to more than just hopheads.”

ABV: 6.6%
IBU: 66.6%


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