By Danny DeGennaro
After discovering the glut of excellent beers at Shep's in St. Pete, I was inspired to check out some hop bombs from across the pond. I haven't looked this up, but my guess is that it's 1,000 theoretical IBUs? Mikkeller doesn't do anything halfway, especially when it comes to failure.
The pour is an esoteric shade of dirty amber, more Dubbel than DIPA. Tons of sediment (Mikkeller's yard stick when it comes to bang for your buck-ness). The head and the lacing are both outstanding, though.
I brought the beer outside and honestly it smells like a malty wreck. Truly the wreck of the S.S. GiMALTer (sorry). Lots of toasted caramel and off-putting sugary notes, but with some pungent resin on the back end.
The taste is intense, and dispels any doubt that this is or isn't a fresh DIPA. There isn't actually a ton to report on here; this is bitter as fuck. My hoppy adjective bank is overdrawn—this is simply a stupidly hoppy beer. From the outset it's blow after blow of nearly characterless bitterness. There's some herbaceousness I guess, but only as a formality. It took everything the malt had to be present in the nose, 'cause it doesn't even make a cursory appearance in the taste.
The arms race to be the hoppiest brewer is long over in my opinion; it's trivial to unveil a triple IPA, or a Mean Manalishi, or Hopsickle clone. Single hop varieties are where it's at, preferably without the volume cranked to 11.
This isn't a bad beer, but it lacks balance and defining character. In the wake of all of Mikkeller's smaller, single hop beers, this seems anachronistic—a gauntlet throw down to challengers who aren't even playing the same game. Worth a try if you're feeling a little masochistic or need an alpha acid fix, but don't expect divinity, or even tact for that matter.