De Proef Brouwerij / Mikkeller Hop Burn High American Double/Imperial IPA at 10% ABV ($5.95 from Highlander Wine & Spirits)
Pours slightly hazy, particle-laden pale amber with one finger of loose off-white head quickly diminishing to a thin skim and patchy lacing. Nose is aggressive citrus and tropical fruit, mild caramel malt. Taste is moderate caramel sweet, intensely bitter pine resin ahead of citrus and tropical fruit, building spice. Medium body and slightly oily texture, low sustained carbonation, and a dry, spicy, lingering bitter finish, with an immediate warming in the gut from the high ABV, the high IBUs, or both.
Three hundred IBU. I dunno whether it’s called “Hop Burn” because of the heartburn I expect it’ll cause, or because I think it singed my nose hairs at the first sniff. I’m fairly convinced the particulate is pure alpha acids settling out of solution. For all that, it’s very drinkable. I don’t know if it’s my years of abusing my taste buds with spicy food or what, but on the tongue, this isn’t unmanageable at all. It smells scarier than it tastes… but it also burns in the gut like high proof whiskey or spicy peppers. I like it. A lot. As the glass progresses, the subtler flavours become more pronounced, presumably because the biter receptors have given up and shut down. That being said, it lacks a certain subtlety and polish… but then again, so do I. So I like it more.