Annex Ale Project Howling Fantods – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.1% ABV

Annex Ale Project Howling Fantods American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.1% ABV (C$13.25 at The Brewer’s Apprentice, 946 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 7-Jan-2018, reviewed 14-Jan-2018)

Appearance: cloudy pale amber with one fat finger of fluffy white head, moderate retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: juicy citrus, alcohol, crackery malt, pine resin, floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering and building bitter and warming finish. (4/5)

I’m pretty sure this is the first beer I’ve had that claims to be a D/NEIPA, which seems to me to be a style that is, if not actually intrinsically self-contradictory, at least fraught with difficulty. I mean, yes, I’ll give it hazy and juicy, sure. But it’s also obviously high gravity, verging on hot. (The combination of citrus and alcohol makes me think of a Screwdriver, actually.) More problematic, perhaps, it’s also got huge bitterness. Which is something I don’t object to in general, but it would seem to be somewhat out of spec for an NEIPA. But then again, it’s a double, so I’d expect a large, 90+ IBU rating to balance the 9.1% ABV (according to my rule which I’ve previously elucidated). I once had a (philosophy) professor hand me back a major assignment and say “I didn’t know whether to give you an A+ for the quality of the work, or an F for your use of class content, so I split the difference and gave you a B-. I recommend you don’t appeal it.” (I quoted Metallica lyrics and hadn’t actually gone to class, so…) That’s kind of how I feel about this beer: it might be an A+ overall, or arguably more like a C for adherence to style. Either way, it’s a lot of fun, and better than their APA’s, A/IPA’s, S/IPA, or Saison I’ve previously tried. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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