Phillips 13 Knots in a Hangman’s Noose India Pale Ale

13-Knots-IPA-and-Hop-Drop-web-photo2Brewer: Philips Brewing, Victoria BC
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 11.9%/13%

Description: Brewed in honor of the brewery’s 13th anniversary, this Imperial IPA comes in two packages. The first is the beer itself, which weighs in at a hefty 11.9% ABV (the legal limit) and is heavily hopped. The second is the Hop Drop – an artisanal hop liqueur distilled from real hops (which they plan to keep making, apparently) – ranked at 25% ABV. When combined, they add up to a hefty 13% alc/vol and a massive dose of hops.

Tasting Notes: When it comes time for Philips to celebrate its anniversary, I’ve come to expect some very alcoholic, very hoppy brews from Philips. But this beer certainly sent things to a whole new level! And I have to say, it was a very clever way of circumventing that pesky law that says beers cannot be 12% ABV or higher. In any case, the brew is QUITE powerful in terms of malts and hops, but the balance is really quite impressive given its overall strength. When one sips this beer (because quaffing is likely to knock you flat), the sweet malt, piney and tropical fruit flavors are like a velvet glove that softens the delivery of the massive alcoholic punch. Definitely overpowering, but worth the experience.

Appearance: Golden, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, very hoppy nose, tropical fruits, pineapple, passion fruit
Taste: Sweet and coarse malt, notes of pine, passion fruit, burning alcoholic finish
Aftertaste:  Lingering alcoholic burn, fruity hop flavor, mild bitterness
Overall: 8/10

Note: If I can get myself a second bottle, I shall try to discern how it tastes both with and without the addition of the Hop Drop. Despite its consistently high alcohol and hop content, it can be hard to tell how much of which is which!

Green Flash Palate Wrecker Hamilton’s Ale

palate_wrecker_release_partyBrewer: Green Flash Brewery, San Diego, CA
Style: Imperial India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 9.5%
IBU: 100+

Description: Palate Wrecker was originally brewed for the Hamilton’s Tavern 2nd Anniversary celebration, and has since been made available as part of their regular lineup due to popular demand. A traditional West Coast-style IPA, it was also the recipient of the 2011 Michael Jackson American Cask Ale Award at the British Beer Festival and the Bronze Medal for Imperial IPA category in the 2012 World Beer Cup.

Tasting Notes: This is only the second beer I’ve had from Green Flash, and the first experience (their Le Freak Ale) is one I feel I need to retry since my tasted have evolved since 2010 when I tried it. But regardless of that, I found this Imperial IPA to be most satisfying and worthy of the name “Palate Wrecker”. But with an alcohol content of 9.5% and a hop strength that exceeds 100 IBUs, that should come as no surprise. But then again, I am a notorious hop-lover, and this brew hits me where I live!

Appearance: Dark ruby/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong floral, citrusy, hoppy notes
Taste: Strong, sweet and coarse malt, powerful hop bitterness, citrus and passion fruit
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness and coarse malts
Overall: 9.5/10