Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hill Farmstead Abner

The Abner is an Imperial/ Double IPA. This one come's from the brewery's ancestral series of ales in homage to the family's ancestors. Abner is Sean Hill's great grandfather - the brewery sits on the same land that was his. The water for this beer was even taken from Abner's well, which will have a large impact on the brewing process and will influence hop character.

Alcohol Content: 8.2%
Theoretical IBU: 170
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Caramel, Dextrose (Corn Sugar)
Hops: Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, Simcoe, Warrior

Price: $4.50/ Half; $8.50/ Full
Medium: Stemmed glass

Aroma: Another super fruity/ tropical citrus aroma from the Hill Farmstead but this one focusing on a more complex fruitiness as opposed to the single hop series of ales. Hops are semi-grassy from the high-hopping rates. Malts remain in the background as I catch occasional faint whiffs of clean malt sweetness. No distinct/ forward caramel malt in aroma despite its usage. Alcohol of 8.2% is well hidden.
Appearance: Slightly darker than the Hill Farmstead Citra while emulating its gold & tangerine colors. Head retention was low with minimal lace. Extremely hazy, masking any sight of bubbles. I ordered the half which was served in a unique stemmed glass.
Flavor: Malt sweetness is only slightly present but nonetheless clean and pleasant. However, it manages to hold up against the hops to provide a palatable beer. The main focus is on its assertive bitterness and complex hop character, which offers various citrus aromas and flavors with typical of these American hops. No caramel flavors but perhaps a small amount of dried fruit character shines through  (that does not come from hops). Fermentation is also hard for me to pick out in a highly hopped IPA - I presume no diacetyl. Long lingering bitterness in the aftertaste is very characterful and is far from harsh or upsetting, although it did wear down my palate as the session progressed.
Mouthfeel: A moderately dry finish is the first thing I noted. Clean, warm alcohol notes are perceived in the mouthfeel but not so much in any flavor characteristic. A moderately light body combines with a medium-high level of carbonation to accent its bitterness but not leave a harsh finish or aftertaste. Malty sweetness hides underneath from start to finish. There's something about the water profile of the Brewery's beers that I'm determined to find out because it surely plays a major role in all of the beers I have sampled thus far.
Overall Impression: My impression of the initial sweetness and body follows very closely with what one may expect after learning the malt bill. Dextrose provides alcohol while lightening the body, or in other words not contributing much to complexity like you would see from a combination of other malts. I figured it to be more palatable than some other imperial IPAs in this respect. It maintains a more refreshing or light-bodied ale while still packing a lot of flavor from its complex hoppy character.

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