Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fiddlehead Black IPA

Fiddlehead's latest beers include an Irish Red (brewed with a local competition winner from the Green Mountain Mashers homebrew club) and a Black IPA. I already missed out on the Irish Red due to short availability but I was able to pick up a growler of the Black IPA still on tap at the brewery. I will also mention that the Brewery is having an anniversary party on December 29th from 8pm - midnight @ the Brewery. It's 25$/ ticket and they are selling fast. I look forward to attending in a couple of weeks.

Alcohol Content: 6.8%
IBU: 60
Malts: ?, Weyermann Sinamar mainly for color
Hops: Topaz (Australia), Stella (Australia),

Price: 7$/ growler + 3$ deposit
Medium: Pint glass

Aroma: Tropical citrusy hops lending grapefruit and kiwi notes. This is complemented by a pleasant soft graininess with hints of cocoa sweetness. Otherwise a clean malt backbone for such a dark beer. Fermentation mildly fruity and blends with the aggressive hop aromas. Similar components to their flagship IPA in terms of the 'house' character.
Appearance: A tan head forms with great retention. Alcohol provides legs in the foam when swirling - typical for higher alcohol beverages and unusual for a beer of about 7%. Color nears jet black with some dark ruby notes under good lighting. Otherwise opaque.
Flavor: Pleasant malt sweetness reminiscent of toast and cocoa. Hop flavors roll over the tongue with pronounced tropical citrus. Bitterness is moderately high and favored over the malt bill; however, a touch of cocoa sweetness remains in the aftertaste. Remarkably similar 'house' character in relation to their flagship IPA. My guess is similar water adjustments plays in with the same yeast strain. Dries out in the finish with a touch of spice from alcohol. Unique australian hop varieties reminds me of some of the beers Sean Lawson is currently working with (Lawson's Finest Liquids).
Mouthfeel: Interesting water profile accentuates the hop bitterness and helps dry the palate while leaving lingering hop flavors and subtle malty notes. Hop resins coat the mouth. Possibly some hop polyphenols also playing with the overall character of the mouthfeel, perceived on the back roof of the mouth. Medium body and slight alcohol warmth. Moderate carbonation.
Overall Impression: I thoroughly enjoyed the uniqueness of Fiddlehead's black IPA and flagship IPA. They have similar characteristics in terms of hop character, mouthfeel, and drinkability. The black IPA is a little more bitter but also balanced out by slightly sweeter malts.

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