When Just an IPA Won't Do - A Black, Red, & Double IPA Tasting

This time we focused our efforts on taste testing hoppy beers – in this case IPAs and one dry-hopped California Common. The taste testing offered a broad spectrum of different hop flavors, and demonstrated that hops should not be synonymous with strict bitterness. Hop flavors ranged from citrusy to piney, bitter and resinous to almost herbal or floral. We also made note of which beers demonstrated a tasty hop/malt balance, and where the hops seemed to overpower or overwhelm all other notes in the beer. If these tasting notes leave you craving an out-of-the-ordinary IPA, we'd suggest our own Dry River Rye IPA, Gila Monster Black IPA, or Hopiphany White IPA.

Dry Hopped Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

Dry Hopped Anchor Steam

Appearance Pours a hazy, gold color with diminishing head. Aroma We smell piney, spicy, almost floral hops. Flavor Bitter, piney, herbal, floral, hops come first, followed by grainy, sweet, biscuit malts and clean yeast. Mouthfeel Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, and a long finish. Overall Tasting Notes "Fantastic mix of grain, fresh hop smell/bitter hop taste, and malt," "great beer," "it's like regular Anchor Steam only not as good," "subtle tastes of malt, mild dry hopped finish," "decent," "aroma better than taste," "nice malty backbone with a bitter earthy/herbal hop finish," "very reminiscent of the English style IPAs as it lacks the citrus or pine notes of the American style IPAs," and "nice and clean."

Bayside Black IPA | Oskar Blues Brewery

Bayside Black IPA Oskar Blues

Appearance This Black IPA has a root Beer color; hazy, lasting head; and some lacing. Aroma Citrus, piney, herbal, spicy hops; then roasted, biscuit malts; clean yeast; and a slight alcohol smell. Flavor Tastes of bitter, resinous, citrus hops; and roasted, dark stone fruit, biscuit malt. Mouthfeel Medium body and moderate carbonation with a long finish. Overall Tasting Notes "Unique hop character," "good beer," "well balanced," "black malts pair well with citrusy hops," "good balance," "this is one of the better dark IPAs out there," "a nice herbal hop flavor followed by a subtle roasted finish," "not as astringent as many other dark IPAs/CDAs," "dark stone fruity," "smell does not match the flavor - overall pretty decent though."

ReDANKulous Imperial Red IPA | Founders Brewing Company


Appearance Deep, red, amber color with a diminishing head. Aroma Smells like piney, earthy, herbal hops and sweet, caramel malt. Flavor The piney, resinous hops hit the tongue first, followed by the sweet, toasted biscuit malt. Mouthfeel Medium body, and moderate carbonation with a long finish. Overall Tasting Notes "Complex with three distinct stages of flavor starting with sweet stone fruit and then a mix of caramel and green hop finishing with resinous bitterness that lingers," "tastes much better than it smells," "piney hops show through here - complex flavors," "sticky resinous," "complex flavors that are very long lasting," and "I love the balance of toasted malts, caramel malts, and hops in red IPAs, and this is no exception - tasty brew."

The Oracle DIPA | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

The Oracle DIPA Bell's Brewery

Appearance The Oracle pours a gold, hazy color with a diminishing head. Aroma Floral, citrus hops and sweet, biscuit malts. Flavor Piney, resinous, bitter, herbal hops; sweet, biscuit, dark stone fruit malt; and an alcoholic flavor. Mouthfeel Medium body; biting, moderate carbonation; and a long finish. Overall Tasting Notes "A good attempt but a bit off," "awesome! I'll take a double of the double," "meh," "great golden bright appearance, hops are piney yet long lasting, classic Double IPA," "mild in flavor for such a high ABV, but still a very bitter and resinous finish," "normally not a DIPA fan, but I like this," and "biting and bitter."