Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mission Brewery Shipwrecked Double IPA Review

From the website:
San Diego Style Double India Pale Ale
A amazingly balanced and hoppy beer, yet finishes as smooth as silk with no hint of high alcohol hotness usually associated with strong double IPA’s. Super citrus and grapefruit aromas and flavors from the generous use of Cascade, Magnum, Centennial and CTZ hops.
9.25% ABV.  75 IBU.  12 SRM.
Booze hound that I am, I'm a total sucker for double IPAs (also known as imperial IPAs): take a tasty, sophisticated IPA, up the ABV and the IBUs, and you've got yourself a double. If you don't like the hop bitterness in your typical IPAs, steer clear of this style-- to balance out the booze and hops there will sometimes be a malty sweetness, but this is first and foremost a bitter style.

This is my first Mission beer, and I wasn't too disappointed. Once again I don't have the right kind of glass-- I'd recommend a tulip for this one-- this is one of the best smelling beers I've had lately (more on that in a second), and it benefits from warming up a bit-- tulip glasses allow the warmth from your hand to wake up the flavors as you hold it. They're also gorgeous, allow you to fully appreciate your beer's color, and maintain the head better than would a pint glass.

So, back to the smell: incredibly sweet, but not in some kind of lambic beat-you-over-the-head-with-fruit way. It's just damn inviting-- the hops are there, but you really can't smell those 75 IBUs. When I was drinking this a few weeks ago I wasn't a huge fan-- maybe because I've been having a lot less beer lately I can appreciate this more, but when I took a whiff of this today all I could think was that every time I've just really wanted a beer, this is the smell I had in my head.

It's stronger on the tongue than the nose-- the bitterness jumps out pretty strong, but for a double IPA the hops are surprisingly subdued (note that this does not mean they're not very prevalent! just not as prevalent as I'd expect). This is actually a very balanced double-- the malt cuts against the hop bitterness in a very pleasant way, making for a very drinkable brew. The carbonation's about what you'd expect-- I like my IPAs bubbly, and this one just about hits the sweet spot-- I have occasionally come across craft beers that go too far in the frothy direction, and for my money the Shipwrecked gets it just right.

As it warms up the citrus blooms a bit but overall it maintains a pretty clean finish. If you don't like IPAs, you won't like this one, but if you do, and want to break into the imperials, I can't think of anything better. So far as strong beers go, this'll treat you better in the summer than a stout, and the sweetness definitely helps, but I can never really put my finger on what season I think IPAs belong in.

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