Friday, March 2, 2012

Avery Brewing Company Maharaja Imperial IPA

The Avery Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado was established in 1993. 

This beer is part of their Dictator Series of imperial beers ("imperial" used to mean beers brewed for crowned heads of state of Europe, but now more often meaning a stronger than usual beer).  This is a massive 10.39% ABV and 102 IBU's or international bitterness units (the internationally agreed upon standard for measuring bitterness in beer).

The beer pours a dark copper, dark amber, burnt orange in color.  There is a quarter-inch of off-white head.  The aroma is big and bold, loads of melon fruit, some overly ripe tropical fruit, caramel malt, with a discernible note of alcohol.  The taste is massive melon, a combination of every melon you can think of, all a touch on the ripe side, sweet, yet fruity.  It is sweet, but does not drink sweet, yet it does not finish as dry and bitter as one would expect.  The massive IBU's keep the melon and alcohol sweetness from becoming even the slightest bit overwhelming.  This is an interesting whopper of a beer.

Tried it again in 2016 and really enjoyed it, still 102 IBU's, but now 10.2% ABV:
The beer pours a deep dark amber and dried apricot. There is a half-inch head of thick, off-white foam that leaves sedimentary layers of lacing down the glass. The aroma is big, over-ripe melons and tropical fruits. The taste follows the aromas, massive, very ripe fruit, held up by a huge bed of malt. The beer is very flavorful, ripe, full, lush. A note of candied orange, with the bitterness of the peel, starts to come through. The finish is not as bitter as you might expect; it battles the sweetness to a draw. The heat of the alcohol comes through, but is not overwhelming. The beer drinks very smooth, full, and round. This is a very well done massive Imperial IPA.

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