Monday, 12 March 2012

REVIEW #65: Magic 8 Ball (Magic Rock Brewing)

Pours thoroughly black with a tan head very much redolent of a stout. Pine and eucalyptus flavoured chocolate comes through on the nose. Lots of pine, spearmint and grapefruit initially in the taste. A low caramel maltiness is present in the background. The finish is minimally bitter and is dominated by the exquisite hop aroma; in fact it feels a bit like you've just had a breath mint! Faint fennel/liquorice notes also crop up in the finish accompanied by the slightest trace of bitter roasted barley, although that may have been my imagination. It has a nice rich mouthfeel and hides its considerable ABV as if by magic. This beer is delicious. Think of a black version of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and your on the right track.

Magic Rock Brewing's Magic 8 Ball is one of those new-fangled, oxymoronic 'black IPA's' (the first I've tried). A beer that is black and pale. A contradiction in your glass. A little like a certain White Stout. The key to a black IPA is to deliver enough dark malt to turn the beer black but even more hop in order to plainly get across that it really is an IPA your drinking. Magic Rock achieve this by going easy on the roast barley flavours (going so far as to use de-husked malt to eschew potential malt-based bitterness in the final product) and using bucketloads of American Cascade and Columbus hop varieties in the hopback; BIG aroma and bittering hops. On top of that they then dry hopped with Nelson-Sauvin to give a tropical/grapefruity aroma. Going above and beyond the call of duty with that hop schedule! I was a bit dubious about this style but I'll be on the look out for more examples now I've tried this.
  • MALTS: de-husked dark / crystal? malt
  • IBU: ?
  • ABV: 7%`

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