Imperial IPA night, and DFH World Wide Stout
We began with the Yellow Snow from Rogue. It was pretty much hop bitterness in the finish all the way. Nothing outstanding. I would’ve wanted to seriously taste the Rogue I^2PA but it unfortunately wasn’t available at Gilmore Wines. I got to taste the latter beer at the Beer Club of Manila Christmas party, but as with everyone else, my recollection of the event is hazy at best.
After which came the Stone Cali-Belgique IPA, a cross between a west coast IPA and a Belgian pale ale – that is, assertive American hops and earthy Belgian malt and yeast. The first time I tried this brew, it was largely underwhelming. This time, it was surprisingly much more alive – the flavors from the malts and yeast were brighter, and the hop bitterness at the end was a lot more aggressive than it was when I had my first taste almost a year ago.
Stone Ruination is a personal favorite. Interestingly, I haven’t written about it yet, because I drank a lot of it before I began this blog, and supply ran out soon after I started writing. I’d been meaning to do a lengthy feature on it since the new shipment arrived a couple months ago, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I do have a draft post on this and another Imperial IPA, paired with buffalo wings. I’ll work on that soon enough.
The bottle we had of Ruination though, was disappointing. The distinctive grapefruit aroma from the Cascade hops was missing – and it was not a matter of freshness either, as other bottles we’d had recently were up to snuff. Too bad, as the usually formidable Ruination could do nothing but get blown away by…
Having run out of IPAs, we opened a couple bottles I brought. The first was Admiral Ackbar’s favorite, and last beer. It’s La Trappe! This was a Dubbel from the only Dutch Trappist brewery, and they also produce a Quadrupel. After taking one sniff, Bryan immediately exclaimed that it smelled like gulaman, and that it did. This pales in comparison to Chimay Red, with much less body, being almost watery. It has the requisite fruitiness – think dried berries – and malts, but the initial gulaman comparison just really threw me off from appreciating this. While I am not a fan of Dubbels in general, I know a good one when I taste it, and the peg for me will always be the aged Ommegang Abbey Ale that I was fortunate enough to taste.
The last beer for the night, and fittingly so, was Dogfish Head’s World Wide Stout, “a very dark beer brewed with a ridiculous amount of barley.” This was a gift from a friend who was part of the internationally-acclaimed Philippine team to the Jessup Moot Court Competition from UP Diliman which reached the semifinals of this year’s competition. They bowed out to the eventual champion from Russia, and were the last remaining Asian and “third world” team.
The DFH WWS should also have disclaimed that it was brewed with a ridiculous amount of alcohol, as well. Initial tastes yielded exclamations of surprise at how boozy it was. While we guessed at the alcohol content, a quick search on the net yielded a variable content of 15-20% ABV, with an average of 18%. From what I know of big beers, alcohol content may vary, especially when bottle-conditioned, since the fermentation continues as the beer ages. This was a 2012 release, and definitely much too young to be enjoyed properly, but nonetheless worth tasting, for comparison’s sake at least.
Thus, in two years, I’ll open the other bottle I received, and hopefully the overpowering booziness will have mellowed down into a more balanced and drinkable stout. The roasted malts, chocolate, and slight soy saltiness were definitely overpowered by the wave of alcohol that followed. If beers above 10% ABV in general are helped by a year of aging, then this holds true even more for the bold World Wide Stout. In the meantime, it will have lots of time in the back of my closet to bond with the Unibroue releases and the Victory V-12 Quadrupel that I’ll be picking up from Global Beer Exchange later.