Ruler of the Double IPA: @AveryBrewingCo – Maharaja IPA

Maharaja_badge200Hooray.  This is the first beer I’ve reviewed after my “I only review great beers, now” posting.

And me, oh my, this is one hell of a great beer.  Rated pretty-much consistently above 4.5 by the folks on beer advocate and achieving a ratings of “Outstanding” and “World-Class” you have to go a long way to find anything like it.

Now, there’ll be some that won’t like it:  It’s a double IPA, it’s 10.2% alcohol and it’s 102IBU – so it’s clearly not going to appeal to everyone.  But I like it.  I like it because it’s so over-the-top.

I had Maharaja on draught at Lock27 Brewing in Dayton, Ohio – where I also got to try their Sunfish Pale and Mouth Breather IPA, both of which were very good indeed.

Maharajah arrives a happily-hazy dark orange, with a little slick of off-white head that sticks around and leaves excellent lacing all down the glass.

The Aroma preceded the glass’s arrival at the table and was strongly citrus pithy with some highlights of tropical, there’s some pines, lots of dank resinous notes and a little honey, and malt.

The taste was not as bitter as I would have expected for 102 IBU and has some malty sweetness, but the show was well and truly stolen, wrestled to the ground, beaten senseless and mercilessly throttled by an absolute landslide of hops.  I mean, this is BIG hopping; nay, mighty hopping.

Yes, there’s some dark caramelly maltiness and a gorgeous solid body – but it’s the hops that form a crowd around you as you lay flailing about on the floor on a leary-esque lupulin trip: glorious bitter-burnt-orange and grapefruit pith varnish your teeth, tongue, trousers and just about anything else that gets Maharaja on it.

You don’t even notice the alcohol…until you’ve downed the first one and everything goes a bit carnival whirly.

I though the alcohol would have been more prominent in the taste, but it’s not…it just hides out in and amongst the greenery like a thuggee of old India – ready to literally strangle you of your sensibilities.

Holy cow, it’s good…

Tesco Finest: American Double IPA


Note that after one I didn’t make it very far from the sofa to do the photography

It’s not very often I come across such a brute of a beer, but this is one such time.  If it was a dog it’d be a Staffordshire bull terrier, if it was a person it’d be an angry, flailing, Boris Johnson on crack (US readers, look him up)

I’ve not really ever had a true Double IPA, so this review is purely based on it’s merits rather than how it compares to the real thing.  I believe it’s brewed by the happy funsters at Brewdog – which means it was always going to be interesting and probably a little unhinged…

The colour is that of polished and laquered copper pipes…twee country pub goers know what I mean by this…  The effervesence is pretty much spot on, neither being over or under done.

From the aroma there’s piney, floral, citrus orange hops with a heather honey sweetness and strong caramel/molasses undertone from the malt…plus of course massive alcohol – which is 9.2% if you’re interested.

Taste-wise the first thing that hits you is the huge bitterness, which then takes you by the hand and leads you to a real mouthful of dark caramel malt and epic bitter orange and pine resin hoppiness, all the while the alcohol is literally rocking you back on your heels.  This is one BIG beer.

Once you’ve got through all of that and swallowed, you’re left with an intense bitterness that is briefly punctuated by tons of resinous pine needleyness, before the bitterness rides back in to give you a final going over.

As I said before this is a BIG beer, and as brutal as they come.  It’s not complex and punchy like Punk IPA or Goose Island.  It’s just punchy.  Massively so.

Serve it cold, and enjoy being knocked about a bit…

There you go, Tesco.  I’ve even provided a link so people can go and buy it direct.  There’s someone at home most days, and even if there’s not you can just leave the crate of beer by the back door.  Our neighbours, despite my best efforts, only drink wine, so they won’t touch it…