Gorgeous Gargantuan Grapefruit: @BPbrewing – Grapefruit Sculpin IPA

20160115_190725

I know this might be a rather strong way to start a review, but:

GOD ALMIGHTY, THIS IS ONE HELL OF A BEER.

I know I’ve gone off of the deep end about certain beers before, but honest to goodness this is a truly great beer, and in this review I’m hoping to somehow, in however small-a-way, impress the greatness of it upon you…

In fact Ballast Point have made such a good job of brewing this, you needn’t bother reading the rest of my review; the time being far better spent trying to secure yourself a bottle or two…

So how did I come by this gem of a beer..?

A work trip to the AWS re:Invent conference just before Christmas meant that I found myself on a warmish Sunday afternoon shambling down the Las Vegas strip with my boss, you know, just taking in the sights after an hour or so of blazing away with large calibre machine guns and pistols (Battle Field Vegas. Go. Don’t ask. Just go.)

With the smell of cordite fresh in our nostrils we needed beer.

The liquor store beckoned (my boss always advises having a stock of beers in a hotel room…whether that’s for refreshment or just to stop his employees making too free with the company credit cards I’m not sure.  Either way it’s advice I never fail to heed)

Once inside the liquor store, I was staggered by the selection on offer.  So many beers, so many pretty bottles.  In the end, and having heard so much good stuff about it, I just had to have the Sculpin…this decision being helped in no small part by my boss sighing and leaning heavily on the counter while I ummed and ahhed.

Poured into a glass the upfront aroma is all fresh and zingy grapefruit rinds. There’s a lovely candyish marmalade note too. After that it’s hops, hops, hops! If I couldn’t have a bottle of Sculpin to drink, I’d happily settle for a whiff of the GLORIOUS aromatics instead.

Colour-wise, it’s old polished copper, with a perfect carbonation and a lovely frothy-foamy snow-white head.

When tasted, it’s full in body at 7 or so percent – which in my opinion is the sweet spot for this time of IPA.

Even at 7% ABV, Sculpin is as clean as a whistle…which is a good job because there’s an absolute ton of other flavour to come: a huge rush of zesty, pithy grapefruit and floral hops, LOVELY orangey maltiness , before the dank hops and laser-targeted 70IBU bitterness come to finish the whole thing off.

But wait! There’s a little grapefruit twang right at the end that makes your mouth run like a tap – which means you just can’t stop drinking.

I drank two bottles straight down – it really was that good.

But remember, you have to have this beer coolish – at least cellar temperature – there’s no point having it warm…it’s just not the same.

This is a GLORIOUS beer. You JUST have to try it. I doubt I’ll find equal or better for a very long while.

LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT.

Webpage here: http://www.ballastpoint.com/beer/grapefruit-sculpin/

(I will make a clone tribute to this remarkable beer, just you wait…)

Tasting Notes: Simon the Saisonal Seabird (A Belgian Saison with Grapefruit) Keg Version

20141008_190252

Mr Nitwit admires the Style of this beer

It seems such a long time ago now, but do you remember me brewing this? https://yeastismybitch.com/2014/08/11/simon-the-saisonal-seabird-a-belgian-saison-with-grapefruit/

Well, it’s now time to scribble a few notes about it.  This time I’m only reviewing the keg version – I did bottle a lot of it, but there was a fair few litres in the keg, so that’s where I’ve been enjoying it.

In the glass a really nice, fluffy – but not long-lasting – white head sits atop an amber, scotch-clear, beer. A light force-carbonated running bead makes up for the somewhat eventually collapsible nature of the head.

A powerful spicy Belgian aroma pairs with a decent thread of solid alcohol amongst, while notes of grapefruit-y citrus come along for the ride too.  It’s very-well meshed together and teasing the yeast and grapefruit aromas apart is difficult.  I’m declaring this a victory on the aroma front.

The taste has a solid leading amount of Belgian spice, with a balancing sweetness and some lovely yeast-fruity complexity – all of this is supported by a dryish theme and a big old dose of Saison spice at the end.  It’s definitely more Belgian than Saison, but I’m OK with that…the WLP568 yeast probably not being fermented warm enough by me to really encourage the Saison character.

The after-taste is distinctly Belgian and dry and spicily refreshing.

Now that’s all great and I couldn’t be happier; but this is where it all starts to get a bit weird…but in a good way:

Remember this is a grapefruit themed beer?  Well…the grapefruit pops up in different places on the taste curve, as well as in different mouthfuls – sometimes it’s smack up-front in the initial taste – and at other times it runs on strongly in the after-taste.

It’s definitely very odd, but it’s also rather interesting and really rather nice.  At times it’s strong and pithy and beautifully assertive, whilst at other times it’s smooth and peppery and perfectly dove-tailed in with the Belgian spiciness.

Holy cow, I couldn’t leave this keg alone and the majority of it was drunk far too young.  Moral of the story: let Belgian beers age so they improve – becoming more sublime and delicious with the passing of time.  I’m certainly not touching the bottled version any more until Christmas.

I am definitely going to be making this beer  again – it’s far too nice not to…but I might try some other weird-arse fruit additions; for instance, I think Mandarins would be really special…

Will report back on the bottled version near Christmas…