Saturday, November 21, 2009

Great Divide Brewing Company - Hercules Double IPA

Nearly a month has passed since my last post. Only just slightly ridiculous, I know. I've been wanting to review new beers. I have many currently in my fridge. Finally, I am getting around to it. And I am going to try out something from Great Divide Brewing Co (something a lot of my friends have been urging me to do). So let's do it. Here goes.

The Great Divide Brewing Co comes at us from Denver, Colorado. Now personally, I have never tasted anything from them, so I have no opinion on them, except for what I've heard from my friends. They all say the beer is good. The first thing I notice as I'm looking through their website is this:

"These beers have landed an impressive amount of acclaim: Great Divide beers have earned 16 Great American Beer Festival medals and 4 World Beer Cup awards. Great Divide was also ranked 14th in’s 2008 “The Best Brewers in the World” and was ranked 7th in Beer Advocate’s 2008 “All-Time Top Breweries on Planet Earth.”

But why take their word for it? Crack open a bottle and decide for yourself."

Now that piques my curiosity. Many Brewing Company's make outrageous claims, attempting to make their beer stand out from the rest, when everyone knows they're nothing special. There have however, been a handful of times in my life when I stumble upon a place or location or brewing co that actually delivers on what they claim. Let's find out if Great Divide can live up to their claim...

Name: Hercules Double IPA
Category: Double IPA
ABV: 10.0%
OG: Unknown
Malt Types: Unknown
Hop Types: Unknown

The Pour: Pours clear amber, light orange. The head is off-white, pale yellow. Slight retention.

The Nose: Smells dusty, slightly sour. Definitely malty and sweet. Lots of nuttiness, slight hints of roasted chocolate? The high alcohol is easily detected. Overall it smells wonderfully complex and full of subtle flavors and maybe even some surprises. I'm eager to taste it.

The Taste: I immediately detect that this beer is dry and alcoholic. Sweetness on the tip of the tongue that spreads to the back of the palette. Not super thick or syrupy (like some double or imperial IPA's can be). Low on the carbonation. Very malty and surprisingly not very sweet. Definitely able to detect a sweetness middle of the tongue. But it fades at the end and finishes with a slight hint of bitterness and nutty malt flavor. Not very bitter at all actually. For 85 IBU's it has definitely been compensated for.

The Verdict: Well, I don't know. Perhaps this bottle has been sitting for too long? After all, it was bottled on April 14th, of this year. It's a solid brew for sure, but flavor-wise I'd have to say I prefer more sweetness, more bitterness (especially from a Double IPA), and especially if they claim that they have balanced it well. I read reviews online, and many are claiming they find this beer satisfying and sweet. The alcohol is hidden well, but for me I don't/can't detect the sweetness. It leaves my mouth feeling dry and that is not a trait I find attractive in any beer. I think I'll have to go and buy another, perhaps more fresh bottle of this brew before I make any definite opinions of it yet. The aroma is lovely, but the flavor disappointed me...