Incredible Pulp Blood Orange Extra Pale Ale

Oregon
United States
Incredible Pulp Blood Orange Extra Pale Ale by Boneyard Beer
Judges Ratings 
1 Review
91
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Appearance:
5 / 6
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20
Description 

Secondary Fermentation on Blood Orange with a citrus hop profile and pilsner malt platform.

Profile

ABV: 
6%
IBUs: 
40
Served at: 
42°
Hops: 
Cascade, Bravo, Citra, Mosaic, Sorachi Ace
Malts: 
Pilsner Malt, Flaked Barley
Judges Review 
David Sapsis's picture
Judges Rating:
91
Aroma:
21 / 24
Appearance:
5 / 6
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

"Extra Pale Ale" judged as BJCP 18B American Pale Ale.

My lovely assistant (my wife, amazing she puts up with me) presents a full classic nonic pint glass and boldly states "Extra Pale Ale".

This sends me to the books looking for clarity and enlightenment. Well, so much  for that. The 2015 BJCP guidelines  don't denote a specific case for "Extra" which  leaves me with a faint but firm memory that Extra simply means more, as in more pale, as in maybe golden, as opposed to amber in color. I know at one point someone was marketing them, and I bet I've even tried some, but nothing to serve as much of a benchmark comes forth. So... let's see what Google has to say.  Woah -- bunches and bunches of them -- some from very well regarded breweries, so that's great. The downside is there appears no real common thread that makes them "Extra". One has loads of Mandarin oranges added(?!), and, secretly, I'm hoping that isn't the case here*. I plod ahead, hoping it's as I thought – a basic pale ale, but sans crystal malt, and a bit more snappy, maybe even a bit more gassy. Still, it's important to keep an open mind as styles are artificial attempts at groupings, no?  They shift, they change with the times and ingredients, and pro brewers are under no strict requirement of systematics. Back to the beer.

It presents a deep-gold/light amber-orange color with distinct haze. The big fluffy foam is a good two inches and thick, and shows moderate stand and lacing. 

The aroma is bright and hoppy, with notes of pine, lemon, orange and distinct ester fruitiness (apricots)  dancing with a nice biscuity-malt backdrop. It appears to lack caramel malt in the grist, unless of a particularly light color. While assertive in its hoppiness (and clearly dry-hopped) the beer has a nice well-balanced elegance of  hops, malt, and fruity esters rolling up into an inviting nose that literally screams: pale ale.

The flavor starts very clean with a lot of stone fruit (peach, apricot) married to the firm citrus note of red grapefruit and – say it isn't so – mandarin/orange; the bitterness is fairly light and does a great job cutting, but not overriding, the toasty-kilned malt mid-palate. If I had to guess there is both some Munich and some light crystal/honey type malt in the grist. The late palate is clean and fruity with some mineral character and lingering bitterness. Mouthfeel and body are both medium, but seem a tad thick due to relatively low conditioning. The beer could definitely use a bit more gas.

Overall, its a very nice pale ale with a good mix of classic North American pine/citrus hoppiness and bitteness with a big fruity and honey malt back end: lovely orange and stone fruits both countervailing the rich golden malt notes that underlay the style. The haze and the lack of CO2 are the only appreciable faults and I consider them very minor. It's a nice  hop forward but balanced ale that reminds one that beers need to not be IPAs to strike a deep flavor profile that works both in the heat of the day and the cool of the night. As far as food pairings, I bet this would cut through a rich creamy beef stroganoff or a classic Hungarian goulash with aplomb. 

*Post-review addendum:

Oops. I think this consititutes a bit of a faux pas on my part, as indeed the beer is citrus-infused, and despite my ignorant protestations, the beer is quite nice for it.  However, having discovered this when posting the review, I chose to maintain the independent review unedited, as it forms the fundamental basis for independence and bias-free information provided by blind reviews. I also confirmed that there was no explicit instruction to review the beer as a fruit beer, and so I think that while I wasn't able to cognate the citrus as blood orange and rather took it as oranges and stone fruit, these types of flavors mingle very well in hoppy American-style ales given the rash of fruit-charged hops now in common use. The flavors blend well with malt and contribute to the hoppy-fruity forward nature of the beer, without it actually seeming a "fruit" beer. In any event, disregard the editorial comment, as Extra in this case indeed means extra good flavors.