John C. Tull's picture

Hop Shovel American IPA

June, 2017
Judges Rating: 
90
Aroma: 
21 / 24
Appearance: 
6 / 6
Flavor: 
36 / 40
Mouthfeel: 
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Creating an American IPA, BJCP (21A) is easy in some ways (straightforward ingredients, fermentation process, lots of latitude for interpretation) and difficult in other ways (making it unique, well-balanced and memorable). The field for IPAs is huge, so you want to be discrete about selection of an IPA if you want to really enjoy it. This particular American IPA presents a relatively reserved aroma of fruits and malts. It hints of juicy fruit gum in its malt sweetness and the menagerie of light, mixed-fruit aromas. The hop aromas are restrained, slightly earthy and spicy with a touch of tropical fruit and citrus as the beer warms. The color is a rich golden with exceptional clarity. A light, off-white head lingers on the top of the beer. Hop flavors abound with a big, herbal presence that lingers and is somewhat minty in the finish. The malts are smooth with a touch of graininess and fair sweetness that provides a good balance between the hops and malts. The bitterness carries well into and beyond the finish, lingering for some time on the back of the palate. The flavors are very clean. The mouthfeel is heavily influenced by the hop flavors already described; nothing distracts, including the slight presence of alcohol character. The finish is on the dry side, and this is influenced by the lingering mint quality from the hop flavor. In the crowded field of IPAs, this beer stands out in its expression of hops, malt and fermentation while also being very clean, balanced and flavorful. I would recommend it for this uniqueness and the overall enjoyable quality that it presents in an American IPA and for not being a caricature of the style, something that has become all to common in American IPAs.

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