Sean Coughlin's picture

Judge's Review: 86 Rating - Astronaut Sauce by River Rat Brewery

February, 2019
Judges Rating: 
20 / 24
6 / 6
35 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

Astronaut Sauce by River Rat Brewery is being evaluated as a Juicy/Hazy IPA utilizing the 2018 Brewers Association guidelines. This style is better known to the masses as New England-style IPA and puts a large emphasis on tropical/fruit-forward hop aroma, allowing the hop flavor/aroma to dominate the senses through the use of lower bitterness. A fuller body showcasing a creamier mouthfeel is also appropriate and unique among other IPA styles.   

Unlike the very best examples of the style, hop aroma doesn't fill the room when first cracking open the can, though the aroma in the glass is still extremely hop forward with notes of grapefruit pith, ripened peach, and a bit of lemon zest. The aroma is very pleasant for what it is, but it lacks the explosive character where hops are seemingly jumping out of the glass - it is a moderate hop aroma at best. The hop character is fresh and enjoyable but more would be welcome. The beer pours a very hazy dark blonde with a durable and dense white head. The flavor follows the aroma – all hops. The bitterness level is appropriately balanced a bit lower than a standard IPA, but there is a detracting hop-derived astringency that curbs the drinkability a bit. The body gives the impression of being fuller than it is likely due to water treatment, yeast in suspension, and/or a grist higher in proteins and lipids. Overall this is a good representation of a New England-style IPA but lacks the creaminess and over the top hop aroma found in the best examples of the style.