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Judge's Review: 90 Rating - Alpha Abstraction, Vol. 11 by Wild Leap Brew Co.

March, 2020
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
5 / 6
37 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Alpha Abstraction, Vol. 11 by Wild Leap Brew Co. is a Double IPA, which falls under BJCP category 22A. However, due to the immense haze, low bitterness and soft mouthfeel, it is more of an Imperial New England IPA and will be judged under BJCP 21B Specialty IPA instead. Being under specialty instead of double IPA certainly isn’t due to lack of hops as the aroma is very hop-forward with a punch-like blend of fruit - pineapple, berry, orange, grape, grapefruit - as well as some floral notes. This combines well with light sweetness from estery yeast (apricot, red apple) to bring you back to childhood with Hawaiian Punch, as well as a sweet bread-like malt background of fresh dough, lightly toasted grain and honey. The flavor is similar, with more sweet fruit - strawberry, white grape - but more citrus heavy - orange, grapefruit, lime, gooseberry - to give an almost sangria-like character (adult Hawaiian Punch). The low bitterness combined with the fruity hops makes for a soft, fairly sweet finish. I would like this to be a touch drier, but the sweeter finish seems to help the juicy fruit shine.

This beer employs an experimental hop called HBC 472, which I had the pleasure of using in a homebrew club experiment. This hop appears to be chameleonic and adapts to its style as I used it in a porter and got more of the claimed woody, coconut tones rather than the punch-forward fruit in this wonderful example. The fruit blend in this is truly remarkable, as even the hoppy homebrew examples were more pina colada-like being basically just pineapple and mild coconut rather than an assault of different fruits. I will certainly have to give this hop another shot after this.