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Judge's Review: 92 Rating - Birthday Month Triple IPA by Wild Leap Brew Co.

November, 2020
Judges Rating: 
92
Aroma: 
23 / 24
Appearance: 
6 / 6
Flavor: 
37 / 40
Mouthfeel: 
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Birthday Month Triple IPA by Wild Leap Brew Co. is being billed as a triple IPA, so it was judged under the 21B category, Specialty IPA, in the 2015 BJCP guidelines. However, one could argue that it should fit into the double IPA category 22a. But being a triple, I will consider it specialty and use the double IPA as a gauge, and expect it to deliver a bit more alcohol and hop punch than a double. 

When we cracked the can open there is a fresh, juicy hop aroma that hits you as the beer is being poured. When I grab the glass and hold it up to my nose I get a lot of tropical hops, mainly pineapple and grapefruit with secondary notes of mango. The malt profile is pretty heavy with a honey crusted bread-like aroma. There is certainly alcohol in the nose as well suggesting this is a big beer, which we already expect. I'm just glad it is what we suspected. There is a little bit of fruity aroma from fermentation as well, mostly a generic fruit-like quality typical of ales. Visually, the beer is pretty. It is a yellowish gold color with a hint of orange. It is extremely hazy suggesting, this could be a high-ABV New England IPA-style beer. The head is white and foamy and lasts an incredibly long time, which I do not usually expect with big beers.

The flavor is surprising for a triple IPA. It's very drinkable and not too heavy on the hop bitterness. The alcohol is warming and very evident, but not hot or solvently. Still, it's mellow and does not get in the way of the drinkability. The malt profile is sweet and honey-like with a noticeable bread crust flavor. Being an IPA, we need to talk about the hops, and there are a lot of hops to talk about. It's slightly one-dimensional for me in the flavor with a big tropical note. That is not necessarily bad, but it's not complex or intriguing. However, it is tasty and refreshing. The bitterness is on the high side, but with all that sweet malt, it balances out quite nicely and is much needed. The bitterness fades nicely into the finish and doesn't leave you with hop mouth, which I was expecting with a huge IPA. The balance is here as well. I am so happy the beer was not just a huge hop bomb shredding the enamel off my teeth. Overall, it's well-balanced and delicious. The mouthfeel is a bit on the chewy side, with a medium-high feel to it. It's very creamy and doesn't have much in terms of hop astringency, which I was expecting to get.

In the end, this beer is really well done for a such a big beer. It weighs in at 10.5% ABV, but it hides it well so be careful. The hop balance is nice with the grain bill, and the bitterness is just high enough, as it should be. It drinks like a really nice IPA with a lot more alcohol. Is that what the brewer was going for? I would suspect so because it's drinkable, tasty and will hit you like a hammer. Still,this is a very well-done offering. 

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