Michael Heniff's picture

N10 Imperial Blended Ale

October, 2016
Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
39 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
20 / 20

Touting a “striking hop intensity” and a “rich backbone of caramel and roasted malt”, this rich and complex beer impresses at all levels. Measuring in at 10% abv and 100 IBUs, this beer is a blend of 50% Imperial Stout, 10% Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, 12.5% Imperial Total Domination IPA, 12.5% Imperial Maiden of the Shade IPA, and 15% Critical Hit Barleywine. This opaque, black ale starts off with an aroma that is almost all Imperial Stout with aggressive roasted, chocolate, and burnt malt with a background of light bourbon barrel-aging vanilla and a hint of hops. The flavor begins Imperial Stout-like with roasted and chocolate malts yet finishing more caramel and toffee from Barleywine. A moderate-light vanilla and bourbon compliment the roasted and caramel malts while a moderate bitterness contrasts. The enjoyable, complex, layered character evokes interest with each sip as the balance seems to shift back and forth between Imperial Stout and Barleywine. The bourbon barrel character adds complexity despite only weighing in at 10% of the blend. Unfortunately, the hops of the IPAs hardly assert themselves despite being present at 25% of the blend. This is a fantastic, very complex beer that evokes intrigue at each sip. Be sure to buy one to drink now and buy a few more to age; it will be very interesting to see how this beer changes with a little time in the cellar. Don’t miss this one!