Rick Franckhauser's picture

Coffee King of Hop

April, 2017
Judges Rating: 
16 / 24
6 / 6
32 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

Coffee King of Hop is an Imperial IPA with coffee, and was evaluated as a Spice, Herb or Vegetable Beer (2015 Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Category 30A) offering according to BJCP guidelines. Just a hint of earthy coffee and dark bitter chocolate are soon joined by some dank hops. Ash and a subtle green bell pepper quality come through, presumably a product of the coffee and hop fusion.  Not unpleasant just a little odd and unexpected. Very low levels of some grainy malt hiding underneath that is followed by some peach and apricot esters as it warmed. The overall aroma is not as intense as one might expect for a coffee IIPA. Nothing is off I just found it to be a little disappointing. Yellow gold with bright clarity and a creamy white, dense head with great retention. The flavor begins with bitter orange and herbs that meld into a roasty, almost ashy bitter spent coffee ground quality. Some sweet malt is introduced and seems a tad too much for the style. While the coffee aides the bitterness some additional bittering hops are called for. As the coffee makes one last stand in the aftertaste, some of the stone fruit makes another appearance, as does a little alcohol warmth. Medium light body with moderately high carbonation levels. There is a little hop astringent bite to the tongue but it’s not harsh.

While this is an interesting beer to drink it sufferers a little from the same malady as many Black IPA’s in that there is somewhat of a clash between the roast coffee and the dank and citrus hops. Something about the combination seems to cause the coffee to come across a little rough around the edges and slightly oxidized, while the hops seem dull and leafy. A more rounded cold pressed coffee quality would have been welcomed and perhaps some spicy hops could provide a different counter play. Additional bitterness would also assist in bringing it into the IIPA camp. A very interesting concept and I’m sure a very difficult balancing act to hit all the right marks.