Rick Franckhauser's picture

Starr Hill Brewing

April, 2017
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
6 / 6
36 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Starr Hill Brewing’s Mango Habanero King of Hop is an Imperial IPA with Mango and Habanero, and was evaluated as a Fruit and Spice Beer (2015 Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Category 29B) offering according to BJCP guidelines.

Oranges and grapefruit give way to the mango, some additional fruity esters and a bit of green pepper. A little caramel malt sweetness is lying in the background. Some herbal and dank hops emerge along with hints of alcohol as the beer warms up a little. Very inviting aromatics. Yellow gold with a touch of haze. Great retention on the creamy off white head. The flavor mirrors the aroma with citrus, mango, peaches but then the heat from the habanero builds and builds, then builds some more. It takes a few swallows to acclimate to the heat before you notice the herbal, earthy aspects of the pepper and hops. The spicy heat combines with the hop bitterness for a decidedly bitter balance. You know there is some sweet malt back there keeping it from overwhelming the palate with bitterness but it’s not really something you taste. More acclimation to the heat allows additional flavor components of smoke, Poblano and green bell peppers to contribute to the finish. Dry and spicy heat linger long into the finish. While it’s not harsh or astringent it does prick the tongue. Medium light body with moderate amounts of carbonation. It’s hard to say but I believe some of the warmth may be from alcohol. If spicy hot and hoppy beers are your thing, look no further. This beer does a splendid job of bringing the heat without completely setting your taste buds on fire. You can still taste the hops and to a lesser degree the mango, along with the flavor of the pepper itself. I would like a more pronounced mango flavor but that is a totally individualistic preference. The habanero is the star of this show but there is a solid IIPA transporting everything else to your senses.