Worthy’s Imperial Red Ale: An Eruption of Amazing Flavor
Tue, 08 Oct 2013 18:55:00
IMPERIAL RED ALE
6 Lbs Hops/BBL
6 Hop Varieties
Don’t let the 100+ IBUs scare you – this is not a slab of red meat for the chalk-tongued hop monsters. Big numbers don’t always mean big bitterness. We use a whopping 6 pounds of hops per barrel, but only a fraction of our hop bill is for bittering. Instead we rely on fruity, fragrant, top shelf floral, piney and citrusy beauties like Cascade, Centennial, Crystal and Meridian to build up the taste without injecting too much acid to tear it down.
Introducing Mandarina Bavaria
Normally, we prefer Pacific Northwest hops for flavoring. But for our relaxed version of the West Coast “hop bomb,” we took a chance and sourced our primary aroma variety from Germany, the birthplace of noble hops but not a hotbed for new craft-oriented cultivars.
Introducing “Mandarina Bavaria,” a citrusy, tangerine-ish hop whose mother is none other than Cascade, Oregon’s very own Grand Madame of Craft hops, which herself has roots in English and Russian land race cultivars.
The result of this historic Pacific Northwest meets Bavaria combo is a hopquake that doesn’t burst, jar or crash, but instead steadily surges forward with a Big-Number-Be-Damned benevolence.
How do we achieve balance with all that firepower? Quintuple hopping. That’s right. Six hop varieties, 6 pounds per barrel, dosed in five discrete segments. First the boil, then the late add, then we push the wort through the whole cone packed hopback, and then two separate dry hoppings with our Mandarina Bavaria. When it comes to extracting the nectar from our aroma hops, Chad does not mess around.
A Most Moist Dryness
The reddish-amber glow with the thick frothy head portends the sense of impending glee. The first tremor on the palate is a robustly carbonated caramel and toffee sweetness. The second shake-rattle and roll unleashes a distinct but smooth bitterness, which pauses for a moment demurely before gently rolling forward towards a lingering and pleasant dryness.
That last bit bears repeating : the finish is both dry and pleasant, a dreamy mixture of “wow,” “ahhhh,” and “yumm,” with an omnipresent overtone of “Are you kidding me?!?”
Aroma You Can Chew On
One mark of a well-balanced beer is whether it can satisfy the senses if you simply stick your snout down into your pint glass and take a deep whiff. Does the malt sweetness meld with the grapefruit, tangerine and piney aromas, to the point where you can virtually “chew on it?” Is the aroma “meaty” enough to trick your brain into being satisfied without having to slam it down? The aroma itself should be an appetizer to the main dish.
We hope you’ll agree that a snootful of Eruption’s rich aroma has the compressed power to trigger that coveted happy, glowing sensation on the top of your head. Perhaps, it will even summon a favorite song, such as that old but fitting classic — “I feel the earth move under my feet…”
Whatever it does, enjoy the tremble. We hope you will enjoy drinking Eruption as much as we enjoyed brewing it.