Tasting: July 6, 2011
Leviathan is a biblical sea monster and one of the seven princes of Hell. I guess a beer with that moniker, it had better be a beast. It boasts an IBU of 122, so it certainly has the makings of a monster. It caught my attention enough to pick up a four pack on a recent beer run. A little research leads me to discover that Harpoon has a “Leviathan” line of beers and has released ten different varieties. This one says that it’s available year round.
From Harpoon’s website…Leviathan Imperial IPA is brewed with tons of pale malt and just enough caramel malt to provide a sweet malt body to balance the hop intensity. We used copious amounts of a variety of hops including Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, and Amarillo at various points during the boil to create a complex hop flavor and clean lingering bitter finish. We then fermented the beer with Harpoonâ€™s own versatile proprietary yeast. Finally, we dry hopped at a rate of over 1 lb a barrel to produce this beerâ€™s massive aroma.
From the label — OG of 22 Plato (translate to 1.088 SG) — that’s a high gravity beer. As mentioned in other posts, a high gravity beer has a lot of unfermented sugars — makes for potentially high alcohol and sweetness. The high alcohol is confirmed with an ABV of 10% – nice (should have good mouthfeel) and 26 EBC (European Brewing Convention). EBC is like SRM (Standard Reference Method) – a scale to measure the darkness of beer. I mentioned SRM in a previous post — EBC works on the same principle — using EBC, pilsner would be an 8 in color, while a stout is about 70. This should be a copper in color and it is.
I’m expecting big time hops, but the aroma is kind of sweet — like pineapple. It really isn’t the hop forward IPA I was expecting. The sweetness of the malt carries through on my first few sips — and the hops come in as more grapefruit than pine. Then comes a wave of warming alcohol. A bit boozy — but at 10% ABV not unexpected. I’ll give it props for a nice balance of malt and hop — but it is advertised as 122 IBU — so I was thinking more along the lines of Stone’s Ruination. The hops were supposed to be the main event — and they really took a dive in this fight. I’ll still give it 84 points because I don’t mind a sweet beer.