Tasting: July 22, 2011
Style: IPA (Black)
Hereâ€™s another offering from the Salt Lake City brewery, Uinta. I don’t know how it’s pronounced — I’m guessing something like “you-inta?” — like you inta this beer? This time itâ€™s Dubhe, a black IPA. It says itâ€™s brewed with hemp seeds, so my first thought was that this was a play on words with â€œdoobieâ€, but why not just call it and spell it doobie? It would make for better conversation â€“ Like â€œhey, while youâ€™re up, Iâ€™ll take another one of those Doobies or you inta another doobie?â€. A quick Google search tells me that there is a star named Dubhe (a part of the big dipperâ€™s bowl). Lo and behold — there’s the big dipper with the star Dubhe highlighted right on the label. I know John is the label snob â€“ but this one has a really outstanding label design. Heâ€™d like it for that reason alone. From that same label â€“ 9.2% ABV â€“ yikes.
Iâ€™ve had another beer brewed with hemp seeds â€“ Hempen Ale. It had a subtle nutty quality to it â€“ but that was the featured ingredient in that beer. Before I crack into this one â€“ it has me puzzled and intrigued. The fact that itâ€™s black in color and has high ABV like a stout Iâ€™m expecting roasted malt dominance. Calling it an IPA tells me that the hops should balance out the roasted malts. Really, without opening this one it sounds a little like the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp â€“ Black Juniper Ale. But the addition of the hemp seeds and the higher ABV makes this intriguing.
Anyway, enough of the mystery â€“ let me pop this one open. It pours as dark as a cola and smells of roasted coffee. The first wave of flavor impresses like a nice coffee/chocolate stout with plenty of roasted goodness and just when you might chalk it up as a typical stout or porter — pow, just the right amount of hops come rolling in underneath. The bitterness lingers and can be attributed to a nice combination of hop and roasted malt. A little fizzy, but not as much “booziness” as you might expect from a 9.2% ABV. I get some stickiness in the lips and it’s got some viscosity. Let me say that I was wrong in comparing this to Black Juniper Ale — this one has more stout characteristics than IPA to me. I’ll call it not bad at 85 points.