This is perhaps a first for this blog… revisiting a beer previously reviewed! A friend of mine recently gave me a six-pack of the Breckenridge 471 IPA (really a double IPA, at 9.2% ABV!) and I was curious what I thought of it before. It wasn’t as hoppy as it seemed to me the last time I had it, so I wanted to give a new set of impressions. Read my previous review for more of the basic background info on this beer.
The aroma is crazy. The first blast I got right after pouring was of tangerine. Grapefruit is really dominant, but this time I was catching a lot of tangerine aroma, too. Flavor is all grapefruit. Good lord! It’s like a glass of grapefruit juice! Not that hoppy?! What was I thinking when I reviewed this beer initially! It’s a definite hop bomb.
To me, 471 is a “calibration beer.” What I mean by this is it’s a great beer to learn what a specific flavor tastes like in beer. For example, I never REALLY understood what “toffee” tasted like in a beer until I had Ommegang Abbey Ale, then it was like being hit over the head with a hammer… a hammer made from toffee! Another example for me is the coriander flavor of Blue Moon. Not the greatest beer, not the worst, but if you wonder what coriander in beer tastes like, Blue Moon will “calibrate” your taste buds/brain and you’ll know.
For me, 471 is a good calibration beer for hops, just in case you are really new to beer and don’t know what hops taste like! Specifically the bright, citrus-y and especially grapefruit-like hop profiles come through really strongly on this beer.
It’s a great beer, very bitter, which I love, and now that I think of it, one of my favorite double IPA’s because it isn’t offset by so much obvious malt. My biggest complaint of double IPA’s is that they tend to be really sweet, and not as hoppy as some regular IPA’s to me. What I love about 471 is that it lacks some of the balance that other DIPA’s have, not being weighed down by cloying sweetness and really just letting the hops rip full blast. Yum!
In totally unrelated news, I am traveling to San Francisco for a couple days this weekend and will have an opportunity to get some beer in. I won’t have a car, which is a disappointment, and I plan on doing the usual tourist stuff and really walking and getting some photos in, but I also have a stop planned at the world-famous Toronado and food + beer planned down the street a ways at the Magnolia or Alembic (or, hell, maybe both!). I want to try to get most of my beer-related goals met on Friday, then spend more of Saturday doing other things, but I’m really looking forward to the trip. Will have things to write about afterward, so stay tuned!