Lagunitas is a California brewery located about 40 miles outside of San Francisco. Their beers just recently became available in the Kansas City area, although I picked up this 12-oz. bottle of Maximus while I was in Michigan a few weeks ago.
Maximus is an India pale ale, or IPA, classified as a “double” or “imperial” IPA on Beeradvocate. IPA’s are beers that are high in hops and tend to be in the 6-7%ABV range, generally. Doubles or imperials are beers with more fermentable sugars, so they tend to have more malt and more hops to balance it out. I’m not sure if BA’s classification of Maximus as a double IPA is correct. It seems to be a normal IPA, to me.
The beer is 7.5% ABV and has about 72 IBU’s. It pours an orange color with an off-white head that disappeared pretty quickly in my fat tulip glass, and there were a lot of big yeast chunks in the bottle, making the pour rocky and cloudy!
Aroma didn’t bowl me over. There was some grapefruit-y hops and some floral notes, but not much coming off it, especially for a West Coast IPA. West Coast IPA’s tend to be “hop bombs,” loaded with hop flavors and aromas, while East Coast IPA’s tend to be closer to their original English cousins with a little more malt and balance.
The flavor is definitely hop-forward, with a good amount of bitterness that builds in the latter half of the sip. The early hop character is a little grapefruity but more floral to my palate. Again, for a West Coast IPA I expected to be blown out of my seat by hops and Maximus is actually pretty balanced by a fair amount of malt in the background. The beer was actually a little sticky on my palate from the malts that countered the hops.
Overall, this is a pretty enjoyable beer, but it didn’t blow me away. I have had some other IPA’s this summer (Caldera, Torpedo, Anderson Valley) that I have liked quite a bit more, but it’s a solid contender and for hops lovers, the bitterness does build about 50% through the glass, but there’s nothing separating this from leagues of other good IPA’s out there.