Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Dark Star Brewing Co Belgian IPA

Good evening all. I'm back again with another beer review, and this time it's a relatively recent offering from Dark Star Brewing Co (West Sussex, UK). It's their Belgian IPA, brewed with a Belgian yeast strain and US hop types in tribute to the La Chouffe brewery, creators of one of the best Belgian IPAs in the world today. Dark Star seem to have slipped off my radar in favour of other UK breweries in recent months, but hopefully this offering will change that! Review after the pic....

Belgian IPA (7.2% ABV) pours a copper colour with a short-lived white head that settles to a thin halo around the inside of the glass. There's some very light lacing in the early stages of the beer, but it's certainly not as carbonated as I was expecting. The aroma is very interesting and packs more of a Belgian punch, with  grapefruit, mango, phenols, spice, some light sweetness and a hint of acetone in the background. The hoppy fruits are pretty powerful at first, mingling with the sweetness and spicy yeast to give that characteristic Belgian IPA aroma you'd expect from something like Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel or even Duvel Tripel Hop, but soon retreats to the background, leaving the malt and yeast on show. Some acetone is noticeable every so often in the background, but this doesn't spoil the overall experience. The taste delivers much of the same, with grapefruit, phenols, mango, caramel and a nice bitterness after drinking. The fruits taste and feel quite juicy, whilst the sweetness continues on into the finish where it offsets some of the bitterness from the hops. This bitterness hits close to the end of drinking, mainly in the back of the throat with some tartness around the edges, and can cloy after a few sips. The mouthfeel is light and the beer is moderately carbonated- probably the only negative thing about this beer is the lack of carbonation, leading to the cloying bitterness and sickly-sweet background taste after repeated sips. Overall, this is a nice example of a Belgian IPA, delivering some fresh hop flavours and balancing them well with the Belgian yeast spiciness. If only it had the wispy, almost sparkling carbonation of the more authentic stylistic offerings, then it would be perfect. Recommended, but probably worth trying side by side with any of the aforementioned beers to see what it's missing.

Until next time....

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