Double IPAs. I like ’em. In my mind, when a DIPA is executed properly and is served to me in fresh enough condition, it takes some beating.
However, after doing a fair old bit of traveling and beering over the past few years, I know what I like and what I don’t within the style. Caramel booziness? No likey. Clean, crisp (some would say ‘unbalanced’ towards hop character)? Likey. I don’t care much for the much-lauded Dogfish Head 90 Minute, for example. But I’d bathe for days in Three Floyds Dreadnaught.
As I said, freshness is bloody key. So unless I’m over Stateside, I usually steer clear of American DIPAs. Thank the Lord, in that case, that the European brewing scene is getting to such a top standard that I now rarely yearn for the hoppy delights of the West Coast et al. The Kernel Double Citra, for example, is still [probably] the best ever DIPA I’ve tasted.
Sadly, Double Citra is very rarely brewed, but thankfully one of The Kernel’s London brewing peers have got in on the action (with a bit of Iberian assistance) and brewed something which is, for want of a better phrase, a totally-fucking-cracking Double India Pale Ale.
My assessment? In short, it’s world class.
In full: Bone King pours a hazy, murky gold – looks a little soupy. The aroma of this is astounding – peach, tangerine, mango all there in spades, with a little jazzy passionfruit. Some very lightly sticky pine in there, bit of bread dough and digestive biscuit. Taste doesn’t disappoint: loads of mango, melon, and passionfruit, deeper grapefruit citric tone to bitter it up; the OJ character is undeniable too. So bloody juicy, goodness. Pine sap rises a bit, and brings with it the light malt character – doughy stuff, light biccy notes, which frames the hops perfectly. The hop character is singing so beautifully. Insanely drinkable, no hint of booze strength (which clocks in at 8.5% ABV). Looks a bit shitty, so that’s really the only remnant of an issue I could have with it. Bit of centrifuge action would be cracking. Orange and grapefruit zest linger, nice sharp finish. Oh Lordy.
Look, this is worthy of the hype. If you like your DIPAs big, boozy and thick on the caramel or ‘balance’, then this isn’t for you. But for me, this is literally everything I want.
If Naparbier and Beavertown don’t make this a permanent fixture on their lists then I’m kicking up an almighty fuss.