Drunken Speculation

#50 4 Pines El Dorado IPA

20130928_163233Recently, I’ve started ‘upping the ante’ in my quest for unique beers and as part of this new-found endeavour I’ve been sussing out the ranges of every bottle-o I chance across. I’m still fairly new to Brisbane so I’m not entirely sure where the beer ‘hot spots’ are yet (other than in my immediate vicinity) so this should keep me pretty busy for a while.

I’m still yet to come up trumps though, mainly because between work and my new pursuit of being a ‘beer runner’ (thanks beerbarband for educating me that that’s a thing), I don’t get out much. Alas, I know there’s sure to be a number of hidden gems within arm’s length.

Anyway, on my most recent foray, I ended up with a couple of beers I hadn’t had before (winning!) and this was one of them…

4 Pines El Dorado IPA is a self-described (i.e. says it on the bottle) 

big, hop driven IPA, using 100% El Dorado hops… giving multi layered aroma & taste contribution including tropical fruit, cotton candy, pear, cut grass & watermelon.

Wow, sure sounds amazing.

In colour it’s a dark amber and an almost burgundy hue and, adding to its appearance, it’s got a deliciously-creamy looking head. The aroma is robust in its fruitiness – of the tropical variety – with strong grassy overtones. There’s also a bit of something else in there that I can’t quite put my finger on but it’s adding a bit of “zing” to the aroma. Then, on top of that again, there’s a generous layering of artificial-sweetness in the aroma. Oh yeah, it’s a ‘cotton-candy’ smell – which I wouldn’t have picked myself: and therein lies the trouble with reading the tasting notes before you’ve formed your own opinion. Dang it!

It’s looking pretty good in my glass. The head is particularly noteworthy and long-lasting. To my surprise, there’s not much carbonation coming off the glass – not a bad thing by any means, just would’ve expected more for this style.

On the palate there’s a lightly malty, toffee sweetness prevailing until a grassy, almost earthy, bitterness brings the hops profile to the fore. There’s a distinct lack of fruitiness to be found anywhere on the palate given the aroma but plenty going on otherwise – so many flavours and taste sensations to discern!

In my mind it does need a bit more of the carbonation factor to lift the freshness of those flavours a bit more. Though, that said, I am drinking it in a balmy 31ºC and its probably more my body telling me to slow up and drink something lighter-bodied and lighter-ABV’d, preferably water.

The mouthfeel is also noticeably smooth and rounded considering the style, possibly hinting at a bit of diacetyl. Though whether that’s in error or not, or is even at all present, remains to be seen because it’s still quite a good drop and the grassiness of the hops really lingers, as you would expect from a half-decent IPA.

Overall, it ticks most of the boxes for me. While it’s not as fresh and crisp as many of the more standard/popular IPAs and has got a mouthfeel similar to that of a barleywine or scotch ale (minus the ABV-punch) there’s still plenty going for it. Not fantastic, but not bad either.

Summary

  • Website
  • Genre: IPA
  • Regionality: Manly, NSW
  • Strength: 6.0%
  • Rating: 2 / 3 taste + 1.5 / 2 ancillaries = 3.5 / 5
  • Plus: A plethora of interesting aromas and flavours
  • Minus: Mouthfeel is a bit off for the style
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