Eric's Beer Blog

My online journal for beer (and other drinks) tasting, brewing, tourism, and general musings.

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Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Avery Maharaja

Other members of my beer class had mentioned this beer, and I hadn't had it in a while.  So I picked one up today.  I will review this beer as if I'm judging it by the BJCP guidelines for an Imperial IPA.  It's Maharaja Imperial India Pale Ale from Avery Brewing Company, Boulder, CO.

Aroma: some piney/resinous notes, followed by a hint of pineapple.  It's really almost all hops here-- just the slightest suggestion of malt.  10/12

Appearance: light copper with slight orange tint; crystal clear; rocky head is off-white and persistent; occasional thin lace.  3/3

Flavor: puckering (grapefruit) hop bitterness punches you right up front; lingering sweetness at the end; resiny hop flavor is prominent; as it warms, the malty sweetness comes more to the fore (thus explaining some of the comments I just read on BeerAdvocate about it being sweet, comments which at the time I thought indicated insanity on the part of the reviewer); alcohol is noticeable only in its effect, not its taste.  17/20

Mouthfeel: medium to medium-heavy body; moderate carbonation; slightly creamy.  3/5

Overall impression: hoppy enough for any hophead to enjoy; while there is a substantial malt backbone, it is perceived more in the body and alcohol than in the actual flavor, which tends overwhelmingly towards hop bitterness and hop flavor.  This is, according to the label, batch 7, brewed in February 2008, and 10.54% alcohol by volume (2 decimal places?  is that really necessary?).  I'd like for there to be a more complex hop aroma and more of a malt backbone.  It also seems to me that it's a bit thick in mouthfeel for the style ("medium-light to medium body"-- this is definitely heavier than that).  But there are no egregious faults in this beer, and it's very drinkable.  8/10

I scored it a 41/50, which puts it right in the middle of the "excellent" range (2nd highest) on the BJCP guidelines.  I could be persuaded to go a bit higher than that (and initially did).  A very nice beer.