Ninkasi Babylon Double IPA

This was a gift from my brother. It hails from Eugene, Oregon. I'll admit to never having heard of Ninkasi before, but that's not really something to be ashamed of. I bet there are a few thousand little breweries that I've never heard of, and I want to learn all their names and sample all of their beers.

It's cloudy, and it develops a nice, thick head that takes a bit to go away. It grips the sides well, and a ring remains to impress the whole way down. The aroma is delightfully hoppy, but it's not overwhelming. I anticipate that the taste won't be anywhere near something like Heady-Topper levels of hops, though. It's hoppy, but it's mild in its aroma. I'm thinking that some malt is in there to cover it, but I'm only really getting the hops and a bit of a floral smell. The color is just kind of a pale copper.

First sip bodes well. The hops are good, but they are restrained by a citrus taste and a sweetness that is coming from somewhere - probably the malt. Yup. Definitely the malt. It's smoother than I would have expected from a double IPA. And I was right about it not being as hoppy as the Heady-Topper; that's odd in itself, as the "double" in double IPA is supposed to indicate double the amount of hops used in the process.

As is my way, I grab a big swig to get a more appropriate taste of the beverage. Wow. That citrus hits pretty hard when you drink it like that. There is kind of a pine tartness that really bites as part of the finish. It's not pleasant. It's a shame about that harsh finish, as the rest of the beverage is really good. It would be a cop out to say that it is a result of the hops, and you should expect it from a double IPA. The sweetness of the malt is simply hitting at the wrong time. If it hit later in the taste, it would properly cancel out the bitter finish.

It's probably not even accurate to call it part of the finish. It happens so late in the process that it's more of an after-finish. Apart from that one nagging feature of the beer, it is pretty good. When you have a mouthful, it is actually very delicious. It might be too sweet for some people, but I enjoy my fair share of milk stouts, and they are definitely sweeter than this one. That finish is just a shame, though.

Well, I let it warm up a bit, and it gets better. It gets MUCH better. The finish evens out - or it is possible the alcohol is just starting to take effect. After all, it's got 9.1% alcohol by volume, and that is pretty damn high for a beer. But no, I'm pretty sure it's not that. Actually, doubt is starting to creep into my brain, but I must push on. The fact is, the whole taste mellows with a bit of warmth. It gets substantially better. I'm finishing off this massive bottle.

3.25/5


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