Innis & Gunn Gunpowder IPA
I'll admit that the great customer service I got from the Innis & Gunn Twitter team was the reason I tried their beers twice. As I became more familiar with beer aged in barrels, I gave them yet another chance, and I found out that the problem had been (partially) me all along. I just didn't know what to look for in one of these beers. Well, I do now, and I got a new one to try.
The copper-brown beer has a luxuriously sticky head that leaves lacing like a wall of webwork on the sides of the glass. The aroma is wood-tinted malt of the bready variety. I smell a bit of seared grains in it as well, but I'm not smelling much in the way of hops, and that doesn't seem right coming from an IPA - aged in a barrel or not.
First sip is smooth and woody. The malt is actually a bit more caramel than I thought with the sniff, but those hops aren't asserting themselves at all. There are some spices highlighting the wood, but other than that, it's very simple.
Tip-in is very light carbonation tingle with the very heavy wood taste and little else. The middle washes in with the caramel malt and light spices. The finish is a snap of harsh wood and bitterness. It's like the malt doesn't exist to hold back the bitterness of the hops, and the hops only exist in a state of bitterness.
Bottom Line: This isn't the worst thing ever, but it isn't great.