Destihl "Deadhead" Imperial Red IPA

This is not my first Grateful Dead themed beer. I'd like to say I was a fan of the Grateful Dead, but I honestly just never got into them. It's not that they were off-putting or anything, they were just never in my wheelhouse. Beer, however, seems like where our two roads might meet. And this beer from Bloomington, Illinois might be the crossroads.

The beer isn't as red as I would've expected. Instead, it's more of an amber that has a brownish-reddish tint to it. The head is kind of fun, though. It's all bushy to start with, and it boils down to a nice, thin layer of moss across the top. There isn't much lacing, but at least there's some. The aroma is very sweet and citrusy, but it has some caramel malt and tropical fruits that are giving it a body unlike pretty much any beer I'm able to remember.

First sip makes me grab the bottle and check. Yep, this has a 9.4% alcohol by volume. I get that alcohol taste pretty much through the whole sip, but there's a bitterness and biscuit that seem to be resonating after the beer's gone. The biscuit and caramel malt really seem to linger, and I think I can make out the yeast under that. But, sipping isn't the right way to try these beers, is it?

Tip-in is the caramel and biscuit malt mixing with a light carbonation sizzle. The middle is almost dank with tropical and citrus fruits (the meat of the fruits, not the juices) merging with the two malts in a kind of syrupy slush. The finish is a bit bitter and dusty, but the malt tamps down that bitterness a bit.

Bottom Line: While I was hopeful at the smell that this would be substantially different than other Imperial Reds, this is good but uninspired.

2.5/5


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