Russian River Blind Pig IPA
Style: American IPA
Serving Type: Bottle
Purchased at the Brewery in Santa Rosa, CA
$4.75 for 600ml bottle
Bottled on 12/11/09
Aroma: Citrus hop aroma up front with rich grapefruit rind. Crisp and bright, almost harsh hop aroma. Very little malt aroma.
Appearance: Light honey to a golden wheat with cloudiness suggesting the use of dry hopping. A thin white head blankets the beer with consistency. If you swirl the glass the foam will stick to the side but no lacing is present.
Flavor: Initially hits you with huge hop bitterness, a huge citrus bite right on the tongue. After that initial hop stab, the flavor fades out to almost nothing. The beer is surprisingly thin on malt character in the middle. The hop complexity of grapefruit, citrus and some pine are framed up very nicely, but there really isn’t much to the malt to drive any sweetness into the mix. As pleasant as I find the hop character to be, you could call this beer unbalanced. There is a tendency to have a bit of a puckering effect, like the feeling of sucking on a hop leaf. The hop character comes off so bright and clean however, for a hop lover this is a real treat.
Mouthfeel: Medium to light with medium carbonation. Finishes clean except it has a puckering tannin effect. Back to chewing on that hop leaf with all the hop bitterness.
Overall: While Russian River considers the Blind Pig one of their standard IPA’s, this would be a huge IPA for most breweries. I don’t think I’m too far off the mark by saying for a great number of breweries in the country this would qualify as their Double IPA. The hop bitterness is extremely well defined and really does feel like you’re drinking some liquid hops. If you’re looking for a beer with excellent bitterness that doesn’t mess around with subtle malt complexities, then this is your beer.
I’ll admit some bias when drinking this beer because I know what a reputable brewery it comes from and how much I enjoy everything that Russian River puts out. If the Blind Pig was placed before me in an unmarked mason jar, I would probably tell you the beer was unbalanced and needed some biscuit malt complexity to back up all the grapefruit.