Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Ballast Point Tongue Buckler Experiment

Word was on the street was that this beer, Ballast Point's Tongue Buckler Imperial Red, came back from White Labs having tested in at over 100 IBU, something nearly impossible to actually do (theoretically it's much easier than it is physically). I'm gonna call bullshit on that, unless Chris or Mike White somehow come across this blog and verify that, but more on that later. I tried this with the good fellas at a couple months ago the day it was released and it didn't blow any of us away (at least in terms of aggressiveness). Granted, the pints of Alpine Exponential Hoppiness, Pliny the Elder and all that other good stuff that day may have thwarted our palates, thus the reason I'm giving it a second go here.

Pours a crystal clear dark red with a gorgeous, major fluffy off-white head. The smell is sweet but at the same time earthy, like dead leaves kinda? That's not necessarily a bad thing but a characteristic I've picked up in small percentage of hoppy beers. There's a minty aspect to it too. Onto the taste- the real show. Is my tongue buckled? Hardly! It's tasty. Heavily caramelled, moderately bittered with a fraction of greenery. The body is a happy medium, somewhat slick but with some prickly carbonation. It's a fine beer. 100+ IBU's? My tongue can't tell. To be honest, Sculpin IPA is more aggressive across the palate than this beer. Speaking of Sculpin, what a great beer. I just finished my 2nd and last bomber of the last batch the other day and can't say thanks enough to JTH, JRhode, and JHamel for those, what an awesome IPA that is, probably by current favorite now. This is definitely a tasty imperial red though, a style I'm really liking. I would have to give the nod to Alesmith Yulesmith (Winter imperial red version) over Tongue Buckler though. Maybe even Lagunitas' Imperial Red. That's not to say I'm not enjoying the flavor here and it's 10% ABV, but if ya hadn't told me it was 100 million IBU's, I would have never even guessed.

......... Ok so since I had written pretty much all that within the first 10 sips lemme just say I'm about 6 ounces into the beer and it's hitting me pretty hard. Not the alcohol, c'mon, my liver is a little sturdier than that, but on the tongue. Is it buckling me? Not yet, but it may be getting close. I have a good feeling here that the alcohol content is adding quite a bit to the overall perceived bitterness.

.......... My pint is dwindling down and I'm really enjoying this beer. It could be about as bitter as a Pliny, which clocks in at 90+ IBU per Russian River. I've had enough pints of Pliny to know what your tongue feels like after a pint of that, though overall it has a different taste of course. This beer may not blow your palate away in a small sample, as I first had it when I split that bottle with the BoozeReviews crew, but over the course of a full pint or so, yeah, it starts doin the job.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wait till the STONES 13 anni comes out.