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Review by joe1510 on 11/27/09  
 
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
82 2 8 18 5 8 2009
22oz Bomber

I get the opportunity to try this IIPA thanks to joepais, thanks again Joe. Portsmouth's Imperial IPA fills the oversized snifter surprisingly dark amber with a touch of chill haze. There's not a whole lot of noticeable carbonation but what's there is tiny and crawling to the surface. The head wasn't forming at first so I resorted to a more aggressive pour and was rewarded with a fingers worth of creamy clean white head. As the head fell to a solid ring and a skim coat over the majority it left behind decent, patchy lacing.

Now the smell of this IIPA is one that I don't come across often and is of the style I really enjoy. The nose of this beer is dripping with resinous hops. It's resinous from front to back and the other aromas only compliment. There seems to be ruby red grapefruit trying to squeeze through but it can never manage thanks to the sticky resinous hops. This is a very fresh IPA and there's a touch of green hops in the background that are reminiscent of a handful of hop pellets. The base maltiness is tough to pick out but it seems to lean toward the caramel side of the malty spectrum.

The flavor, while being hop driven, shows more maltiness than the aroma suggested. The tar laden hoppiness hits upfront and never fully lets go. The caramel lays a nice malty backbone but it just cannot compete with the hops, which is a good thing in my book. Resinous, tar filled hops coat the tongue and never let go. Again, there seems to be some bitter grapefruit struggling to get some air but it never surfaces. The sappy hops just choke it out. The lingering sappiness just keeps going and going. I love a good resinous hop laden beer and I'm falling for this one hard.

I'm very surprised at the mouthfeel of this beer. With very little visible carbonation and what was there crawling to the surface; I expected a full, sugar filled body. What I got was quite different. The body is medium full with mellow carbonation but just enough to leave a bit of prickliness on the tongue. There's a drying effect on the finish that works to accentuate the bitterness the hops lay down. Mild alcohol fumes rise through my nose as I drink. This IIPA turned out to be a bit of a tongue stomper.

This beer is a sheer joy to drink but the big hoppy bitterness and high abv would keep me from enjoying too much. I do notice this bottle disappearing very quickly though for something with such big bitterness and the mouthfeel has something to do with that.

This beer was bottled a little over a week ago and the freshness really shows. When I first opened Portsmouth's IIPA and took a few drinks I wasn't really all that impressed. It was good but not to the point it ended up finishing. As I worked my way through about a quarter of a glass the quality of this beer really started hitting me. The huge resinous quality is right up my alley. Thanks again for the great treat Joe!

Reviewed: 7/26/08

Served In: Snifter