An imperial for the masses
Posted on 8/22/2011 (1158 days ago, 139 of 661 reviews)
8/10 Appearance | 8/10 Aroma | 9/10 Mouthfeel | 9/10 Flavor
I always get really excited when it's time to try a new Flying Dog creation. This brewery is well known for their unique style of big beers and is one of the very few ''strength'' breweries that can appeal to a broader consumer base. Their beers are full of flavor, always pack a punch and are readily accessible to the public. Today I experience their Centennial Single Hop Imperial IPA. I love the concept of single hopped ales because it gives you a wonderful opportunity to study a hop's character under a microscope, i.e. pint glass.
In the glass, Centennial Single Hop has a slightly hazy burnt orange coloration. It's very rich looking and had me drooling from the get go. The aroma is quite floral and has several tangy notes to it. The Centennial hop character is muted, quite balanced and thankfully plays nice with the other aromas. Unlike most imperial IPAs, this brew has a very welcoming and laid back intro.
The mouthfeel is what immediately grabs your attention with the first sip. There is a very odd balance between smooth and tangy that I have never experienced before. The hops have a lot of bite, but they are very clean and tolerable, giving a unexpected smoother sensation. Truth be told, I can't really think of the words to properly describe it. If there ever was such a thing as an imperial session IPA, this is pretty close to it.
The Centennial hops themselves are very sweet, floral and somewhat zesty to my palate. They aren't overly bitter and actually compliment the strength quite well. There is also an underlying caramel malt taste that adds a savory sweet undertone. It carries all the way through the finish, which is by far the most surprising aspect of the beer. The hop bitterness disappears completely and leaves you with a purely sweet malt taste, almost candied. This beer has one of the best finishes for an IPA that I have ever had.
Overall, Flying Dog's Centennial Single Hop Imperial IPA is a delightful brew. While it may not pack the wallop of a standard imperial, it more than makes up for it in taste and mouthfeel. In my opinion, this is one of the few imperial IPAs that can be enjoyed by any level of beer fan. It's still pretty heavy for a novice, but is palatable enough to warrant the attempt. Fans of hoppy monsters might find this offering a bit too sweet for a 10% ABV, but I would imagine that most beer fans wouldn't care. This is an imperial IPA for all, so toast up and drink up!