|A pint of Black Mamba|
The Black Mamba IPA has been brewed, carbed and is already at its prime. This black IPA was formulated to highlight the last of last summers home-grown Cascade hops. I am very, very happy with this beer; it is one of the better IPAs that I’ve put together lately, with the debittered dark malt and rye adding a wonderful accent to the beer.
Appearance: Dark, dark and dark. Pours with a fluffy white head that dissipates over a few minutes.
Aroma: Cascade dominates the aroma. I’m not sure if its the beer’s formulation, or because the hops were home grown, but the dank aspect of the hops comes through much more than the citrus/grapefruit character.
Flavour: Cascade plus hop bitterness is in the fore – a grapefruit & resinous hop flavor dominates, balanced with a smooth but strong hop bitterness (the smooth0ness, I think, is due to the use of first wort hopping). The dark malts and rye are in the background, but are noticeable and create an interesting mix or rye crispness and chocolate flavours. The use of dehusked Carafa Special II creates a unique flavour profile – roast notes, chocolate-like in nature, but without the astringency that normally comes along with the use of classical dark malts. This beer used the legendary Conan yeast, and while the yeast worked well with the beer none of the notes I was expecting are apparent – perhaps they ended up buried behind the strong hop schedule and rye/roasted malt character. That’s not to say the yeast have detracted from the beer, but rather that the yeast character I was expecting is somewhat subdued. The after taste is a mostly hop bitterness plus a lingering dank/citrus flavour from the hops.
Mouthfeel: Light in body, like an IPA should be, and effervescent. Crisp & refreshing; no drying astringency or any other detractors. If this wasn’t 7% alcohol it would be a great session beer.
Overall: A fantastic beer which is a real pleasure to drink. Black IPAs may just have become one of my favourite beer styles…