Great Divide, Belgica

Grade: D
Great Divide Brewing Co.

Pours golden and crystal clear, with a good sized offwhite head that laces the glass well. Aroma has the mix of hops and belgian yeast character that you'd expect, except that mixing hops and belgian yeast is completely unexpected. Fruity nose, apricot, banana, with a little bit of clove-like spice, with some spicy and slightly citrusy hops. Some slight grass and earth from the hops are clashing with the fruit from the yeast.

Whoa! Overwhelming bitterness in the first sip. The hops seem to have been saved for the bittering additions here, and they are very agressive. The bitterness is lingering, and there is an impression of burnt, roast following the bitter. Generally unpleasent. The belgian yeast with the fruit and banana are trying to balance the rest of the beer, but the bitterness of this is just too much. The mouthfeel is medium, with a spritzy level of carbonation that adds a little acid bite to the already overwhelming hops.

In IPAs balance is acheived not only in the types of hops used but in how they are used. When added in the beginning of the brewing process, the hops become very bitter, have little flavor, and no aroma. When added later in the process, they are less bitter, and more floral, aromatic, and flavorful. A good IPA has a balance of all three of these aspects. Belgica, however, is trying to overthink things here. I think they tried to hop almost exclusively in the beginning of the process, and let the belgian yeast take over for the aroma aspect. The problem is that the bittering hops were just too much, and the lingering aftertaste is what kills this beer. If a beer leaves a bad taste in your mouth, you don't want another sip. And I do not want another sip of Belgica. I'm pouring out the rest of this.