Clipper City Brewing, The Big DIPA

Pours mostly clear with a dark copper/amber hue and a rocky tan head that isn't going anywhere. The aroma is of fresh hops, citrus, grass, pine, and spice. The malt is in the nose as well, as is expected with most double IPAs. There are some caramel, toffee, and some slight alcohol aromas behind the hops. The aroma alone is so pungent, fresh, and mouthwatering I almost just want to sit here and sniff it. The mouthfeel is full and rich, coating on the tongue with only a little carbonation. The finish ends up slightly dry however, which makes taking another sip easy. The 10% ABV is noticable only from the warming sensation after sipping. The flavor is as hop and malt forward as you could want. The citrus hops make it into the front of the palate, and the earthy, spicy hops seem to linger in the mid and late palate. There is a firm bittering here, which cuts into the caramel sweetness from the malts very well.

The malts are as much the star here as the hops are, and shouldn't be discounted just because this carries the name "IPA." There is a toasty, biscut quality to the malt that works well with the sweeter caramels, giving the malt element a more rounded and developed flavor. The hop flavors are simply astounding here, the malts give them such a perfect platform to express themselves. Each sip opens up more and more hop flavor. It's rare to find a beer that can display hop flavor without the bitterness becoming too overwhelming. There is sweetness and spice and herbal flavors in hops that are difficult to bring out in a beer, yet The Big DIPA seems to acheive it.

Clipper City is a brewery that puts out consistantly good, well balanced big beers. In fact, their best selling line is the Heavy Seas portfolio, a collection of brews that are 7.5% ABV and above. This new offering isn't unusual for them, however it is a showcase of their command of balancing higher alcohol levels with drinkability. All in all, this is a double IPA I would reach for again and again.