Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Grasslands Big Cypress IPA (Batch #4)

This is a recurring monthly series in which I taste and share my thoughts on a different beer from Grasslands Brewing Co. as they progress on their journey to open their doors to thirsty craft beer lovers (2014).  Grasslands is an up-and-coming brewery out of Tallahassee, Fl. that centers their philosophy on making quality "earth first ales." I will taste pilot batches and share my thoughts with the BeerApostle community. You can read past posts about Grasslands beer in the archive section of this blog. 

Brewery:  Grasslands Brewery
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Style: IPA
ABV: 7.5%

Yesterday, I posted my review of Batch #1 of Big Cypress IPA, and now I turn my attention to Batch #4. Nothing has changed with what Grasslands wants to accomplish with Big Cypress (they want a smack-you-in-the-face) IPA that is "unique and compelling." Batch #4 used a different combination of hops to create a whole new flavor. So, here we go!

Appearance: Sandy Brown, almost muddy in color. Lots of carbonation and sediment on the bottom of the glass. Unfiltered, without a doubt!

Aroma: Orange and Lemon zest. Grapefruit, and Pine. Caramel/malt comes through with warming.

Taste: This is a citrus-hop bomb! Grapefruit, lemon, and orange stand out. Hopped up finish. Bitterness lingers on the aftertaste. After the beer warmed for about 15 minutes, I was definitely able to pick up on the malt more. It was subtle, and more present on the nose, but it was there. The malt adds a sticky, caramel, flavor to the bitterness of the hops, which helps to calm this beer down a bit. But make no mistake, this beer is exactly what Grasslands said they wanted it to be: it smacks-ya-in-the-mouth and then some!

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Lots of carbonation.

Overall: This is up there with some of the "palate-wrecking" IPAs on the shelves and is, by far, the hoppiest beer I have had from Grasslands (and maybe all of Florida). This is a one-two-punch IPA with a very strong citrus and hop profile that'll give IPA-lovers what they ask for.

Batch #1 vs Batch #4: This, in no way, was a competition. I appreciate that Grasslands experiments with recipes and solicits feedback from the Grasshoppers to help them land on the best beers possible. However, because I was fortunate enough to try these two batches side-by-side, it's impossible not to compare them.

When it comes to IPAs, I prefer a balanced approach. I like my hops to be accompanied by a strong malt backbone. Batch #1 did this perfectly. In fact, it's probably one of the best East Coast IPAs I've had; I think it could even give Jai Alai a run for its money.

Batch #4, to me was a completely different beer. While it's probably not the IPA I would choose, I think there's a HUGE market for this beer among hopheads who enjoy beers with a hop presence strong enough to tear into the lining of their stomachs. I also think Batch #4 is a bit more bold and unique. If released, it would quickly build a reputation for itself, similar to what Green Flash has done with some of their IPAs.

This was an incredibly fun two-part review! I want to thank Gabe Grass for sharing his batches with a schmuck like me.

Interested in becoming a Grasshopper?

If you're interested in getting your hands on any of Grasslands' brews before they open, register for their Grasshoppers Club which is your ticket in to getting exclusive releases from the brewery before they open. As a Grasshopper, you'll be eligible to enter the monthly lottery drawings to sample beer and provide critical feedback that may contribute to the final product. You can also check out Grasslands on Twitter and Facebook for more information.


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