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Two Brothers Heavier Handed IPA Review. II(nsane)PA

January 18, 2010

Since having a Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA months ago I haven’t really strayed back into the IIPA arena. I’m not a hophead, and I’m not rushing out to try the hoppiest-hopbomb-sicle that each brewery feels the need to create. However, hops are a beer lovers best friend, and I would be foolish to deliberately avoid some of the hopfests brewers are releasing year-round. It just so happens that today as I was perusing my local beer store I came across a bottle of Two Brothers Brewing Co. Heavier Handed IPA. Since I had been trying, to no avail, to get my hands on Bell’s Hopslam I decided this would have to do.

From Warrenville, Illinois’ Two Brothers Brewing Company comes Heavier Handed, Unfiltered, Oak Foudre Aged India Pale Ale. According to the bottle this is one of Dos Bros’ Artisan Beers. These beers are limited release and more extreme or unusual. Heavier Handed is aged in Foudres, or French oak tanks. It is a “heavier” version of their standard IPA, Heavy Handed, and weighs in at 19.2 deg. Plato, 84 IBU, and 8.1% ABV. Oh yeah, the Hop God cometh.

THE BEER

Beer: Heavier Handed Double IPA

Brewer: Two Brothers Brewing Co., Warrenville, IL

Style: American Double IPA, Imperial IPA, IIPA

Serving: Bottle, 1 PINT, 6 FL. OZ.

ABV: 8.1%

IBU: 84.3

REVIEW

Here comes the pour into my large tulip glass. Heavier Handed pours a brilliant copper/red color. This could be a glass full of cherry juice and no one would know the difference. A tallish frothy just off-white head grows and leaves lace rings that would make sedimentary geologists jealous.

The aroma. Oh the wonderful aroma. Saying it is hoppy is boring and a disservice. This brew smells like it was brewed with every hop variety grown in the U.S. First it is fruity, like grapefruit, and citrus. Then it turns earthy and almost dirt-like. Herbal hops chime in, but not as loudly. Before it is all said and done the piney hops crash the party and leave your nose wondering if it has landed in the middle of a hop-variety battle royale. My mouth is watering…

…As I tip the glass to my mouth and inhale I can almost chew the hop aroma as the fluid nears. The first sensation is, Hops, wait no it isn’t. I was expecting hops, but I got all MALT! It is bready and slightly sweet. Perhaps a twinge of bubblegum too? There are no hop flavors for the first ten seconds. You almost want to take another quaff just to make sure you didn’t miss something. Be patient young padawan. Just as soon as you start to panic and fear the hops are never coming they roll in like the evening tide on a starlit beach, slowly, but surely. These herbal and earthy hops cascade into the mouth and tongue and leave you with no question as to whether you just inhaled 84.3 IBUs of pure hop goodness.

The mouth feel is medium bordering on heavy, but the ABV of 8% is no where to be found. The finish is slightly dry and bitter, but it begs you to come back for more immediately. One bomber of this stuff isn’t enough. I may go back to the store tomorrow for more. Also in the aftertaste is a bit of mint that isn’t necessarily unwanted.

These Two Brothers have cooked up quite an impressive IIPA here. I am not a self-professed hophead, but more beers like Heavier Handed and I’ll be sprinting to join the bandwagon.

THE MATH

Appearance: Gorgeous- 4.1/5

Aroma: A hop variety show- 4.9/5

Flavor: Superbly hidden plot-twist- 4.8/5

Mouthfeel: Medium and enjoyable- 4.0/5

Drinkability: Bring me another!- 4.2/5

Overall: 4.4/5

Chance of Beer Epiphany: 90%

Not everyone likes hops. That is the only reason this beer doesn’t get a miraculous 100% CBE rating. This beer has the potential to turn people into hopheads and bring over Macro-whores to the craft beer realm. The use of hops in Heavier Handed never gets out of hand (excuse the pun). I was expecting a B-52 bombardment of hops, but what I got was the surgical strike of a F-22. Plus, the maltiness that comes through in the flavor profile is outstanding. Give this brew to anyone who falls for Miller’s “Triple Hops Brewed” marketing speak and show them what real craft brewers can do.

LINKS

Two Brothers Brewing Company

Beeradvocate

RateBeer

Press Release via Beernews.org

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