Review: Bashah

Stone and Brew Dog getting together to make a beer is as predictable as it is intriguing. The upstarts from Scotland appear to have patterned most of their marketing and style after the brash Californian brewer. Just take a look at their beer descriptions. Both have a reputation for going big on hops and taking risks with their beers.

Bashah is classified (using the broad definition of classified) as THE Black Belgian Style Double India Pale Ale. You know, your standard BBSDIPA. The description on the bottle is painfully small and lacking almost any contrast (although the grey on black label is neat), so I cribbed it from the RateBeer page:

What does it mean? Yes, what indeed does it all mean. Meaning of course is elusive and illusive. It can’t or shouldn’t be found on this bottle. Should it? Yet what if it was? Would you begin to look for pearls of wisdom or life direction on a beer label? Perhaps it’s been there all along. Since meaning is a mere illusion, perhaps we shouldn’t let it have any influence on our destiny. This particular beer refused to succumb to the illusion of meaning or allow capricious parameters to have any influence on its own fermented fate. Are we even asking the right question? Are you feeling frustrated in the emptiness? If so, that could be because someone got to this beer before you, and thus there’s a reason for that emptiness. It’s empty. And if so, perhaps there indeed is not any meaning for you here after all.

Style over Substance, or Substance over the scriptures of Style? The latter, thank you very much. Twice.

Yeah… maybe not so much of a description as recursive, rhetorical chicanery, but what more would you expect from these two companies getting together?

Brew Dog/Stone Bashah

Brew Dog/Stone Bashah - 8.6% ABV Black Belgian Style Double IPA

Appearance: The beer is dark, almost black and completely opaque. You can see a bit of copper/ruby when you old it up to the light. It had a two finger thick, tan head that dropped down to about one finger with gentle lacing. That bit of foam ain’t going anywhere.

Aroma: There are some roasted and caramel malts on the nose with some chocolate and raisin notes. There’s a bit of an herbal, floral hop aroma in there too. Maybe a bit of yeasty funk hidden down there.

Taste: Very present bitter flavor that is there throughout the entire flavor and lingers throughout. After a few sips you can cut through the bitterness and taste the roasty, acrid malts along with a nice caramel hit as well. I’m trying to pick out some of the belgian notes from the yeast, but I can’t pick anything out. There isn’t really much alcohol heat or taste for a beer that’s 8.6%. I would say it’s dangerously drinkable, but I’m not a millionaire, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Mouthfeel: This beer is incredibly smooth and maybe even creamy. It’s definitely not the crisp, thinnish IPA. It’s not dark enough to be a porter or something, but the body is certainly not what I’m used from even a DIPA. Very good, though.

Overall: This beer is good. Very good. I’m even liking it more as I drink it. I may have had irrationally high expectations given the brewers involved, but I was hoping for something world changing. This isn’t that, but it is very complex and very interesting. I think the bitterness may actually cover up some of the more amazing aspects of this beer. Still, I don’t regret picking up this bottle and giving it a try. Well worth it.

Bell’s Hopslam Release

When Ashey’s Ann Arbor tweeted (@a2ashleys) Monday afternoon that they’d be releasing Bell’s Hopslam Double IPA at 4pm, I had no choice but to venture over there for a taste, right?

Bell's Hopslam

Bell's Hopslam

The description included with the pint (pictured) stated that the hops were chosen on the basis of being very aromatic, though I didn’t think there was a very strong hop aroma. The taste, on the other hand, was out of control. Tons of grapefruit and other citrus flavors from the hops, along with a decent taste of honey, with just enough malt to balance it all out. There wasn’t a strong bitterness either, this was a beer that is primarily hopped for flavor and little else.

I didn’t even realize when I started drinking that it was a 10% ABV beer, because there was no real heat from the alcohol, but it made itself apparent pretty quickly, as I was feeling it halfway through the pint. I typically associate strong honey flavors with high ABV in my mind, so that makes sense. One thing that I really liked about this beer was great color for a DIPA – it’s a little darker than many, but that’s because it had a nice malty body.

In all, this was a very good – though not quite great – beer, although it’s not my preferred style (more on the porter/stout end of the spectrum).

Recipe: Boiling Greens Double IPA

The third (and as of now, final – unless I come up with some other recipes, and soon) in our Football Series 2010. This beer is for Michigan’s contest against Bowling Green this weekend, and as the pun in the name implies, there are a lot of hops in this bad boy.

Fermentables

  • 10lb Golden Promise
  • 1.5lb American Vienna
  • 0.5lb 10L Crystal Malt
  • 4lb Dry Light Malt Extract

Hops

  • 3oz 16% A.A. Columbus (60, 30, 15)
  • 1oz Fuggles (dry-hopped)

Yeast

Wyeast 1272, American Ale II

Brewing Notes

This bad boy bubbled forever once it got going (pretty quickly – probably before the Beat the Irish Stout, which we brewed a couple days earlier), which I guess you’d expect from a high-gravity beer. Alas, with only 3 corny kegs, we didn’t have a place to put this beer once fermentation was complete, and didn’t even get to taste it prior to the football game for which it was brewed.

Tasting notes coming when the beer is ready.