With hot weather seemingly on the way out, we've been trying to work through a backlog of inventive bitter beers to maybe give you folks something new to sample before the weather turns and our tastes all shift a bit.
With that goal in mind, we grabbed a Decadent Imperial IPA from Ska Brewing of Durango, Colorado, a brewer we hadn't sampled before.
The beer started well, with a very sweet, vaguely floral aroma that hinted at plenty of booze inside (as indeed there was, at 10 percent).
Rich, fruity flavors were evident immediately, with some apple and apricot notes elbowing in front of the spicy, boozy flavor that stuck around with each swallow.
The aftertaste didn't linger much, however, certainly not compared to other beers of this type. Many "imperials" in various categories get syrupy, with long, numbing finishes.
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Though the Decadent certainly didn't have a clean finish, what did linger was a bit of booze, a bit of spice, a film of fruit, but none of these very intensely. It's pretty subjective whether you think that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it's certainly the characteristic that distinguishes this from similar beers we've sampled lately.
While not syrupy, this beer is undeniably sweet, which was somewhat of a surprise for an IPA. Sure, the "imperial" tag is going to sweeten it up a bit, add some booze and restrain the acidity, but we'd have to say the hops are pretty underemphasized here, and there's very little bite to speak of.
If you like some Belgians but get put off by all the complex, yeasty flavors, or if you're wary of hops but like some inventiveness in your brew, this might be a good sample for you.
Just don't expect a hop hammer, and you'll probably be pleased.