Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Barf's Imperial Red Rye

Tasting Notes 6/3/13

Simcoe, Galaxy, Mosaic, Topaz Imperial Red Rye 11.8%


Another Hoppy one from Barfdiggs trade. Super stoked on the hop varieties!

Appearance: Crystal Clear crimson red with a pretty weak head- but you can’t expect much from the head on a high ABV beer… alcohol will melt your brain ;) Seriously gorgeous color.

Smell: Quite aromatic- much more hops in the nose than either IPA, but not quite the stink bomb that was the Black IPA (obsess much?). Fruity, piney, jammy, and sappy with some weird honeysuckle and kumquat and that smell of freshly split green oak logs (not kidding). The citrus is strong and it is mixed with some sticky over-ripe tropical fruit which makes for a super complex and inviting proposition. Almost “messy”, but in a good way. The only malt aromas I’m getting are the generic tell-tale notes that there is a BIG beer under all of the hops.

Taste: Spicy and oily, bitter and thick. Earthy in a way that reminds me of extra virgin olive oil. The citrus and cat (that is right! This is officially the first beer that I’ve gotten the classic “cat-pee” thing from. I actually think it has to do with a recent Simcoe harvest, because a recent all Simcoe beer I made was all cat pee- none of the pineapple and pine with orange peel that made Simcoe my all time favorite. Bummed) really come through to the front in the sip, but there is some nice mellow honeydew there too as it finishes. Pretty dern mellow for a beer pushing 12%. Smooth and rich with a strong impression of dark honey.

Mouthfeel: Big, full, and prickly form the booze.

Overall: I think this is my favorite of his beers so far. Usually giant isn’t really my thing, but it is right on in this one. It embraces the hugeness with a full-on malt presence, and has an immense amount of hop complexity to keep it interesting instead of just overwhelmingly big.


  1. Glad I could pop your "classic cat pee" cherry. Come to think of it, I've been less than impressed with the Simcoe qualities in the hoppy beers I've brewed with 2012 Simcoe harvest hops... interesting observation. The over ripe tropical fruit is total mosaic, as it wasn't overly apparent until the mosaic keg hop.

    Anything you'd really change in version 2 of this? My thoughts were to up the FG just a couple points (Mash higher, up english crystal 1%) to cut down the astringency and add in a little chocolate rye to get the color, in place of the midnight wheat I used for this one and to use some isomerized extract (no mash hop) to cut down on the raw bitterness in the beer.

    1. Honestly I think it is pretty spot on.... like I said it is my favorite of yours yet, which is funny because I usually shy away from huge beers (the relatively low FG is probably a big contributor to my affinity for this one over typical "imperial" hoppy beers). I like the FG right where it is, an if anything I might drop the OG a few points just to keep the ABV closer to 10%-- I say this because while super high gravities can make for some really neat complexities in a BW, RIS, or Quad I feel like the ageing that helps develop these are (obviously) counter productive in a hoppy beer. All I need from a big Hop forward beer is the added "punch" so to say, which I feel comes pretty automatically any where over 1.085OG.

      The Color is AMAZING... and I couldn't really detect any of the chocolate wheat under all the hops/ booze/ rye, so no need to swap it out IMO.

      I do think mellowing the bitterness is a good idea. With all the booze and hop oils from late additions (not to mention that elusive pseudo-bitterness that Rye always brings to the party) I don't think it is in danger of coming across as cloyingly sweet (another argument for keeping the FG where it is, even if you do back off the IBUs a bit.

      Also, kina nit-picky, but I think some Centennials would do wonders for accentuating the "juiciness" and berry notes. Not my favorite hop, but it blends beautifully. Maybe switch it out for the Galaxy?