Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
So many choices out there. So many great beers and so many great brewers making them. Sometimes I walk up and down an aisle for a while before I settle on something that I usually have had before. Or, maybe I’ll go totally out of left field and pick up something unfamiliar like a Gose, a really sour beer, or something I never drink. I could try pretty much everything and like it. But, sometimes when you’re in the middle of a heatwave in Southern California you want a refreshing, bright, mega IPA to numb the tongue and take the edge off the heat. Great Divide Hercules Double IPA is sort of that beer. It features a boatload of hops but it also has a warmer, nuttier background to it that may lend itself a little bit to being a cooler weather IPA.
I fell in love with Denver, Colorado brewery Great Divide‘s Yeti and Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Stouts, so I wanted to see what they were doing on the IPA front. Hops and hot weather seem to go hand in hand for me, and the description on the bottle promised to be an attack of hops and sweetness that I couldn’t pass up. They even provided a handy little list of foods that would go along with this brew. One thing I do love about Great Divide is their packaging. It always comes in a great looking bottle with gold foil, so if the list of ingredients and food pairings doesn’t catch your eye, the bottle and artwork surely will. Now that they have my attention, let’s check out the beer.
Everything On Tap Review: Great Divide Hercules Double IPA 10.0% ABVGreat Divide Hercules Double IPA
Bottle: Brown 22 oz. bomber. Great looking bottle. Signature Great Divide gold foil at the top. The label, like the Yeti, features a silhouette of a character, in this case, obviously, Hercules against a wood grain background displaying the name in big letters. To the left there is a brief description of the beer along with the awards it’s won. Also featured is a suggest food pairing and a bottling date. This one was bottled on March 12, 2014 and poured on May 14.
Pour: Beautiful copper and gold with red hues. See through. Head was thick and lacing was plentiful and stayed stuck to the glass for a while.
Aroma: Right from the start you can smell some piney hops and citrus. Upfront caramel and a bit of toffee. It wasn’t overpowering. I let it warm up a little bit and the aroma opened up a bit more.
Flavor: Hercules Double IPA has a big hop bite. At 85 IBU that’s to be expected. But, there is a backdrop of malty sweetness and nutty flavor that balance it out pretty nicely. It’s pretty bitter overall. With 10.0% ABV you can start to taste the alcohol, especially after it’s warmed up a little bit. The alcohol provides a warming sensation and at first taste a faint tinge of spiciness. I picked up on some bread and biscuit flavor as well. Overall, you’re going to taste a lot of bitter hops and a lot of sweet malt. So far from the smell and taste this can almost pass for a barleywine.
Mouthfeel: This is medium and sticky. This will kill your palette a bit with flavor. I don’t recommend it as part of a session, and at 10% ABV, it wouldn’t qualify anyway. But, be warned that it coats your mouth, sticks to your tongue, and batters your tastebuds a bit. The bitterness of the Hercules DIPA will linger on your tongue for a little while.
Structure: It holds itself together nicely and it sure feels like you could take it down a bit quickly. This is a full robust beer though, so I encourage sipping and appreciating the dense flavors. It’s a nutty backbone holding together a wild ride of hops, all tied together with sweet maltiness. At once, refreshing and one to examine slowly.
Food Pairing: The bottle itself includes a suggested food pairing list, which lists beef short ribs, cassoulet, garlicky braised greens, Roomano – aged Gouda, and apple tart. I would also include bread pudding, bacon, almonds, sharp cheddar, and fruitcake.
Overall Rating Out of 5 Beer Mugs: