Compare and Contrast

ipa.jpgI begin my week-o-IPAs with two Double or Imperial IPA. The double/imperial (the terms are fairly synonymous) means that it’s brewed with even more hop flavor than the standard IPA. On trial today: The Goose Island Imperial IPA and the Great Divide Hercules Double IPA. Let’s start with the Goose Island:
Aroma: This IPA had an amazing aroma. Full of hops, lots of grapefruit, appley/pear fragrance, a slight hint of spices and slight toasty malt flavor.
Appearance: Gorgeous. This beer pours a nice fizzy dark amber/orangey color that brightens a little upon standing. The head forms a real foamy off-white but diminishes quickly
Flavor: Wow! This baby packs a punch. You really taste all those great fragrances that you smelled at first. Nice fruity hop flavor, followed by a gently toasted malt flavor. The hoppy aftertaste returns and sticks in your mouth afterward.
Mouthfeel: A lot of feel to this beer. It has a thick almost oily feel in the mouth. Carbonation is pretty average.
Overall, the Goose Island Imperial IPA was great, but I have to say, after plowing my way through the whole beer, the fruity flavor became a little overwhelming and a little drying.
Beer #2 – Great Divide:
Aroma: The Great Divide Hercules Double IPA is far less fragrant than the Goose Island. I smell all the great hop flavors and a nice doughy-yeasty flavor. Not as fruity as the Goose Island, but your average IPA aroma.
Appearance: Color is almost identical to the Goose Island IPA, though slightly more amber than orange. Lots of bubbles and a standard head that diminishes quickly. Both of these beers are really hazy, I can’t see through them. Almost like apple cider
Taste: After the taste of the Goose Island that was so fruity, at first I felt that this beer didn’t live up to it’s aroma. It actually doesn’t, but it’s really not too bad. Comparing beers back to back can be dangerous, but I thought it’d be a fun experiment. This Great Divide is pretty decent. At first you hit those citrusy, piney hops, then you taste a real nice roasted malt flavor and an aftertaste of yeasty, bready goodness. In the end, I thing this was a good, drinkable beer.
Mouthfeel: This beer was pretty highly carbonated and had that same oily feel. The fizzy carbon bubbles dance on your tongue. I’d venture to say it’s almost a little too carbonated, but nothing to make me not drink this beer. In the end, I found it a far greater session type beer than the Goose Island Imperial IPA.

The Facts – Goose Island Imperial IPA:
ABV: 9.1%
IBU: 85

The Facts – Great Divide Hercules Double IPA:
ABV: 9%
ABW: 7.0%
IBU: 90
SRM: 12



  1. james said,

    March 14, 2007 at 5:34 am

    I went out and tried these beers, I like IPA’s but thought this was not what I was looking for. There was a micro brewery in Redondo Beach CA called Redondo Beach Brewery ( off course ) but it was part of Manhattan Beach Brewery a few miles up the coast. They had an IPA I thought was fantastic, Not as fruity and didn’t have that after taste. Plus it was stronger.

  2. Puffy said,

    March 14, 2007 at 7:32 am

    James, I’ll look into it and see if I can get them here on the East Coast. Thanks for all of your comments 😀

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