Pushing the Limits of Deliciously Bitter
A Review of Leviathan Imperial IPA by Harpoon Brewery
Posted on 12/28/2011 by Chops
                   
Great
When it comes to India Pale Ales, especially the imperial variety, the word is balance. Bad IPAs don't have it. Good IPAs need it. Great IPAs master it. No other style is as mercilessly dependent on balance as the IPA. So when going into a new IPA, that fact is always in the back of my mind. Considering the great experiences I have had to date with Harpoon's Leviathan series, I had very little balance concerns going into their Imperial IPA. For once, I could actually look forward to all those secondary characteristics.

In the glass, this beer has a clear honey coloration. To my eyes it looks more like a standard IPA than an imperial. No matter though, it is still well within the realm of expected appearance. It comes with a bright white bubbly head that dissipates fairly quickly. On the nose, there is a big herbal citrus aroma that fills the area around the glass. It's very rich and dominant, so don't expect to find anything else in the aroma.

That first sip was an unexpected wallop. Being an imperial, I was expecting some bite, but was caught off guard by a militant hop profile. It's cocked, front loaded and packs a mean punch. Amazingly, the flavor profile retains a high level of balance in regards to strength. The herbal quality of the hops helps reign in the bitterness. But make no mistake about it, this is one harshly bitter beer. There are a few touches of pine and grapefruit-like citrus throughout the flavor train, but nothing too meaningful. The pungent herbal hops carry well through the finish and leave a long lasting bitter aftertaste.

Overall, Harpoon's Leviathan Imperial IPA is an aggressive delight. Hop heads will adore this beer as a delicious and beastly concoction. On the flip side, this is one of the few imperial IPAs that I have to caution seasoned drinkers about. It packs one hell of a punch, so proceed with caution. Novices should stay clear of this beer at all costs. In fact, I wouldn't even directly look at the beer for fear of the hops jumping out of the bottle and ripping your taste buds clean off of your tongue as trophies of unworthiness.

On the other hand, the Leviathan Imperial IPA might be one of those beers that is perfectly suited for embarrassing those annoyingly proud crap beer drinkers. So for your own amusement, set a Leviathan Imperial IPA in front of any overly enthusiastic [insert crap beer of choice] drinker and challenge their worthiness. Just be sure to have your camera ready.

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Leviathan Imperial IPA by Harpoon Brewery
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