Showing a Merciful Restraint
A Review of Alchemy Hour Double IPA by Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Posted on 6/12/2013 by Chops
I have been blissfully exploring the wonderful world of craft beer for many years now. Each year more breweries appear on the scene and the beer store shelves expand. As choices grow, entry level anxieties also grow. I remember the days when a craft breweries like Boston Beer and Sierra Nevada represented the vast majority of non-swill options. Nowadays, entering the craft beer world is a lot like entering the fine wine world. Where does one even begin? There are simply too many options. Luckily for all of us, there are breweries out there like Great Lakes out of Cleveland, Ohio. Regardless of your current level of beer knowledge, you can go into any Great Lakes brew knowing that you are about to experience a high quality product. I have sampled much of the Great Lakes line at this point and I sing their praises every time. Up next is their Alchemy Hour Double IPA.

In the glass, this beer has a deep bronze coloration with strong orange hues. It comes with a frothy white head that has really nice retention. On the nose, I was greeted by a sharp hop profile that somehow manages to balance brute strength and complexity. The citrus notes come across as very fresh, almost wet and lush. The sweet malt is also prominent, creating a very nice counterweight. Rounding out the aromatic mix are notes of pine and fresh cut grass. Yes, this is one seriously inviting introduction. I'm sure any hop heads reading this are salivating all over their keyboards.

The complex aroma nicely foreshadowed an equally complex flavor. It's very bold and engaging without being overpowering. The hop profile comes out swinging with an intense piney freshness and various spicy notes, namely sweet pepper. The sweet malt resides more as a faint under layer and takes the form of toasted bread and caramel. I also found complimentary notes of tropical fruit, earthy grass, and hints of tobacco. The alcohol burn is noticeable yet nicely restrained, allowing for a lengthy study of flavor complexity. The beer has a solid medium body with a smooth entrance and a dry bitter finish.

Overall, it should come as no surprise that the Great Lakes Alchemy Hour Double IPA is an exquisite brew. And in typical imperial IPA fashion, I can only recommend it to hop heads and seasoned drinkers. Nothing against all of you budding novices out there, but you really need a honed IPA palate before tackling any 9.4% ABV imperial beast, Great Lakes included. However, in a world full of overly aggressive, palate punishing, taste bud scorching IPAs, Great Lakes has shown us a merciful restraint. Alchemy Hour is a big bold imperial IPA that gives us so much more than a hop assault. It's a beer that you can place beside most imperial IPAs on the market and say, ''THIS is how THAT should taste.''

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Alchemy Hour Double IPA by Great Lakes Brewing Co.
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