Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Full Sail Bump in the Night review

Full Sail Bump in the NightWho's afraid of the dark? Not this beer blogger. I revel in darkness. That must be why I keep picking up these bomber bottles of Full Sail Brewery's dark beers. I bought this bottle on a whim due to my new found love for dark hoppy beers. This review will examine Full Sail Bump in the Night - a Cascadian Dark Ale. This was part of their 2011 Brewmaster Reserve series.

Bump in the Dark was rated at 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs. It came only in 22oz bombers and is generally available from January through March, so this bottle had been on the shelf for about 8 months. Was it still fresh?

I'm not sure why there is a controversy over this "new" style. To me, it doesn't matter if you call it an American Black Ale, a Black IPA or a Cascadian Dark Ale. Putting more hops in beer is nothing new here in America. Seems like breweries would put an entire acre of hops into one bottle if they could.

Appearance: Bump in the Night poured a medium brown with dark red edges. The pour yielded a nice 2 to 3 finger tall light tan head that lingered for quite a while. While it appeared dark from a distance I could just barely see through the entire glass, so it's not quite as dark as other beers of this style. Swirling the glass brought back some of the head and a trace of lacing, but the lacing quickly slid away. This beer looked more like a brown ale or porter, but not a black ale.

Aroma: Immediately upon opening, I could sense a lot of rich aromas. There was both a big amount of dark roast along with a fruit-like citrus, pine, a bit of wild grass or flowers and to me, a hint of smoke. As I swirled the glass, even more rich aroma came out - just a lot more of everything.

Mouthfeel: Recently, I've been leaving out the mouthfeel section in the beer reviews, but this one was notable enough to mention. Bump in the Night was medium bodied, initially creamy smooth, but was then immediately drying on my tongue. The lingering roast clung to the front and the back, dried out my senses and left me with a sense of low humidity. While it had a creamy front end, the back end left a dry yet clean trail.

Taste: Here is where I had some upfront expectations. Previous ales of this type were very hoppy, this one hit me with a ton of nutty roasted malt, a hint of bitter sweet cocoa and coffee. The IBU level might be elevated, but the hops were not the star here, the malts were. This is a less heavier Cascadian Dark Ale than I anticipated, yet it was still quite enjoyable.

Overall: For me, I was expecting a bit more from this brew. It was definitely not like the other dark Cascadian's I've had. It was it's own unique animal. I had let it warm up a bit before partaking but I sensed it would have been good both cold out of the fridge and warmed up a bit. It certainly had enough of the dark chewy malt taste I find in many stouts. I like how the extra hops made a slight difference in the bitterness.

By the end, it had enough kick to get me warmed up and feeling good, so it's no light-weight. This would go great with steak, BBQ, even perhaps with a rich dessert. I'd still recommend it as a quality made brew. Note: If you're looking for a big hoppy brew then you might be slightly disappointed, but you'll still want to finish it. I certainly did.

I hope Full Sail keeps experimenting with this style. I would have liked to have tasted this beer several months fresher as it's not the type of beer that will last more than a year. Perhaps being around 8 months old dampened the hops a bit. I'll have to revisit this one next year when it's new on the shelf.

Pouring the Full Sail Bump in the Dark (video):
video
If you can't view the video via email, please visit the blog.

Related articles:
- Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout review.
- Full Sail Top Sail Imperial Porter review.
- Deschutes Hop in the Dark Cascadian Dark Ale review.

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