Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fort Collins Brewery Incredible Hop Imperial Black IPA review

FCB Incredible Hop Imperial Black IPAThe wave of Black IPAs keep coming and this review is getting a big dose of it. Today's review is another local brew from the Fort Collins Brewery and is part of their Incredible Hop series of beers. This time I'm reviewing their Fort Collins Brewery The Incredible Hop Imperial Black IPA. How's that name for a mouthful? Call it FCB Imperial Black IPA for short.

Fort Collins Brewery didn't list an ABV or IBU rating on the label, neither did they list this beer on their website so I can assume that this is an out of date special or seasonal. Ratebeer listed this beer at 10% ABV. It's the first of a series of three "The Incredible Hop" beers so far. They've also created an Imperial India Red Ale and an Imperial India Style Wheat Ale. My fascination, however, is with the dark IPA and so I couldn't resist picking this one up.

The FCP Imperial Black IPA only comes commercially in 22oz bomber bottles, that is if you can't find it in a keg still. The first review of this came back in March 2011 so it couldn't be more than 6 months old.

Appearance: This beer poured extremely dark brown - nearly black with hardly any light on the edges. The light brown head on this beer was huge. It grew over 3 fingers easily and stuck around for quite a while. The lacing was amazing as well. Just by appearance, I'd swear this looked like an imperial stout.

Aroma: I could instantly smell an abundance of both dark carafa malts and citrusy hops at the opening. There were traces of coffee, chocolate, grapefruit, pepper, spice and pine on the nose all at once. Simply was wonderful and inviting to the senses.

Taste: FCB Imperial Black IPA had a hefty, bitter and robust feel. This was no lightweight. The powerful hops hit me up front, then let the dark rich malts played for a while and then hit me once again with a bitter hop finish afterwards. It was almost like the hops were teasing me. There were tastes of dark unsweetened chocolate, coffee roast as well.

Despite being a strong 10% beer, the alcohol didn't burn and felt somewhat subdued and well controlled. As this beer warmed it remained wonderfully rich and roasty. I loved how the hops seemed to jump around my tongue and turned a switch on and off with the huge amounts of IBUs in this beer. If I had to guess, it should have around 65 IBUs or more. It was creamy yet drying on the finish with a lingering citrus effect.

Overall: I was hoping this beer would measure up to some of the other better Black IPAs out there and it certainly did. It measured in closely with other Black IPAs like Deschutes Hop in the Dark. I enjoyed this beer from start to finish. It left me wanting to try this one again. I certainly hope Fort Collins Brewery makes this version of their Incredible Hop series again. I think it was one of the best beers they've made to date.

I can't help but wonder how this beer would taste fresh on a nitro tap. Even after 6 months in the bottle, this beer was still outstanding. The hops may have been subdued a bit but they were still very dominant in this beer. Nice. Two big thumbs up to FCB for finding a winning combination.

Video of the pouring of FCB Incredible Hop Imperial Black IPA:
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Related articles:
- Fort Collins Brewery Big Shot review. (Seasonal)
- Fort Collins Brewery Tasting Room notes.
- FCB debuts 1900 Amber Lager. (2009)

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