Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Avery The Maharaja Imperial India Pale Ale review

Avery The Maharaja Imperial IPABig, bold and badass. That's what this beer seems to be all about. Avery puts out several big beers in it's Dictator Series and this one is their Avery The Maharaja Imperial India Pale Ale. This bottle was part of their 15th release of this brew and was bottled in the Winter 2011/2012 season so it was about just over 4 months old.

This beer was meant to be huge. It weighs in at 10.39% ABV and has a whopping 102 IBUs. I fully expected to be hit by the alcohol and bitterness on this brew. Avery states that this beer is "regal, intense, fierce and mighty" - right on the label. And knowing Avery's reputation with their Dictator Series, I knew what to expect.

This beer used a generous amount of Simcoe, Columbus, Centennial and Chinook hops that are tangy, vibrant and pungent and balanced with a huge amount of Two-row barley, caramel 10L and victory malt. Would this brew be a hop lover's dream?

Appearance: The Maharaja poured a dark orange / amber color and built up a modest 1 finger off-white head. The foam was the kind that was sticky and clung to the glass for a while. While the pour started out clear, it didn't take long for some sediment to work it's way into the glass. After a 14oz initial pour out of the 22oz bottle, I noticed that there was a LOT of yeast sediment in this beer. Apparently, there was a lot of sugars left in this bottle when it bottle conditioned as there was a bunch of yeast left over - so beware when pouring. The brew seemed well carbonated.

Aroma: Granted, this reviewer had some allergies to contend with and wasn't able to fully smell this beer, yet the hops and the alcohol in The Maharaja burned its way through enough to be easily noticed. The brew had a big bouquet of resiny pine, spiciness and a whiff of alcohol. The grains were barely perceptible above the hops. I could tell this was going to be a hop bomb right from the start. As I got my eyes close to this beer they started to sting a bit

Taste: I first tried tasting this beer without breathing in and could taste all the rich malts that were put in, but as soon as I started breathing in the massive bitter hop bite took over. The beer was full bodied, sticky to the tongue and bitter from start to finish. The alcohol was very noticeable during the sampling and I wanted to take this one very slowly. On the back end of a sip, I got a slight sweetness, but not much. The beer itself was very dry tasting and it begged to be paired with some bold food pairings.

Overall: Despite my efforts, I did not feel that I could finish more than one glass of this. It was a huge beer, one worthy of a Big Beer Festival. It is simply not for the timid or hop novice. I knew what to expect up front and it definitely lived up to the hype. It's a hop head wet dream, just don't over do it. Share this bottle with a friend and drink a lot of water afterwards (seriously). This beer will get you tilted in a hurry if you don't watch out.

My personal preference for a big IPA would be to back off a bit. This is almost too powerful for my taste. On a warm Spring evening, I began to sweat a bit from the high ABV and IBU. Still, the beer seemed very well made, despite all the sediment in the bottle. If your beer was like mine, you'll probably get about 16oz of beer with a bit of sediment in it and 6oz of beer with a lot of sediment in it. A good beer in small quantities. I'd suggest an 8oz serving.

Disclosure: I paid full retail price for this beer.

Video showing the pour of Avery The Maharaja Imperial IPA:

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Related articles:
- Avery Mephistopheles' Stout review.
- Avery The Czar Imperial Stout review.
- Avery Hog Heaven review. (Barleywine)

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com - a Colorado beer blog.
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