Rampant Imperial IPA is out and on shelves and in tap lines everywhere (you know, in our distribution area). It is big and bold at 85 IBUs and 8.5% ABV. It is full of Calypso and Mosaic hops, both are relatively new and totally awesome. The beer is flat out good, like a '85 Camaro with a Hyper-Color paint job and a sweet Rampant IPA sticker right on the hood (my dream car). This beer is full of pop.
Back in 2010, when Ranger IPA first came out, we were worried about hoppy beers. We had never really made a hoppy pale, much less a full blown IPA. But we gave it a shot, and it turned out pretty good. The drinking public liked Ranger too, a lot. The hop blend was right, the malt backbone was present, and it seemed as if this Belgian style brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado could make an awesome hoppy beer.
And here it is, 2013, and we made an Imperial IPA. Rampant pours a bright copper, with a slight sheen of hoppiness. The head is bright, white and lingering. Mango and citrus jump off the nose with fresh cut grass and a certain pine-i-ness. There is a hint of something else in there too, maybe peach. The taste follows suit- stone fruits, citrus and a bold bitterness. The hops are supercharged here (just like that Camaro). There is some lemon peel in the brew, and that comes through, pairing well with the Centennial hops. The hoppy bitterness is upfront, ambitious and wonderful. There is malt in there as well. A mild sweetness that reminds us who made the beer. Rampant is medium bodied, dry, and warm from the alcohol. This beer is top notch. A super great IPA.
The other great thing about Rampant, and the hops in it, is the burp that comes with drinking it. This sounds a bit weird and gross, but it is totally true and awesome. To hop up Rampant our brewers use a technique known as dry hopping. When making a beer there are several stages, from raw malted barley, to the sweet barely tea known as wort being boiled, to pitching the yeast into post-boiled, chilled wort for fermentation. It is at this stage, the fermentation, when the beer is is becoming beer. It is also this stage in which dry hopping happens. Dry hopping imparts all of the flavor of the hops into the beer, but not all the bitterness. Which segues perfectly into the hop burp because when the beer hits the warmth of the inside of your body that is the warmest the hops have ever been. Your stomach is about 98.6º, and that stomach heat starts to volatilize all the oils and aromas from the hops. Beer is also carbonated. Mix the bubbles and the volatilized hop aromas and BOOM! you get a hop burp. Rampant hop burps run the gamut from mango to peach to grapefruit. It allows you to have a deeper understanding of the beer and the hops that go into it (as well as the necessary functions of the human body).
We also made a quick film to explain this wonderful happening take it in...
On that note, I'm out.
Until next time my friends,