Ahhh, December 26. The day where many wake up, reopen their gifts, and search desperately for receipt. You mean you don’t have use for a floral printed Hawaiian shirt? You don’t need a Baltimore Ravens toaster? Oh… sorry about that. One gift that I won’t be returning this holiday season? Beer. This one today comes as gift from my big brother on the West Coast. Knee Deep Brewing Company’s Simtra triple IPA. Nearly impossible to get in New England, this brew was begging to be opened right away. We appeased the label and decided not to age it another day, but was it worth the lack of wait? Time to run them numbahs!
Appearance: Golden brown, but a bit darker than I expected. When compared to a Lagunitas or a Pliny, it is much darker… which rang malt bells as soon as it was poured. It was a little cloudy in the glass, but still translucent. Looks good.
Smell: Interestingly enough, the dominant smell of this triple IPA was not the hops. I actually got a lot of caramel sweetness from the head. A little pine and citrus in there, of course, but I was shocked to see the most dominant flavor out of a triple IPA was not the hops in there. It most likely goes back to the color of the beer with it having a bigger malt presence that gives off some sweet smells. Pretty intriguing.
Taste: The layers in this brew! Very distinct and very clear. Up front, you get a malty sweetness from the smell – cookie, biscuit, caramel all in the taste. Then it transitions into a lot of fruity citrus from the Citra hops. On the finish, you get a really piney, bitter taste. It targets the back sides of your tongue and does not let up until you take another sip. The Simcoe is the star of the show at the end of the brew. Shockingly, the 11.5% ABV was pretty well hidden. The assertiveness of the hops did a wonderful job masking any dominant alcohol taste, and gave the beer its really layered flavor.
Overall: I’m impressed by this triple IPA. I was expecting hop syrup, but it was much more complex that I thought it’d be. Great taste, however as expected, it would be tough to drink more than one of these in a sitting. Overall, I give the beer an A-. I liked it a lot, but bitterness overwhelming the finish was a bit off putting to me. A great grade from a great brew; people on the west coast might lobby that it is the best alternative to Pliny the Younger. This is one gift you can enjoy the day after Christmas.