Sunday, October 9

Beer Review: Midnight Sun XXX Black Double IPA


"XXX Black Double IPA
8.5 % Alcohol By Volume
87 International Bittering Units (IBUs)

Originally brewed in 2009 to celebrate Specialty Imports’ 30th Anniversary, XXX Black Double IPA is now produced each winter. XXX offers bold, American hop character — comfortably cloaked in dark, luxurious malt. This exciting “winter warmer” will take the chill right out of your bones. Curl up with this session-beer-meets-nightcap.

Sometimes XXX just means 30.

In 2009, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Specialty Imports' specialty wine and beer import business, Midnight Sun Brewing Company brewed a very special beer--a black double IPA--to honor this Alaska company's long-term success. In 2010 this beer was added to MSBC's "seasonal double IPA" line-up.

Availability:
AK - 22-oz bottles and draft (JAN thru MAR)
WA, OR, CA - 22-oz bottles (JAN thru MAR)"


Well, it's 2011, and this is in the rotation of their usual seasonal Double IPA's.. though it may still be a few months old. I had to try it. Grabbed it at Vancouver's new NW Liquid Gold for $10.71 as well as the Hop Dog.. which is slightly steep, but about the same everywhere else. Who else in Vancouver even had it I ask myself. My SN Life & Limb I bought at the same time was only $9.99 and was corked and caged.

I won't get into the CDA/Black IPA argument.. because I feel it is unimportant. What I find to be more important is calling it a double. I don't think there should be a double or single type of the style because it is new. Doubles were unheard of because nobody really ever brewed stronger versions of their current styles. Whether a CDA/Black IPA is 5% ABV, or 14% ABV... it should just simply be that brewers version of a CDA/Black IPA. Period.

Appearance: (4.0)
- Rich dark brown brew.. can't see through it... heavily poured into a glass.. rendered about a finger and a half of light mocha colored bubbly foam. Settled to some creamy spotting like a nice porter. Big bubbles left about.

Smell: (4.5)
- Lovely roasty chocolate and bitter coffee touch.. perfectly sweet and grassy bitter with hops. Nice grainy malt, and plenty of bittering hop here.

Taste: (4.5)
- Yum. Perfectly solid and balanced brew. Taste is rather light actually, but melds so well. Chocolate grainy malt, bitter husky barley flare.. light coffee skunk, and grassy earthy bitter hops.. perfectly melded. This is a really good Black IPA.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- Creamy medium to heavy body.. though the flavor was certainly smooth and drinkable. Bitter dryness, and chewy. This is a light meal in a bottle. Carbonation is just right, and leaves a slight chalky finish as it should.

Overall: (4.5)
- A beer I would buy many more of if more available. On tap I am sure this beer would be bliss. It holds up to my favorite CDA's and has certainly found its spot at the top. Get it.

A / 4.43

(BeerAdvocate.com Rating Scale)

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