It’s a Black IPA devised in a “next beer” consumer competition for Canada by winner Don Guimond from New Brunswick. The full name: Don’s Choice Black IPA With Coconut and Rhubarb.
(Acknowledgement: Beer et Seq entered the contest too, and, no surprise, I didn’t win! My recipe was simply, a double or Imperial stout made to 19th-century specifications, stored for a time in Memel or Baltic oak from Eastern Europe. As the idea is nestled in I & G records, we hope it will see light of day at some point).
We are on I&G’s distribution list for beer writers, publicists, and similar, and a bottle was sent our way.
It’s a delicious beer, and here is the point: whether you can taste coconut or rhubarb, which I could not, is neither here nor there. The point is, does the recipe make for an excellent beer? It does. It is malty-sweet, which I like, has notes of cocoa, and a New World hop accent that is more subtle than the sledgehammer which is the typical Black IPA.
Dialled down? Perhaps, but it tastes great – it all depends, after all, what you feel about the “baseline”.
To me the beer is rather like a good milk stout, or call it a late-19th-century mild ale if you like. It’s not really black in fact, but more a rich dark brown. Putting it another way, I’d guess good American porter, or brown stout if you will, was not dissimilar back in the day.
There is no “musty vanillin” tang from American oak aging or treatment, a plus in my view. The label doesn’t claim oak aging so I’d think none was used.
I’d like to try it on draft, one, in an English pint glass. Because it tastes traditional-British, finally, which is partly what makes it so good.