Boy do we have something special on deck this evening! About this time last year Starr Hill put a limited edition IPA 12 pack out with a base IIPA and three variants. We got to check it out and loved it. Those beers were The King of Hop Imperial IPA, King of Hop Lemon Lime, King of Hop Grapefruit and King of Hop Habanero. This year they’ve done it again but they’ve changed things up a bit. While the predominant king IIPA, King of Hop Imperial IPA is still in contention, there are three new variants – let’s check them out.
King of Hop Imperial IPA: So first, let’s reorient ourselves with the King of Hop Imperial IPA. This beer pours a dark golden, very clear, excellent moderate head that does linger and is easily agitated. On the nose I find citrus, pine and a dank catty note. On the tongue the citrus sweet notes prevail while the pine fades into the distance. This beer as a moderate body that coats the mouth well. 7.5% ABV – it’s not a beer to be taken lightly but can go down quickly if you’re not paying attention. Very, very nicely done.
King of Hop Orange Imperial IPA: Next up, let’s check out the Orange Imperial IPA. This beer has had orange zest added to the mix and boy does it show. The aroma is like planting your face in a bag of oranges. While I find many of the characteristics of King of Hop Imperial IPA in this beer, the orange zest provides a welcomed additional dimension. While the head doesn’t seem as prolific, you certainly can’t tell on the palate – very nice.
King of Hop Mango Habanero Imperial IPA: I’ll readily admit, of the four I was probably least excited about this one. Habanero just isn’t my thing but, we must keep an open mind, right? On the nose I immediately find the pepper – it reminds me of the red pepper shakers that you get with pizza. Aromas invoke memories and right now I’m at Pizza Hut. There is a sweetness there too. I want to attribute it to the mango but I’m just not sure. On the tongue I find the heat but it’s gentle, welcome, more spice than warmth. There I too find the mango as it intertwines with the spice. On the palate this beer, like the King of Hop Imperial IPA, coats the palate but what’s interesting is that the spice plants itself firmly at the rear of my palate and the sweetness in the front. I kind of regret not being excited about this beer, it’s great!
King of Hop Coffee Imperial IPA: Last one. It’s also the one I’m most excited about. I’ve had a few coffee IPAs and I’ve enjoyed each one, can’t wait to check this one out. Wow, the coffee notes are strong with this one. Whole coffee beans were used and it shows. The coffee aroma blends nicely with the citrus and pine notes from the hops – each standing alone but complimenting the other generously. On the palate the coffee presents itself first while an explosion of sweetness follows from the hops. This is a wonderful blend of roasted coffee flavors with the citrus, pine and dank notes of the IPA. What’s interesting is that of the three this one leaves the palate the most clean. There’s a slight bitterness remaining on the palate but the intensity of it’s three brothers is removed. While I may, admittedly, have set myself up for this, this is my favorite of the bunch….so much so that I hope I see this in a separate 6 pack at some point down the road.
Final Snobs: This is a fun 12 pack. One beer, four versions and all fresh ingredients. I’d highly suggest you seek this one out, grab a few friends and enjoy this one together. There’s certainly something for everyone in this 12 pack!