Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Apocalypse Cow – 3 Floyds

                My most recent beer was Apocalypse Cow from Three Floyds Brewing in Munster, IN.  3 Floyds is probably better known for their Dark Lord Imperial Stout, a special release beer that is only released one day out of the year, Dark Lord Day.  As good as Dark Lord may be; 3 Floyds has 19 other beers that are quite a bit more accessible; 8 year-round and 11 seasonal beers.  So, not being able to make it to the Dark Lord Day celebration is no excuse for not trying one of the many beers from 3 Floyds.

                Personally, I didn’t know much about 3 Floyds prior to reading the interview with Nick Floyd in Greg Koch’s book, “The Brewer’s Apprentice”.  Sure I had tried their beers and knew that they existed somewhere down in Indiana, but other than that my knowledge of the brewery was limited to Dark Lord Day, an event that I have never been to.  Heck, for the longest time I didn’t realize that they were located in Munster, IN just across the border from Chicago.  Anyways, enough rambling on my part, on to a background on 3 Floyds then a review of Apocalypse Cow.

                Three Floyds was founded in 1996 by two brothers, Nick and Simon, and their father Mike Floyd (see what they did there).  Originally based out of a warehouse in Hammond, IN the brothers built a 5 barrel brew house with repurposed Swiss cheese tanks used as fermentation vessels.  Through the wonders of open fermentation, the 3 Floyds produced full flavored, intense beers.  Open fermentation is great when it works, but it’s not nearly as consistent as a closed fermenter.  So, in 2000, after four years of impressive growth Three Floyds moved to a larger, 15 barrel brewhouse in Munster Indiana with three brand new, closed, temperature controlled, 30 barrel fermentation vessels. Then in 2002 they purchased a reconditioned Italian bottling line and released 12 and 22oz bottles in house (they had previously contract brewed the beer they distributed in bottles).

                More recently Three Floyds upgraded to a 35 barrel brewhouse, brought in a new bottling line, and greatly increased the number of fermentation and conditioning vessels in house, enabling future growth. I know above I had indicated that you would still be able to try Three Floyd’s brews if you weren’t able to make it to Dark Lord Day, but unfortunately being a fairly small brewery with an unbelievable following, Three Floyds currently only distributes to Wisconsin, Ohio, Chicago and of course their home state of Indiana. Then again, there are plenty of other ways to find a bottle of one of their beers if you know where to look. Although, if you have the option available to you, be sure to stop by the Three Floyds Brew Pub for a beer or two.

                On to the review! At Beeradvocate Apocalypse Cow currently has a 93. Over at ratebeer it has a 99 overall and a 97 for style. Very high ranks at both sites, this should be an excellent beer.

They say:

                This complex double India pale ale has an intense citrus and floral hop aroma balanced by a velvety malt body which has been augmented with lactose milk sugar. With this different take on an IPA we have brewed an ale that is both pleasing to drink and, once again, “not normal.” Cheers! June release.

                11% ABV
                100 IBUs

I say:

                Apocalypse Cow pours golden with a nice, creamy white head that holds excellent retention.  The aroma is dominated by pine, with hints of citrus throughout and slight floral and earthy notes.  The orange became more prominent as it warmed, overpowering the pine.  However, the floral and earthy notes remained.  This beer had an amazing aroma, and my wife who is usually not an IPA fan loved it (the aroma that is).

                The flavor started sweet and orangey, and it was extremely smooth with plenty of floral hop flavors throughout.  Cold, right after the poor it finished moderately bitter, but the bitterness smoothed out and the beer took on a more rounded, malty finish as it warmed.  The smoothness is most likely a byproduct of the addition of lactose, an additive utilized to make beers seem creamier (think milk stout vs. dry stout; Left Hand Milk Stout or Sam Adams Cream Stout vs. Guinness).  The addition of lactose will help to make it a beer sweeter and creamier.

                Apocalypse Cow is a great beer and was the June release so I am a little late on getting this out.  Good news though, it is still available in some liquor stores and will be back in stores again in 9 months!

                That’s all for today, check back soon for my next post!!

                Happy Drinking!!

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