Friday, April 5, 2013

Pale Ale – Black Husky Brewing

                I am slowly but surely working my way through Black Husky’s beer offerings.  From my first experience with Tim Eichinger’s brewing expertise in 12 Dog Imperial Stout through many of his more creative, category breaking offerings, Black Husky beers rarely disappoint and can be counted on time and again for an enjoyable experience.  With that in mind I knew that I shouldn’t have been too surprised that even in his Pale Ale, a mainstream style, there is that Black Husky twist.  Black Husky Pale Ale is a much bigger beer than the standard pale ale, coming in at 7.2% ABV rather than the 4.5-6.2% more common to the style.  Even the bitterness level is at the high end of the style and closer to the IPA (India Pale Ale) range.  Arguably this is more of an IPA of a different stripe, an Imperial Pale Ale.  By stats alone, this is an impressive beer. 

                For more information on my other Black Husky posts, check out my reviews on: 12 DogImperial Stout, Sproose Joose II IPA, Smoke Monster, Sparkly Eyes and Hefe Weisse.  On to the review:

                Over at Beeradvocate, Black Husky Pale Ale has a score of 89.  At ratebeer, it has a score of 78 overall and 72 for style.

They Say:

Black Husky Pale Ale, our flagship beer, is a beer worthy of THE Black Husky, Howler. Like Howler, our pale ale does not let others define its style, so while some say it’s an IPA we say, “whatever – just drink it already.” What it is is an excellent beer! With a straightforward grain bill and hop schedule it is dry-hopped with copious amounts of hops. Oh, and one more thing – DO NOT CELLAR; this is a hop forward beer and should be drank early and often. 

7.2% ABV
43 IBUs

From the Brewmaster

Grain – 2-row and Munich Malt
Hops – Simcoe

I Say:

                Black Husky Pale Ale pours a very clear amber with a thick creamy, brilliant white head that held excellent retention and left intricate lacing in the glass.  The aroma is defined by the hops with strong piney and grapefruit notes that accentuate slightly sweet, bready malts.  It is very crisp and clean, wafting off the top of the glass.

                The flavor, like the aroma has tons of hop flavor with fresh pine, grapefruit, and hints of orange up front with a solid malt backbone.  There is a sweet maltiness that lingers throughout followed by a slightly bitter, semi-dry, piney finish.  The aftertaste has plenty of piney hop notes and a clean, refined almost cereal graininess.  Black Husky Pale Ale is medium-full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation and a subtle alcohol warmth that lingers long after the last sip.

                This is an AMAZING beer that is more IPA or Imperial Pale Ale than a true American Pale Ale.  However, there is one lesson that you will quickly learn when you drink  any of Black Husky’s beers: Style is just a descriptive baseline.   Each of the beers that I have had from them has had a tweak that elevated it beyond the style, ensuring that it would stand out when compared to other beers of the style.

Many Pale Ales fall short in my opinion; too often, the hop aroma and flavor are subdued with the malts playing a more active role.  By hopping at the high end of the scale and bumping the ABV well outside of the Pale Ale range, Brewmaster Tim Eichinger has put forward a truly excellent beer!  Is it really, truly a Pale Ale?  Nope, but does it really have to be?  Beer should be about enjoyment rather than strict adherence to the style, and this is definitely an enjoyable beer.

If you enjoy excellent beer, Black Husky Pale Ale can be found by the bottle at Ray’s Liquors in Milwaukee or Three Cellars in Franklin.  It is also on tap at many of the high end craft beer bars around town.  If you aren’t fortunate enough to be in the Black Husky distribution area, drive out to Milwaukee and pick up whatever they have in stock!

                That’s all for today, have a great weekend!  Check back soon for another post!

                Happy Drinking!!

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