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Mikkeller Warrior IPA
Written by Tom
Sometimes you have to take risks and hope for the best outcome. That was the case with this brew. I had not see or heard of this brewery before, but the selection of beers stocked at the store seemed interesting enough to compel me to buy one. I’ve been on a hop kick lately (and by that I mean studying and identifying various hops). Mikkeller (http://www.mikkeller.dk) is an interesting brewery that offers a good line of hoppy beers for all you hopheads out there. One thing that attracted me to their beers was that they brew a good number of IPAs that use only one hop. There is a Warrior, Amarillo, Tomahawk, Nugget, Simcoe, Cascade, single hopped IPA (not to mention a Stateside IPA that uses a blend of three hops). I thought that these beers would be good to try from an educational standpoint. They will give me a chance to understand each individual hop’s aroma and flavor. Thankfully, the grains bill for these beers is similar (pilsner, cara-crystal, and munich) allowing for easier comparison.
With that said, the brew poured a light caramel color with pale edges. There was some sediment at the bottom and also in my glass (not to worry though). The head was lively and formed a 2-3 finger head that left lace as I drank. The ABV comes in at 6.9% which gives the beer a little power, but yet plays a supporting roll.
The malts also join the supporting cast, but do so wonderfully. Rich caramel notes and bready pils malt lend good balance to the Warrior hop. It is a bitter beer no doubt. The aroma is very floral and pungent. From what I understand, Warrior is a newer bittering hop with a high alpha acid content of 15-20%. While there were some citrus qualities (pineapple) I think an herbal spiciness was more apparent. There was also a hint of honey. Preparing myself for a bitter barrage I took the first sip and found a sweet start followed by a delayed hop flavor. It hit me in the middle as spicy and bold then progressed to a piney finish that had a bite.
Interestingly, Warrior’s acids break down easier when boiled, so the hop notes finish clean without leaving a thick resinous feeling on the palate. You still get the bitterness, but I appreciated the lighter mouthfeel because the hop oils did not cling to my mouth.