New Belgium “Rampant”
This double IPA was just recently released, and it seems to be mirroring the also late release of New Belgium’s single IPA, “Ranger.” Both styles hit the market at a seemingly past-due moment, tailing behind the west coast trend. The beer opens up with a pleasant floral and citrus aroma without an over-abundant focus on grapefruit, but a dank grassy, spicy aspect instead. The hop bill features Mosaic, Calypso, and Centennial varieties, two of which I’ve never heard. Lemon peel is also added, which is peculiar because one would think that flavor could be established with the proper choice of hops! Their approach is one of modesty, withholding over-aggressive bitterness and in-your-face flavor. The palate is smooth and rounded off on the edges with a clean bite of citrus. A distinct spicy, floral, grassy hop flavor accents the assembly of fruit and citrus, bringing up more sourness than bitterness. I sense an attempt to reconcile the fruity and pine driven approaches to the style.
Dry biscuit malts rest assuringly below, adding a grainy coarseness, underscoring hop highlights. The addition of black malt lays on darker bread notes, adding a bit of complexity. Malt and hops join in a union of satisfying balance, but the final delivery is less than substantial, establishing superior drinkability but somehow failing to deliver on my expectations and desires for a big, bitter double. The moderated alcohol also has a positive affect on the ease in drinking. Still, I say up the flavor and up the alcohol! I’ll return to this one and re-evaluate how I feel, but at this moment I feel it’s worth trying but not too worthy of multiple purchases. Still, some will find it very agreeable, and perhaps that’s what they were going for…restraint and balance with an original hop flavor. I appreciate the heavier malt base, which keeps this beer from being too hoppy, but I feel the more hardcore hop heads will be disappointed.
Malts: Pale, Black
Hops: Mosaic, Calypso, Centennial
Fort Collins, Colorado/p>