Podcast, Thursday November 8th 2012 — Great Lakes Brewery

Here is my interview with Peter Bulut, Troy Burch and Mike Lackey from Great Lakes. We talk about Great Lakes history, their 25th anniversary, their 25th anniversary Imperial Black IPA, Project X tonight (November 8th 2012, 6:30 PM) at WVRST Beerhall, and a variety of other topics that just happened to come up. Sorry about the crying baby during Peter’s talk about collaborations.  I have a baby. She cries sometimes.

Great Lakes Brewery Logo

Review of 25th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA

I’ll be discussing this beer on the podcast with the guys, but thought I would get a written review of it up now.  Plus I just wanted to drink it…..

25th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA — Great Lakes Brewery

25th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA — Great Lakes Brewery

From a 750ml bottle with the Anniversary themed label, Imperial Black IPA pours a solid opaque black.  Held to a bright light, there are traces of dark chestnut brown at the edges.  This beer is Black!  About 2.5″ of light tan rocky head slowly drops to about 1/2″ of dense foam that leaves, not so much lace, but a sweater on the inside of the glass.  Aroma is huge American piney hops, with big juicy white grapefruit.  There are charred malts in the nose too, a touch of chocolate and espresso, but you really have to look for them in the midst of all that hop aroma.  Taste is similar, big aggressive hops from the start of the taste to the linger, more pine and citrus peel, a little herbaceous.  While I’m betting the IBU is higher than I could count on ten people’s hands, there isn’t a huge bitter sensation, no doubt due to the huge volume of sweet malts, which still show a bit of chocolate and coffee. Finish is dry, with a lingering pine-like astringency.  Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a nice carbonation.  The beer is very smooth and silky, yet doesn’t get weighed down.  Considering this is a 9.5% abv beer, with more than 100 IBUs, it drinks disturbingly close to a session beer.  I’m not usually a huge fan of Black IPAs; I don’t mind them, but I’ve never had a jaw-drop reaction to one aside from Stone Escondidian Imperial BIPA.  But it just happened again.  This is one of the best BIPA’s I’ve had.  Right up there with the Stone offering.  Escondidian was much more malt forward and showing character from the yeast; Great Lakes (fitting their reputation) was much more focused on the hops.  I’m also not usually impressed by chucking a heap of hops into the boil and seeing what happens.  It’s clear Mike was intentional and careful in the creation of this beer.  The execution is incredible.

Well done, and happy anniversary.

Buy This Beer

Right now at the LCBO, and at the brewery retail store.  I assume, when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Drink It With

A loved one.  Yes, there are some food pairings that could work, but drink this alone.  It’s big enough to impress  you solo.  If you insist, Try it with a nice cut of Texas-style BBQ Brisket.  The huge bitter smokey beer will off-set the smokey sweet cut of beef.  Cheese is going to be tricky, and I’ll recommend either a big funky farmhouse cheddar, or a moderately salty blue, perhaps a smoked one.  Not much is going to keep up with the huge beer!

About The Brewery

Great Lakes Brewery LogoIndependently owned by the Bulut family, we produce our beer as it was done hundreds of years ago by using an open fire, copper brew house built in Germany in the early 1900’s.

Our small-batch brewing process allows us to carefully blend only the finest all natural ingredients to produce our award-winning beers. Our water, hops, malts and yeast are selected from local producers and those afar on the basis of but one criteria; quality.



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