Sunday, March 11, 2012

Beer Review: The Maharaja

Reviewing the Maharaja from Avery Brewing Company.
Score: 90

Bottle code is "12038B6." Per Avery's bottle decoder, that means this beer was bottled on 02/07/12. Served in a Founders' tulip and enjoyed on 03/10/12.

Appearance: Pours a mahogany color that falls closer to the transparent side between transparent and translucent. One finger of off-white creamy head at pour quickly settles into a thin, splotchy layer atop the glass. Average lacing, above average retention. 4/5

Smell: Sweet citrus, barley malt and caramel. Bready malt, lemon, grapefruit, orange juice, and a mix of grassy and earthy hops present in the nose as well. A light alcohol aroma and modest floral notes too. 4/5

Taste: Lemon citrus and a ton of malted barley upfront. Quite a bitter malt bomb with a modest amount of booziness. Tastes more like a hoppy barleywine than an imperial IPA -- almost like a citrusier Bigfoot or a boozier Behemoth. Lots of caramel malt and biscuity/bready malt on the midpalate, in addition to sweet lemon grass and earthy hops. There is some orange rind and a light amount of grapefruit juice flavor present too. Decently balanced overall for a malt bomb, but it is definitely a sipper. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Oily mouthfeel. Bitter and malty finish. 4/5

Overall: This beer succeeds as a hoppy barleywine, but it is a bit of a boozy malt bomb from an imperial IPA. While this brew was maltier than anticipated fresh, I enjoyed it thoroughly once the "it's kind of like Dogfish Head 120 minute IPA" reality set in. I would certainly drink this one again, but I am not sure it would be my first choice if I was seeking out an IPA for the evening.

Recommendation: A bit aggressively flavored for casual beer drinkers, but beer geeks should enjoy this one thoroughly -- especially fans of hoppy barleywines like Three Floyds Behemoth.

Pairings: Avery's website recommends that you "try The Maharaja with some Shrimp Cocktail and you'll find that the intense, 'grapefruity' hop aroma is a perfect compliment."

Cost: $7.99 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

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