Two weeks ago, we looked at the perry ale from new brewers High Heel Brewing, which brews out of Brew Hub in Lakeland. It's a female-focused operation, with an aim to make craft beer approachable for a different sect of women. In addition to the pear-based hybrid ale, they also produce this beer from a more mainstream beer style: a straight-up American IPA.
Too Hop'd to Handle is labeled as an India Pale Ale though comes in at 8.4 percent alcohol by volume and a whopping 89 IBUs (international bittering units). This beer, at least according to Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines, would most likely be labeled differently than what it is, as the IPA category is generally found to have ABV ranges of 5.5 percent to 7.5 percent. The Double IPA category takes things above that range. It may be semantics, but it's appropriate for beers to be labeled for consumer expectation. Indeed, with the inclusion of Belgian candi sugar (a type of caramelized sugar that has been subject to the Maillard process), Too Hop'd is a very unique IPA that spans style categorization.
Hops are the forefront of most IPAs, and this version is blessed with no shortage of green leafy flowers: Columbus, Mosaic and Simcoe hop varieties along with a rotating seasonal variety that this time happens to be Citra. On the malt side, it's built with Munich and honey malt specialty grains and, as previously mentioned, has an addition of Belgian candi sugar to help increase the fermentability, which in turn creates more alcohol.
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It pours a deepish orange with hints toward red and comes with a powerful, off-white cap of foam. Aromas are sweet and syrupy, with a bit of cherry and strawberry; some light floral character is buried underneath. Flavors are resin-heavy up front, with a middle of malt sweetness that finishes with a rough lingering bitterness that tends to move between resinous sap and medicinal. Carbonation and mouthfeel are about appropriate for the style.
We were sent a sample of Too Hop'd to Handle and chose to review it.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger dedicated to educating the public about all things beer, with a focus on Florida brews. He is the Brand Marketing Manager for Due South Brewing Company and has been a homebrewer since 2009. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.