Style: Imperial Amber
Although the bottle claims this as an Imperial Amber, the color is nice and coppery, even slightly lighter than the Three Floyds Alpha King Pale Ale. Nice combination of hops and malt in the nose, and this is matched equally well in the taste. I like the fact that this “Imperial” beer is 7.5% alcohol – very restrained, and it shows in the overall balance. The caramel malt remind me of the Arrogant Bastard, but that has slightly higher caramel. (There are different grades of caramel – I believe 20, 40, 60 and 80. They are increasingly roasted and produce a darker, more robust caramel flavor the higher you get. I discovered this by adding too much caramel 60 to a batch I made once.) The hop profile is also restrained – nice and piney, but not over the top (“treacly,” as my friend Paul would say) like some beers (ahem, Green Flash West Coast IPA). Not sure if I’ll be able to find this again, but I could see myself being in the mood for this every now and then.
While I’m thinking about it, why not make official categories for Imperial beers? Put session beers in the 0.00% to 3.5% range, beer in the 4.0% to 5.5% range, Imperials in the 6.0% to 8.0% range and then create a double Imperial category for anything 9% or higher. There’s got to be a way to wrangle this overexuberance for ABV. When I am king, so shall it be.
Check out Drew’s reviews of Japanese beers: