Laguna Mega IPA Tasting

I finally decided to post tastings of my own brews here. I post the commercial ones on BeerAdvocate.com now, but I can't post my own there, since nobody else in the world (except for a few dozen friends and associates) can taste them.

Laguna Mega IPA is a Lagunitas IPA clone from BYO's 150 Clones magazine/book. Except I doubled the hops at all stages. I did this as an extract brew, with DME. I also used leaf hops. Yeast was White Labs vial, with no starter. The name is kind of a pun on Laguna Seca, a famous race track in Cali (actually now it's Mazda Raceway or something), but it is all I could think of every time I hear the name "Lagunitas". The label has a background image of Laguna Seca. I grew to love Laguna Seca in Gran Turismo 2, and since I never got a later version of the game, that is still holding a soft spot in my heart..

If you look closely, you can see that this one was bottled a few months ago, on 4/20/07, but it is still tasting the same as it did in May. I am drinking it in my Javit Crystal Clipper Tankard (sounds fancy, doesn't it?). I got it from my Mom, she says it was from Newport in the '70s or something, and I like it because Mystic (where I live now) is all about boating. Plus a tankard is just more interesting than a pint glass.

Scores in each category are out of five. Overall is weighted average of all scores. Appearance is 20%, Smell is 20%, Taste is 40%, Mouthfeel is 10%, and Drinkability is 10%.

Appearance (4): Copper color, strong head, which lasts to the bottom of the glass. Not crystal clear, but fairly clear, especially considering I didn't use clarifying agents (e.g. Irish Moss) on this one. Beautifu color, and I impress myself with its clarity. And who doesn't love a good head?

Smell (2.5): Overwhelmingly fruity. Grapefruit, strawberry, and tangerine. This smells of citrusy American hops - BIG TIME. Really lacks balance from malt to counteract the hops.

Taste (2.5): Taste is again nothing but fruity hops. If I didn't KNOW (since I made it) that there was no fruit in it, I would INSIST that there was fruit in there. But there isn't. Just lots of Magnum and Cascade (and a few Willamette) hops in there. There is also a hops bitterness that is slightly grassy and earthy, which you can sometimes taste if you forget to notice the fruit. It almost tastes watery and extremely hoppy at the same time, which is an interesting combination. However, again, it lacks balance that it really needs. No alcohol or malty flavor to rein in that hop monstrosity. What do you expect when you double the hops, but nothing else?.

Mouthfeel (2.5): A bit too foamy in the mouth for what I'd think an IPA should have. Not that I don't like a foamy brew, but I believe it to be slightly out of style. Also the watery feel is not optimal.

Drinkability (3.5): I personally could drink this all night. It is not for everyone. The hopheads will like it. Those seeking balance may be disappointed. But the fruit flavor combines with bitterness to make a beer that I think is easy to drink.

Overall (2.9): I wish I could rate this higher, because I do like it, but it just isn't balanced like it should be. From what I've read, IBU above 70 (this is about 130) is not detectable by humans, so next time I make this, I'll probably scale up the malts to balance out the hops that are in there. Plus, I don't really use leaves any more - it's pellets for me... But if you live in CT and want to try it, I have about 3 left, so come and get it while you can!

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