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Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

June 11, 2009

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A Truly Heroic Beer

Anthony Says:


IMG_0888Home of 4 of the top 50 breweries in America, including Anheuser Busch and Coors, beer is big business in Colorado. In fact, I’m told that Colorado not only has the highest per capita beer production in the USA, but also ranks number one in terms of gross beer production. With these gaudy statistics, you’d think that there is little room for craft breweries amidst the macro giants of the Centennial State. Yet, considering that Colorado boasts a litany of micro-breweries and brewpubs (third most in the USA), you’d have thought dead wrong.


Hercules Double IPA, another creation of the outstanding Denver based Great Divide Brewery, is one of the many craft beers I purchased while out at a conference in the Mile High City. While I was planning on drinking it soon after purchasing, I must admit that I was slightly intimidated by this big, powerful beer. In fact, after three aborted attempts at consuming it, I decided to stash this bottle away in my checked luggage. While perhaps not quite ranking as Herculean, dragging this mighty beer all the way back to Toronto was well worth the effort.


Hercules Double IPA pours a surprisingly clear, dark amber orange, with a massive, dense cream-colored head that seems to have endless retention. The nose is highly aromatic and appetizing- an earthy, floral, slightly alpine blast of hops, backed by honey malt undertones with hints of spice and citrus. Frothy, rich and amazingly smooth, the mouthfeel is just incredible. The taste is equally as impressive; balanced by a rich candied malt base, hop flavors are assertive without being overly aggressive.


I was really quite amazed at how balanced Hercules is for such a powerful beer. At 10% ABV, I was expecting something either exceptionally hoppy or malty to offset the alcohol content. Yet, Hercules really embraces both while managing to provide a surprisingly clean, crisp aftertaste with hints of grapefruit and a light peppery spicyness.


This is really an exceptional brew. Hercules is not only a superior Double IPA, but in terms of beers that pack both a big punch and big flavor, it is just a step behind the best of the barley wines, Imperial stouts and Belgian trippels. Bravo Great Divide, this one of the better brews to come out of America’s unofficial beer state.

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Gatlin Says:


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Anthony’s gesture in bringing back this bomber from Denver really made my week. Big-Beer drinkers take note: you must try this one. As far as I know, it is only available In Toronto at Bar Volo.


Technical Rundown:

  • Container: 750 mL brown, glass bomber
  • Alcohol: 9.10% by volume, 7.28% by weight
  • Colour: 12 SRM
  • Bitterness: 85


The appearance of this beer is perfect for a big IPA: dark copper / orange, toffee, amber colour, beautiful off-white head with big-time lacing and retention. Head settles to a large, bubbly, soapy froth. Just gorgeous!


The smell is equally amazing. Floral and aromatic notes hit your nose head-on. Citrus scents are also quite prevalent. The malts come through as woody and oaky, mixed with a bit of vanilla and toffee. Bang-on!


The tastes here are the same as the smells. The bitterness is big and robust, but is perfectly balanced with a huge malty base. The alcohol is not present at all, making this beer extremely dangerous. Put the keys away when drinking this bad boy. You will want to sample another one and won’t be driving home. This beer is so drinkable it is ridiculous.

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Some Final Thoughts


Anthony Thinks:

Pros
  • Excellent balance between big, bitter earthy hops and biscuity honey malts
  • Masks a whopping 10% alcohol content- without leaving an overpowering aftertaste
  • Great frothy head with a full bodied mouthfeel- incredibly drinkable for a beer this strong

Cons

  • Liberal use of hops and malt perhaps leaves little room for other flavors
  • Alcohol increasingly noticeable as it warms (although at 10% that is to be expected)
  • Between the hefty price and potent alcohol content, this is a one-and-done kind of beer

f

A deserved 4½ stars. Although the booziness is impossible to hide entirely, Hercules is incredibly drinkable. Packing a wallop with taste to match, this is a big beer fitting of its namesake


Gatlin Thinks:

Pros:

  • One of the best of the best when it comes to Double/Imperial IPAs
  • Huge flavours and big time booze
  • Pure craft brewer style; this stuff is not made in a factory

Cons:

  • Pretty much just cost and availability

f

This is a very solid 4½ star IPA. It’s big, bold and well crafted. Great flavors, appearance and mouthfeel make this a super drinkable beer- even at 10% abv.  A perfect pickup for the seasoned beer drinker looking for a beer to brag about


So, What’s On Your Mind?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. ddmulholland permalink
    July 28, 2009 10:21 pm

    I have to check this one out! Sounds great!

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