[EDITOR’s NOTE : Hey look! Ed’s finally remembered he should be doing beer reviews!]
I need to thank Gary over at Triple L for getting this beer into my hand. Well, not literally but he was definitely a source of inspiration. Back when he was formulating the beer that would eventually become his Seppuku Saison, he was insistent that he wanted it to showcase a hop variety that I had not had a lot of exposure to, the Japanese hop variety Sorachi Ace. I was aware of Brooklyn’s beer of the same name but to honest I don’t gravitate towards Brooklyn very often so I hadn’t tried it.
Well then came that fateful day when I decided to throw caution to the wind and a freshly tapped mug of Brooklyn’s Sorachi Ace was placed in front of me. And I was hooked. It’s been awhile since I’ve taken to something in the beer world as much as I have this hop. It has such a notably different aroma and flavor profile than the more commonly used hops, especially those in the three “C” family.
Ah, no. And wouldn’t that really be four “C”s anyway?
Better. Thank you. So when I saw DuClaw’s X-5, Sorachi Ace IPA, I had to give it a taste.
THEM: Sorachi ace IPA is part of DuClaw’s eXile series. A series of small batch beers brewed to be experimental in design and available only at their locations. The series has included such concoctions as an Imperial Wit, an Imperial Chocolate Rye Porter, and a Macchiato Milk Stout. X-5 started out as a small batch Imperial Rice Ale, , which used the rice to keep the flavor of the beer light so as to let the nuances of the sorachi to stand out in the beer. The beer was retooled for bottling early this year, dropping it down from its tap ABV of 7.2% to a more approachable 6.0%.
ME: X-5 pours clear, delivering a slightly thicker than lace head across the top of the beer. The head leaves a beautiful lace down the side of the glass as you take each sip, and the cascade of bubbles from the bottom of the glass was steady, and non-ending. Really, this is just a beautifully carbonated beer.
The aroma has some nice malt notes but also has everything you’d expect from sorachi ace, lemon peel, floral notes, and coconut husk(?). The taste is interesting, in that the front is very clean due to rice. The middle begins to bring in the flavors; a small touch of malt, lemony citrus and a taste I’ll talk about later. It finishes off with a light hop bite that lingers slightly, and leaves your mouth watering for the next sip. Which for me, was never to far away with this beer.
An interesting sensation I always get with sorachi is a sort of woodsiness in the aroma and taste. It always makes me think of a clean plank of wet wood. I don’t know where it comes from, but the vision always pops in my mind when I drink a beer with sorachi in it. And yes, I consider that a good experience.
Not only is X-5 another very solid beer from the folks over at DuClaw, but it solidly cements sorachi ace as my favorite current trend in brewing. I simply love this hop and can’t wait to try other brews that use it. Or hell, I just might stop by the bar and have another mug of Brooklyn. Thanks Gary!
Time for another beer.