Monday, November 21, 2011

Third Voyage (Boston Brewing Co, Samuel Adams, Boston, MA)

Shimmering copper Double IPA with a thick, fluffy head and irregular bubbles.   Time to linger on the smell as the head takes time to recede--clean grapefruit punches up.  Side of the bottle lists Cascade hops from the UK and New Zealand with Simcoe hops from the US.  Third Voyage refers to Captain Cook's fatal but otherwise successful voyage by using ingredients from associated areas.  Very little malt, but a light caramel note with the citrus and floral hop.  Citrus and pine continues into the first sip through a moderate mouthfeel, but more robust that I would expect from the color.  The 8% alcohol suggests a fair amount of malt, which would explain the fuller mouthfeel. Smooth, oily taste that is lighter than I like, but pleasant.  Again, from the bottle, the malt bill lists Harrington, Metcalfe and Copeland pale malts, Caramalt and Honey malt. The effect is a full, sweet bready caramel and toffee base for the hops.   Of these, I'm only familiar with the later two malts, so not sure of the contribution.  As the beer warms up, the pine, resin and citrus really come out more.

The varied hop and malt bill lends the beer a complex but subtle flavor.  Not being over the top, this beer might suffer a bit with hop heads.  Hops are subdued by the body.   An elegant beer that's good, Third Voyage is well worth a try but I don't think I'll buy another bottle.  I would be interested in trying it on tap if it fell into my path.  Reading some of the BA reviews, I don't see much explanation for the lower ratings.  Lack of over the top hops and a clean balance may be the reason.  If the reviewer drank it too fast, some of the more interesting aspects of the beer may have been lost.  Or, maybe a little Sam Adams bias, and not giving enough respect to the big microbrewery.

I'm drinking the beer with the last Harry Potter playing in the background.  Paralleled death of Captain Cook and Harry, each who dies for the ultimate success of his path, is an interesting comparison.  A poetic stretch, even for me, I admit.  But, finding meaning in death and life is a desire as old as legend and time, a desire I have always pursued.

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