Freak of Nature Double IPA by Wicked Weed
Review by Eric Tansey, CSW, Sommelier
The Freak of Nature is a hazy golden color with a solid, two-finger white head. Powerful tropical aromas of mango, pineapple, and white grapefruit. On the palate, the Freak of Nature is medium bodied with a much drier mouthfeel than the aromas lead you to believe.
Dry, tart beer with underripe mango and pineapple flavors leading the way. There is just a touch of ripe grapefruit thrown into the mix on the mid-palate that, believe it or not, actually cuts the tartness. The beer has a wonderful balance and completely masks the higher alcohol content.
The finish on this beer brings a hint of white bread-like yeast that really ties the brew together. Very fun and surprising beer. The nose says, “I’m cute and fruity” but on the palate, the beer says “I am nasty freak and ready to rage.” Very good stuff that I cannot wait to revisit. Cheers!
Tansey’s Blind Review – 94 Points
The Break Down
Beer Selection – Freak of Nature
Style – Double IPA, India Pale Ale, Hoppy and bitter
Producer – Wicked Weed Brewing Co.
Availability – Year round
Region – Asheville North Carolin
Hops – Centennial, Chinook, Columbus, Warrior, Amarillo, Simcoe
Yeast – California Ale Yeast
Alcohol – 8.5%
IBU – 100
History of IPA
IPA simply stands for India Pale Ale, and falls into the category of pale ales. The IPA style is considered by many to be rather bitter, and is certainly an acquired taste. The beer itself does not actually come from India but earned its name as a beer exported to India some 175 years ago, along with some porters and other ales.
The term IPA was actually first used in an advertisement for an Australian newspaper in 1829 referring to pale ales that were being exported to India from Middlesex England by the East India Trading Company. Some say that IPAs got their name because the hops acted like a preservative in the beer so that it could survive the long voyage to India.
This is only slightly true. Porters were transported to India without any problem and were transported in bulk. One brewery decided the market for porter was too saturated and so a young man, Mark Hodgson, decided to bring something new and different to the boys in India.
He wanted to send something lighter than the dark, bitter porter, and so he created a more refreshing and crisp style of pale ale that would not only survive the voyage, but get better along the way. He added dry hops to the finished pale ale beer in barrels, to preserve it and stabilize it during the long journey across rough and choppy seas. This lead to pale ales that were higher in acidity with more refreshing, citrusy qualities that are now referred to as IPAs.
What do IPAs taste like?
Hops can come from many different regions and countries, creating a very broad range of taste profiles in the beer, much like grapes do in wine. IPAs are considered to be bitter and slightly astringent with tangerine, grapefruit, and other citrus notes along with floral, honey, and caramel-like characteristics.
American IPA – Bigger in every aspect than its English counterpart, American IPA is typically made with American hops and is considerably more bitter, acidic and floral in nature. Higher in IBUs (International Bittering Units). Characteristics include: citrus, fruit, flowers, caramel, honey, and pine.
English IPA – More rounded or as I like to call it, “moderate”, in nature with fruitier, less astringent qualities. English IPA tends to be earthier, with more yeast, less acidity and medium level IBUs (International Bittering Units). Characteristics include: bread, biscuit, toffee, citrus, and forest floor-like characteristics.
Belgian IPA – Funky, sour fruit aromas that often leave the nose and mind reaching for more typical characteristics. On the palate the beers usually deliver caramel-like malts with heavy yeast, high bitterness levels, and higher alcohol content. Sweet and floral with a bit of yeasty and malty umph behind them.Eric Tansey, CSW, Sommelier
For an extremely Hoppy IPA try http://tanseyreviews.com/review/vehopciraptor-unknown-brewing-co/