Sud Savant: Mikkeller I Hardcore You – Remarkably Tasty

I enjoyed the description of this beer from the Brewdog Blog so much that I’m just going to quote it here,

“I Hardcore You is a 9.5% Imperial India Pale Ale, an international collaborative effort between 2 of Europe’s most rock ‘n roll brewers. This beer is a blend of BrewDog’s Hardcore IPA and Mikkeller’s I Beat You. After the blending, the beer was then dry hopped a further twice. Making I Hardcore You a beer which has been dry hopped four times, or maybe even six times. We kinda lost count.”

Oh, and from what I can tell, this was a one-time brew collaboration between the two that was originally brewed back in mid-2010, but recently enjoyed a resurgence in May of 2012. I appreciate Mikkeller more every time and drink it and while my experience with Brew Dog is limited, I haven’t been disappointed yet. Let’s pour!

Aroma 11/12: There’s a great citrus blend happening here and rushes out as soon as the cap is pried. At first the nose is sweet with honey, but in short time the citrus blend harmonizes with it and the results are splendid. The citrus fruits are pineapple, lemon, and some lesser mandarin oranges. There is a funk behind it all that comes across as a bit earthier than normal and some distant hop notes of grass and a little spice. The beer begins to warm a bit and that funk note from earlier has started to open into a full resiny blossom. It never overtakes the citrus/honey blend, but it is a concentrated, dark smell that hopefully translates into a big, hoppy flavor. Other aromas are hints of the alcohol and a toffee-like malt that blends so well with the sweet hops that it is difficult to nail down what exactly it smells like.

Appearance 2/3: This beer pours and sits in the glass the color of dark honey. It is an all-but-opaque cloudy glass full of orange-browns and rusty hues. The head was fairly long lasting, a nice almond color, and possessed a nice fluffy texture. While one can’t give it points for a range of color, it certainly looks ominous and give the impression that this IIPA means business.

Flavor 18/20: It definitely does not start out as sweet as the aroma, but with a lot of dry-hopping I suppose that’s to be expected. However, sweetness is still the first characteristic detected. It’s more of the toffee from the aroma, but with a bright citrus note immediately behind and trying to upstage it at every chance it gets. The toffee persists its way into the backbone of the beer and refuses to be tamed. The brown-sugary toffee has some competition from some orange zest, an early splash of pine, and some resin but nothing that threatens its crown. As the beer sits in the mouth the resin bitter becomes stronger as does an earthy note from the hops and both lead to a more complex finish. The beer washes down with a mixture of orange and caramel, but not without a strong earthy note and some pepper. The aftertaste is lingering earthy resin which trumps the alcohol by leaving the mouth watering and not dry.

Mouthfeel 5/5: Very smooth and extremely full-bodied, in true IIPA fashion this beer offers very little carbonation to play on the tongue. The alcohol is mostly camouflaged throughout the beer, becoming noticeable in only the aroma and the aftertaste. Feels like a big ol’ IIPA should.

Overall Impression 8/10: While this beer wasn’t as laden with hop flavor as I had imagined, the balance in it was impressive. This wasn’t a hop bomb, though it certainly is hoppy. It was more of a huge, balanced, IPA. The malts were definitely sweet and served their purpose, but I feel the hop FLAVORS (not their aroma nor their bitter) suffered in turn. In the same vein, while this beer balanced the malt and the hops well, it never really bothered to blend them except in the aroma. It’s more of a meeting of the “immovable object” and the “unstoppable force” instead of a cohesive blend between these two powerhouse flavors. That said, it’s still remarkably tasty and I’d easily like to have a few bottles on hand for a rainy day.

Total 44/50: I’m pretty sure I said in all in the “Overall Impression” section. This beer is big, tasty, hoppy, and sweet. The aroma is fantastic and seems to blend all the good things that are happening in this beer. Unfortunately, for the flavor, the blending is not as successful. It’s like two semis colliding in your mouth; the results are pretty kick ass, but I can’t help but wonder what this beer would’ve been like had the two powerhouses decided to work together. The aroma shows it can be done – those flavors go great together! Now it’s just a matter of getting these two great breweries to tweak the recipe ever so slightly before the next release of I Hardcore You. Right brewmasters? Next release? Eh? Hopefully we can all see this again in two years.

Joel R. Kolander is the Cheif Blogger for Sud Savant, a beer-savoring blog for the rest of us. We’re not here to get plowed. We’re not here because we are world-famous beer critics. We’re here because we enjoy savoring a great beer with even better friends. Sharing great beer is just as amazing as finding it in the first place. Lets share!