Avery “Twenty One”
Twenty One is a limited-release “imperial brown IPA” brewed to commemorate Avery’s 21st Anniversary (bottled May 2014). Aromas give off malty notes of toasted nuts and burnt sugar. The dark roast gives impressions of coffee and milk chocolate. Hops add a weak, earthy-evergreen quality, as well as highlights of citrus zest.
Much like the nose, the palate makes its introduction with a brown sugar sweetness – that classic Brown Ale flavor, giving rise to flavors of sugar cookie and toffee sweetness. As the malt roast expands, bittersweet chocolate push deeper into cocoa powder with grainy details that resemble toasted bread crust and roasted walnuts. Flavors of coffee collide with hoppy notes of ripe fruit and citrus peel. The finish is rounded out by a touch of earthy-spice, then grassy flavors take control, followed later by an evergreen aftertaste. The mouthfeel is generally smooth with a medium-full, somewhat coarse body that delivers understated carbonation, then grows slightly dry as hops take hold. I can’t necessarily taste the alcohol, but I can certainly feel its weight.
Overall, I find the hops to be a little heavy-handed, so bitterness takes the lead over sweet malts, resulting in a lack of equal balance. It has some of the malt character of brown ale, combined with some of the more roasted qualities of a porter, plus the hop load of an Imperial IPA. I wouldn’t quite call it an Imperial Black IPA, so I think Avery is correct in proclaiming it an “Imperial India-style Brown Ale.” Although this didn’t quite live up to my expectations, I still think it’s a tasty, interesting fusion that captures the distinct nature of the brewery. If you’re a fan of their work, and you see a bottle lingering around, it’s worth checking out. I recommend it.
Malts: Two-row barley, Chocolate malt, Caramel 120, Honey Malt
Hops: Amarillo, Simcoe, Chinook, Columbus
$7.33 / 22 oz.