Reviewed: 3 Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf
Official description: A massive IPA that will leave your palate its hapless victim. Scorched earth is our brewery policy. 100 IBUs, 9% ABV
3 Floyds Brewing Co. – 3 Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf – 16oz can served in Rastal Harmony glass – 9% ABV
It’s not often that I review three Imperial IPAs in a row, but I thought it would make for some impressive back-to-back comparisons. Pliny the Younger is a clear, West Coast example with modulated bitterness. Other Half’s All Galaxy Everything is a New England-style, oatmeal soup rendition. And Arctic Panzer Wolf is closer to an old-school, throwback DIPA. When it debuted in 2009, I originally thought it was meant to be a more modern DIPA compared to 3 Floyds Dreadnaught, which has been around since the late 90s/early 2000s. But if you try them side by side, it’s more like the opposite.
I’m sampling Arctic Panzer Wolf from a paper-wrapped 16oz can, which is a new format for this beer. Previously, special releases from 3 Floyds almost always came in 22oz bombers. (4-packs of 12oz bottles are now also available for Arctic Panzer Wolf as well.) On the bottom of the can is an easy-to-read packaging date. This can is from the end of December, making this beer about 6 weeks old at the time of review.
Into the glass, Arctic Panzer Wolf is a hazy, deep orange-gold color. It’s not an opaque, milky color like today’s hazy IPAs but simply translucent and slightly turbid. Yellowish, cream-colored foam rises up over the rim of the glass and sticks around almost indefinitely. There’s a glossy sheen to the head plus some impressive rocky topography.
In the nose, APW brings out potpourri, tangerine peel, and orange gummy slices. With the initial gulp, you get the immediate wallop of 100 IBUs. It’s insanely bitter but doesn’t go into the undrinkable/astringent category of flawed beers. Picking apart that bitterness, there’s Bergamot orange, Brazil nut, and Earl Grey tea flavors. The finish is unforgiving and comically long as the bitterness lingers for almost a minute. The upside is there is no sticky sweetness nor any hot alcohol. It’s one-dimensional but in the best way.
Perceived Specs for 3 Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf
If you’ve had 3 Floyds’ classic Double IPA, Dreadnaught, then Arctic Panzer Wolf will be quite the surprise. Arctic Panzer Wolf is aggressively bitter, masochistic even, and lives up to its description of “scorched earth” as it applies to your palate. Arctic Panzer Wolf is worth trying at least once just to calibrate your senses for what maxed out bitterness tastes like in a beer without going overboard to chemical/abrasive levels. It ends up being a fun beer and a great contrast to the ever-popular hazy DIPAs available today.
VERDICT: 82 pts (GOOD)
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