5 Comments

  1. Eric Jones
    April 7, 2018 @ 10:52 am

    Thanks for detailed response. Yes, that clears it up. Cheers!

    Reply

  2. Eric Jones
    April 7, 2018 @ 9:19 am

    Why would The Alchemist call their Beelzebub an Ameican Imperial Stout vs a Black IPA then? good reivew.

    Reply

    • GT Wharton
      April 7, 2018 @ 10:47 am

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks for the comment. First of all, a brewery may call a beer any style they wish. Usually, professional breweries hit the styles right on the head. For newer breweries, many times they miss style guidelines completely or ignore them on purpose. This is all fine and dandy, but consumers may be misled. If a consumer sees IPA on a beer and pours it out of the glass and it is black, that is not going to go over well. Indeed, many IPAs from ten years ago would be categorized today as something like Red IPA due to excessive use of specialty malts. Ten years ago, there was not enough saturation in craft beer to warrant ten different sub-styles of IPA. But times have changed.

      Now, let’s take a look at Storm King. Storm King debuted long before the craft beer boom. There was no reason at all to call this anything other than an imperial stout. However, it is kettle hopped and dry-hopped like an IPA. Today, this beer would be called and marketed as an Imperial Black IPA. Indeed, if Storm King was entered into a BJCP competition in the American Stout or Imperial Stout category, I personally would disqualify it because we now have more categories like Black IPA that fit this recipe. Rewind ten years ago, and Storm King would have been entered into Imperial Stout because Black IPA as a term had not been coined yet, and even if it had, there were not enough of them to warrant a separate style category.

      As for this review, what I want to make very clear to anyone who has not had Storm King before is that this is much closer to Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous than it is to North Coast Old Rasputin or Great Divide Yeti. Storm King hasn’t updated the style on this beer as it is already nicely established. If they were to change the name to Storm King Imperial Black IPA, then consumers would believe that the old Storm King was discontinued and that a new version has taken its place. No one wants that. And so it remains marketed as Imperial Stout.

      Regarding The Alchemist Beelzebub, I had this beer in Vermont and commented that in every way this is an Imperial Black IPA. Doesn’t matter what the brewery wants to call it, that’s what style it would need to go into for an official competition in my opinion. Breweries, again, can call a beer anything they desire. For the purposes of competitions, it doesn’t work that way as beers need to follow guidelines. It’s also my personal opinion that if you want consumers to continue buying your products, you need to label beers as accurately as possible style-wise. The Alchemist, in this sense, is taking American Stout to mean something that is very modern as it has been dry-hopped to hell with newer hop varietals much in the same way that Modern Times would call Blazing World an American Amber Ale even though it is just an IPA. It does not fit the guidelines, in my opinion, of what BJCP outlines for these styles. That is their own prerogative, but you have to be kidding yourself if you say, “This is not a Black IPA because the brewery told me that it is not.”

      I hope that clarifies things.

      Reply

  3. NCCraftbeer
    December 26, 2017 @ 2:02 pm

    Why do you call this a Black IPA. It’s an Imperial Stout. By recipe and the brewery?

    Reply

    • GT Wharton
      December 26, 2017 @ 2:31 pm

      Have you tried the beer before? Not being facetious, but this beer has been called an imperial stout since 1998 when there was no such thing as “Black IPA.” It makes it abundantly clear in the official description and I make it abundantly clear in my review that this imperial stout has incredibly assertive whole flower Pacific Northwest new-age, American hops varietals seeping out of it in every direction from the aroma to the flavor to the palate. This is not a regular imperial stout and any other brewery making this recipe today would call it an imperial Black IPA because that is what it is.

      GT

      Reply

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