Monday, 7 May 2012

Mikkeller In May
7. Mikkeller Sorachi Ace Single Hop IPA 6.9%

I've read quite a bit about the Sorachi Ace hop, and most of what I've read has included the words 'buttery' and 'lemon', so I was anticipating this when I opened this beer but my experience was a little different, well different-ish.
Sorachi Ace was developed in 1988 by Dr Yoshitada Mori for Sapporo Breweries Co. Ltd. in Japan and is a cross between the Brewers Gold and Saaz varieties. It is high in alpha acids and has a high yield potential although it is apparently no longer grown commercially.
It pours a dark amber / burnt orange with a creamy tan head. The aroma is something else. I have never had a beer that smells like this, or even close to this. A big, no huge, just-peeled mandarin orange aroma with lots of floral lemon and a little grapefruit means that this is one of those beers that I'd be happy just to sit and smell it for ages. In fact I did just that, finding jasmine, orange blossom and that butteriness in there too. I don't think I've ever written so much about the smell of a beer. It's incredibly smooth and light over the tongue with a little astringency and tartness. The flavour is mind-blowing. Mandarin orange, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit, touch of caramel, then, and only then a light butteriness emerges. It may be subtle but it's definitely there and it came in when I was least expecting it. Aftertastes are usually drying, malty, fruity, or finish abruptly. Buttery smooth with tropical fruit and zesty orange and lemon was new for me, but so so good. And what an aftertaste it is lasting a long, long time. The flavours just don't go, but a mild soapiness does creep in.
This is another incredible beer from Mikkeller, and I'd love to see this hop used a whole lot more but it's apparent unpredictability and scarcity could make this unlikely. Get this while you can.

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