Beer Review 0130: Founders Centennial IPA

Today’s beer is another offering from Founders, and if you’ve been reading my reviews for a while, you’ll know that Founders makes some excellent beer, and I like most everything they do.

Brewed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Founders started by brewing some good but status-quo beers — when they about went bankrupt, a major change in philosophy happened, and the company started brewing beer they like, not what the masses like.

As is so often the case, success comes to those who follow their hearts. And it has come to Founders. I rated one of their beers, Breakfast Stout, a perfect 100 points; and their Imperial Stout scored almost as well, earning 98 points.

Centennial IPA is a year-round brew, dry-hopped with what we’re going to guess is Centennial hops, although it’s never specified. This IPA comes in at 7.2% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 65 on the IBU (International Bitterness Units) scale.

The pour issued a vibrant deep orange beer, topped with an average size head, frothy and soapy in texture, lasting in quality. This beer was quite hazy and had lots of small sediment particles floating in it — it does proudly state on the bottle that this beer is unfiltered (as are all Founders offerings). This IPA produced some awesome lacing, giving the glass a good coat all the way down. Two thumbs up for appearance.

I could capture the nose of this beer as soon as I poured it into a glass; right away, there were pungent hops present. Fruity, and perfume-like, the hop aroma here was unique mixed with the classic grapefruit and pine found in the majority of beers in this style. There’s also a nice malty sweetness, with some caramel. As the beer warmed, I noticed the pine note getting sharper, and a little bit of pear came to the front. Complex and nice, this surprised me.

And then things fall apart. The flavor was a huge letdown: I mainly got grapefruit with a small bit of pine, but the fruitiness present on the nose was nowhere to be found. The middle of the taste turned malty sweet, providing balance, before finishing on a fairly bitter note complete with mouth drying effect. Advertised as a finish that “never turns too bitter,” it turned more bitter than I was expecting, and more bitter than I think they’re talking about. The mouthfeel was fairly thin, too.

After the great aromatics and visuals, I was disappointed by the flavor, but I’m going to put this beer on my redux review list and give it a try again sometime soon. Perhaps this bottle is a little past its prime (bottled on 11/28/11) and I’m apt to give Founders the benefit of the doubt because they consistently make quality stuff. That being said, this beer still scored high; remember, it did get perfect scores in appearance and aromatics, and I could see this being an outstanding beer if very fresh.

I will return to this one and see…

Founders Centennial IPA, 88 points. Price: $1.99 US for one twelve ounce bottle.

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