Beer Review 0363: New Belgium Rampant Imperial IPA

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New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, Colorado) has new year-round offering available for 2013, and it’s an Imperial IPA brewed with Centennial, Calypso, and the new Mosaic hop.

The beer is called Rampant, and it comes in at 8.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 85 IBUs (International Bitterness Units). Yesterday, we reviewed New Belgium’s single IPA, Ranger, and gave it 92 points. This brewery’s dabbling into the IPA is a relatively new thing; Ranger didn’t see release until 2010, and up until this year, New Belgium have never made an Imperial-strength IPA that wasn’t a special release.

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Rampant pours a small, soapy/meringue-like head, bright white atop a golden-amber colored beer. The body was clear, free of particles and sediment, but did have a slight hop haze. Lacing was very good, leaving solid thin and puffy sheets behind after each sip.

The nose features pungent tropical hops, lots of peach, and a touch of garlic, which mixes with a solid malt undercurrent of sweet caramel. There were minor notes of flowers and herbs, making this drink smell very pleasant and sunny. As it warmed, some fresh cut grass overtook the peaches.

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On the palate, there’s lots of juicy, ripe fruit up front; peaches, mango, and pineapple. There’s a bit of key lime pie that mixes with some herbal notes; the middle turns up the grass component in this beer, which becomes bigger as it warms. The malts are solid, with a sweet note of caramel being propped up by a dark pine bitterness. The finish is drying and on the upper end of moderately bitter. Medium-bodied, the mouthfeel is foamy when swirled around the tongue.

New Belgium impresses here — I found Rampant to be quite drinkable and enjoyed the nice level of bitterness it offered. While I tend to find Mosaic hops to be hit or miss on my palate, this one is a hit and is really the star of this beer. Color me pleasantly surprised, especially after reading other reviews that presented a disappointing picture.

New Belgium Rampant Imperial IPA, 90 points. Price: $9.49 US for a six pack.

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