Beer Review 0515: Terrapin Side Project Volume 20 — Dr. Krunkles White Farmhouse IPA

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Terrapin Beer Company (Athens, Georgia) have put out a new volume of their “Side Project” series, which are a group of beers that are limited release, tend to be on the experimental side, and come in bomber bottles. Some of these beers eventually make their way into Terrapin’s seasonal releases in 12 oz. bottles.

Volume 20 — Dr. Krunkles White Farmhouse IPA — combines the malt and spices of a Belgian Wit with the yeast of a Farmhouse Ale, and the hops of an American IPA. The character on the bottle, Dr. Krunkles, adds another twist of complexity by introducing white peppercorn into the brew and aging the concoction on white ash.

Coming in at 7.3% ABV (alcohol by volume), Side Project 20 is dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace hops, and features coriander, bitter orange peel, and sweet orange peel on the ingredient list. This beer was released in September 2013.

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Pouring produced a large, frothy, and pillowy bright white head that lasted atop perfectly golden beer. The liquid had a slight haze to it, but was still translucent and absent of particles and sediment. Lacing was fair, leaving behind just a few bits of fluffy foam; the head did regenerate nicely, even with only a couple of fingers of beer left in the glass.

Side Project 20 has a very interesting aroma to it; it’s complex, beginning with musty and earthen funk that collides with a solid layer of orange peel. There’s a bit of spiciness here but I don’t think I would attribute that to the white peppercorn — I think it’s more courtesy of the yeast. The malts are fairly straightforward with notes of wheat and grain. Hops check in with a big grassy hit, thanks to the Sorachi Ace dry-hopping. There’s also some coriander, and when all this combines it sort of reminds me of how regular Chapstick brand lip balm smells. It’s quite appealing and inviting.

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On the taste, we’ve got peppery orange peel all day long, mingled with an earthy funk. The funk level surprised me on this beer — while not tart our sour, it’s quite prominent in crispness. Middle of the taste brings out grassy hops and a bit of the white ash; there’s definitely a woodsy component in the flavor, but it’s light and provides a nice counterpart to the funk. The finish is really nice with lots of orange peel, all at once candied and bitter; residual crisp funk and coriander. Clicking your tongue to the roof of your mouth reveals wheat. The finish does bring on the full weight of the 7.3% alcohol. Dr. Krunkles is medium-bodied, with a thin, highly carbonated, foamy and gritty mouthfeel.

Without a doubt, this is the most interesting and best tasting Terrapin Side Project effort in quite a while. The only downers here are this does become a chore to drink after a few ounces because the alcohol is evident, and the carbonation is a bit high, leading one to feel full after half a glass. Still, the flavors and aroma here are complex and unexpected. They nailed this one if you’re comparing description to what is presented in the bottle.

Terrapin Side Project Volume 20 — Dr. Krunkles White Farmhouse IPA, 91 points. Price: $8.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

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