In honour of both Guy Fawkes day and the birthdays of their respective head brewers, Sawdust City Brewing and Better Bitters (Nickel Brook) have collaborated to bring out 11.05, a triple IPA named after both the date and the ABV. I was able to attend the launch at Bar Hop here in Toronto.
Hazy yellow-brown body with a thick off white head. Some carbonation which is surprising given the strength.
Extremely dank Simcoe laden nose with notes of under-ripe peach and fresh tropical fruit. Definitely new-school with little to no pine / citrus. No hint of booze on the nose.
Much like the nose, the palate is dominated by dank, almost chive-like notes. Mid palate is slightly sour with notes of green peach coming through again. Bitterness takes a back seat to hop notes. Almost no alcohol is present when cold and very little appears when warm. Malt is also near non-existent.
Definitely a great Imperial IPA of the new school. One might expect this to be a Pliny the Younger / RuinTen sort of situation, but 11.05 is definitely not going to blister your tongue with booze and bitterness. Following closely the model set by beers like Stone’s Enjoy By and Victory’s Dirt Wolf. This beer can definitely hold its own in this category (which is an admirable feat in and of itself), but doesn’t really pull ahead despite the unique ABV. In some ways, the strength almost distracts from the beers true asset: it’s vivid hop profile. I will definitely be looking to get some of the very few cans going into the Sawdust City retail store.
SCORE: 9.5 / 10