Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews


Sprecher Brewing Co.
Glendale, WI

Style: Imperial/Double IPA

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Drinkable, but flawed)

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It seems a lot of German-oriented brewers have trouble when it comes to producing hoppy beers. As you know (or should), the German school of thought on hops is: form follows function. To most German brewers, hops are a beer stabilizer and preservative, not a major flavoring agent. And although the highly hopped style of IPA originally came about because of such form following function, today it has no practical application, other than to give hopheads the bitter fix they so desperately need.

And then the American craft brewer took this “screw the function, check out this form, Fritz” mantra to another level by inventing the “imperial” version of the style, an IPA on steroids, basically. Or, as Sprecher Brewing puts it, an IPA².

Their take sits in the glass an opaque rusty red with half a finger’s head. Right away I catch some hoppiness in the aroma, and after a closer whiff it is a touch of resiny grafefruit, quickly buried underneath a gust of heady malt. The body is not all that big for its imperial moniker, and super soft in mouth. And now, the taste … This is not an imperial IPA. This is not an IPA. This is not even a moderately hoppy pale ale. The beer has an extremly light hop profile which is completely swallowed up by thick malt sweetness and a wave of alcoholic heat. In short: Sprecher’s IPA² is an extremely unbalanced beer. Way too much malt and not nearly enough hoppiness to even things out.

Frankly, this is a poor entry from Sprecher. Not undrinkable—in fact, if you cellar this for about six months and serve it around 50°, it’d make a fairly decent old ale—but it has no business marketing itself as a big IPA. Disappointing to say the least.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on September 11, 2007.
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