Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ale Asylum Ballistic IPA Review

I got some new glassware from Victory in the mail recently and thought I'd use it to try out the latest IPA to cross my path, Madison, WI's, Ballistic IPA.  I've never heard of Ale Asylum but the word on the street is that they're putting a lot of product in Madison tap rooms these days.  Ballistic has been reviewed at Beer Advocate over 60 times, and that is since 2009. It's been out there for a while.   I received a sixer of it from a friend of mine and used my new Victory Hop Devil English style pint for evaluating it.  I love the way the top of the glass sharply curves out.  It has the coolest Hop Devil logo on it with the word "Victory" in gold block lettering.  The Hopdevil himself is pictured, and the word "Hopdevil" appears in red.  This glass is going to present many a beer nicely for me.  Anyway, on with the review.

You can often tell a lot by the bottle, and this bottle is hideous. It's green with the word "Ballistic" at a sloppy angle.  It's got the silhouette of a curvy model on the cover that looks like opening credits to a Bond movie.  Anyway, the logo made it hard to take this beer seriously.  They need to work that out.

As for the beer itself, it's a decent take on an IPA. Nothing special.  It reminded me of a buddy's home brew.  Maybe his second stab at an IPA after working out some of the kinks.  A small nose on it revealed a little grapefruit and a bit of caramel malt, which got stronger as the beer warmed.   The mouthfeel was moderate, similar to an Arcadia Hopmouth in that regard.  It actually has Hopmouth's color too, a dark brown amber hue.  This beer is even darker.  My first reaction was, wow, that's a dark IPA. I usually don't find that to be a good sign with IPA's that color. They tend to be overly malty.   This beer is not so, but flavor-wise it didn't take much of a stand.

It's a citrus-dominated IPA. There's not much pine in it.  But the citrus flavor isn't all that strong. I'd call it a standard issue grapefruit flavor.  In fact, I wonder if they used a beer kit. The carbonation is mild, it never bites that hard.  Neither do the hops.  There's a distinct grassiness in the finish.  It also has a "hole" in it, where the flavor briefly drops out and you taste a bit of water.  There's a bit of alcohol on the finish.

Ballistic is decent but unspectacular.  It's said to be Amarillo dry-hopped to achieve huge hop aromas but they're not there.  That could be an aging issue. I don't know how long it was on the shelf; I have no idea what their brewing cycle for it is.  I could see myself having it again if I'm in Madison at the brewery or someplace with a fresh keg on tap.  Capturing the hop aromas of this would improve the experience.  Plus, I wouldn't have to look at this fugly bottle ever again.

3.0 of 5 stars.

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