The freefall of Scotch Irish IPA

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Jon Walker
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The freefall of Scotch Irish IPA

Postby Jon Walker » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:02 pm

I picked up a six the other day with the intention of doing a side by side tasting of this, the Liberty and the ST IPA. Recent discussions compelled me to do a comparison.

First up, the SI IPA. What the hell? This is batch FO48 (or is that FOV8..hard to read the chicken scrawl on the box lid). Almost no discernable hop nose was an early warning sign that something was amiss. The aroma used to burst out of the bottle. Colour is a light golden with very little head that disappears quite quickly leaving only the faintest trace. The taste...thin, ever so slight hop flavour but nothing identifiable. Pleasant finish that lingers slightly...but at best (if I didn't know what it was supposed to be) I'd classify this as a pale ale (not really even an APA). I'm not sure I can even do the comparison now...this is just so far off the mark from what I remember SI IPA being in its heyday.

Please, other thoughts and tastings of this batch would be appreciated. Were my tastebuds out of whack tonight or is this a "pale" comparison of what this beer used to be?
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Re: The freefall of Scotch Irish IPA

Postby tuqueboy » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:17 pm

Jon Walker wrote:I picked up a six the other day with the intention of doing a side by side tasting of this, the Liberty and the ST IPA. Recent discussions compelled me to do a comparison.

First up, the SI IPA. What the hell? This is batch FO48 (or is that FOV8..hard to read the chicken scrawl on the box lid). Almost no discernable hop nose was an early warning sign that something was amiss. The aroma used to burst out of the bottle. Colour is a light golden with very little head that disappears quite quickly leaving only the faintest trace. The taste...thin, ever so slight hop flavour but nothing identifiable. Pleasant finish that lingers slightly...but at best (if I didn't know what it was supposed to be) I'd classify this as a pale ale (not really even an APA). I'm not sure I can even do the comparison now...this is just so far off the mark from what I remember SI IPA being in its heyday.

Please, other thoughts and tastings of this batch would be appreciated. Were my tastebuds out of whack tonight or is this a "pale" comparison of what this beer used to be?


haven't had that batch, but could it be a freshness issue? i've found the Scotch-Irish stuff not to have a huge shelf life. From the code you mentioned, it sounds like this is an early June bottling.
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Re: The freefall of Scotch Irish IPA

Postby Jon Walker » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:21 pm

tuqueboy wrote:haven't had that batch, but could it be a freshness issue? i've found the Scotch-Irish stuff not to have a huge shelf life. From the code you mentioned, it sounds like this is an early June bottling.


Shouldn't an early June batch bought in early July be pretty much as fresh as you can expect to get? Hell, even if they bottled it on June 1st and it shipped and found it's way to the Cooper Street shelves where I bought it on July 7th can it really have nosedived so precipitously? Surely not. AND these are dark brown stubby bottles in a sealed case. No chance of light tainting them...what did the LCBO do, microwave the buggers?

No I maintain that the beer has been on a downward roller coaster of style (rather than quality...this beer is reasonably tasty, just not an IPA) ever since Heritage bought it out (some may argue it started earlier than that). It's been all over the map and probably one of the most inconsistent local beers I've had EVER. It seems to my palette to never be the same beer from one batch to the next. A chameleon beer if ever there was one. Either there's a brewing issue here (again, in terms of maintaining style not quality) or Heritage just can't make up their minds what beer they want this to be.

I miss you Perry.
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Postby JesseM » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:38 pm

I had this same experience back in April. I was all excited to have a sixer of SI IPA again, only to be let down by the contents (severly). The malt body I fell in love with was a decaying old man of it's former self, and the hops were certainly not anywhere near the ideal 60 IBU's, not that I have some sort of IBU meter in my brain, the hops just seemed muted and dumbed down. There were significant "flotaties" as well. It tasted ok, but had a weird sour tang to it. I figured I got a sixer that was past its prime, which I still believe, but this new information from you Jon only adds to my suspicion that this formerly great beer is taking a dive :( .
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Postby JesseM » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:40 pm

I never found freshness to be a big deal with this beer before. The first sixer I ever had, I drank one or two bottles of, then stuck the rest away and forgot about them for maybe 2 months, give or take a few days. The remaining 4 were completely fine, and quite delicious I might add. Nothing at all like the slightly 'expired' bottles I had this past April.
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Postby Jon Walker » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:44 pm

I just had a ST IPA and it was as if my tongue said to me "ah...hello hops. There you are!"
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Re: The freefall of Scotch Irish IPA

Postby tuqueboy » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:45 pm

Jon Walker wrote:
Shouldn't an early June batch bought in early July be pretty much as fresh as you can expect to get? ......

No I maintain that the beer has been on a downward roller coaster of style (rather than quality...this beer is reasonably tasty, just not an IPA) ever since Heritage bought it out (some may argue it started earlier than that). It's been all over the map and probably one of the most inconsistent local beers I've had EVER.



When Perry was delivering it, I'd honestly see stuff on the shelves that was about 1-2 weeks old. If it's more than a month old and/or isn't in a fridge, I usually give it a pass.
As far as the sliding style issue goes, I guess that's a judgement call. Playing devil's advocate, is it possible your tastebuds are changing and what once seemed boldly-hoppy now seems only meh?
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Postby Bytowner » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:55 pm

I'm an admitted SM fan boy, but I also just had a rotten experience with it this Canada Day. THIN is the only word to describe my experience. Soooo thin. And a nasty metallic taste. However, I had a sixer in... december I believe, and that was the SM I remembered and loved. I'd like to believe it's a freshness issue... or at least major consistency problems.

... still think the ST is shite though. ;)
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Re: The freefall of Scotch Irish IPA

Postby Jon Walker » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:56 pm

tuqueboy wrote:As far as the sliding style issue goes, I guess that's a judgement call. Playing devil's advocate, is it possible your tastebuds are changing and what once seemed boldly-hoppy now seems only meh?


Well...if I were a newbie to the style there might be more creedence to that. However I lived on the West Coast for nearly a decade before coming here. While there I not so subtly bombarded my palette with a ridiculous amount of hops before scaling back to craving beers with better balance. I tasted one of the very first batches of SI IPA and after close to two years of depending on border runs and lucky trades to fix my hop craving I thought I'd finally found a local option. The first few batches of the bottled SI IPA were exceptional, those who remember it would likely agree. While I have aged in the years since I honestly don't think I've lost my ability to evaluate a beer on it's relative merits at each tasting.

Simply put this bottle was not what I expected it to be...and this isn't the first time. Many people here have noted wild fluctuations in the beer's colour, hop balance, malt profile, flavour...so I stand by what I wrote.
I don't always piss in a bottle but when I do...I prefer to call it Dos Equis.
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Postby toweringpine » Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:59 pm

I had never tried SI IPA until I started reading Bar Towel a few months ago. I did recently and couldn't see why anyone would think it holds a candle to any of the great hoppy beers out there. I guess I was too late to try it when it was at its best. I am glad that the infamous Perry has a new project in the works. I am keen to try something from him.
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Postby tuqueboy » Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:02 pm

toweringpine wrote: I am glad that the infamous Perry has a new project in the works. I am keen to try something from him.


um, don't know where you got that from. last i heard he was selling cars.
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Postby JesseM » Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:10 pm

tuqueboy wrote:
toweringpine wrote: I am glad that the infamous Perry has a new project in the works. I am keen to try something from him.


um, don't know where you got that from. last i heard he was selling cars.


It's a front for his heroin trafficking business, which he's using the wealth gained from to start up his own new brewery, which will open 'when the time is right' and the world is ready. Hmm, now that I think about it, seems like he added a whole extra middle step to this process that doesn't seem entirely necessary :-? ............................
Last edited by JesseM on Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby toweringpine » Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:20 pm

http://www.bartowel.com/board/viewtopic ... highlight=


i'm sorry I am not great with posting links etc but I read on Bar Towel on the C'est What festival of small breweries thread that he will be heading up the 'Howling Wolf Brewery' before long. I hope it works out well as we can all use more good brewers trying to make the world a better place.
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Postby tuqueboy » Wed Jul 09, 2008 8:28 pm

toweringpine wrote:http://www.bartowel.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=3732&highlight=


i'm sorry I am not great with posting links etc but I read on Bar Towel on the C'est What festival of small breweries thread that he will be heading up the 'Howling Wolf Brewery' before long. I hope it works out well as we can all use more good brewers trying to make the world a better place.


yeah, i saw that thread too, and just assumed that it was kinda tongue in cheek. but who knows.
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Postby The_Jester » Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:14 pm

JesseM wrote: . . . It's a front for his heroine trafficking business . . .


Wow. I'd sure love to get a heroine. I wonder if Joan of Arc is still available. I hear she was really hot!
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