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Washington State IPA Blind Competition


So, for fun I decided that I would compare 8 Washington state IPA’s in a single blind tasting to determine who has the best. Washington isn’t super known for great beer, but the Northwest speciality is the India Pale Ale. I bought all the beers, so I know what they are, but I had someone else randomly put them in bags, and I’ve never reviewed any of these beers before. I have tried at least one of them, but that was quite a long time ago, so I pretty much have never tried these. I did make a couple predictions before-hand. I thought that the 2 most widely available IPAs, Red Hook Long Hammer and Pyramid Thunderhead weren’t going to move on to the second round. And I believed that the Snoqualmie Wildcat and the Elysian The Immortal IPA were going to show well. Let’s see what happens.


Beer 1-2 Pairing


Right away we can see that beer 1 has a much thicker head and better lacing than the beer 2. Beer 1 is darker with more red than beer 2, beer 2 is much more yellow with more streams of carbonation.

Beer 1 has hops, but definitely not over the top with a lot of malts coming through on the nose, with a grainyness. Citrus comes through with banana and a slightly sweet honey aroma. Beer 2 is much different, again not a ton of hops. It’s got this really metallic, fishy scent that I really don’t like. Some caramel coming through, and again it’s slightly sweet, but not a very aromatic nose. Going back to the first beer, an apple aroma comes out strong.

Beer 1 has a pretty thin body, and not a lot of carbonation. Beer 2 is a tad thicker, but still pretty thin and has more carbonation.

Beer 1 is not very impressive. Really not that hoppy with the malts coming through a lot with a lot of apple, a little bit of citrus, and a touch of honey, but not much else. Pretty low bitterness, and a touch of apple on the backend. Really light and nothing special. Now beer 2 tastes sort of metallic, with lemons, apples, with an almost cinnamon spice on the mid-palate. The backend is also pretty low bitterness, but flavor really dies off.

The first beer is a little more bold, and I think I like it better, but I’m not super impressed with either one. Beer 1, 83 points. Beer 2, 81 points.

Beer 2 is Redhook Long Hammer.

So with that, it looks like the first part of my first prediction was true!
India Pale Ale. 6.5% ABV. 44 IBUs. Woodinville, Washington.

This beer is brewed with Alchemy, Cascade, and Willamette hops with Pale, Caramel, and Munich malts.


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  1. May 27, 2011 at 1:27 pm

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