Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental IPA Review

Deschutes Brewery is the number 6 craft brewery, by sales volume, in America (as of 20008 and 2009) and they continue to produce excellent products such as Hop Henge Experimental IPA. Hop Henge is part of Deschutes Bond Street Series, which features hop-forward beer that are inspired by the original Deschutes Brewery & Public House on Bond Street in downtown Bend, OR.

This beer almost seems like a hybrid between and American amber ale and an American double IPA. It is very hoppy with a smooth biscuity sweetness to it. Deschutes describes Hops Henge as follows:

First brewed in 2006, Deschutes Brewery’s Hop Henge Experimental IPA reappears this year with more extreme hop flavors than ever before. The new formulation is the epitome of the brewery’s experimental style and commitment to innovation, while gratifying their unquenchable thirst for beautifully balanced hoppy beers. The newest incarnation of Hop Henge uses several new hop processes and techniques to create a truly unique and unexpected beer.

Where I Found It. BevMo in Sacramento, CA.

Review Date. July 11, 2009

Serving Type. 22 0z. bottle

Appearance. Hop Henge has a crystal clear but bold red-amber color and you can see the bubbles rising to the top. It has a tan head that started off with loosely coupled bubbles but after that subsided the head was tighter, creamy, and long lasting. After drinking half the beer, there is still have about 3mm of head.

Smell. The aroma of this beer is slightly bready aroma with much stronger notes of biscuity malt coupled with a roasted quality. The hop bouquet is earthy, spicy, and a little floral with pine and maybe some cedar. Since this is made with Cascade and Centennial hops, I was expecting a little more citrus and more in-your-face hops smell. However, my bottle was about 3 months old.

Taste. Hop Henge has both spicy and smooth bitterness from the hops. Although this beer has 95 IBUs, it does not seem overly bitter. It has a nice noticeable bite but is not overwhelming. The biscuit aroma follows through in the flavor with malty sweetness that you taste up front followed by that wonderful hop flavor. The sweetness of the malt buffers the 95 IBUs of bitterness. This is an 8.75% abv beer and sometimes you can taste the alcohol astringency and sometimes you cannot.

Mouthfeel. The beer is nicely carbonated with small bubbles giving is a more creamy nature. It is a full-medium bodied beer with a hop spiciness. The spiciness is not burning like a chili pepper but the spiciness is more that of black pepper or ginger, with out the flavor of those of course.

Drinkability. It’s summertime and I’ve been craving a lot of IPA beer discovering it to be more refreshing in hot weather than I previously expected. This beer is a little sweeter than some of those other quenching IPAs that I had. That and the high alcohol content makes this not a session beer. It is so delicious however that you do want your entire 22 oz. bottle to yourself.

Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score.

  • Appearance (20%): 4.5
  • Smell (20%): 4.0
  • Taste (40%): 4.0
  • Mouthfeel (10%): 4.0
  • Drinkability (10%): 3.5
  • Overall: 4.05

Information

  • Style: Double IPA
  • Brewery: Deschutes Brewery
  • Alcohol by volume: 8.75%
  • Bitterness: 95 IBU
  • Hops: Centennial, Cascade
  • Malts: crystal, pale and carastan
  • Beer Advocate rating: 4.1 (as of May 6, 2010)

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About David Jensen

David is a craft beer and photography enthusiast.
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One Response to Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental IPA Review

  1. This is my all time favorite IPA. I grew up visiting the brewery in Bend, Or. I reviewed it here:
    http://foodmented.blogspot.com/2010/04/deschutes-brewing-hop-henge-ipa.html

    I agree with your notes. It is just a supremely well balanced IPA. I loved the body and the malty breadiness of it.

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