A few days ago some friends came over for a tasting to pick the best IPA in Howard County. Everyone brought over a HoCo beer and we blindly tasted five.
A blind tasting is a lot of fun. Someone must volunteer to pour the beers into sampling glasses and record what is in each glass. Thank you, Laura! Then the glasses are brought out to the tasters. Each taster smells, visually inspects, tastes and evaluates each beer and gives it a grade.
I found a tasting sheet on Brewer’s Friend and printed out sheets for everyone. Categories were Appearance (10), Smell (10), Taste (30), After Taste (20), and Drinkability (30). Here were the final results (IPA and average score):
- Jailbreak Carnevil 81.1
- Manor Hill Citra Splendor 69.1
- Reckless IPA 66.1
- Black Flag Flagship 64.9
- Hysteria Trash Panda 64.9
Congratulations to Jailbreak for Carnevil’s #1 ranking. I was quite surprised by the results. Everyone has different palates, but still, to me this was very surprising. I might add, individually, each IPA was a favorite for at least one taster, so all were winners in the long run. I found it very difficult to taste 5 different IPAs – my palate was overwhelmed after the second beer. Next time, maybe we’ll just do 2 beers at a time.
As an added bonus, we split one can of Heady Topper. DBear wonderfully summed it up: “Wow piney goodness”.
Pierce is right – this was not a good comparison. The Hysteria Trash Panda was about a month old which is too long for an IPA like Trash Panda. It was refrigerated the entire month, so it was not abused too much. Also, I picked it as my number 2 beer and someone else picked it as number 1, so it did not suffer too much from age. I’ll have to try a rematch with a fresher batch. All the other IPAs were only 24 hours old.