HoCo IPA Tasting

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.

HoCo IPA tasting
HoCo IPA tasting

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.




2 thoughts on “HoCo IPA Tasting

  1. I also think Trash Panda was suffering from not being as fresh as the others. Apparently it degrades quickly which in part is why Hysteria is looking to make a more shelf stable IPA (i.e. Mad Sun).

    1. I agree Trash Panda was pretty old, especially compared to the other IPAs. Most were bought that day. However, Trash Panda still was quite popular. Because everyone scored differently, I think ranking would have been a better judge versus assigning a number to each beer. Dbear and I rated our beers closely, while others had a wide spread. Their ratings were more significant than ours.

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