The Kernel Brewery India Pale Ale Black 7.2% - Beer Review

This is a review I've been meaning to post for a week or two but haven't got round to it, which is a travesty as this is a beer you should all be going out and buying.

Black IPA is a somewhat oxymoronic sounding beer style (black pale ale?), but when stylistic semantics are put outside you'll find it is actually one worth seeking out, generally delivering bags of roasted malt flavour and hop character to boot. I've really enjoyed Summer Wine Brewery's single hopped black IPA range Nerotype, particularly Simcoe hopped Nerotype #1, so was looking forward to trying this offering from the much lauded Kernel Brewery.

For those of you that haven't heard of The Kernel Brewery, they are a genuinely tiny 'Micro-Brewery'. Based under a railway arch in South East London, they have a very small output of very high quality beer which until recently hasn't been available up North, with just a handfull of London retailers being your only hope for grabbing a few bottles. Luckily Beer Ritz in Leeds recently took delivery of a few pallet loads, and as such I quickly hot footed it down and stocked up - I suggest you do the same.


The Kernel Brewery India Pale Ale Black 7.2%

This pours a very dark brown, almost black, with red brick tinges at the edges when held to the light and an off White frothy head. Really nice, fine bubbled carbonation from the spot on bottle conditioning. The smell is vibrant grapefruit and pithy orange combined with a rich smokeyness, a bit like barbecued citrus fruit. Imagine a grapefruit dusted with brown sugar and cooked over hot coals and you're not far away. You can really smell the high amount of hops as the aroma is instant but lasting, remaining clean and strong throughout the glass.

In the taste there's an initial juicy grapefruit flavour which is super super fresh, like it was bottled 5 minutes ago, then you get rich roasted filter coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate, a touch of stronger espresso in the finish along with a lingering orange peel and grapefruit hop flavour.

A bit of alcohol warmth comes into the smell as the beer warms up a little, but not to it's detriment and actually got better as it came up from fridge to closer to cellar temp as the roasted flavours came out more and all the hop flavours were even more noticeable.

Despite it being 7.2% I enjoyed this beer so much it was gone a little too quickly, always a good sign. It's a seriously tasty, drinkable beer, and when all's said and done, isn't that all that really matters?

4 comments:

  1. Glad you enjoyed it! It's one of the favourite beers I've ever had the pleasure of helping brew!

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  2. Nice review but there wasn't any smokiness as far as I recall. Otherwise, spot on.

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  3. Tandleman - Really? Maybe either mine or your nose was having an off day! ;-)

    The smell definately had a smokiness to my mind. Which combined with the citrus aroma gives that bbq'd grapefruit smell I mentioned.

    If you notice though I don't mention it coming through in the flavour, which is definately more coffee/chocolate.

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  4. Btw, thanks for your comments guys.

    I'm looking forward to trying more of The Kernel beers very soon, they seem to have got the bottle conditioning spot on, which is no small feat for a new, small brewery.

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