Slottskällan Zero IBU IPA (6.5%)

This beer from Swedish brewery Slottskällan is a really interesting concept. For those that don't know, IBU is short for International Bitterness Units, and is a measure of the amount of bitterness which is present in a beer, calculated by the volume of bittering hops added during the brewing process.

But the thing is, this beer was brewed with absolutely no bittering hops added whatsoever. All of the hop character in the beer was achieved by adding what I can only assume was an absolute truck load of late aroma and dry hops.

This Zero beer is the antithesis to the Dutch brewer Mikkeller's 1000 IBU IPA, a beer which had so many bittering hops added that it's theoretical IBU is, you guessed it, one thousand. But of course the theoretical IBU of a beer is very different to its actual IBU, meaning Mikkeller's beer will have an actual IBU much, much lower than that - and despite the fact this beer has no bittering hops it still ends up with a fairly high actual bitterness of 87 IBU.

I've read many times that the human palate can only react to bitterness changes up until around 100 IBU, and in other places that 100 is the maximum IBU that can be achieved, making anything above that somewhat futile. But I've also seen this disputed elsewhere, and seen the reaction of anybody who drinks Mikkeller's beer as "Holy Crap, that is BITTER", so who knows.

Certainly despite it's lowly theoretical IBU this beer has a big complex fresh hop aroma with highlights of tangerine, light pine resin, and lemon sherbet. The mouthfeel is fairly light, with nice soft bottle conditioned carbonation, and a slightly foamy quality in the mouth.

The hop flavour is much more resinous and piney than you would imagine. Alongside that it's got a really big orange pith flavour, very bitter grapefruit, plus loads more of that resinous pine in the finish. For a zero IBU beer this is really very bitter.

The layers of hops build up on your palate throughout the bottle and make this a very tough but rewarding beer. After a while a slightly skunky hop flavour starts to creep in which is a little odd, but doesnt completely ruin the party.

All in all a nice beer, and one I'm very glad I got a chance to try. I'll be looking out for more beers from this brewery.

 

4 comments:

  1. Seems like such an obvious response to crazily bitter beers. One to try and see!

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  2. I nabbed a bottle of this from EBBC. Drank it against a Brewfist Spaceman and though it was FAR more bitter. Just goes to show that you don't need to boil hops to extract bitterness.

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  3. That's the surprising thing about this beer, it's very, very bitter. Nice though

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