Monday, February 10, 2014

Jack's Abby - Mass Rising Double IPL Review

Jack's Abbey Mass Rising Double IPL

Brewery: Jack's Abby (MA)
Style: Imperial India Pale Lager
ABV: 8%
Grade: A-

Age at Consumption: 1 Week

The dirty secret behind most styles of beer is that the designation often doesn't mean a whole lot. Try getting some brewers to agree on a definition of porter versus stout, or push a crowd of beer nerds into debate over the inutterable madness of the black IPA paradox. Even broader than that, I wonder how many non-brewers understand that the difference between ale and lager is merely yeast selection. With so many sub-styles of IPA being born these days, it was only a matter of time until someone got around to tweaking that last part of the acronym: an India Pale Lager.

Sure, there's no reason an IPA couldn't be a lager, but you've got to ask: why? There are a number of breweries turning out "IPLs" lately, and the common explanation I hear is that the clean, neutral lager yeast allow more hops to shine through. Probably true, but then you have to account for the longer, more finnicky aging period of lagers. Is the trade-off worth it — is there something to gain from the 'L' in that acronym, other than it simply being a marketing mantra of the brewery?

Well, I don't know. Or I guess — I can't decide. I'm still half of the mindset that brewing an IPA with lager yeast is insignificant, in that I don't think it adds anything dramatic to a beer. The only noticeable quality I attribute to lager yeast — other than the crisp, drinkable profile they impart — is a bit of dank minerally funk, and it turns out, that subtle quality is no impediment to a stampede of hops. Hops are pretty dank themselves, obviously, and Mass Rising is about as dank as they come. Gloriously tropical too: I would not surprised to learn that there were copious amounts of Citra in this. I like an IPA that can hit you from three angles at once, and Mass Rising has the roundhouse kick of dank / tropical / funky mastered.

I can't answer to the pros or cons of lagering a beer this hoppy, I can only confirm that: it works.

Availability: Rotating release. 12 ounce bottle, fourpacks.


  1. I had a Hoponious Union(sp?) and a Kiwi Rising on my travels, and both were very different stories.

    I was recommended the Hoponious by the bar staff at Lower Depths in Boston, and ordered it without any knowledge of the brewery of beer. Consequently, in my review I commented on how concentrated and focused the hop flavours were, and how ridiculously pale the beer was. In short, it was a fantastic hop bomb! Only later did I discover it was an 'Extra Pale Lager', and was seriously impressed!

    Kiwi Rising I bought shortly after from a little beer shop. When it came to try it though, it was cardboard in a glass. Musty, skunky and everything you would expect from a seriously oxidised beer. Not sure whether it was a brewing error, bottling, storage, light skunking in the shop, but I was really disappointed! Definitely a beer I would like to revisit for a real taste!

    As for whether lagering an IPA does it any good... Well, the brewery I work for did several recipe tests for a hoppy 6% English IPA, and we settled on an IPL recipe. What we found was that the conditioning time required smoothed out and rounded bitterness, and allowed hop flavours to blend and create a smoother, fuller and less harsh pallette. Perfect for typical pub drinkers in the UK, but perhaps not the sensual overload of a bombastic American IPA. Coincidentally, if half the CAMRA crowd knew it was a lager, they wouldn't even touch it!

    Great review again!


  2. Keep in mind Jack's Abby ONLY does lagers, so it's less a gimmicky angle and more of a consistency thing.

  3. i'm sure kkr will be ipl 7 winner of this season


Related Posts-