There’s an important distinction to note with Feral’s first limited release for 2023, and it’s not the rare departure from a red Feral logo – even though the gilded stamp here hints at more innovation in 2023.
The clue is found in the tag – imperial pale ale, not India pale ale – given to a beer many old money drinkers will still view fondly as a gnarly beast that remains an epiphany beer for many, as well as a multi-award winner and early Hottest 100 hero (still the only beer to take top spot three years running). It was a bold Australian riff on the American pale ales changing the landscape across the Pacific that was initially labelled as an IPA before most knew what an IPA was.
That distinction noted, it means anyone expecting palate-stripping IBUs and acres of forest floor dank will instead be met with something far more refined; as Feral’s GM Rob Brajkovich notes: “Everything from mash temps, water chemistry, grain bill, dry hop rate and timing had careful consideration. In the end, we’ve created something different, big, balanced and we think worthy of the Hop Hog name.”
The result is an amplified APA, brimming with blood orange, grapefruit, citrus pith and pine dust, under which the clear malt base becomes a quiet hero, running a touch sweet and with a slight chewiness, before dryness and subtle resin reinstate balance. When taken as a whole, Imperial Hop Hog offers a liquid postcard from the Noughties, reimagined as svelte modern brawler with an imposing legacy: equally familiar, poised and decidedly wily. Just remember this is an imperial version.
Published February 11, 2023 2023-02-11 00:00:00