24 Beers of Christmas – December 17th: Amsterdam Brewing Co. Fracture
The complete opposite of end of the IPA spectrum, compared with yesterday. Amsterdam Brewing Company’s Fracture Imperial IPA is a Double IPA style beer. Sometimes referred to as an Imperial IPA, this style of beer was born out of the American craft beer movement, with the first prototypes appearing in glasswear across the United States in the 1990s. Craft brewers have largely always been a creative bunch, seeking to push the boundaries of brewing beyond the known, the safe, the comfortable. The Double IPA came into existence as an amped up American IPA. Brewers wanted to see how far they could push the style, by increasing hop intensity and potency.
Double IPAs are typically light in terms of both colour and body, which exposes more hop bitterness and unmasks more of the hop flavour. To achieve this balance (or imbalance?), brewers typically stay away from caramel and crystal malts which are high in unfermentable sugars. In some cases highly fermentable sugar adjuncts are employed to increase wort gravity and potential alcohol by volume without adding to the body of the beer. New World hop cultivars are most commonly used in Double IPAs, which offer a wide array of aromas and flavours ranging from citrus to tropical fruit and pine to berries. Of course there’s an emphasis on bitterness, so you can expect hops that are high in alpha acid content to be included throughout the boil.
Amsterdam’s Fracture has a bit more body to it than other examples of the style, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Its residual sweetness helps to mitigate the burn of a really big beer. Not only that, but it’s also the only thing that stands between you and a 115 bittering unit punch in the face. Behind that uppercut of flavour you find the usual suspects; Centennial, Citra, Columbus and Simcoe. Amsterdam takes this fairly common blend of hops and makes it their own, producing an out put of resiny grass and pine, bright citrus and some juicy tropical fruit. Dry-hopped a couple times for good measure, and to ensure that you’re hit with a wall of flavour, as much as anything else, Fracture is one heck of a sensory experience.
Style: Double IPA – 9.1% ABV, 115 IBU,
Food pairings: Pork Chops, Roquefort, Carrot Cake