Dateline 05/31/2012, by Radon86
Blind Taste Test - Indian Wells Amnesia IPA vs Lucky Bucket IPA vs Fire Island Red Wagon IPA
This test pits three American IPA's against one another in a blind taste test. The results, are a bit topsy-turvy compared to their ratings here at beertripper. That said, not all that surprising when considering the nature of the blind taste and the prejudice of the drinker towards (against) the style.
These three beers were all technically different colors with one being almost copper in color, one being almost light yellow with the third in between skewing towards yellow.
Indian Wells Amnesia IPA - The beer that turned out to be Indian Wells Amnesia IPA was the beer that was in the middle color-wise. This beer also had the most head. When it comes to flavor, compared to the other two beers in this test, Amnesia IPA was clearly the least flavorful. It was also the least bitter. The mouth-feel was medium, but nice, probably skewing towards full and probably the fullest mouth-feel of the three, but that was a close run thing in this test. It was by far the smoothest beer in this test, probably due to it having the least flavor.
Lucky Bucket IPA - The beer that turned out to be Lucky Bucket IPA was the lightest colored beer in this test, it was also the beer that was the most cloudy. When it comes to citrus-y hops though, this beer was clearly number 1. The amount of citrus flavored hops here was pretty impressive, and clearly when it comes to depth of citrusy hop flavor, this beer was on top.
Fire Island Red Wagon IPA - The beer that turned out to be Fire Island Red Wagon IPA was easily the darkest beer in this test. It was also the most bitter beer in this test, having a rather astringent bitterness at the end of each sip. Strangely enough, this beer also seemed to be the maltiest beer in this test, having a caramel malt flavor that included a kind of earthiness. Technically, this was probably the most complex of the three beers, but also the least smooth.
So, which beer did I like the best,... Well, this test is a bit of a shocker because the results truly don't match the ratings, but even more shocking is that I don't believe the ratings should be changed as a result of this test, for reasons I'll get into. So, the beer I liked the best,... Indian Wells Amnesia IPA. This test, quite by accident, ended up pitting a very citrusy American IPA (Lucky Bucket) against a very astringent and earthy American IPA (Red Wagon) against a very smooth and unassuming almost flavorless by comparison beer in Amnesia IPA. And drinking these three at the same time, Amnesia IPA turned out to be a kind of refreshing mouth cleanser versus the other two beers. But the strange thing is, I do believe the other beers are better and probably even more representative of the American IPA style. However, on this day, during this test, I couldn't deny the fact that I preferred the milder Indian Wells Amnesia IPA. As far as the other two beers, I enjoyed them about the same. It's strange in that this test was supposed to beer three beers of the same style, and technically it was, but the beers had such different approaches/flavors that it was really like a test of three beers of different styles. Today, both Lucky Bucket and Fire Island Red Wagon came off the same to me as far as enjoyment is concerned (and actually they are rated the same here a beertripper) but I suppose if I had to pick which one I liked next best on the day, it would be Lucky Bucket IPA. This is a bit of a surprise since I tend to like the maltiest beers as opposed to the hoppiest beers, however the astringent nature of Fire Island Red Wagon was probably the difference that causes me to lean towards Lucky Bucket as my 2nd favorite of the day. But it was really a close run thing. In fact, the whole test was close to be quite honest. (And by the way, when I say Amnesia IPA is 'almost flavorless' that is in comparison to other American IPAs, if you were to compare this to say Landshark Lager, it would seem packed full of flavor, but compared to other hard core American IPA's, Amnesia is pretty lightly flavored it seems. Ironically though, in this test, that was what was hitting the spot, thus the dark horse victory. In some ways I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often, for instance, I really love Chimay Blue, so why don't I drink that everyday? Sometimes something not as 'flavorful' just fits the bill of washing down that chili dog for instance. So, today based on the situation, Amnesia IPA was the beer I most enjoyed. It is what it is. (but I'm not changing the ratings, not based on this test alone anyway.) But always remember, the best beer is the beer you like best.
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