Brewery – Sam Adams (Boston Beer)
Beer – Rebel IPA
Style – IPA
ABV – 6.5%
IBUs – 45
When we first brewed Rebel IPA in our nano brewery in 2014, we wanted to do something that went a little bit against the grain by brewing a West Coast style IPA that wasn’t just about bitterness, but had balance and paid homage to the aromatics and flavors of some of our favorite West Coast hops. We loved Rebel IPA, but our brewers challenged themselves to make it even better.
After more than four years, our brewers undertook what they’ve dubbed “Project Lupulus.” Project Lupulus refers to the scientific name of a hop, Humulus lupulus, and its special lupulin glands which are the fundamental source of flavor, bitterness, and aroma in hops. For Project Lupulus, our brewers looked to optimize the flavor of each hop variety by changing up the blend and ratio of hops for the new Rebel IPA. As part of this project, we collaborated with a hop breeder in Yakima Valley, WA to create a new hop variety that is proprietary and exclusive to us called HBC 566.
So, what came of Project Lupulus? Paying homage to the original recipe, Rebel IPA is brewed with a few of the original hop varieties including Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe® and Chinook – with the addition of Mosaic hops, HBC 566, and HBC 682, a new, experimental bittering hop. Rebel IPA now has a more intense juicy, tropical and citrus flavor supported by a leaner body and a crisp, clean finish to optimize the hop character. To dial up the hop impression, the newly reborn Rebel IPA removed caramel malt from the grain bill and now is brewed only with Samuel Adams special two-row malt blend.
The commercial description for this beer is a mouthful… that’s for sure. But when you spend as much time, money, and effort on reformulating a beer the way Sam Adams has with Rebel, it only makes sense that you wan to tell that story to as many people as you can.
In today’s modern “craft beer world” there aren’t many styles that have undergone as many shifts and changes as the humble IPA has. Sam Adams took those shifts and changes and funneled them right into their flagship IPA. It’s the first time that the brewery has reformulated one of their flagships like this, and it shows a desire to change alongside the ever changing craft beer picture.
What you need to know about this beer is that it’s very different than it used to be. The brewery wanted to really showcase the hop characteristics, so they started it with a body that would let them show in all their glory.
The second big thing that you need to take away from this, is the hops themselves. Sam Adams teamed up with a hop grower to come up with a couple proprietary hop variaties, that are pretty awesome. Most noticablly, the new HBC 566 lends lemon/lime, orange and eucalyptus flavors. Pair this up with HBC 682 for bittering and a strong earthy aroma and the great “new classics” with Mosaic, Cascade, Simcoe, Centennial, and Chinook and you’ve got an IPA that is packed full of great tropical, citrus and pine notes.
Lets take a better look at the specifics…
My Thoughts On Sam Adams Rebel IPA
The look of the new Rebel is a little lighter than it’s predecessor, clean, light orange or straw colored with a respectable white foamy head, it’s a pretty beer to look at.
Aromas are full of pine, followed up with a fruity tropical citrus aroma. It’s what I think of when I think of a ‘West Coast IPA’ for sure. It reminds me of summertime, of warm air, convertibles, and the sunshine that I’m dying to feel again this time of year.
Taste is knocked out of the park for what they are going for. It’s crisp, clean, hoppy and refreshing. The citrus and pine hop characteristics are first and foremost, with little to no malt to battle with them. It’s a flawlessly executed IPA, and something that you see brewery after brewery trying to achieve in their flagship IPAs.