Magic Hat Spring Fever 2010

13 03 2010

This week, we posted our first video tasting. We reviewed the Magic Hat Spring Fever 2010. In case you missed it, here it is again.

Today, we post the tasting notes for the four beers we reviewed.

First up, The Spring seasonal: Vinyl Spring Lager
Visit the Vinyl Website
RateBeer.com: 47 Points

Magic Hat calls Vinyl a “scrumptous spring lager.” I am afraid “Scrumptous” is not quite the word I would use. It is tasty. It is light. It is refreshing. But it does not pack the punch that “scrumptous” connotates. First off, the bottle is beautiful. An amazing label that is common with Magic Hat. Butterfly wings, green leaves  and pastels sure do bring to mind spring. A lager always seems like a good choice for spring. Light, crisp and clean the beer resembles the weather. Overall, this is very tasty and sippable. Good for picnics, barbecues, and sitting on the porch. All the great things about spring. Available in six and twelve packs or in the seasonal variety pack.

appearance: Vinyl pours a deep russet amber with a lovely creamy reddish off-white head. Nice cluster of bubbles and sparkling clear with reddish coppery highlights.

Aroma: The nose is malty. With chocolate, maple, and biscuit. A sharp tang of hops toward the end. Very clean, slight sulfur from the lager yeast.

Flavor: Mildly sweet on the front from the use of crystal and Munich malt. Reminiscent of a German amber lager. An earthy, cedar hoppiness from the use of Northern Brewer hops.

Mouthfeel: Bright and sharp with large carbonation. Very clean on the back-end.

Ingredients: Crystal, Munich, Victory and Pale malts. Northern brewer hops. Very clean lager yeast

Technical Notes:
Final Gravity
: 12 Plato (1.048 Specific)
ABV: 5.1%
SRM: 12
IBUs: 16

Next up, we look at the Spring 2010 Odd Notion selection: Unfiltered Spring ’10
Visit The Website
No Rate Beer Rating

Magic Hat says this is an attempt to “cross pollinate” the American Wheat and the IPA. An interesting idea, but there may be a reason why it has never been attempted before. Both styles are known for their crisp, sharp back ends. And while an IPA has the strength of malt to balance itself, wheat relies on the power of its yeast to balance the citrus. Without a good malty base our estery yeast, this beer is unbalanced. Bland on the front end, this beer dries out in the middle leaving your palate astringent and bone dry on the back-end. When I came back to the beer the second time around, I was hurting for some water about half way through the bottle. I agree with Magic hat in saying it is citrusy, particularly grapefruit, lemon and lime. But I would beg to differ this being “well balanced.” Available only in Variety Packs while they last.

Appearance: This beer pours a hazy, unfiltered, pale gold. Reminiscent of a North Coast Blue Star. On top, sits a firm, confident, white, fluffy head. This head knows its place and has nowhere to be but there. If one goes back to the video. The beer is poured, sampled and left alone for a good six minutes. When it is brought back, there is still a slight but persistent head.

Aroma: Surprisingly closed for either a wheat or an IPA. Very little esters are picked up except for a slight vanilla or gardenia scent. Hop character is very slight.

Flavor: Now looking at the ingredients on the Magic Hat website, I should not be surprised by the flavor. The malt base is pale and wheat. We get very little maltiness from this. A slight sweetness on the front but then it is overpowered by three very big American hops: Apollo, Simcoe, and Cascade. The Cascade gives a very subtle piney note. But mostly we get the big citrus from the Apollo ans Simcoe and then that strong, strong, somewhat monotonous bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Astringently dry. We get a slight cleansing note from the moderate carbonation. But overall, this is due to a weak front end followed by those big American hops; the Simcoe particularly.

Ingredients: Pale and wheat malts. Apollo, Simcoe, and Cascade hops. American Wheat Ale Yeast.

Technical Notes:
Final Gravity: 14 Plato (1.057 Specific Gravity)
SRM: 6.0
IBUS: 35
ABV: 6.0

Moving right along, we come to an old favorite: #9
Visit the website
Ratebeer.com Score: 52 Points

Ahh, the “Not Quite Pale Ale.” The label says it all. With is mysterious and hypnotizing artwork and the equally mysterious description, you know there is something special about this beer. Crisp, dry and tangy with that ever-so-faint apricot flavor, this is grown up candy. Is just me, or have they increased the apricot flavor in the past few years? I liked it better when the apricot was more subtle. But still, this is a very fun and tasty beer. Bring it to a party and there will be at least one person who will say “I never liked beer before I tried this!” Available year-round in six, twelve, and variety packs.

Appearance: #9 pours deep amber with copper highlights. A slight haziness and a deep tan head. Head is thin and dissipates quickly. Large carbonation bubbles present.

Aroma: A mild malt bill of pale and crystal give a slight maple and brown sugar but it is cut right through by dried apricots followed by a sharp hoppy pine resin.

Flavor: Sweet malt slides in first with brown sugar but is quickly cut through by dry and bright apricot followed by a cleansing hop bitterness. Apricot lingers on palate but the bitterness begs for more.

Mouthfeel: Despite the sweetness of the apricot, it is not at all cloying. Dry, crisp and woody back-end leaves the palate clean.

Ingredients: Pale and Crystal malts. Cascade and Apollo hops. English Ale yeast.

Technical Notes:
Final Gravity:
11.20 Plato (Approx 1.044 Specific Gravity)
SRM: 9.0
IBUs: 20
ABV: 5.1%

Last, but not least, we look at Magic Hat’s IPA- Lucky Kat
Visit the Website
Ratebeer.com Score: 57 Points

In the video, I said I wasn’t sure if it was fair to call Lucky Kat an IPA. However, I may be wrong. at 60 IBUs, it falls well within the BJCP guidelines for the style. And it is nearly twice the IBUs of a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. This just goes to show how incredibly well balanced this beer is. It is not punch-you-in-the-face bitter. But it has some lovely hoppiness. Bright citrus of oranges, lemon, lime, grapefruit and some amazing pineapple dominate this beer. But it is also oh-so-drinkable. On a nice, hot day this would go down so nicely. While some hop heads would turn their noses to this beer, this showcases how a well balance East Coast IPA can taste. The use of my favorite hop (Amarillo) doesn’t hurt too much either. Available year round in six, twelve, and variety packs.

Appearance: Rich copper color with a copper white head. Large cluster of bubbles both in the beer and in the head. Head is weak and not persistent.

Aroma: Rich malt of biscuit and cereal balances out the piney and citrusy hops. A slight pineapple on the back end.

Flavor: Extremely well balanced. Showcasing fresh Amarillo and Crystal hops. Big resinous hops with lemon, lime, grapefruit and pineapple notes. Very clean back-end.

Mouthfeel: Clean, crisp, dry. With big, scrubbing bubbles. Slight chewiness but very refreshing.

Ingredients: Pale, Munich, Crystal and Cara malts. Amarillo and Crystal Hops. English Ale yeast

Technical Notes:
Final Gravity:
14.20 Plato (Approx 1.044 Specific Gravity)
SRM: 19
IBUs: 60
ABV: 5.8%

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