When they sent me their Arctic Rhino for review in the latest issue of All About Beer Magazine, the good folk at Alaska’s Midnight Sun Brewing also shipped a couple of bottle of their CoHoHo Imperial Pale Ale, an 8% alcohol holiday ale brewed with brown sugar, honey and juniper berries.
I thought it would be rude not to share my impressions with you, so here they are.
Cristal clear and faintly purple-ish in colour, there is no doubting the copious amounts of hops used in this ale from the first sniff. It’s piney, resiny, underpinned with a kind of burnt raisin note and, yes, with a trace of juniper to it. (I like gin, so I’m fairly sensitive to such things, although I’m not sure the casual imbiber would pick up on it.)
The body is similarly full of hoppiness, but not before a plumy, lightly sugary sweetness sets the stage. When the hops hit, however, that’s all she wrote for the malt, as it’s quickly overwhelmed by bitter notes of resiny herbs (rosemary seems to come through the most, but pine boughs, too), some citrus peel and a peppery cocoa bitterness that reminds me of Mayan chocolate mixes. The finish leaves a bunch of hop oil on the tongue along with tingling alcohol.
In short: hop heads will love this, people with even moderate sensitivities to bitterness will hate it, and I find it enjoyable but in need of greater balance in the malt department.