Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review #9 - Lagunitas Maximus

Posted by: Stonecipher          

Mar. 27, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I had a rare moment on my own to stop in at one of my favorite local beer bars – Prarie Moon in Evanston, IL.  I have probably consumed more of Lagunitas’s Hop Stoopid at Prarie Moon than I have at any other place on the planet, so I thought about reviewing that, but given my limited amount of time and the need to function at a fairly high level for many of the remaining hours of the day I decided that a 22 oz. bomber of Hop Stoopid might be a bit much, so I went with the other Lagunitas beer on The List, Maximus.

ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: 72.41
Brewery Location: Petaluma, California
Style: American Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Average Beer Advocate Rating: B+/3.91 – Very Good
My Beer Advocate Rating: B+/3.93 – Very Good
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 993/13th
Brewery Description: Lagunitas Maximus
Bottled On: NA

APPEARANCE:  (3.5 out of 5) Poured from a 12 oz. bottle a brilliant and crystal clear light copper color with an eighth of an inch head on top.  The bubbles were medium sized and very homogeneous.  They seemed to hang around for a little while, but once the first few disappeared the rest toppled and the whole bubbly structure quickly vanished.  As the surface level dropped in my glass, yet another mysterious case of lacing only showing up on the left and right side of the glass developed.   What made the Lagunitas’s case different was that I did not drink this from a snifter like I did with the other left/right lacers.  This was in a pint glass.

SMELL:  (3.5 out of 5) The Lagunitas Maximus may be a hop bomb, but it is also a malt bomb and that comes through strongly in the nose.  The aroma does fade fast with the lack of head, however, so sniff this one quickly.  A faint smell of grapefruit is noticeable as well. 

TASTE:  (4 out of 5) The sweet, malt flavor erupts on the palate upon impact.  It is intensely malty with a bit of toastiness.  A brown sugar-like flavor is also present and some orange and grapefruit notes creep in on the side and back of the tongue as well.  On the back end, it seems as though the moment you become fully distracted by the sweetness, the hops and their bitterness kick in.  The tail end of this has a strong hop presence, but it is just a short burst of hoppiness and the untrained palate may miss this altogether until the aftertaste, when all 72.41 IBUs kick in.  Wow, that grapefruit really builds too.  By the end of the glass the grapefruit flavor is much more pronounced than it is in the beginning.  Whereas some of the DIPAs reviewed here at 20 Beers in 20 Nights have taken us on a roller coaster ride, the Maximus takes the drinker on a long, slow-coasting ride from one point on the IPA plane to another.

MOUTHFEEL:  (4.5 out of 5) Lively is the first word that comes to mind when drinking the Maximus.  It is well carbonated with tiny bubbles that tickle the tongue on the way down.  Despite the teasing, tickling feel on the way down, the sweetness and the malt do cause this offering from Lagunitas to sit fairly heavy. 

OVERALL:  (4 out of 5) At the time I first reviewed this beer it was one of my all-time favorite beers, but I was not very well versed in the world of Double IPAs.  It is still a fantastic go-to, and although it is certainly worthy of being on The List, it does not particularly stand out when up against a Hopslam, a Burton Baton or a Ruination.  What it boils down to is that the Lagunitas Maximus is just an average best beer in the world - which isn’t too bad.

DRAWBACKS:  The head was a bit weak, but decent retention and halfway decent lacking saved the foam from being too much of an issue.  The smell could be a touch stronger and I would really like to experience the hops for a slightly longer period of time during each sip.  The grapefruit coming on strong towards the end of the glass certainly helps in this regard, but I wish it was more consistent throughout the whole beer.

SOUND:  Something good, but popular, maybe Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On.”  Like the grapefruit, you just seem to get more and more into this song as it goes on.  You might not be ready for it or completely be into it at first, but by the end you’re singing along.

1 comment:

  1. What a great review. Everything you stated matches my impressions of this beer exactly. I drink this beer often, mainly because it is a decently priced Imperial. Your rating of 3.5/5 is spot on. I actually like this beer just slightly more than Hop Stoopid.

    Have you tried Sierra Nevada Hoptimum (seasonal) and given a review? This is the best Imperial I have ever had, and I love to see reviews on it.