Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sam Adams Rebel IPA Review (2017)

Name: Sam Adams Rebel IPA
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 45

So remember a couple weeks back when Sam Adams sent me a couple spring seasonal new beers to try out? Well it turns out that wasn't the only package they sent me as I found out last week when I got home Friday last week. You see they gave me two more beers to look at, so I'm taking a break from my Georgia beers to review these offerings.

First up is......wait a minute, Rebel IPA? Haven't I already reviewed this? The answer is yes, I did indeed review this when it first came out a couple years back, but they've apparently made some changes to it. Released under the moniker "A Rebel Reborn," they changed up the hop profile to include Mosaic hops, as well as two new hops called HBC 566 & HBC 682, which were derived from a program called "Project Lupulus" from which Sam Adams developed their own hops to use. This is, of course, in addition to the Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe and Chinook hops from the original recipe.

For comparison's sake, I will also be including the portions of the original review in italics with the new portions below in plain text.

Rebel IPA pours a fairly clear orange color with moderate carbonation. The head takes on a thin foamy appearance and the lacing is pretty good.

Appearance - Well, I really can't say much has changed here. It's still got the same clear orange color and moderate carbonation, along with the foamy head and good lacing.

The aroma has some strong piney hops and grape-fruitiness, followed by some mild citrus hops and a substantial caramel malt back bone. The piney hops in particular have this almost sticky quality to them, if that makes any sense.

Aroma - Here's where it starts to deviate. For starters, the piney aspect has been dialed back a bit in favor of more of a citra-centric IPA. The citrus hops are a bit stronger here and the Mosaic hops, while not overpowering, is noticeable here. The caramel malt profile is the same here and is still the same as I remember it.

The flavor starts out with some strong grapefruit & citrus hoppiness The second half of the flavor is where the piney hops make themselves known along with some noticeable caramel malts, before ending with a bitter hop aftertaste. On a side note, that citrus hoppiness in the front of the flavor lingers on throughout the whole drinking experience.

Taste - Profile-wise, a good deal has changed. The grapefruit aspect is mellowed out here to have more of a citra hop taste, along with that tropical Mosaic flavor, which noticeable throughout the palate but in a moderate sense. The back end of the palate, consists of some mild bitter hops and more citrus sweetness in addition to some moderate caramel maltiness. Aftertaste hasn't changed too much as there's still that bitter hop aftertaste, in addition to some light citra notes.

So, it really better than the original. Well the answer is.......in some regards, yes. Personally, I like the fact that it has a much stronger citra hop profile than the original and I've honestly yet to encounter a bad beer that uses Mosaic hops.. I was also kind of worried that this would be a malt bomb since the IBUs are only at 45, but upon doing some digging, I saw that the original was also 45 IBUs.

When they first launched Rebel IPA, I feel that it was intended to target primarily the largest segment of the craft beer crowd: the IPA drinkers. It was successful enough that a bunch of spinoffs from the original Rebel IPA. Now that they've captured that segment , they've either wanted to change it up to fit the current mold of taste for IPA or (something much more likely in my opinion) they did it to appeal to a wider demographic without necessarily sacrificing a huge portion of loyal drinkers.

With that said, I can see the new Rebel being another success for Sam Adams and I feel that anyone who was a fan of the original will for sure find this to be just as enjoyable. Like the original, it's not the best IPA I've ever had, but it's still good just the way it is and I'll happily have it again.

Sam Adams Rebel IPA Review (2017) - 8.5/10

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