Barley Mowat 

Driftwood Twenty Pounder

with 4 comments

With virtually no warning Driftwood dropped this guy on the market two weeks ago. A lot of people didn’t notice because we were all preoccupied with the Alibi’s 400th tap list rotation, but once the giddy fogginess (aka hangover) cleared there was a new beer on LRS shelves staring us down. A big, mean, threatening beer.

That beer is Driftwood Twenty Pounder, their take on the a delightfully extreme style. This is only the second release of Driftwood’s Double IPA, and they’ve adjusted the recipe rather significantly in the direction of Crazy Weird Hop Party.

Pictured: Crazy Weird Hop Party

So is it any bloody good? Well yeah, what else did you expect from Driftwood? Of course it’s bloody good. Is it amazing? Nah, not really. Once you ratchet up the hops in a DIPA into “Humulus LD50 Research” territory I begin to lose interest, and this beer is definitely up in that rarefied air.

Giant hop-bombs measure their figurative dicks with something called the International Bittering Units scale. A score of sub 10 gets you light lagers, a classic British Bitter might be in the 20-40 range, while proper American/Cascadian IPAs start showing up around 50 or 60. Beers in the “as many hops as you can fit in the kettle” hop wars, though, put down “100+ IBUs” on the label as a badge of honour. It’s not that the scale stops at 100, but that the methods used to measure bitterness (largely via spectrophotometer) simply stop working above 100 and you wind up with “I dunno… a lot, I guess?” as the official result from the lab.

Not that 120 would mean much more than 135, though. Once you’ve past 100 the flavour of the beer just sorta becomes hops, hops, hops and nothing but hops. You know me; I like a balanced, flavourful beer (hence my preference for the much sweeter, viscous Cascadian IPA style over the dryer more bitter American IPA), and this beer might have been just that had they stopped adding hops about 1/3 of the way in. They didn’t, and we have a massive hop bomb.

In the end, I prefer the original, as the sweet body balanced the hops nicely. This beast just seems out of whack, and even more so than Russell’s recent Hop Therapy DIPA, which I found dry but not overwhelming. I’d love to do a side-by-each of both these monster beers, but alas they’re now equally hard to find in stores.

Hopheads rejoice, though, this is a beer for you.

Tasting notes:

NOSE Big pine with a solid under-layer of citrus. Both are hops-based aromas, I should note.
APPEARANCE Orange/brown with a thin sticky head (from the hops)
TASTE Hops. Hops. Hops. Some spiciness (caused by lots of hops) is about the only secondary flavour you get here.
SHOULD I BUY IT? Do you like so many hops you can smell them through the cap? The answers to these two questions are basically the same.

Coles notes:

Brewery Driftwood
From Victoria
Name Twenty Pounder
Style American Imerial IPA
SOA Now None Awarded
SOA Potential Not a cellaring ale
Drink Now.
Days until your “not a hops fan” girlfriend dares come within 10 feet of your stinky ass 2
Availability Running low at most LRS
Cost $8.00+ per 650ml bottle.
Similar BC Beers Russell Hop Therapy

Written by chuck

February 27th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Posted in Beers

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4 Responses to 'Driftwood Twenty Pounder'

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  1. If you’re passing through, both the Twenty Pounder and Hop Therapy are in stock at Viti@The MET on Columbia Street in New West. I’d love to see you post a side by side comparison too!

    Gavin H

    28 Feb 13 at 19:41

  2. I actually have to disagree with you in regards to it being a huge hop bomb. I had a bomber when it first came out and while the initial mouthfeel was indeed hoppy, I didn’t find it extremely so. It actually had a lot of malts to balance it out, maybe more than I would’ve wanted out of a double IPA. Of course, our palates most likely differ in that I prefer really hoppy IPAs in the style of Southern Californian breweries like Green Flash (their Imperial IPA is one of my favorite beers), Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, etc.

    Overall, I would actually argue that this beer is fairly… I dunno if I’d go as far as saying it’s mediocre, because it was definitely pretty enjoyable going down, but it certainly wasn’t one of the better double IPAs I’ve had, in part due to the malt body which I felt was bigger than the hop profile that was trying to come through. The hop profile in itself was pretty damn nice, though. It reminded me of a less dry, less crisp Green Flash Imperial IPA, I guess.

    I would also argue against trying to drink any more Hop Therapy at this point. That beer’s been out for… what, four months at this point? Hell, that beer was starting to taste a bit stale back in the middle of January when I had my last bottle of it. I can’t really imagine it tasting very good these days.


    3 Mar 13 at 04:35

  3. I guess Russian River isn’t a SoCal brewery, but you get my point. Let’s replace it with Alpine and/or Port Brewing to avoid any hurt feelings.


    3 Mar 13 at 04:39

  4. I should also mention that, as someone who’s had probably 6+ bombers of Hop Therapy, Twenty Pounder doesn’t even begin to compare to it, unfortunately. That beer blew me away, and I really hope Russell brews that again.


    3 Mar 13 at 04:49

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