The concept of Yin and Yang is an ancient one. Two forces, inherently different yet somehow compelled to each other with an irresistible attraction and, when they finally combine, form a whole that can be greater than the sum of their parts. Such is the case with Yang Imperial Taiji India Pale Ale from Denmark’s Evil Twin Brewery.
I wasn’t sure what Taiji was to be honest, so I hopped on over to Wikipedia, which tells me that it’s another name for Tai Chi. Luckily, I already knew what an imperial IPA was. In any event, Evil Twin Yang is interesting on its own, but it is also intended to be combined with Evil Twin Yang to make an epic Black and Tan. Here’s what Evil Twin says about that on the label:
This is one half of a Black and Tan. Not just any Black and Tan but the one where a roasted smug and a hoppy fella get together to make a sublime Taiji balance. Mix the Yin & Yang together (or enjoy this profoundly evil imperial stout solo).
For my part, I wanted it both ways, so I used my sampling glasses to try a little Yin, try a little Yang, and try a little Yin and Yang. If you don’t want to mix your own, Evil Twin sells them combined in one bottle as Yin & Yang. I’ve never seen that one, but would certainly try it if I did.
I bought both of my bottles of Yin and Yang at the same time and paid $3.99 each for them. That’s a bit pricey, but I’ve come to find that with Evil Twin the beer is always worth the asking price. Then too, these aren’t likely beers you will drink every day, since they are bother potent in alcohol content. Yang runs a whopping 10% alcohol by volume after all. My bottle of Yin was packaged on 5/7/13, while the Yang was bottled the very next day. Neither is brewed or bottled in Denmark but rather at Connecticut’s Two Roads Brewing.
Evil Twin Yang pours to a bright orange color with a fair sized head of creamy foam and a big beautiful nose of earthy, herbal, very peppery hops. Taking a sip, I get a good dose of malt upfront that is both caramelly and toasty. The hops quickly take over and deliver more of the herbal flowery aromas the nose promised and a big in your face peppery bitterness that is long and dry and grabs the tongue and just will not let go. This one is truly exceptional, and the huge alcohol warmth in the finish really seals the deal. The beer is very bready and at this strength Barleywine like, but retains enough hoppiness to give the imperial IPA moniker credence.
Mixed with Yin, Yang does indeed make a tasty Black and Tan, though a stronger one than I am used to.
Yin and Yang combine to form a beer that is a bit pale on the bottom and dark black to brown on top. I could have tried to layer them I suppose, but to be frank I wanted the beers to mingle and the flavors to merge. The nose becomes quite interesting, the peppery hops from Yang and the roast from Yin are most notable. Taking a sip, the caramel malt of Yang is gone, replaced by the roast of Yin, albeit a lighter incarnation attenuated as it is by Yang. The big hoppiness of Yang, though, will not be subdued and as the blended beer progresses it comes back with its peppery, very bitter robustness and dominates the finish. Does a bit of roasty Yin poke through there? It does I think and curiously the licorice comes out more here than in straight Yin. Amazing really, and not like any black and tan you’ve had.
Based on my criteria of adherence to style, hedonistic enjoyment and pricing, I gave Yin 4.5 stars and Yang 4.5 as well. Yin and Yang together, though, truly fit the philosophical mold and for me get a 5 together. They truly do become more than the sum of their parts when combined. If you have a chance to try them, you certainly should.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.