Review Date 03/23/2012 Last Updated 5/12/2015
Ready for another “Double IPA”? I am, if it’s a Ringwood beer. Enter Shipyard XXXX IPA, part of the Pugsley Signature Series of brews and, I think, the first Imperial/Double IPA I’ve tasted fermented with Ringwood yeast. Shipyard is one of the few breweries in America to use the English Ringwood strain; oddly enough, one of the most notable other such brewer is D.L. Geary’s. Both are located in Portland, Maine.
Ringwood is usually a love it or hate it proposition, but for me the strain has always been love at first sip. The buttery, yeasty notes that the strain imparts scream “English ale” at the top of their lungs, and make for a truly unique brewing experience. That made me quite excited to see this beer hit store shelves here in Georgia about a year ago. It’s been a staple in my beer fridge ever since,
Shipyard says “XXXX IPA is a non-traditional American IPA with a brilliant copper color and the classic citrus nose of Cascade hops.” I’m not sure what they mean by non-traditional, lots of IPAs are non-traditional these days. They list the following ingredients:
Cascade, Warrior,Summit and Glacier hops are used for bittering and Cascade hops are added for dry hopping after fermentation. This hop blend is well balanced with malted wheat, pale ale, crystal, and caramel malts.
The beer was launched in May of 2009, has an alcohol content of 9.25% by volume and is sold in bomber and 12 ounce bottles and also sold on draft. Shipyard beers are fairly ubiquitous here in Georgia, but I have yet to see them on tap.
Shipyard Pugsley’s Signature Series XXXX IPA pours to a coppery orange color with a thick creamy white head formation and a very fruity, herbal hoppy nose. This is a beer to be enjoyed slowly, and so I take a gentle pull to start. Right, away my tongue is bathed in thick, chewy caramel malt, seemingly about twice as much as your average IPA packs. Some buttery diacetyl surely comes through, too, along with juicy passion fruit. And then the hops hit: long, dry, herbal, grassy hops that become very bitter indeed, almost exploding in the finish in all their bitter intensity. There’s a decided dose of alcohol warmth there, too. Overall, a very nice “Double” IPA with a twist of buttery, slightly mushroomy Ringwood yeast character.
Shipyard XXXX IPA is on the pricey side at $9.99 for a four-pack, but it’s a very tasty brew indeed and one I’m willing to pay a premium for. The rich Ringwood yeast flavors set this one apart from your average double/imperial IPA. It’s worth checking out.
Update 5/12/2015: Who says you can't age IPAs? I have a bottle of Shipyard Pugsley's Signature Series XXXX IPA that is notched as best before end of December....2011. That makes this bottle just about 4 years old as I sip. How has it held up? The beer pours to a bright orange color with a medium head formation and a vibrant earthy herbal hop aroma with highlights of bright citrus orange. Taking a sip, the beer has a full caramel maltiness up front followed by waves of hops, very orangey now and herbal and grassy at the last. Seems a bit malter and a bit less hoppy but surprisingly delicious. And all this after nearly four years in the beer fridge albeit nigh frozen?
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.