I forgot how I first learned of this beer. I was doing a search on Dogfish Head’s website looking for something new that they may have brewed. What led me there is what’s forgotten. In DFH’s Beer category I spotted a beer I hadn’t heard of before. The beer was called Liquid Truth Serum, and was described as being “truthfully hoppy without being deceptively bitter.” Interesting.
On the DFH website, there was a nifty “find this beer near you” search area. I punched in my vitals and the result pointed to Four Seasons right down the block. I picked up a sixer on Friday. My wife chimed in, “Aren’t all truth serums liquid?” I couldn’t think of a comeback. Why did DFH go with this name redundancy? Because there’s another beer out there called Truth Serum.
I found a video of Sam Calagione describing how the beer was brewed. No hops in the boil. All hops added in the whirlpool. No info on times, temperatures, quantities or specific varieties of hops. I still wondered how can you add a ton of hops and not get a bitter beer?! Knowing of Sam’s reputation as an adventurer, I had no doubt that this beer would be the beer to drink and write about. Sam’s beer description and a whirlpool discussion are at the end.
The New England style IPAs with their chewy juiciness comes to mind buy I’m going to venture an opinion and say that the more west you go from New England, the less foggy, hazy and juicy the beer will be. I may be wrong. There are plenty of new chewy IPAs being brewed and introduced to the market. And there are plenty I haven’t heard about.
Let’s not talk about what is and what could be. Let’s get started.
As I poured the beer, I could smell the aromas of the hops from 18 inches away. The liquid was a hazy yellow-orange and it had a nice, but loose knit white froth on top. Carbonation was slight with tiny bubbles. The aroma had hints of citrus fruits and a bit of pine.
The first sip was a surprise. The taste was not quite New England juicy-hoppy but came close. The mouthfeel was light but carried with it a big spectrum of flavors. Tropical fruitiness comes forward first, followed by some sweet yellow citrus, a bit of a piney taste at the swallow and no bitter bite at the tonsils to talk about. It reminded me of an orange-pineapple juice box without being cloyingly sweet.
The taste of the beer isn’t overbearing at all. The hop flavors that are concentrated right in the center of the tongue are just right. The bitterness at the back hits when the liquid first starts going down, but it disappears at the last swallow.
I’m really beginning to like this style of IPA. Event though IPA is a style in and of itself, we could further break that down into a few substyles. New England, west coast and Drano style super bitter IPAs. Liquid Truth Serum is at one end of the hop torture spectrum. 90 Minute IPA is at the other end. Along with Sierra Nevada Torpedo and Two Hearted Ale and many other traditional IPAs.
Truth Serum could easily be a go to beer in any household, however, the price may be the deal killer. 15 bucks per sixpack would tend to gouge holes in the budget before too long. But this is what beer memories are made of.
I’m glad that more brewers are pushing the beer making process into unknown territories. Many breweries are trying their hands at brewing these hazy, chewy, juicy IPAs. We’ll wait and see just how far they’ll take this trend before it goes overboard and the world turns on them like a politician with Roman hands and Russian fingers.
If you spot some Liquid Truth Serum at the beer store, pick it up this one time before it all goes away. Paying the extra 4 or 5 dollars may make you wince, but the beer will apologize to your taste buds later at the party in your mouth.
Style: New England style IPA
Taste: Fruity, slightly sweet and disappearing bitterness at the end.
Smoothness: Goes down real nice.
Bang for the buck: A bit on the pricey side.
Amount paid: $14.99 for a sixpack of 12-ounce bottles.
Get it again? Yes, if I have the extra cash.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Looks like lemonade. (sniff) Smells like bitter. (sip) It’s like the lemon zest. (sip) You get the bitter, but it goes away. It doesn’t sit there. (“Smells like bitter” is like “smells like victory.”)
Sam talks about Liquid Truth Serum [2:05]
Two guys discuss hop bursting versus whirlpool hopping [8:04]