Sutr’s Flame Smoked India Pale Ale
My can of Hammerheart Brewing Sutr’s Flame Smoked India Pale Ale (8.0% alcohol by volume) is 2 weeks old. I crack the can and catch an initial smoky malt aroma from about 3 feet away. It diminishes quickly to medium high. Smoke, malt and hop aromas balance with a dab of alcohol. The malt opens up with some rich caramel notes while after a few minutes the hops fall a little back from the other aromas. The hops have the intensity but smoke does a better job masking the hop aromas than the malt. The yeast character provides some background fruit esters that act in a supporting role. Its tea colored brown with a soft haze under a massive lacy beige 3" cap with good retention. A big bitter hop presence softened by moderate hop flavors more than adequately balances rich malt flavors. The bitterness has citrus rind and tea and in the finish approaches quinine. The smokiness is moderate - its there but it is pleasant and not like running your tongue around an ashtray. It does not overwhelm and contributes a slight astringent note on the finish. As the beer dries on the finish more of the smoke comes through. The malt has a light grainy sweet note and is not caramelly or toasty. The brewer uses Kveik yeast which contributes to the dry finish and some of the fruit flavors. The alcohol is moderate, gently warming and not hot or harsh. The beer leaves you with a long lingering bitter aftertaste that breaks though the smoke in the end. The Kveik yeast gives the beer a very creamy texture and a medium full body. The Kveik yeast produces a medium carbonation with a very fine bead. Sutr’s Flame is an interesting beer for those looking for unique flavors, combining some smoke, some rusticity and a long lingering bitter finish. I give it 85. It wins points for originality and loses a couple for astringency.
Go to Classic Style Smoked Beer for a brief discussion of the style, links to reviews of similar beers, food pairings and glassware recommendations.