"Why would you want to make an IPA with Westmalle Yeast?!?!"
As you can probably tell from my reaction of hearing that Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Wild Ale was produced using a Westmalle Yeast, that I'm not a fan of Westmalle. Well I'm sorry but I'm not. Unless you give me a ten year old version of their Triple, there's quite a lot of Triple's which I'd find more appealing.
Sumpin' Wild is a 9.4% Belgian IPA with a very fruity aroma; big hints of apricot blast your face mixed with some Belgian biscuit notes. I'm not getting the biggest of aromas though to be honest, as this was the only glass I could find in the flat I'm staying in Cambridge, so I'm going off raw taste today.
You get an immediate super drying, super yeasty bitter bite to the flavour. It's mixed in with a lot of fruity flavours, but it's different than your juicy/fruity flavours your used to from a big American IPA, there's a lot of fruity/dryness. More of the same apricot in the flavour, peaches too with a little bubblegum and a touch of lemon. It's very drinkable for a 9.4% beer, but I guess that comes from the dryness. The finish is rounded and balanced with that crazy sort of lingering flavour which is only really brought about from Belgian Style IPAs.
It's not a bad beer, certainly not - it's a perfectly made and complex beer. It's just not really for me. I should probably explain my first statement. I'm not a fan of Westmalle because I think it's far too dry and far too over carbonated - it fills up my belly like a balloon. Give me a ten year old sample and I'm in true beer geek heaven. Ten year Westmalle Triple is one of the best beers on the planet, but I don't have any currently ageing and I don't really have the patience to start again. I just got a little too much of the fresh Westmalle in this beer for my liking, give me Hop Stoopid any day of the week instead. Then again, the beer to my liking probably wasn't helped by my existing opinions on Westmalle. Was I pre-destined to not find the beer to my taste because of my own opinions? Would I have had a different experience if I'd not read what the beer was before tasting it? Who knows... probably not, but it's always fun to ponder.
I think I'll leave on the fantastic words which are always (differently) printed on Lagunitas bottles: "So, we're all on collective disability. That's cool. Let's put some ice on it and keep ourselves elevated for a while. So, what's on the tube..? Honey..? Get me a beer from the fridge... Will ya..? Sweetie..? Pleeease..?"