Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

The Substance - Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
The SubstanceThe Substance

Educational use only; do not reuse.

84 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 84
Hads: 898
Avg: 4.27
pDev: 27.17%
Wants: 232
Gots: 220 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Bissell Brothers Brewing Co. visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bowdoinbeerboy on 12-11-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 84 | Hads: 898
Reviews by Hendry:
Photo of Hendry
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The trouble with under-the-radar IPAs is that they don't stay that way for long once word gets out, and there is no better example than The Substance Ale by Bissell Brothers.

Cloudy peach colored pour,gorgeous unfiltered beauty with a finger of soapy white head. Lacing is splotchy in the Fiddlehead tulip.

The aroma is exceptionally enticing, everything a hop head looks for:mango,grapefruit,
and pineapple make your mouth water, the underlying herbal quality is also apparent. Very promising nose indeed.

The taste closely mirrors the aroma, and it totally works. One of the most fruit juicy IPAs I've had the pleasure of consuming. There is a complexity to the flavors that gives me the idea that a lot of development went into just the right balance of ingredients. The alcohol is incredibly well hidden as well.

Mouthfeel is on the light side of medium, and there is a certain softness about this brew that is a pleasure to drink. Finished dry and crisp.

My buddy in Maine has been raving about The Substance for months, and now I understand what all the excitement is about. If you are able to get your hands on this one, by all means do so! The Substance is highly recommended,and sure to please fans of hop heavy brew.

 1,231 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of cbutova
4.26/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Well Brady, way to shit your pants there. Hopefully he shotguns one of these and gets his composure back. Third can of a six pack picked up two weeks ago.

A- Tall boy falls into a wide tulip with a hazy golden orange body and a several finger, thick puffy white head of epic retention. Lasts for ages and leaves a comforter around. Lacing is ample and tons of blankets remain.

S- Big citrus flesh, juice and pith like tangerine, grapefruit and oranges leads to a medium dose of stone fruits and a hint of stone fruits. Hints of mango, lemon, dank resin and bready grains.

T- Dank skunky substances open up here a bit more with some pine and herbal tea notes but the citrus is still the focus by far. Oranges, clementine, lemon peel, grapefruit and mangoes come to mind. Stone fruits and tropical feel is secondary to the aforementioned. Light cracked grain sweetness and bread.

MF- Frothy and creamy substantial body when you swirl it around on the palate with a medium overall thickness. Carbonation is on the high side appropriately with the flavors and clean hoppy brew.

New England in the Super Bowl, might as well do my only review of the night on another great NE IPA. Citrus driven but other complexities and fruits from the hops beyond that.

 1,254 characters

Photo of SomethingClever
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

canned 8/27

A: Poured light hazy in the glass very light copper color but murky

S: it has to be the falconer hops I'm getting a spicy nose like this beer is going to bite and pine not resin but actual pine just almost sour I'm trying to describe it but it's hard. I have to say it has a smell all it's own I haven't encountered enough to describe

T: the taste embodies that smell it's like a spicy then wait it's balanced out by the malts very earthy a lot of ppl claim fruitiness I get none from this beer just earthy raw spiciness without the heat finishes smooth not like the upfront taste would make you think. it's almost bitter then it's gone.

M: Nice crisp mouthfeel with good carbonation

O: this beer confuses me I want to say oh it tastes like this of it tastes like that but really it has a unique taste maybe I'm unfamiliar with the flavor profile of falconer hops but I think this beer is unique

 915 characters

Photo of Etan
4.29/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A couple cans from valdieu2.

Bright hazy orange. Crisp blood orange and apricot in the nose. Taste is bone dry with a nice mix of restrained green bitterness and a bit of mango. Similar to but better than Heady.

 212 characters

Photo of NateF90
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

16 oz canned on 1/16/2015 purchased from the source on 1/17/2015 poured into a very elegantly shaped Bissell Brothers glass marked with what appears to be glow in the dark or UV-reactive graphics. Normally would have enjoyed from the can, but had to check the color. Lightly hazed straw. Eggshell white two finger head, velvet-textured bubbles. The nose is predominately pine and all things dank, suggestions of the West coast abound. The flavor brings it back home, perfectly balanced hop bite and what I want to call fruit punch, although no fruit notes themselves are identifiable, except in fleeting whisps on the exhale. Excellent buttery feel, nice and rich but always refreshing and several cans the beer definitely can be knocked back successively. Bb is a 'must try' if in the Portland, ME area.

 804 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

If the goal of the American IPA is to simply become a grapefruit juice with alcohol, then the Bissel Brother's flagship IPA would be end game. The review could simply say, "grapefruit juice" and be done with it. However, getting underneath the fruit there's an understated would of ale flavors that play out under the radar of the senses.

Its heavily hazed straw appearance is a testament to The Substance's unadulturated taste, texture and nuances. And as those manifest in aroma, they do so with a huge overcast of straigh-up grapefruit juice with tinges of hawaiian punch, orange juice and the herbal stemmy perfume of lemon verbena, sassafras, and curious whiffs of cannabis.

As the grapefruit flavors saturate the palate with utter ease, its taste is intense, juicy and nearly teeth-churning in its tangy and tart mouthfeel. As its more herbal presence rounds out the flavor, the piquant bitterness of hops easily supplant the rapidly dissolving malt sweetness that's disguised as citrusy fructose. Simultaneously, the ale takes on the fragrancy and spice of fresh wood shavings.

Medium-full in body, the beer trends dry while remaining creamy and pillowy. Still, a dusted arid taste harks to dried grapefruit, gooseberry, gin, riesling and mimosa while the finish assumes a clean and crisp nature. Its a seductive taste and texture that easily circumvents its seemingly dimensional grapefruit character.

 1,412 characters

Photo of Chico1985
3.96/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My last of the tall boy 4-pack bought at the source while up in Portland a couple weeks ago, definitely a purchase I'm happy with. Canned on 1-16-15, one day before we were there, nice.

A - Pour to a pint is a hazy golden yellow color. White head starts huge, a sticky full cap is left at the end along with pretty substantial lace.

S - Oranges, grapefruit, lots of pine resin, danky peach, the slightest sugar cookie malt. Nice, but so-so strength-wise.

T - Big bold and bitter hops, forest pine sap, dirty weed, grapefruit, tangerine, peach, some spicy hops. Very slight malt with a nice sugar biscuit finish.

M - Average heft, somewhat low-feeling but fine carbonation, intense bitterness is nice but gets a bit tiring during a pint.

O - Nice, really packs a punch and the flavors are there, but I find myself wishing it were smoother. The intense bitterness ends up a bit of a detractor for me here.

 910 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.54/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-The Substance pours a milky, cloudy yellow hue with a tight, skinny, white head that doesn't do all too much for lacing. It almost has an oily consistency to it when I look at it. I often find that hoppy beers that come out looking like this usually offer a specific hoppiness that I really enjoy, so I am quite excited.

S-Immediatley delivers with a puréed tropical fruit juice medley of aromatic hoppiness. Citrus, pineapple and guava. More hoppy aromas of pine and herb. A pale malty character that isn't overly detectable and a sweetness that probably comes from both hop and malt.

T-The initial flavor is exceptional. Juicy hops that stress tangerine, pineapple and maybe even some unripe pear; like a purée of exotic fruits. Grassy as well. Sweet, cracker or light biscuity malt. My only criticism is that the flavor sort of dies off quicker than it should; I want this flavor to linger longer!

M-Not excruciatingly bitter. Medium to soft carbonation. Medium bodied. I had about six pints so it was very drinkable.

O-Recently went to Maine, trying several beers and this one was the champion of the trip. The Substance gives off flavors that are set specifically to my taste buds. Delicious. Happy to scratch a notch into the bedpost after this one.

 1,263 characters

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.04/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a sightly cloudy golden yellow with a creamy white head that laces. The nose is mainly mild citrus fruits, nothing particularly distinct, followed by some grain sweetness. The taste is a delicious mix of flavorful citrus hops that have a creeping bitterness, biscuit-y malts, and yeast - all pulled together it's pretty balanced and drinkable. The beer potently hopped, but maintains balance with a creamy sweet malt backbone and a semi-dry and bitter finish. The alcohol is minimal, but there is something funky that lingers (wet cardboard-like?). Overall this is a tasty beer, nothing to stand in line for, but definitely something I'd try again in the future.

 668 characters

Photo of 2beerdogs
3.75/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a straw colored, slightly hazy swirl that pushes up a bone white head. Smell is not exploding as some have mentioned, but does carry forth a mix of some citrus and piney grassiness. Taste is much the same with a slightly grainy tongue finish. This is a solid IPA. It's not blowing my mind like some have mentioned, but it's quite good. I'd like to try again to see if I'm missing out on a grander experience.

 414 characters

Photo of tectactoe
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Schlais
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of AshlandNacho
5/5  rDev +17.1%

Photo of lateralundertow
4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.02/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Frontier in Brunswick. It was served in a really cool pint glass. The beer was a hazy gold color with a good-sized white head. There was a fair amount of sticky lace.

An herbal, piney aroma. A bit of sweet malt.

Taste closely resembled the aroma. Herbal and piney hops. A little bit of caramel.

Hoppy, rustic mouthfeel.

Nice beer.

 356 characters

Photo of dougiegarmonbozia
4.71/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from can into a tulip glass. Smells and tastes of piney, resin dankness. Very much like concentrated buddiness. This gives way to mandarin and other tropical notes and more piney, grassy delight.
Second strongest feature is the exquisite feel, which I am superseded is not generally rated higher. Most super-dankly beers make my tummy eventually rumble in pain, but this one balances massive dankness with an equally strong match of fruit girth. Highly recommended.

 477 characters

Photo of Jordandid
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of StoutFox
3.99/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of bishopdc0
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of mdisabella
4.36/5  rDev +2.1%

Photo of 77apm
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of Doomcifer
4.63/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of JakerLou
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of RDDR1979
4.69/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: ghostly golden yellow, I swear I saw smoke inside my glass

S: powerful citrus, light pine

T: fine balance of delicious bitterness with clean finish

M: surprising robustness

O: My new favorite. Look out Pliney & Topper, Maine has answered! Delicious in a 16 oz. can OR on draft around town if you can find it. I recommend getting a 1/4 keg and enjoying at home.

I think the quality of the draft beer has improved since their unveiling in December, seemed to have tweaked the carbonation or something.

I would keep an eye on this brewery, I expect great things to come.


 583 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
The Substance from Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 84 ratings.