Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

The Substance - Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
The SubstanceThe Substance

Educational use only; do not reuse.

72 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 72
Hads: 846
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 8.43%
Wants: 228
Gots: 190 | FT: 4
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: 72 | Hads: 846
Photo of hoppygram
4.99/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A Poured into a beer mug, the color is cloudy golden and a little dull, but the smell totally overrides appearance. The carbonation was perfect, with a two finger head.

S Hops with a citrusy clean aroma.

T This has been my "go to" beer for a while. It tastes as good as it smells. I have had it on tap at the brewery (hours away from my home), poured from a can the day after it was canned, and a couple on tap at couple of pubs. I have had a few from the case I bought at BBB. But now, two months later (what is left of the case I have hoarded) has really come into its own. There is a hoppy, citrusy, bitterness that meets my expectations of an excellent beer.

M This beer flows perfect for me.

O I really like Bissell Brothers Substance! I have been trying other IPAs, but the only one that comes close, in my opinion, is Dogfish 90 minute IPA. Heading to VT next weekend to see what I can find there. (909 characters)

Photo of W_Des
4.87/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A fantastic IPA. Pours a bright straw color and the nose contains a sweet floral tropical fruitiness with some grapefruit, papaya and mangoes. The body is extremely refreshing and juicy with a restrained bitter finish. (218 characters)

Photo of Hendry
4.81/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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)

Photo of RedDevil36
4.79/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Top 3 beer for me. Will wait in line for it any day of the week. A great experience from the nose, the feel, the euphoria and the taste. Well played Bissell. (160 characters)

Photo of Sintech
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - Light golden yellow.

Smell - Light citrus.

Taste - Citrus at first then resinous pine in the finish. Delicious.

Mouthfeel - Light. Very drinkable. Perfect carbonation.

Overall - (A-) Highly recommend. (218 characters)

Photo of Reds76
4.7/5  rDev +10.1%

Canned yesterday, drinking today! Fresh is definitely makes a big difference. I don't smell or taste as much of the citrus that other people report but I do get a fantastic hop aroma and flavor - more herbal, dank and funky - very unique flavor - can't quite put my finger on it. Smooth and drinkable. Excellent lacing and carbonation. This one has really grown on me since I first tried it. Another great beer from Maine! (428 characters)

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.

-DLR (583 characters)

Photo of Buhz_Bee
4.69/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lighter in color than average, carbonation bordered on fizzy - lacey beyond compare though. Dynamite smell - grapefruit from out of this world. ABV was somewhat deceptive, drinks like a session IPA, but hits like a freight train. (231 characters)

Photo of mjstacker
4.64/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured a 6 day old can into a tulip glass. Amazed by the presentation. Massive white frothy head over a super light copper-ish colored ale, thick lacing all the way down. Smells of Pine, hints of citrus and melon. Tastes of delicious hoppy, dare I say, "Heady-like" goodness. Not super fruity nor spicy, kind-of a blend of the two. Super smooth, tiny-bubble kind of carbonation. Finishes easy and crisp. This is an amazing beer from a company that i'm so excited about. Hopefully they continue to push out beer as good as this. Cheers. (535 characters)

Photo of HeadyTheElder
4.56/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great IPA from the northeast. Nice lemony citrus flavors with some tropical and floral notes. Don't really get any pine. Very crisp and refreshing with minimal malt presence. Juicy. My kind of IPA. (209 characters)

Photo of JamesStreet
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- poured a slightly murky yellow with a huge, pillowy white foam.
S- floral and tropical hops
T- sweet citrus/tropical fruit. Mango.
M- light-medium feel, moderate carb. Not dry.
O- another fine beer from Bissell Bros. (223 characters)

Photo of stephens101
4.54/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A billowy white froth weighs heavy atop this golden brew, setting itself apart from the get go. Aroma is bright with orange and grapefruit. The flavor is ocean deep with more waves of citrusy goodness, a palpable layer of peppercorn, a coating of orange peel and a squirt of sweet fruit juice. Light to medium bodied with little weight and enough alcohol bite to keep plenty of hair growing on the chest. (407 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 Justin82
4.51/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16 oz into a pint

Look: Golden and hazy. half inch head with good retention. Bit of lacing

Smell: Light citrus, but overall very little aroma

Taste: Super juicy. Tropical fruits right off the bat, citrus and pine notes as well

Feel: Crisp, light, and refreshing. light body. Good carb

Overall: Great beer and great brewery. I'll definitely go back to this one again if the opportunity arises (410 characters)

Photo of Faxmesomehalibut
4.51/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

From a can purchased yesterday and canned 3 days ago. Very fresh beer from these guys and I'm very glad to have it!
A: goldish hay in color, clear, thin white lacing sticking to glass
S: citrusy, resiny, full, some sweetness, balanced
T: very similar to the nose, lots of hoppy goodness, pungent citrus and resiny, very smooth and crisp, very balanced flavors
M: good carb, very smooth light and refreshing
O: perfectly balanced beer from the Bissell brothers. This super smooth, very hoppy yet incredibly drinkable beer is perfectly balanced! Get some and drink fresh! (571 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 woodychandler
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

My undying gratitude goes out to my current "Character", Justin Chlan, who knows to look for CANned beer for me in his travels. He brought this back from a recent foray up to Maine in support of The CANQuest (TM). Cheers!

From the CAN: "The Substance Ale, a creation two years in the making, represents the past, present, and future of beer - Drawing from the wealth of knowledge of those that came before us while creating something entirely our own, waves of hop flavor permeate the senses as you [CAN]sume The Substance. We started Bissell Brothers for one reason - To use the short time that we have to live to make something awesome and share it with the world. Thank you for enjoying the fruits of our labors."; "keep maine beautiful. recycle."

No problem with that last as the spent CAN will be given to Jeff Lebo for his House of CANs. The Crack! gave me a little spritzy squirt across my fingers! This is usually the indication of good things ahead. I began with an inverted Glug, but I had to back off due to the pint-sized CAN. I was rewarded with three fingers of dense, French Vanilla-colored head with reasonable retention. Color was a cloudy Yellow-Gold (SRM = 4 -5). Nose was very piney and now my hophead mouth was beginning to water. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was a combination of grapefruit rind and pine needles and now my tongue was dancing in unbridled joy! Amazingly, though, after the initial wash of hops, it became very mellow and easy-drinking. I ran through that CAN like a hot knife through soft butter. The tastes commingled beautifully and I really enjoyed its finish. The finish was very citrusy and tickled the back of my throat going down. It was dry, but just enough to lead to the next sip. I definitely recommend this one for my fellow hopheads. Others should just leave it for the rest of us. (1,838 characters)

Photo of handcrafty
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

A wonderful treat received as an extra via @skinny_mcginley ..
Pours a hazy off gold with an initial two finger, and sustaining 1/4 inch head.
Smells dank grass, pinecones and sharp citrus.
The taste follows with a wonderful accompanying malt backbone and a nice spicy note courtesy of the rye.
This beer, like many other beers crafted in the great state of Maine is done supremely.
The taste is almost 'clean' given the water quality, which really allows the F.F hop blend to shine through.
A beautiful, well crafted example of the style. (540 characters)

Photo of Seanniek91
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 16oz can into an Alchemist Wili Becher.

Appearance- Hazy gold/orange one finger foamy white head that left nice lacing.

Smell- Tropical fruits and bitter pine. Pineapples, peaches, grassy and floral notes. It's nice and layered.

Taste- Much of the smells, but some mango and tangerine comes through. Pine and grass finishes this one. Well balanced. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel- Well carbonated, easy to drink, medium body, crisp, clean, nice bitterness.

Overall- A really nice IPA. Well done Bissel Bros. Can't wait to see whats in store for us in the future. (573 characters)

Photo of Robjvoorhees
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

I really like this beer. Big fan of Baby Genius as well. I really enjoyed the citrus aroma that this big IPA
Provided. Was able to find it on that at Novare Res Bier Café and the thirsty pig. (195 characters)

Photo of tregan_20
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this beer as an extra in a trade. The appearance is quite hazy with an amber appearance. The flavor profile was somewhat citrusy with grapefruit being noticeable. In my opinion, this was a well crafted IPA from Bissell Brothers. Cheers! (245 characters)

Photo of alaimoa
4.48/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Great lost Bear in Portland. Finally able to find it and looking forward to grabbing some cans. I recommend buying whenever you get a chance

Limited reviews and ticks thus far so wasn't sure what to expect
A: golden with bit of cloudy off white head
S: big pine upfront leading into citrus notes
T: fairly dose to nose with a very nice balance and slightly spicy backend lingering taste that is pleasant and not overly aggressive
M: perfect med carb and easily drinkable (485 characters)

Photo of Ken_P
4.44/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

16 oz. can picked up from the brewery 5 days ago. This is the new recipe with a revised yeast. Poured into a Tree House Teku glass. Finger of white head with a golden orange body. The head diminishes quickly and leaves some lacing. Nose is mango, tangerine and pineapple, quite appealing. Some apple and grass is present too. Taste is more of the same. Fruity start, tangerine and citrus. Pine shines through in the middle and onion is on the finish. Quite bitter but it's a vegetal/floral kind of bitterness. Smooth, thicker feel. Finish is very drying. Overall this a tasty New England style IPA. As per the new recipe, unfortunately I don't remember the last time I had this well enough to note differences. I think I like this more than the last time I had it but I also had it on draft the last time. Similar body and smell of a Trillium beer but with a harsher bitterness. Definitely another great beer from these guys! (926 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%

The beer comes in slightly transparent golden orange.

The aroma offers sweet oranges and grapefruit, almost syrupy. In the back, a bit of bright green grass, and hints of the dank garlic of Summit.

On the flavor, a touch of Maine Beer character. Sweet citrus of orange, tangerine up front, along with a touch of bready sweetness. A good amount of fruity character in the front, but then the beer aggressively transitions to this big bittering and drying. Slightly green, pine, pure bitterness of grapefruit and pushing towards astringent.

The mouthfeel is medium to medium minus.

The lighter mouthfeel and strong bitterness reasonably detract from this stand up there with the big boys. (690 characters)

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.41/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy yellow, almost greenish tinted, tight head that sticks around. Smell is over ripe tropical fruit - guava / papaya - along with some definite spicy vegetal notes - wet grass, crushed leaves, freshly turned compost. I can see why this isn't some people's bag, but I love the earthiness. Flavor carries through, pungent with sweet tropical notes woven in. Finish is a bit flabbier than I'd like, particularly as it warms. (432 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
The Substance from Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.