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The Substance | Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

121 Reviews
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The SubstanceThe Substance

Brewed by:
Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
Maine, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our flagship; a brightly dank ale that threads many needles.

vailability: weekly production
ABV: 6.6% OG: 1.060
Hops: Falconer's Flight, Centennial, Apollo, Summit, Chinook
Malts: 2-row, flaked Wheat, Flaked oats, Flaked Barley

Added by Bowdoinbeerboy on 12-11-2013

User Reviews
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Reviews: 121 | Ratings: 1,127
Photo of crotharagain
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Gift from a trading budding. No date on the can, but likely fresh.
Poured into a Gray Sail pint glass.
L - Cloudy straw with minimal foam and lacing
S - Superb Treehouse type hoppy aroma, really promised a great taste.
T - Did not follow up to the aroma, but still very solid citrus with an herbal finish.
F - Solid and silky
Overall, a great summer IPA. Lowish ABV, nice after mowing the lawn.

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Photo of Beric
3.97/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving: On tap at Duck Fat in Portland, ME, in a Bissel Bros glass
Served: 3 June 2016

Appearance: Pours like your standard NE IPA juice bomb- very opaque, almost orange-juice like but maybe a little browner. Soft white head. Great lacing.

Smell: Pretty subdued compared to what I was expecting. Soft citrus and tropical fruit notes. Subtle sweetness.

Taste: Similar to the nose, except I think the more subdued flavors were really a positive here. I feel like this beer drank very smooth and was easy on the palate for being a 6.5% IPA. Went down fast and easy.

Mouthfeel: Medium-high body with high carbonation.

Overall: A very drinkable New England-style IPA and one that I could easy have a few of in a sitting from a flavor perspective. Not too boozy for a standard IPA, which was nice to see. I would definitely recommend this, but I find the overall BA rating a pinch too high, and the Bros' rating far too low.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz can

Appears cloudy opaque pale yellow, good head and lacing. Nice well rounded hop aroma. Taste is hop dominated and low bitterness. Full mouthfeel

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Photo of Mateo2699
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pour is a typical NE style orange hazy hue, excellent lacing and retention.

Fresh orange peel and lemon zest in the aroma. Hints of mint, honey and nectarine. Aroma isn't as in your face as swish, still great though.

Taste follows nose pretty well, definitely getting even more citrus. Especially orange. Piney hop resin In the back end, combining with a subtle peppery malt.

Mouthfeel is medium carbonation, pretty easy drinker.

Definitely isn't on Swish level, still great.

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Photo of Brew_42
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

One of the best IPAs I've ever had.

Pours hazy orange/gold with a bright white head that leaves heavy lacing

Smells fruity and piney. Taste follows the nose with a ton of fruity punch to balance out the hoppiness

Crisp and refreshing.

Really solid IPA IMO but I'm not an IPA guy

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Photo of Nachojon
4.64/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very very solid beer. Haze, of the deep scale with hues of gold to yellow. Mellow but pleasant aroma. Bigger in the flavor department with smooth orange and melon up front to more of a bitter grapefruit finish.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Canned on date of either 3/22 or 3/23, I don't recall which.

Appearance - Pours cloudy and orange in color with a white, half finger head that dissipates quickly to reveal a mostly barren surface and a thin ring of suds along the edge of the glass. The lacing breaks off in thin sheets, with spots and lines found between.

Smell - Aroma consists of fresh orange, mint, pine, a hint of pineapple and mango.

Taste - Follows the nose. Fresh hoppy character that hits on notes of juicy orange with lesser pineapple and mango, pine, leafy character that hints of mint, and a touch of spice. Malts are mostly buried, with only a bit of generic bready sweetness peaking through. Stone fruit pit nuttiness hits mid-taste. The finish consists of lingering notes of citrus, leaf and that nutty pit character.

Mouthfeel - On the fuller side of medium with moderate carbonation. Smooth, nigh quaffable with a crisp, mostly dry finish.

Overall - Delicious brew. Very much in the same mold as Heady, only more citrus comes through here. Frankly, I might like this more than it's big brother, Swish.

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Photo of Beers-es
4.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 16 oz undated can, pours a completely hazy, dark yellow-orange. An inch of off-white head leaves a solid curtain of lace. I love the way this looks.

Smell is kind of muted, honestly, but what I pick up is piney and tropical, with some hints of orange and dank. Malt sweetness makes an appearance later on.

Taste is fantastic, with a delicious combination of oranges and spicy pine. Some breadiness comes in halfway through, before finishing with a spicy, sticky resinous pine and fruit.

Feel is spot-on medium, with a nice body and a good combination of smoothness and lively carbonation.

Overall this is a great beer in the juice-bomb genre. Great stuff!

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Photo of kalosjakar
3.96/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hazy "piss" yellow with a small white head.

Aroma: grapefruit, orange, citrus, pineapple, tropical fruits

Taste: bitterness up front, coats the mouth with stickiness, a lot missing the in the flavor department imo. the aroma is killer though.

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

This batch (3/1) is no doubt my favorite to date. Appearance is just the way I like an IPA, crazy hazy and a pale yellow orange. The nose on this batch is phenomenal! Tons of pine, pops of lemon, orange and nice dankness to it with a hint of biscuity sweetness hidden as well. The taste is rock solid ! Much like the nose, it's very piney with some nice fruitiness. The malts show up to the party towards the end of the party and as the beer warms a fair bit. The feel is just right. Very creamy and smoooooooth. It's so easy to knock these back it's silly. It coats the palate nicely, and finished with a nice clean dryness that wants your mouth beckoning for more.
Overall this batch of Substance is bomb diggity ! Well done BBB, this batch kicks ass !

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Photo of agreenman19
4.64/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L - pale cloudy satsuma orange. Watered down OJ. Course frothy head that quickly simmers down. Nice lacing!

S - sticky grapefruit rind tartness. Bready and spicy. Juicy orange and pineapple.

T - hoppy grapefruit and pine. Packs a forceful bitter punch. Zesty is a word that comes to mind. Lemon, lime. Has a pungent acidity. Sourdough. Juicy, but drying at the same time.

F - light and creamy. Has a soft forgiving mouthfeel, considering the hoppy assault that precedes it.

O - great beer! I prefer the juiciness of Swish, but this is a crisp, refreshing, twangy brew that craves attention.

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

First Bissell Bros beer. Poured from a 16-oz can into a SN/Dogfish IPA glass.

Pours a hazy, coppery color with a nice white head that leaves good lacing. Smell is piney and slightly fruity. Taste is great - citrusy, smooth, a nice hoppiness. Goes down smoothly - very drinkable, with no discernable alcohol in the taste. Really enjoyed it and looking forward to the Swish.

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Photo of GregA135
4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another great IPA by the Bissell Brothers

16oz can poured into a snifter a hazy yellow with a modest white head
Could really smell pineapple, citrus and hops
A juicy IPA with tastes of citrus, tropical fruit, a little bit of lemon and grapefruit
Perfect amount of carbonation and went down smooth!

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Photo of SteveB24
3.61/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Color is a pale, hazy orange. Pours a half finger of eggshell head that retains well, aroma is pretty earthy. There's straw, pine, subtle hints of citrus and mango. Taste is mildly citrusy and sweet upfront, slightly floral, lots of unexpectedly bitter hops in the finish and aftertaste. Texture is creamy and light, makes me think of a wheat beer, with a slightly chalky after feel in the throat. Overall this wasn't unpleasant but not something I'd seek out in the future.

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Photo of Lonborgski
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From 16oz can bought at brewery labeled 02/10.
Unfiltered light amber, modest head, nice lacing.
Smell of lemony hops.Not overpowering.
Really nice clean fruity hoppy taste. Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit
Tangy feel.
Overall very nice.

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Photo of Statik_v87
4.41/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Whenever my buddies and I trek up to Portland, ME on a craft beer pilgrimage, we make sure to hit Allagash, Foundation, and (of course) Bissel Brothers. The Substance is one of my favorite IPAs. I've had it on tap and enjoyed it more than a Heady Topper, even. There can be slight variation between batches, but it is always very drinkable. However, that makes it hard to pick which one I like more... The Substance, or Epiphany from Foundation (next door). Both are nice hoppy, hazy, fruity IPAs. Bottom line? Good beer. Get some. ^ ^

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Photo of OompaMentor
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- poured from a 16oz ca into pint glass; hazy straw color w/ little carbonation, nice head
S- citrus and danky hops
T- sweet, citrus and nice malts are well balanced
M- nice carbonation with flavorful light grapefruit and not over powering

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Photo of MA_hops
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a real treat!
A: Hazy/cloudy golden straw in color with a thick white foamy head.
S: Dank/sticky hops, lemon citrus, oats.
T: Similar to nose, lemon/orange citrus pops out along with a slightly bitter and hoppy/dank finish.
M: Medium carbonation, dry, slightly bitter finish. Very Trillium esque!
O: Another dry/juicy New England IPA!! Bravo!!

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Photo of jrsaffert
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into Spiegelau IPA glass.

Appearance: Very hazy, looks like slightly watered down orange juice

Aroma: Orange zest and a faint honey-like sweetness. Surprisingly subdued aroma, nothing really bursting through.

Taste: Big orange hopiness followed by a wave of bitter citrus peels. Tangerine, white grapefruit and mandarin oranges. Really a citrus focused IPA

Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth with a clean finish despite the assertive bitterness.

Overall: I really liked this one. I'm glad I traded for some. I wish I could get it locally!

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

Canned 10 days ago.

Pours a deep yellow straw. Looks like a fruit juice. Hello New England IPA.

Aroma coming at me from every direction. Smells like a fresh concoction of tropics and hops. Picking up a little wheat. A wondrous mixture of goodness.

Simply delicious. This unique IPA has a light malt profile with plenty of tropical fruit flavor. Citrus on every layer. Ends with a bitter resin. One of the most drinkable IPAs you will ever taste.

Medium carbonation fits the bill well. Dry and to the point.

Overall, this beer is one of a kind. At the bottom of the can you will find yeast and sediment adding to the aroma. It's all part of the magic that Bissell Bros produces. If you're in Maine, you need to seek out Maine Beer Co and BB. Scratch that, If you're an IPA drinker, you need to seek out MBC and BB.

For those that want this beer cleaned up.... get over it. The Substance is perfect in its own way. It has been crafted to what it was supposed to be. A hazy, dirty, glorious mixture of flavorful hops with a hint of wheat and oat backbone.

The "bros" rating this at an 80? Ouch. Proves that beer is as much preference as music is.


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Photo of Dopen993
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can into tulip. No date.

L. Hazy yellow straw with light head and minimal lacing.
S. Lots of mango and more peach on this beer than I have had any any other beers.
T. Lots of tropical fruit notes, see smell. Finish has a bit of a funky taste to it, but not in a bad way.
No alcohol finish at all, very well done.
F. Above average carbonation with a moderate mouth feel.
O. Loved it. Would buy again.....and then again.

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Photo of alsmitty1414
3.26/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Definitely a solid beer. Very let down though considering all the hype surrounding this brewery and beer. Was like an IPA milk shake, had 2 and felt like I just ate a 20oz t-bone. You get the mango, pineapple and orange on the nose, similar flavors in the mouth but more dank and piney and resin than the smell emits. Would drink again but not going to wait in line 30 plus minutes in addition to the hour plus drive. Good beer but not nearly on the level of Tree House, Trillium, Lawson's, Hill Farmstead, Alchemist. That's just my opinion though.

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Photo of allezvousen
3.33/5  rDev -22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Was really excited to try this. Just didn't do it for me and perhaps it was because I drank it side by side with other NE hoppy IPAs. Leaves malty after-taste that lingers. Juicy IPA it is but don't think it's on par with TH, Trillium and VT IPAs.

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Photo of anteatr23
4.49/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours yellow/orange haze, cloudy with a two finger head. Smells of mango, orange and pineapple.. sweet with a lightly spicy hop aroma. Taste is dank, herbal and juicy, but still with some noticeable bitterness. Hop flavor profile comes in after the dank juicy wave. Bready malts come through in the aftertaste. This is a really fun IPA that does a lot of things well. Really combines that east coast unfiltered juicy ipa feel with balance and a lot of flavor and character.

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

Look - Lemonade/grapefruit juice type color. Completely hazed. Just how I like'em
Smell - Pineapple, dank, some mangos, grapefruit
Taste - Dank/weed, grapefruit, citrus, hints of tropical fruits
Feel - Nice mouthfeel for 6.5%, soft/subtle bitterness that falls off the palate, crushable

Overall - Everything about this beer is awesome. Seek it out whenever/however you can.

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The Substance from Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 121 ratings.