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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: 218 | 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
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Reviews: 84 | Hads: 898
Photo of JebBeerFish
3/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received this as a gift. IPAs are not one of my favorite styles. Not a bad ipa, but I don't see myself ordering this in the future, but wouldn't turn one down on a hot summer day.

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Photo of JNbeerded
3.18/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of the three offerings I've had from BBB, I think this one was the best. Still, like both of the other beers I've had from them, there is a strange off-putting, dirty vegetal-like aroma and flavor that I cannot get passed. Not sure what the hype is all about.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.37/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pour is pale golden in color, clear, with a white head and some fairly large sized bubbles. Nose has a fairly strong citrus with a biscuity malt and a light herbal tea note. Taste follows suit, a bit of sweet malt, lots of citrus, doughy biscuit and a light herbal hop tea finish. Sweetness is a bit stronger than we'd prefer, carb is pretty aggressive and body is slick and oily.

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Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
3.56/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried on 12/7/13 at the Thirsty Pig (first night it debuted?).

This beer poured with decent head, that settled down fairly quickly. The things that really struck me was how pale and clear this beer was. It looked a lot like a pilsner in the glass, very pale yellow and totally clear. It was probably the clearest ipa I have ever had.

The nose was pretty good, solid, but not overpowering or a "punch" to the nose. It was a lightly malty up front which quickly faded to distinct peach/tropical fruit notes.

On the taste, fairly malty and lightly sweet up front, this quickly fades to some nice fruit juice flavors (peach again) and then that flavor fades to a decent does of hop bitterness.

Decent mouthfeel, not so heavy that it leaves your mouth coated and not so light that it feels like your drinking water. As goldy locks said, "just right."

This was a very interesting beer. The floral hop profile was super peachy. I am a fan of fruity nosed IPA's (love MBC Lunch) and this one is a decent example of a fruity IPA. The flavor doesn't quite live up to the nose and is pretty malty with only a brief "fruit juice" hit in the middle before going right to bitterness.

I enjoyed this beer and would buy it again if (as is rumored) will be coming out in 4-packs. A solid, but not great IPA.

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Photo of 2ellas
3.65/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Looks a bit hazy, yellow like juice with a thin white head.
Smell is hoppy, citra I think
Flavor follows the smell nearly exactly
Mouthfeel is slick but not overly so
Overall a good beer, wish it was local!

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Photo of maximum12
3.7/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Joe_Grizzly, i.e. “The Hop Santa” for this among other lusted after IPAs that arrived recently. 16 oz. can with some kind of weird Burning Man symbol. Probably not, but that’s what it reminds me of.

Is this weird pour some kind of Bissel thing? Dehydrated piss again, though this one is even more yellow & urinesque. Completely opaque yellow. Thing’s got a pug nose that’s hard to tease out beyond some vague tropical that might lean into guava, citrus. Tame.

The Substance is no andrenicky, either in body or nose, but really, what is? This beer is thicker than Captain Nemo’s icebergs, denser than Hawking’s prose. I swear I’m going to have to floss the pulp out of my teeth later. When I finish chewing, I note that there a modicum of bitterness, but it’s submerged by crackling Rice Krispy grains, free range mango, citrus, backyard dirt/dank, & vague tropical island that overlays the entire liquid. Bit of a funk on the aftertaste that dims the enjoyment level. Silly easy to drink.

Good IPA, but I’m not grokking on the extreme love. There are several locals that I’d take over this in a heartbeat, but hey, glad I had the chance to try another storied New England can.

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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.

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Photo of ScaryEd
3.78/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Wanted to review this one after having my third batch. Poured from a 16 oz can dated 09/23.

The pour is a hazy, golden blonde color with a fluffy white head. Leaves some pretty good lacing, but the head is gone in a hurry.

The aroma is pretty grassy and dank, with some citrus notes as well. I get mango and pineapple, as well as some grainy bread.

The taste is juicy and piney, with some peppery spice notes on the back end. It's pretty well balanced, but honestly nothing really stands out to me.

The mouth is medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden.

Overall, this is a very solid IPA. However, in my own personal taste it has always seemed like more of a pale ale to me. Perhaps I've been disillusioned because I'm so used to these big, hype-driven New England IPA's being absolute juicy hop bombs. Don't get me wrong, this is still a very juicy, hoppy beer. It's just not what I expected when I first tried it and every time I drink it I find myself feeling it could be so much more. It could be my own tastes and biases are skewed, but ultimately this beer has just never met my expectations or the ridiculous hype that surrounds it. It's a good IPA, but not worth the wait in line for.


Flavors seem to pop more about 5-6 days after canning date. Interesting.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.81/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz can. Served in a snifter.

Appears darker straw yellow body, hazy and cloudy, three finger white head with a lot of retention time and film. Nice expansive lacing. Smells fairly tame, grainy pale malt sweetness, mild caramel, a bit of citrus. Not much else. Flavour is a bit more interesting; grainy, sticky caramel malt, minerals, a bit of citrus aromatics and earthy bitterness. Mouthfeel is solid, medium body, good carbonation, nice soft feel. Moderately bitter, but not overwhelmingly so. Overall, decent IPA with a fair bit of bitterness, but not a ton of interesting flavours. Still very good.

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Photo of Boto
3.81/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz can: This one pours an opaque, bright straw yellow color. There was a small white head on it that didn’t linger long. Nice nose. Definitely hoppy, but I get a bit of pineapple rising out of the nose. Peaches, pine, floral and grassy notes also. The taste is very good. A bit bitter. Hints of the pineapple and peaches. A bit of the pine hops and grassiness. A fairly good malt backbone, but not too heavy. Smooth and well balanced. This drinks real easy. I’d definitely search this one out again next trip up to Maine. Thanks to the guys in the brewery for sharing a can with me!

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Photo of obninsk23
3.88/5  rDev -9.1%

1 pint can was given to me by a friend who loves hoppy beers. I thought it would be unbalanced hoppsville, but it was surprisingly pleasant. Eighth of an inch foam staid with me till the end, which is laways a bonus. Smells with a hint of citrus, amber color, tasted like.... hmmmm, I just realized it has unique taste that I never had before. Loved it.

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Photo of Ready4aHeady
3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap in Portland...
Not sure what all the hype is about. A good IPA but not all that complex, not much hop funkiness or citrus notes, etc... And a little too malty for my taste. I thought the baby genius was better, although fairly light.
Update: Just opened a can, more refreshing and interesting than I remember. Nice hops, bitter--which I like, and less malt than I remember....I'm liking this more than the first time and would up my score to a 4.17789!!

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Photo of Jwale73
3.94/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a sunny gold with a loose, off-white head that dissipates into a slick. Nose expresses citrus rind, a hint of noble hops and a slight yeasty character. Taste consistent with nose; however the flavor are a bit duller - there's more bitterness and less citrus than suggested by the nose as well as a suggestion of onions (Summit?). Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a lively carbonation and some acidity. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good IPA, but don't understand the hype - I was told it may have been an older can, so perhaps I'll revisit with a fresh one if the opportunity presents.

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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.

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Photo of koutkid41
3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very light, bright straw. Strong carbonation flowing and thick foamy head that lingers a great while.

S: Real nice aroma. Tropical: Pineapple, tangerine, mango, and apricot. Then some nice resinous pine, and some bready notes.

T: Flavor is more faint then the aroma. Crisp breadiness with some sweet fruit.

M: Strong carbonation that gave it some dryness, also a little sweet. Light to medium body.

O: This is a nice IPA, haven't heard of this beer or brewing company. Glad to have gotten this and try it.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Andrew041180
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Edit: Updated my previous review from possibly the first keg sold in Portland. The beer has substantially improved since then, at least my memory of it. I'll update this review further once I have another one, but I liked how it boarders on the fruity type of IPA that is so popular now without going overboard.

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Photo of Roguer
4.11/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful pale orange brew, very thick and hazy. Pours with a big, strong white head, with good retention and soapy lacing.

Classic IPA aroma of grapefruit and pine resin. Some pale and caramel malt in the background. Not complex or new-school, but it does what it does very well.

Flavor is about what you would expect. It's a very crisp IPA, with quite a bit of grapefruit peel, a little pine resin, and some orange and lemongrass. Extremely bitter. Pale biscuity malt provides the backbone.

Extremely easy to drink, with minimal sting. Slightly cloying, silky, and syrupy. Very bitter, with a bit of puckering.

This is an excellent single IPA, at a very reasonable ABV, that provides the bitterness of a DIPA (but not the malt profile). It's very enjoyable, and reminds me of a mix between old-school single IPAs and Sixpoint's Resin.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.13/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz. can poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Hazy orange body. Nice white head. Great lacing.

Smell - Herbal hops. Grapefruit. Light rye.

Taste - Very herbal and kinda dank. Very intense on the rye here. Makes it kinda toasty. Grassy hops in the back end. Very nice.

Mouthfeel - Very bitter. Medium body. Well carbonated.

Overall - Intense. Works very well. Love the rye component.

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Photo of tempest
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%

Ah, a fresh delicious IPA in a can. We can never have enough. I'd call it West Coast-style for the lighter body, making all too drinkable. The big, juicy hops are rich enough — with pine resin, light pepper, floral spice, and tangerine — that it's satisfying in any weather, but still drinkable in the summer. More please.

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Photo of Damian
4.19/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Drank on tap at Bissell Brothers Brewing Co., Portland, ME
Served in a Bissel Brothers stemless wine glass

Hazy, light brassy-amber appearance. The beer was topped by creamy, fluffy, one-finger tall, bright white head. Spotty, drippy lacing coated the glass.

The aroma was super musty and seemed almost a bit skunky initially. Really dank. As the beer warmed, the nose opened up and the dankness transitioned from skunky beer to skunky weed. Lemon notes were also apparent. Some white grapefruit as well. Crisp, bright and dry. Citrusy.

The flavor profile was definitely more interesting and complex than the nose. It was super hoppy, with catty hop notes dominating. Loads of white grapefruit and lemon. Some lemongrass was also noticeable. Touch of orange peel. Subtle grassy hop presence. Pithy, dry, grapefruit rind-like notes appeared in the finish. All in all, really citrusy and bright.

The mouthfeel was spritzy and highly effervescent. Lighter bodied for the style. The liquid turned soft and creamy once it settled on the palate.

This is an interesting and well crafted IPA from the folks at Bissell Brothers. Although similar in many ways, this beer is definitely much better than Swish (their double IPA) which I found to be astringently dry, pithy and bitter.

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Photo of Florida9
4.19/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aside from a reference to hops and "ale", there is nothing on the label of this beer that expresses what style of beer this is. Well, I guess we know it's not a lager or a gruit...

A: Very hazy, cloudy even, pale pastel yellow color. Forms a moderate sized fluffy white pillowy head. Good retention. Excellent lacing.

S: Aroma is mildly sweet. Mostly lighter citrus notes. Orange and grapefruit. Maybe a hint of tropical fruit, but really not much.

T: Taste is pleasant. Lighter than most and while it is a hop forward beer, it is not a hop dominant beer. Light pale malts. Slight sweetness. Again, mostly citrus hops, but there seems to a bit more a floral quality in the taste. Orange blossom. And a hint of tropical fruit, but nothing distinct.

M: On the lighter side of medium. Mild bitterness. Appropriate carbonation. Dry on the back end.

O: A very pleasant beer. Easy to drink and tasty. Wouldn't mind visiting this one again.

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Photo of Tucquan
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had this on 2014-10-12 in Columbia, PA from a 16 oz can.

A - Somewhat-cloudy golden-orange with a 2-finger white head that sticks around, then leaves moderate lace.

S - Peach, mango and some pineapple blend with pale malt and some dank and floral hops. Moderately aromatic.

T - Fruit, hops and malt are very balanced on the front of the tongue. Then a bit of pine and hop dankness come in but still with some balancing sweetness. There's a uniqueness to this flavor that I'm enjoying; perhaps as a result from the use of the Falconer Flight hop pellets? Finally though, the hop bud flavor and corresponding bitterness win in the end; in a good way.

M - Soft, soft, soft. Reminds me of a Tired Hands or Hill Farmstead mouthfeel, which I really like. It has a light-medium body and carbonation and a bit of prickle after the liquid goes down the gullet.

O - I'm quite impressed with this brew. Great feel and balance and a flavor profile that suits me well.

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Photo of HopDeezy
4.21/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - light golden color, clear to slightly hazy, white frothy head with minimal lacing. Lighter than expected for an IPA so clear.

S - citrus grapefruit and slightly lemony. Light and pleasant.

T - follow along the nose like most beers do for me. Grapefruit citrus, a little lemon, a little skunky/cat pissy, smooth and very drinkable.

M - highly carbonated, very hoppy start to finish with a light but lingering finish.

O - Very nice IPA, very crushable IPA. This could easily be my go to for a round of 18 or a day at the beach it's so easy to drink. Difficulty to attain has led to a little bit of overrating here but nonetheless it's still a great IPA. Not quite on par with the IPAs of Maine Beer 30 minutes north or Stoneface 1 hour south but it's definitely one I always look forward to drinking when I can get it. Prefer it straight from the pint can and yes....easy to crush multiple.

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The Substance from Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 84 ratings.