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The Substance - Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
The SubstanceThe Substance

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

72 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 72
Hads: 846
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 8.43%
Wants: 228
Gots: 191 | 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
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Reviews: 72 | Hads: 846
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 jlindros
4.39/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Tap at the brewery.

Pours a huge fluffy foamy head that fades semi slowly, tons of lacing, hazy little murky pale golden color.

Nose juicy hops, little dank musty, raw hop juice and tropical, hint pineapple and papaya, tropical generic, hint cereal grain.

Taste brings more sweet like malts, grainy smooth malts, into big hops, little earthy spicy notes, mild dank, then into big tropical notes, papaya, pineapple, little dank citrus, fruity notes, guava, etc. Creamy smooth malt, fair bitterness. Finish is dry, fair bitterness mild spicy hop, bit more tropical notes, dank, etc, hint of banana.

Mouth is med bod, creamy, nice carb.

Overall nice, not as crazy as I expected but got better, then tropical came through nicely, maybe not quite as much as the hype, but def deserving of a great IPA. (805 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 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. (400 characters)

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. (326 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Can from MrBarleywine, thanks for the opportunity Mike!
Slightly hazy deep straw color with a huge bubbly white head that persists forever. Aromas of earthy citrus tropical pine resin and dankness. Oh yeah that smells good. Light bready malt, maybe. The flavor is much the same as the aroma but adds a bit of alcohol. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation. Very nice ipa I enjoyed the hell out of it. (411 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)

Photo of puboflyons
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the can dated 4/30/15. Sampled on May 3, 2015. Only four days old.

The pour is a slightly hazy yellow color with lively carbonation building up to a tremendous white foamy head. The head sticks around.

Such a vast array of malt and hop aromas to choose from. The hops present themselves the most forward with their citrus, orange, grapefruit, and grassy sensations. The malts are toasted with a hint of barley and wheat.

Medium body. Smooth.

Toasted malts and sweetness start things off in the flavor but those many different grassy, citrus, lemon zest, floral, and orange hop flavors combine into a definite bitter finale. High quality beer. (657 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up half a case while at the brewery. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a nice hazy golden hue with a big fluffy two finger white head that fades slowly to leave a creamy blanket and great side lacing.

S - Aromas of very light almost generic tropical hops, cereal grains, little bit of dankness.

T - Taste is similar to the nose. Decent amount of cereal grains, little crackery, grain. Light citrus, pineapple, faint mango, guava, papaya. As it warms the tropical notes pop a bit more, same with the citrus too. Warming up definitely makes a big difference.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, a bit fluffy.

O - Overall, this beer was tasty. Really shined as it warmed up. Nice appearance and really solid citrus/tropical taste.

Serving Type: Can (767 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 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. (602 characters)

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. (380 characters)

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. (1,214 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.26/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

can to glass..golden yellow. nose is sick...soapy inviting hops. crisp and refreshing. burst of citric, little resinous while still being nice and easy...little sticky. very refreshing. (185 characters)

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 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 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 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. (605 characters)

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

Fresh can from Joe arrived today at my doorsteo. Thanks man! Pours cloudy bright yellow with a big fluffy white head on top in my Rapp tulip glass. Amazing aroma of pineapple, grapefruit, lemon rind, some pine, mmmmmm. Flavor is sweet pineapple balanced with bitter grapefruit, some light sweet malts and honey notes, interesting floral potpourri flavors linger (in a good way). Light bodied with medium carbonation, very crushable, yum. (437 characters)

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. (942 characters)

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! (588 characters)

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. (968 characters)

Photo of costanzo_mike
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up some fresh cans from the brewery, canned that day 2 hours earlier.

A: Light yellow color, hazy, foamy head

S: Crisp citrus smell, some tropical on the nose as well

T: Bursts with citrus flavor, resiny, earthy towards the end

M: Somewhere in the middle, some carbonation present, nice and light

O: Very drinkable IPA, delicious taste. Every time I stop by the brewery I am sure to pick some of this up (415 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 BEERMILER12
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a lightly hazy golden yellow color with a fingers worth of head that fades down to a very thin layer of tiny bubbles

S: A burst of citrus and fruity hops with a hint of grassiness and the faintest bit of pine. Malt holds things up, but the hops are right up front and showcase the nose

T: Starts off with a nice blend of citrusy, grassy, earthy, and a hint of oniony hops (summit hops!) with that hint of pine in the back. Again, the malt holds up the hops nicely with a bit of sweetness. Bitter throughout, but it's really an undertone and never gets in the way of the hop flavor

M: Light-medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: Extremely easy to drink given the lighter body and big hop flavor sans bitterness. You can tell the brothers put lots of time into this and it's exciting to see the results pay off. Definitely worth a drink (852 characters)

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The Substance from Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.