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The Substance | Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

118 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): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bowdoinbeerboy on 12-11-2013

User Reviews
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Reviews: 118 | Ratings: 1,103
Photo of KevinL
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Very light orange color, like a belgian wit or lighter orange juice. One finger head which reduces quickly to lacing around the glass.
S - Tropical fruits. This smells like a smoothie might smell.
T - Tropical fruits dominate again. The finish is fairly bitter, with very minimal sweetness throughout.
F - Well carbonated, easy to drink.
O - This hits many of the notes I want in an IPA, but the whole isn't better than any of the individual parts. I would definitely drink this again if it were available, but I wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of Jason
3.6/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery.

Extremely cloudy pale golden color, great looking head though. As the brewers says... this is a dank ale. Lots of piney resin, citrus rind and pith, green tea, & faint tobacco in the nose. Huge on the hop flavor front, yeast and grain are a bit of a mess. Seems to be a lot left in this brew, too much IMO. Would love to see this beer cleaned up a bit, lots of potential.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a hazed light golden color with a thin white head. Looks pretty solid.

S: When I opened the can, I instantly got the smell of cooked broccoli which was both unexpected and unwanted. Luckily, once it was poured into a glass, there was no weird smell. Instead, I'm getting light grassy hops, pine and grapefruit. Pretty light on the smell, but definitely not bad at all.

T: I don't know about this one. Not bad by any means, but there's not a ton to this. Light grapefruit pith and pine, a little bit of vegetal hops. Finish leaves a touch of pine and some chalky malt with no real bitterness on the finish at all. A very drinkable, but not especially noteworthy beer.

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Photo of ccnorthwest
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is another all around awesome beer by Bissell Brothers. I loved it. The color is a beautiful unfiltered golden look. Nose is present with citrus, body is sexy. Finish is crisp and delicious. Drink Fresh!!

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Photo of BillRoth
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on tap at brewery during Beer Safari in Portland. Had gotten good nods from reading BA, and then heard big love about BBB from Trillium team when I stopped there earlier in the day. So went in with high hopes.
Well...good beer but just didn't leap out as something much better than others have. Good drinkable beer and apparently a crazy load of hop varieties.
Recommended, but not best IPA in the (Industrial) lot.

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Photo of sprat1960
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: Straw-yellow in color; completely cloudy and fully opaque. Pours with a 1 finger off-white head that dies down leaving a smooth thick layer of foam on the surface of the beer. Lots of sticky lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Citrus, grassy and mild hops. Enticing.

Taste: Citrus (mostly tart lemon) start, slightly grassy, mild hops with a bitter finish. Refreshing.

Feel: Tangy acidic feel followed by a slight pucker with a slightly dry finish.

Overall: Refreshing, tangy IPA with lots of tart citrus. Would be especially good in the summer.

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Photo of BradMacMullin
4.74/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow, this was an extremely good beer. Had while watching morning football from London - something about football and beers at 10am just can't go wrong.
Poured from a 16oz can, and it was a strawy hazy looking beer. Just a great hoppy IPA, that is definitely up there with the T-House and Trillium as far as quality. Need to get to Portland and get more of these.
Followed this up with a Sams Octoberfest (ouch), which only made me rate this Substance even higher (what happened to Sam Adams?)

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Photo of AdamTebbs
4.71/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Color not sure, I drank from the can but from the top I could see yellowy goodness. Smell, clean pine/fresh cut grass smell. Taste very balanced pine and citrus not over powering at all perfectly mellow and refreshing. Overall: Awesome! I wish I lived in the distribution area.

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Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

- 16oz. can (no canned date) poured into Golden Road tumbler on 30-Sep-15

Hazy, light straw color. The aroma is light with tropical and pine notes. Very light. The taste follows suit, but it's got a crisp and juicy mouthfeel that compliments the light flavors. Dry finish and very refreshing. Overall, very nice. Much like Alpine Nelson, I can drink this all day under the hot CA sun.

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Photo of bigbluebeerguy
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautifully hazy, juice-like in its appearance, and loaded with citrus in the nose. Tons of grapefruit and orange zest press against a slight herbal kick, making for an outstanding aroma. The hit to the tastebuds makes me want to gnaw on a grapefruit rind for comparison. It's sharp, slightly acidic, but still not overly bitter thanks to a moderate, underlying malt sweetness. Fantastic IPA.

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Photo of 2beerdogs
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
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 Newbeergeek1
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just there to get my Me. Beer Trail stamp and I run into THIS. Wow! I'd never heard of this but I sure have now. Tastes exploded in my mouth, all on a good way. Wound up buying two 4 packs and am now wishing I might have bought more.

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Photo of Sheppard
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy, almost murky dirty blonde with white head and some hop residue. Smells of lemon and citrus fruits. The flavor is bursting with citrus, slight chalkiness, and nice resiny bitterness. The mouthfeel is terrific in that it evolves and doesn't carry just one note. Overall, this is a really solid IPA that I would love to have as a shelf canned beer. However, I'm not sure if the yeast change was a positive development as it used to have more citrus and looked better. Still a great beer.

Updated my ratings to say that this is just a phenomenally drinking IPA. I am back on board with it and the yeast change. So refreshing.

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Photo of TheElectricOne
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a fresh 16oz. can into a tulip glass:

Appearance: straw-yellow and hazy as can be, with a pure white head. Head lingers for a while and leaves lots of lacing.

Aroma: the dankest weed smell I've ever had from a beer. I couldn't get over how much like fresh buds this brew smelled like, and it didn't go away. Really, it was the only smell I got from the beer, but it was incredibly pungent; as in smell it from three rooms away pungent.

Taste: Lots of bitterness, as expected following the aroma, but also solid layers of passionfruit and melon rind. Lots of complexity once you get past the overwhelming smell of weed as you sip. Starts grassy and fresh, moves into some fruity juiciness, and finishes with a blast of bitterness.

Feel: soft-bodied and creamy, with a punch from the bitterness at the end that leaves the flavor lingering for a looooooooong period of time after drinking.

Overall: a damn good, dank IPA. I wouldn't put quite up with the NE elite just yet, but it was just a tick below. Crazy good.

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Photo of dougiegarmonbozia
4.71/5  rDev +10%
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.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Hazy ginger colored body. Minimal head with big bubbles and some light lace around the glass.

S - Pear, grapefruit, grassy hops, and pine.

T - Strong dank resiny hop, orange, pineapple, and wheat.

M - Full, pulpy feel.

O - Your typical New England IPA.

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Photo of Tidesox28
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I will take this over Treehouse Julius any day. Super drinkable, verging on balanced. At least as balanced as a hoppy IPA should be. Nice mix between citrus and floral hops. Nice enough body to let you know it's there.

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Photo of wpg1989
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Canned on 9/02/15.

A:Poured into tulip. Hazy unfiltered straw color. Pillowy white head, no retention.

S: dank,grassy and tropical. Pineapple.

T: bitter but not over the top. Green, grassy hops. Some passion fruit. Cream

F: I would say medium-light, creamy texture. Would have liked a fuller body

O: great beer. On par with Treehouse, Alchemist, Night Shift and Trillium.

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Photo of meson13
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Looks like some sort of imperial Berliner!
Smells like an ipa!
Tastes bomb! Grapefruit! Apricot city! Bit of mint?! Hops steal the god damn show, malt are totally embarrassed and shy.
Feel is a tad thin but adds some serious slugability
Overall- I kinda like that the bitterness is a tad unrestrained. It says, I'm not for you people that don't like ipas and that's cool with me. sometimes I think this beer is good and sometimes i love it. Tonight I'm digging it as much as I ever have. Good shit

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Photo of maximum12
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
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 Ken_P
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
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!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.41/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can. Hazy yellow-gold, thick fluffy white head and lacing. Smell is citrusy, more on the lemon peel side, and sweet bread with a little grass. Taste is a zesty combination of grapefruit, pine, and wood. Better and better as it warms. A little peppery at the end. Mouthfeel is pretty soft. Overall very good IPA, different than the typical hop or juice bombs.

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Photo of Justin82
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | 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

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The Substance from Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 118 ratings.