Sugar On Top IPA | 903 Brewers

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38 Ratings

Brewed by:
903 Brewers
Texas, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Once you try our IPA you’ll be begging for more. This beer starts with a rich sweetness and finishes with a hoppy kick. Thanks to a generous addition of Citra hops it has a fruity, citrus aroma. It gets its name from the large addition of brown sugar at the end of the boil that gives it a sweet, rich balance.

Added by frognot on 06-07-2014

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Ratings: 38 |  Reviews: 2
Reviews by frognot:
Photo of frognot
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy golden orange with one finger of white head.

Smell: Lot of citrus, primarily grapefruit.

Taste: Very nicely balanced IPA. Grapefruit and just a small hint of pine.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation with a nice smooth finish

Drinkability: Very drinkable IPA.

Had on tap at Cellarman's in Sherman, Texas. Strong work 903!

 340 characters

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"Sugar On Top IPA." Brewed with Citra hops and brown sugar.

BOTTLE: 22 fl oz brown glass bottle with unbranded brass colour pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local bottle shop and served into a pilsner glass in low altitude Austin, TX. Reviewed live as an IPA per the label. The label has spaces for Batch #, Bottle #, and Date, but these spots are left blank - unprofessional.

Expectations are average; this is my first beer from 903. Served cold. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 3 fingers wide. Has a gorgeous smooth consistency and airy almost nitro-esque creaminess. Supple and soft-looking, with a plump complexion. Retention is excellent - about 10 minutes. Leaves light lacing on the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Even and consistent. I do wish its colour was a bit more interesting - it's only a foamy off-white as-is, but otherwise this is a pretty impressive head for an IPA, especially given the high ABV.

BODY: Translucent transparent murky copper with dirty orange and gold hues. IKt's quite dull. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible within. I'd prefer a much more vibrant body of a more attractive colour, but this is decent.

Overall, it's an average looking IPA; the above average head and below average body give mixed impressions. I can't say it's unique or special.

AROMA: Ale esters are abundant. Floral hop character is mixed in with some hints of hop oils. I pick up on some faint grapefruit zest, but there's no accompanying grapefruity bitterness punching through, which I like. It does seem too malty, with some caramalt sweetness evident alongside the pale malt base. There's a brief hint of piney hop character.

As it warms, a bit of toasted malt comes through, as does some faint tangerine fruit. The citrusy fruits here (tangerine and grapefruit alike) are neither evocative nor fresh, and seem suppressed by a nitro-esque creamy tone.

Overall, the hop profile seems odd and incohesive, as well as ill-paired to the malts. The slight tropical lean of the fruity hop notes also strikes me as out of place here.

It's a pleasant enough aroma, and is average in strength, but doesn't suggest a balanced brew.

TASTE/TEXTURE: It's too heavy on the caramalt, and the hops are sloppily incorporated, bringing plenty of dragging hop bitterness without much accompanying flavour. The warm tangerine is a mess, and amplifies the perceived booziness of the brew. The grapefruit isn't fresh or evocative, and comes off stale yet packed with bitterness. I don't even find any citrusy zest or esters to help tone down the warmth of the fruit. There's a bit of pine, plenty of floral character, and some vaguely fruity hop notes on the fringe, but ultimately this hop profile is quite a letdown.

It's too malty, overemphasizing caramalt and its trademark sweetness. The generic pale malt foundation is uninteresting and doesn't play all that well against the subpar hop profile. A creamy tone throughout mutes the hop notes, limits freshness, and generally suppresses the flavour profile.

There's no yeast character or spices in the build. I search for the brown sugar and find none.

Balance is poor. It's not built cohesively, and certainly isn't gestalt. The flavours are shallow and the hops poorly considered. Average flavour duration and intensity. Decent flavour amplitude.

I can't say I like this one much. Nothing sticks out as interesting; it's a very generic IPA.

TEXTURE (cont): Overly creamy, which lends it a decent softness on the palate but fails to prevent the rough hop bitterness from dragging along the palate. It's overcarbonated and a biteen too oily. Smooth, wet, and medium-bodied. A slight scratchiness irritates the palate.

This texture does a poor job at coaxing out any nuances from the flavour profile, and generally comes across as a poor companion to the taste.

Not gushed, hot, astringent, or harsh.

OVERALL: It's downable but very generic, and certainly below average. Nothing about the choices of hops is interesting or effective, and the brown sugar purportedly used in this brew never shows up. It's unnecessarily bitter, and above all imbalanced - which makes this a very difficult brew to recommend to others. I certainly won't be buying it again, and will be cautious when approaching 903's other beers. This is precisely the sort of pedestrian attempt at an IPA that we don't need crowding the market. I will finish the bottle with some effort.

High D+

 4,531 characters

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Sugar On Top IPA from 903 Brewers
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 38 ratings