The Substance
Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

The SubstanceThe Substance
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IPA - New England
Ranked #229
Ranked #720
4.32 | pDev: 7.64%
Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
Maine, United States
The SubstanceThe Substance
Notes: Our flagship; a brightly dank ale that threads many needles.

Hops: Falconer's Flight, Centennial, Apollo, Summit, Chinook
Malts: 2-row, flaked Wheat, Flaked oats, Flaked Barley

OG: 1.060
Reviews: 266 | Ratings: 1,841 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Condish:
Photo of Condish

4.77/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Feb 24, 2020
More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
Jason from Massachusetts

3.6/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

Nov 10, 2015
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cbutova from Massachusetts

4.26/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Feb 02, 2015
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pint can dated 10/26/18 poured into a tulip at 46F

Pours a hazy, but not murky or creamy looking honey orange. Two finger creamy white head sits atop the body, receding slowly, and leaving some lacing.

Nose is piney and citrus hops, with notes of grapefruit and oranges, with lesser notes of pineapple and mango.

Palate: The hops have a real west coast flavor style to them, but the bitterness is dialed WAY back, in true New English fashion. A little bit of dank earthiness as it warms. This is shockingly refreshing and crisp. A thin malt backbone and a good balance of hops for both flavor, and supreme drinkability. Finishes quick and dry with zero bitterness hanging around, and a slow fade of pine and grapefruit once again.

Mouthfeel is on the heaviest side of light. Just getting into medium territory. It's not thin and splashy, but it's also not a can of Julius. This is really somewhere in the middle. A creamy West Coast feel, or a thin New England feel. Carbonation is solid, on the slightly higher side compared to most NEIPAs. Dry and crisp.

Overall, this one is interesting. I was hoping for a thick NE juice bomb. That it is not. However, this is almost like the greatest West Coast style IPA that never was. It's juicy and and hoppy and utterly UN-bitter like a NEIPA, but it's crisp, refreshing, and uber drinkable, like a West Coast style. I don't know. If we're just calling this an IPA, it's absolutely fantastic. A wonderful (sjfkshfjk)IPA.

Nov 02, 2018
Photo of Etan
Etan from Wisconsin

4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A couple cans from valdieu2.

Bright hazy orange. Crisp blood orange and apricot in the nose. Taste is bone dry with a nice mix of restrained green bitterness and a bit of mango. Similar to but better than Heady.

Apr 17, 2015
Photo of SomethingClever
SomethingClever from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

canned 8/27

A: Poured light hazy in the glass very light copper color but murky

S: it has to be the falconer hops I'm getting a spicy nose like this beer is going to bite and pine not resin but actual pine just almost sour I'm trying to describe it but it's hard. I have to say it has a smell all it's own I haven't encountered enough to describe

T: the taste embodies that smell it's like a spicy then wait it's balanced out by the malts very earthy a lot of ppl claim fruitiness I get none from this beer just earthy raw spiciness without the heat finishes smooth not like the upfront taste would make you think. it's almost bitter then it's gone.

M: Nice crisp mouthfeel with good carbonation

O: this beer confuses me I want to say oh it tastes like this of it tastes like that but really it has a unique taste maybe I'm unfamiliar with the flavor profile of falconer hops but I think this beer is unique

Oct 02, 2014
Photo of Steve_Tkachuk
Steve_Tkachuk from Massachusetts

4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
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 !

Mar 13, 2016
Photo of Chico1985
Chico1985 from Massachusetts

3.96/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

Jan 30, 2015
Photo of Rollzroyce21
Rollzroyce21 from California

4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Oct 01, 2015
Photo of NateF90
NateF90 from Connecticut

4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

16 oz canned on 1/16/2015 purchased from the source on 1/17/2015 poured into a very elegantly shaped Bissell Brothers glass marked with what appears to be glow in the dark or UV-reactive graphics. Normally would have enjoyed from the can, but had to check the color. Lightly hazed straw. Eggshell white two finger head, velvet-textured bubbles. The nose is predominately pine and all things dank, suggestions of the West coast abound. The flavor brings it back home, perfectly balanced hop bite and what I want to call fruit punch, although no fruit notes themselves are identifiable, except in fleeting whisps on the exhale. Excellent buttery feel, nice and rich but always refreshing and several cans the beer definitely can be knocked back successively. Bb is a 'must try' if in the Portland, ME area.

Jan 19, 2015
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VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | 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.

Jul 02, 2014
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John_M from Oregon

4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery today.

The beer pours a hazy, light peach orange color with very good head retention and considerable sticky lacing all around. On the nose, this IPA just smells terrific. There's just a lovely aroma of dry citrus, tropical fruit, light pepper, light pine, dank weed, and a hint of onion. The nose is so bright and fresh, there's almost an electricity in the nose (as if the beer is somehow attached to a live wire). This is one attractive smelling beer! The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, though it isn't quite as intense. Mouthfeel is medium bodied at most, as this IPA is otherwise a bit on the lean side, with a long, drawn out, dry bitter finish. Alcohol is completely undetectable, that's how well it's integrated into the flavor profile.

Yowsa!!! This is an absolutely excellent IPA!

Apr 06, 2017
Photo of 2beerdogs
2beerdogs from California

3.75/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

Sep 24, 2015
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ThePorterSorter from Oregon

4.04/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Feb 08, 2015
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Aug 25, 2015
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Slatetank from Pennsylvania

4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

thanks to Brandon for sharing this enjoyed from the can in a glass.

the color is golden with hazed appearance and white head that recedes with fine bead. the smell is very nice with a floral and citrus aroma with mild yeast ester. the feel is good with medium bitterness and moderate carbonation with a slight chalkiness in the dry finish.

The taste is very good with a nice presence of hop in the citrus and fruity arena with a slight dank herbal accent with low malt and yeast mainly a hop focused flavor with a dry finish and low alcohol in the taste. I was glad I was able to try this, thanks Brandon for my first taste of Bissell Bros.

Sep 09, 2016
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zander4dawin from Texas

3.71/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Big malt body and a sharp stunky hop bitterness.

Apr 04, 2015
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whatsgoody from Vermont

4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aug 06, 2016
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BastardFromABasket from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -7.4%

Sep 14, 2014
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Bedfordbeer from Massachusetts

4.16/5  rDev -3.7%

Sep 20, 2014
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wehabeertrader from Connecticut

4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Oct 09, 2015
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MAbrew88 from Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jul 13, 2018
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap. Super hazy yellow body with a fluff white cap. Love the dankness on the nose, with pine and grass in there too, plus the starring fruits of pineapple, orange, papaya, melon, and grapefruit pith. Dankness reigns, destroys any balance immediately in the taste, until oh wait, can you believe it, from the ashes rises grapefruit, orange, mango, peach and weedy grass! Not as harmonious as the smell, but still plenty flavorful. Feel is juicy, creamy, full but not heavy, and of course super dank. Dank beer bro!

Oct 31, 2019
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jaymo18 from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Aug 09, 2014
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kaktusjak from Ohio

4.4/5  rDev +1.9%

Aug 19, 2014
The Substance from Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 1841 ratings