The Substance | Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

162 Reviews
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The SubstanceThe Substance

Brewed by:
Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
Maine, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our flagship; a brightly dank ale that threads many needles.

vailability: weekly production
ABV: 6.6% OG: 1.060
Hops: Falconer's Flight, Centennial, Apollo, Summit, Chinook
Malts: 2-row, flaked Wheat, Flaked oats, Flaked Barley

Added by Bowdoinbeerboy on 12-11-2013

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Reviews: 162 | Ratings: 1,332
Photo of DaveinFF
4.27/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy orange-yellow with fine carbonation racing up to form a pillowly soft white head that lasts a fairly long time and leaves a thick lacing. Aroma and taste is what you expect from a high quality NE IPA, tropical fruit, citrus, especially lemon and grapefruit. Some pine bitterness but juicy fruit dominates.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.26/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured on draft into a pint glass. Pours a filthy cloudy orange with a 1 inch white head that leaves behind some spotty lace.

Smell is guava, apricot, passion fruit, pinapple, and some grapefruit.

Taste follows tropical start to finish, guava, mango, pinapple, passion fruit, and grapefruit.

Mouthfeel is medium, moderate carbonation, not dry at all, and insanely drinkable.

Overall this is a class North East IPA, tropical and tasty, with a slight bitterness.

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Photo of CHickman
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours cloudy yellow gold color with a 2 finger foamy white head that was packed with tiny bubbles and didn't budge for a while, looking like a cloud line outside of an airplane window. This head faded extremely slowly and formed craters in the cloudy foam as it dissipated into a murky layer on top, leaving great sticky foam lacing coating the sides and rings as it went down. Nearly perfect IPA looks for the New England style.

Smells of grapefruit, lemon zest, pineapple juice, orange peel and fresh citrus fruit up front, followed by crackers, faint caramel, piney hops, herbal floral notes like dry floral hops, weed, hints of toasted grains and mild peppery spices. The hops are fresh smelling but not very strong overall as they seem to be tamed and/or balanced by the malt backbone.

Tastes very fruity with a bunch of citrus notes including bitter grapefruit like a glass of grapefruit juice, lemon, tangerine, orange juice that's past it's prime and starting to sour and then dry floral hops which are like hay or dry grass. The second wave is tea leaf, peppery spices like white pepper and coriander, wet cardboard, and then pineapple, light caramel, a dash of brown sugar and then very earthy leaf-like notes which wash away and leave a grainy sweetness mixed with grapefruit juice lingering. The citrus starts and ends the flavor profile.

Medium body which is almost heavy, this brew flows down smooth with little to no carbonation, a dry powdery feel after the swallow and then it fades bitter as the citrus just does not want to leave the stage. The grapefruit and floral (or other hop) spices work well together and make this very effortless to drink. If it wasn't so bitter it would seem clean and crisp, but I like where it's at for an IPA from this region. Will definitely seek this out again, it was very enjoyable.

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Photo of j_d_b
4.46/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From can into tulip—pours a completely opaque soft, faded orange with a thick head which dissipates rather quickly. Lacing is strong, however, and a little scum of foam remains on the top for awhile.

Tropical citrus aroma dominates from the pour; there’s no doubt you’re in for a fruity IPA here.

Carbonation is formed of micro-bubbles; not aggressive, but a nice feel on the tongue at the start of the sip. The overall mouthfeel is juicy and a little foamy on the swallow. Not too substantial of a texture and a little liquidy, which adds to drinkability, though. Dry finish.

This beer is very fruity and juicy. Mid-sip, there is an apparent malt presence, but the overall flavor profile leans towards a citrusy, lemon, piney, modern IPA experience. Bitterness is not too strong, but nicely integrated. This is really a great IPA. Strong grapefruit takes over in the finish and lasts long afterward too. A little stick in the end there as well.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pint can to a nonic style glass – gifted from a coworker that is from Maine - 10/20/15
Super stoked to get me a hold of some Bissel Bros.

Looks every bit the part of an East Coaster. A pulpy and turbid nectar with a yellow peach hue and a sudsy paper white. Looks like some pineapple juice for real.
The nose is the highlight with expressive grapefruit zest, tropical mango, some light flora and cedar with sprigs of lemon verbena. Has an earthy twist reminiscent of dank herbal greens. I get a bit of stone fruit-apricot action from the yeast but mostly no malt here. Flavor is super juicy burgeoning with grapefruit, pine essence, and dank tropical flowers. Herbaceous. Lower perceived bitterness with a creamy malt texture that gives a semi-full sensation across the palate. Finishes out dry and very resinous. They must dry hop the shit out of this. A real quality brew. Would gladly accept as gift again.

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Photo of emount91
4.29/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

pours a hazy/murky yellow, nice head that lasts a while and laces. smell is actually pretty balanced for recent IPAs: dry citrus, pine, resin, and a slightly doughy malt. taste is a lot heavier on the hops and less on the malt than the smell leads on, but pine and resin are the first taste notes, then citrus (lemon?) peel and that bready sweet malt round out the taste, but don't ever take away from this being a hop-forward IPA. feel is right where you'd want it with the slightly "thick" mouthfeel, it. this is a killer Flagship IPA, other breweries should take notes, i'm jealous that the locals can get this pretty much on command.

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Photo of mmorris15
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a super hazy bright orange with a lingering head. Smell is tropical fruit, citrus, pine dankness, and bread dough. Taste is basically all hop flavor with the malt serving as a backbone for showcasing the dank hops. Super juicy citrus and tropical fruits, with a strong dank presence on the finish. Dry finish, as well. Feel is smooth and carbonation is about just right. Overall, awesome stuff.

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Photo of MikeyMcD86
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank out of TEKU. Huge thanks to wanderingpints for sending this beer. Awesome extra!

Look: Light to medium gold color with a full haze and finger of creamy white head.

Smell: Biscuit malts up front balanced out with some lemon/lime citrus.

Taste: not sure when this was canned but I'm not sure this its super fresh. Beer has a slightly ashy flavor up front with subdued citrus in the background.

Feel: medium mouthfeel consistent with 6.6%

Overall(style points): other reviews of this beer would suggest its a big NE juice bomb and I can see why. That said, I suspect this beer is past its prime. I would really like to have one fresh. 91 points.

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Photo of ChipChaight
4.12/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16oz can from the brewery in Portland, ME
Pours a hazy pale gold with fluffy white head and good lacing, sticky peach, mango, candied pine resin, slightly peppery dankness, fast is subtle tropical fruit sweetness up front into candied hops, pinch of pine bitterness and biscuity malts, feel is creamy with a dry finish. A solid pale ale with subtle hop candy goodness.

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Photo of mothman
4.02/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy sunset gold. White head with lace.

This beer has the orange juice flavor, but it almost tastes too young. It is very green and has lots of hop flavors. A bit of dank and resin. Weedy.

I'd like to try this with a week or two more on it.

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Photo of Slack
4.09/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Straw in color and cloudy. A little bit of head that settles to nothing. No lacing.

Nose is citrus and pine.

Taste is minor sweetness, a bit of malt, lemon, lime, and hops.

Mouthful is medium to light and a bit crisp, carbonation is average, finish is dry.

Very drinkable, not as strong in nose or taste as swish but nonetheless good.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.06/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Solid IPA but very different. Pear, pineapple, and some grassiness as the beer warmed. Great body and balance. Nose is slightly tempered. Clean and crisp.

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Photo of groutenberg
3.84/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Well, after being shut out 3 times at the brewery I finally got hold of a few fresh cans. Overall, I'd say I was a bit disappointed adter hearing & reading and trying to get some. Not a bad beer, great color, love to clody orange pour, nice head, good smell, decent mouth feel not great, not as full as Julius or some others, close, but not quite at that level. A bit of a bitter end bite. Overall a good beer, probably would buy it again if it was easy, but probably wouldnt make the drive to Portland in search of. No "desperately seeking Susan" opps, I mean Substance for me.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.19/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Densely opaque dark orange with a thick, chunky off white foamy head that visibly settles down like a reverse push pop leaving coral lace.

An enticing aroma reminds me of Trillium--it doesn't get any better than that! Spicy, verdant dankness--this is the essence of a scrumptious Colorado greenhouse--with some pineapple, peach, nectarine, and a touch of earthiness.

In flavor, tangy light pine and dankness are paired with orange zest and something green like chive and a little juniper. Biscuit and cracker follow in malt, bringing it to a dry, ashy finish.

I was expecting it to get more harsh and bitter as it warmed, but it only got lighter--this is really easy drinking and goes down way too fast!

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Photo of SammyJaxxxx
4.41/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is a hazy yellow. Fluffy white head. Smell is grapefruit, limes and pineapple. Taste is bitter rind with lemon, lime some peach.
Mouth feel is bitter with some stickiness that fades to a pleasant sweetness.
Excellent IPA. This is one that I have liked more and more each time I revisit it.

 303 characters

Photo of DankScuba
4.09/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Very hazy, yellowish orange.

S: Tons of hops. Citrus, pine, herbs.

T: Sweet, citrus, light malt backbone. Herbs and pine come through.

F: smooth, touch of bitterness.

O: very tasty. Would absolutely drink again.

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Photo of stakem
3.53/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pounder can into a snifter appears a hazy pale copper color with a darker tanned to khaki cap a finger strong that fades leaving stringy lace.

Citrus rindy nose, pulp, pith and herbs are all present. Pine and almost a peculiar smokey aspect.

Tastes bitter rinds and slightly vegetative with a bite of green yeastiness.

Medium in body and modestly carbonated. Almost creamy and yeast filled but enjoyable nonetheless. I appreciate the chance to try this but it falls a bit shirt in my opinion.

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Photo of SmittyinUpstate
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Smell - Nice aroma as the can is opened. Nothing to blow you away, but certainly there. Also the same in the glass.
Look - Orange
Taste - Orange/Tangerine with hints of garlic on the aftertaste. Low bitterness.
Feel - Nice NE style mouth feel. Soft and silky
Overall - Could drink this all day. Well crafted beer.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.27/5  rDev 0%
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.

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

16oz can from Justdoit1234 (thanks man!). No apparent canning date. Served in a Wicked Weed snifter.

Pours a completely opaque, hazy, pale yellow orange with about two fingers of dense white head. The foam shrinks but leaves a rocky layer of retention and thick belt that imparts large curtains of lace.

Smells of tangerines, pine, lemon, tropical fruit and a little fruit jammy sweetness.

Bright, hoppy flavors of oranges, tangerines, lemon peel, pine, some mild flower petals, a little vague black pepper and a hint of crackery malt. The waves of citrus-forward hops make this dangerously easy to knock back quickly.

Medium full body that seems to almost vacillate between creamy and sticky with moderately sharp carbonation. Lightly bitter and citrusy finish of zest, orange pulp and petals.

After my first ride with Bissell Brothers I can easily see why they've garnered such respect. The Substance is a damn fine and wonderfully drinkable IPA that I would definitely keep on hand if it were available.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Draft at the source. Hazy yellow body with a soapy, white head. Lovely aroma of tropical citrus and uber fresh hops. Similar flavor. Refreshing and easy. Teeming with flavor. So juicy. Terrific.

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Photo of pkalix
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

such a beautiful pour! hazy, fluffy, creamy, orange-juice-y.... the evolution of the IPA, indeed! although i am beginning to find these brews sweeter than my palate wants to handle anymore.... old age? yeah.... probably. give me my Pliny back! but still a great brew! this is delicious! and AHEAD of the curve if it was added in 2013..... right?

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Photo of kculrich
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

From a 16oz can, undated, purchased at the brewery 08/13/16. Served in a spiegelau.

A turbid orange juice-coloured pour with a pillowy three-finger-plus head of fluff, very good retention and moderate amounts of lacing.

The nose is sugar cookies, peaches and honeydew, clean, sweet, fresh hay and strawberries.

Taste is a muddled mass of tropical fruits, stone fruits, mellow citrus and biscuit. Not quite getting the dankness, a little garlicky, I suppose, maybe? but it is grassy as all get-out. The palate spans the broad spectrum of all possible NE-style IPAs without ever quite resolving on a major theme, finishing with a brief zippy grassy bitterness and a hint of lime.

Feel is medium-to-moderately-heavy bodied, slightly better than adequately carbonated, a little creamy, a little slick.

Overall, a little-bit-of-everything can of spiked fruit punch. A real palate wrecker, not necessarily in a bad way however I will definitely be unable to review anything else for a few hours.

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Photo of avas
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Re-review. Canned 11/12/16. Consumed 11/19/16.

A: Beer comes in a turbid, light gold / medium orange color with a full haze on it. This is one of those super thick looking NE-style IPAs. About a half finger of eggshell colored head fades to a thin layer pretty quickly, leaving some nice lacing the glass.

S: Big zesty lemon, bright citrus pith, and a hint of pineapple. Some white bready, kinda doughy malt in there as well. But overwhelmingly, this smells super dank and vegetal-y. There’s a resinous quality that nicely complements the pithy citrus, as well as a musty, weed-y dankness that underlies everything. I get some vegetal notes of onion and garlic, a big green tea note, and maybe some green herbs too. The intensity of the nose is pretty big for 6.6%.

T: Follows the nose, but perhaps even more herbaceous and vegetal. Up front, I get straight up floral, piney, fresh-cut green herbs topped with grapefruit and lemon zest and mixed with a little bit of white onion. There’s a light doughy malt character mid-taste that rolls very nicely into a sharp and lasting finish, which combines the citrus, earthy, and bready flavors with a medium-plus bitterness, light dryness, and light sweetness. Citrus zest and floral pine flavors linger on the tongue, along with an aspirin-like bitterness that, somehow, works really well.

M: Very smooth with a nice balance of effervescence and softness on the carbonation. It moves across the tongue nicely, carrying intense flavor and finishing with a pointed, assertive bitterness that arrives early and sits on the middle of the tongue throughout. The mouthfeel isn't quite full, but definitely not thin either—probably on the better side of medium overall. At 6.6%, there isn’t a hint of malt sweetness or alcohol anywhere, even as it warms.

O: Substance is an excellent change of pace for me following all of the pure juice bombs I’ve been drinking the past few weeks. While it has a nice zesty citrus quality on both the nose and the taste, the fruit flavors aren’t nearly as forward as they are on some other NE-style IPAs. Instead, it’s the dank, piney, herbaceous raw hop character that comes through most intensely, but without the intense bitterness or resin that you might get on a west coast IPA.

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Photo of ELS
3.78/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

I know you'll think I'm crazy if you're reading this review, but I both smell and taste peanut butter in this IPA. That's a first! Probably the only one who ever said it but if you try it look for peanut butter and drop me s line if you agree. Otherwise. It looks good with a hazy yellowish gold color now considered standard for a NE IPA. Smells good with citrus and peanuts. Taste misses a little on flavor. A bit muddled and not making me want to drink more. Not the most drinkable IPA.

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The Substance from Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
4.27 out of 5 based on 1,332 ratings.
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