The Substance | Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

167 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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 167 | Ratings: 1,354
Photo of Fishersold
2.06/5  rDev -51.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer is all hype. When it first came out, it was amazing. They changed their yeast and now it tastes like plastic.

While the look is usually opaque, with inconsistencies, I've seen it look like Metamucil.

The smell is odd, hints of hops.

They market themselves well, good place for T-shirts.

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Photo of JebBeerFish
3/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received this as a gift. IPAs are not one of my favorite styles. Not a bad ipa, but I don't see myself ordering this in the future, but wouldn't turn one down on a hot summer day.

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Photo of JNbeerded
3.18/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of the three offerings I've had from BBB, I think this one was the best. Still, like both of the other beers I've had from them, there is a strange off-putting, dirty vegetal-like aroma and flavor that I cannot get passed. Not sure what the hype is all about.

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Photo of alsmitty1414
3.26/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Definitely a solid beer. Very let down though considering all the hype surrounding this brewery and beer. Was like an IPA milk shake, had 2 and felt like I just ate a 20oz t-bone. You get the mango, pineapple and orange on the nose, similar flavors in the mouth but more dank and piney and resin than the smell emits. Would drink again but not going to wait in line 30 plus minutes in addition to the hour plus drive. Good beer but not nearly on the level of Tree House, Trillium, Lawson's, Hill Farmstead, Alchemist. That's just my opinion though.

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Photo of allezvousen
3.33/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Was really excited to try this. Just didn't do it for me and perhaps it was because I drank it side by side with other NE hoppy IPAs. Leaves malty after-taste that lingers. Juicy IPA it is but don't think it's on par with TH, Trillium and VT IPAs.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.37/5  rDev -21.3%
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.

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Photo of stakem
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
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 Bowdoinbeerboy
3.56/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried on 12/7/13 at the Thirsty Pig (first night it debuted?).

This beer poured with decent head, that settled down fairly quickly. The things that really struck me was how pale and clear this beer was. It looked a lot like a pilsner in the glass, very pale yellow and totally clear. It was probably the clearest ipa I have ever had.

The nose was pretty good, solid, but not overpowering or a "punch" to the nose. It was a lightly malty up front which quickly faded to distinct peach/tropical fruit notes.

On the taste, fairly malty and lightly sweet up front, this quickly fades to some nice fruit juice flavors (peach again) and then that flavor fades to a decent does of hop bitterness.

Decent mouthfeel, not so heavy that it leaves your mouth coated and not so light that it feels like your drinking water. As goldy locks said, "just right."

This was a very interesting beer. The floral hop profile was super peachy. I am a fan of fruity nosed IPA's (love MBC Lunch) and this one is a decent example of a fruity IPA. The flavor doesn't quite live up to the nose and is pretty malty with only a brief "fruit juice" hit in the middle before going right to bitterness.

I enjoyed this beer and would buy it again if (as is rumored) will be coming out in 4-packs. A solid, but not great IPA.

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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 SteveB24
3.61/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Color is a pale, hazy orange. Pours a half finger of eggshell head that retains well, aroma is pretty earthy. There's straw, pine, subtle hints of citrus and mango. Taste is mildly citrusy and sweet upfront, slightly floral, lots of unexpectedly bitter hops in the finish and aftertaste. Texture is creamy and light, makes me think of a wheat beer, with a slightly chalky after feel in the throat. Overall this wasn't unpleasant but not something I'd seek out in the future.

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Photo of MaineBeerDinner
3.63/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Doesn't lack substance that's for sure. Too dank, too heavy on the aftertaste to make me want to sit with this one. No head, haze for days, definite malt body but too hop heavy to balance the finish

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Photo of 2ellas
3.65/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Looks a bit hazy, yellow like juice with a thin white head.
Smell is hoppy, citra I think
Flavor follows the smell nearly exactly
Mouthfeel is slick but not overly so
Overall a good beer, wish it was local!

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Photo of Bmoylan1618
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thick color is orange pink. Dank da dank dank nose. Sweet and piney. First flavor is a citrus Pine with a smooth pine flavor. Solid beer. Tongue lingers light but easily looked past.

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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 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 ELS
3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
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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Photo of Stevedore
3.81/5  rDev -11%
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.

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Photo of Boto
3.81/5  rDev -11%
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!

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer looks like pineapple jucie, or more accurately, a cross between orange juice and sweet and sour mix. Fact. I put it between the 2. It has a decent white, whispy/soapy head that leaves some spotty lacing.

The aromas are not super strong, but good. Leafy green and piney, and sharp grapefruit rind. Slight bit of sourness and pretty crsip yeast. A little bit of pepper.

Lots of citrus flavor up front. Puckering grapefruit, a touch of orange, then some grainy (as in chewy) malts along with some funky yeast and green flavor. Finishes with a peppery kick that comes and goes real quick then leaves a lingering bitterness. An underlying sweetness the whole time. The malt base is not as pale oriented as I thought. The leafy green flavor lasts foorrrevvverrrr.

The mouthfeel is very nice other than being fairly chalky. Lip smacking resin.

Overall this is a very good beer that drinks like a pale ale/ ipa combo, but leans toward ipa. The malt base seems a tad messy, and it is a bit like eating chalk afterwards, but very nice otherwise.

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Photo of groutenberg
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
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 obninsk23
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%

1 pint can was given to me by a friend who loves hoppy beers. I thought it would be unbalanced hoppsville, but it was surprisingly pleasant. Eighth of an inch foam staid with me till the end, which is laways a bonus. Smells with a hint of citrus, amber color, tasted like.... hmmmm, I just realized it has unique taste that I never had before. Loved it.

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Photo of Ready4aHeady
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap in Portland...
Not sure what all the hype is about. A good IPA but not all that complex, not much hop funkiness or citrus notes, etc... And a little too malty for my taste. I thought the baby genius was better, although fairly light.
Update: Just opened a can, more refreshing and interesting than I remember. Nice hops, bitter--which I like, and less malt than I remember....I'm liking this more than the first time and would up my score to a 4.17789!!

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Photo of ScaryEd
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour is a hazy, golden blonde color with a fluffy white head. Leaves some pretty good lacing, but the head is gone in a hurry.

The aroma is pretty grassy and dank, with some citrus notes as well. I get mango and pineapple, as well as some grainy bread.

The taste is juicy and piney, with some peppery spice notes on the back end. It's pretty well balanced, but honestly nothing really stands out to me.

The mouth is medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden.

Overall, this is a very solid IPA. However, in my own personal taste it has always seemed like more of a pale ale to me. Perhaps I've been disillusioned because I'm so used to these big, hype-driven New England IPA's being absolute juicy hop bombs. Don't get me wrong, this is still a very juicy, hoppy beer. It's just not what I expected when I first tried it and every time I drink it I find myself feeling it could be so much more. It could be my own tastes and biases are skewed, but ultimately this beer has just never met my expectations or the ridiculous hype that surrounds it. It's a good IPA, but not worth the wait in line for.

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Photo of Jacobob10
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can.

Pale gold / light amber color and cloudy with one finger of head. Big orange and grapefruit aroma with pine. Brisk hoppiness in the flavor, leaving a bitter finish. Medium-light body and very smooth. A nice IPA, similar to a couple of Tree House beers I've had, but I still prefer a filtered IPA to unfiltered.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.94/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

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The Substance from Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
4.28 out of 5 based on 1,354 ratings.
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