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The Substance | Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

134 Reviews
Read the review
The SubstanceThe Substance

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

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:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 134 | Ratings: 1,177
Photo of GregA135
4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another great IPA by the Bissell Brothers

16oz can poured into a snifter a hazy yellow with a modest white head
Could really smell pineapple, citrus and hops
A juicy IPA with tastes of citrus, tropical fruit, a little bit of lemon and grapefruit
Perfect amount of carbonation and went down smooth!

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Photo of SteveB24
3.61/5  rDev -15.5%
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 Lonborgski
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From 16oz can bought at brewery labeled 02/10.
Unfiltered light amber, modest head, nice lacing.
Smell of lemony hops.Not overpowering.
Really nice clean fruity hoppy taste. Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit
Tangy feel.
Overall very nice.

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Photo of Statik_v87
4.41/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Whenever my buddies and I trek up to Portland, ME on a craft beer pilgrimage, we make sure to hit Allagash, Foundation, and (of course) Bissel Brothers. The Substance is one of my favorite IPAs. I've had it on tap and enjoyed it more than a Heady Topper, even. There can be slight variation between batches, but it is always very drinkable. However, that makes it hard to pick which one I like more... The Substance, or Epiphany from Foundation (next door). Both are nice hoppy, hazy, fruity IPAs. Bottom line? Good beer. Get some. ^ ^

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Photo of OompaMentor
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- poured from a 16oz ca into pint glass; hazy straw color w/ little carbonation, nice head
S- citrus and danky hops
T- sweet, citrus and nice malts are well balanced
M- nice carbonation with flavorful light grapefruit and not over powering

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Photo of MA_hops
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a real treat!
A: Hazy/cloudy golden straw in color with a thick white foamy head.
S: Dank/sticky hops, lemon citrus, oats.
T: Similar to nose, lemon/orange citrus pops out along with a slightly bitter and hoppy/dank finish.
M: Medium carbonation, dry, slightly bitter finish. Very Trillium esque!
O: Another dry/juicy New England IPA!! Bravo!!

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Photo of jrsaffert
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into Spiegelau IPA glass.

Appearance: Very hazy, looks like slightly watered down orange juice

Aroma: Orange zest and a faint honey-like sweetness. Surprisingly subdued aroma, nothing really bursting through.

Taste: Big orange hopiness followed by a wave of bitter citrus peels. Tangerine, white grapefruit and mandarin oranges. Really a citrus focused IPA

Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth with a clean finish despite the assertive bitterness.

Overall: I really liked this one. I'm glad I traded for some. I wish I could get it locally!

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Photo of CommonSense
4.69/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Canned 10 days ago.

Pours a deep yellow straw. Looks like a fruit juice. Hello New England IPA.

Aroma coming at me from every direction. Smells like a fresh concoction of tropics and hops. Picking up a little wheat. A wondrous mixture of goodness.

Simply delicious. This unique IPA has a light malt profile with plenty of tropical fruit flavor. Citrus on every layer. Ends with a bitter resin. One of the most drinkable IPAs you will ever taste.

Medium carbonation fits the bill well. Dry and to the point.

Overall, this beer is one of a kind. At the bottom of the can you will find yeast and sediment adding to the aroma. It's all part of the magic that Bissell Bros produces. If you're in Maine, you need to seek out Maine Beer Co and BB. Scratch that, If you're an IPA drinker, you need to seek out MBC and BB.

For those that want this beer cleaned up.... get over it. The Substance is perfect in its own way. It has been crafted to what it was supposed to be. A hazy, dirty, glorious mixture of flavorful hops with a hint of wheat and oat backbone.

The "bros" rating this at an 80? Ouch. Proves that beer is as much preference as music is.


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Photo of Dopen993
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16 oz can into tulip. No date.

L. Hazy yellow straw with light head and minimal lacing.
S. Lots of mango and more peach on this beer than I have had any any other beers.
T. Lots of tropical fruit notes, see smell. Finish has a bit of a funky taste to it, but not in a bad way.
No alcohol finish at all, very well done.
F. Above average carbonation with a moderate mouth feel.
O. Loved it. Would buy again.....and then again.

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Photo of alsmitty1414
3.26/5  rDev -23.7%
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%
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.

 247 characters

Photo of anteatr23
4.49/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours yellow/orange haze, cloudy with a two finger head. Smells of mango, orange and pineapple.. sweet with a lightly spicy hop aroma. Taste is dank, herbal and juicy, but still with some noticeable bitterness. Hop flavor profile comes in after the dank juicy wave. Bready malts come through in the aftertaste. This is a really fun IPA that does a lot of things well. Really combines that east coast unfiltered juicy ipa feel with balance and a lot of flavor and character.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.69/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - Lemonade/grapefruit juice type color. Completely hazed. Just how I like'em
Smell - Pineapple, dank, some mangos, grapefruit
Taste - Dank/weed, grapefruit, citrus, hints of tropical fruits
Feel - Nice mouthfeel for 6.5%, soft/subtle bitterness that falls off the palate, crushable

Overall - Everything about this beer is awesome. Seek it out whenever/however you can.

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Photo of rorykanderson
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Outstanding IPA with a dank, citrusy aroma. Taste of pineapple, orange rind and pre-ripe mango and papaya. More bitter than sweet with a kiss of astringency. Clean, dry finish with a lingering bitterness the cascades into the next sip.

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Photo of larryi86
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to SomethingClever for this
16 oz can poured into a teku

A- Super hazy golden straw color with a three finger white head.

S- Dank, citrus, grapefruit, faint tropical fruits.

T- Dank, citrus, piney, grapefruit, some faint tropical fruits/mangos.

M- Smooth, medium body, creamy

O- A solid IPA, wish I could get this around me. Reminds me a lot of Tired Hands IPAs.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.84/5  rDev -10.1%
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 KevinL
4.07/5  rDev -4.7%
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 -15.7%
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.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.15/5  rDev -2.8%
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 +5.4%
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 -6.8%
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.

 420 characters

Photo of sprat1960
4.14/5  rDev -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.

 569 characters

Photo of BradMacMullin
4.74/5  rDev +11%
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 +10.3%
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 +2.8%
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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The Substance from Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 134 ratings.
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