Mayhem - Belgian-Style Double IPA | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

very good
58 Reviews
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Mayhem - Belgian-Style Double IPAMayhem - Belgian-Style Double IPA

Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Chaotic yet hypnotic, Mayhem is a deliberate Double IPA, brewed and conditioned with a special Belgian yeast that contributes complexity and spice. Abundant American hops offer grapefruit, pine, must and mint, which play off the fullness and sweetness of pale malts then provide a biting yet enticing finish.

100 IBU

Added by Reswald on 02-19-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 58 | Ratings: 85
Photo of Offa
3.28/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I found this to be rather one-dimensionally dominated by grapefruit-medicinal herb hop bitterness with the hints of underlying complexity of yeast and malt hiding underneath but beaten down. There are some other hop elements but they also seem unable to compete.

Visually, this is a beautiful beer, faintly cloudy deep gold with a huge off-white head that shrinks slowly to a smaller, permanent rocky, foamy head with some nice foamy lace.

Aroma is citrus and yeasty grain with hints of grapefruit, peppers, leaves, close, pear, then more grapefruit and a hint of peach. This is pretty good and shows some complexity.

Taste is another matter. It has hints of complexity from yeast at first, with a definite spice-fruitiness, but even from the start the hops dominate. Up front is pine resin and grapefruit, then a vaguely raisiny grain sweetness comes up slightly, but lacking in any real flavour. The yeast mentioned tries at first to join the hops but soon withers, always noticeable but only vaguely and deep in the background. Hops are sharply bitter with strong grapefruit and vague medicinal herb, vague-but-sharp spicey-peppery elements, with the pine bark clear at first but soon fading, leaving the show to the grapefruit and vague-but-sharp medicine and spice. There is no noticeable malt flavour. The sweetness is almost syrupy but lacks flavour and is yet unable to support the bitterness. Aftertaste is long and bitter grapefruit.

The flavours are rough, sharp, and clashing, trying to compete with each other rather than complementing each other and the result is that the sharp, grapefruity-medicinal character wins out, beating down all else. Although it's an IPA, I suspect that it might be better if I let it age a few months to see if things mellow and blend better. This all keeps down the drinkability.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.36/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Bobby for this one. This is essentially a remake of Wrath, so it was interesting to try both side-by-side.

A: The pour is a standard orangish-amber color with a finger's worth of white head.

S: A very herbaceous and almost woody nose. Certainly quite pungent but seems to be lacking the typical hop aromas and a strong note of rosemary overwhelms everything else.

T: The strong herbal note that was present in the nose does not translate to the flavor (perhaps thankfully). The hops provide a very sharp and nearly harsh bitterness. Some oranges and a bit of fruity esters to try to balance things out.

M: Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation and a bitterness that really sticks around.

D: Overall, I much preferred Wrath to this, although it was a bit past its prime. The bitterness was a bit too sharp for me and the nose I did not find all that appealing.

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3.36/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Tall extravagant head, puffing lingering, lots of effervescence and a gilded golden gold color.

Smells of fragrant wet hops, a touch of red wine cork, a little clean metal fume.

Taste is very metallic, and jaggedly puckeringly burningly bitter. On the inhale that metallic vibe is becoming more and more of a nuisance. This needs some sweetness to balance, and that gol darn metal needs to go.

Mouthfeel is pretty lively for the weight of this, and feels just right.

Overall, the metallic side of this beer killed it for me. I was ready to fall in love with it when I saw it on the shelf, and thought it seemed imminent when i saw it poured and sniffed the bottle. But on the other hand, I can't rule out the possibility that this is just an off bottle. I think it could be worth a second look, as i like MOST of this beer quite a bit.

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Photo of beertunes
3.4/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Right upfront I'll admit that I find this style to be something of a bastard and haven't found one that I love. Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a semi-cloudy golden yellow with a very active, tall, fluffy, white head that had great retention and medium lacing.

The aroma was very yeasty and spicy, with the hops being in the background. Not much, if any grain or malt. On the tongue there is a bit of a grain base, then the yeast takes over. The spicyness lingered at the back of the tongue. I didn't get any of the hop flavors listed on the label, but did get some hop burn on the tongue.

The body was fairly typical, the style seems to run a bit thin to me in general. Drinkability was OK, but palate fatigue set in well before the end of the bottle.

Overall, a decent, but not special beer. Worth a shot if you see it.

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Photo of JayQue
3.46/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pretty average Belgian IPA. Looks good. Pours a hazy orange color with a big delicately bubbling white head. Lacing is minimal. Head retention is pretty good.

Smell is minimal. A little fruit Apples and pears, some yeasty type aroma. Very mild.

Taste is somewhat better. Fruit, mild belgian yeast, some grapefruit hoppiness. THe flavors blend fairly well together.

Mouthfeel is rich, hoppy bite and a light alcohol bite as well.

Overall, a fairly good drink but not a top of the line Belgian IPA.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Slightly more orange than gold, with multiple streams of fine bubbles racing up to a four finger lid of aged ivory foam. There goes my theory that nothing but pale malt (100% pilsner in this case) would lead to nothing darker than amber colored beer. The rocky crown spatters the glass with small chunklets of sudsy lace.

Summit hops should be outlawed once and for all. The aroma would an American hoppy Belgian-style DIPA treat if it wasn't for the pungent, onion-like odor emanating from the glass. The rest of the lineup is outstanding and includes Simcoe, Columbus and Amarillo. Thankfully, the interloper isn't prominent enough to ruin things.

Same thing on the taste buds. If I wanted to drink fresh garlic and green onion beer, I'd stock up on Oskar Blues GUBNA. Again, though, Mayhem has enough else going for it to avoid being a total loss. In fact, I'm rather enjoying the still aggressive hoppiness in combination with the peppery esteriness of the yeast.

Other than those flavors already mentioned, we have white grapefruit, bitter orange and pine. Malt provides a modest (and somewhat balancing) sweetness, without much flavor transfer. A hint of unmasked alcohol is no worse than in most pale-malted ale of this ABV.

The mouthfeel is a study in glassy smoothness and heavily creamy lusciousness. That is all. To fill out the paragraph, this new MS seasonal has its origins in the 2007 Deadly Sin Series offering known as Wrath.

With one simple deletion (Summit hops), Midnight Sun Brewing could turn decent beer into potentially great beer. It's a tribute to my love for lupulins and for Belgian IPAs that the scores are as high as they are. Thanks to sprucetip for the bomber.

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Photo of dragonWhale
3.66/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bit overcarbonated, but an otherwise splendid goldenrod clear beverage. The pour nearly lipped over the glass but my astute eyes alerted my mouth to spring to action. When I bent my head towards the glass I was greeted with a pungent evergreen hoppiness, followed by a distinctively Belgian yeast tone. Now that the foam has settled down a bit, the Belgian yeast dominates with a funky floralness. The hops are there but have been diminished by the yeast. The flavor is very complex, from the sweetness of the malt to the very forward hops presence, and then a tang of the Belgian yeast. A confounding beer indeed. I want this with more age on it.
I like the flavors but I feel its more of a battle amongst them
right now and with the right amount of time, they will harmoniously befuddle me again. The finish is long and dry with sprinkles of the esters riding high on the tongue.

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Photo of biegaman
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Belgian ales, American IPAs and fusions of the two are all generally lighter in colour (certainly brighter in complexion) than this here offering. It is a slightly more orange-y tone of a bruised Bosc pear and it's not exactly a treat for the eyes. Evidence of the Belgian yeast, however, is plainly visible as this has enough moussy foam to give you a beer mustache.

The aroma is not particularly appetizing, even despite floral and spicy contributions from an identifiably Belgian yeast strain. It has an onion-y pungency that I'm told stems from their choice of hops. A shame that it prevents me from keeping my nose in there too long because notes of pink grapefruit, grassy herbals and peppery spice are otherwise nice.

The taste contains a combination of flavours, some of which you'd normally find in a beer much lighter in colour (pale malt, bubblegum, clove-like spices) as well as some you'd expect from a beer slightly darker (bruised fruits, tobacco leaf and licorice root). While it all sounds impressive the truth is none of it is. And it would be nothing without the Belgian yeast.

It's all well and good that the brewery writes on the label that this contains an abundance of American hops but actions speak louder than words and unless they include enough that I can sense the citrus, pine, must and mint it doesn't mean much. As it stands, I do note a spritz of grapefruit, some herbal mintiness and perhaps a bit of attic-like mustiness (although that's probably from the yeast) but it's all quite menial. And none too grabbing.

Mayhem tastes like you could use it as a dry rub for grilling meat. I say that because it has enough spicy heat (think dried chilli flakes, dried herbs, lime juice) to remind me of one. Most of that comes from the yeast again, mind you, and this strikes me as a beer that wasn't nurtured properly; something this high in alcohol needs more malts, anything made to be this bitter (100 IBU) should have more definitive hop character. Yeast can't do everything.

I'd understand if this bottle were past its point of freshness, but an 8% beer hopped to the nines and fermented with Belgian yeast should be able to hold up after 3 months. Midnight Sun has the right idea but, in the end, Mayhem just doesn't come together. My suggestion to the brewer: change the recipe. My suggestion to the consumer: spend your money elsewhere.

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Photo of nickd717
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What is "mayhem" supposed to be, the sound of someone clearing their throat? I kid. Bomber from City Beer in SF.

Pours hazy golden-straw in color (in low lighting) with a frothy and lacey white head that sticks around for quite some time.

The aroma is very Belgium. Oh look, this is a Belgium IPA isn't it? I love Belgiums and would love to visit Belgian again. Spicy Belgium yeast is a big player in this one. You also get some light fruits, pineapple, and citrusy/herbal hops. This does not smell all that hoppy given the 100 IBUs.

The flavor has pale malt and an almost wheaty quality, along with a decent hop bite, citrusy, tropical (pineapple), herbal, and resinous. Belgian yeast is big once again. This does not taste all that hoppy given the 100 IBUs.

Fairly lively carbonation and medium body for the style.

Very good overall, but definitely not one of Midnight Sun's best.

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Photo of GeezLynn
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a cloudy golden blond with a heavy white blanket of head. Great retention.

A funky Belgian yeast dominates the aroma. Beyond that there's some pithy hops and and that Summit hop onion smell overlying pale malt. Also a little fermented fruit in there.

Two words. Bitter & dry. Sour white grapefruit peel and maybe a little pear are about the exent of what I can discern. The overpowering bitterness makes it difficult to pick up much else. Needs more malt and sweetness. Capped with a long bitter finish.

Smooth body with a full, frothy mouthfeel. Lots of carbonation, but fairly smooth.

Overall, this beer had some nice qualities but the flavor was too one-dimensional. Given my previous experience with Midnight Sun, I have to wonder how well it's held up through shipping. I know this bottling's not that old and it's a Belgian IPA, but am guessing the lack of depth may be a result of some of the hop flavors deteriorating. This might be your thing if you're one who likes straight up, brutally tongue lashing bitterness....

Thanks for the generous hook-up Toby!

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Photo of kwjd
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at City Beer in San Francisco. Pours a hazy orange colour with huge white head. Great head retention with lacing over most of the glass. Smells boozy, with citrus hops and spicy Belgian yeast. Flavour has the hot alcohol with lots of bitterness and sweetness. Really smooth carbonation level. A very nice beer. It was pretty expensive, so I likely won't get this again unless I see it on tap.

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Photo of cannabanaceae
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice frothy head, Golden in color. Awesome Label!

When I first opened this bottle, it was very fruity and hoppy smelling. As I poured it into the glass, the belgium yeast smell came through loud and clear dominating the smell.

Taste was very bitter with a nice amount of malt sweetness. The hop fruitiness seems to clash with the belgium yeast strain. Bitterness lingers in your mouth. Some alcohol present. Mouthfeel was tart.

The drinkability is pretty good/OK on this one, taste change (in a good way) as it warms. Worth a try, a little pricey. One and done for me.

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Photo of froghop
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a hazy orange-amber with a large egg-shell head, and great lacing.

smell is of fruits (apricot and pear), malt, a touch of floral, and citrus.

taste is of hops, grass, dandelion, grapefruit, malt, and a touch of malt, ends nicely bitter.

overall a very nice belgian IPA.

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Photo of jdense
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle shared with a buddy as a nightcap, poured into Delirium Tremens and Piraat tulips.

Orange amber clear body, mulitiple streams of carbonation rising from bottom of glass. Huge, billowing three finger Duvel-like head, a real gusher, ultra-slow dissipation with significant lacing. Fairly clean nose, some spicy hops balanced by sweet malts. Taste is pretty hop forward, complex, some grapefruit, pine, sweet in the middle, leading to a dry, piney finish. Mouthfeel is the key here, not sticky with a really dry attentuated finish from the yeast. Not the most drinkable of Belgian IPAs, but IMHO, one of the most tasty. Worth a try.

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Photo of Bubba83
3.84/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip at about 45 degrees.

Peach colored body with quick rising tiny bubbles from the bottom of the glass. Poured carefully and still ended up with a four finger width bright white rocky head. It seems impossible for the head not to stick onto the sides of the glass, which makes the lacing and retention quite incredible.

The aroma is a little mellow for me overall. It's all a bit, well, indescript... I get some black pepper, hay, funk, and maybe a little citrus, but it's all kind of jumbled up. Still, it's pleasant enough.

The flavor is quite good despite the average aroma. Tastes a lot like apple juice at first, with a nice hit of sweetness. This fades into tropical fruits, nice notes of pineapple and mango. Finishes up with spice and funk from the malt and yeast. The interplay of tropical fruit, funk, spice, and citrus are my favorite part about Belgian IPAs, and this one has it.

The consistency seems dead on, nice medium body with lots of oilyness, yet good carbonation. The head is nice and inviting, a very creamy foam.

Drinks pretty well. I've had the whole bomber now and it was mildly refreshing even. I find Belgian IPAs to be more refreshing than others because of the balance of sweet tropical fruits. This beer reminded me a lot of the 3767 collaboration beer they made with Ballast Point. The thing is though, the hop profile was better in that one and it also achieved more complexity from the oak wine barrels as well. If I hadn't already had 3767, this beer may have been pretty eyeopening, but unfortunately, it's just a reminder of 3767, which in my eyes is a better beer. Definitely one to seek out and try if you can't get your hands on a 3767.

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Photo of Soonami
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for popery for sending this in a trade.

Solid belgian IPA. It is a hazy orange with an thick head sticky head. There is a good bit of sweet tangerine, banana and clove in the nose. The bitterness comes on late, but doesn't mend very well with the spice. I think it's my personal prejudice, but I just don't think that piney, citrusy hops combine well with belgian yeast. However, this beer is probably one of the better examples of the style I've had.

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Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from City Beer Store. Medium orange colour, with big off-white head. Lots of lace. Taste is c-hop (resiney citrus), some spiciness, and funk. Decent mouthfeel. Wafts funk. Carbonation above-average. Better as it warms to room temperature. Tasty stuff, but a bottle requires a meal to accompany it.

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Photo of tegelaar
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber gold with white head. Smells of belgian yeast and candy sugar. Very sweet and inviting. Taste is tropical fruits and some hop bitterness. There is an odd metallic undertone which is just a tad off-putting. The carbonation makes for a nice mouthfeel. Pretty good drinkability too. Overall it is enjoyable but not as hoppy as Id hoped and a weird metallic twinge is distracting.

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Photo of ccrida
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into my old Rochefort chalice, Mayhem is hazy, dull dark gold with an off-white head leaving light lace. Murkier as I pour through the bottle, kind of dirty dish water. Bottle conditioned?

Smell is very hoppy, super resinous, lots of piny hops. Maybe some tangerine notes I can attribute to the Belgian yeast - maybe!

Taste is very hoppy as well, again, lots of resins, very spicy. Perhaps some of that spice is peppery esters, but again, I'm not sure I'd get a Belgian pedigree if they didn't characterize it as such. Which is no problem, because it's still a nice DIPA! It is heavily phenolic, which is probably the most Belgian attribute. As it warms, actually, the sweet, fruit esters open up more (was about 30 mins above fridge temp when opened), and it becomes more clearly BIPA, which I really dig.

Mouthfeel is fairly creamy, typically nice MSBC mouthfeel, but bone dry, dusty slick hop oils.

Drinkability is good, tasty, but this is a super robust beer that you're just not gonna suck down that fast with ease. That said, it's a well made and enjoyable example of a DIPA, with the Belgian twist a noble cause, if a bit lost behind the pungency of the hops.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle picked up on my Northwest visit..

Fairly aggressive head shows nice retention. Slightly cloudy pale straw/amber color. Sticky lacing.

Gum, yeast, citrus, light fruit and pepper in the aroma.

Lot’s of pepper, a touch of candied sugar and green apple and pear. Bubble gum again here.

The pepper adds an interesting element to the mouthfeel. Medium light bodied.

Pretty decent little beer.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at Gourmet Haus Staudt. Golden-amber with slight haze and a dense white head. Phenolic, spicy nose backed by citrusy west coast hops. Little bit of bubblegum, pear, grapefruit - pretty damn nice. Good balance of Belgian yeast and American hop flavors; peppery phenols, grapefruit and bitter orange peel. Touch of alcohol in the finish with a huge bitter kick. Pretty damn good - intensely bitter as usual with Midnight Sun, but balanced by some great flavors.

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


On tap at Stone.

A: The color of slightly watered down apple juice with a fizzy white head. Light lacing.

S: Ripe Granny Smith apples, with notes of orange, grapefruit, and coriander. It's quite phenolic,  though I can't pinpoint a specific spice beyond coriander (maybe clove?) and there's a dash of bubblegum. Malt is bready with a sugary sweetness. The nose is interesting and very aromatic.

T: Moderately bitter with a blast of orange flesh and grapefruit. Apple and grass are noticeable. The yeast is decidedly Belgian. Malt provides a bready sweetness. Finish is moderately bitter and very fruity. 

M: Upper light - lower medium body with moderate draft carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and sticky with some astringency.

Overall: An enjoyable Belgian style Double IPA, and quite unique.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 7/9/10 notes. Had at a local DC tasting.

a - Pours a pale golden color with 1 inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus fruits, apples, yeast, and some citrus hops.

t - Tastes a little bit bitter, and of citrus hops, grapefruit, spices, apples, and yeast.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty good Belgian IPA. Some nice citrus and fruit in the smell and taste. Would like to try again.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into my Midnight Sun cervoise

A - dark golden to light amber, minor white head with good lacing

S - Very earthy. Pine, yeast and some kinda funk. very intriguing

T - Distinct Belgian yeast. Some spiciness like peppercorns and coriander, musty hops and some mint

M - medium to fuller body, very very dry

D - I liked this one, another solid offerings from one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of Seanibus
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a delicious beer, but it's not clear what qualifies this ad a "Belgian style double IPA" and not a good Belgian strong or golden ale (other than the gravity-defying power of marketing, of course).

Pours a sunny yellow with a sprightly thick white head. The aroma leaps from the bottle - summer fruit, apricot and peach. As it settles, the beer gives off more sedate aromas, wheat and hay. The flavor is aspriny bitter, with considerable wheat character and a preserved fruit edge, like dried apricots and apples. The Belgian phenolic tang is there, but not as pronounced as it could be. The mouthfeel is very dry and tannic, with an aspirin astringency on the finish.

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Mayhem - Belgian-Style Double IPA from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 85 ratings.
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