Monday 6 December 2010

Hair of the Dog Adam and Moor JJJ IPA: Open It!

The final day of Open It! and two more bottles. The first is a survivor from San Francisco; Adam, a ‘Hearty Old World Ale’ by Hair of the Dog in Portland, which uses Northwest hops, pilsner malt and speciality malt, including some smoked malts. At 10% it pours like black petrol with a red hue. It’s so unexpectedly fruity that it brings a smile – raisins first, then a spritz of mango and passion fruit, then dark, finger-staining, overripe berries. That fruit chimes with the uplifting sweetness which runs through it but it’s shadowed by a deep, dark chocolate and charred wood background which really makes this beer. It’s intense, full on, interesting and different with each mouthful. The smoke adds a really interesting flavour to the whole thing while all that fruit cuts through it.

And the final Open It! beer is one I’ve been saving to see how time changes it. When I first opened a Moor JJJ IPA I described it as “not a pussy-footing, pretend imperial IPA. This beer is balls-out and in your face” with the “kiss-on-the-cheek, slap-on-the-bum of big malt and big hops that makes very bitter beers so drinkable.” Now it’s so very different. The hops have changed, they’ve blended in, they’ve left a little sticky, piney residue and a drying finish and instead of punching you in the face they now tickle your chin. This beer is no longer about the hops and it’s the malt that wins it with berries, jam, vanilla and oh-so smooth and easy drinking for its toe warming 9.5%. I wanted to see what it’d be like with some age to it but I didn’t expect such a large shift; it’s like a new beer. Given a choice I think I’ll go with the fresh one (I love hops), but on a cold Sunday night this one warmed me to the core and I enjoyed every greedy gulp. ‘Drink Moor Beer’ is something I intend to do next year.

That’s Open It! done and I think it was a success. So much of a success that we’ll plan another one in six months! Thanks to everyone who took part, I hope there were some good beers poured over the weekend.


  1. I thought exactly the same for a very old bottle of Halcyon from Thornbridge. The hops had almost disappeared and it had become some sort of vintage ale. (probably best drunk fresh as it's wet hopped but still very interesting)

    I think Moor is a bit overlooked, their beers are awesome, especially the JJJ, would be good to see more of their stuff around.

  2. Two beers that have had a bit of time spent on the design and look all the better for it

  3. Ghost Drinker - It's definitely interesting to see how beers with lots of hops in develop. JJJ and Halcyon are good examples. I kept this one as it's more like a US barley wine and some of those retain their hops pretty well, beers like Anchor Old Foghorn, for example. And Moor are excellent - their bottles are superb and their cask selection is even better.

    Mark - They are very good designs. I particularly love Moor.

  4. If you don't mind, I think I'll start reading 'Moor' of your stuff in future...

    It's really great stuff, well done. Happy to be a new follower.