Magical Mystery Pour #21: Cloudwater DIPA Version 10

A bottle of Cloudwater V 10 enveloped in steam.

The third of series of beers chosen for us by Rebecca Pate (@rpate), who blogs at Brewing East, is Cloudwater Double IPA Version 10.

We had a bit of a time get­ting hold of this, too, because being a lim­it­ed release, and much in demand, it tends to sell out pret­ty quick­ly. We end­ed up buy­ing sev­er­al bot­tles direct from Cloud­wa­ter via Eee­bria as part of a mixed case of six bot­tles of DIPA and IPA which cost us £20. Indi­vid­ual 330ml bot­tles of DIPA from oth­er retail­ers tend to go at around £4.50-£5.

Rebec­ca says:

I’d be lying if I denied being on the Cloud­wa­ter band­wag­on and haven’t sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly tracked down every ver­sion of their evolv­ing DIPA; how­ev­er, this great DIPA adven­ture rep­re­sents the first time I’ve found myself caught up in hype sur­round­ing a beer. I’ve stepped back slight­ly since, stum­bling upon all ver­sions fol­low­ing v5 more nat­u­ral­ly and with­out a fren­zied hunt as it became more read­i­ly avail­able around Lon­don. Regard­less of the hype, Cloud­wa­ter have done incred­i­ble things for the Dou­ble IPA. When I enjoyed my half pint of this v10, I not­ed that the aro­mas took on a more savoury edge than pre­vi­ous­ly, but the intense fruiti­ness in the body – likened by many to a fruit cup – was still present with­out much to indi­cate its 9% ABV. It’s almost mag­i­cal how eas­i­ly this goes down.

This is a real­ly tricky beer to write about for var­i­ous rea­sons. As we hint­ed at here in our non-review of a pre­vi­ous ver­sion there is so much talk about Cloud­wa­ter, and this beer in par­tic­u­lar, that you either end up sound­ing like a wil­ful con­trar­i­an, or part of the cult. And with the announce­ment that it is to cease pro­duc­ing cask ale the oth­er week Cloud­wa­ter has only become more polit­i­cal.

Then there’s the fact that each ver­sion real­ly is a dif­fer­ent beer. As we write this, Ver­sion 11 is just being launched, at which point Ver­sion 10 becomes an irrel­e­vance.

Final­ly, of course, there’s the fact that if you don’t drink a DIPA as fresh as pos­si­ble – ide­al­ly before it has even been brewed – then you can’t pos­si­bly have an informed opin­ion. This one is weeks old, for good­ness sake. Or per­haps it needs a bit of time to mel­low. It’s usu­al­ly one or the oth­er.

What fol­lows is our best attempt to ignore all of that and to give our hon­est reac­tion to this spe­cif­ic bot­tle of beer, ask­ing, first and fore­most whether we liked it, before unpack­ing the whys and how comes.

Cloudwater DIPA in the glass.

This beer was not designed to be clear. From the first splash in the glass it was dirty and only got dirt­i­er. There were no lumps or clumps – just some­thing like a man­go las­si or smooth­ie. It did not look unap­peal­ing to us but it might to you depend­ing on your pro­gram­ming with regard to sus­pend­ed yeast.

The smell was close to the ide­al for an IPA, a jum­ble of fresh­ly-picked, under-ripe trop­i­cal fruit, and mys­te­ri­ous, exot­ic aro­mas that brought to mind the alien plantlife of the Eden Pro­jec­t’s rain­for­est bio­me. Very excit­ing. Just won­der­ful.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, what we tast­ed was gar­lic, crisp green leaves and (to a much less­er degree) that same musty note that marred Ver­dant Head­band. Push­ing on, that fad­ed some­what, bring­ing to the fore sug­ges­tions of pineap­ple and unre­fined sug­ar. The prob­lem is we just don’t get this kind of flavour pro­file, where sal­ad dom­i­nates over sweet fruit. It does not make us hap­py. We can, how­ev­er, tell that this is a good exam­ple of the sub-style – it is 90 per cent clean-tast­ing, with­out the rough edges that mar many sim­i­lar beers, and is crammed full of flavour.

Lettuce, spring onions and pineapple.
Adapt­ed from pub­lic domain images at Wiki­me­dia Com­mons.

We did not, when push comes to shove, like it, but we did­n’t exact­ly choke on it either. It’s con­stant­ly inter­est­ing, if noth­ing else, and, odd­ly, going back to the hazi­ness, one of the things we liked best was the rather milky, silky tex­ture.

We’ll no doubt give Cloud­wa­ter DIPA anoth­er go in a few ver­sions time. It will have been through a few more regen­er­a­tions by then and might well be much more to our taste.

5 thoughts on “Magical Mystery Pour #21: Cloudwater DIPA Version 10”

  1. These DIPAs are a new crea­ture in them­selves. If you’re lucky enough to find it, have it on keg. They change the struc­ture of beer – I’d call them a hop nec­tar because they’re so vis­cous. I love them. I’m hop­ing to write a post about Cloud­wa­ter DIPA 11 tast­ed against the syrup from a Del Monte can of fruit sal­ad and a car­ton of Um Bon­go when No 11 becomes avail­able. At this point it makes sense in my brain in any case.

  2. I found v10 a com­plete train wreck – caco­phanous, total­ly unin­te­grat­ed, unin­tel­li­ga­ble shout­ing and yelling to no pur­pose. Pre­vi­ous Cloud­wa­ter beers I’ve had have at least har­monised, and have come across as clever and very well put togeth­er, if not embued with the great­ness oth­es say they find: this one tast­ed as if no thought had gone into it at all except to cram in as many com­pet­ing hops as pos­si­ble. 3/10.

  3. I find the best way to appre­ci­ate these DIPAs is not to drink them.

    The best bit is the antic­i­pa­tion and build up; where your brain goes into over­drive try­ing to process what’s about to come. What will the hop pro­file be like: piney or fruity? What will be the malt ratio? Lin­ger­ing dry­ness or sweet­ness? Not to men­tion how it com­pares to pre­vi­ous ver­sions and to the com­pe­ti­tion.

    After pon­der­ing all that, I find actu­al­ly drink­ing them a real dis­ap­point­ment and best avoid­ed if at all pos­si­ble.

    In fact, I’m work­ing on mod­i­fy­ing Uri Geller’s ‘remote view­ing’ tech­nique to cre­ate ‘remote drink­ing’ where­by I can have the whole DIPA expe­ri­ence in a dark­ened room miles away from the actu­al beer.

  4. Fun­ny enough just had V9 on draught, keg, and inspite of not want­i­ng to join the hype I real­ly enjoyed it. Like Alco orange juice . But £4.30 a third will stop me hav­ing any more but at least I have tried it, in Exeter!

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