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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