Domination by all means. Well…maybe just by the palate.
What do you get when you mix grapefruit, oranges, floral hops and a lot of love? You get a totally estery beer that has a great flavor profile and shows just what those folks up in Oregon can do. This is Ninkasi’s Total Domination IPA.
The bottle depicts an early morning mountain range scene that I imagine is what someone who lives in the Pacific Northwest looks at every time they open their back door patio. Simply gorgeous.
HOT: The citrus and hop choice pair well together, and has a conspicuous presence on your palate from start to finish. The malt ratio seems right on the mark as well.
NOT: The fruity esters aren’t the only thing that lingers on your tongue from start to finish–while the hops they use smell and taste great, there is an inevitable bitterness that runs directly in tandem with the fruit flavors.
Total Domination IPA First Splash
From the first sip, those esters kiss your tongue like a mother coddles a newborn. The citrus notes are very refreshing, followed by the business end of the floral hop medley they employ to strengthen the body and add some kick.
The color is an orange, faintly amber hue, and the head from the pour is easily a couple of fingers deep. The residue from the settled head is sticky and latches to the top of the glass for most of the drinking session.
The freshness of the citrus is coupled well with the Munich and Carahell malts, which taste rather subdued to begin with. This is a good thing, as I’m not a fan of super malty, super sweet IPAs. That’s a characteristic I’d expect from something like a red or scotch ale. Or a red IPA like this one.
The hop varieties they use in this beer are great–it’s just that while they give a pleasantly botanical experience to the to the palate, the bitterness lingers for longer than I care for.
To me this is a conundrum, because I really like the fruit start and finish of this beer in relation to its nearly perfect malt presence. Adding or subtracting any percentage of any of these things (including the hops) would seemingly give you a completely different tasting beer.
From the start I was thinking Mexican food–chicken enchiladas, ceviche or maybe some other fresca dishes. Another good pairing would be Thai, such as chicken green curry, pineapple fried rice, Tom Yum (lemongrass) or Tom Kha Gai (coconut) soup.
Is Total Domination IPA a Year-Round Drinker
Yes indeed it is. This is something an IPA novice or a seasoned hop-aficionado can enjoy at any time, any place.
Hoptastic Rating: 4.3/5