For their 15th Anniversary, Middle Ages Brewing Company in my hometown of Syracuse NY decided to up the ante and try a double IPA version of one of their flagship brews. Their regular Wailing Wench label features a lighter red-haired beauty instead of the dark red haired wench on this version’s label – though I think that the Double Wench has increased the size of her… “tracts of land” considerably.
So when I saw this in a Central New York grocery store, I couldn’t turn it down. A double wench? Described on the label as “More Full-Bodied, Still Screaming with Hops” it sounds good to me. Admittedly, since picking it up, I unintentionally aged this a little. I’ve had this Double Wench sitting on my waiting shelves since November (oops). Don’t worry, they’re cool and out of sunlight so I think the wench will have survived or at least learned something about patience.
So I poured it out into a glass and was happily surprised to see that it is considerably redder than its single wench counterpart. (Perhaps this should have been the red-head, and the other the blonde?) The aroma is quite strong too. Kind of like pine sap, and a little bit of citrus and hop bitterness. But there’s a bit of alcohol there too, probably due to the 12% ABV. Its aroma is not far from its taste, either.
The taste on this one is great – and the first thoughts I have are on how underrated this beer is. No one I know has been mentioning this in a short list of imperial IPAs, but after the first few sips, I’d have to say that it certainly deserves to be there. The hops are well balanced with malts, and the warmth of the alcohol is pleasant, and adds to the overall beer instead of detracting from it. Almost dangerous in its smoothness, this has a lot of flavor despite a slightly drying aftertaste. There is some sweetness from the malts, but isn’t syrupy in the mouth like other imperials. It’s just well done all around and I’d be happy to order this at a beer bar.