Brutal Brewing came about in 2011 when one of the largest independent Swedish breweries, Spendrups Bryggeri, saw to what extent that microbreweries where shaking up the industry, and decided they’d quite like a piece of that action too. With their Brutal Brewing arm they enabled themselves to experiment, have fun, and also hopefully brew a few decent beers along the way. The brewer has two well-established non-alcoholic beers under it’s belt, their Pistonhead lager, and their first nolo offering, birthed back in 2018 – A Ship Full of IPA (Alcohol Free).
The beer is based on the brewer’s full ABV version of A Ship Full of IPA, which clocks in at 5.8%. After several years of not drinking anything above 0.5% that percentage almost feels like hard liquor to me – it’s weird how quickly things change. Anyway, Brutal Brewing uses vacuum distillation to reduce that alcohol content down to 0.0%, which can take significant effort. The resulting beer is then dry-hopped with 5 different varieties of hop – Amarillo, Cascade, Citra, Ella and Galaxy. Readers of this blog will be familiar with most of those strains and know what to expect, but Ella is a new one on me. An Australian variety related to Galaxy, it is said to impart grapefruit and tropical aromas when used in late stage brewing (as is the case here). So, the expectation for this beer from me is bitterness, citrus aromas and a touch of tropical fruit.
The beer pours a dark golden brown colour with a touch of fridge haze and steady streams of bubbles are available. The head is pretty dense and stable, giving us some lacing as we drink. On the nose we get some sweetness from roasted grains which intermingles with bitter orange citrus rind, pine and a touch of caramel. I’d say this is more ‘classic’ IPA territory – none of your fancy east or west coast malarkey going on here.
On tasting we’re initially smacked with pine bitterness, which mellows somewhat into fragrant mandarin citrus. There’s a malty caramel backbone to the beer, but the bitterness continues to ramp up, with maybe a sour note in there too. The carbonation is high and the beer is medium bodied, with a slightly sticky mouthfeel. The finish is dry.
A Ship Full of IPA adheres to a lot of the classic IPA style – quite high bitterness but without the juicy tropical fruit that backs up the more modern styles. It’s a decent drink but I found myself wanting a more juicy character to the beer – maybe my taste buds have been spoiled by too many American-influenced IPAs and pales. If you like bitterness though, you’ll be happy with this.
Buy A Ship Full of IPA
Brutal Brewing’s beers are quite widely available these days, and I’ve seen A Ship Full of IPA on the NA shelves of many supermarkets. You can also buy from the following online shops:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)
|Water, Barley Malt, Hops
|Country of Production
|Brutal Brewing AB – https://brutalbrewing.com/
A Ship Full of IPA Alcohol-Free Review
Classic IPA flavours on show here, though high bitterness may put off some people.