Name: Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
Brewer: Half Baked Brewing Collective (Philippines)
Style: Triple IPA
Review Year: 2021
The Half Baked Brewing Collective mothership is bound for another realm. Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is the last solo-brewed concoction of the Collective’s founder, Chris, and was inspired by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy. This hazy Triple IPA clocks in at 10.8% ABV and was brewed with Citra Incognito, Citra, Mosaic, and loaded with Nelson Sauvin hops.
This “Triple IPA” is being evaluated as a Specialty IPA (21B) in the context of the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP). The most current version of the guidelines can be found on the BJCP website.
As of this writing, the “Triple IPA,” particularly the hazy and juicy variant, is not yet an official/ explicit style and, thus, lacks a comprehensive set of guidelines by the BJCP. However, the Brewers Association (BA) had already provisioned guidelines for the “Juicy or Hazy Imperial or Double India Pale Ale” in the 2018 update of their Beer Style Guidelines. This style appears to be the closest benchmark for these hazy and juicy “Triple IPAs.” An article written by Randy Mosher in 2020 could also be referred to for additional hallmarks of the style:
- Haziness from a radical dry-hopping not from the yeast;
- Aroma of tropical fruits, stone-fruits, and/or bright citrus;
- Viscous and creamy mouthfeel;
- Mild bitterness;
- ABV of around 10%;
- Dry-hopped twice or thrice;
- Water used is tilted toward calcium chloride to enhance the creamy presentation;
- Fermented usually with an English strain, but “Conan” is the most notable;
- Bigger examples should be exploding with hops aroma and very rich and full on the palate;
- Balance can sometimes tilt away from drinkability;
- Lactose is an optional ingredient;
- Very young versions can display a peppery “hop burn” on the finish;
- Well-brewed and well-packaged versions may stay perfectly lovely for a couple of months; and
- Less prone to oxidation relative to classic IPAs.
Opaque pale straw with a low white head. The initial aroma was of moderate mango peel. As the beer settled, the noted mango peel was joined by a kaleidoscope of citrus, tropical, and stone fruit aromas with low accents of pungent sulfury hop characteristics (e.g., garlic and onion) as well as resin. Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. A wave of prominent hop flavors rushed in on the first sip: think of lemon zest, pineapple, resin, peach, berries, and mango. These flavors were backed by a moderately low bready malt backbone with hints of oats. Bitterness was assertive; off-dry finish (low residual sweetness). A low peppery “hop burn” was present while others noted a subtle umami quality. Impressions of lemon zest, resin, and the noted bitterness lingered as these brought this beer to a proper close. No harsh/ burning alcohol perceived.
Triple IPAs, particularly the hazy and juicy variants, still lack a comprehensive set of formal guidelines. But based on the Triple IPAs we have tried so far, it seems these beers tend to be very rich and exude explosive hop aromas and flavors despite weighing in at an ABV somewhere around 10%.
Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is a massive beer that unleashed waves and waves of fruity hop characteristics. Alcohol was nowhere to be found in the aroma and flavor, but we noticed that the perceived bitterness was higher than the other Triple IPAs we have tried so far. From the mosaic of hop aromas and flavors, the distinct lemon zest and mango peel were familiar as these are recurring themes in Half Baked’s (Chris) hazy beers. The pungent hop qualities (e.g., onion, garlic), which are associated with the newer American hop varieties, were subtle and ultimately did not get in the way of the fruity characteristics mentioned. All in all, we think Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is an excellent beer.
So long and thanks for all the fish, Chris!