Name: Antares (#295/296)
Brewer: UchuBrewing うちゅうブルーイング (Japan)
Style: Specialty IPA
Review Year: 2021
Antares is a double dry-hopped (DDH) Triple IPA brewed by one of Japan’s most sought-after craft breweries, Uchu Brewing. This superbly juicy and hazy Triple IPA was brewed with Citra, Citra Incognito, and Cryo Citra hops.
Uchu Brewing is a space-themed craft brewery in Hokuto City, Yamanashi, and was founded by Masahiro Kusunose and Rumiko Suzuki in 2018. Head brewer Kasunose skipped high school to become a bassist in a hardcore punk band and, has, interestingly, only started drinking craft beer in 2016. Before brewing on his own, Kasunose spent two months in 2017 at Outsider Brewing in Kofu mentored by Satoshi Niwa. The other half of Uchu is Suzuki who traded in her Osaka city life for the quiet farm life in Kochi after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. She is currently in charge of the brewery’s marketing, creative direction, and events. The two crossed paths as Kasunose and Suzuki became involved in environmental activism in which they practice strongly with their brewery.
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.
Hazy straw color like mango juice; well-formed white head. Explosive hoppy aromas primarily of ripe mango, guyabano/ soursop, and peach; accentuated by hints of resin, lemon peel, and pepper. Medium-full-bodied, medium carbonation with a viscous and creamy mouthfeel. Like the aroma, the flavor unleashed waves of rich, ripe mango, peach, and piney notes; medium-low spice and peppery accents in the background. Supportive malt and fermentation characteristics; bitterness perceived as resiny and was a notch above medium. Finished on the sweet side; aftertaste of the familiar ripe mango and lemon peel.
Outstanding. As mentioned, the hazy Triple IPAs still lack a comprehensive set of formal guidelines, but we think Antares is a strong contender as a benchmark of the said style. It’s a massively hop-forward beer that brought to the table very dense hop aroma and flavor profiles balancing ripe fruits with hop bitterness. In other words, it’s a big, very fragrant, and superbly juicy brew with enough bitterness to remind you it’s still beer. Enjoy outdoors over a bountiful feast.
- Specialty IPA Clarifications and Q&A (BJCP, 2017)
- Flavor Fever: Seeing Through the Haze of Double and Triple Juicy IPAs (Craft Beer & Brewing, 2020)
- Uchu Brewing by Brian Kowalczyk (Japan Beer Times Issue No. 37, 2019)
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