Maharaja is an Imperial India Pale Ale made by Avery Brewing Company from Boulder, Colorado making it one of my local beers on the 2011 Zymurgy Best Beers in America poll. Obviously, seeing it meant I had to have it. Luckily, my local liquor store was completely willing to sell me this bottle.
The Maharaja is part of Avery's "Dictator Series" of beers, which are all big imperial beers designed to bring you on a " trek further into the depths flavor" and "stretch the boundaries of what beer can be". This is the kind of stuff beer geeks like me just eat up. As an Imperial India Pale Ale, the beer is hoppy and bitter. Avery lists the IBUs at 102 and tells us that they use Simcoe, Columbus, Centennial and Chinook hops. Its OG is 1090 and its ABV is 10.24%. They tell us their malt bill is Two-row barley, caramel 120L, victory. They don't claim to be a balanced beer. They do claim to be a monster hop bomb that pushes the boundries of hop utilization.
I tried my bottle of the Maharaja on Super Bowl Sunday after we got home from our trip to Breckenridge for my birthday weekend. I'll be posting pictures of Breckenridge in the next couple days. Stay tuned!
The Maharaja poured ... well ... it poured foamy. Knowing it was a big IPA, I probably should have adjusted, but my initial pour yielded about 4/5 of the glass of a thick white head. I should have poured more carefully.
The color is a nice copper - orange. It is nicely carbonated, but not overly so. As you can imagine, I got lots of citrusy hops in the aroma.
The flavor is bitter and hoppy with a pretty good malt backbone. I might pick up a little of the alcohol, but certainly not as much as you would expect with a 10% beer. It certainly was not as boozy as the Hopslam I had last weekend. The alcohol also did not hit me as hard as the Hopslam I had last weekend. I'm sure the fact that I was down a pint of blood had nothing to do with that.
I enjoyed this beer and suggest you go ahead and pick some up to try if you can find it.
The Maharaji was tied for #34 on my list. I have now tried all 5 of the top 5. I have tried all 10 of the top 10. I have now had 38 of the entire list (52 total).
Here are the ones still left on my "not tried list":
|12. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine ... limited selection.|
|T16. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA ... year round beer. Should be able to find in CO.|
|19. Bell’s Expedition Stout ... doesn't distribute to CO. Should have had my sister look for this.|
|T20. Samuel Adams Noble Pils... spring seasonal that I should be able to find in CO.|
|T20. Surly Furious ... I should have made an effort to get this while in MN.|
|T20. Troegs Nugget Nectar ... PA brewery. Can't get in CO.|
|T29. Three Floyds Alpha King ... A Chicago-land beer. Can't get in CO|
|T29. Three Floyds Dark Lord ... available one day a year in April at the brewery|
|T34. Dogfish Head Indian Brown ... year round. Might be able to find in CO.|
|T34. Three Floyds Gumballhead ... don't even see this beer on their website.|
|T38. Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA ... limited availability|
|T43. Russian River Blind Pig ... not sure if I will be able to get this in CO.|
|T48. Dark Horse Crooked Tree ... Midwest distribution only.|
|T48. Summit EPA ... Another MN beer I should have had my sister look for.|
You can look at the entire list here: http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/community/news/show?title=2011-best-beers