I don’t do a dedicated post about every single beer that impresses me, but the recent release of the Black Raven Wisdom Seeker Double IPA blew me away so much that I just couldn’t help myself. It is one of the most impressive Washington IPAs that I’ve had the pleasure of trying (and I’ve tried plenty of great ones). This is the second time that Black Raven has released the Wisdom Seeker, but I missed out on the first batch and was elated to grab some this time around. It was released on Tuesday, and they don’t expect it to stick around long. After it is gone from the tap room, there will be a few small kegs floating around local bars.
The beer weighs in at 9% ABV, and I think Beaux (the head brewer/owner) said he used more than 40 lbs of hops to achieve the huge hop aroma and flavor that pops out of the glass. Citrus and floral hops dominate the aroma and taste, and moderately sweet malt balances everything nicely. It finishes lightly resinous and with a punch of alcohol, but by no means did I think it was too heavy. It is dangerously drinkable for such a big beer, and I had no problem finishing off my glass and then some of my growler a little later.
In light of the madness around Russian River Pliny the Younger lately and all the talk about how great California IPAs are, it seems to me that Wisdom Seeker can hang with the best. I shared a growler over at Bottleworks on Tuesday when they also had Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, and Port Mongo Double IPA on tap, and I heard several people declare that the Black Raven was their favorite of the bunch. That’s some serious praise. I’m sure freshness had at least a little bit to do with it, and it should. It’s not like the other beers were “old” (just a few weeks), but the hops are bound to jump out more from a local Double IPA that you can get the day it is released. All the more reason to drink local, I suppose. The Elder and Wisdom Seeker are similar beers in terms of ABV and hop intensity, and I’d love to see how they’d fare in a blind taste test.
And, as for the Younger, it’s a lovely beer…but after trying it again this week I have reconfirmed that I much prefer the Elder, and I definitely prefer the Wisdom Seeker:-) I’ll let the rest of you duke it out for the Younger in the future.
Wisdom Seeker Commercial Description:
Malt: ESB pale malt
Hops: Nugget, Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, Amarillo, Summit, Citra
Folklore and mythology present the raven as an omniscient creature with special powers and abilities. The Wisdom Seeker Double IPA gets its special powers from an enormous amount of hops and malted barley. Brewed in the West coast Double IPA style, this bold brew features massive citrus and herbal hop additions and a full hop aroma. Seek your wisdom cautiously; this hop feast packs a punch