Which is better Ranger IPA or Ranger IPA?
New Belgium beers are hard to come by in New Jersey, so when my I received these two beers in a trade, I knew I had to review them together. The Ranger IPA is one of New Belgium’s latest non Lips of Faith beers. I’ve heard some good things about this beer and it seemed to be in fairly high demand when it was first released at the beginning of 2010. I’m not sure of the age on these beers since there were no legible bottled on dates, but they were sent to me with in the last month, so they should be fairly fresh.
Here is how New Belgium describes the Range IPA:
New Belgium’s foray into the true American India Pale Ales. Bring out the hops! This clear amber beauty bursts at the starting gate with an abundance of hops: Cascade (citrus), Chinook (floral/citrus), and Simcoe (fruity) lead off the beer, with Cascade added again for an intense dry hop flavor. Brewed with pale and dark caramel malts that harmonize the hop flavor from start to finish, Ranger is a sessionable splendor for all you hopinistas. Thank your Beer Ranger!
Style: American IPA
Glassware: Pint or Tulip
Crystal clear, lots of bubbles coming up from the bottom. Poured with a bubbly head, like pancake batter with a touch of lacing on the glass. A very nice looking beer.
Like the can, it pours a crystal clear, not as much in the way of bubbles coming up from the bottom as the can did. But other than that the beers poured exactly the same as you would expect.
Very appealing nose of tropical fruit, pineapple and mango with bit of pine and bubble gum. Under it all I get this very unique woody orange aroma. It’s not an oaky aroma, but more earthy, and very pleasant.
Oddly enough it smells exactly the same as the can, although I got the woody/earthy orange right up front before the tropical fruit. Maybe because I was now looking for it. But I’d say they are the same.
What I notice right up front is the very thin mouth feel, but it still tasted creamy, bitter and unfortunately very metallic. I don’t know what it is about cans, I have only had a few cans of beer that haven’t had this pervasive metallic flavor to them. The second sip wasn’t as bad, but still that metallic flavor is getting in my way enjoying this beer. The beer starts off thin, but quickly redeems itself with a nice creamy caramel middle before falling out and finally finishing with a flat earthy bitterness.
The bottle tastes remarkably different from the can, it still has thin initial mouth feel with the creamy and bitter taste but without the detracting metallic flavor. I felt the bitterness was also more predominant then in the can from the middle through the finish. I would call this your typical American IPA, not a lot on the malt end but tons of hops and bitterness. The bitterness doesn’t seem to quit, several minutes after my last sip it is still quite strong on the palette.
There was this gritty metallic taste that I just couldn’t get past. I thought the beer looked and smelled wonderful, but that flavor was a hang up for me. I’m not sure if it is just a flavor that I’m acutely susceptible too or it is that predominant, but it was present in every sip of the beer even switching back and forth between the bottle. I will say this, as the beer warms to room temp the metallic flavor does subsided quite a bit.
I think this is an average to above average American IPA, a bit lacking on the malt for my personal taste, but great aroma and appearance make up for that. Huge hop presence in this beer totally destroys your palette, and the bitterness lingers for an exceptionally long time.
My only regret, I wish I could have had this on draft as well to compare the three together!
Boy, that wasn’t my impression at all. I haven’t had this from a can, but I did have it on tap. To me it tasted totally like carbonated grapefruit juice. Literally I got no beer essence from it, it was just about the fruity flavors that the hop impart. I’m not a huge fan of the New Belgian brews, and this one falls right in there for me too. Not a big fan.
I’m surprised that you get metallic from the flavor. I have heard over and over again that it is impossible for the can to impart a metallic flavor because there is actually no contact between the beer and the can. Scott over at the Brew Club talks about it on his post about Dale’s Pale Ale. Perhaps you are just uber sensitive.
Don, I’m a huge fan of La Folie and haven’t had many other new Belgium so I can’t comment on the others, but Mothership was pretty good, from what I remember. As far as the can the only time it contacts the can is when your pouring it. There is this weird flavor I get from so many cans, to me it is metalic, who knows maybe it is psychological. Wouldn’t be the first time I was crazy… or the last 🙂 who knows… I’m going to do a podcast of all canned beer next month, hopefully that will put my taste buds to rest.
I would have been really interested to see how you felt about this comparison without knowing which one was bottled and which one was canned.
That would have been great, ya wanna send me some Erik? 🙂
I would second Erik’s comment about trying this blind. People have a very psychosomatic response it seems that makes them taste metallic flavors in canned beer. The beer literally never touches the metal of the can… ever.
Perhaps one container was fresher than the other and you were getting sharper flavors in one and softer flavors in the other, the ascribing some of this difference to being metallic.
As I mentioned to Scott over at TheBrewClub, modern cans have a water based polymer lining that keeps beer from touching aluminum. On top of that, the aluminum is so thin that, if beer were to touch it, it would corrode through before you got it home from the store. They impart no off-flavors to beer from the metal.
Sorry, should have added in, cool article though! I dig the idea.
@Jeff – I know the science behind it, but still the flavor between the two was amazingly different. If I can get another can and bottle I’ll do a blind tasting. Although I guess it would help if I didn’t shotgun the can. 🙂
Hey there. I definitely believe there was different taste between the two… I just wouldn’t necessarily attribute it to the can. Before blaming the can, I’d say it was either batch to batch variability, age, different handling… who knows.
Haha, and there is nothing wrong with shotgunning a can every now and again… we don’t have to dissect every beer! 🙂
We’ve been planning to do an article around cans vs. bottles for a while. This might have finally got us moving on it.