I got these babies in De Bierkoning while in Amsterdam (I say it again: you just can't get shit like this in Germany), and managed to wait over a month before drinking them.
The Southern Tier Porter seems very highly carbonated, with a huge foamy head that made it take a long time to fill the glass, despite my gentle touch. It looks good though, being an almost opaque, deep, ruddy brown.
The aroma suggests chocolate, vanilla, big chewy toffee and a quite a yeasty undertone, which is ok with me. The initial taste is surprisingly brisk, with a touch of fruitiness. This gives way to a dryness, with roasted malts and a slightly charred finish. It's quite sharp, but in a refreshing way, showing tart, appley notes. The carbonic sharpness grates a little after a while, but overall the roatiness is pleasing, and it mellows a bit after warming and losing a bit of CO2. Quite nice, but I wonder now if this amount of carbonation is usual, and if perhaps it affected the flavour a bit.
The Southern Tier IPA weighs in at 6.5% ABV and shows a slightly hazy, pale amber. It delivers a big, juicy American C-hop hit with a nice caramelly thing going on underneath.
First taste? Oh yeah! Big grapefruit and huge pithy bitterness all on a salty butter and toasty caramel base with resin and fruit dancing around the edges. It's actually really smooth, with massive hop flavours.
Great balance. My kind of IPA. Wonderful. Mmmm...