Description: "Rodney Kibzey’s Blackened Hops is a perfect combination of deep roasted malt character and citrusy hop bitterness. Harnessing eight years of homebrewing knowledge, Rodney found that combining debittered dark malts and citrusy hops yielded a surprising and unique flavor for this brew. Its black color hints at roasted malt and coffee flavors, but it is the big hop character really steals the show. Packed with citrusy and piney American hops, this beer has a big flavor and clean bitterness. This is Rodney’s second LongShot American Homebrew Contest win; he won in 2007 with a Weizenbock and his beer was included in the 2008 LongShot Variety Pack." — Samuel Adams
The tasting: Near black in color with a tan head that dissipated fairly slowly, leaving some lacing on the glass. When held up to the light, I could see faint reddish hues. Aroma of citrus (grapefruit) and piney hops, roasted malt, and espresso. In flavor, the piney hops were stronger than the citrus. Malt flavors were roasted with some chocolate. I noticed the alcohol towards the end of the taste, but it was in line with what I'd expect of a 7% ABV brew.
Body was light to medium and the hop oils left a resinous mouth feel. It finished with roasted malt and a sticky piney hop bitterness. The hops varieties were not listed, but if I had to guess, I'd say Centennial and Citra were used. Although Blackened Hops has a solid malt backbone, it's not a balanced beer. This is a beer for hop lovers—plain and simple. It goes down easily and is very drinkable.
Rating: 4 star. Really Good! I want this again! I've reviewed a few CDAs (complete reviews are here) and Blackened Hops ranks among the best. Congrats to Rodney crafting a delicious brew! If history is a guide, we are likely to see Rodney's beer in the winner's circle again.
So far, Category 23 has been an impressive mixed six-pack. Honey B's Lavender Ale was very unique, and Blackened Hops gave me exactly what I want in a CDA. Let's hope Friar Hop Ale can keep the streak alive! Have you tried Blackened Hops or any of the Category 23 beers? What did you think?