Samuel Adams' Rebel is reborn. Rebel IPA has a updated look and a new taste. The original Rebel IPA was launched in 2014 and I profiled it shortly after it was released. In 2015, the brewery expanded the family with the launch of Rebel Rider Session IPA and Rebel Rouser Double IPA.
Yesterday, the brewery announced that Rebel IPA has been reformulated. First, new hops were added. Mosaic, HBC 566 (Sam Adams proprietary hop), and HBC 683 (experimental hop) are all new to the mix. A total of seven hop varieties were used in this release.
While most IPA drinkers are all about the hops, I find this next change more intriguing. The brewery tweaked Rebel's malt composition by removing Crystal malt, and utilizing only 2-Row. The change is intended to make the beer less malty, allowing the hops to shine through.
I think it would be interesting to do a side-by-side tasting (for research purposes, of course). I'll try to track down an old bottle... For more details, check out Sam Adams' press release below.
A REBEL REBORN: SAMUEL ADAMS FLAGSHIP IPA EVOLVES
“Project Lupulus” Reformulates Rebel IPA Recipe with a New Proprietary Hop Varietal
BOSTON - For the first time, the brewers at Sam Adams have completely reformulated a popular flagship beer: Rebel IPA. After more than four years, the brewers undertook what they called “Project Lupulus,” an experiment that takes advantage of hops that were not readily available or have been newly cultivated since Rebel IPA first launched in 2014. As part of this project, the brewers collaborated, starting in 2013, with a hop breeder in Yakima Valley, WA to create a new hop variety proprietary and exclusive to Sam Adams called HBC 566. After months of experimenting with dozens of trial batches at the Boston Brewery, the brewers are now ready to release the new Rebel IPA recipe which is brewed with HBC 566 and another new experimental hop variety for bittering, HBC 682. Rebel IPA now has a more intense juicy, tropical and citrus flavor supported by a leaner body and a crisp, clean finish to optimize the hop character.
About Rebel Reborn
So what changes? Paying homage to the original recipe, Rebel IPA is brewed with a few of the original hop varieties including Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe® and Chinook. For the 2017 release, the brewers added Mosaic hops, alongside HBC 566, a new hop proprietary to Sam Adams, and HBC 682, a new, experimental bittering hop.
Project Lupulus refers to the scientific name of a hop, Humulus lupulus, and its special lupulin glands which are the fundamental source of flavor, bitterness, and aroma in hops. For Project Lupulus, the brewers looked to optimize the flavor of each hop variety by changing up the blend and ratio of hops for the new Rebel IPA. Ultimately, seven hops were chosen for their unique character, including:
- HBC 566: A Sam Adams proprietary hop variety, HBC 566 adds a touch of lemon/lime, orange and eucalyptus flavor that can be found with the addition of this exclusive hop variety.
- HBC 682: Experimental hop HBC 682 is used solely as a bittering hop in Rebel IPA to impart a pleasant bitterness with a strong and earthy aroma
- Mosaic: New to Rebel IPA, Mosaic hops impart tropical, fruity, and pines notes. In 2011, Sam Adams was one of the first breweries to experiment with Mosaic hops in a collaboration beer with Dogfish Head called SAVOR Flowers;
- Cascade: A leading hop in the new Rebel IPA, Cascade hops impart floral, spicy, citrus, and grapefruit character;
- Simcoe®: A staple of IPAs, Simcoe hops impart a strong piney character as well as apricot and citrus notes;
- Centennial: Centennial hops are intensely floral with hints of wood and a medium citrus character;
- Chinook: Chinook hops provide a piney character and a light spice note;
To dial up the hop impression, the newly reborn Rebel IPA removed caramel malt from the grain bill and now is brewed only with Samuel Adams special two-row malt blend. By removing the caramel malt, Rebel IPA’s body is less malty, resulting in a cleaner, brighter IPA with more tropical, citrus, and pine-forward notes.
Founder & Brewer of Samuel Adams, Jim Koch, on Reformulating Rebel IPA:
“This is the first time we’ve significantly changed the recipe of a flagship beer. As hop varieties evolve, we want to use the new varieties to keep brewing the best beer possible,” said Jim Koch. “Like with the original Rebel IPA recipe, this release isn’t a palate-scorching hop-bomb. Our goal was to showcase the intricate aromas and flavors of hops, especially with new, experimental hop varieties HBC 566 and HBC 682. Not that long ago, it was a challenge just to find quality, flavorful hops and now, we’re developing our own proprietary hop with unparalleled lemony-lime, orange and eucalyptus notes. It’s wild to think how far the brewing industry has come and that today, a beer can evolve.”
Nano Brewery Manager, Megan Parisi, on Rebel IPA test batches:
“Even before we started brewing Rebel IPA, we were exploring the many varieties of hops and how they affect the flavor of a beer with Project Lupulus,” said Brewer Megan Parisi, who manages the nano brewery. “We averaged at least one new test brew in the nano each week since we started tinkering with the Rebel IPA recipe and our new hop varieties. It was awesome being able to brew with a new hop variety that had never been used. After dozens of test batches of single hop brews, various blends, and of course, taste testing, it is a pleasure to finally share our new Rebel IPA recipe with drinkers.”
About the Rebel IPA Family
Rebel IPA was the first beer that originated in the Samuel Adams Nano Brewery, the epicenter of experimentation for new beers located within the Boston Brewery. When Samuel Adams launched Rebel in 2014, the brew became the most successful release of a craft beer brand. Now, IPAs are the primary driver of craft volume growth1. Since 2014, the Rebel family has expanded to include Rebel Rouser Double IPA, Rebel Grapefruit IPA, and Rebel Juiced IPA.
In January 2017, Samuel Adams Rebel Juiced IPA, a West Coast IPA infused with mango, will be now available in cans and bottles. At 55 IBUs, the brewers selected the hop varieties based on their tropical aromas and juicy flavors rather than for their bitterness. Zeus hops were used in the kettle and Mosaic and Mandarina hops were used to dry hop. The result is a medium-bodied beer with a slightly veiled golden color that brings a big tropical aroma of guava, passionfruit and mango.
Rebel IPA Availability
Samuel Adams Rebel IPA and Rebel Juiced IPA will be available nationwide in early 2017 on draft, in six-packs for a suggested retail price of $7.99-$9.99, and both brews will be in the Pack of Rebels variety pack (bottles and cans) which also includes Rebel Grapefruit IPA and Rebel White Citra IPA for a suggested retail price of $14.99-$17.99. Rebel IPA will be available in 12-packs (bottles and cans) for a suggested retail price of $14.99-$17.99. Price for each package varies by market. Drinkers should look for new Rebel Reborn packaging hitting shelves in coordination with the release of the new Rebel IPA recipe.
To find where Samuel Adams beers are sold near you, visit www.samueladams.com/find-a-sam.