Ironfire 51/50 IPA
Beer Type: West Coast IPA
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 95
Ironfire 51/50 IPA on Untappd

After having their incredibly bad Ironfire Six Killer Stout, I hoped Ironfire Brewing Co. would redeem themselves with their 51/50 IPA.  I went over their bottle labels, and how hard they were to tell apart in the Six Killer Stout review.  The actual art, is pretty neat.  They all have a skeleton/zombie cowboy bandit on the art and I think is pretty unique to their beers.  I had heard that 51/50 IPA is good, so I had pretty high hopes that this could be promising.

I poured the 22-ounce bottle into a Ballast Point tulip glass and was very impressed with the appearance.  It poured a very transparent straw color with a creamy white, 2-finger head that quickly dissipated into a halo.  It took me about 45 minutes to get through this bottle, as I was also doing some reading and noticed the head did not hold up.  The appearance of this beer was very welcoming so I was excited to give it a try.

Big pine and citrus dominates the aroma of Ironfire 51/50 IPA.  I also get some bitter orange peel, earthy, floral and slight solvent-like aroma.  The alcohol was not noticeable over all these aromas.  The taste was much of what you would expect.  Pine, citrus, floral, fresh cut grass, and a slight solvent taste.  The solvent sounds bad, but it really was barely noticeable.  The flavors and aromas of this beer was very pleasant.  It was a bit too bitter to start, as this beer seems to be stuck in the old West Coast IPA ideal of “push the IBU limit”.  I can remember tasting IPAs like this 8 years ago and the first one that comes to mind is Ballast Point’s Big Eye IPA.  The Big Eye IPA of the past, and the 51/50 IPA of current are just a bit too bitter.  They may benefit from easing the bittering hops (full 60-minute boil), and add more to the flavor and aroma hops (15-minute boil and dry hopping).  From the dominant pine and citrus notes, I would guess they used mostly Chinook or Simcoe hops.  This is great but I would love to see more tropical notes in this beer by blending perhaps Mosaic, Galaxy or Citra.  This would make this a more dynamic beer that I think could make it on par with greats like Russian River’s Pliny the Elder and Ballast Point’s Sculpin. The mouthfeel is slightly chalky with mouth-coating hoppiness but very smooth and easy to drink.

This is a must try for West Coast IPA hopheads.  Though I did not think it lives up to legends like Pliny the Elder or Sculpin, it definitely holds it’s own.  Once I got used to it’s abundance of bitterness, it was actually quite enjoyable.  I think with some minor tweaks and smart marketing, this can be one of those highly sought after IPAs.


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One Response

  1. EyeChartBrew

    Brian,

    When I brought this over to your Belma Wheat IPA brewing session last weekend, I was maybe not as wowed with this beer. Solid, but seemed a bit one-dimensional. Seemed to me to be lacking a bit in the complexity department. The hops were there, but not really doing much more than providing sheer IBUs to the brew (i.e. not a whole in the way of flavor or aroma IMO). A decent enough IPA, especially from a part of Southern CA that used to be cursed, craftbeer-wise. Mark me down for an Overall Score of 3/5 on this one.

    Cheers!
    //TB

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