Ironfire 51/50 IPA
Beer Type: West Coast IPA
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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