21 January 2017
I’ll admit that when I read the news that Samuel Adams had decided to reformulate their Rebel IPA, I was intrigued and anxious to sample it again. But when I read that the new recipe would use a new experimental hop exclusive to Samuel Adams, I was hooked.
The brewers at Samuel Adams undertook “Project Lupulus” to redesign Rebel IPA beginning in 2013 as they worked with a Yakima Valley hop breeder to create a new hop variety. Four years later, the new HBC 566 was ready to roll and ready to be used not only for the first time, but for the only time so far. This hop is exclusive to Samuel Adams and so far they are only using it in Rebel IPA. The beer also uses
Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe, Chinook
and another experimental hop for bittering called HBC 682…so how does it taste?
To my eyes the color looks very similar to the original Rebel IPA but the aroma screams citrusy, lemon and orange. The new recipe switches up a special two-row malt for the former caramel malt and the brightness of the beer is amped up considerably. We tasted lots of citrusy and piney flavors and really enjoyed the “reimagined” balance the beer exhibited with new hops and new malt. Rebel IP is juicy and much brighter to my palate and while we didn’t taste them side by side, we do like the new Rebel IPA more than the old. The beer hits 6.5%-AbV and 45 IBU and it is available now in 12oz bottles.
Up next we went for Samuel Adams Rebel Juiced IPA. This tropical-style IPA takes the Rebel IPA family to a new level with the addition of mango puree. The beer uses Zeus, Mosaic and Mandarina hops, so “juicy” is the name of the game. The nose begin with tropical aromas and the flavors are both citrusy and refreshing. You can’t miss the mango, and that mango puree really brings a new layer of citrusy juicy character to the beer. Rebel Juiced IPA finishes clean and citrusy and at 6.2%-AbV, I think you’ll find it really drinkable (and enjoyable.) This beer is available year-round on draft, in 12oz bottles and in the Pack of Rebels in late Feb 2017.
If you’re not familiar with the Rebel family of hoppy beers from Samuel Adams, now is a good time to try them. If you are familiar with Rebel IPA, now is a good time to revisit the new recipe and taste these beers for yourself…and as always…when you do taste them, be sure to let us know what YOU think.