Dec 23, 2009

Karl Strauss To The 9’s

Karl Strauss To The 9's

Shortly after receiving the press release for Karl Strauss’ Winter Seasonal To the 9’s, a 22oz bottle arrived in the mail from the brewery. With a whopping 9 varieties of hops, 99 IBUs ad 9.9% ABV, this thing has the potential to pack one hell of a whallop in the bitterness realms — and it does, but not nearly as much as expected.

For as much hops and IBUs this beer touts, it’s one of the more balanced Imperial IPAs I’ve enjoyed.


To The 9’s pours a golden amber in color with a light tan head. It certainly looks nice in a Duvel tulip.


I wouldn’t classify the nose as overly hopped up. The 9 hops are definitely there, but they combine smoothly for an aromatic mixture of pininess, citrus and light malts. The aroma is smooth and rich.


There is a ton of hop activity in this beer, but it’s not a brutal bitter bomb. There is great depth amongst the many hops used throughout the brewing process. It’s very flavorful with all the piny, resiny and citrusy goodness you would expect, yet it’s completely smooth and well balanced with the pale malt used. Served chilled, there’s not really a hint of the higher ABV in the brew, but as the beer sits in the glass longer, the warmer it gets in the belly — the hop bitterness also starts to dominate the drier, lingering finish.


I’ve received a few samples from Karl Strauss for review over the past couple of months, but I’ve got to say, To The 9’s is far and away the best of the bunch. It’s a well crafted, well balanced Imperial IPA that is not only rich and smooth, but quite drinkable.

Rating: 3.5/5

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