The Sparks Imperial IPA (Steam Brew, Privatbrauerei Eichbaum)

You’ve probably seen this range gracing the shelves of your local Lidl at some point. It might even be a Northern Ireland exclusive (feel free to correct me on that one Lidl!). I’ve noticed over the last few years its availability has been patchy, so when i spied a lonely tin i thought it was a good time to review it.

Steam Brew Imperial IPA pours a dark lager colour with a hint slightly red hint in the nutty brown, not at all what i was expecting despite having tasted this some time ago.

There’s not a lot of clues from the smell, giving off a beery, almost lager rather than IPA aroma. It’s in there but it’s not quite at the forefront.

To taste, the sweetness and mustiness associated with an imperial IPA is present but with a massive malty profile, leaning back on that beery aroma from before. It’s got a carbonated lager mouthfeel with that initial imperial sweetness, smoothing out in the mid, directing the aftertaste into a blend of those 2 styles. The imperial hit comes directly between the mid to aftertaste like the crashing of a wave.

Theres a dark hint in the taste quite uncommon with IPA’s. There’s an Apricot and stonefruit sweetness, blended with hints and verging on a red ale profile. In no way a bad thing, just unexpected.

What excites me about this beer is just that – the unexpected. It’s not like any Imperial IPA i’ve had before. But not just that, this beer has lore! Visiting the site was a nice treat and satisfied the nerd portion of being a beer nerd! Heading to steam-brew.com/ you can read about the beer itself, the range and the associated characters adorning the tins. It’s all very immersive!

Here is the excerpt for this Imperial IPA :

Triple hopped and brewed with top-fermented ale yeast as well as elaborately produced malts, which provide a reddish color and a powerful aroma, the India Pale Ale “of the young man” convinces above all through the use of the hops Yellow Sub and Mosaic, which are in their Complement citrus and floral aromas.

Steam Brew Imperial IPA weighs in at 7.5% ABV. The range is currently available in Lidl (northern Ireland) and boasts 500ml cans. I’m a huge fan.


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