Battle Axe

Brewery: Austin Beerworks
Style: American Strong Ale (22B)
Package: 12oz Can
Purchased: November, 2018
Packaged Date: Consumed Date: 12/16/2018

Details from the Brewer

ABV: 8.8%
IBU: 80
OG: 21P
FG: 5P

The axe drops in fall. Battle Axe is a supercharged ESB. It’s very strong and very balanced. English malt provides a caramelized sweetness on the front end and the American hops provide a full citrus/fruit finish. As big and bold as it is, it’s very easy to drink – deceptively so. Cause this imperial logs in at 8% ABV, just have one and you are set. Immediately. Any more than that and be ready for battle.


Aroma – 10/12

Resin and piney hop character are prominent as a medium-high level.  Some caramel, bread crust, and sweet malt aroma are also featured at a similar intensity.  A touch of alcohol peaks through as well.  Clean fermentation character.

Appearance – 3/3

Pours a deep amber, with bits of copper color.  Fine tan bubbles compose a thin layer of head, that sticks around with average retention.  Decent lacing for a high abv beer.  Great clarity, throughout the entire can.

Flavor – 15/20

Starts with a resinous, earthy, piney hop character, that is quickly joined with a caramel and grainy malt note.  All of these flavors are prominent at a medium-high level.  Secondary orange citrus and floral hop flavors appear in the mid-taste.  Some deeper bready malt character as well at a low-medium intensity.  The beer is sweet, but somewhere north of a moderate sweetness and not cloying.  On the finish, a touch of pepper comes out as the malt fades.  The finish is interestingly dry.  Balance is equally favoring malt and hops.  Subtle red apple-like fermentation esters.

Mouthfeel – 5/5

A medium carbonation hits the front of the mouth.  Body is medium high with a slight oily texture.  Some creaminess.  Decent alcohol warmth in the throat on the finish.

Overall Impression – 7/10

This imperial red drinks a lot easier than it should, and packs some nice flavors.  The hop character here is spot on for the style.  I don’t mind the bitterness where it’s at, but I would like a bit more malt character to last the finish.  As it warmed, I found the slight peppery character on the finish to be a bit distracting.  I’m not sure if it’s coming from the hops, or fermentation.

Rating – 40/50

In the context of an “American Strong Ale” this really nails most of the marks to contend with arrogant bastard. That said, if Velvet Hammer from Peticolas was available, I think I’d reach for that first.  This is more of an Imperial Red IPA, where I prefer the more lesser-hopped American barley wine versions of the style.