Pushing boundaries while marking limited release number 178 is order of the day for Aether as the Brisbane brewers drop Black XPA, a rather unexpected combination of styles, packaged up in a gorgeous, devil-may-care can design. Black XPA aims to balance the delights of a smooth dark ale with the fun of a juicy XPA, packing in plenty of dark and roasted malts alongside a big hop bill of Citra, Cascade, Enigma, Azacca and Sasquatch.
The first whiff is that of a chocolate biscuit, stolen from the pack when no one's looking, which of course makes it extra delicious and calorie-free. Diving in for a sip, you can expect an interesting medley as the malts and hops jostle to be noticed. There's milk chocolate and biscuits with a little hint of caramel and a dry roastiness on the one hand, then fruity hop notes of citrus and melon on the other.
The overall effect is reminiscent of a well-charactered coffee, though not as heavy on the roast or bitterness, perhaps with a little citrus twist. The finish is dry and quite long, leaving you contemplating the compelling strangeness of a black XPA long after you're done.
Published August 10, 2023 2023-08-10 00:00:00