Home > American IPA, India Pale Ale > Bristol/Dark Star Southern Conspiracy

Bristol/Dark Star Southern Conspiracy

Rating: 3.9

A collaborative offering between the Bristol Beer Factory and the Sussex based Dark Star brewery that will mark my first beer from Bristol and only my second from Dark Star, following on from their Espresso stout that I reviewed here back in late 2013 and quite enjoyed. Bristol is a brewery whose beers I’ve spotted a number of times over the years but sadly have never manged to try, although in this instance I’m not exactly sure why that is the case as I’ve heard nothing but good things about them. This offering appears to be a beer that was originally introduced as a one-off back in 2012 then promptly disappeared before being released again this year. I managed to try a half pint of this American style IPA in Glasgow’s Inn Deep bar last month and am only now getting around to adding my review here, this is what I thought of the stuff.

Appearance (4/5): Bright amber coloured and slightly hazy, the beer has a thin but foamy white head that is about a quarter of a centimetre tall and doesn’t move much in the early going; there is even some nice lacing left on the sides of the glass which remains until I’m almost finished the beer.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a fresh and hoppy beer with some citrus and floral touches in the early going too, it also featured some oak sweetness in there too. There was a good combination of tropical fruits soon after with some mango and peach making up most of the middle of the beer but some apricot and faint pineapple made an appearance as well. It was quite an enjoyable beer on the nose with a few sugars and a lingering bitterness near the end that had me looking forward to tasting the beer.
Taste (7/10): The beer opens with a lot of floral hops and pine flavours that give the beer quite a sweet feel that is coupled with a strong hop bitterness and plenty of sugars. It seemed quite fresh and lively with a lot of mango carrying through from the nose that was backed up by some peaches and apricot before some oak and vanilla sweetness came through. There was a little yeast and funk nearer the end that hinted at an almost saison like flavours too but overall it was a decent tasting IPA.
Palate (4/5): Fresh and very lively with a surprising amount of funk and tart showing, particularly nearer the end. There was a floral bitterness throughout with some hops adding to this as well and the balance seemed like a good one with a nice tang nearer the end too. The beer perhaps edges nearer to the sweeter side of things at times but it did remain a pleasant and highly drinkable beer with a medium but well carbonated body; great stuff.

Overall (16/20): Quite a nice collaborative effort here from the two English based breweries, the beer was definitely a hop-filled one with a bit more sweetness than I’d anticipated at times but the oak and vanilla flavours were nice to see in this type of beer. For the most part it was the tropical flavours and hop bitterness that dominated proceedings but I was also surprised to see some of tart and funky saison like flavours near the end which were unexpected but welcome additions to the beer. It was a fresh and lively offering that proved quite easy to drink despite its strength; good stuff and one I’d be open to having again.

Brewed In: Bristol, England
Brewery: Bristol Beer Factory/Dark Star
First Brewed: 2012
Full Name: Bristol Beer Factory/Dark Star Southern Conspiracy
Type: American IPA
Abv: 7.4%
Serving: Keg (Half Pint)
Purchased: Inn Deep, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £3.50

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