Blind Beer Tasting #1: IPA

A few weeks ago I came across a post on a beer blog ( Beer 47 ) about a Blind Beer Tasting party and thought how neat of an idea that was. Here at Volume by Alcohol we decided we needed to throw a similar style tasting and about a week ago had our first Blind Beer Tasting and featured IPAs.

The rules were (somewhat) simple: Every person showing up had to bring a beer in the specified style and that was wrapped or the label concealed. We asked attendees to bring either a 750 mL or a pack of 12oz bottles so that everyone could get an adequate sample. Since most beers were wrapped in paper bags it was easy to simply write a number on the outside of the bags so we kept all beers in order. Overall we ended up with 12 people and 13 beers (I bought an extra just in case someone forgot theirs.) We then handed out scorecards that were basic in nature with a rating of 1-10, with 10 being the best and 1 the worst.

There was only one beer opened at a time, this way it alleviated any confusion on people wondering what numbered beer they had. As the bottle(s) made the rounds at the table we all discussed what we thought of the beer (smell, taste, color) and scored it. There was a variety of snacks on hand including cocktail meatballs, numerous dips and chips, pretzels, homemade doughnuts and brownies which really helped out after about the seventh beer sampling.

After the final beer we tallied up and averaged out all the scores for each beer and then it was time to crown the winner. We gathered all the (empty) bottles and started with the last place beer and worked our way down to the winner, taking off the paper bags with each person saying what beer they brought once revealed. There were a few ties which is why the rank is thrown off a bit below. We ended up having two of the same beer, Lagunitas IPA. What was interesting is that the first one was scored quite low and the second quite high so I’ll put a #1 or #2 next to which was which.

13. Leafer Madness (Beer Valley) – Average score: 2.8

12. West Coast IPA (Green Flash) – Average score: 4.8

11. Hopworks IPA (HUB) – Average score: 5.3

10. Devil’s Elbow (Howe Sound) – Average score: 5.5

9.  TIE – Lagunitas IPA #1 (Lagunitas) and Jaipur IPA (Thornbridge) – Average score: 6.1

8.  TIE – Lagunitas IPA #1 (Lagunitas) and Jaipur IPA (Thornbridge) – Average score: 6.1

7. Gale Force IPA (Scuttlebutt) – Average score: 6.3

6. TIE – Stone IPA (Stone), Aprihop (Dogfish Head), and Industrial IPA (Diamond Knot) – Average score: 6.5

5. TIE – Stone IPA (Stone), Aprihop (Dogfish Head), and Industrial IPA (Diamond Knot) – Average score: 6.5

4. TIE – Stone IPA (Stone), Aprihop (Dogfish Head), and Industrial IPA (Diamond Knot) – Average score: 6.5

3. Lagunitas IPA #2 (Lagunitas) – Average score: 7.1

2. Wipeout IPA (Port Brewing) – Average score: 7.3

And the Winner…

1. Gearhead IPA (Laurelwood) – Average score: 7.4

We plan on hosting more Blind Beer Tastings in the future and have one scheduled for the end of May with the IPA winner picking Ambers as the next theme. We really enjoyed having one style of beer and trying a variety and comparing them. Hopefully this will inspire you to plan your own tasting! If you do, let us know in the comments!


5 thoughts on “Blind Beer Tasting #1: IPA

  1. Pingback: Blind Beer Tasting #2: Ambers « Volume by Alcohol

  2. This. This is exactly something I want to do. I’m hesitant to make it a signature thing in my blog, since I want to stay away from testing brands (too much $$) and want to focus on the essence of cooking, but I LOVE this idea. I may do that this weekend with Pumpkin Beer. Or you should do it!

    This may be too complicated, but I’d love to see the taste testers rate in different categories, not just a simple 1-10.

    Anyway thanks for liking my blog.

    • Thanks! I think you are on the right track for your blog, focusing on the different varieties of an item and what works best in what situation (e.g. tomatoes for gazpacho). We actually did a Pumpkin beer tasting recently but I have been slacking on getting the results up, so I will do it tomorrow hopefully! We have talked about expanding the scoring system, what started out as a simple tasting between friends has definitely grown to 20 people. I’ll see how to implement a better scoring system for the next tasting (which is right before Halloween on Fall Seasonals.) Thank you for your input!

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