I love the comic-book stylings of Left Hand's Warrior IPA label. My photo doesn't do justice to the swirly creatures in the background. I opened this last Saturday evening, looking for an invigorating hop kick but found the label is where the beer's entertainment value ends.
The big surprise was how powerfully sweet it was: a dry and slightly sticky sugariness, like candyfloss. The body is massive and the head thick, creamy and lasting. Plainly this is a very strong beer, though the importer doesn't seem bothered by Irish law's requirement to print the ABV on the bottle somewhere. From the Internet I learn it's 7.6%. It tastes like more.
There's almost no hop aroma, which is disappointing. On tasting the bittering hops are present, adding an acridity to the sweet malt which in no way serves to balance it. The flavour hops have been neglected, or buried, as there are none of the citrus notes I was looking for.
Warrior is a difficult beer to drink. It demands your attention but does nothing entertaining with it, merely occupying the palate, the stomach and the bloodstream with little payoff. Fans of stonking IPA bitterness will love it, but it's not for me.