The West

The Sip #33 - Feral Imperial Black IPA
The Sip #33 - Feral Imperial Black IPA

Long-time beer drinker and The Sip editor Ross Lewis puts some of Australia's top drops to the test.

Catch up with other beers on The Sip Archive

By definition an India Pale Ale shouldn’t be black.

However, some of Australia’s leading craft breweries are mastering the process of churning out some satisfying dark versions of the old English variety.

So an IPA can change its colour. And it is apt that Feral Brewing in WA have called their Imperial version Karma Chameleon.

The Sip made a recent stop at the Feral brewpub and 2012 young brewer of the year Will Irving outlined some of the radical beers produced at the operation in the Swan Valley.

Understandably, the Feral team are more than pleased with Karma Chameleon which undoubtedly fits the IPA mould even if the look is different.

There is an undeniable aroma of melon fruit and tropical tones in the aroma so a blind taster wouldn’t believe it is anything but an IPA. The Citra hops make sure the smell is strong.

However, dark malts help generate a chocolate and coffee taste that is more than pleasant in the mouthfeel. With a bit of concentration the drinker can also detect a tad of rye.

And there is strong sting of bitterness befitting the variety.

Fortunately, Irving warned the high alcohol volume – 10 per cent – gave Karma Chameleon a kick. Thus, it is understandable Feral only serve the beer in a regular glass. After all, you want to make sure you’re in a fit state to try some of Feral’s other great drops.

There is also a clear warning in the tasting notes.

“Karma Chameleon has nothing to do with Boy George, nor will it give you any positive Karma. In all actuality you may just end up dancing like Rick Astley.”

Indeed, it is worth singing the praises of Karma Chameleon.

The Sip Snip
Feral Karma Chameleon
Brewer: Feral Brewing, WA
Style: Imperial Black India Pale Ale
Alcohol content: 10%
Standard drinks: 2.5
Bitterness: 84IBU
Bottles: 285ml glass
Estimated calories: N/A
The Sip Tip (rating): Top shelf

Average prices: $10 (glass)

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