DOUBLE IPAs typically don’t do their name literal justice by doubling the proportions of some existing IPA. Evidently it rarely makes for a winning brew (Dark Horse’s Double Crooked Tree being an exception). In fact, rather few imperial-strength IPAs seem to share much all with a brewery’s established IPA, instead choosing to explore new territories and distinct flavor profiles as drinkers’ tastes and tolerances evolve. So perhaps Lagunitas’ Maximus is old-fashioned in that it does literally enhance their standard IPA recipe, albeit by only 30%. First brewed in 1996, it surely ranks among the first double IPAs to be regularly brewed and still figures in Lagunitas’ year-round rotation.
Considerably fuller-bodied than the IPA, Maximus pours an appealing deep amber with a solid block of a medium bubbles for a head. The aroma has generous doses of honey and caramel to balance hop notes of pine, grapefruit, and some florals—typical West Coast cultivars, though at 70-ish IBUs Maximus is more moderatus by modern standards. As in the IPA a leafy bitterness and tang develop late on the palate, though at 8.2% ABV Maximus has a stronger alcohol tingle that plays nicely with the carbonation and lively sparkle of the finish. Overall it’s well-composed, if a little lacking in creative panache, and remains a useful reference for the style’s evolution over the years. Little other reason to choose it over Hop Stoopid, though.
Served: 12 oz bottle