When Archimedes famously discovered his physical law of buoyancy he leapt from the bath naked and ran through the town of Syracuse, joyfully shouting Eureka at the top of his voice. Little did he know, as he let it all swing free, that a couple of millennia later, a small brewery in California would adopt this as their name and begin making some interesting brews like today’s weighty double IPA called Double Bogey.
I threw the word weighty in there as double IPAs are big heavy beers and, yes, I’m trying to find some sort of theme here - which worryingly seems to be turning into a bit of a science lesson…
The Archimedes principle is based on the fact that a volume of water displaced by an object is equal to the volume of that object - and - that the object is acted on by a buoyant force, the magnitude of which is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the body.
Still with me? Or have you broken out in a cold sweat with flashbacks to those physics lessons where you literally didn't have a clue about what the hell was going on?
Forget the science for now and focus on the concept that liquid exerts force. For me this somehow seems very relevant in terms of how we talk about beer - our perception of its weight - the size of the beer if you like - and which is very much governed by the ingredients that go into the original grain bill and the resulting alcohol.
And, of course, this is essentially the way in which a beer’s potential or actual alcohol is often deduced - through what is called the gravity of the beer.
Measuring gravity is pretty complex stuff, but it is essentially a measurement of the density of a liquid compared to the density of water.
If you measure the gravity of your wort prior to fermentation (the original gravity or OG) you have a measurement of the fermentable and non-fermentable substances. If this is then compared to a final gravity after fermentation - an equation can be applied to deduce the beers abv.
For our Double Bogey, the abv is a fairly whopping 8.5% - which certainly paints this brew as a big one - let’s crack it and see how it goes…
Pours a pale gold with a white head. The nose is super dank and hoppy - resinous and piney and venturing more into the animal, mineral and vegetal - but in a good way for sure. The palate continues in the same vein, but there’s an effortless balance to proceedings with big hops, bitterness and abv firmly in check thanks to some perceived sweetness, and which certainly wouldn’t have me picking an abv of 8%!
Science tells us that the abv on this beer is 8%, but it doesn’t paint the full picture, and to a certain extent it’s misleading. There are many who would shy away from such a hefty number - but get this beer in your mouth and it’s a real drinker.
Grab a can and discover that big is beautiful - and you might just have that Eureka moment in the process…