The newest release from Mississippi’s oldest brewery is an interesting IPA mixed pack featuring four different beers of the same base IPA with differing dry hop varieties to make each beer unique. The Big & Juicy IPA Variety Pack from Lazy Magnolia offers three of each of these four different beers for a fun little tasting experiment with your friends.
The base beer is an 8.1% IPA brewed with Galaxy, Nugget, and Simcoe hops. The beer has a malty and tropical sweet backbone to balance the claimed 100+ IBUs. I found the bittering a bit light and somewhat doubt the IBU claim. That said, the lack of bittering allows the dry hop influences to really come through.
The malt and hop base of the beer comes through as sweet and bready with underlying floral sweetness on the nose and tropical flavors in the mouth. There is plenty of malt present to both up the ABV and fight the hops for flavor dominance. In each beer, the first flavors detected are blends of sweet and tropical.
Big & Juicy: Galaxy and Simcoe
This beer has a tropical dominance. The nose picks up orange, mango, and papaya. The front of the tongue has a bit of green apple before the middle of the tongue picks up papaya and pineapple. There is a light pine profile on the back of the tongue, but it is in the aftertaste that notes of pine and grass really come out. However, overall the beer definitely leans towards a more subdued bitterness and tropical sweetness.
Big & Juicy: Eureka
The Eureka variety adds peach flavors to the pineapple and mango. The mango is more pronounced in this variety as well. There is little flavor on the back of the tongue until the aftertaste develops. The aftertaste begins as bitter and piney but soon transforms to earthy and bready malt flavors until it fades.
Big & Juicy: Amarillo
This variety was my favorite. The hops seemed to overpower the malt in this beer after only a fleeting sugary sweetness on the front of the tongue. There are big flavors of orange which when initially paired with the sweetness reminded me of orange slice wedge candy. The orange further develops on the middle of the tongue before pine and grass notes hit hard in the finish. The aftertaste has some mango sweetness, but there is an underlying residual pine profile throughout.
Big & Juicy: Willamette
Willamette was a close second for me. It was the most “West Coast” of the beers with the malt sweetness being overpowered, orange and citrus flavors, and a grassy and dank finish with a long hop burn in the aftertaste. It only missed out on being my favorite because it seemed a little less complex than the Amarillo.
Each of these beers was a solid IPA, and though they might not be the biggest hop bombs, they definitely provide a fun and interesting look at the effects of dry hopping. Grab a 12 pack and taste for yourself.