AJB Icy Double is a 10% Cold Double IPA from Anglo-Japanese Brewing Company, based in Nozawa-Onsen, in Nagano, Japan/ It’s part of their draught and canned lineup though its availability is unknown at the time of writing – here’s hoping that it becomes part of at least a semi-regular lineup. AJB Icy Double is brewed using Pilsner malt, as well as American hops, though which ones used are unknown at the time of writing.
At A Glance
Style: Cold Double IPA
Availability: Limited at time of writing
Price: From 800 yen
On Sale: From August 2021
Notable Aromas: When chilled pine, lemon, mango, pineapple, though when warm, grapefruit and some peach. No alcohol heat. Some caramel from the body but not cloying.
AJB Icy Double Aroma and Taste
If you’re familiar with Anglo-Japanese Brewing Company, you may have seen Tom Livesey, owner and head brewer, with one of the AJB tie dye caps on, and that’s what this can design reminded me of. A very funky and retro design, with the colours and hues bringing the cold aspect of the beer to the forefront.
AJB Icy Double poured out a deep hazel brown colour with a massive amount of frothy white head on top that clung to the side of the glass throughout drinking. It left thick white streaks down the edge. The body was much darker than your typical American IPA, and it kind of reminded me somewhat of a West Coast IPA – with its caramel like colour to the body. After having done some research into what a cold IPA is supposed to be (see column), AJB Icy Double was darker than what the style sets out to be; if there was a prescribed style as AJB Icy Double is the first cold IPA I’ve had in Japan – or perhaps knowingly ever.
The aromas though were full on hoppy, with absolutely nothing coming from the yeast. If you’re looking for a tropical hoppy beer, then this one would be right your street. It started off with a lemony, pine aroma from the get go, with just a touch of tropical fruits in the form of mango and some pineapple. Nothing overpowering but the aromas were very smooth. When AJB Icy Double had warmed up, the tropical aromas came through more with mango and pineapple also being noted. It was an interesting aroma – crisp aroma like a lager, but with the punchy notes that I am accustomed to with an IPA, yet none of the yeast profile coming through.
What is a Cold IPA?
Cold IPAs have nothing to do with temperature of the beer. Some of the key points are:
- Uses lager yeast instead of ale yeast.
- Uses adjuncts in the form of rice or corn.
- Dry hopped towards the end of fermentation so yeast can work on the hops.
- Fermented warmer than a lager beer.
At 10%, I was expecting some, if not a lot, alcohol heat to be present but there was nothing to AJB Icy Double that resembled that. From the first sip, to the last gulp, it was a very clean beer with the major flavours being from the hops. Once again, the tropical fruits came through once AJB Icy Double had been given time to warm up. Some citrus notes of lemon and grapefruit, alongside the pine, reminded me of the classic West Coast IPAs that I once had over a decade ago, along with the tropical juicy fruits that modern hazy IPAs use as their base profile. Together, they tasted like a mixed fruit juice, with an edge of caramel sweetness to a clean body. The fruitiness lingered on throughout the aftertaste, but still that alcohol heat didn’t come through.
AJB Icy Double : The Bottom Line
While the style may, or may not, hang around for long, AJB Icy Double is a great, tasty beer that ticks all the right boxes for me: clean, flavoursome, and moorish. Definitely worth finding a can or two.