Brew Review

Beer Review – Great Lakes Alchemy Hour Double IPA

Great Lakes Alchemy Hour Double IPA

There’s no real story behind the purchase of this beer. I saw it on the shelf, was instantly intrigued, and since I really enjoy most of what Great Lakes Brewing Co. makes, decided to pick up a bottle for an eventual review. It’s as simple as that!

Here is what Great Lakes has to say about their Alchemy Hour Double IPA:

On the West Coast, surfers have a term for that perfect time of day, when the waves are breaking just right and it feels like you can ride forever. They call it Alchemy Hour. In Cleveland, our surfers have to work a little harder to find a perfect swell. Dressed in wetsuits, up at dawn, they camp out on the shores of Lake Erie in near-freezing temperatures, waiting for the ultimate wave. Crazy? Yes. Extreme? Definitely. Alchemy Hour Double IPA pays tribute to the North Coast’s unlikely surf bums and the ancient quest for liquid gold, wherever it may live: on the ocean, in a lake, in a bottle.

Let’s get on with my review…

  • Appearance: Cloudy red-orange color. Not much in the way of foam, i.e. it dissipated pretty quickly. A bit of lacing, but nothing over the top.
  • Aroma: Oodles of citrusy hops with a good bit of sweetness to back it up. Think honey tangerine and pink grapefruit with a drizzle of honey.
  • Taste: Medium bodied with a healthy dose of fizzy carbonation. Much less aggressive than I was expecting. The citrusy hops and honey sweetness play very nicely together. There’s never too much bitterness, and it’s never overly sweet. And by the time you get to the finish, the hops don’t build up like they do in other double IPAs that I’ve had. Quite crisp and refreshing given the high alcohol content.
  • ABV: 9.4%

While I’ve had an IPA or two from Great Lakes Brewing Co. (Commodore Perry IPA and Lake Erie Monster), I didn’t really love them (they were good, but not great). For whatever reason, the Alchemy Hour Double IPA has definitely won me over. This beer is beautifully balanced, and given it’s high ABV, it’s also supremely drinkable. Well done Great Lakes!

16 replies »

  1. How do we know the beer back there in the fuzzy shadows is really an Alchemy Hour and where is the right edge of the glass? Why isn’t the contents spilling all over the place? Must have been a tremendous effort to touch up that photo to make it appear as though there was beer (any beer) in that glass considering its missing a side.

    I was also surprised at how easy drinking and refreshing Alchemy Hour is given its hight ABV. No peppery/boozy finish whatsoever. Relatively light texture all around – I think contributes to the impression of it’s being a much lower ABV brew. Better than Lake Erie Monster. No mistake by the Lake once again. These guys turn out rock star-worthy brews more often than not. A fitting brewery in Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Land.



    • So many questions! Here are my answers:

      Q: How do we know the beer back there in the fuzzy shadows is really an Alchemy Hour?
      A: You don’t.

      Q: Where is the right edge of the glass? Why isn’t the contents spilling all over the place?
      A: Guess you missed the 40% off sale at Crate & Barrel. That’s where I picked up this “special” glass. No spillage, just less glass.

      And as far as your beer and brewer assessment, it sounds like we feel the same way about Alchemy Hour and Great Lakes Brewing in general, i.e. awesomeness all around!


  2. I get a little pissy about Great Lakes, but I really liked this beer. I guess I like Burning River, too. And Edmund Fitzgerald is good, too. I liked Nosferatu. And I guess their Oktoberfest is solid. Ok, so maybe Great Lakes doesn’t make me that pissy. Carry on.


  3. I would like to try this! I don’t know if Great Lakes has made it out to CO but I have had their beers while in Columbus. This one sounds like a good summer IPA! Thanks for sharing! 🙂


  4. They got into a bit of a beef with Widmar Brewing Co, who already has a beer named Alchemy, so when this comes out next year it will be under a new name


  5. I finally got around to tasting this one. I found the aroma to be quite hoppy which belied the incredible balance in the flavor. While a little bit out of my wheelhouse, I really enjoyed this one.


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