Magic Rock Brewing – Cannonball Series

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This weekend, I had the opportunity of trying two pretty special beers which were released by Magic Rock Brewing back on the 10th April.

The hype on this duo has been massive across social media networks, beer blogs, bars, and bottle shops alike.
Due to the super limited nature, they were only being sold in quantities of one can each per person. With the help of one my buddies, I was able to secure a set for reviewing.

Without further ado, I give you Human Cannonball & Un-Human Cannonball.
Imperial strength IPAs that reach 9.2% ABV and beyond, pushing the hopping techniques to some crazy extremes.

First up, both make use of CTZ CO2 Hop Extract. The CTZ accounts for a blend of hops that follow similar high alpha bittering qualities such as Columbus, Tomahawk and Zeus. Others C’s include the likes of Cascade and Centennial.
CO2 extraction of these hops ensures that all bittering and aroma components are extracted, leaving only the leafy part left over.
This offers cost-effective and consistent results every time and ensures that variety specific characters are persevered.

Secondly, both include Cryo Hop™ blends. A method of cryogenic separation takes place which produces two separate products in the process.
LupuLN2 is a concentrated lupulin of whole leaf hops, which contains the resin and aromatic oils. This helps to offer an intense hop flavour and aroma without the adding the effect of astringency or the physical hop cone material.
Debittered leaf is the concentrated bract (leaf) of the hop itself which has been separated from the lupulin glands. This retains the variety specific aroma and flavour in a low alpha acid form.

Finally is the use of “Ultra” T90 hop blends. A pellet made from dried hop cones, formed into a powder then shaped into the traditional pellet form brewers are used to.
An alternative T45 hop exists which is the same thing but through the addition of heat and milling, vegetative matter is lost in the process.
The same alpha acid level exists but with less overall material is left after brewing.

In non-science terms, these IPAs are going to be big, hoppy buggers that will help you experience the taste comparison of “what it feels like to be shot out of a cannon“.

Lets get them cracked open shall we?

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Human Cannonball • Double IPA • 9.2 % ABV • Huddersfield, England

Human Cannonball fills the glass with a DIPA, deep gold in colour with a small off white head of very fine bubbles which settles quickly. The beer itself is rich and murky with no chance of seeing anything through it.
A massive mixture of juicy hops is prominent from the aroma, including lots of passion fruit & grapefruit with more subtle peach and apricot. Very hop forward with a little sweetness from the malts. The aroma is really clean with no obvious alcohol warmth or yeast esters.
The tropical fruit found in the aroma changes substantially in the flavour. You are hit with big tropical fruit, but pine and resin start to really take over. With each sip, these stronger flavours take over from the tropical fruit which are so vibrant in the aroma.
You are left with a big and lasting hop bitterness.
Human Cannonball has a medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a lovely smooth texture. Just a subtle amount of warmth comes from the alcohol.

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Un-Human Cannonball • Triple IPA • 11.0 % ABV • Huddersfield, England

Un-Human Cannonball is much in the vein of Human Cannonball visually. A deep gold colour on pouring with a small off white head of slightly bigger bubbles. Rich and murky as before, no chance seeing through this one either.
The aroma offered lots of fresh tropical notes including citrus & orange with more pronounced caramel malts at the back. More fresh than its Human counterpart, but the strength of the aroma wasn’t as powerful.
This time, the flavour was a more pleasant experience. A smoother fruit flavour comes through, offering Pineapple, peach, fleshy fruit and a little pepper. There was also more sweetness towards the end, leading to a Bassett’s Fruit Salad level of juiciness. More lasting bitterness finishes things off at the end and I’m sure I was getting a slightly toasted flavour from the malts?
Un-Human Cannonball is a medium bodied beer with a moderate level of carbonation and as smooth body. The higher alcohol level gets the tongue tingling and is more noticeable through the higher ABV.

Both Human and Un-Human Cannonball were great beers that really showcased the hops and varying blends. They offered differences in both the way the aroma and the flavour came through. Hitting most of not all of the classic traits of an imperial strength IPA.
Where Human Cannonball had the juicier and the more pleasant aroma, Un-Human Cannonball took the edge with its fruitier flavour despite the aroma being a little more relaxed.

It was a pleasure to try both variations and I managed to remove both labels perfectly for future posterity.

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