Of the Central Ohio breweries that distribute in big bottle format (22-25 oz) those from Seventh Son are generally the most expensive, retailing at $10.99 for a 750 mL bottle. Yet they disappear so fast that if you don’t pay attention you it’s not hard to miss the release altogether, a powerful testament to the quality of their beer. The new Seventh Son beers keep coming in waves, good for the beer consumer but hard for the overworked beer critic to keep up. Last month I reviewed Mr. Owl, a Double India Brown Ale. This month I review a chromatically related release, the Double Red Ale Firecat.
- Brewery: Seventh Son Brewing (Columbus, OH)
- Style: Double Red Ale
- ABV: 9.4%
- Price: $10.99 for a 750 mL bottle
The label depicts an image that could be taken from the script of pages of an old time Godzilla. I’m looking forward to the future releases in this series Hopmothra, Imperial King Ghidorah, and Barrel Aged Mechagodzilla. As described on the label, Firecat is a single malt beer based on the Red X malt:
“Firecat is a doubled-up version of our Mongrel red ale. Like its smaller kin, this beast has caramel and toasted malt flavors and an intense scarlet color derived entirely from one source – a maltster’s mistake called Red X. A savage amount of Amarillo, Simcoe, and El Dorado hops bring rolling layers of mandarin and fir, with an earthy bitter finish. A hybrid of styles, rich and sweet meets bitter and biting, this single malt beer is like no other.”
Firecat is darker than I was expecting, bordering on mahogany with ample ruby highlights. Despite the dark color the clarity is good, and the off-white head is fairly dense. To my nose the aroma screams big time west coast hops, aromatic with lots of pine and citrus. To the taste Firecat is hop-forward while at the same time maintaining a good hop-malt balance. When paired with the Red X malt flavors the citrus flavors from the hops morph into something more like orange than grapefruit. The earthy, funky, dare I say catty, Simcoe flavors come out at the finish to remind you this is a 21st century beer. It’s not a sweet beer by any means, but the malts and hops combine to give it a juiciness that is oh so satisfying. It finishes with a lingering bitterness.
Another offering from Seventh Son that artfully combines malts and hops in a package where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The Amarillo and Simcoe hops are center stage here, but nicely supported by the Red X malts. Firecat is very much in the vein of Troeg’s Imperial Amber Ale, Nugget Nectar, which just hit the shelves in Central Ohio. If you are a fan of Nugget Nectar my advice is to get out there and grab a bottle of Firecat before they all disappear.
Rating scale: 10 = perfection, 9 = excellent, one of the top beers in the world, 8 = very good, one of the top beers in its style category, 7 = good, a solid beer I’m happy to be drinking, 6 = average, not bad but not something I’m likely to buy again, 5 = below average, 3-4 = poor, should be avoided, 1-2 drainpour.