Described by Tony Hansen, creator and recipe designer, as an Imperial American Pale Ale, this beer is loaded with some of the most popular hop varieties being used in craft beer these days (Summit, Sorachi Ace, Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra). As for the definition of an Imperial American Pale Ale, there really isn't one. Typically, Imperial is a term applied to beers that simply use more of everything. Many believe the origin of the word dates back to when English brewers would brew stouts for Stout to Russia, specifically for the Russian Czar's "Imperial" Court. Designed to impress the royalty who would be consuming them, these beers were specifically crafted to have a higher than normal ABV, by significantly increasing the malt bill. A larger amount of hops would also be used to help balance the increased maltiness, and likely help preserve the beer as it made the long journey to Russia. Hence the birth of the Russian Imperial Stout. Similar with many other aspects in the American craft beer scene (ex. the use of the word "India" in many new contexts outside of it's traditional India Pale Ale usage), today's brewers have taken this term "Imperial" and started applying it to any beer that is higher in alcohol than its traditional version. Many times, these "Imperial" styles often contain more hops than normal too. According to a quote form the Beer Judge Certification Program, they define Imperial beers as: A recent American innovation reflecting the trend of American craft brewers “pushing the envelope” to satisfy the need for increasingly intense products. The adjective “Imperial” is arbitrary and simply implies a stronger version of a beer; “double,” “extra,” “extreme,” or any other variety of adjectives would be equally valid. What makes Bubbalooski different, and likely a better candidate to be labeled as an Imperial Pale Ale, is that it does have a significantly increased ABV compared to most standard Pale Ales, but it was hopped using amounts closer to the traditional versions. If the beer was bigger in all regards, more malt and hops, then it would basically be an India Pale Ale, which was the original term coined to describe Pale Ales that had higher alcohol contents and better stability for traveling long distances from adding more hops. As for the name, Tony didn't come right out and say it, but he credits the inspiration for this to a little strongman that he knows and nicknamed Bubbalooski, which is likely his son Wyatt (insert emotional "aaawwww" here).
Summit, Sorachi Ace, Simcoe, Citra, Amarillo
As for the name, Tony didn't come right out and say it, but he credits the inspiration for this to a little strongman that he knows and nicknamed Bubbalooski, which is likely his son Wyatt (insert emotional "aaawwww" here).