Unfiltered: Aroma Day 2017

By John Gillooly, Drake’s Brewmaster
July 7, 2017

Last year, Aroma Coma “graduated” from being our summer seasonal IPA to being a year-round beer. We brewers always looked forward to the release of this beer as it was the one place we used Citra, a really impacted hop that we only had enough of to brew this beer as a seasonal. We finally cornered enough to make it year round, so we’ve done just that. This year we had even MORE Citra, so naturally we used it to make Coma THAT MUCH BIGGERmore malt, more hops. This will be the roll-out for the new Aroma Coma 2X recipe8% of citric dank! It’s a Tangerine Dream!

Since this isn’t just Coma Day, but Aroma Day, we cooked up some running mates to go with it. First up, we are bringing back Aroma Therapya name I am continually shocked is legal—and we dropped some big changes on that beer, too. When we brewed it last year, we meant this to be a “bridge” between Coma and Prieta, sharing a mix of hops from both, and upped to Imperial status. Now, with Coma at DIPA stature, we took Therapy up to 3X level—11.3% ABV to be exact—achieved by the addition of clear Belgian Candi sugar during fermentation. For hopping, we went with a clone of the Coma blenda Citra-heavy blend with support from Cascade, Centennial and Ekuanot. It’s really interesting to see how the higher alcohols plays with the hops. Drinking it straight out of the tank is almost like drinking a screwdriver.

Next up is Aroma Prieta, an all-New Zealand hopped IPA. Originally, this beer was a clone of Aroma Comaexactly the same beer, but with a Southern Hemisphere hop bill. This year we decided that was boring, and decided to concoct an IPA embraces the hazy softness of the “New England” style-IPA with the firm bitterness of West Coast IPAs, but still 100% dry-hopped with New Zealand hops4 to be precise: Nelson Sauvin, Motueka, Waimea and Wakatu. And then, just to make this beer THAT MUCH MORE AWESOME (shouting portentously), we made it 9%. Say hello to the new Aroma Prieta!

We also brought back Aroma Session, a 4.20% ABV version of Aroma Coma (a .5X IPA?). It’s virtually the same malt bill and same hopping, but with proportionally less. With the less competition from the malts, I think the hopping stands out the most in this iteration). This is what you’ll see brewers drinking at Aroma event, as we like to drink a lot…

And finally, we have Aroma Flora, our annual saison brewed with flowers and other aromatic plants. This beer was brewer Molly O’Brien’s innovation, and this year, it was her last brew, as she has moved on from Drake’s. This year’s beer is focused on a combination of whole flower Chinook hops, Nasturtiums, Rose petals, and Thai Holy Basil (the latter two provided to us as a dry tea from 4Track Tea).  Molls will be there at Aroma Day to drink her beer and take a victory lap.

A bunch of fun beers. Aroma Day will be fantastic! We had a real kick making these beers.

‘Unfiltered’ is a recurring column by our Brewmaster, John Gillooly, where he dishes on whatever topic he’s inspired to prosthelytize about. With over 20 years of brewing experience ranging from Red Hook (back when they were independent) to Dogfish Head, John’s take is always uniquely his and we do our best to bring it to you as it is…unfiltered.