Illusion was inspired by the awesome beer style created in the States known as Imperial Black Ale (or Black IPA, or whatever you want to argue it should be called). We really admire the profile of this style but there was no extended session strength version. This has been brewed at 4.5% instead of the typical 8%+ to enable such longevity of drinking, but has also retained the unique flavour profile of the original black ales.
They source the special malt required from Germany and the hops from America to create a beer of stunning depth and complexity. The beer is black in appearance but lacks the acrid flavours associated with other dark beer styles. This is achieved through use of the special German malt. The hop aromas and flavours are very intense, which are achieved through a major dose of dry-hopping.
This beer pours almost near black with a tan foamy head with plenty of lacing. The head is retained well throughout the drinking. Initial aromas from this beer are of malt and hops. The deep notes of roasted malt are taken over the back of the nose to a slightly more fruity perfume. Hints of grapefruit and chocolate are evident but are very faint.
The taste is instantly malty. Deep, rich flavours of the roasted grains mingle around the palate intertwining with the other flavours on display here. Showing its nature as a true IPA, it hits heavy with the taste-machines that are hops. Slightly citrus, their earthy notes add a unique bitterness to this beer, counteracting with the malts perfectly. Hints of caramel and chocolate marry the two contrasting flavours of malt and hops well and they present a rich and varied flavour palate to the ale.
This beer gives an excellent flavour for only a 4.5% ale. The lack of alcohol is apparent as the liquid feels rather thin compared to its more beefy friends playing this game up in the 8% areas. Those guys can use the pure kick of booze to hit home a warm, rounded flavour profile, however this has to do it with just pure flavour. It does so pretty damn well too. The flavours mix well and as they have hit exactly what they set out to do. Create a session beer that has plenty of flavour and doesn’t betray its Imperial Black Ale friends. A worthy pint to have in any arsenal.