Zombie Ice | 3 Floyds
It seems like when you make a smash IP – whether it be a movie, video game, or even a beer – you run it into the ground. Jurassic Park? Six movies have been released in the series (I honestly thought it was five!) and it probably should’ve stopped at two (or at worst three). In the 1990s, Capcom would do anything not to release a Street Fighter III, releasing five different versions of Street Fighter II (standard, Champion Edition, Turbo, Super, and Super Turbo). 3 Floyds, adhering to their “It’s Not Normal” tagline, have resisted on extending the Zombie Dust brand until now, finally releasing Zombie Ice, a Double IPA.
Typically you can tell what beer sells for each brewery. It typically takes the form of variants on a successful beer, such as AleSmith and their Speedway Stouts (different coffee), WeldWerks’ Juicy Bits (dry-hopping variations) and Medianoche, and Cigar City’s Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout. (Off Color also has a similar take with their Beer For series, but that’s more of an umbrella used for sometimes drastically different beers.) Despite Zombie Dust being an absolute sales monster out of the gate when released in 2010 (first as draught-only as Cenotaph), 3 Floyds has never released an extension or variant of the beer. Until now. (They have done similar things but with completely different beer names, such as Space Station Middle Finger.)
Zombie Ice features an “unholy amount of citra hops,” and comes labeled as an Undead Pale Ale. (Wondering how many cadavers 3 Floyds had to use to get the TTB to approve that label!) Everywhere I look it calls it a Double Pale Ale, which in my math mind means IPA. Pale ale equals half an IPA, meaning Double Pale Ale would be IPA, right? Apparently not, as most of the self-reviewing sites have it listed as an Imperial IPA. The 8.5% ABV would lend itself to that categorization. I guess styles don’t mean much anymore!
Zombie Ice pours with a finger of nice white head. It looks the part of a classic West Coast DIPA, basking in hues of a burnt orange or lighter caramel color. I can clearly see my finger on the other side of the glass. The head eventually dies down to a thin coating across the top. Clear, burnt orange color, and a thin layer of head? Just like the IPAs of yore!
Upon opening the can of Zombie Ice you’re hit with citrus. It’s crazy. I didn’t even have to put my nose up to it. You could just smell it right after I opened it. (I had a 12 ouncer.) And of course it smelled like tropical fruits – classic citra. Candied oranges, cantaloupe, pineapple and mango join forces with some grassy notes to form an aromatic slideshow of the early 2010s. A certain sweet smell permeates from the malt, resulting in an almost dreamsicle nose flavor. The hops come off as powerful and assertive and not those green or ripe hops that I’m sure you’ve had on beer that’s not quite done settling yet.
Hey, what’s that? It’s bitterness! Zombie Ice has the requisite amount of bitterness for a West Coast DIPA – and the good kind to boot! While not an IBU-bomb or overly bitter, the bitterness does keep creeping up as you drink it. But again, it never becomes too much, resulting in a pleasantly bitter drinking experience. Overripe cantaloupe, mango, and orange assault the tongue in waves. Some sweetness does show up, but it’s not from lactose or under attenuating or adjuncts (2015 Craig would have many questions about this sentence). It’s all malt, baby!
The malt sweetness of Zombie Ice provides a nice counter to the bitterness, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable drink. It sufficiently coats the tongue, leaving behind bitterness in its wake. It never becomes a chore to drink, as the malt does give way to the bitterness and hop flavors. This 8.5% ABV goes down way too easy; my 12 ounce can didn’t stand much of a chance. Very dangerous.
I get to say something I rarely say – Zombie Ice does exactly what I’d want out of an imperial Zombie Dust. The bitterness is aggressive but not overpowering. Citrus and tropical notes show up in force and hang around a bit. The booze hides itself well. While not as bitter or aggressive as some of their beers a decade ago like Arctic Panzer Wolf or She-Wolf, it passes the muster and really scratches a West Coast DIPA itch that rarely gets scratched. And it does it well. Buy with confidence!
Zombie Ice is available pretty much everywhere 3 Floyds distributes and for only a dollar more than a 6-pack of Zombie Dust!