I am a big fan of brewers using adjuncts in beer, especially stouts. Coffee added to beer? Awesome. Peppers? Yep! Vanilla beans? Bring it on. But when Ballast Point put out Indra Kunindra, it took things a few steps further.

Ballast Point Brewing Co.out of San Diego, Calif. took it a few steps further when it released Indra Kunindra.

Ballast Point Indra Kunindra bottle

In 2011, the San Diego-based brewer teamed up with home brewer Alex Tweet1 to create a beer to celebrate the 46th anniversary of the Holiday Wine Cellar, a shop located in nearby Escondido, Calif.2 The beer was called Indra Kunindra, a 7 percent ABV foreign export stout3 brewed with cayenne, coconut, kaffir lime leaf, cumin, and Madras curry spice.

The brewer’s notes from Ballast Point are as follows:

With polarizing ingredients packed into a very roasty Export Stout, beer drinkers seem to love it or hate it. Ingredients added post-fermentation, really keep all those volatile aromas locked in the beer. Please take your time with this beer and allow it to warm up. Initial hits of Madras Curry and Cumin start to get balanced out by the Kaffir lime leaf and toasted coconut once the beer warms. Cayenne will always be a lingering tickle in the back of your throat.

The Ballast Point Indra Kunindra pours a pitch black with a thick creamy head that stands at more than an inch for quite a while, and is a nice shade of mocha brown. The lacing that remains after the head dies down is still quite significant and the aroma coming from beer is a combination of strong curry, coconut and spices, along with a thick generic sweetness underneath.

Ballast Point Indra Kunindra

From the first sip, I know I am in trouble, as the overwhelming flavors of coconut, curry, spices, cumin, cayenne and tart lime shock my palate. The curry note in particular is quite overwhelming, and while the finish is noticeably bitter, there is also a significant burn on the back of the throat from the cayenne as the beer goes down that stays with you long after are done swallowing. There is very little carbonation overall, and unfortunately the sweetness that I noticed in the aroma never makes itself known in any appreciable way in the actual profile of the beer.

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Ballast Point Indra Kunindra
BREWERY: Ballast Point Brewing Co.
LOCATION: San Diego, Calif.
STYLE: Foreign export stout
ABV: 7 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $8.99
RELEASE DATE: 2011
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
BEERS POURED: One
This is the very definition of a "love it or hate it" beer based both on the ingredients that are used and the strength of the profile. I did taste distinct flavors of curry, coconut and cumin, so if that is what the brewers are going for, they nailed it. Although I am a fan of Indian food, the main problem with this beer is not the specific flavors and spices that are used, but rather the fact that the aforementioned flavors are almost astoundingly unbalanced, with the curry note in particular overwhelming at points. Honestly, a little more sweetness overall would really help in that regard. An interesting blend to be sure, and one that people should try just to say they have, but not something I will be drinking again.
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