Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

Type: Imperial IPA
Origin: Chico, CA
Price: $2.50/12 oz
ABV: 10.4%
NSP: 12.43

We at Non-Snob seem to have a love/hate relationship with double/imperial IPAs.  So many of them end up overly malty or overly sweet, and none of us really have any time for those.  But occasionally, one of them hits the formula just right (Maharaja, Decadent, and Brendan's hoard of Hoptologist among them) and ends up becoming one of our favorites.  Given the quality of Sierra Nevada's pale ale and Torpedo, I have high expectations for Hoptimum, because there's no way Sierra's going to let the hops play second fiddle to malt.

I could smell this one the moment I opened the bottle- pine and grapefruit, pine and grapefruit.  Once it's in the glass, it becomes more floral, though the citrus definitely remains as well.  And there's enough grain in the smell to tell you they kicked up the malt bill, if the color wasn't enough evidence.

Whoo daddy is this a hoppy bastard.  I was considering reviewing another beer after this, but no longer, because my palate is going to be shot.  This is the way I like my D/IIPAs- it ain't fucking around.  Just enormously hoppy, in the west coast style- citrus-dominant rather than pine/floral-dominant.  Enough malt to provide body and balance, but not so much that it tastes malty or sweet.  The hop bitterness is mouth-coating and sticks around longer than just about any other beer I've ever had- this isn't one of those clean-finishers, and it sure as hell isn't supposed to be.  At the same time, I don't feel like it's excessively bitter- while the hops are incredibly potent (enough that the 10.4% ABV is completely concealed), they feel somehow clean. 

Well, in my opinion, Sierra knocked this one onto Waveland Avenue.  It's not something I'm going to want to drink every day because it's such a meaty SOB, but damn if it isn't delicious.  So, respeck*, Sierra, and keep it up.

*If you haven't seen Ali G skewer Becks and his skeleton wife- go here.  Poor Becks.  Well, poor if you subtract his millions and millions of dollars.

1 comment:

  1. I don't understand the obsession with forcing the word hop to be in every beer name. But I'm finnish and the usa just beat the crap out of us in hockey so...