Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

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Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum Whole Cone Imperial IPA is a solid brew from one of the breweries responsible for making craft beer what it is today. I was fortunate enough to have been given a bottle by fellow beer enthusiast and blogger Concon, whose parallel review of the Hoptimum and Stone RuinTen IPA may be read here. I enjoyed tasting this ale almost two months ago, but only got around to writing about it now, with hardly any help from my hastily taken notes.

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Towering at 100 IBUs (international bitterness units), I expected this “aggressively hopped, dry hopped and torpedoed*” Imperial IPA to be a kick to the mouth. “Torpedoing” is a proprietary method of dry-hopping used by Sierra Nevada using a device called – well – a hop torpedo, particularly in its Torpedo Extra IPA, and which allows the brewer to impart greater hop aroma without increasing the bitterness. As far as this beer went, the process works. I was both pleasantly surprised and somewhat disappointed to discover upon first sip that this was a delightfully well-balanced beer. The beer welcomes with an initial wave of syrupy malt sweetness closely followed by a pronounced hoppiness without delivering too much bitterness. The transition between the malt and hop aspects of the beer was smooth, adding to the exceptional balance of this brew. There was also a nice pepper and spice edge to the nose that I don’t usually taste with IPAs aside from the usual citrus and pine. The 10.4% alcohol by volume (ABV) is also masked well. This beer was a joy to taste – bold, but not overbearing; flavorful, but not over the top. Many thanks again to Concon for sharing this bottle with me. Cheers!

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