Jim can play with his toy submarines, I prefer the big bold flavors associated with a masterfully crafted IPA, and Sierra Nevada’s newest, Hoptimum. Hoptimum uses a variety of whole cone hops in this imperial IPA which blows up the flavor wheel and sends my taste buds reeling with delight.
I have to believe this is the kind of intense hop bitterness and flavor that Jim experienced when he talked about Old Schoolhouse Brewing’s Imperial IPA. This is an intense, in your face IPA that, quite frankly, I thought that Sierra Nevada forgot how to brew.
Hoptimum came about when they asked a group of brewers that had come to their Beer Camp to play around with whole cone hopping of their brews. They pushed the extremes and came up with this 10.4% ABV, 100 IBU, Imperial IPA that uses 7 different kinds of whole cone hops, some that are proprietary so we don’t even know what they are called! They talk about it here.
As you can see this beer poured a clear orange color with about a one inch white head that held up throughout. Very creamy mouthfeel and a clean and bitter finish. This beer speaks my language.
Though this beer has a relatively high ABV at 10.4% its booziness doesn’t overtake the flavor of the beer like is wont to happen in some Imperial IPAs. The flavor was a pleasing mix of all a hop has to offer. It was slightly fruity with a grapefruit peel thing happening, quite resinous, and a lot of bitter, with a hint of floral tossed in for good measure. I know it sounds like it is all over the map, but trust me it really works!
Somewhat surprisingly with all that is happening on the hop side of this brew, it has a very strong malt backbone that really balances it out. This beer has character and that is exactly what I want in my IPAs. I want them to impress me, and this one does. I guess that is why I never really got the message that Torpedo was sending, not like Jim. See if I want a mellow IPA that has a thirst quenching aspect to it, I have a lot of options out here. But the in your face approach of Hoptimum is an explosion of flavor and sensations that delivers on every level. It isn’t a daily drinker, but the good news is that they do sell it in 12 oz bottles, so it isn’t a huge commitment to crack one open. And at $3 a bottle, I can afford to drink this brew throughout the season.
I’m really glad Sierra Nevada decided to do something over the top like this. I was beginning to think they would never get out of the middle of the road!