Sierra Nevada's much lauded "whole cone imperial IPA," at a beverage distributor in Watkins Glen NY near where I have been working recently. It wasn't until I sat down to drink one that I noticed I'd brought home the 2015 vintage. At 10.4% ABV Hoptimum can certainly stand up to a year on the racks, but by and large, IPA's are still best enjoyed young and fresh, while the hop flavors and aromas are still at their peak. So this week when I found a just released pack of the 2016 version on a shelf...in Wal Mart of all places, I just had to take it far away from the madness of those macro brew dominated shelves, and give it a better home.
"Hoptimum is a hurricane of whole-cone hop flavor. Hopped, dry hopped and torpedoed for incredible hop flavor and complexity, Hoptimum is the pinnacle of whole-cone hoppiness and the biggest Imperial IPA we have ever produced. It features resinous hop varieties: Magnum, Chinook, Simcoe and a new experimental hop variety exclusive to Sierra Nevada. With intense hop flavors and aromas of grapefruit rind, pine, herbs and tropical fruit, Hoptimum is an aggressive drinking experience. Originally created as part of our Beer Camp program, Hoptimum throws down the gauntlet to all other IPAs."
Hoptimum pours pale amber with a huge, luscious, fluffy head of foam. Moderate carbonation can be seen rising up through the clear, filtered body of the drink.
From the first sip, the beer has as immediate warming effect, though thanks to the insane amount of hops in the recipe, it never succumbs to cheap booziness. I found the obligatory citrus and pine notes both on the nose and pallet, but with a healthy does of floralness I had not expected. A sweet backbone follows. A little darker, and a bit less hoppy, and this could almost enter Barleywine territory.
100IBU / 10.4%ABV
Twin Tiers Beer Trail:
-Twin Tiers Craft Beer Club (Sayre)
- I-86 Beer Trail
- The Jolly Farmer, Waverly (Waverly)
- Bluestone Brewing Company (Sayre)
- Diversion Brewing Co. (Chemung)
- The Grille at the Train Station (Sayre)
- River Rat Brew Trail (Central Pa)