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06-20-03

Beer Review #297 Torpedo

06-20-03I told you that I was on an IPA kick and today I have a “newer” IPA from one of the country’s largest brewers, Sierra Nevada.Torpedo is an “Extra IPA” (according to the bottle) that comes in at 7.2%. It can be found in both bottles and cans and had a uses a new hopping technique developed by Sierra Nevada called Torpedo. A number of their beers are now being brewed with this method of hopping including Rhizing Bines.

Torpedo pours a light orange color. It has a thin white head and it is crystal clear. The nose has some slight hops but not much else. I was expecting this one to produce some much larger aromatics, but it just didn’t come through for me. Perhaps I had an older bottle or my senses were not locked in the day I tried this.

On my first taste I was really surprised to see the amount of sweetness that comes on the front end of this beer. I really like IPAs that transition to hops and don’t knock you out with the first punch. The hop flavor does come in midway through the beer and it kicks hard. The hops are very earthy and rich in flavor. There are some citrus notes in there but the main parts that I found were an earthy, dirty pine flavor. Torpedo finishes dry with some lingering bitterness.

I really, really like this one. This could become a go to IPA for me. It has all of the flavors that I really like, and while I didn’t get wowed with the nose, the flavor is solid. This is a full feature beer and the hop flavor is more complex than some I have tried recently. This beer has been out for a year or two now and if you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing out. (more…)

Beer Review #288 Brux

04-24-03I held off on buying this beer for some time. The local beer store had a number them sitting on the shelf for some time and I had a hunch that they would go on sale. Well they did (for $2 off) and I finally mustered the courage to buy one. Still cost $16 but that’s my limit for a 750 ml. Brux is brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and, according to the bottle, this beer is “a dry and complex Belgian-style ale refermented in the bottle with Brettanomyces bruxellensis.” While the beer may have been brewed by Sierra Nevada, it’s actually a collaboration between them and Russian River. Sierra Nevada seems to be doing a lot of collaborating recently.

Brux pours a light orange color. It is hazy and has a slightly off-white head. The nose is sour/tart with a bit of a sharpness to it. There are some light bready malt notes but not much else to be found. It smells like the Lego candies that I used to get from the corner grocery store when I was a kid (Google it if you’re not sure what I’m talking about because you missed out).

On the first taste I was actually struck more by the carbonation than anything else. This beer is highly carbonated and the bubbles attack the front of your tongue. Once I got past the assault, I got into the sourness. UnlikeĀ  a lot of sour beers, this one is sour from start to finish, or what I wrote down as a “fill sourness.” There are some grassy notes mixed in there but the sourness dominates.A little funk is in there along with some peppery notes to boot.

This is an interesting beer. I would love to try it in a few years when the Brett has a chance to work its magic fully. One final note, this beer is a sneaky. It comes in at 8.3% but tastes nothing like that. I was shocked at how I felt after my first glass. I’ll get my hands on another bottle at some point in the future but for now, I have other beers that I want to try. (more…)

Beer Review #283 Rhizing Bines

04-10-03I have yet another collaboration beer for review today. This time it is the return of Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada with Rhizing Bines. This is actually their second collaboration beer with Life and Limb being the first. According to the bottle this is “an Indian Pale Ale brewed with Bravo + 644 hops.” I had no idea what 644 hops were but apparently they are an experimental strain that doesn’t have a name yet, just 644. This bad boy comes in at 8% and has some attributes of both breweries. As another note, this beer uses Sierra Nevada’s torpedo dry hopping technique in addition to Dogfish Head’s continual hopping.

This beer pours a clear light orange color with an ample, slightly off-white, head. The nose is decidedly hoppy. The hops are bright and clean and just smell awesome. I don’t know if the Bravo hops or the 644 hops contribute to the aroma more, but whatever it is, I dig it.

A slight caramel flavor kicks off the first sip. A clean hop profile comes in that adds a good dose of bitterness, but not a punch. For a beer that has bright hops, this beer isn’t as hoppy as the nose would make you think. It is hoppy, but it says in balance with the malt body. The hops are this beer are really nice. This is a unique flavor that comes out of them that I just can’t put my finger on.

This is a very nice IPA. The hops are kept in check but allowed to exhibit their unique qualities. I enjoyed this one a great deal. I hope these two breweries keep up the collaborations as the beers have been darn good. (more…)

Beer Review #265 Narwhal Imperial Stout

01-26-03We had a nice bit of snow here in northern Delaware last night and I was sipping on an imperial stout as the flakes came down. We only ended up with a tease of a 1/2 inch, but the beer at least measured up. Narwhal Imperial Stout is brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. This imperial stout comes in at a nice high 10.2%.

Like most imperial stouts this beer pours an inky black. It doesn’t pour as thick as some imperial stouts that I have had in the past. There is a decent tan head that stays longer than expected but eventually fades away to just a thin surface floating layer. I had no idea if this one was clear or not because this is one dark beer. Ever the thin layers near the edges yielded no light. The nose is packed with roasted malt. There is some slight chocolate in there as well. I didn’t notice anything on the hop front nor did I get any heat. Impressive. This beer just smells big. Maybe I have had too many imperial stouts in my day, but you can just tell this beer is big by the smell.

The roasted flavors of the nose carry through to the flavor. The roast is clean and enjoyable and not to “bitey” as other beers of this style that I have had. A nice bitter bakers chocolate flavor edges out the roast halfway though. A sight hop flavor comes in at the end. The hops was a bit piney but I honestly could get more descriptive then that as the malt bitterness ruled this beer. While I didn’t describe a lot of flavors, the interaction of the flavors really makes this beer complex. As the balance changes from roast to bitter chocolate to hops the beer shows itself fully.

I really, really dig this one. I’m usually split on liking/hating imperial stouts. They never seem to be able to achieve a true balance and any complexity that they do have gets overshadowed by roast or hops. This one stays complex and in balance. I really liked it and I’m going to be getting some of this beer to age in the basement for some time. (more…)

Beer Review #238 Hoptimum

Recently I have really been in the mood for IPAs. I brewed a Belgian IPA a month ago and I am brewing an American IPA this weekend. But before these beers were ready, I had to satisfy my need desire for a solid IPA. In comes Hoptimum from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. I didn’t know anything about this beer when I grabbed it other then the fact that I loved the bottle art (I’m such a sucker for good bottle art). When I got home I got around to reading the label and I was met with a “whole cone imperial IPA. 100 IBUs. 10.4% ABV.” Well that sounds like something that might fix my desire for a solid IPA.

Hoptimum pours a nice orange color with a medium thick white head. It looks like an IPA and the head stuck around longer then I would have thought with the high ABV percentage. The nose is packed with hops. This thing screams hops. In my opinion a lot of Sierra Nevada hop odors tend to be on the piney side and this beer is no exception. I also picked up a slight twinge of heat.

The taste is just raw, intense hops. I didn’t really get anything in the malt world, but just piney, delicious hops. This beer certainly hit the mark for a guy who wanted a solid IPA. I wouldn’t want a newcomer to craft beer to even sniff this one, but for me, it was perfect. (more…)