Sierra Nevada continues to roll out what it feels like to be their never ending line of seasonal releases with the 2014 release of the Whole Cone Imperial IPA, Hoptimum. This beer is certainly one of Sierra’s most notorious beers and one that is definitely sought out by hopheads during its springtime release. Sierra claims this to be the biggest IPA they have ever created, boasting hopping, dry hopping and torpedoing to create an intense hop experience. Hoptimum comes in at 10.4% ABV and an even 100 IBUs.
Appearance: Really nice copper color, slightly hazy but pretty translucent. Pours a 1 finger head which dissipates quickly into some light lacing. The bottle artwork is among some of my favorite out and was done by the awesome artist Nate Duval. Sierra always has amazing artwork on their seasonal releases.
Nose: Piney and resinous as well as some earthy hop notes. Pick up some tropical fruit and malt sweetness as well. You can really pick up a difference in the nose from some other IPAs because of the amount of whole cone hops this beer has added to it.
Taste: Bitter and piney right up front with a little heat coming on the back from the 10.2% ABV. You get some fruit in the taste as well, lots of grapefruit. Has a nice balance of malt to back up the intense bitterness as most Sierra beers do have a pretty nice malt presence. The taste is complex and you it becomes enjoyable and evolves as the beer begins to warm up. I actually enjoyed the second half of the beer more than the first I think. More fruit and floral notes began to come out.
Availability: Seasonal spring release from Sierra which is very sought after but as usual Sierra brews quite a bit of it so you should be able to find some if your state gets it. Definitely try to get it and drink it very fresh.
Overall: Sierra Nevada and hoppy beers never seem to really fail. This one is no exception and is certainly a beer I look forward to every Spring. This is one of my favorites to have on draft as well. I think since it’s original inception it has perhaps fallen behind as other breweries have made bigger Double IPAs than this but this will always be a great beer.