Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Well, I think we know what 2011's most disappointing beer is so far . SIERRA NEVADA's "HOPTIMUM" had a two-weeks-old reputation as an absolute destroyer of an IPA, a "whole hop cone" India Pale Ale that was going to clock in at 10% ABV while it did some serious clock-cleaning of its own. Yet on the whole - eh, I don't like it so much.

HOPTIMUM is massive - a big, oily, intensely sticky-pine IPA that tastes of booze and lacquer. Compared to other palate-whompers I've had in the past - like DRAKES' DENOGGINIZER or SOUTHERN TIER UNEARTHLY - this just comes off as a bridge too far. Caramel malts are present in spades, but they are not balanced with the hop attack at all. You're left with a warm, almost hot feel to the thing, without the flavor or even the aroma to back it up. I cry "uncle". I went,hat in hand to five different beer stores to finally nail a bottle of this one. I daresay you should refrain from doing the same. 5/10.