Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Open It! Sierra Nevada Special

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The idea behind Open It! is a good one. You dig out from the back of your beer cupboard those bottles that you have put away for a very special beer time and instead of letting them sit there, you get them out, pop them open and get them poured down your throat. What's the point of beer if it's not to be consumed.


I haven't taken part before but I thought I would get involved this time. So, over the course of a few posts I shall be blogging about which beers I have dug out of the dark recesses of my special beer cupboard and opened.


The first two are big, old American beers from the same brewery, Sierra Nevada's Hoptimum and their 30th Anniversary beer called Charlie, Fred and Ken's Imperial Helles Bock.


The Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Ale is produced in collaboration with home brewers and highly regarded U.S. 'craft' beer writers, Charlie Papazian and Fred Eckhardt. It is an 8.3% Imperial Helles Bock and comes in a rather elegant 660 ml cork and caged bottle.


It pours a glorious golden orange colour with a lovely soft white head. It's aroma is light malt with some grassy, grapefruit and pine poking through. It had a lively effervescent carbonation that wasn't too oppressive in the mouthfeel.


It had, initially, quite a punchy alcohol hit which gave way to solid flavours of sweet orange, caramel and toffee apple notes. It ends with a crisp, clean and refreshing finish that lingered with a slight bready dryness.  It was, for it's ABV, a very drinkable beer that was maybe just a little too sweet for my taste.


Next up was the 10.4% Sierra Nevada Hoptimum, which is described as a Whole-Cone Imperial IPA. I was expecting this to be a big, bold beer bursting full of juicy hop goodness.








Sierra Nevada claims their Hoptimum beer "Pushes the boundaries of whole-cone hopped brewing: a 100 IBU beer, aggressively dry hopped with new varieties of hops to create ultra intense flavours and aromas."


Boy, they weren't wrong.


It pours an amber orange with a thicky foamy white head that momentarily distracts you before you are delightfully mugged by the awesome aromas of loads of oily pine resin and citrus hops notes that fight each other before taking turns in assaulting my nostrils. This was like taking a walk through a Scandanavian pine forest as someone squirts orange, grapefruit and tangerine zest at you.


It tasted lovely too. Hops, hops and even more hops in the mouth that gave you a citrus and tropical fruit rainbow of delicious tastes and flavours. Present were sticky, waxed orange peel, lemon mango, lychee, floral notes, pineapple, pear and bubblegum. And a tease of sweet caramel too.


The hop loveliness gave way to a  belightfully hoppy, dry but not too bitter a finish that you sometimes get with beers such as DIPA's.


Overall, this is simply a stunning beer and my favourite of the two.


I'm very glad that I opened the Hoptimum when I did as a beer like this benefits from being drunk early whilst the full on hop assault is at it's best.







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