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Review: Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

Posted by Steve Greenlee  April 3, 2012 09:58 AM

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SN hoptimum 005.jpgSince we're on the subject of insane double IPAs, let's talk about Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.'s Hoptimum, a ridiculously intense ale that has a lot in common with Green Flash Palate Wrecker (which I wrote about yesterday). Sierra Nevada, based in Chico, Calif., first bottled Hoptimum last year, in 24-ounce bombers. This year it's in 12-ounce bottles, which is a positive development, since it's all but impossible for one person to drink 24 ounces of this extremely bitter, high-alcohol beer.

Bright orange with a 2-inch head that quickly disappears, Hoptimum is -- and this might be hard to accept -- a tad more intense than Palate Wrecker. It also smells vaguely like marijuana, which isn't surprising, given that hops are closely related to cannabis. And there are a lot of hops in this beer, which Sierra Nevada says rates 100 IBUs (though it's probably higher). It's a deliciously mouthpuckering brew -- but one that will appeal only to the most die-hard of IPA drinkers.

With a slightly stronger malt profile, more alcohol, and a corrosive nature, Hoptimum is harder to drink than Palate Wrecker. Given the price difference, though, Hoptimum might be easier to swallow.

Hoptimum is 10.5 percent alcohol. A four-pack of 12-ounce bottles costs about $10.

Gary Dzen

About 99 Bottles

Gary Dzen writes about craft beer here and in the Globe when he's not covering the Celtics for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen.

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