Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Whole-Cone Imperial IPA

Sierra Nevada's selection has been, succinctly, fantastic. I don't know if my local guy just stocks the good ones and doesn't bother with the bad ones, but this is in stock, so I have very, very high hopes. The fact that this is a "whole cone" IPA means that... I don't really know what to expect. I mean, I've never had a whole cone, and I don't know what makes that different than the regular IPAs.

The beer is a lot darker than your average IPA. It's a very attractive deep amber with a sticky-as-hell head that dies down to a fluffy pillow atop the attractive beverage. The aroma is pine hops and a smooth, creamy malt. It is one heck of a good smell, and I really want to drain this glass.

First sip is bitter. I mean, it comes across as the bitterness of a scorned lover. There is definitely sweet malt in there trying to do something, but the bitter pine hops are running the show, and they don't care what your mouth says about it. The fact that there is a sweet malt in there at all means that this beer has a better than fighting chance with a full swig.

Tip-in is bready malt with a certain amount of sweetness. The pine is not far away, but it is kept at bay with the sweet malt. As the middle rolls in, the bread turns into more of a sweet roll and the pine has a bit of floralness to it. Toffee (surprisingly) fills the bottom with a kind of taffy-thick sweetness. As the finish rolls, so does the bitterness, but it's a lot more tame than it was in the sip. It is fringed with the sweet malt that continues the bready goodness while adding a bit more of the pine and floral hop bitterness.

Bottom Line: When drunk properly (and a bit warmer than you might expect) this is a very good beer.



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