Friday, January 28, 2011


Today I'm drinking Hoptimum, a whole-cone imperial IPA brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California. As usual, the label is totally pro, and with its 24-ounce size, there is plenty of real estate to work with on it. The front depicts a portrait of a Hop Head, where you can see the suit and tie from the shoulders up, and of course the whole hop as the head. Great green-on-green colors too.

Very fresh aroma: pine, hops, lemon and grapefruit, yet still with a hint of bready malt. Clearly freshly-squeezed grapefruit right in the beginning, refreshingly bitter. Lemon, orange rinds, and all-kinds-a-citrus come next followed by the big pine tree that fell on your car. Yet, despite all of that, there is an underlying malty sweetness, just enough to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress! Hoptimum doesn't really sport a tropical fruity sweetness in the beginning, but by the end of the double-bottle, the warmth does allow some of those flavors through.

Now, let me tell you about big 10.4% alcohol. You can taste it and you know it's there and it sure as Hell is warming you up, but it's not abusive, it's not slapping your palate around, and it's not destroying your experience. So I say it's a great component, accentuating the best parts. Carbonation is great. Consistency has a little slick oily stickiness and is spot-on too! Some spiciness comes through for most of the beer but it's not a gigantic jabbing spicy experience, more subdued. You end with a dry finish, a bit understated. Terrific beer, fabulous all around, great balance.

Now without creating an entire math lesson here, let me factor price into this equation. I even took the "Party Ready To Happen" photo below so you might feel this lesson a little more, get in the mood. Hoptimum was $11 or 45.8 cents per ounce--pretty hefty! That is more than double the price of the spectacular Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA coming in at $10/four-pack or 20.8 cents per ounce. Avery Maharaja comes in at around 36.4 cents per 22-ounce bottle, and since I included it in the picture, Hoptimum's awesome little brother Torpedo Extra IPA comes in at 10.4 cents per ounce, if you buy a full six pack. Finally, let's not forget Mr. Hype, Bell's Hopslam, which I am the proud owner of a six pack. At $20 per sixer, that comes in at 27.8 cents per ounce, which only earns it Price Bronze in this analysis.

If you are rich or one of those must-try guys, seriously drink Hoptimum all day long. But otherwise, read between the lines of the paragraph above and spend your money wisely! Love, your beer buddy. Wow, I'm a bit buzzed now!

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JayZeis said...

I thought that the Hoptimum was very very tasty, but I'll take a Nugget Nectar over it.

Beer said...

I bought a bottle of Hoptimum this week, $8.49 at Shamrock Liquor in Orlando. I'll be drinking it over the weekend and comparing it to Hopslam. Which do you prefer?


Matt Abendschein said...

I enjoyed Hoptimum, but I didn't think it lived up to its hype. Don't get me wrong, still a great beer with a bold hoppy/citrusy flavor. However, I'd rather spend my 10 bucks on 90 Min IPA, or Boulevard Double Wide IPA.

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Hopslam is in the fridge now. Haven't had it yet this year.

Nugget Nectar and Boulevard Double Wide are not available here in Florida.

chalie said...

where did you get hoptimum, I have been calling all over to get my hands on it