Sierra Nevada — Hoptimum Whole-Cone Imperial IPA — 10.4%

Sierra Nevada’s latest bid for the hearts and gullets of hop extremists is a whole-cone-fired monster named Hoptimum. Sounding like a b-list X-Man who, after a mysterious nuclear accident in a hop field, awoke the next day with a giant hop cone for a head, this hop bomb delivers the bitter goods.

Hoptimum pours the color of a new Lincoln penny and its mutant hop power drives a multi-finger head that never truly dissipates but sticks around throwing lace all over the place like a cross between your granny and Spider-Man.

As for the hop report: German Magnum, Simcoe, Citra, Chinook, and the mysterious “New Proprietary Variety,” all gang up on your helpless lil’ pink tongue and give it a beat down it won’t soon forget: kind of like getting whooped with a towel full of grapefruit and clementines (so they don’t leave bruises) and then skull fucked by a pine tree while smoking some killer green bud (don’t pretend like it hasn’t happened to you). At 100 IBUs, the astringent factor is off the chart, so if you don’t like drinking cleaning products—and let’s be honest, some of us don’t—steer clear of this one.

The malt character, made up of Two-row Pale, Golden Promise, Munich, and Wheat, fights a good round or two—probably just so those who foolishly put money down on Light Caramel don’t start throwing chairs—but ultimately (or Hoptimately) bites canvas before too long.

At 10.4% there is an expected alcohol note in the finish, but nothing like what those numbers would presage, which leads me to rethink that perhaps this creature is better balanced than I gave it credit for.

All-in-all, an enjoyable atomic hop bomb for those of us who appreciate such things, but God help us all if this thing gets into the wrong hands. I’m looking at you, Magneto.

Grade: A-

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