ChadPolenz (1679) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - APR 18, 2010
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Is it possible for a brewery to underestimate their popularity or reputation or their own craftsmanship? Iím sure the folks at Sierra Nevada know how well respected they are among the beer geeks of the world, and even the Joe and Jane Six Packs for that matter. However, I canít help but think they might have sold themselves short when they launched their Torpedo Extra IPA earlier in 2009.
This is a beer that has been so well-received itís extremely difficult to find in most beer stores. Even my beer store, which boasts over 1,100 beers from around the globe, is not able to acquire more than two cases per week. After finally getting my hands on some I can see why. This is a beer that could seriously contend for the title of the best American India Pale Ale.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
This beer pours to a clear shade of copper, like a newly-minted penny. There is some carbonation noticeable but the bubbles rise very slowly. I didnít notice any sediment, although other beer drinkers have reportedly encountered some. The head is a perfectly-proportioned, off-white, thick foamy layer which lasts throughout the course of the drink and leaves generous lacing on the glass from top to bottom.
The aroma is a very enticing scent of pine and citrus. I notice some orange, specifically, but otherwise I detect a general sweetness to the nose.
When I think of a perfect IPA, a palate such as Torpedo Extra IPA is exactly what I have in mind. Itís a great hybrid of East and West Coast styles. I find Western IPAs tend to have a resin-like, very piney component to their flavor and are more sweet and dry, whereas beers of the Eastern variety are more citrus-flavored, tart and crisp. Somehow this beer manages to contain elements of both (although Iíd say it leans a little towards the west).
There is a strong hop presence to be tasted here with a very bitter back end. In fact, the finish might be just a bit too dry for some, but I enjoyed it. The initial taste is sweet with notes of resin Ė giving the beer a sticky palate (literally). It doesnít quite crackle like a more tart beer would, but the sweetness itself is extremely satisfying and very inviting. Itís actually rather tangy, maybe even a little watery, but itís ultimately pleasing to the palate and thatís what matters most, right?
The problem with promoting a beer as being very bitter is it can turn off the novice beer drinker. Thatís a shame because very bitter beers are actually some of the easiest to drink and Iíd say thatís certainly true of Torpedo. The mouthfeel is only a little thicker than your average brew, but itís soft and gentle on the palate and finishes mostly clean. The aftertaste, although mild, is indeed bitter, but itís also hoppy like the palate itself and I have no problem with that.
I inititally thought this beer was an imperial style, but at 7.2% ABV, Sierra Nevadaís ďExtra IPAĒ lives up to its name perfectly. Itís a little bit heavier than average, but not quite as obese as the really big boys. The alcohol is masked extremely well in both the flavor and the weight as the beer does not overwhelm or fill you up easily. Itís rare a beer of this high ABV could work so well as a session drink.
They say good things come to those who wait, and on that note Iíd say Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA definitely did not disappoint. Itís everything I look for in a great IPA and it has a lot of unique qualities to it as well. If this could become as popular as Sierra Nevadaís flagship Pale Ale there could be a new wave of hop appreciation sweeping the country!
NOTE: Watch the video version of this review at:
BrooHa (121) - New York, USA - APR 18, 2010
3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Pours a cloudy, orange-ish copper. Off white head. Smells "dry". Toffee pervades with resin hop smell. Sharp and a bit bitter in the mouth (in a good way). Residual, smackable sweetness. Mostly sharp hop notes with malt to balance, though the two donít come forward simultaneously. Itís hoppy and biting first with malt sweetness following. Pretty good but underwhelming. Would reach for different IPAs.
Zeswaft (1647) - Seattle, Washington, USA - APR 17, 2010
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Donít call it a comeback...I havenít rated anything in over 2 years. Nothing momentous about this rating but itís somewhere to start and I have time. Sierra Nevada has really stepped up in the last couple years with new releases. I thought at some point this was supposed to be Celebration Ale but released during the summer. At least back in the day when it was draft only, but I see few similarities. Regardless, it rocks. Bitter as shit and packs a punch. All around tasty and cheap. Usually I can find a sixer for $7 or $8.
coyforce (684) - California, USA - APR 17, 2010
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Strong hops taste. Bitter and strong. Aroma is also hops. Pours a nice medium golden yellow with a small white head.
jonas (6723) - Garching b. MŁnchen, GERMANY - APR 16, 2010
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle. Amber, plentifull bubbles, golden cream. Sweet pine aroma. Dry resinny start, honey, caramel, grass. Dry chewy body, sparkly on the tongue.
Deceptively easy to drink, moreish.
HopBurp (74) - Michigan, USA - APR 15, 2010
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Very resinous nose with a small head with good lacing throughout. Flavor has an extreme bitter hop bite--reminds me of yellow grapefruit. Not much sweetness, but a good balance if youíre looking for the pronounced hop finish. Leaves you with a puckered bitterness on the palate. Hop heads shall enjoy this one.
KolonelKlink (65) - AUSTRALIA - APR 14, 2010
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Superb IPA, lots of beautiful citrus, spruce and pine aromas with a nice crisp bitter finish. The balance of the beer is definately geared towards the bitterness, but it is not over-the-top. Great amber/orange colour. Really good stuff!
williamstome (1708) - Somerville, Massachusetts, USA - APR 14, 2010
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Cloudy orange amber pour with a 1" foamy, bubbly head. Smells sharply of hops, and citrus. Taste is crisp and bitter, with hints of grass and malt pulling through the hops, with strong grapefruitiness.
hobbersr (690) - Lethbridge, Alberta, CANADA - APR 12, 2010
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours yellow with orange highlights. Almost no head. The aroma is quite piney with some citrus and malt character. The flavor brings pine, grapefruit, biscuit, honey, spice, and an earthy/chlorophyll finish. Not bad at all.
VitaminR (540) - Colorado, USA - APR 12, 2010
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Floral hop nose. Slightly hazy orange gold, big frothy head. Candied Lemon sweetness, decent balance. Effervescent, silky body, finish is a delicate balance of sweet and hoppy. Pretty tame flavor profile for an IPA, their Pale Ale seems more IPAish...but it is a good beer.