Saturday, April 30, 2011

Torpedo Extra IPA (Sierra Nevada Brewing Company)

Tonight I'm drinking another Beer Club offering, Torpedo Extra IPA, from the estimable Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, in Chico, CA. I don't know which of my colleagues contributed this selection (my guess is Phil), but in the interest of full disclosure I admit that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is one of my all-time favorite beers, and I've never been known to decline their porter either. I've tasted Torpedo Extra IPA on one previous occasion, so I know what to expect, and I'm looking forward to it.

The pour raises two inches of billowy, persistent head with fluffy lacing. In the glass the beer is a clear copper orange. Sierra Nevada's dry hopping process results fresh hops oil effects throughout the brew, starting with a ton of grapefruit in the aroma, detectable with the nose six inches from the glass.

The taste is massively bitter from the start. Mouthfeel is quite round and glassy. The flavor moves into a nice full apricot and light malt -- yet there is still some grapefruit in the mid body, high on the palate. And bitterness is there through the finish, leaving the back of the tongue puckered and begging for mercy under a long-lingering impression of pine sap residue.

In summary, it is very easy to describe the flavor contour of Torpedo to someone who have never had it: grapefruit, then apricot, then pine. That's an oversimplification, of course, but it's accurate. It really is quite a delicious beer, but honestly, drinkers without a high tolerance for intense hops flavor need not dally with this one.

From the bottle's label:

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Ale is a big American IPA, perfectly balanced, yet full of flavor and aromas highlighing the complex citrus, pine, and herbal character of whole cone American hops.
[Editor: No word of it a lie!]

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