Sierra Nevada – Torpedo Extra IPA

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Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo IPA gets its namesake from the torpedo-shaped contraption that Sierra Nevada engineered to gain the biggest and best influence of their whole-cone hops additions during dry hopping.  To expand on that opening statement:  Dry hopping, as you may already know, is the act of adding hops to the fermenter after the boil – this preserves those oils that are lost in earlier hop additions, and more than anything it improves the aroma of the beer.  Also a noteworthy part of the opener is that Sierra uses whole cone hops for this beer, not the more common pellets.  What this means to the final product I’m not exactly sure, but it’s a deviation from the norm nonetheless.

Torpedo Extra IPA is a widely distributed, high volume beer as far as craft beers go.  It is medium strength for a big IPA at 7.2% ABV.   That is not to say it’s not special, though.  The aroma is a little on the malty side for an American IPA, but also with big citrus in the form of grapefruit and orange, and also lots of earthy pine wood.  It drinks full bodied, very rich and thick mouthfeel for an IPA of this sort.  Taste starts off quite sweet, I think thanks largely to the malts – and then slides into a floral, citrus, pine combination that just screams “proper American IPA”.   The above-standard malt addition is visible in the colour as well as the taste of the beer but it does not stand in the way of the hops character – the hops remain firmly and confidently the center of attention here.  The bitterness is muted by the malts though, or at least that is the sense I get.

This is a very fine drinking IPA that doesn’t demand your full attention to enjoy, but doesn’t shy away from such scrutiny either.  It has just the right level of maltiness for me, adding body and sweetness to the beer while still allowing the hops full autonomy and a lingering dry finish.

One more thing to note for my fellow BC residents:  I bought this at a government store for $5.99 (it’s 710mL), which makes it a very good value for the quality of beer you’re getting.  It was my first visit to a government store in a long time and I was floored to see it there.

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