Beer Review 0114: Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

I honestly don’t know what has taken me this long to get to Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra IPA. The only excuse I can come up with is that I’ve been busy reviewing a bunch of their other offerings; most notably their Northern Hemisphere Harvest, which I gave 95 points, and their brand new seasonal offering, Ruthless Rye, which scored a 93.

Sierra Nevada brews out of Chico, California and recently announced they will be expanding to the east coast with a brewery in Mills River, North Carolina. Already a big operation, Sierra plans to use the new brewery to double their capacity and for better distribution. Some people think they may also use the new location to ship more beer overseas.

The Torpedo Extra IPA borders on being a big beer, coming in at 7.2% ABV (alcohol by volume). But this is not an Imperial IPA; it’s just a regular IPA, and Sierra says they dry hop this one using a hop torpedo — a “sleek, stainless steel piece of hardware that delivers more pure hop aroma than any method of dry hopping we’ve ever seen.” The hops used: for bittering, Magnum; for finishing, Magnum, and Crystal; and for the dry hop, Magnum, Crystal, and Citra.

The pour produced an absolute stunner of a beer — visually, this is about as good as it gets. The head was huge, creamy and thick, and it lasted a long time atop a bright orange beer. This one reminded me very much of summertime; cloudy in body but with no particles or sediment. Torpedo had magnificent lacing, instantly coating the top of my glass with a thick layer of suds. Heads on Sierra Nevada beers are most always thick and holding; the top of this drink looked like some kind of fancy Starbucks offering throughout the entire tasting.

If there was any one thing disappointing about this beer, it was the aromatics. I was prepared for a hop trashing, but instead I got a subdued aroma of herbal hops, grapefruit and pine. Some gentle caramel lent sweetness, and there was a bit of graininess and an earthy note.

On the taste, the stage set with pine in the forefront, with a big note of sweet caramel in the middle of the sip. The mouthfeel was a tad gritty and foamy, but as it warmed, I noticed it got creamy. The finish hit on grapefruit rind and brought the 65 IBUs (International Bitterness Units) into play, complete with a soft tangy sour flavor and a drying feel that made you want another sip.

Without a doubt, Torpedo is a fantastic beer. It’s even better that this is a common item on most supermarket shelves, and the value is unheard of for the flavor offered. Folks, this one is a must get if you’ve never had it — and honestly, I kind of think this is a Sierra Nevada beer that might get ignored because the packaging is so similar to the flagship Pale Ale.

If you’re into IPAs, especially dry hopped, try this one on for size!

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA, 91 points. Price: $1.79 for one twelve ounce bottle.

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