Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA Review

Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. | Beer: Torpedo Extra IPA
Style: American India Pale Ale | ABV: 7.2%
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

Sierra Nevada TorpedoSierra Nevada, a mainstay of the American craft brew world, has been very busy expanding their line recently. Their newest creation is one of two new additions to their year-round stable being released this year, Torpedo. This is the first change to the year-round Sierra Nevada lineup in over a decade, so this is pretty exciting.

What's even more exciting is that Torpedo is an India Pale Ale, one of my favorite styles. I always felt for such a hop-centric company, a year-round IPA was in order for Sierra Nevada. Well, that day has finally come. Sierra Nevada maintains the reason it was such a long wait is that they've just now figured out how to get the hop profile they desired without having to resort to hop pellets or extracts. Part of the process entails a new device developed at the brewery called the Torpedo, hence the name.

According to Sierra Nevada, Torpedo is actually somewhere between an IPA and a Double IPA, what they're calling an "Extra IPA." For simplicity's sake I went ahead and listed it as an American India Pale Ale, as that seems to be the closest fit. As for the ingredients, the malt backbone is composed of Two-row Pale, Carapils & Crystal varieties with the hop profile provided by Magnum, Crystal, & Citra variates. Magnum is used for bittering, finishing, and dry-hoping. Crystal is used during finishing and dry-hoping. And Citra is utilized only during dry-hoping. Here's how the brewery describes Torpedo:

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Ale is a big American IPA; bold, assertive and full of flavor and aromas highlighting the complex citrus, pine and herbal character of whole-cone American hops.
Torpedo is joining two seasonal beers, Anniversary Ale and Celebration Ale, in the Sierra Nevada IPA collection. With Celebration getting an A+ here on PintLog, hopes are what you might call rather high.

Appearance: A deep burnt-orange, clear body with a big fluffy, off-white head. Good lacing.

Aroma: Lovely grapefruity, herbal, and piney hops over a solid caramel malt base.

Taste: Pleasantly bitter hops right off the bat with all the same characteristics you find in the nose. Right behind the hops, a big sweet malt background keeps everything in order. Superbly balanced, just what I've come to expect from Sierra Nevada. The moderately-high alcohol content is masked well. Great lingering bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with fine carbonation. Dries in the finish.

Drinkability: Just about average for a good IPA.

Verdict: I think Sierra Nevada is right about Torpedo being somewhere between an IPA and a Double IPA, but it's probably closer to the former. While I prefer Celebration to Torpedo, this is anything but a let-down. I can see this playing a big role in my regular rotation, especially during the Summer when Celebration is just a fond memory.

Grade: A-


Machuca said...

Agreed. Very good. Will not replace Celebration, but a great addition to the year round lineup.

Unknown said...

I absolutely love this IPA. It's just great to have this available this time of year, with Celebration Ale out of circulation. One of the best-balanced IPAs I've ever tasted.