Tuesday, June 15, 2010

350. Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest 2010

More Sierra Nevada and, amazingly, another fresh hop beer (and also one that has not been sitting around too long). Just when we thought there wasn’t another one to be had at this time of the year, Sierra Nevada makes use of our other hemisphere. Brilliant. This marks our eighth beer from Chico; our run down includes Bigfoot, 30th Anniversary Fritz and Ken’s Ale, Kellerweis, Celebration, Torpedo Extra IPA, Anniversary Ale 2009 and Harvest Wet Hop Ale 2008.

Southern Hemisphere Harvest is a copper color with a creamy ivory head that profusely laces the glass. The nose has a spicy hop aroma and a generic malt smell—nothing particularly distinctive. The flavor starts slightly toasty and bready with a bit of caramel in the front; the middle doesn’t have much in the way of distinctive hop flavor, although there is a good amount of spiciness and bitterness—there might be a small bit of pine flavor buried under everything else, but nothing readily apparent. Some of the breadiness comes back in the finish, and the spicy bitterness continues on from the middle, lingering lightly on the back of the tongue. Southern Hemisphere Harvest has a medium body with a medium carbonation, although it is a bit soft on the mouth. There is some hop tang on the back of the tongue, and a bit of grassiness/herbalness in the mouthfeel. A very well balanced beer—while not super distinct, it is interesting and enjoyable.

From the bottle: “Each fall, hops reach their peak flavor, bursting with aromatic oils that give ales layers of complex flavors that can only happen at harvest time. For us, fall comes twice a year—once in each hemisphere. This Harvest Ale features hops from New Zealand—where fall occurs during our spring. These fresh whole cones are picked, dried, and shipped to the brewery within days of the harvest.”

From the Sierra Nevada website: “Our newest addition to our Harvest family is Southern Hemisphere Harvest. This is the first time we know of that an American brewer has put out a beer with fresh-picked hops from the southern hemisphere. The inaugural ale will debut in late April and will feature fresh Pacific Hallertau, New Zealand Motueka and New Zealand Southern Cross hops, all from New Zealand. Like our Celebration Ale, the fresh hops in this beer are dried right after being picked then shipped immediately to Chico for brewing so that they retain their peak aromatics and flavors. To ensure the freshest hops possible, we went to the added expense of flying these hops from New Zealand to Chico so we could brew with them the week after they were picked.”

ABV: 6.7%
OG: 14.7° P
FG: 3.9° P
IBU: 66
Malts: Pale & Caramel
Bittering Hops: Pacific Hallertau
Finishing Hops: New Zealand Motueka & New Zealand Southern Cross


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