Sunday, July 4, 2010

369. Two Brothers Hop Juice DIPA

“We squeeze to please.”
Calm down, you perverted Mr. Whipple...

Happy Birthday, America, you beautiful contentious bastard.

Our eighth beer from Two Brothers. The list includes Long Haul Session Ale, Resistance IPA, Domaine DuPage, Bitter End, Heavier-Handed, Moaten, and Cane & Ebel. And of course, we can now add Hop Juice to that list. And, as normal, Two Brothers delivers, although this beer might not quite be the “hop blast” the label declares. Oh well. Still delicious and excellent. Get down with your bad self, Two Brothers.

Hop Juice pours bright and fizzy with a refreshing hop nose emerging as soon as we cracked the bottle. With an orangish copper color and an ivory tan head, Hop Juice starts out strong in our book, and the nose keeps it going: bright hop aroma with a sticky resin and pine dominating, and a biscuit and caramel malt backbone that has a touch of creaminess to round things out. Our mouths like it too; beginning with a sweet but subdued caramel and a bit of spiciness, Hop Juice moves into a bitter middle that maintains some of the drier malt flavors while also showcasing some of the resin and pine hop flavors found in the nose, along with a good dose of hop spiciness that spikes right with the bite of the carbonation. The finish is rather clean for the size of the beer—the bitterness from the middle carries through to the end, and some of it does linger (rather softly and pleasantly, might we add), but a return of some of the biscuit and caramel rounds the finish a bit. Hop Juice has a medium body with a creamy, light, but also chewy mouthfeel—the chewiness is lighter, though—think lighter scone, not hearty sourdough. The carbonation is medium with some bite, and some drying that is mirrored (well, and overcome, most likely) by the hops. There is a good hop tang and bite on the tongue, and a limited amount of grassiness, which is nice. As it warms, we do detect a touch of alcohol bite and flavor at the end, but the hop bitterness does cover it over quite well. Hop Juice is a delicious beer overall; there is enough malt to balance out the hops, but not enough to make it cloying or sticky on the palate, and a good range of flavors. Or, in other words, damn fine drinking.

From the bottle: “Hop Juice is one of a series of special limited-run beers in styles that are more extreme or unusual. This one is a real hop blast, dripping with the resiny soul of fresh Northwest hops. Don’t come crying to us if it’s too much for you; this one’s for hopheads only! And get it now, ’cause when it’s gone, it’s gone. Boo hoo.”

From the Two Brothers website: “Hop Juice is a powerful Imperial IPA. It is brewed to 9.9% ABV, 100.1 IBU's, and dry hopped with a pound of hops per barrel. Hop Juice has a very strong aroma of pine and citrus. This hefty beer is balanced at the start with some nice caramel and brown sugar notes. Then it has a massive hop flavor and bitterness with some complex fruity characters.”

From the website of a random dude I found: “Let me start by saying I really enjoyed this bottle of Hop Juice. I preface that way because I’m about to be somewhat unfair. If there’s a ‘hop blast’ with this beer, it lasts no longer than the first fleeting sip. It boasts a 100.1 IBU rating that seems more a product of theoretical math than actual analysis (when adding hops to beer, 2 + 2 can equal far less than 4). But even if we take that rating at face value, the sweet caramel malt is so strong that it effectively negates the strength or pervasiveness of hop flavor. ‘Hopheads only?’ Not at all — in fact, junior apprentice hop heads are strongly encouraged to apply! BUT THAT’S OKAY! This is a good beer! I really enjoy the flavor; in particular, I love the way its piney hops mingle with and lend a spicy accent to the sweet, vanilla malt. In fact, caramel malt is the real shining star here! I’ve experienced plenty of crystal/caramel malt during my one-a-day challenge, but none of those beers had a vanilla aroma or taste that entranced me quite like Hop Juice. Hop Juice filled the bulb of a tulip glass with a deep amber beer topped by a band of off-white, not-quite-tan foam. The sweet vanilla and brown sugar aroma that wafted from the glass was decadent and delicious — even my hop-hating wife agreed to its allure. I was quite surprised that the aroma contained only the slightest hint of spicy hops. (Now that I mention my wife, I realize why I may like this aroma so much: it reminds me of a scented moisturizer she used when we first began dating, called ‘Warm Vanilla Sugar.’) After such a sweet aroma, the hops do take you by suprise with the first sip. They are oily, piney, and cut through with citrus — but the sweet crystal malt subdues them quickly and dominates the remainder of the experience. The hops become a supporting player, adding depth and spice to the strong, dessert-like quality of the malt. Combined with the luscious and silky mouthfeel, Hop Juice’s spicy vanilla and brown sugar flavors create a thoroughly satisfying experience.”

I like that he connects Hop Juice to his wife’s scented moisturizer. Damn, that’s some dedication to beer.

ABV: 9.9%
IBU: 100.1 (we’re not sure what that extra 1/10 of one percent does, but we’re impressed)


No comments:

Post a Comment