Continuing on from yesterday, I will be taking a look at Sierra Nevada’s latest creation: Torpedo. Sierra Nevada markets Torpedo as an Extra IPA, which basically means that it’s an IPA (Imperial India Pale Ale). To put things into context, your typical IPA is a showcase for hops; big on hop aroma, flavor and bitterness and higher in alcohol than your typical pale ale. According to the BJCP style guidelines, your typical IPA has a IBU (International Bittering Units) range between 40 – 70 and an ABV between 5.5% – 7.5%. Budweiser by comparison has an IBU range between 8 – 15 and and ABV range between 4.2% – 5.3%. While not a fair comparison by any means (apples to oranges), I’m just trying to put things into some sort of context.
Torpedo Extra IPA, Sierra Nevada, 7.2% ABV
Good “hiss” when I popped the bottle. Nearly brilliantly clear, copper colored beer with an off-white head. The hop aroma of this beer is floral in nature, slightly fruity and perfumy in nature. Flavor is assertively bitter but it’s not a harsh or clingy bitter. It hits you up front and subsides relatively quickly. The malt flavor is sweet but allows the hops to dominate and take center stage. Torpedo has a medium-high/high carbonation level and is medium/medium-high in body.
I don’t know why I should be surprised but Torpedo is a good, good beer. For an IPA, it’s very easy drinking, flavorful yet restrained. For a while, it seemed like the trend in West Coast breweries was to see who could make the hoppiest, most bitter beer but it’s great to be able to have an IPA that’s balanced (for the style) and adequately bitter without beating up your palette.
Torpedo is made with two-row pale, carapils and crystal malts. Magnum is used for bittering. Magnum is once again used for finishing along with Crystal hops. Dry hopping uses Magnum, Crystal and the new Citra hop. Citra hop has a tropical fruit characteristics and a high Alpha Acid level. Here’s more information pulled from a Beer Advocate discussion as provided by what I am led to believe is a Sierra Nevada employee:
As far as we know Torpedo will be the first bottled beer EVER to include Citra hops, widely available or otherwise.
We are using Citra in the torpedo because it is not only a really unique flavored hop but also has a ton of alpha-acid…I think 12% don’t quote me though. The flavor os somewhere in between the crazy-tropical mango flavor I described, but if used too much, Citra can crank out an intense “catty” flavor… Like Simcoe on steroids.
As the previous poster stated, with a late hop addition, the hops are still subjected to hot wort, therefore, extracting some bitterness. That is, not necissarily why we’re not using there, though. i think I mentioned earlier, that there ar only about 3 acres of this hop anywhere in the world. There just isn’t that much of it to go around. I was in our hop freezer this aftyernoon, and we have a solid 250lb bale. I think that’s it. Total. End of story.
We are using citra in a way to get the most bang for the buck, so to speak, and blending it in with many different hop varieties in the Torpedo for added hop complexity. – SierraNevadaBill
Aren’t the Intertubes great? All this information at your fingertips at the prompting of just a few keystrokes. In any event, I would highly recommend picking up and trying Torpedo for yourself. It’s a great tasting and balanced beer using the rare andnew hop Citra. Tonight, no such distractions as last night.