Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beer Review: Hopzilla (2012)

Reviewing the 2012 release of Hopzilla from Terrapin Beer Company out of Athens, Georgia -- birthplace of the Elephant 6 collective.
Score: 91

2012 bottle from the March release. Served in a Stella Artois chalice and enjoyed on 05/28/12.

Appearance: Pours a clean and clear looking golden, slightly orange, color with two fingers of white soapy head that settles into a thin layer atop the glass. Excellent lacing and retention. 4.5/5

Smell: First impression is sweet and hoppy orange citrus closely followed by earthy onion and dirty/mulchy/earthy hops. Sweet mango and pineapple, malty caramel, bitter bready malt and a light amount of candied grapefruit too. A bit of astringent nose-hair warming "hoppy citrus caramel" aroma as the beer warms. 4.25/5

Taste: A lot more onion and "oaky"/"woody" earth/hops flavor forward than the nose led on -- particularly on the midpalate, where there is a sharp onion flavor. Ample bittersweet orange and mango/pineapple flavor and a juicy sweet citrus flavor balance out the bitter and malty onion-y hops oils. There's plenty of sweet -- but not sugary -- malty "citrus caramel" flavor too, but it's not an overly malty maltiness like the mess of a beer that Lenny's RIPA was. The flavors here are very big, and bold, and a bit warming on the palate. This beer teeters on the edge of "booziness" without crossing the line. The ABV is not hidden like the Double Crooked Tree, and the sweet malt-forward flavors of the beer make it a sipper and a palate wrecker, but the flavors are still surprisingly balanced for how aggressive they are. There is a lingering aftertaste of the flavors just described, albeit in a much more subdued fashion. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with minimal carbonation. The lack of carbonation causes the bitter and hoppy malt flavors to sit heavy on the tongue, and linger/layer well. Oily mouthfeel. Dry and bittersweet/malty finish. 4/5

Overall: A big and bold imperial IPA that is more "malty" than most, but still quite balanced. This is the kind of beer I expected from Lenny's RIPA.

Recommendation: Casual beer drinkers and bitter/hoppy beer haters should avoid this one. The rest are encouraged to seek a bottle out. I could easily seek this one aging well after a year into a "hoppy barleywine."

Pairings: Grilled chicken.

Cost: $12 for a four pack bottle.

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