The Beer: Hop-15 Imperial IPA
The Brewery: Port Brewing Company, San Marcos, California
The Stats: 10 percent ABV
The Hop Story: Port Brewing does not list the IBU (international bitterness units) of this beer, probably because it would be too hard to determine. The brewery uses a total of 15 different hops to make Hop-15, and puts hop additions into the beer every 15 minutes. This creates a cacophony of hop presence with flavors and aromas from hops all across the planet.
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Combining American, Continental (U.K.), and Noble hops from the Czech/German region, this beer showcases flavors and aromas so complex and vast that it's difficult to isolate a specific note. There's a big citrus and pine interplay throughout, showcased by the Centennial and Simcoe hops used during the dry hopping process. Aromatically a sweet, warm alcohol is definitely present, similar to aromas found near the cotton candy stands at amusement parks. Some biscuity malt sweetness supports the hop dominance and backbone of alcohol to create a solid, strong but pleasant tactile sensation that could be described as creamy. The hop flavor is most reminiscent of spruce-like pine with some additional citrus and flowery characteristics.
Deep gold color with a foam stand of off-white bubbles that persist, the beer appears somewhat hazy due to all the dry-hopping. Dry-hopping is the process of adding hops after fermentation is complete, often done in order to capture the flavors and aromas from the prized hop oils, without imparting any additional bitterness to the beer. This beer is not all that bitter, finishing clean but not at all in a sharp way, making it a surprisingly drinkable beer for a beer of this strength. Moderately carbonated and full bodied, try pairing this lmperial IPA with carrot cake.
Port Brewing Company, under the tutelage of Brewmaster Tomme Arthur, produces this two time Great American Beer Festival Silver Medal Award Winning beer twice a year, in August and again in March. Check the brewery website for more information on Hop-15.