Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
While my family was here for Christmas, my brother decided I needed more beer glasses, seeing as I only had 10 regular tumbler glasses and my trusty snifter – as well as a pilsner I’m still working on using – so he bought me a case of 12 glasses that had 4 tumblers, 4 nonicks, and 4 weizens. Now I guess I can drink any beer I want because I have the basic glassware down and won’t have to feel stupid for not matching the brew to the glass – not to mention I can now go a whole month without washing a glass. My overall feeling for the most part is that as long as the beer gets in my mouth, it’s all good. So for today’s review, I used a nonick, which is basically just a glorified tumbler with a hiccup near the top that makes it easier to hold and is supposed to be helpful with beers that pour a large, crowning head. The best part about the nonick is that you really can’t go wrong with what beers should or should not be paired with it because it is so similar to a regular tumbler, it seems to be mostly an aesthetic thing. Either way, the beer made it into my mouth and everything was right with the world.
The reason I chose to review Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo Extra IPA is because of the new Hoptopia “I Believe in IPA” badge on Untappd. I know, I’ve become a sucker for checking in and collecting synthetic badges on a fad website (ahem, FourSquare) so everyone can know what I’m doing when I’m doing it. For the purposes of my current badge-collecting obsession, I’m calling myself a beer girl scout. I’m doing good! Now to find some of those cookies…
I left the beer out a few minutes before I poured it to keep it from any potential chill haze, and because I’m trying to warm up (see what I did there?) to the whole drinking beer at a more “professional” temperature rather than straight from the icy depths of my ridiculously well-insulated fridge. I have found that drinking a cool beer versus a cold beer really makes a difference in everything from which aromas are stronger in the nose to which flavors are more obvious on my tongue and even to how the mouthfeel is affected. It’s very interesting scientific stuff, so I’ll just stick to the basics.
Poured into my nonick (I can’t help but read that as “no neck,” which makes no sense) it glowed a sweet potato/pumpkin pie orange with brown sugar shadows. The liquid was mostly clear with a faint bit of a slow, translucent haze that was suspended just above the bottom of the glass to just below the soapy head. Oh the head, let’s talk about it for a minute: gorgeously fluffy and a creamy pearl color that looked just divine floating above the amber liquid, much like a heaping dollop of home-made whipped cream sitting atop a fresh-from-the-oven pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving is only 10 months away folks, can’t be too prepared! When I first poured it, the foam reached a good 5-finger thickness before gradually melting into 3 and holding with fantastic retention for a long while before fading into thick patches of sticky lacing that left the glass dirty. It’s like a love poem of lace.
The nose was a lot lighter than I initially anticipated, as with many IPAs it’s pretty obvious what you’re smelling right from the first whiff, but with the Torpedo, it was way more mild and didn’t threaten to burn my nose with bitterness. Grapefruit rind and lemon zest were at the front line, closely followed by an odd creamy tangerine, which I definitely wasn’t sure of. There were plenty of herbal hops, including some faint pine needles, but an obvious light crystal malt kept the whole encounter sweet and even added a welcome touch of caramel to the scent.
Finally in my mouth after furious note-taking, I was genuinely surprised by the first flavor to hit my tongue. Lightly toasted malts strolled across my taste buds with grapefruit pith on one arm, herbal piney notes on the other, and a light lemon zest trailing closely behind. It’s still a little hard for me to believe that the malts were so prevalent and the hops hardly held a bitter knife to my mouth. Carrying a medium body with nice, rounded carbonation made it creamier and heavier than it appeared, but I would much rather have a beer that holds some weight than have one that’s watery and thin. There was a short lingering hoppy bitterness and light caramel sweetness right at the end, but the bitter throughout the beer was actually relatively mellow, making it really easy to drink. I would probably recommend this IPA to someone who’s not sure if they like IPAs or not and needs something to ease them into it. It was a very good beer, one that I will most likely pick up in the future as a filler for a day I’m not reviewing or if I’m out and want something simple to start the evening. As for getting that new badge on Untappd, I managed to pick up two other beers to help me reach that goal, and you can all see what I’m drinking when I drink it if you add me as a friend on there (or follow me on Twitter…or both.