Nick Carr on March 5, 2018 0 Comments Photo Credit: Sierra Nevada Brewing Quick Characteristics Brewery Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Location Chico, CA Style Double IPA ABV 8.0% IBU 60 Hops Magnum, Centennial, Cascade, Chinook, Crystal Malts Two-row Pale, Wheat, Dextrine, Chocolate, Acidulated Shelf Life 4 to 6 months Suggested Glass IPA Glass Serving Temp 46-50°F Availability Spring Seasonal (Jan to March) Food Pairings Grilled Salmon, Lemon Glazed Chicken, Triple Cream Cheese, Crème Brulee (Brewer Suggestions) Sierra Nevada’s Spring seasonal has been the odd duck out for the last several years. While there other seasonals hold steady — granted the fall seasonal is a different rendition of an Octoberfest, but hey… it’s still an Octoberfest — the Spring slot has seen a succession of different beers. For the last three years the brewery has dipped into their Beer Camp backlist to “place-hold” the Spring spot. In 2017, it was Golden IPA, in 2016 they went with Tropical IPA, and in 2015, Hoppy Lager. Before this, the last regular spring seasonal was Ruthless Rye IPA. And, I still think the company made an egregious error discontinuing Ruthless Rye. That’s all I have to say about that… For 2018, Sierra Nevada has a new beer to spring us into Spring, Hop Bullet Double IPA. What makes this beer different from anything else Sierra Nevada offers is how it’s hopped. Hop Bullet includes Magnum, Centennial, Cascade, Crystal, and Chinook hops, but not only in whole cone form, some part of this hopping, was accomplished using lupulin dust. It’s likely you’ve heard something about this new hop product, but in case you haven’t here’s the lowdown. Lubulin dust, also known as Cryo Hops, or LupuLN2, is created through an innovative process invented by Yakima Chief-Hopunion (YCH). The process makes use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the whole cone hops before removing the resin and oil ladened lupulin. The resulting product is more concentrated than either whole cones or pellets. In fact YCH recommends using halving the amount when using lupulin dust. What does this new product bring to a beer? It offers a way to pack in the intense resinous and fruity aromas/flavors while reducing the grassy notes associated with hop vegetal matter, all without adding any astringency. I wonder if I’ll be able to recognize some difference brought on by the Lupulin dust. Whether yes or no, it makes sense using this new hop product for highly hopped Double IPAs. The dust not only cuts down on the flavors caused by high quantities of hop vegetal matter, but because there is less vegetal matter it also reduces the amount of beer lost to hop trub at the end of the boil and in the fermentor. We’ll probably be seeing a lot more beers making use of Cryo Hops before long, but right now, it’s time to try my first. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Sierra Nevada’s Hop Bullet IPA. If you tasted this beer or you’re drinking one while you read this review, please share your thoughts with everyone down in the comments below. The Pour: The color is a beautiful bright gold. Good carbonation. A creamy off-white 2 1/2 fingers of head builds. Head retention is decent for a Double IPA; dropping bit by bit, but leaving lacing here and there. Very nice looking in the glass. The Aroma: Aroma isn’t as dank and piney as I was expecting. Instead, the aroma is much brighter on the nose, with light pine and citrus in the form of grapefruit and soft lemon; there are some low tropical and floral notes, too. The Mouthfeel: Body is a light-medium, mouthfeel is spry and lively. Assertive astringency. The Taste: Taste is pretty clean where the malt and yeast is concerned. Like it says on the bottle, Hop Bullet is definitely a hop show. I get the nice and clean sharp bitterness from the Magnum hops. Medium candied sweetness at the front; notes of orange and lemon, pine too. There is a very low whisper of sourdough-like graininess. Turns lightly dank and piney towards the back. Finish is medium crisp with a lingering, doughy malt character and pulpy citrus. Astringency hangs on into the aftertaste. FINISHING THOUGHTS I’m not sure what I was expecting from the Lupulin dust. Would I know there was something different about this beer had I not read the description? Probably not. Knowing what I know I might say the flavors are a bit bolder, perhaps a bit brighter…. but this just as easily could be my imagination. At any rate, the difference isn’t enough that you’d recognize it as “different.” It would be interesting drinking an example of Hop Bullet brewed with only whole/pellet hops and do a taste comparison with this one. It’s a solid beer, a nice Double IPA. There isn’t any real sense of the alcohol it carries, making it extremely easy drinking… and a little dangerous. Hop flavors and bitterness are big and bold, just the way you’d expect. If you’re not hop-initiated, this probably isn’t the one you want to start with. But if you love your hops, love brash assertiveness and piney dankness grab a six-pack of Hop Bullet before it disappears for the year. Cheers!