So my roommate Jameson bought a four pack of 21st Amendment’s Hop Crisis Imperial IPA earlier this week.  I’d never had one before but he claimed it’s a great beer so naturally the Hop Crisis is this week’s bell of the ball.  I mean what could be more appropriate than a 9.7% imperial IPA on a sunny Thursday around noon in the dead of July? You’re right, nothing.

“During the hop crisis, some brewers were forced to skimp on hops, depriving the people of their right to hoppy, aromatic beer.

Demand hop justice!

The hop syndicate is hoarding hops in a remote warehouse.  This is NOT COOL.  We have to do something.

Absolutely.  It’s our duty and our right .

We have to break out of Alcatraz.  And Fast.

No worries brotha!  We’re gonna surf out!  On ironing boards!

No one has ever escaped from Alcatraz!…Except in the movies.

No one has ever had a good reason before.  Free the hops!

FREE THE HOPS!!” – whats printed on the Hop Crisis can

This beer was first brewed at 21st Amendment’s brewpub in San Francisco back in 2008 during the widespread hop shortage that caused hop prices to soar. So, in order to get a little attention, the brewers made an imperial IPA with a huge hop profile and aged it on oak wood spirals and basically face-washed the Crisis that was at large.

Aroma: At first I got this kind of exotic fruit aroma and that gave way to some cherry, orange, and zesty citrus notes.  But at the same time I could also smell the presence of the malts and oak.

Appearance: Poured a nice, clear orange/coppery hue.  Very clear for a beer that was aged on oak and loaded with malt and hops.  Also showed a consistent display of CO2 bubbles which is always comforting.  And to quote Jameson, this beer had “a head that kept on giving!”

Taste: The first thing I noticed about the taste was the balance.  Really even and nice for a 94 IBU imperial IPA.  The malts and oak flavor battled the aggressive hops smoothly and left a nice sweet, somewhat dry lingering aftertaste.  Nice fruity hop rinds were always present and made for a very enjoyable beer despite a bit of alcohol warminess that’s usually hard to avoid in a 9.4% abv beer.

Overall Thoughts?: This was a really enjoyable beer, especially if you’re into the whole imperial IPA thing.  Well balanced, not overly hoppy or malty, and the oak really complimented the body of the beer. Usually these West Coast IPAs are just roided out on hops but this beer was nicely balanced .  2 or 3 of these in a sitting will probably give you the perma-grin but wont floor you.  Just make sure you drink it cold.  Gotta love the can packaging too which 21st Amendment is known for.  The cans really lock in the aroma and flavor exquisitely.

Unofficial Rating: B+


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