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Friday, July 1st 2011

Hop Crisis
(21st Amendment Brewery)

Everything about this beer seems to be raising the bar just a bit when it comes to canned craft beer. High IBUs, high ABV, lots of hop varieties, aged on oak spirals and all that in one hell of a package design. This used to be a draught only brew and a one time gold medal winner. It was actually scaled down a bit for the canned offering. Jeez! Definitely a beer worthy of nice glassware and some time to sit and contemplate just what it is that you're consuming. Cheers!

From the 21st Amendment site:

"Shaun and Nico have to break out of Alcatraz. And fast. The Hop Syndicate is hoarding hops, depriving the people of their right to hoppy, aromatic beer. Join Shaun and Nico on their adventure to Free the Hops! First, they plan a daring escape through the sewer pipe, then they surf monster waves on ironing boards, and finally they attempt a high speed cable car getaway.

Hop Crisis. Crisis? What Crisis? A few years ago, when hop prices shot through the roof and the worldwide hop market went into a tailspin, at our pub in San Francisco we decided there was only one thing for us to do. We made the biggest, hoppiest IPA we could imagine and aged it on oak for good measure. This Imperial IPA breaks all the rules with more malt, more hops and more aroma.

Here we go...


Pour - rather viscous and golden in color with a rather thin, wispy head. This has some legs running down the inside of the glass. You can see that this has some strength behind it.


Aroma - lemon cream, it's like someone mixed citrus and vanilla together with some faint resiny hints. A little boozy with some astringent aromas. Candied orange peel, cotton candy and simple sugar. 


Taste - sweet, citrusy, astringent and bitter. This has some potency and a sh*t ton of hops to boot. The oak spirals impart some vanilla flavors as well as some possible smoothness to this strong brew. What really stands out in this brew is the balance, yeah, its sweet and yes it's hoppy but those two are fairly equal. The strong hop flavor lends to an astringent bitterness that I kind of like. There is plenty of sweetness behind it all. Certainly warming and a sipper that gets better as it settles and breathes. The sweet, tingly bitterness this leaves on the back of your tongue after every sip should leave a lot of people happy - or maybe that's just the fact that this beer is almost 10% alcohol!


Overall - Why oak spirals in a big IPA? Why not. This is a first in the canned craft world. So far it's really only been 21st Amendment that has done anything with wood and then canned it (with the exception of Great Crescent's recently canned Bourbon Barrel Stout). I really enjoyed this beer. Sure, it's sweet but there is a lot of other things going on if you give it some time and let your taste buds explore without getting too overwhelmed. 


Would I buy more of it? - sure. Although a four-pack will probably last awhile as it is. 


Note - oak "spirals are used in brewing as they provide more surface area for the beer to come in contact with. While it's not the same as barrel-aging it does provide a lot of the flavor associated with the wood - vanilla being the primary one.


you've got to love the packaging for this beer!


Hops Scale:
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Hop Crisis
Style: Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery
San Francisco, California  
United States  
Container: 12 oz. can
Malts: Pale Malt, Munich and Dextrose
Hops: Columbus, Centennial, Cascade, Simcoe, Ahtanum, Amarillo,
ABV: 9.7%
IBUs: 94
Date: July 1st, 2011

Posted by Russ

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