Monday, April 25, 2011

Review #13 - Lagunitas Hop Stoopid

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

April 25, 2011

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid.  Lucky Review #13!  I did not realize this until I actually sat down to enhance my notes on this one, but it is fitting to review a Lagunitas beer for #13 on The List.  Their Lucky 13 Red Ale is one of my favorites. 

Anyhow, this is the second beer in a row that I obtained without much fanfare.  I went to Binny’s, bought it, took it home and cracked it open.  Given some of what I’ve gone through to track down several of the others on The List, I guess this seemingly simple story is a deviation from the norm here at 20 Beers in 20 Nights.   

Here are some stats on the Lagunitas Hop Stoopid:

ABV: 8%
IBUs: 102
Brewery Location: Petaluma, California
Style: American Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.18 – Excellent
My Beer Advocate Rating: B/3.65 – Good
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 1,338/8th
Brewery Description: Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
Bottled On: NA

APPEARANCE:  (4.5 out of 5) Quite a nice head on this one, the Hop Stoopid seemed to be bursting at the seams trying to get out of the bottle and it was very looked very lively once it finally ended up in my pint glass.  The color was a nice copper with a touch of haziness.  Typical left-right lacing, which was nothing special, but not bad.  Overall, this is a good-looking beer.

SMELL:  (3 out of 5) The Hop Stoopid has been a go-to beer at one of my local hang outs, and for some reason whenever I am there it smells strongly of weed - no, not the establishment, just the Hop Stoopid.  When I have tried it at home, however, the weed smell (and the overall aroma for that matter) is much less intense and seems to have more of a floral and grassy (as in regular, fresh cut grass) smell.

TASTE:  (3.5 out of 5) Again, this is a beer I am fairly familiar with, but it seems to change depending on my surroundings.  My other Lagunitas favorites (IPA, Maximus) don’t seem to vary at all.  In fact, more so than many other great breweries, they seem quite consistent.  So it is hard for me to believe that the brewery is responsible for the inconsistencies.  It just really seems to be impacted by the environment I find myself in more than other beers.  The point is, that when I have had Hop Stoopid at the bar (and out of a 22oz. bomber, just like I am doing now) it has always tasted sweeter to me.  At home, I get a much more bitter and hoppy experience.  I enjoy it both ways, it is just worth noting.  I’m curious to hear whether or not anyone else has had this experience with this or any other beer.

Given that I am sitting at home right now, I am getting more of the bitter flavors.  A quick, burst of sugary pine hits the tongue immediately, but a grassy and weed-like bitterness takes over promptly, allowing the palate to feel all 102 IBUs this one packs.  The tongue is left with hops and a hint of citrus on the palate and with each successive sip the sweet burst up front becomes weaker.  By the end of the glass, Hop Stoopid is exactly what its name implies.

MOUTHFEEL:  (4.5 out of 5) As the strong and lively appearance hinted at, Hop Stoopid is strongly carbonated, particularly for a DIPA.  It is quite dry (at least in my current environment) and it does a number on the taste buds.  Non hop-heads will find the mouthfeel wretched while a seasoned hop veteran will love the effect on the palate.  Just don’t try to review a different beer right after this one.

OVERALL:  (4 out of 5) The Lagunitas Hop Stoopid is a strong beer overall and much like its brother Maximus, it holds its own against some of the top DIPAs in the world, but doesn’t necessarily stand out.  It’s relatively wide, year-round availability, though, is a big plus.  Aside from Dogfish Head 90 Minute, it is probably the most accessible beer on The List.

The funny thing about this beer is that the last time I reviewed it (over a year ago) I came up with the exact same numbers, but for very different reasons, at least in the taste department.  For example, I initially thought it was too sweet, whereas this time, I was actually pleased by the lack of too much sweetness.  The mouthfeel was also great both times, but this time I appreciated the dryness of it, when last time I just enjoyed the pleasant tingling sensation.    

DRAWBACKS:  The volatility of the Hop Stoopid is a bit of a turn off to me.  There are times that I have just adored it, times I have been disappointed by it and times like this where it simply seemed to do the job.  Given the variety of experiences I have had with it, if I am looking for a beer to treat myself with, this probably won’t be it.  However, when it is the only DIPA available when I am out, there is a good chance I will buy one. 

SOUND:  If we add up all the variables here - a tendency to smell and possibly taste like weed, the brewery’s description (which is worth clicking on above), and the fact that it was brewed in Northern California, a hop, skip and a jump from the Haight-Ashbury I can only come to one conclusion – the sound of this beer must be a Grateful Dead song.  The image that is coming to mind for me here is that of me sitting on my old stoop in the Haight (just a block away from the old Dead House), listening to “Friend of the Devil” on a sunny weekday afternoon while sipping on a big bottle of Hop Stoopid.  Yeah, I like that thought.

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