Reviewed: Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo
Product description: Inspired by the island life, we created an IPA completely disconnected from the mainland. We used our one-of-a-kind Hop Torpedo to deliver an intense rush of hop flavor and the lush aromas of mango, papaya, and passionfruit with every sip. Enjoy our tropical twist on the American IPA.
Sierra Nevada Brewing – Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo – 12 oz. bottle poured into speciality glassware – 6.7% abv.
I’m way overdue on trying this beer, which is the newest core brand for Sierra Nevada along with Sidecar Orange Pale Ale. The main barrier to me buying Tropical Torpedo and Sidecar is that I can’t find super fresh cases on store shelves here in San Diego. It just can’t compete with 0-day old, local canned IPAs. However, this beer does not degrade as fast as other IPAs as you will soon see.
Though it shares the name with Torpedo Extra IPA, Sierra Nevada uses “torpedo” to describe many of their beers which rely on the late addition of hops through their hop torpedo, which is used in lieu of dry-hopping with a bag to extract an incredible amount of hop oils. So, other than the word, this beer has little in common with Torpedo Extra. I must confess, I originally thought this beer was just Torpedo Extra with fruit juice added. Thankfully, I was wrong. The recipe here is all new and incorporates my favorite hops: Amarillo, Mosaic, and Citra plus a few others. IBUs and ABV are toned down here vs. the Torpedo Extra plus it ditches the caramel malt to make for a brighter overall beer.
From a 12oz can, Tropical Torpedo is fairly clear, deeper gold in color with dense, rocky, yellowish foam with outstanding head retention. Sierra Nevada never disappoints aesthetic-wise. Even with this can approaching two-months old, the aroma is fresh mango juice with zesty citrus like pomelo and key lime. I can’t believe it. As it warms, the aroma focuses more on fresh bread and honey malt. Flavor-wise this beer is simply amazing. There is the unmistakable “terroir” of Sierra Nevada’s two-row pale malt base which has a rustic sourdough bread character. Mild sweetness from the honey malt really allows the mango juice flavors from the hop oils to pop. In the finish, light lactic acidity grows in the back of the palate, giving it a fullness and quenching character. The mouthfeel is then soft and silky, which is rare for IPA, but commonplace for Sierra Nevada. Bitterness is not overdone either sitting at 55 IBUs. There’s not a hint of paperiness or dustiness commonplace for IPAs past their narrow freshness window.
Everything about this beer came together so perfectly that it disappeared from my glass in about 10 minutes. The carbonation, aroma, flavors, and mouthfeel are all in the superlative range. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I really believe Sierra Nevada is the best brewery in the world just based on the volume of good beer they consistently produce. Tropical Torpedo is just one more masterpiece to add to their portfolio.