In the last Soaking Up the Suds, I reviewed Victory’s Hop Wallop. I’d just like to start with a quick recap of that review.
It’s awesome. Go get some.
Anyway, moving on. Since it was so good, I decided to do another hoppy beer this week. This one comes from Shmaltz brewing’s Hebrew line, which has treated me rather well thus far. This time, I tried their Hop Manna IPA, which contains six different types of hops, three of which the brew was dry hopped with. That right there is a lot of flowery goodness in it.
Now, you might be wondering just what exactly dry hopping is. That requires a little bit of explanation as to how beer is made. It all starts with a bunch of boiling water and grains. This is called the mash.
Generally, the mash is predominantly malted barley. Hops can be added at various points during the boiling process depending on what characteristics of the hop you want to be more prevalent. Generally, the longer the hops are boiled, the more “mild” they will be. After its all done boiling and it cools sufficiently, yeast is thrown in and the brew is fermented.
To dry hop a brew, one just simply puts in some hops after the mash has been boiled and strained. These hops are not cooked at all. They are just left to infuse in the water, a bit like tea, as the yeasts ferment the sugars into alcohol. The result is an increased hop scent and flavor. Basically, this means that Hop Manna was not messing around with their hop levels.
The pour was rather nice. It was a beautiful shade of amber with a great amount of head that lingered long after the pour and left lacing all the way down the glass. It smelled of citrus fruits, pine, spice, caramel, malt, flowers and spices. All that hoppyness was certainly coming through in the scent. The hop smells were very prevalent and very varied.
The taste, as with many highly bitter beers, was overpowering at first. It was a barrage of bitter hops that didn’t leave much room on the palate for anything else. As my tongue acclimated, I could pick out the varying hop flavors. Yes, there was certainly a good deal of bitter, but there was also a good amount of floral and citrus. It was a bit like a spicy grapefruit. Underneath it all was the caramel maltyness, which was a really nice bed to lay all the other flavors in. It held everything together nicely.
Was it a good beer? Yes. Was it great? Let’s just say I’ve had more impressive offerings from Shmaltz. This is in no way an indicator that you should pass it up, as it is still quite tasty. It also clocks in at a 6.8 percent ABV, which says something. The mouth feel was also rather pleasing. The beer is creamy yet crisp and refreshing.
That in and of itself is a nice mix. If you are a hop heap, certainly pick it up. It’ll certainly fill your quota for that lovely plant.