Port Brewing Hop-15 Ale

Hop-15 Ale

Brewed by: Port Brewing Company

Beer Classification and Specs

  • Style: IPA
  • Variation: Imperial (Double)
  • Limited: Yes
  • ABV: 10%
  • IBU: 182

Notes: Won Silver Medal at 2014 Great American Beer Festival.

Brewer’s Notes and Ingedients

Our beer oozes the hop goodness you would expect to find in a Double IPA. In your nose, you will experience a citric hop quality which is balanced by a slight malt sweetness. The essence of a great Double IPA is hops and as such the beer finishes with a pronounced spicy hop bite. Thankfully, for all of us hop-heads, we have decided to brew this beer more than once a year. Look for Hop 15 to make an appearance from time to time when space permits us to brew this, one of our favorite ales.

Hops: 15 varieties.

Additional: Hops added to the boil every 15 minutes.

More Hop-15 Ale Images

First Impressions

Artwork: Military planes carpet bombing a giant pint glass with hops.

Color: Unfiltered apple cider. Very opaque for an IPA.

Aroma: Mild pine, and sweet lemony hops.

The Tasting

Arrived in: 22 oz. Bottle

Served in: Goblet

Port Brewing Co. says they release Hop-15 from “time to time” over the course of the year, and they really mean it. You never know when you might luck out and find it in stores.

This India Pale Ale typically appears in early spring and again in late summer, in a very limited release. Like one shipment to select stores, and it’s out again until the next run, TBD.

At the beginning of October we found Hop-15 at Bevmo, and the employee told us they just got it in, “a little late this year.” Now we know why — Port brewed up a fresh batch for the Great American Beer Festival.

Congratulations to Port Brewing Co., since Hop-15 won the Silver Medal for “Imperial India Pale Ale”, edging out Pliny the Elder, and finishing behind Columbus Brewing Co.’s Gold winning Creeper.

To brew this Imperial IPA, 15 hop varietals are used, with each one progressively added to the boil every 15 minutes. Hence the name, Hop-15. You can even count the number of hops on the label – there are 15 of them.

Hop-15 was a ludicrous idea for an overly-hopped IPA, and we loved it.

You see, there are bright and clean India Pale Ales like AleSmith or Pliny, and then there’s another group that live on the other side of the IPA tracks, so to speak.

These are shifty IPAs, that are up to no good: cloudier, thicker, maltier, and stronger. But that’s what happens when you use 15 varieties of hops. The end result is a resinous, concentrated hop juice, like Hop-15.

After pouring, there was no carbonation bubbling up inside the glass. Either that, or you just couldn’t see any effervescence through the foggy amber liquid. Its fluffy sea foam head eventually withered, but the ale still left behind small, clumpy lace clusters while we sipped away.

We already addressed this above, and no shock based on its cloudy appearance, but Hop-15 was a soupy, full-bodied IPA. A gut bomb, actually. Whether from its heartiness, or high alcohol content, this bomber was definitely best shared. A majority of Imperial IPAs are not this heavy.

It was hard to determine if its density was a product of malt, or the 15 strains of unknown hops. Or a combination of the two.

Hop-15 lacked a more refined hop bitterness, which resulted in a surprisingly sweet flavor profile, that continued through the finish. After its initial sweetness, there was a slow build to candied lemon peel, followed by another tinge of dry sweetness.

Final Score: 4.5/5

“4.5

We understood what Port Brewing Co. was going for with Hop-15. They took an obscene amount of hops, and brewed a lupulin stew. We just wish there was a tad more accentuated citrus, or fresh snap of pine somewhere along the way.

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