Hop Henge (2010)

Hop HengeTonight I opened up the bottle of Hop Henge that Deschutes sent me a week and a half ago; it’s been staring at me in the fridge as I’ve been contemplating it.

To my mind, Hop Henge is one of the best Imperial (or Double, or maybe to best use Deschutes’ own term, Experimental) IPAs out there: it’s intensely hoppy but not at the expense of the rest of the beer, and it’s not in-your-face with it’s alcohol content, either (8.75% worth). Each year they play around with the formulation a bit—as I understand it, it has as much to do with their processing of the hops (which is indeed “experimental” in nature) as it is with tweaking the recipe.

Hop Henge has been brewed annually beginning in 2006; for fun you might want to go back and read my 2006 review, 2008 review (I somehow missed 2007), and last year’s batch comparison review.

Appearance: Shiny-penny copper with a beige froth of head. Very nice lacing as the drinking progresses.

Smell: Signature Deschutes hopping (of late); green and resiny and a touch of citrus and a touch catty. Brightly and deeply hoppy with a hint of caramel.

Taste: Big and hoppy, full of juicy, fruity bitterness that’s lip-smacking and sticky. Caramel sweetness that reminds me of brown sugar but also the flossy-sugar note of alcohol, a touch cloying. Hop juice. Very tasty and mouth-watering.

Mouthfeel: Full and sticky with a coating, bitter aftertaste.

Overall: Very yummy and deliciously hoppy and really appetizing; perhaps more balanced than what I remember from last year.

(Though interestingly, I still have some Batch #1 bottles from last year that I should open for a mini-vertical, and test whether that’s true.)

On BeerAdvocate, it scores an impressive A-. On RateBeer, it scores an equally impressive 3.87 out of 5 and is in their 98th percentile.

2 Responses to Hop Henge (2010)

  1. Jon – Among other things they are milling some of the hops.

    http://appellationbeer.com/blog/this-ones-for-hops-lovers/

    This revelation led to one tweet (I’d say a blogging conference might also include tweeting seminars) suggesting adding hops during malting and an even better one: “Forget hopping during malting, let’s just crossbreed barley with Cascade.”

  2. Jon says:

    I saw your post after I published this one last night, so I wasn’t very timely, otherwise I would have definitely pointed to yours when I wrote “processing of the hops”.

    Most interesting indeed; I’ve heard or read about mashing in with hops (“first wort hopping” I think?) but milling them? New to me. But the fact that they added (pellet) hops during fermentation is intriguing, too. Definitely some new stuff going on there…