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Mikkeller Nelson Sauvin Single Hop IPA

Have you ever wondered what about the qualities of one particular hop strain? Unless you are a homebrewer, you probably don’t have the opportunity to compare and contrast the characteristics of a strain since most beers use some combination of hops to achieve any sort of flavor, aroma, and bitterness. Mikkeller tries to demystify these plants with 25 different single-hop IPAs, and tonight I’ll be looking at the Nelson Sauvin IPA.

Mikkeller Nelson Sauvin Single Hop IPA
Pours a rustic brown, very cloudy and opaque. A huge, 3-fingered head explodes quickly, filling every inch of the glass where the liquid doesn't cover. The retention lasts for a long time, and the head itself is rocky and thick. The lacing is pretty nice as well, with foam clinging all around the glass.
The aroma is full of tropical fruits in the form of pineapple and mango, with a healthy dose of grape too. There is much more malt than I was anticipating, as the caramel comes in to complement the fruits. In addition, I am getting some hop herbs and spice as well.
I am a little disappointed with the flavor from the initial taste. I am not really getting the wonderful fruits that were so present in the nose, but rather I am left with a lot of malt sweetness coupled with hop bitterness. As it sits on the mouth, the flavors do develop a bit, but it's too little too late as they are only fleeting traces of what they could be. Grassy, with remnants of tropical fruits.
Mouthfeel is light-bodied with moderate carbonation. This doesn't leave much of an impression on the palate as it is somewhat thin and unassuming. A dry, resinous finish leaves a clean feeling, however, which makes drinking this easy. Drinkability is moderate. I think this is a great concept to really pick apart the nuances of different hops, but when the malt presence is as high as it is without a stronger hop flavor, it just seems like an opportunity gone by the way-side. It'd be interesting to try these all side-by-side, but I have only seen a select few of these.
Coming in at around $7 per 11.2oz bottle, this is a little on high side. Obviously this isn't a beer that one would expect to buy a typical sixer of, but rather this series serves as a showcase to highlight the up-and-coming hop strains.
Overall, I was happy to try this IPA, as Nelson Sauvin hops are still obscure in terms of being used as the main hop for beers. However, the malts are strong enough where they start to take over the beer, so either I'd like more hops to counter this or a more encompassing blend of hops (which, obviously, isn't the point of a single-hop beer)

Beer Stats
Style: American IPA
Serving: Bottle
Size: 11.2oz
ABV: 6.90%
BA Score: 89
RB Score: 98

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Written by Greg Bruce

While studying at Penn State, Greg learned that beer could serve a much better purpose than a means to an end for a good party. Delicately brewed Belgians acted as a stark contrast to the almost watery beer that had been so popular and began the journey towards craft beer. From that launch point he always seems to land on something new. Greg approaches each beer, whether it is an aggressively-hopped West Coast IPA or an English bitter (and everything between), with a clear mind and open opinion, ready to analyze, compare, and ultimately, enjoy. While always fond of stouts (especially barrel-aged) and IPAs, Greg is slowly but surely drifting towards various soured beers. Find Greg Bruce on Google Plus

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