Since 1993, Lagunitas Brewing has been growing by leaps and bounds in the craft beer industry and with the opening of its third brewery in 2017, they will be on pace to brew over 2 millions barrels a year.

Last year, to help fund its expansion, the brewery sold a 50 percent stake to Heinekin International.

Known for changing the basic styles of beers with its own twist, Lagunitas has become unique by producing many altered beers that push the limit and offer a little something that no one else dares to.

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid bottle

Today’s beer is no exception as I look at the bottle of Hop Stoopid that lay in front of me. Billed at 102 IBUs and 8 percent ABV, I am getting excited to drink what I am guessing is going to be one hell of a hop bomb.

On the website is given a little background on this beer:

When the time came that hoppy beers jumped the shark with brewers everywhere trying to make the most bitter beer ever, we went more toward flavor and aromas in the beer and used hop extract for our bittering agent to keep the beer huge on flavor and letting the malt keep up with the bitterness to make you want another. And another. And Another. Then you get stoopid!!

I quickly pop the top of the 22-ounce bomber to a medium hiss and pour into the glass. Head builds slowly up to about a finger of slightly off-white head and shines with a magnificent golden-yellow, slightly hazed color. Lacing is spotty all over the glass and I am already receiving the pungent aroma of piney, resinous hops. I delve deeper into the glass and receive big doses of pine, grass, fresh oranges and grapefruit. There is also a cool sweetness that is hitting the nose.

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid

The first sip is an overload to the senses, as many components come together and over exert my taste buds with bitter hops, sweet malt, pineapple, orange peel, lemon and grass. I am amazed that this beer balances so well between hops and malt and does not overload with one or the other. The carbonation is medium and the alcohol is well hidden beneath the array of flavors.

The obvious fault that I see with Hop Stoopid is that as it warms, the balancing of the flavors becomes slightly askew and causes some confusion overall as to what is the dominant flavor. Towards the end, he alcohol also rears its head adding more confusion to the balance.

The finish is bitter with hops and citrus peel and slightly dry and overall the suspected hop bomb has quite a bold malt backbone that I was not expecting.

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
BREWERY: Lagunitas Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Petaluma, Calif.
STYLE: Imperial IPA
ABV: 8 percent
IBU: 102
PRICE: $5.49
RELEASE DATE: 2006
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
BEERS POURED: One
Kudos to Lagunitas for making a hop bomb that still respects the malt. This 102 IBU killer still allows the sweet malt to come forth and play nice with the bitterness of the hops. Don't be afraid to try this because of the outrageous IBUs, check it out and see for yourself that high IBU beers can be hoppy and still balance well and be pleasant to drink.
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