Total Score: 9.55/10
This is a 9% ABV behemoth from those glorious bastards Victory, you know those guys that brewed Doc’s most favourite Imperial India Pale Ale of all time DirtWolf?* Yeah – those f&#ken legends – I’ve got my hands on Hop Ranch, which will most likely be awesome so let’s dispense with all this waffle and dive in… NOW!
Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Hazed, almost murky, pale Tangelo body with a head that consists of splotchy white lace bits floating on the surface – not surprising as most beers at this percentage present with little to no head. 7/10.
S: Bold floral/papaya/spicy hops hit the nose and proceed to pummel your senses with hoppy goodness – exactly what you want in a BIG ‘Merican IIPA. Hints of a light caramel malt base struggle to overcome these mighty hops but who bloody cares about the malt at this point. I am loving these f@%ken hops man! Hint of bubblegum sweetness comes in after a couple more whiffs – DAMN Victory, this is one intoxicating brew! 10/10.
T: Similar to DirtWolf in being a touch on the sweeter side with hop bitterness juuuust managing to help balance everything. Those flavours of bubblegum also come out more here. Overall flavours include: Floral/papaya/spicy/bubblegum hops, malt is undetectable with all these hops but you know it’s in there too. How about those hops though – not too bitter, full of flavour (multiple and well-defined) – this is everything you want in a BIG IIPA. In fact it makes me want to shout “BIGIIPA!” as embarrassingly as possible to the next person I cross paths with. 10/10.
M: Medium to heavy bodied with a hop resin oiliness and light but dense carbonation – spot on body for this brew. 9/10.
D: Wow! Just: Wow. Victory once again stamp their IPA skills all over my tongue in the boldest way possible, but they also made this brew drinkable for 9% ABV (though I imagine palate fatigue would be a problem after 3 of these). Who cares though – I would rather have 3 of these for the night than 6 x 4.5% ABV [random brand] Pale Ales, so there’s a good comparison for you. 9/10.
Food match: A nice Cherrywood smoked pork shoulder with a side of salad, mmm.
*Granted I’ve only tried probably 1% of the awesome Imperial IPAs out there because of US brewers who refuse to distribute outside of their state dammit!