Enjoyed on 5/16/2011
Brewery: Troegs Brewing Co.
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Beer: Nugget Nectar Imperial Amber
Presentation: 12 oz. Brown Glass Bottle, Capped.
Style: American Style Imperial IPA
Hops: Nugget, Warrior, Tomahawk, Simcoe, Palisade
Malt: Pilsner, Vienna, Munich
Squeeze those hops for all they’re worth and prepare to pucker up: Nugget Nectar Ale, will take hopheads to nirvana with a heady collection of Nugget, Warrior and Tomahawk hops. Starting with the same base ingredients of our flagship HopBack Amber Ale, Nugget Nectar intensifies the malt and hop flavors to create an explosive hop experience.
Beer Advocate: A (4.37)
Rate Beer: 99 (3.93)
Troegs has always been one of my very favorite breweries in my home state of PA. They don’t make a single bad beer. Hand me anything that they make and I’ll be happy. The most unfortunate thing about them and me is that they started producing their much heralded Scratch Series in 2007, the year that I moved to Seattle. That was a low blow. They do not currently distribute to the West, so I had to get this one from my beer trade partner. I will continue to push you to find one of those of your own on the East Coast.
This rare brew pours a slightly reddish amber color with great clarity. Average carbonation can be reasonable assumed based on the density of bubbles rising from the vessel’s floor and the respectable head that builds on the pour. This head is constructed of varying sized bubbles , the most impressive of which are mostly confined to the rocky middle of the surface and are quite fine.
The impending recession leaves fairly faint but evenly distributed lacing on the glass. Ultimately, there is nothing but a fine sprinkling of frost white suds on the surface.
The nose is quintessentially balanced. Yes, the color of this brew offers obvious rationale to the “amber” moniker, but balance must have been a paramount goal here, especially when considering the IBU count. It, in many ways, resembles a young, weak (in alcohol) barleywine.
It holds a strong piney, earthy hop pungency with a great deal of super sweet, biscuity, caramelized malts. It’s like eating a datey fruitcake in a tree house built in the sprawling heights of a mighty evergreen. Possibly like eating that last bit of apple pie crust just at the moment that Clark Griswold cuts the restraining chord on the Christmas Tree. “Little full, lotta sap.”
Nugget Nectar is very average in this category. The carbonation doesn’t especially pop and I wouldn’t say that it’s especially full in body, not that I’d expect it here. The “imperial” prefix seems unnecessary with beers under 8% in my opinion. It is by no means overtly thin. It exists properly. I give it a C.
The flavor is enough to cause me to verbalize “Oh yes! I remember this gem!” It kind of exactly parallels the nose with bitterness and sweetness actually becoming tangible on the tongue. Those elements spin playfully and expertly compliment each other, just as I had suspected.
The piney hops play more of a role in the taste receptors where the bitterness is more less just felt or sensed. As always is the case, the maltier side becomes more pronounced with warmth, though I’d still say that the hops are always on the highest podium here.
The bitterness is never overbearing, which says a lot about the residual sugars. I’d say that the maltier notes are more recognizable in the nose than the actual flavor. The confection nuances are a bit muted behind the hops so it’s mostly just a sweetness that comes through. I wouldn’t use the word complex to describe the flavor but it’s pleasant.
The aftertaste isn’t bad it is about the only area here that bears improvement. The malts are most discernible here and come across in a way that I can only think to describe as carbon-laden. Burnt like or charred, like brown sugar scorched on the bottom of a not so non-stick pot. It wants to be caramelized but it’s overcooked. It may be the bitterness infiltrating the bakery.
It’s on the dry side but not overtly chalky.
In summary, this is a superb example of an outrageously hopped (for East Coast standards) IPA with a nearly perplexing balance. It suits my sweet tooth and packs enough lupulin to find itself resting in the pages of The Hop Brief despite it’s somewhat misdirected style classification.
Does this beer deserve all of its vast acclaim amongst beer geeks? I think so. All of the hops used are very complimentary of each other and the grain bill was clearly conceived with thought and executed perfectly. Very well crafted indeed. I’d like to see this recipe on steroids, or… legitimately imperialized… a barleywine to kill all barleywines!
Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.93
Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.96
Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.79
Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 2.94
Malt Flavor/Balance [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.96
Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.75