Jim Koch Weighs in on Hop-Bombs

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by AlcahueteJ, Apr 25, 2013.

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  1. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (553) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Threads like these remind me why I tend to ignore a lot of the threads on this site. Fantasy beer league stuff and serious cape tuggery and linguistic license to use words like forgettable and uninspiring. Mention hype beer of the season and complain about one of the elders who forged the path for said beer and its brewers.
  2. NathanWind

    NathanWind Initiate (0) Oct 10, 2012

    While I agree that he's a maverick, how is someone using terms like "forgettable and uninspiring" to label SA's catalog any different from Jim painting big IPAs as not "new or interesting"?

    I think both parties are being a bit unfair though Jim's credentials would, in my mind, afford him a bit more weight.
  3. gshak

    gshak Zealot (540) Feb 20, 2011 Texas

    The contradiction with J Koch here is that years ago he released a commercial where his brewmaster goes - "We drop a ton of hops into our brew kettle". This was supposed to be his punch line. Now that there are other brewers who have taken it to an entirely new, and quite simply, more artistic level, all of a sudden this is now passe. Jim Koch's logic is - "It's great when I did it, and boo boo when you did it"....sort of like my 5 year old nephew when he's on one of his tantrums.
    BrettHead likes this.
  4. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Crusader (724) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Double Trouble and Hoptimum are not (not by the ratings, which is all we have to go by). Enjoy By makes the cut, but it's a "tropical fruit" tasting IPA. Those types of IPAs must be consumed fresh or they drop off a cliff in terms of flavor. Stone has a clever marketing scheme, and I applaud them for this. But larger breweries who aren't stamping "Enjoy By" in large print risk having their beer drastically change during travel/sitting on the shelf. This is why Hill Farmstead/The Alchemist/Russian River...etc. haven't expanded to Sierra Nevada distribution levels. Do you think the most successful brewer in the country knows this?

    And if he were butt hurt about not having a hop-forward beer that beer geeks raved about, why not make his Imperial Pilsner again? He did it once, it was widely praised, he could certainly brew it again.
    acevenom and harrylee773 like this.
  5. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,044) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    That had more to do with comparison to BMC than attempting to brew hop bombs. It's the difference between hopped right and not hopped at all.
    StarRanger likes this.
  6. YogiBeer

    YogiBeer Initiate (0) May 10, 2012 Illinois

    Just imagine the amount of hops required to make heady topper in the volume that SA brews Boston Lager.
  7. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (553) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    For the most part it is because face blasting beers aren't new and it's probably because the market is completely saturated in them and has been for at least a few years. You can only go so loud before you can't go any louder. It's also really a quintessential trait of most everything America does and so is its being copycatted with everyone else jumping in to try to claim the price. Show superiority by making it bigger, louder, nastier, more extreme and so forth than everything else. It's muscle cars in beer form. It's speed metal in beer form. It's typical American machismo.
  8. gshak

    gshak Zealot (540) Feb 20, 2011 Texas

    Well, it is this definition of 'hopped right' that I am not getting... What exactly does that mean? Based on what I read in that interview, basically Jim K says, what I did was the right thing, and everything else is bad. It is bad if it less (aka BMC), it is bad if it is more (aka Hop-bombs). He goes on and on about the noble hops and what not, and how that is a signature of his beers. In the same creative vein, other brewers may want to showcase the features of other hops, and to do that, they are free to use as much or any combination of hops they deem fit - and this according to JK is an undesirable trait? Each to his own, I've liked SA as my gateway beers into the craft world, so I won't beat him down too much for it, but all the same, I do not agree with his views on aggressively hopped beers...Just my 2c..Cheers!
  9. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,044) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    You were talking about his commercial from "years ago," this is all I was referring to -- not trying to read between any lines about what anyone is deeming correct or not, just saying that Koch was comparing his hopping rate to BMC back then, not Dogfish Head or Three Floyds or anyone else now.

    As was said previously, You can only go so loud before you can't go any louder. This is probably the best description of the current IPA - DIPA boom today, no matter who said it first.
    harrylee773 likes this.
  10. neophilus

    neophilus Initiate (0) Apr 4, 2009 Massachusetts

    Heady Topper isn't world class because they happen to dump more hops into the kettle than the other guys, it's world class because the brewer has crafted an amazing tasting beer which has few peers in its style category. If it's so easy to turn out an overhopped IPA by just adding "more and more" then why do people from a dozen different states show up on their doorstep twice a week to stockpile the stuff? Why don't they just go buy any average hoip bomb on the shelf thats easier to obtain?

    Koch can say he doesn't like IPAs, or that the high IBU IPA craze has left a lot of mediocre products on the market, but to imply that Heady is no better than 100 different mediocre IPAs is being a bit stubborn.
    CasanovaCummins and JackHorzempa like this.
  11. YogiBeer

    YogiBeer Initiate (0) May 10, 2012 Illinois

    Where are you getting that he was specifically talking about heady?
    HipsterBrewfus likes this.
  12. tonyseleski

    tonyseleski Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2011 Michigan


    That's gotta be the closest thing. Not a lot of reviews on it though. I have to admit I thought they did a damn fine job with this one and 85/90 is overall praise for sure.
  13. MaltMilkshake

    MaltMilkshake Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    That's funny. Bitching about not being surprised by a 100 IBU hop-bomb. Outside of Utopias have they produced a single thing in the last 5 years that has been AT LEAST ordinary?
  14. neophilus

    neophilus Initiate (0) Apr 4, 2009 Massachusetts

    The interviewer specifically asked him about Heady Topper in the article, then mentioned "other massive IPAs". Koch said there was a 100 of them and they weren't interesting. In his opinion they're all the same and there's nothing unique about any of them.
    JG-90 likes this.
  15. fox227

    fox227 Initiate (0) Nov 19, 2010 California

    One thing I'm getting from this thread is that IPAs are not worthy of Jim Koch's full respect because they will fall off after a few months, and thus are not worth doing on an industrial scale that they produce their beers at. What does that have to do with whether or not the beer is good? Here in San Diego County, I can go directly to the breweries and drink their IPA/DIPAs fresh from the source. Does the fact that they don't brew SUBSTANTIALLY (thanks Mother Earth) prevent them from being called great brewers? I'll gladly support the local small batch brewers who care about the regional culture more than about expanding and making millions.
  16. BB1313

    BB1313 Poo-Bah (2,734) Jul 16, 2009 Ohio

    It's definitely their best.. I liked it.. it's good.. but it's nothing too unique or world class, imho..
  17. CasanovaCummins

    CasanovaCummins Initiate (0) Jan 10, 2012 Nevada
    Beer Trader

    My personal preference is towards more balanced beers like Blind Pig and Dreadnaught. I find those beers to be the nuanced beers Koch is claiming he prefers. But there is certainly room for a well crafted hop bomb like Heady or Pliny. What I don't see is how he virtually dismisses them because of being extreme. The craft brew scene has left the harbor and he's selling boatloads of average stuff, and being successful due to his marketing skills and the general dumbing down of average American tastes. He's relevant in an anachronistic way, not for innovation. And speaking for myself, BA is about the Ferrarri's of the craft brew world. Keep your Excels and Civics. Koch is Ford, as Vinnie is Shelby or Porsche.
  18. beerindaglass

    beerindaglass Aspirant (217) Feb 20, 2013 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Pliny aint a hop bomb. Its probably the most well balanced IPA in existence.
    flayedandskinned likes this.
  19. brockdidntslide

    brockdidntslide Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2012 Pennsylvania

    This comment is spot on. Jim Crotch is whiny, jealous and drunk off his own ego....and oh yeah, his attempts at a good IPA all suck.
    DrinkingCraft likes this.
  20. Satchboogie

    Satchboogie Savant (980) Oct 16, 2010 New Hampshire
    Beer Trader

    yeah, because a 4.24 for DT and a 4.18 for Hoptimum don't qualify them as top notch DIPAs.... Also, Enjoy by isn't anything new for stone. Ruination, IPA, and all their anniversary DIPAs have always been very highly rated. You can brew great IPAs/DIPAs that don't fall off a cliff. And using a freshness argument? Jim prides himself on keeping his beers extremely fresh. I think he's quoted something around $1 million a year he eats to pull old beer of the shelf. You don't think he has the influence to get beer on the shelves quickly?
  21. Debussey

    Debussey Initiate (0) Apr 30, 2013 Illinois

    ....First post that has hit it on the head for me in this thread. new member but as a HUGE IPA fan the flavor also changes with every taste. every degree in temp. every slight reduction in head. and exposure to air. even well balanced beers will alter this way but we all have to appreciate that everybody's chemistry and physiology is different. no one's pallet is "perfect". sit back. open beer. enjoy. CHEERS!
  22. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Crusader (724) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    4.24 and 4.18 are not top notch double IPAs, they're fine beers certainly (using the ratings on this site to leave out our own personal opinions).

    Ruination is different than Enjoy By. Enjoy By is an IPA that uses hops which accent those tropical fruit flavors everyone loves so much. And those hops fade quicker than the ones used in Ruination. Which is why Ruination has a 3 month best by date, and Enjoy By has a month best by date. This is the reason there's a huge ENJOY BY stamped on the bottle. Stone themselves explain this on their website.

    Jim Koch is obsessed with his beers being fresh, but most of his beers have a 5 month shelf life. A company as large as Sam Adams would be hard pressed to have their consumers drinking a beer within a month of bottling. Stone has side-stepped this issue with clever marketing. Notice Enjoy By is rated higher than any other IPA they've made?

    If you want an example of one of these "tropical fruit" IPAs past their "expiration," try a Sculpin six weeks or more outside of the bottling date. Shouldn't be too hard to find on the shelf at your local liquor store.
  23. flayedandskinned

    flayedandskinned Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    Jim Koch is a snobby prick.

    End of story.
    DrinkingCraft likes this.
  24. flayedandskinned

    flayedandskinned Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    Yep, exactly. I haven't a clue why Heady usurped it.
    DrinkingCraft likes this.
  25. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,536) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I agree, and I also think HT isn't a hop bomb either, it's also amazingly well balanced. Highly hopped it is, but without balance it would be a one trick pony, and you cannot lump the high end brews like Pliny/HT/Abrasive into the 100+ IPA's floating around.
  26. 2Xmd

    2Xmd Devotee (491) Apr 19, 2013 New York

    I'm sorry but what is "Cape tuggery"?
  27. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,367) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    "You don't tug on Superman's cape,
    you don't spit into the wind'
    you don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger,
    and you don't mess around with Jim."
    JackHorzempa and steveh like this.
  28. sergeantstogie

    sergeantstogie Aspirant (202) Nov 16, 2010 Washington

  29. adamant1912

    adamant1912 Disciple (371) Jan 10, 2010 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    I think Jim needs to elaborate about balance as I'd say many of his beers are boring. Not that they taste bad, but lacking any complexity.
  30. GuzzLah

    GuzzLah Initiate (0) Mar 2, 2013 Illinois

    In before someone says your palate lacks the level of sophistication required to appreciate the deep complexity of a well made lager. Apparently, the beers you and I call boring are chock full of surprises and every sip reveals a new layer of complexity. Cough...cough. :wink:
    Hopportunistic likes this.
  31. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,044) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Well made any sort of beer. I have the feeling that even the cauterized tongues of the most staunch hop-head probably finds Conniston Blue Bird "boring."
    AlcahueteJ and herrburgess like this.
  32. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,044) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Even if you do got a two-piece, custom-made, pool cue. :wink:
    TongoRad likes this.
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