Lagunitas Brewing Co., Little Sumpin' Extra

Grade: B
Lagunitas Brewing Co.

My apologies for not updating, a combination of laziness and events beyond my control have kept me away. I'm currently typing this on my desktop computer, as the laptop I typed my Stone 09.09.09 review on decided it had enough of life. Someday I will extract that review from it's decaying corpse, but for now, I'm chained to the desk. We soldier on.

A slightly aggressive pour produces a slightly offwhite head that isn't hanging around long. The color is a very light golden straw, with brilliant clarity. The aroma gives me citrus and fruit, along with grapefruit and pineapple. There is a slight soapy, detergent-like character to the nose which is a little offputting (and no, it's not the glass. I poured another sample into a glass I know is clean and got the same thing.). Some pine, resin, and herbal spice are coming through as well. Obviously this is a liberally hopped beer, much in the style of Lagunitas.

Mouthfeel is medium to medium light, with a slight coating of the tongue which is dissolved by the bubbles of the carbonation at the end. The flavor is hops to be sure, the resin and grapefruit coming through loud and clear. Obviously hops are the star of this show, and there are a lot of different players on stage. The grapefruit and pineapple are one variety. The citrus and lemon are another. Finally backing them all up are the piney, grassy, herbal ones. While they all can be found in this beer without too much looking, I'm not sure they blend particularly well. It's a bit too loud on this stage, it's like each hop variety is trying to play a solo at the same time.

The malt character here is notably subdued, with only a faint toast and slight caramel sweetness to it. This is a hop showcase to be sure, I'm just not convinced the malts form a sound enough foundation for them. The bitterness in general is quite sharp, aided by the relative dryness. Water may be playing a role in the harsh bitterness as well. Harder water yields a more sharp and in your face 'pop' to the hops, which in many styles is appropriate. Softer water mutes them a bit, allowing more malt presence to come forward.

As a limited release, I have to say that Little Sumpin' Extra is not a terrible beer. A bumped up, "imperialized" version of their Little Sumpin' Sumpin' (a seasonal released this past summer), Little Sumpin' Extra delivers the high alcohol punch the label promises. However, the sharp bitterness and the cacophony of hop profiles are a little too offputting. An interesting beer, but one I'm glad isn't going to be around long.