Sep 18, 2014

Lickinghole Creek Nuclear Nugget

I was just singing the praises of Goochland’s Lickinghole Creek and their stellar Bourbon Barrel Three Chopt Tripel just the other day, but not every brewery can hit it out of the park with everything they release. And such is the case with the company’s Nuclear Nugget, a 10.5% ABV and 105 IBU Imperial IPA.

With a name like Nuclear Nugget — as well as the ABV and IBU stats — I was initially expecting something quite potent in the hop arena. Large tropical fruits, alcohol and a mouth puckering bitterness. That’s not what we’ve got here, however. I don’t believe my bottle (#469) was off or old by any means — I had purchased it at a local shop shortly after its release. I just think, much like their Gentleman Farmer, this brew has a pretty subdued overall flavor.

It’s got an earthy quality that I really love, but the hop character doesn’t really live up to the brews moniker. At least, when compared to other similarly named Imperial IPAs, it’s pretty tame, though still enjoyable.

Lickinghole Creek Nuclear Nugget photo


Deep, reddish amber in color, the brew sits with a frothy cap of beige foam that left behind decent lacing.


The nose on this beer is surprisingly subtle as bready malt, a light herbal hop note, grass and hints of honey mix gently.

Lickinghole Creek Nuclear Nugget photo


Nuclear Nugget starts off with an earthy, grassy hop character that brings a measure of spicy and herbal notes — it’s not overly citrusy or piney. The light hop presence blends nicely with caramel, lasting honey, a moderate malt sweetness and a slightly boozy finish. For as bit an IBU number as this beer has, I was expecting more of a biting bitterness, but it’s tempered by the malt based and honey.


Like I said, Nuclear Nugget isn’t a bad beer. It’s well crafted and has good flavor. I guess I was just expecting something with a bit more of a hoppy punch with a brewed given such a name. It reminds me more of an American Strong Ale than it does an Imperial IPA, and it’s because of that impression that I’ll be setting some aside for a bit to see how it ages.

Rating: 3.75/5

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