When I was up in Michigan last month, I picked up a bunch of singles from obscure Michigan breweries and this was one of them. I know absolutely nothing about the beer except that it is brewed in Grand Rapids. I had never heard of the beer or the brewery.
A search over the brewery's website yields, about Hopknocker:
"After many nights of requests for something for a more serious Hop Heads, the brew staff pooled opinions and ideas. When a consensus could not be made they decided to throw it all in the pot. The resulting construance of hops and barley fermented violently for several weeks, and produced an exceptional aromatic beer."
So, in lieu of a recipe, the haphazardly through a number of ingredients in the pot and hoped for the best? Luckily this description is clearly nonsense, or I would be concerned from the get go.
If someone poured this beer for you, you would have absolutely no idea it was an IPA. It pours dark like a barley wine, with a tan head. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of sediment from the bottle that was also poured into my glass, so there are floaties. It would have been nice to be warned about sediment so I could have left it in the bottom of the bottle. Sort of irritating.
The smell has a lot going on. You get a combination of slight pine hops, a brown sugar/caramel sweetness, and quite a bit of booze. The smell is somewhat dominated by a malty earthiness that, like the appearance, seems a lot like a barley wine.
The taste is a pretty decent amount of hops with a good deal of sweetness. The roasted malts factor in here with a good amount of charred sweetness and dark fruit. Not particularly complex or groundbreaking. Again, not an IPA.
The beer has moderate carbonation and a thick, almost syrupy body. There is a little bit of tingle from the carbonation and the pretty high ABV.
This beer isn't terrible, but I wouldn't say it is great or even really good. One thing is for certain; it is misclassified. I have no idea how a brewery could screw something like this up, but it is certain amateurish. I definitely wouldn't buy one of these again. There was at least one thing in each facet of the beer which irritated me.
I give Hopknocker Imperial IPA by Schmohz Brewing Company a C. It's not disgusting, but it's not worth buying when there are so many other options out there.
Style: Double/Imperial IPA
Beer Advocate: C
Purchased at Siciliano's Market in Grand Rapids, MI for $1.99 a single. It's a pretty small brewery, so I'm not sure if it is distributed outside of Michigan.