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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

5,623 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,623
Reviews: 1,353
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 343
Gots: 729 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kaseydad on 02-07-2010

A group of hop-heads and publicans challenged our Beer Camp brewers to push the extremes of whole-cone hop brewing. The result is this: a 100 IBU, whole-cone hurricane of flavor. Simply put —Hoptimum: the biggest whole-cone IPA we have ever produced. Aggressively hopped, dry-hopped, AND torpedoed with our exclusive new hop varieties for ultra-intense flavors and aromas.

Resinous "new-school" and exclusive hop varieties carry the bold and aromatic nose. The flavor follows the aroma with layers of aggressive hoppiness, featuring notes of grapefruit rind, rose, lilac, cedar, and tropical fruit—all culminating in a dry and lasting finish.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,623 | Reviews: 1,353
Reviews by nimrod979:
Photo of nimrod979
4.87/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Just picked this beer up Tuesday. Couldn't wait any longer to pop open this baby. Pours a brilliant orange-copper with a beautiful pillowy oft head that just floats on top of this exciting brew. You can smell the hops with this beer just sitting on the coffee table. No need to bury your nose in this one but when you do, you're in for a fantastic resin, floral and citrus treat. Theres so many different kinds of hops to give it a complex aroma and flavor. It starts with some sweet grapefruit and floral flavors then gets overtaking by a huge wave of hops bitterness than stays on the tongue for awhile. Can kind of detect the alcohol in the finish. Has kind of a chewy texture. Sticks to the glass like glue. This is just a phenomenal beer. Great job by Sierra Nevada. Any hop head will love this intense brew.

More User Reviews:
Photo of tectactoe
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased as a recommendation from a friend of mine. Pours a nice golden-yellow color with a super fat, bright white head - don't pour this one too quick or aggressively, the head will tower up and over the glass. The lacing is magnificent, almost majestic, leaving a new ring every time you take a sip from the glass.

The aroma escapes as soon as you crack the beer open. Heavy, heavy, heavy hops, up and down. Pines through and through, insane hop oils, mildly dank and extremely resinous. Deeper inhales bring to light the balance of sweet citrus that goes hand in hand with the hops; grapefruits, orange, and lemon zest come to mind. Hugely aromatic and perfume-like. Some spices are present and even the alcohol is noticeable upon sniffing.

Then you taste it. BOOM. MF'ing hop explosion on your palate. Hops hit long and deep on all surfaces of the tongue and the mouth. Heavy pines, dense resin, thick and viscous hop oil flavors run amok. Immediately after, it starts to sweeten up with the grapefruits and citrus flavors coming alive. Maybe even some tangerines and pineapples. All of a sudden, you are thrust back into the clutches of the hops. Floral notes are rampant; like throwing a pine tree and a bouquet of roses into a blender and taking a swig. Malts aren't very present until the final moments of the sip; upon swallowing, your mouth is left with a yeast-like coating of flavors, biscuits and bread-like in character. But the bitterness doesn't go away - it stays and lingers and far outlasts the malt. It leaves your mouth dying for another dose of hop explosion. A warm alcholic presence from start to finish will scare away any newcomers and light lager lovers - this beer is for seriously heavy beer drinks only. Thick, sticky, heavy body and a tight, medium-level carbonation on this one.

Hoptimum is a must have for anybody who loves hoppy, bitter, and floral beers. Its main criticism is that the citrus and tiny malt backbone do not balance out the hops well. Well, it's true to a certain degree. The hops are heavy in this one. VERY heavy. But sometimes, that's what you're looking for. This beer must be sipped and cared for tenderly. It will stretch your taste buds to the extreme, and then throw them from the cliff. If you're looking for a hop bomb, look no further.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's about time that Sierra Nevada brings out the big guns with their take on the fastest growing style of beer- Imperial IPA.

Bright golden with copper highlights, the beer carries a froathy off-white head that eventually falters with the immense alcohol stresses. No lace with only moderate retention. Light legging clings to the glass with a gentle swirl.

Moderately strong aromas of caramel and grapefruit sing the praises of a big IPA. Citrus piths (as revealed on the label) is fused with orange zest, fresh-cut grass, and gentle pine notes for a rounded, juicy aroma. The scent is balanced with maltiness that reminds me of caramel/barley malt.

Stong hop flavors of those citrus, grass, and pine character carry over to taste. But the malt influence is felt much more than the aroma suggests. Caramel maltiness make the hops flavors seem as if they are candy-coated citrus fruits. Definately closer to balance than most hop-forward Imperial IPA's. Alcohol flavor comes in just before the finish with the characteristic of nail polish remover and though it helps to dry the beer and crispen up the malt influence, it does provide a harsher, solventy finish and aftertaste.

Robust sweetness to the feel because of the malt creaminess and gentle carbonation. And with a full mid-palate, the malts begin to fade as the hop bitterness and dryness play more boldly on the finish. But the beer holds onto a bit more sweetness and maltiness even in the drying finish than is generally prefered in a big IPA's. Growing alcohol sensations eventually numb the palate as the solvent flavors intergect.

This is a very good Imperial IPA that, surprisingly carries a heafty malty-sweet maouthfeel, despite Sierra being known for their malty-dry, effortlessly clean, and error-free beers. The beer gets closer to 90 Minute and Maharaja than it does Dreadnaught or Pliny.

Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a brilliantly clear copper color with a massive head (just what one would expect from a Sierra Nevada hoppy beer); clumps of foam stick to the side of the glass

Smell: Tropical fruit salad, with tangerine, pineapple and a hint of mango; the crystal malt also leaves a sugar subtext underneath

Taste: As the beer warms, the malt makes a stronger impression, with the caramel sweetness laying down a backbone from which the hop flavors are suspended; and what a load of hops there are, with the citrusy, pineapple flavors detected in the aroma marching all over the taste buds, and creating a menthol-vanilla that lingers into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body; just a bit sticky; moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Another signature Sierra Nevada IPA, but elevated a notch or two for the hopheads; this one is very aggressive on the tongue and a bit raw in character; a fine beer, but I find myself taking smaller and smaller sips to mitigate the tongue-lashing

Photo of doktorhops
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Imperial or Double IPA (India Pale Ale) what is the difference? Is beer terminology becoming too archaic? Which terminology do you prefer to use? In answer to these questions: Nothing, yes, and I prefer Double IPA (“Imperial” is a bit of an anachronistic term dating back to when English brewers were trying to sway Russian Imperial Czars into drinking their beers). Now that we have established that: #450 is another milestone review which warranted Sierra Nevada’s best - they declare this DIPA as their most insanely hoppy brew at 10.4% ABV and I say “Ave at it!”.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Hazy, bright ethereal orange body with a bold half centimetre cream coloured head atop. Fantastic that it even managed at head at such a high ABV. 9/10.

S: There’s a massive hop assault on the olfactory senses, but it isn’t as complex as expected... pretty much starburst orange, grapefruit and pine notes, that’s it. Still I’m liking the massiveness of the hops. 8/10.

T: It’s big and sweet, almost a sugar-bomb, then the hops come out and say “Uh-uh, sugar, time to succumb to my bitter glory!” and slap down with a nice big bitter hop finish that is very well balanced. There is a mixture of hop flavours swirling around: starburst orange candy, pine, grapefruit and juicy fruit chewing gum hints abound and easily make your tongue their slave. There are malt characters as well providing a tasty sweet caramel sheen to everything. The finish is impressive in how light the bitterness manages to be given the hop onslaught. That said it is not for the faint of heart - this DIPA is big and demands your immediate flavour attention, and I commend it for that. 9/10.

M: As well as having a big flavour profile the body is quite viscous and coats your tongue in its glorious hop resins like some sort of giant hop blanket. There is a minimal carbonation trying to compete with this viscosity, but overall you may need a glass of water to see this brew through. 8/10.

D: Well I didn’t expect anything less than a bolder, more viscous version of Torpedo and Hoptimum delivers well. I would have to say this is a damn fine benchmark to aspire to if you’re brewing a DIPA and it is definitely a beer that will see itself in my fridge again in the not so distant future. Cheers Sierra Nevada! 8/10.

Food match: Big ales require big flavours, in this respect I am recommending a Habanero Beef Stew or Chicken Vindaloo... If you do this please send me a video.

Photo of oberon
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Mellow in Greensboro.Poured into a goblet a slight chill hazed burnt orange tinged copper with a sticky one finger head that held for quite awhile.A mix of overripe tropical fruit and big pine resin in the nose,a whiff of sweet alcohol is there as well.Just like the aromas the big tropical fruit and pine resin really hits at the start,the alcohol plays much more of a role as the beer warms a little,the sweetness really comes on keeping the drinkiblity just a tad low.A beast of big hops and big sweet alcohol,tread lightly.

Photo of ExtraStout
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had this on tap at Mews Tavern in RI.

I love 2XIPAs that pour a nice bright copper orange color like this one. One finger white head, bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass and sticky lacing around the sides. Fainter aroma than anticipated, but hoppy with aroma of citrus and tropical fruit dominant. The flavor shines on this beer.

Starts of bitter and malty, then waves of citrus, tropical fruits and clean fresh hops waft over your palate. The finish is sticky and just on the passable side of cloying. For such a big beer I find myself wanting more!

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes scrawled on 2/9/11.

Hoptimum (how long will it be until all possibilities for hop-named beers are exhausted?) appears a gorgeous amber-gold with about one finger of head after I empty about half of the 24 ouncer. The carbonation bubbles move quickly up my snifter. The lacing is quite, well, lacy and racy.

Very resiny pine is the biggest impression on my nostrils, with dry grapefruit right behind. Earthy and grassy hops make their presence know for good measure. A little bit of malt sweetness is evident, but hops are THE STAR of this particular beer show.

A bit sweeter of a taste than the smell had led me to believe touches down on my palate. Don't get me wrong, dry pine resin, and grapefruit hops still rock and roll, but a sweet caramel malt presence fills in the middle of the taste between bursts of hops. The finish is a very back-of-the-palate resiny sizzler, while the aftertaste is very vividly green grassy.

The mouthfeel is quite biting throughout from the copious hops, but that bite is juxtaposed by a hearty, medium to full body for an Imperial IPA. This is right in my wheelhouse for the MF of a big hop bomb brew. The finish on my palate is dry resin.

Maybe it's just me right now, but I do not detect much booze in this guy. I find it drinkable on both counts; it goes down easily and is very titillating to my palate. I love hops and these are just what I was looking for- grassy, earthy, citrus-y, pine-y, and resiny. One big YUM from me.

Photo of MadScientist
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a brilliantly clear deep gold with an orange tint showing almost no carbonation capped with a long lasting off white head.

Intense hop aromas of pineapple and moderate pine with along with with lemon and a resinous, herbaceous character. There is a slight maltiness and light earthiness in the background after you get through the field of ripe luscious hop cones.

Huge hops flavors of pineapple and pine hops flavor with a smooth high hop bitterness. There is good malt support showing some carmel which lets this be very bitter and yet very, very tasty. There are flavors of moderate bitter orange peel and a low white grape fruitiness as well. The alcohol shows some heat just as the flavors stretch into a long bitter finish.

There is moderate carbonation despite the appearances. It has a medium body and a smooth warming sensation on the palate that continues down the through. No astringency noticed.

An imperial IPA very worthy of the hophead logo on the bottle. Another outstanding beer from Sierra Nevada.

Photo of Someguy1989
4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

A: Orange-Amber color with a decent white head

S: Like liquid sex. Smelt of the hop bomb it is, lots of fruit in the hops. Pineapple, grapefruit, piney, and a tad herbal. I can't think of many better smells on this earth.

T: Hoppy citrus flavors at first, an almost pineapple flavor at first.. As the beer warmed the hopiness became a little bit harsher and piney on the tongue.

M/D: Mouthfeel was thick and syrupy with a pleasant carbonation. However due to its heavy carbonation and palette nuking hoppiness, its not the most easy bomber to finish.

Overall a pretty damn good DIPA. not perfect but I'm glad I got to try it

Photo of steelerguy
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Extremely clear, nice white head, stays around for awhile, nice lacing, low to moderate carbonation.

S - Citrus and floral hop aromas with the floral part having some sweetness. Definitely hop dominant.

T - Lots of hop flavor, predominantly citrus, some sweet malt but hops dominate throughout as they should in an IIPA.

M - Moderate body, they did a good job of getting the beer to attenuate which allows it to not feel too heave at the finish, especially with the alcohol warmth at the end.

D - This beer packs quite a hop punch, the fresh hops give it a nice floral character and a sweeter bite, but 22 oz is good enough for me.

Photo of nickadams2
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A_Burnt orange amber in color with a thick off white head. Great retention and tons of lacing.

S_Citrus,pine, and a peppery/floral aroma.

T_Orange,honey,pine and a spicy floral finish. Really warms on the way down.

M_Full bodied,sticky and lots of carbonation.

D_Really drinkable . Very memorable DIPA.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In a snifter the beer was a hazy brass color with a medium-sized off-white head. There was a fair amount of lace.

Aroma was well-divided between hops and malt. Pine and citrus, lots of sweet malt.

Taste followed form. Resinous piney hops, a bit of grapefruit. Strong caramel malt .

Not as hoppy as I anticipated. Very well-balanced. The alcohol was not at all noticeable.

Very nice beer.

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass.

This brew is a lovely golden color, my aggressive pour produces a big, foamy 3-finger head that's bubbly and long-lasting.

Great aroma: hops, hops and more hops. Grapefruit, lemon, pine, some peppery spice.

The taste is, WHOA! Bitter bomb, then a quick bite of sweet fruit and biscuit, then piney resin that lingers and a little boozy warmth hiding underneath. As it warms, I can detect more of the malt backbone.

The mouthfeel is sticky and a little bubbly.

Overall, not one I'll drink regulary but glad I tried it an enjoyed it. I'll probably drink 1-2 a year.

Photo of warnerry
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 3/1/11

A - Pours a beautiful translucent copper with two fingers of light brown head. Head has excellent retention and leaves some nice lacing.

S - Initial burst of hop aromas is very pungent pine. Following that are hints of tropical fruit, including pineapple, and a bit of sweetness.

T - Biting pine hops followed by tropical fruits. A decent malt backbone attempts to balance this out but the finish is very bitter, a bit earthy, and somewhat drying. Overall very good though the finish is far from ideal.

M - Medium, oily mouthfeel with significant dry bitterness.

O - The finish definitely reduces the overall enjoyment of this one, but still a good DIPA.

Photo of Beaver13
3.51/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours a clear copper gold with a huge creamy off white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is resiny, dank hops with a little fruit. It's a little subdued.

The flavor is sweet sugary caramel malt followed by a big dank resiny hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, it's a little similar to Deviant Dale's, but I like that a bit better. The sweetness didn't play well with the bitterness which was a bit harsh. Still a good DIPA.

Photo of generallee
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. The label lists the abv at 10.4% and the IBUs at 100 in the description. It also has the date or year it was brewed in. (2013).

Appearance: The body has a hazy medium amber color with a thick and creamy off white head. The head has very good retention and makes lots of sticky lacing on the glass.

Smell: It's aroma is loaded with tons citrusy and tropical fruity notes. They jump right out of the bottle and fill the nose when poured into the glass.

Taste / Palate: Up front it starts with a quick bit of malt sweetness mixing in with tropical fruity notes and then this blends into big citrusy flavor notes. Lemony, zesty, and orange peel/pith like hop notes and bitterness take over and run long into the finish. This is a full bodied beer is a big full feel. The 10.4 % ABV is smooth and just adds a slight reminder that this is a nice slow sipper.

Photo of bishopdc0
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful head forms very golden amber color very transparent

The nose is hops light but nice citrus grass and spice little of everything

The taste ups the hops. But it is mostly spicy hop flavor it start with a slight malt but becomes all hops spicy and ends bitter but light nice

Photo of steveja57
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a Belgian tulip glass. A crystal clear gold/orange beer with thin white head that fades away fairly quickly. Super pine resin aromas hit you first, with citrus/grapefruits notes following along with hints of butterscotch/ toffee malt. You can't miss the nearly 11% alcohol on the nose, distracting from the hops.
The mouthfeel is massive, sweet from malt, nearly syrupy and cloying, but kept in line with aggressive bitterness from more hops.
The finish is quite bitter, malt sweetness coating your teeth and hop residue coating your tongue.
It's all a bit overblown, like Nigel's amp that went to "11." But with the glass nearly empty I've got a smile on my face and was wondering here I might get a few more bottles.

Photo of Jason
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with a freshness code on the bottle

LOOK: Bright golden hue, amazing lace

SMELL: Spicy, celery, vegtal, peppery, clementines, clean esters, marmalade, light caramel

TASTE: Chewy, creamy, smooth, very firm bitterness, blood oranges, lime leaf, tangerine, grapefruit rind, green peppercorn, rose water, faint broth, biscuity, bread crust, boozy, semi-dry bitter finish

Massive, a sipper ... this is Bigfoot's older half bother. Very nice to meet you. A real beer geek will need to have this notch on their belt and will most likely want to go back for more and more and more.

Photo of Billolick
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear, lighter amber. Middle of the road/respectable lace. Enticing floral and resiny hop nose. Hop lovers rejoice, cuz this one delivers with a noticeably fresh tasting and crunching hopped presence. Sweet malt undertones and undercoating provides the bring it all together counter point. No surprise when SN puts out another outstanding and obviously well crafted and high quality brew. California style and very enjoyable DIPA

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excited to try this one.

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the orange and pine from the hops. The flavor is similar. I get some caramel, orange and pine. The bitterness is about medium. The beer is also very boozy, much more than I expected. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very tasty, I just wish the alcohol was a little bit more subdued.

Photo of SINKTIPS_N_SUDS
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

WOW! IF STONE RUINITION IS A POEM TO THE GLORY OF THE HOP, THIS IS THE DEATH METAL TRIBUTE TO THE BRUTE FORCE THE HOP CAN BRING. NOT FOR THE UNINITIATED. IM GONNA HAVE TO WORK MY WAY UP TO THIS ONE. RAW AND UNADULTERATED, PALLET DESTOYING, YET BEAUTIFUL HOP FLAVOR. ITS A BIT SACRILEGIOUS TO SAY, BUT I WISH IT HAD A LITTLE LOWER ABV.

Photo of bsp77
4.61/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Clear amber-orange with billowing off-white head and loads of lacing. Sierra Nevada beers always look great.

Smell: Spicy and bitter aroma with orange, grapefruit, pineapple and pine. A light underlying sweetness provides balance. As opposed to the appearance (and taste), the aroma of this and many other Sierra Nevada beers tends to dwindle as it sits in the glass. Still smells very good while it lasts.

Taste: An onslaught of grapefruit, orange and pine upfront with a light pineapple-like sweetness underneath. While I am sure the malts provide some backbone, I don't taste much of them. This is a hop machine with a long lingering bitterness at the end.

Feel: Moderately low carbonation, fairly full and creamy body. Extremely dry finish but almost a little too warming and hot.

Drinkability: Other than being a titch too boozy (and a dwindling aroma), this is a fantastic DIPA. Something about it just tastes like Sierra Nevada, as (while I can definitely tell them apart) there is something similar about this beer, Celebration, Torpedo and Estate.

This really needs to be a little less limited next year, and a little less expensive as well. C'mon Sierra Nevada, make this a six-pack next year, even if you need to charge a Hopslam-like price, as that would still be a lot cheaper ounce for ounce. Edit: Thanks for the 4 packs!

Photo of kingcrowing
3.05/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

24oz bottle poured into a sampling glass.

Pours a really nice clear bright golden amber with a small white head, really nice. The aroma is grassy, pretty bitter and a bit fruity.

Taste goes down hill, it's very boozy and a bit harsh, a hot and hard to drink. Mouthfeel is a bit light and astringent. Worth skipping.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 5,623 ratings.