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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,270 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4270
Reviews: 1239
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.75%

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:
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 added by: kaseydad on 02-07-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA Alström Bros
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Ratings: 4,270 | Reviews: 1,239 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of MCfunkyJ


5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Only for the Hop-Heads!

Anybody who rated this low deserved to be drug out back and shot down like the dirty dog they are.

I got the pleasure to try this on-tap at the 2nd Annual IPA Fest at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach.

I rank this right up there with the best of them. This is one of the hoppiest and tastiest brews Sierra Nevada has ever produced.

If your fortunate enough to try this and like hoppy beer then get it while the getting is good!

Serving type: on-tap

04-28-2010 13:00:37 | More by MCfunkyJ
Photo of merculite


5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fantasic hop aroma...like a freshly crush whole cone.

On the lighter end of IIPAs.

Intensely bitter. Lots of depth in hop flavor.

Nice balance between malt sweetness and hop bitterness.

Overall Impression:
An excellent example of an IIPA. A showcase for hops.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2010 06:09:13 | More by merculite
Photo of Impfan


5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hops, hops, and more hops...resinous grapefruit, mandarine orange, tangerine, pineapple, guava, mango with a very long, candied resinous finish. Nice body with enough malt backbone to make it an utterly enjoyable hop-bomb. I'd stock this regularly if it were available year round.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2012 17:00:02 | More by Impfan
Photo of sentomaster


5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- gorgeous pounr into a Bruery tulip with a massive, frothy, soapy looking 3 finger head. The foam dies slowly into a soapy blanket leaving awesome lacing. Each sip produces a new walls of thin and thick lace, making a maze on the side of the glaze.

S- Pine sol at first, soapy seems to be a word I'm liking with this beer so I'll use it again to describe the initial smell of hops. Opens up to grapefruit, tangerine, orange peel and pineapple among the still dominant pine forest. Awesome again.

T/M- Hefty, juicy body is lifted squarely along by an equally hefty and tight carbonation. Big hit of pine and lemony citrus. Grassy, earthy hops mingle with tropical and grapefruit notes. All the while there's a significant malt presence fighting to get away from second fiddle status. Sweet buttered toast and crispy caramel wafers really come out in the middle and it almost seems chocolately for a second.

O- Insanely good. 10% alcohol?? nowhere to be found.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2012 16:54:39 | More by sentomaster
Photo of thebrood1987

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow I get a very deep rich potent smell of fresh whole cone hops its so deep and rich the smell with some tangerines grapefruit and a bunch other tropical fruits.

The taste is that same deep potent and rich whole cone hop flavor which is so rich you'd have to try it to understand. You get the sweet sweet candy malt and then back to the rich potent hops with the tropical fruits and piney grapefruit bitterness. Its just a total hop beer with a very nice sweet bready candy malt.

Definitely Sierra Nevada's best beer in my opinion. The taste and full flavor is off the charts. Its a big beer and its absolutely delicious. One of my favorite IPA's I've had.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2012 01:06:37 | More by thebrood1987
Photo of blackcompg


5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from their 12oz bottle...

Appearance - Poured nearly 3 fingers of litel yellow amber head, color of the beer is a brilliant translucent lite copper orange. I'm getting incredible lacing here. At the end of the glass, half of my glass is completely coated with lacing - O M G!

Smell - Wow huge citrus smells here, pineapple, orange, ruby red grapefruit, and some nice vanilla carmels. Really smells nice.

Taste - No joke, the first sip literally explodes citrus across the tongue in a wonderful way, making the mouth water. The citrus is very complex and balanced, with ruby grapefruit, yellow grapefruit, grapefruit and orange zests, some pineapple, which quickly transitions to sticky moist green hops, green and floral, finishing with touches of pine, grapefruit skins and peels, and a whiff of white pepper. there is a delicious citrus and carmel sweetness that rides alongside all of this, just fantastic

Mouthfeel - A little more than medium, the bright citrusy and hoppy oils and resins are absolutely mouthcoating. The carb is on the low side, which lets the flavors build and intensify throughout the sip. The finish is profound, leaving the more bittering aspects of the hops way long into the finish, but your mouth corners will be filled with traces of semi sweet citrus, carmel, and sticky hop resins - just awesome!

Overall - I really love a good DIPA, and this at or very near the top. The last time I remember feeling this "moved" after a few sips was with a fresh bottle of The Oracle...this is just SO complex, SO perfectly balanced, No punches at all, just a breathtaking and contemplative transition and complexity and balance - there are absolutely no flaws here, TRY THIS, this may arguably be the perfect DIPA. I'm giving this one 5's across the board.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2012 04:36:31 | More by blackcompg
Photo of SierraNevadaFanatic

5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

IMHO and I told one of the gals at the brewery that this just might be the best beer ever brewed by mankind ... ok surely I was not kidding! The true beauty of this beer is the perfect blend of malt and hops ... with a specific gravity this high and an alcohol content like this ... the malt and hop balance is truely unique. Nice job guys this isn't easy and it came out of a "beer camp" and a challenge. Well that challenge was met and the world is better place for it! If you truly love beer, you must taste Hoptimum! It's optimum!

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2012 21:20:38 | More by SierraNevadaFanatic
Photo of linkin22luke


5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - A beautiful golden hue with a 2 finger, cream head

S - Smell is tropical with notes of pineapple and guava, citrus and some alcohol.

T - Wow! Starts out incredibly creamy, then you get punched in the mouth with hops. Extremely bitter finish that lingers on the palate. Incredible!

M - Medium body and medium carbonation that perfectly accentuates the beer.

O - If I have enjoyed a beer more, I don't remember when. This bad boy is a must have. Just might be in the top 3 beers ever!

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2012 21:29:00 | More by linkin22luke
Photo of Fusion_Pirate


5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a four-pack of Sierra Nevada Hoptimum from my local grocery store for about $10.50. Couldn't pass that up! As a die-hard IPA (and IIPA) fan, I've seen a lot of chatter about this beer online. Very excited to get my hands on it. Here goes...

A: Poured into an ice-cold weizen glass, Hoptimum is a rich, dark amber/orange with a good two fingers of creamy, off-white head. Very strong lacing around the glass with excellent retention. Carbonation bubbles faintly visible. This is a beautiful-looking beer.

S: It smells like you're walking by a florist shop; very strong rose and tulip notes, coupled with an intense orange/citrus hop impact. Amazing smell...

T: All the wonderful things I smelled X 1,000!! The hops just SLAM your tongue with a bitter explosion of citrus-y, pine goodness. A pleasant aftertaste of woody malt remains after each sip. The best part is, there is little to no 'booze flavor' to tell you you're drinking a 10.4 ABV beer. Honestly, this is probably the best beer I have ever tasted in my life. Phenomenal!

M: Just enough carbonation to bring out all the nuances of the beer, yet lighten up the intensity of the flavors at the same time. Goes down smooth and very dry, in true IIPA fashion.

O: Thank heavens that the beer geniuses at Sierra Nevada cooked this one up. This is probably the closest thing to a true work of art that a beer has ever come, in my humble opinion. The fact that I paid essentially $2.60 per bottle for a four pack of this goodness is mind-blowing. This is the start of a beautiful friendship...

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2012 02:10:59 | More by Fusion_Pirate
Photo of JayDub667

5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My brother and I bought a 4 pack from the near by gas station. I love IPA's and I had never had it before, so I had to try it. We drank straight from the bottles so I can't really describe the head or the lace. I fell in love with this beauty at first drink. This beer isn't just hoppy, it's insanely hoppy, and packs one hell of a punch at 10.4%! One of the best tasting beers I've ever had. It's like an IPA lovers equivalent of meeting Jesus. If you haven't tried Hoptimum, you're robbing your palate of an amazing experience! Thank you, Sierra Nevada!!

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2012 15:31:33 | More by JayDub667
Photo of Bernardkowalski

5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely one of my favorite beers!! honestly can go good with anything, but you are better off enjoying this beer by itself. it has so much too offer, such great combination between the yeast and malt's making this an outstanding brew. you can put this on my list of top beers.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2013 23:40:55 | More by Bernardkowalski
Photo of FlatRabbitRed


5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have been assimilated into perfection, ... Bravo, Sierra Nevada!

First off reading some of the other reviews ... you really are not a hop lover is you are saying things like "wow I actually cringed at how bitter it was". These type of beers are pallet wreckers as a warning on a bottle of Stone Ruination will tell you.

Color copper golden... fantastic just to look at. The smell can only be described as what it must smell like in hop field. Well balanced piney floral hop bite ...it's an eye opener, hits you hard and changes to a mellow after bite.

I got my beer fresh in 2012, I do not like aged beers like this, they will lose character over time.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2013 13:38:47 | More by FlatRabbitRed
Photo of AmitC


4.98/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So here i am drinking this hop bomb. The last of four bottles. Wow open the bottle and you can smell the aroma of hops from an arms length. And this makes me excited.

Pours with little head.

Little more of bubbles than what i have seen in IPAs. Bubbles stayed for longer than i thought.

Pale amber color. just the usual stuff here. Somewhat of an haze, may be it was due to glass.

You take the glass closer to your mouth to drink and you get an idea of what is coming.

Love the killer smell that smells of hops and hops only, may be i am nose blind. Good use of beta component here.

And it hits the tongue like a bullet. Extremely brutal combination of alpha acids at play along with more than usual bit of carbonation.

Mouth feel is medium to full bodied. A bit of oily feel which is ok.

You feel it in your mouth, neck and even stomach while savoring this beer.

Love it for its bitterness, its smell and its alcohol. Exceptional and World class.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2012 23:28:02 | More by AmitC
Photo of Dave1999

North Carolina

4.98/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark amber with a white head, a few bit of yeast of there but not much.

The smell is sweet, with plenty of citrus hops coming through.

The taste is citrusy and bitter with a sweet malty backbone. No alcohol at all. This beer may be my new favourite, it's actually fantastic.

The mouthfeel is quite syrupy and oily with medium carbonation.

Overall I must say simply fantastic, one of the best beers I've ever had. I'm a big fan of 90 minute and this reminds me of it a lot but I think this is slightly better.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2013 02:20:50 | More by Dave1999
Photo of DaveHS


4.97/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a transparent amber with 3/4 inch of bubbly light khaki head. Leaves attractive rings of soapy lacing.

S-Amazing. Pineapple, Dole fruit cocktail juice, strawberries, tangerine. Mouth watering.

T/M-Better than I could have imagined. The perfect blend of fruity, juicy flavors, chewy citric hops and bracing bitterness. Medium bodied with invigorating carbonation. The most striking thing about it is how fresh it tastes. If you could squeeze beer directly out of a fresh picked hop, this is what I imagine it would taste like.

D-This is the first IPA in a long time that has blown me away. Really solid. They should make it year round.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2011 04:03:28 | More by DaveHS
Photo of SDtastentune


4.97/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Nice deep orange/yellow, can't remember its clarity or me looking for it (only had one on tap), No head but I like that for an IPA, good lace but cant remember anything substantial.

S - Smells of citric hops and flavorful malts , pretty fragrant comparing this to lets say Sierra Nevada Torpedo EIPA, HOPS HOPS & more! Smells like a hop heads dream.

T - Taste is super for SN, compares to a micro or maybe Greenflash IIPA, Citric hops, deep malts, and overall nice bitterness of supercharged IPA.

M - Nice carbonation, medium to large... Perfect for a IPA.. I like my carbonation in the IPA's. Strong aftertaste of citic bitter hops, and some deep malts of some kind.

D - Drinks heavy, Obviously its a DIPA/IIPA, with some great characteristic IIPA notes, perfect for the hop head, lots of alcohol and bitter tastes. Perfect in my book, drinks easy for an acquired taste, want another already! Thumbs UP for SN!

Serving type: on-tap

02-03-2011 04:46:12 | More by SDtastentune
Photo of Snow81


4.97/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Looks rich unfiltered hazy copper orange

Smell: Big citric and floral notes screams in the nose

Head: nice rich thick head that lasts the life of the beer

Taste: High citrus with some honey and some floral like flower petals, bitterness sets in the cheeks

Weight: medium body but the medium to high carbonation brings the body a bit more maltyness to it

Finish: love this beer, the honey and the hops stick all over the mouth cheeks palate going nuts if you need another flavor of this beer take a rip off your palate with your teeth. I like to call this little beer hop slam light, (from bell's brew)


second tasting

Aged for 120 days: bit of pine and bitter citrus, when the heat sets in the flavers fade fast. Not for ageing!

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2011 04:16:43 | More by Snow81
Photo of Rainier


4.94/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm so glad I stopped by this random liquor store by my apartment to check their beers out. I could not believe that they had the Hoptimum in stock! I'm probably gonna buy some more if they still have some for sale. It's one of the best Imperial IPAs I have ever had. I think Pliny is still at the top, then Sucks, then Hoptimum, then Enjoy By(4.01.2013). That's how good this beer is! My bottle is probably fresh too!

The taste had a very strong hop bitterness, which I love so much! I think they used more hops on this one than a lot of beers out there(minus the triple IPAs). It's a very pleasant hop taste.

It was kindy pricey though. I paid like $11 for a four pack. Oh well, it's so worth it!
Would definitely buy again.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2013 07:00:52 | More by Rainier
Photo of Desher

New Jersey

4.94/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is my favorite IPA so far.. need to try the"big 2" i cant get. This is a nice step up from Torpedo it has the same appearance and smell but more bitter with a sneaky alcohol level like an Imperial should have. Im waiting on Pliny and Heady to be available where im at.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2013 21:11:19 | More by Desher
Photo of OlRasputin989


4.93/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into Duvel tulip...

A: Pours a beautiful reddish orange with a thick and mousse-like head. Globs of lacing. The engraving at the bottom of the glass keeps the head creamy.

S: Aromas are of grapefuit peel, cedar wood, and rose buds. I hate to be un-original but I was checking the stats on this one at the website. I got to say, they were dead on in the description. Only a couple things I noticed was the booziness, just a hint however, and an evergreen aroma, reminding me of christmas.

T: Pure hoppiness. I was actually blown away on the first sip. Most imperial ipas are plagued by the excessive malt used and the alcohol character. After seeing this was over 10%, I would've bet money this was the same. I would've been wrong. Very sweet and fruity up front, with alot of orange flavor riding on a caramel steed. Very spicy. Gains a cotton candy flavor somewhere along the way then right back to a woodsy, piney finish, like you fell face first down a mountainside full of pine trees. I must've missed something. No trace of that 10.4% alcohol anywhere. I either drink too many big beers, or Sierra Nevada is just on top of their game.

M: medium full body with a resiny, warming and dry finish

Overall, I was more than happy with this overpriced purchase(or so i thought at first, it was $10, though i got it at one of the most expensive stores in Arkansas). A totally bombastic, in-your-face, manly-man IIPA. I would only suggest this to fellow hop heads. No amateurs.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2011 04:43:11 | More by OlRasputin989
Photo of Halos25


4.93/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Powerful. Beautiful. BIG.

Poured deep amber in a tulip. Foam head was two fingers-faded quick.

The smell was a biting, yet delicious, blend of marijuana and wet hops (hops is a close relative of the cannabis plant).

Once this brew enters the mouth, it hangs on and on and on. The sides of the back portion of the tongue are stained with the stinging bitterness of the hops minutes after consumption. Hints of grapefruit and other sweet fruits offset the bitterness.

Hoptimum is boozy. I noticed a warmth in my stomach similar to sipping on Whiskey after about half way through.

For every Sierra Nevada fan who savors that particular SN taste this offering needs to be a bucket list beer. For everyone else, especially, ESPECIALLY if you are a so called "hop head" this is a must try.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2012 03:14:25 | More by Halos25
Photo of BrantleyJ


4.91/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Hoptimum is one of the best tasting Imperial IPAs that sadly I have not been able to find since their original release. Hopefully Sierra Nevada will bring back this hop monster soon. Based on the price one can only assume it cost a pretty penny to produce but from a consumer's perspective it is well worth the money.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2013 02:17:49 | More by BrantleyJ
Photo of alkemy


4.9/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

24oz. "stubby" bottle 2011

A - Deep golden orange, pretty clear. The off white head is big, frothy, and eventually leaves lacing all down the glass.

S - Yeah, this is all hops...and it's great. Mostly pine. The citrus is most definitely in the background. Aroma is a bit earthy and there's something that gets me thinking of a Belgian with the occasional whiff. I don't smell alcohol.

T - The piney hops smacks you right in the face. There are glimpses of grapefruity citrus, but they are kind of fleeting. I also taste a bit of vanilla coming from somewhere.
The resinous pine dominates and it is wonderful.

M - Feels oily and resinous. The alcohol is faintly warm in the mouth and then more noticeable in the stomach after a swallow.

D - The only thing that holds this beer back a little is the hotness of the alcohol. I'm a fan of the big IIPA, this one really does it for me.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2011 00:01:41 | More by alkemy
Photo of aptea110


4.9/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky to score a bottle of the Sierra Hoptimum, I poured it into a pint glass it had a fantastic copper color to it and Amazing aromas consisting of hops, citrus fruits, and floral notes. Very consistant with the aroma the Hoptimum was full flavoured with even some earthy tones to it. It finishes smooth and is pleasently drinkable. Due to limited supply If you can find it buy a couple of them and savour it! Enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 14:10:29 | More by aptea110
Photo of schoolboy


4.9/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is very close to the most perfect brew I have ever had. I dinged it on smell because I could take more finishing hops, but there is nothing wrong with it.

If I had to find things wrong with it they would be about being "too" something. Too expensive, first off. If somebody can figure out how to make something like this and sell it cheap they can take over the beer dringking world. Too strong (but that's not a negative when it doesn't TASTE strong, and it's not Dogfish Head 120 either). Too clear (if that implied poor taste, which it doesn't).

It's just too good. I don't deserve it. You aren't worthy either, but if you have eight bucks, get yourself a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2011 18:56:43 | More by schoolboy
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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 4,270 ratings.