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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA

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4,258 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4258
Reviews: 1238
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
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Ratings: 4,258 | Reviews: 1,238 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ


4.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber color with a slight copper hue and a frothy white head
Definite pine presence, orange citrus, hoppy
Heavy mouth feel, really full flavored and powerful. Like drinking a pine tree. Yum!
I really enjoy this beer, I get it once in a while. There is a lot of flavor and aroma and it’s all rather intense which makes for an “involved” Hoptimum experience


Serving type: bottle

02-03-2014 17:41:21 | More by BeerandWhiskeyHQ
Photo of bmwats


4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into DH IPA glass.

A: Amber hue. Pours a 2 finger, frothy, white head. Craters slowly, and unevenly leaving some dry sticky residue behind as it does. Continually rising effervescence. Thick persistent beer ring lacing.

S: Pine cone, pine resin, honey, and lemon and grapefruit citrus.

T: Woody hops. Pine straw. Sweet pine resin.

M: Thick and syrupy. Bitter hop lingers on the palate throughout.

D: Sip and enjoy. The bitter character will dictate it.

Atmosphere is really good. Large persistent head, continual effervescence, and thick beer ring lacing. Nose is piney and sweet with plenty of citrus. Woody and hoppy, with a nice sweet balance. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 01:51:29 | More by bmwats
Photo of BierJager89


4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Amber with a white head.

S: Lots of citric hoppiness in the nose, smells great.

T: Citric hoppiness dominates the flavor as well.

M: Medium bodied, typical carbonation for an IPA, maybe a bit smoother.

O: Definitely my favorite Sierra Nevada beer. One of my favorite hoppy beers as well.

Note: These notes come from an old review, but I do remember liking this beer a lot.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2014 18:11:25 | More by BierJager89
Photo of Jjski

New York

3.26/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bitter, hop overload lacking balance. As one one who does not shy away from hops: I found the 2012 Abrasive and unpalatable.. I aged one bottle to try tonight, smells great but tastes like a caramel lime sour. Give me a Ghandi Bot, Burton Baton or Enjoy by.

Open drain, insert Hoptimum. It's been 5 minutes since last sip, still puckering and salivating. This is after having a Uinta Anniversay BW, which has no shortage of hops.

Palate wrecker is better, but IMHO neither is good.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2014 06:20:38 | More by Jjski
Photo of Emnmarko


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Unfortunately this beer was enjoyed in a bottle so it looked brown.

S- Hop madness. Bitter as a old man who lost his retirement. Sour and then some. A little angry.

T- A bit overbearing. A bitter hop earthquake followed by a substantial aftershock of more bitter hops. Hops with a bitter southern drawl.

M- Heavy and moving. Powerful. Overbearing. I love bitter hops but damn son! Too medicinal for me in the long run. But I don't dare rate poorly with with the fear that I may be mugged.

O- Makes me want to cuss! A beer with attitude. A chip on it's shoulder. This beer punches babies right in the face and could care less. Rank to the point of enjoyment. Good luck!

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2014 00:32:58 | More by Emnmarko
Photo of Tsekouratos


4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle at The Local Pub, Athens Greece. Orange thick body with a finger of beige creamy head. The aroma is of citrus, caramel, pine, marmelade grape fruit, passion fruit, basically everything you except from a DIPA but even more. Pretty much the same is the taste, everything in the right balance. In the end it leaves a nice oily bitter taste. The exceptional thing here is that you can never tell any hint of the 10.4% alcohol! Probably the best DIPA I’ve tasted, along with HighWater’s Retribution!

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2013 19:27:23 | More by Tsekouratos
Photo of DrJay


3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Clear orange, beige cap. Fair head retention and spotty lacing clung to the glass. Aromas of oranges, citrus rind, alcohol, bread, biscuit, and hop spice. Fairly malty though. Moderate bitterness with citrusy hops throughout, bread crust, alcohol, an a faint burnt sugar edge. Medium to full bodied with creamy carbonation, warmth, and a bit of dryness on the palate. Pleasant overall, with less focus on hops and more on the malt and alcohol -- at least for my tastes.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2013 13:10:04 | More by DrJay
Photo of JohnParadee


4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into chilled pint glass. Cloudy caramel/orange/amber color. Thin foamy head dissipates to thin but lingering remnant. Tremendous sticky lacing all the way through. Moderate carbonation and plenty of tiny bubbles. On the nose, orange/mango pine dominates, with some dankness present. Can smell the malt as well. On the palate, the maltiness adds chewy depth to the mouthfeel, which coats completely. The alcohol is not overly assertive, which seems surprising given the heft of the brew. Hints of something sweet appears -- a subtle toffee butterscotch perhaps? This is a complex DIPA indeed. Not as striking as Sucks, but very enjoyable nevertheless. Will definitely come back here again.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2013 05:46:14 | More by JohnParadee
Photo of Isrealite


4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Not for the faint of heart or those that need to drive home. The good news is that the extreme amount of alcohol content is barely noticeable underneath the mountains of hops. This beer certainly lives up to it's name, overwhelming you the moment you pop the top off and smell a floral garden. The color is rusty, the head retention is decent, and the lacing is beautiful. The taste, as you might expect, is pure hops and pine cones so I would suggest drinking at least three hours removed from your last meal to avoid heartburn. It's a little bit too sweet for me, but overall a fantastic beer if you are craving hops to the maximum. I love this beer for it's sheer novelty, and great delivery. Again, not for everyone, but a must-experience for hop lovers.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2013 09:37:03 | More by Isrealite
Photo of TBoneJones


4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Hoptimum 2013
Pours a richly golden bubbly body, with a head which settles quickly, and sticky lacing that forms immediately around my chalice.
Apricot, some pineapple and a hint of pine on the nose. More fruity than earthy. Malts.
A big blast. Juicy, mouth-tingling hops. Some stickiness and fairly thick. All big and solid, and all hops.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2013 03:18:37 | More by TBoneJones
Photo of BeernDrum


4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice dark amber/brown. Nice head. A nice hoppy smell with notes of grass, pine and a little citrus. A heavy bitter hoppy taste comes at first sip. A very heavy bodied DIPA. Even though higher in abv it doesn't show or feel on the back end. Really a smooth pour to the very end.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2013 02:46:33 | More by BeernDrum
Photo of joeworrall


4.61/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

comparing this to a couple of other pretty solid IIPA's tonight: Sneaky Pete and Firestone Walker Double Jack.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass, the color is orange-brown with a nice, persistent head. The aroma is floral and the flavor is bitter sweet with a hint of pine resin. Aftertaste is bittersweet, but in the best way...

This is a solid IIPA, one I will seek out again, and almost certainly my favorite brew from Sierra Nevada

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 01:02:12 | More by joeworrall
Photo of Hop-Droppen-Roll


4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

First review, here goes…


I like to start strong. And uh, so does this beer, judging from the 3 finger head (poor pour?) The lighting here is not sufficient to bring out the radiant glow of any truly great beer, so it must be sufficient to suggest that this frosty brew exhibits an almost regal display of autumnal hues. Most appropriate.

As a man who suffers from poor sinuses, the only remarks I can make regarding this beers pleasant aroma is that they were just sharp enough to cut through the fog of my genetic misfortune and grant me that which most beers cannot: a sensory tease of the sensuous pleasures to come.

Where taste is concerned, I believe that I'm beginning to understand where these terms Earthy and Resinous fit in to the picture. Other IPAs can have piney qualities, but not perhaps in the same manner as Hoptimum; this is almost more like sucking on a pine cone than sniffing needles. Not a bad thing, though I tend to gravitate more toward the citrusy (West Coast?) IPAs. On the retreat, there is certainly a spiciness. I want to say there's a dankiness but it's almost as though this is the malts window of opportunity to vie for our attention, to battle the hop blast, and the melee that ensues leaves the bitter taste of merciless hops dominance upon the tongue - could really use some pretzel sticks, Holy Crow.

Mouthfeel, well, it's thick? Is that even an appropriate term? Maybe this is where the malts get their come-up. I usually prefer something a tad more swillable, but it seems Sierra Nevada knew there was an army of BAs out there ready to sacrifice a touch of drinkability for an extra potent hop fix. My kind of mentality, but I'm still partial to Lucid Foto or a Bell's Two Hearted.

Overall, this is a fantastic beer. If you just worked a long shift and need something cold to refresh your aching bones, maybe find something with fewer IBUs and more of a gimmicky package - I understand the Miller Lite gyro-motional cyclonic necked LNNRs are really sumpthin.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2013 00:06:37 | More by Hop-Droppen-Roll
Photo of Scrapss


4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, poured gently into a Stella Artois chalice (YEAH!).

A: Very nice, almost clear but some haze. Gold/light copper. Two finger almost rocky head subsides into 1mm ring at edge of glass by end.

S: Grapefuit leads to piney/resin. HOPPY, as advertised! No strong malts. Faint sweetness. No sharp yeasts, bread or clove. A little dank and musty.

T: Resinous bitter citrus. There's an almost salty end of swallow. Very different. Lemon grassy too.

M: Creamy with nice carbonation. Smooth. Sharp bitter citrus finish, then impossibly dry popcorn notes. Not exceptionally drying at ultimate finish, unexpectedly. Very little heat. Piney outbreath.

O: Very nice hoppy brew, on par with Hop Stoopid, Devil Dancer and other highly hopped brews, except this hop bill seems more well balanced than the other DIPA I've had, except maybe Dirt Wolf. DW almost seems muted compared to some of these and its complexity is what sets it apart, like this does. I like it enough to seek it out for a hop fix that's not a hop blast.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2013 00:27:30 | More by Scrapss
Photo of Sladesmom


3.76/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a clear, amber look with a nice head and nice lacing.

Smell: It smells a bit fruity with citrus notes.

Taste: It has a bitter hop taste with notes of citrus. It comes off spicy to the tongue and goes down smooth.

Mouth Feel: I found it to be dry, not too carbonated and a bit spicy to the tongue. It is has a great balance - not too watery, not too thick, but with a syrupy feel to it.

Overall: I have really enjoyed this beer. I like IPA's and smooth, hoppy beers so this was right up my alley. The hops are definitely sweet and strong but it goes down smooth.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2013 02:57:44 | More by Sladesmom
Photo of Farewell_Transmission


4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This bottle I think has been aged. I have no idea how to read SN dating system. Served the glass in a tulip glass. Nice deep reddish orange color. Nice big head. Smell is amazing. The aging on this bottle has subdued the super strong hop tastes that I have had before with this beer. Still amazing. The taste has a huge malt profile, which as a IPA you would not think it might not have. Overall I wish I could buy this beer all of the time. It is my favorite imperial/double IPA.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2013 23:54:50 | More by Farewell_Transmission
Photo of DuffBrew

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


...However, this is a masterpiece that should be enjoyed with a life celebration. Beautiful hop nose has a subtle lemon note that bleeds through if you pay close attention. The initial taste is just as gorgeous...

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2013 09:36:44 | More by DuffBrew
Photo of brurevu


4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This Double IPA is definitely aggressively hopped. The aroma was of freshly cut grapefruit with a bit of honey lingering in the fringes. The taste was a relentless hop explosion that seeped into every square inch of my mouth. It started with a clean bright citrusy hop that melded with a sweet malt honey flavor and ended with a resinous pine bitterness that lingered on my palate and would not let go. The flavors mellowed a bit as it warmed and created quite the hop thrill ride. The mouthfeel was syrupy and substantial and the high ABV creeped up on me even after one glass. The Hoptimum was an intense hop experience that was worth the ride and my palate will never be the same. This is one of my favorite Double IPAs and I look forward to its release every year.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2013 17:43:19 | More by brurevu
Photo of Gasc0igne


4.11/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 Batch

A: ~2" off-white head, short retention. Excellent lacing. Soft carbonation. Ever-so-slightly cloudy amber colour.

S: Very slight alcohol smell initially, large citrus and floral notes (I get large amounts of orange peel and some pine).

T: Orange right at the front of the mouth, morphs quickly into a burst of hoppy bitterness that lingers. Returns with heavier spice notes and grapefruit after a short while with a soft background bitterness. Not the most balanced IPA but still very tasty.

M: Medium bodied. Smooth on the palate with some amount of carbonation detectable on the back of the tongue. Very easy-drinking beer.

O: An excellent IIPA with almost no alcohol detectable (for a 10%+ beer). Bitterness could be a bit much for the uninitiated or the people who aren't big hop fans, a great beer and a must-try for any hophead!

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2013 09:27:23 | More by Gasc0igne
Photo of phideltashaggy


3.76/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

A- Gorgeous. The beer is a dark oragne/light brown color. A billowy, fluffy, barely off-white head came for and stuck around for awhile. Plenty of lacing all the way down the the last swig.

S- Lots of spicy hops. Maybe a tiny bit of alcohol. There is also just a tiny bit of flat bitter smell with a little grass and a little bit of biscuit. Some pine in there in the middle of the sip.

T- similar to the nose. Upfront there is a somewhat spicy bitter on the tongue. After the first taste, a little bit of candi sugar and caramel with a biscuit backbone. Bitter-biscuit stays in the mouth for a while after sipping.

MF- Carbonation was a little low, but not in a bad way.

Overall, this is a little higher grav and more bitter than I normally go with, but I enjoyed this. I would not want to drink more than one in a sitting, but I wouldn't mind having another one of these bad boys in the future.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2013 22:32:29 | More by phideltashaggy
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 Fatehunter


4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured two and half fingers of head on a clear, medium straw colored body.
The aroma is rich and vibrant. Lots of lemon, grapefruit and orange in here. The taste is bold pine bitterness up front that tones down towards the finish by measured malt.
The texture is smooth with a crispness feature and moderate carbonation.
Well done.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2013 02:49:40 | More by Fatehunter
Photo of BeerImmediately


4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

20oz nonic pint from home draft line #1

Pours with a rich, slightly off-white head over a lightly chill-hazed amber body. Very slight carbonation flowing up. Some chunky lacing

Aromas are pretty light, given the style, ABV, and flavor. The malty sweetness and cedar wood aromas may actually come thru stronger than the hops. Touch of booze is masked well by the pine straw quality of the hops.

Rich, smooth, and thick mouthfeel. Light carbonation. Flavor- wow, I sure don't give a lot of 5's, but this is one. Rich, and insanely well balanced. Northwestern hop qualities, with plenty of pine sap, plus blood oranges, caramel and butterscotch sweetness, and a bit of pineapple and apricot juice. So well balanced.

Clearly this was brewed by beer geniuses.

Serving type: on-tap

09-22-2013 01:14:08 | More by BeerImmediately
Photo of BeerLover99


4.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: bubbling amber goodness, dense off-white head,
fantastic lacing

S: grapefruit, lemon peel, fresh pine

T: same as nose, but marmalade boozy
biscuit malt, bitter sticky finish

M: med/heavy mouth, big oily/sticky mouth

O: Don't know how I missed this Hop treat.
Must for hopheads or anyone looking to
advance their craft beer education from SN Pale Ale.
ABV well hidden, very easy to drink hop beast.


Serving type: bottle

09-18-2013 17:39:11 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of Sark


4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- how does the carbonation swirl like that?! Nice 2 fingers of cream colored head so smooth you can hardly define the bubbles. The beer itself is an orange-copper.

Smell- awesome fragrance of citrus, tangerine and lemon peel, some earthiness as well. The light maltiness also plays well to smooth everything out

Taste- nice note from the hops' citrus side up front but not at all overpowering, the malts keep it in check on the middle with some grassy and grain characters with a little alcohol kick on the finish. It's really quite surprising as much as Sierra Nevada touts the hop-Hop-HOP-iness of this IIPA, it's got a great balance to it.

Mouthfeel- medium/full bodied, hop oils going down, alcohol dry but doesn't linger too long

Overall- really, really a nice IIPA. Not for the faint of heart, but not crazy. This is a something to drink slowly. I'll be picking up a few on my next run.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2013 04:15:45 | More by Sark
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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 4,258 ratings.