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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.

4,264 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4264
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
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Ratings: 4,264 | Reviews: 1,239 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ZionNation


3.36/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

this is a good Imperial IPA that I have had several times. Tonight I am reviewing a sample I got in a growler, purchased from Total Wine in Peoria Arizona. Overall I love Sierra Nevada, but Hoptimum, and I like to call it Hoptimonium, you know like Pandemonium, but it's not my favorite from Sierra Nevada and it's not my favorite double or imperial IPA, but still it's pretty good. overall a fresh bottle or can or Torpedo is better. the Hoptimonium just tastes a bit too boozy for me, I will probably buy and drink it again, but I would give it an A minus rating. very good, not great, not world class, Sierra can and does do better.

Serving type: growler

08-25-2013 03:34:21 | More by ZionNation
Photo of Ranz


3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

From my local Whole Foods on tap in a 32oz growler.

A: In my Firewheel tall tulip, it pours a crisp brown amber color with thin lines of carbonation across the glass. The head is luxurious and full, with good lacing as the imbibed liquid goes down.

S: With the slightest hint of brettanomyces, this has some incredibly strong hop profile on the nose. Mottled, dank pine with a sharp astringency to it; quite presentable. This would certainly spook any hop-detractor.

T: Ridiculously bitter, the taste is not as complex as I would like, but it is enjoyable and easily drinkable, so there's that. The high ABV certainly comes out here as well, and the finish is definably dry and characteristic of the style.

M: Thick and meaty with good syrup qualities, the carbonation makes this silky on the tongue, which is the best quality to this beer.

O: I've had some fantastic DIPAs in my day, and while this doesn't hit the highest ranks, it's still a very solid and respectable experiment.

Serving type: growler

08-05-2013 23:54:47 | More by Ranz
Photo of bigflatsbeerman

New York

4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - 2 finger head of an amber colored beer, Definately more amber colored than most IPA's
Smell -I am not getting a distinct smell which is disappointing,
Taste - Full Disclosure - Before I opened this growler had a 16 0z can of Heady Topper which is tough to beat. I am disappointed with Hoptimum vs, Heady Topper. Biggest disappointing is with how boozy it tastes, It is a big beer and it tastes boozy.

Mouthfeel - Medium.

Overall - I am disappointed but then a started out with Heady Topper which is hard to top. I would not try again as I do not like boozy beers.

Serving type: growler

07-27-2013 01:36:21 | More by bigflatsbeerman
Photo of Ego

New Jersey

4.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

growldog fill thanks to the always chill folks @ copper mine pub (not been there>? go there)

fizzy dizzy head crackles on the pour, one finger of picturesque white foam, uniform bubble-age, the beer is sticky and the legs are evident showing off the hefty abv lying in wait to crush my space, light golden brown like a lovely tater tot (sans lumps), a decent amount of carbonation but even so the head does fade at a decently quick pace. overall a good looking brew but nothing to make me wow over this compared to other winning brews in this american DIPA landscape.

fresh cone.. not the usual "fresh hop" scent, more of a deeper pine scent, like super fresh evergreen tree smashed into your maw, some caramel malt scent in the back, a clean sense, like a mountain stream (calgon take me away ? mt airy lodge champagne bath?)... anyway...
differing from many DIPAs this almost smells like hop resin rather than oils... not the strongest odor or hop craziness, just a nice solid consistent tone, like the look it is really nice but not crazy nice

taste etc...
thick, at first this is like slugging syrup (ok, maybe not THAT heavy but that was my first impression), some nice sweetness that melts on your tongue into tiers of bitterness and bitter tingly sensations, resiny, definite notice of the ABV in the stomach, this is one of those beers that is SO bitter that it takes some acclimation, kind of like the first time I tried Stone ruination (although that does not have the malt backbone this one does imo), in a full glass now... the hop flavor is a bit more apparent, and like the nose it is a deep hop flavor, not herbal, very much heavy pine cone but balanced with big sweetness with borderline orange notes, the ABV definitely lets you know about it...

verdict ?
pretty damn bitter but it does have a pretty rigid malt backbone... enough ? er, not sure. This is heavy handed but a bit more balanced than many hop destroyers but at the same time I don't love it. it is really good but not a genre killer

Serving type: growler

06-15-2013 04:16:36 | More by Ego
Photo of sevenarts

New York

4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Rich golden orange with a nice fluffy white head and good lacing.

S: Lots and lots of hops: grapefruit, pine, citrus, balanced by a malty sweetness.

T/M: Like the aroma, but much stronger. Pine, grapefruit, and sweet, bready malt mingle deliciously with each sip. Very hoppy and strong, of course, but also really well balanced with that sweet undercurrent so it's never just a hop bomb.

O: A very tasty, hoppy beer with loads of flavor.

Serving type: growler

10-14-2012 17:36:59 | More by sevenarts
Photo of Rukasu

District of Columbia

4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comes close, but falls a little short of Hopslam.

Growler fill from Whole Foods Fair Lakes, VA.

A - Nice orange color with one-finger creamy white head, disipates quickly

S -Sweet up front with faint citrus and pine, but a big whiff will pick up a savory/umami bouillon hints from the high alcohol. Might seem off-putting, but works fairly well.

T - Certainly packs a punch. Big alcohol and grapefruit rind, some pine, still getting some of that savory taste.

M - Certainly full bodied, you almost need a glass of water to chase.

O - One pint was probably enough, but I went for two and that was probably a mistake. I think this beer is meant to just kick you in the face and walk away, because there was nothing really memorable about it other than the high ABV. There is little subtlety to this beer, at $10 for a growler, it was worth giving it a shot, but I'll stick with Hopslam.

Serving type: growler

05-27-2012 15:35:40 | More by Rukasu
Photo of MacQ32

South Carolina

3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear copper/amber with a thinner near white head, retention is fair. A nice ring remains around the glass, leaves a decent lacing.

S - Piney and grassy hop aroma with a hint of grapefruit. Subtle sweetness comes from fruity hops. A little fainter than I would have liked

T - Strong bite up front, a nice combination of piney and mostly citrusy hops. Juicy fruity flavors play with strong bitters which leave a nice dry finish.

M - Medium bodied, appropriate carbonation. All really good here.. drinkable but maybe not quite sessionable. Either way this growler is going down

O - Very bitter, great hop flavors. Malt is hard to find, drinkable for sure, maybe not quite a session beer. Mouthfeel is right where I would want it.

Serving type: growler

04-20-2012 19:56:13 | More by MacQ32
Photo of welldigger888

South Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from growler into the hop etched imp pint, honey gold with some garnet hue and an ample just off white head with outragous lacing.
Strong aromas of tropical paradise rise to greet the nostrils,mango pineapple and the ever present piney resonious goodness that really makes american beer great!
Enamel stripping hop goodness,Citrus bursts first than quickly to the ever intoxicating piney resony hop heaven.A strong malt character is there, for support and a touch of sweet malt but that is all.Alcohol seems present but well in it's place.
Wow, spot on carbonation here. The palate asks for more.
The only draw back I can find, The ABV makes having the amount I want unobtainable. Half way down the pint, lace is still from lip to level on glass!!!

Serving type: growler

03-07-2011 03:36:06 | More by welldigger888
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a growler to a tulip glass. Had an amber color and a slightly hazy texture. There was an inch of fairly long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A surprisingly subtle smell of hops, malt, and citrus.

T: Tasted of hops (predictably, but also had a huge dose of malt - more than you usually see in a DIPA. There was also a bit of citrus mixed in for good measure. Alcohol content is occasionally noticeable.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A solidly made, drinkable, slightly different DIPA.

Serving type: growler

03-05-2011 13:25:30 | More by avalon07
Photo of abar22


4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Growler poured into a DFH Signature Glass...

Looks great. Nice copper orange. Fluffy white head, solid cap, spotty lacing.

Fantastic nose on this one. Hops are definitely dominant with full range smells; grass, pine, lemon, tropical fruit. All that mixed with a slight hint of alcohol. Just enough to know this is a DIPA.

Taste mirrors the smell. Hops assault the tongue in the best way possible. SN style pine bitterness. Loads of tropical fruit. Delicious!

Dry and grassy in the aftertaste. A bit thin in the mouthfeel but nothing off-putting.

Here's hoping the put these in 6 packs every year so I can knock em back with pleasure.

Serving type: growler

01-21-2011 03:51:46 | More by abar22
Photo of coolbrys


4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Purchased a growler at the brewery for a hefty price.

A: First appearance shows a nice orange hue, with a very long lasting head. As the beer is drank, it leaves a remnant head along the glass. Quite hazy.

S: Upon first smell, a wave of hops, and a nice grapefruit smell shines through. Very reminiscent of Torpedo, but way stronger. Must be the Citra hops coming through.

T: As the lightly carbonated brew slides gently through your mouth, you get a significant sweet syrupy taste from the malts, transitioning perfectly into a nice grapefruit flavor, followed by a long lasting hop bitterness that is an excellent end to the flavor of a DIPA. The alcohol flavor is incorporated perfectly with the flow of the taste, adding a significant balance to the taste that is much appreciated. The 10.4% may be apparent, but it's not overwhelming. Be careful drinking more then one of these, however.

M: As a DIPA, the mouthfeel is perfect. The carbonation is low but apparent, and the ale is not too thick or thin, being a medium bodied ale that completely captures the idea of a good West Coast DIPA.

D: The drinkability is good for a DIPA. The alcohol content and the syrupy character hinder it from being too drinkable, but at 10.4%, that's a good thing.

Overall, a fantastic offering from the excellent brewers at Sierra Nevada. Being a strong lover of all things hops, and of all things Sierra Nevada - especially Torpedo - this stands out excellently. When I was at the brewery, this beer was going extremely fast, and everyone loved it. I would love to see this bottled.

Serving type: growler

03-13-2010 16:00:42 | More by coolbrys
Photo of agilis

New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into pint glass.

A: Amber hue. a bit of froth, slightly off-white head. Continually rising effervescence. Solid rings. Head rising the occasion after head sip.

S: Pine and citrus.

T: Big hops, with an off and on sweetness that makes it a bit more than just the slam of the hops...but they're always there...even 30 seconds after. The moisture of the next sip brings relief, but it passes quickly and I'm back where I started.

M: Thick and smooth.

D: It's for sipping', but as was mentioned in T....the time in-between sips pulls at you.

It's good...really good...but lacks some of the layers of its peers. I'd like to have on tap...I think that might take a bit of the edge off and add a layer or two.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2014 21:49:19 | More by agilis
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
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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 4,264 ratings.