Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA

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1,420 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,420
Hads: 6,049
Avg: 4.11
pDev: 24.09%
Wants: 393
Gots: 1,016 | FT: 5
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.
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Reviews: 1,420 | Hads: 6,049
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Feels like a thousand IBU, a lot of sweet malt backing it up. The alcohol is huge and is well hidden by the taste. Huge foamy retained white head. Hoppy aromas. Citrus lime and lemon, a little grapefruit.Some palate shredding. Very drinkable.Bottle from Premiere.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap for the 2nd Anniversary event at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, CA.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots and streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of citrus zest and herbal hops. Taste is of citrus zest, grapefruit, herbal hops, and slight malt on the finish. There is a medium amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good DIPA with a better taste than smell.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 version.

A: Very attractive beer. two finger head with decent lacing on a clear crimson with golden hues body. very good retention.

S: I was let down by the aroma. Its good but a little too weak for the major players in this genre. Nice sweet citrus aroma, mostly grapefruit and pineapple.

T: Ridiculously hoppy. The pine dominates this one and certainly lingers on the palate with a slight citrus note sneaking in and out. The malts are pretty much excluded from the flavor by this strong hop flavor and bitterness.

M: medium body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: The hop profile is good and improves as you drink it but the drinkability is affected by this. The malts may be there but good luck finding them. Certainly a memorable beer.

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Photo of metter98
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear orange in color and has a thin ring of off white bubbles encircling the edges of the glass. No carbonation is visible in the form of rising bubbles.
S: There are moderate aromas of floral hops in the nose--this beer almost smells like a marigold.
T: The taste is rather hoppy and like the smell tastes very similar to marigold flowers. The hops contribute a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is rather easy to drink despite the hoppy flavors and bitterness because they do not overpower your palate.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

huge huge ibu count on this baby, must be. pours a gloriously rich caramel color with one hell of a lively head, off white and lasting. smells like weed, straight up. this is an indica heavy hybrid with unreal potency. citrusy hops and some english smelling malts. flavor is bitter up front, and bitter in the back, with some nice malty sweetness in between. some pine elements and a very drinkable medium body on her. fair carbonation, maybe a touch low for this beer, but it seems to go down pretty easy for the alcohol content and bitterness. sierra nevada is the king of the hop as far as i am concerned, and this is just another wonderful illustration of what hops can be. superbly made beer.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.6/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Fire Works Pizza in Arlington, VA over the weekend. Served in a sample glass. Pours a clear golden-peach color with a nice white head and some nice lacing on the way down. The nose carries some good tropical fruits behind some strong orange and citrus. The flavor falls back quite a bit from there, as the bitterness gets to me a bit too much for the hop flavor. Body is light-medium with average carbonation and a hefty bitterness paired with a fair amount of alcohol. Nose was by far the best part of this one.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had heard about this coming out and I kept my eyes peeled for it at my local shop. They got a small shipment in so I grabbed 2 bottles right away.

I put one in the freezer to chill it faster right when I got home. The suspense was killing me! I poured As much as I could into a rather large glass to took a big nose full of it aroma. It smells fantastic! An incredible hoppy aroma just bursting out of the bottle and glass. So many hops on the tongue with every sip you take. It actually has a stinging sensation in the aftertaste. The color was very nice like a light copper shade. Such a great DIPA!

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Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
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

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a deep bright orangey color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some excellent lacing. Aroma of floral hops is quite powerful and enjoyable with some good citrus notes and light pine. Taste is also dominated by huge floral hoppy notes with good citrus undertones and malt backbone is not too sweet. Body is full with excellent carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Wow!

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Photo of largadeer
2.76/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Draft at Toronado, served in a pint glass. Clear, bright and caramel-colored in the glass, dark for the style, topped by a small white cap. The aroma is solventy, lightly citrusy and heavy on the crystal malt. Pine and citrus-like dry hops are evident but overwhelmed by the alcohol. The taste is similarly harsh, very strong solventy alcohol matched by resiny hop bitterness and substantial caramel malt. While it's not especially sweet, the malt backbone is heavy and cumbersome, too syrupy for a DIPA and lacking finesse. It finishes bitter, heavy and sharply alcoholic. This is OK stuff and signature Sierra Nevada; heavy on the crystal malt and bittering hops but not particularly delicate. Can't say I would drink this again.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

8oz snifter, a surprising as hell find at our sandwich shop destination on a day tour of the North Kohala valley region of the Big Island.

This beer appears a clear medium golden amber hue, with one finger of foamy, rocky white head, which leaves some nice frozen hoar frost lace around the glass as it wisps away.

It smells of grapefruit and tropical citrus fruit, a slight pine resin note, and big caramel/toffee malt. The taste is bitter grapefruit, orange, and lime rind, pine oil, and hefty caramel nougat malt. A wee bit of booze warming bubbles up in the warm air.

The carbonation is a bit peppy, the body a solid medium weight, with a moderate buzz-saw hoppiness that obliterates what I would assume to be a sexy smoothness. It finishes pretty zingy from the you know what, but the malt is no pushover, keeping things precariously honest.

A stellar west coast DIPA - everything big and bold, and all in balance, with lofty booze only threatening the gates, without actually breaking through.

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Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Maybe the tenth or so Hoptimum i've had before it occurred to me to review it. It's good stuff.

Bright golden orange body, sheets of coating lace cover the inside of the glass. Head is billowing with a creamy texture. Concentric rings form over time.

Dank resiny tropical fruit in the aroma, mango and earthy papaya.

Smooth creamy feel with a resiny hop bite, plenty of fruit flavors and sticky bitterness. Earthy mango sweetness flashes by first, with a brief instance of pale malt, then long lasting resiny bitterness that lingers long into the aftertaste. Some traces of the abv bleed through but overall it's drinkable enough to have 1-2 in a sitting.

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Photo of zeff80
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, golden-orange color with a two-finger, off-white head of bubbly foam. It left sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of pine and citrus. A nice burnt toast aroma, too.

T - It tasted of burnt toast with pine and citrusy hops. It was a bit unbalanced.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry. It had a warm alcohol presence.

O - This is a nice DIPA, but a little unbalanced. It didn't live up to my expectations.

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Photo of oberon
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a somewhat hazy, mostly clear deep orange amber. Big two inch plus white head formed immediatly on top and slowly faded down to reveal on a slight ring of lace along the top. Decent side glass lace was evident from the start. Lots of visible carbonation streaming up from the bottom.

Aroma was delicous. Full on citrus hop blast from the start. Deep orange and tangerine tones dominated here. Mixed in was a tiny bit of sugar, but alot of grapefruit and some lemon. Very fresh, bitter citrus smell. A slight aroma of alcohol could also be detected.. Such a strong hop presence. Tons of very bitter citrus hops, sweet and a good amount of alcohol. There was no balance here, and none was to be expected. Just a down the hatch, hardcore double IPA. But in that really good way, damn this was fine. Super sticky and smooth. This was a thick, almost syrup like brew. You could really feel it as you sipped. Good, the only thing I would knock it for is that it is high in alcohol so it would be very difficult to drink more then of these. Other then that, fantastic.

Overall this was everything I thought it would be. I super duper hopped double IPA from a great west coast brewery.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.43/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Bruery Provisions

A: The beer pours an orange-amber sort of color with a finger of khaki colored head.

S: Smells pretty dank and funky. I get some feet and armpit at the beginning, but it seems to subside. A decent amount of citrus comes through in the form of grapefruit and there's a good pine note. A fair amount of booze and some mild malt (bread).

T: The grapefruit and pine flavors are "large and in charge" here with a lot of big hop bitterness. Unfortunately, there is a strong alcohol flavor that brings a bit of a burn. Some toffee and toasted malt flavors provide the malt character.

M: The body is on the full side for a DIPA, and it's pretty heavy on the tongue. The carbonation is moderate.

D: A rare miss from Sierra Nevada. I would have liked a lot less booze and a lot more hop flavor here.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.91/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Served up a clear, bright, bronze-plated body topped by an inch of white foam.

Smell: Initially, the nose isn't very aromatic at all, though, given some time to warm, it eventually comes around. After some minutes, you're given a sweet-scented aroma with a rather forward whiff of lemons. Lighter hop hints of meadow flowers and white pine.

Taste: Sweet-tasting pale maltiness with hints of almond sugar and wildflower honey. As it warms, a very faint basic breadiness develops in the taste and aroma. Pithy, citrusy lemon peel hop character with additional accents of flowers and resinous pine. Boldly bitter, though the sweetness does make a modest comeback late in the taste. Still, it does manage to finish both dry and bitterness. Lemony taste lingers into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-light carbonation.

Drinkability: I dug it, though those who don't appreciate a notable malt presence and sweetness in their DIPA's might not care for this one.

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Photo of oline73
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Judge's Bench in Elicott City.

Appearance: This pours a very clear amber with an inch of fluffy white head. Head dissipates quickly but some remains throughout.

Smell: Starts off with sweet with hints of pine and tangerine. Smells amazing!

Taste: This one is initially quite sweet. Bitter pine hops and tangerine as well as quite a bit of alcohol. Sweet bitterness clings to the tongue throughout.

Mouthfeel: This one is fairly thick and sticky. It coats the mouth completely. The Carbonation is lower than average but that seems appropriate.

Drinkability: Perhaps there is a bit too much alcohol compared to the hops, but it is still very good. I would definitely drink this one again.

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Photo of nickfl
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with half a finger of white foam on top of a clear, dark copper colored body. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves nice lace.

S - Notes of pine and citrus with some caramel in the background.

T - Thick, bready malt up front with rich toffee and pine hop flavors. More pungent hop character in the middle as a bit of grapefruit and some floral notes come out. Finishes with thick, caramel and toffee malt as well as pine, grapefruit, mango and strong bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately high carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - Despite the intense malt character the hops are able to push their way through and the beer is surprisingly well balanced in the finish. The aroma could be a bit more intensely hoppy, but everything else works exceptionally well.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.51/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. "Hoptimum"
12 oz. brown glass bottle, coded but without a freshness date: "041715 C1 14:44"
$3.49 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Absolutely stunning! In the past I've heard complaints that Sierra Nevada wasn't making hoppy-enough beers, and then when they stepped up their game, the same complaints were repeated again! Well, that's over - this Imperial IPA is about as hoppy as you can get while still retaining some modicum of dignity through balance and polished elegance (which is what Sierra has always done). It's not intended to claw your face and shred your tastebuds, although it is headed somewhat in that direction with it's 100 IBUs! As you progress through the glass you'll find that it changes as you adapt to certain flavors and become open to others. That journey will most likely be different for each imbiber, and even for each new serving that they try, but some notes that it will most likely include are: grapefruit, papaya, pineapple, pine/pine resin, lavender, apple, soft pear, dull herbs, rose, melon, orange/tangerine, and lemon. It's a sipper to be sure, and at 10.4% abv. that's not just because of the hops! Absolutely worth trying!

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Photo of Kegatron
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

24 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Huge thanks go to sholland119 and vickster259 for hooking me up with a bottle of this. You two are awesome!

Pours a brilliant crystal clear copper in the glass, topped with 1-2 fingers of rich off-white colored head. This retains with a frothy ½ finger, which just absolutely DRENCHES the sides of the glass with creamy lacing. Man, what a nice robust look to this! The aroma is flowery and deeply herbal smelling, with some additional sharp pangs of grapefruit and pine. Juicy tropical fruit, caramel, and toasted grains do a nice job of sweetening things up some here. This just has a real nice balance of flavors here in the nose.

The taste is also a well balanced blend of hop flavors, with bitter grapefruit, spice, and dry sticky resins all running into a wall of luscious ripe fruit character. There is also a maltier splash of toffee and toasted grains across the back of the palate but it's mostly that heavy tropical fruit presence that coats the tongue and brings most of the sweetness to the profile. This finishes very dry, with a good bit of green bitterness and pine sticking in the mouth. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a crisp yet creamy chewiness to it that is undercut by a smooth undercurrent of oily slickness. Unfortunately, this is showing a bit too much alcohol warmth here in the body. This does lessen some as the warms and balances but it just retains an overall beefy warmth the whole way through that cuts back on the approachability of this.

Well this certainly was a full flavored but still well balanced hoppy punch in the face from SN but they really need to dial the ABV of this back a bit. If they could maybe get this in the 8-9% range, this could end up being something special. For now, it's just another tasty but ultimately overly warm big DIPA.

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Photo of jlindros
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big creamy 1.5 finger head, sticky lacing, clear copper orange color.

Nose has some interesting pine hops, fresh hop oils, light citrus hops and hints of tropical fruit, light sweet malty backbone, very light must hop resin.

Taste is unique, fresh bettering hops, fairly bitter, hop oils and a bit of resin, light pine and citrus fruit hops, some spicy hops, light sweet malty base, light tingly booze and little sticky. Finishes dry with some lingering bitterness and fresh hops, bit of hop oil and resin linger.

Mouth is med with decent carb.

Drink is decent, touch of warming booze, somewhat bitter but balanced by bit of malts and dry finish.

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Photo of mactrail
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hugely aromatic, flowery, every hop descriptor you can think of. Yet it's not obscenely bitter in the southern California tradition. A bright, warm note followed by the fruity, malty richness.

Handsome orange amber, on the lighter shade. Attractive foam and carbonation. A touch of honey, lime and orange peel. Spicy with that eye-opening flavor. Crisp and sharp, with the mellow, rich base. As with every SN beer, it's well made and technically perfect.

The grapefruit flavors and the bitterness of citrus rind comes through loud and clear. But the overall fruity and warm character makes it quite, uh, sippable. More than a mouthful would be wasted. This must be one of the best strong DIPAs around. It's so hot, you might think it's some kind of crazy hopped-up gin.

From the 12 oz bottle.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 24oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains piney hops, a lot of fruity citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with a very strong burst of floral hops bitterness that is quickly followed by a very fruity citrus sweetness. There's a significant alcohol sting that comes through at times. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and creates some balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this a very solid 2IPA to drink for a long time but there are others in the style that I would choose first.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,420 ratings.