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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1,389 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,389
Hads: 5,938
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 379
Gots: 938 | 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.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,389 | Hads: 5,938
Photo of OlRasputin989
4.92/5  rDev +20%
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. (1,486 characters)

Photo of TheSaboteur
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Boulevard Smokestack tulip.
(This was actually a side-by-side w/ Bell's Hopslam)

A: Poured a glowing, light amber w/ some haze. Puffy, Fluffy, Cotton head that slowly dissipates.

S: liquid dank. Evenly distributed malty backbone that lends some sweetness, but is overpowered by a piney, and to a lesser extent, citrus aroma. Something reminds me of sweaty socks...isovaleric acids perhaps?

T: The astringency of the simcoe, the fruitiness of the citra, the torpedoing dry-hopped process...this is a HOP BOMB of nuclear proportion.

M: Yahtzee! This naughty little puppy is chewy and sticky. Gives a serious tingling sensation that sucks your checks in and body-checks your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

D: I love this beer. It's a brutal, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners, hops so good it makes ya wanna slap yo mama, beer. This moves way up the charts in my dipa rankings...sorry Grand Rapids, you just lost your spot in the top 3. (955 characters)

Photo of vande
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The alcohol is pretty well hidden on this little beauty and I'm sure will be sneaking up on me later... its been sittin' in my pint for a good 15 or 20 minutes, and the bubbles are still floating to the top. A solid golden color with a little lacing of head left...Goes down smooth..sweet...hoppy..unfortunately, I was only able to get my hands on one.. (353 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excited to try this one.

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the orange and pine from the hops. The flavor is similar. I get some caramel, orange and pine. The bitterness is about medium. The beer is also very boozy, much more than I expected. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very tasty, I just wish the alcohol was a little bit more subdued. (389 characters)

Photo of Thickfreakness
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first time trying this beer. Bought a few 24oz. bombers

A- Poured into a Maudite Tulip glass... A beautiful creamy off white 2 1/2 finger head floats on a pumpkin orange, highly carbonated brew. The lacing drips away cleanly leaving almost no residue.

S- Pine and citrus... Grapefruit and lemon... peaches and a hint of honey sweetness. Very hop forward! Many layers going on here!!!

T- Honey and pineapple on the front of the tongue, bitter hops and pine overwhelm the mouth. Lots of grapefruit pith. Citrus keeps popping all over the mouth, but bitterness really hangs in there! Picks up more fruit as it warms up.

M- Very bitter finish that lingers and lingers. Astringent and piney resinous! Kinda overwhelming!

D- Dry and hoppy like most CA IPA's... Decent citrus fruitiness. Subtle sweetness that doesnt hang around long. Looking forward to finishing this one off. (881 characters)

Photo of nimrod979
4.87/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Just picked this beer up Tuesday. Couldn't wait any longer to pop open this baby. Pours a brilliant orange-copper with a beautiful pillowy oft head that just floats on top of this exciting brew. You can smell the hops with this beer just sitting on the coffee table. No need to bury your nose in this one but when you do, you're in for a fantastic resin, floral and citrus treat. Theres so many different kinds of hops to give it a complex aroma and flavor. It starts with some sweet grapefruit and floral flavors then gets overtaking by a huge wave of hops bitterness than stays on the tongue for awhile. Can kind of detect the alcohol in the finish. Has kind of a chewy texture. Sticks to the glass like glue. This is just a phenomenal beer. Great job by Sierra Nevada. Any hop head will love this intense brew. (813 characters)

Photo of gabedivision
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Dogfish Head snifter glass.

A- Pours a nice amber gold, with a big ol' fat cloud for a head.

S- Smells of citrus basically, grapefruity hides the 10% alcohol well.

T- Well, this has a strong hop taste that is accompanied by lots of alcohol, as the glass goes down, so does that hop taste, and the alcohol stays with it, very strong tasting.

M- Full, bitter, alcohol-y.

D- This beer is a nice DPA esp if you like a strong alcohol punch. I dig it. (466 characters)

Photo of yemenmocha
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light amber color with generous head. Nose is surprisingly light/weak, with not much improvement as it warms - some citrus & vague hop aromas. Palate is a monster though, with some caramelly sweet malt followed by a whollop of very bitter hop flavors, bitter grapefruit, pineapple & orange too, and a very mouth puckering bitter finish. Almost like an Imperial Celebration Ale perhaps. Hard to endure entire large bottle though, as this one would have been more appealing in the twelve ounce bottle configuration. (521 characters)

Photo of joshrosborne
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

24oz bottle into a pint glass

A-Copperish with a white, small head

S- Grapefruit, grapefruit, and alcohol

T- The citrus is very obvious here, but the alcohol revealed in the small is not obvious.

M- Not syrupy like a lot of DIPA's, I would say the perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Dangerously drinkable for a DIPA. At greater than 10%, this could be trouble. One heck of a beer. It's too bad it's a special release. I could drink this all year round. (457 characters)

Photo of thedoubler55
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass

A-Goldish color, leaves nice off white head, the lacing surrounds the glass..

S- Grapefruit and sweet citrus , lots of hops, also after taking a few sips I smell some honey, very sweet

T-Taste is pure citrus up front as well as bits of sweet honey, bitter in the middle, sweet at the end...

M-Medium bodied, Perfect amount of carbonation

D-Dont think I could finish another in a sitting, but a wonderful beer, Especially for a DIPA (470 characters)

Photo of mondegreen
2.89/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

24oz bottle into a Sierra Nevada Hop Tulip. Bottled on the 351st day of 2010.

Pours a nice orange copper with a frothy head. Plenty of lacing hangs on the glass.

Floral hops swim in a sea of sweet malts. Hints of citrus hops and a dose of alcohol mingle in the aroma.

Taste is big on the hop bitterness. Spicy in the middle, sweet on the finish. As I trudge on through this beer, the hops are lost to the overwhelming sweetness of the malt profile. To give this a 3.0 for taste is generous.

Mouth is medium and well carbonated. Good for a DIPA.

At first, this beer seems fairly quaffable. After 12oz, I'm wishing I has found a friend to split this with. Why would SN put something so heavy and cloying in a 24oz bottle?? I had very very high hopes for this brew, but Sierra Nevada has let me down. Last time I drop $10 on one of their IPAs. (849 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a lovely orange color with a 1" head that falls to a thick spotty surface foam with some large bubbles. Some mild lacing develops.

Smell: loads of floral hop bitterness, grapefruit, lemon, pine, and a quite woody and earthy tone.

Taste: big malt sweetness is well balanced with an floral hop bitterness. Grapefruits, pine, earthiness, and some honey sweetness rounds it out. Alcohol is well hidden here but the warming arrives late.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout with a mildly oily feel at the finish. Aftertaste is long lasting.

Drinkability: this beer is very quaffable despite going deep on both ends of the sweet malt and agressive hop bitterness. One bottle went down surprisingly quick. Great beer from Sierra Nevada. (767 characters)

Photo of aerozeppl
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at EBF? last year and loved it. Bottle time.

A: Looks just like a DIPA should. Copper color with good clarity with a quarter finger of white head that is quite dense. Super sticky lacing.

S: The nose is of sticky whole cone hops as it should be. Very clean fermententation and you would know this is a Sierra Nevada beer just by the nose though the hops are much more aggressive. Just a slight hint of alcohol in the end.

T: This is one of those beers where it is so hoppy it gets that hop sweetness. That is the only way I can describe it. Hoppy as hell without being overly bitter. I can draw some parallels between this and torpedo but this is warming as you drink it unlike Torpedo which is one of the most dangerous beers ever made. Got through about half the bottle and the alcohol makes you think you are drinking torpedo.

M: A little on the heavy side and sticky. Really coats the tongue.

D: Not as good as I remember having it on tap but that was a pilot batch. This is a really great aggressive DIPA. The price is a little crazy as it is the same as their estate beer. If they could put this into bottles for around $12 a six pack this would always be in the beer fridge. (1,202 characters)

Photo of suspect
4.77/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 24oz bottle into Duvel Tulip

A: Rich golden color with creamy head that leaves little lacing.

S: Holy sh** this thing really punches you in the nostrils with hops. It's the venerable "hop-bomb." Really piney/citrusy with hops all over. Faint malty smell but it more just dulls the hop-punch slightly.

T: Awesome. Up front hop, followed strongly by hops. Citrusy follow and malt comes through just before the bitter but doesn't last long. Alcohol presence clear but not overpowering. Balanced really nicely.

M: Sharp and biting with serious smooth.

D: I could drink this over and over. It might just be, for me, better than the 90 minute. Which is saying a lot.

Notes: Goddam I love this beer. I haven't had Hopslam yet but the bar for seasonal DIPA's has really been lifted high. (799 characters)

Photo of ncfranklin
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at The Nook in Huntsville, Al.

A: Nice orange, slightly translucent. Finger tall tan head of frothiness that laces the glass quite nicely. This is a inviting looking IPA.

S: Rich citrus and pine all over. Hey, it's a hop bomb, what would one expect? Only the slightest buscuity malt quality can be detected.

T: Bitter bite with a big pine hop splash. Smooths out with some time in the mouth so the malts can do their thing on the finish. No alcohol taste is present.

M: Very creamy, like a big Celebration ale.

D: Bold, with extreme ranges from bitter bite to smooth. Sierra Nevada makes a fine DIPA. (614 characters)

Photo of Lerxst
3.43/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Pours a clear gold/copper with a nice one inch off white head that has great retention and leaves wisps of sticky lace.

S-With a name like "Hoptimum" I was expecting a massive, hoppy blast to my olfactory senses. What I got was very pleasant, but a bit underwhelming. I'm getting citrus and pine with a semi sweet bready malt backbone.

T-A noticeable sweet/bready malt is the first thing I pick up followed by a bitter bite from the citrus and piney hops. And thats about it. The malt is too much on the forefront for my tastes in DIPAs.

M-Its surprisingly a bit syrupy in body. Medium body and carbonation.

D-The prominence of the sweet malt backbone and syrupy body detracts from this beer.

I'm disappointed with this one. Maybe my preconceived notions of a massive hop bomb are to blame for that. But with a name like "Hoptimum" what else should I expect?

This isn't a bad beer-especially if you like your DIPAs more balanced. It just didn't "wow" me. Still, a respectable offering from a fine brewery. (1,013 characters)

Photo of rowingbrewer
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

after trying hard to find this one and striking out at several shops I finally found a store well stocked with this one.

pours an almost orangish color with a decent white head. The smell is the best part of this beer, very hoppy very fresh. nice citrus notes in the smell. The taste is Where i was a little underwhelmed by this one. The alcohol is present a little bit, which was to be expected, but it seems like the alcohol takes away from the bitterness and hop flavor. It had a good flavor and decent bitterness, but while I was trying to enjoy those the alcohol seemed to make its presence known. also the mouthfeel was a little thicker than I like my DIPA. and with the abv there it was not as drinkable as say ghandi bot, heady, or pliny.

This was a good beer. I'm glad I tried it but would stick to torpedo from sierra nevada, or go get some ghandi bot whenever it hits shelves. (890 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was looking forward to a nice blast of hops. The beer was chilled and served in an Imperial Pint glass.

Appearance: The body of the beer is a bright golden coloration. The head was thick and about a finger and a half high biege colored.

Smell: I was expecting an immense hop assault. I am kind of let down. The aroma of the beer has citrus, pine, mango a suggestion of pineapple and citrus zest. Lots of caramel sweet malt wrapping up the hops. A bit of alcohol brings stings my nose.

Taste: The beer has the hops wrapped up in a sugary caramel. Sure plenty of citrus and tropical fruit. The expected pine resin flavors are in place. Frankly the beer is not the blast of hops I was expecting perhaps the alcohol and malt are a bit too sweet all around. This is still a tasty brew and I am glad I got some; however, I wish the hops too be a bit more bruising. Its a balanced DIPA when I was hoping for a hop wreck.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability: The mouthfeel is slick full bodied. Carbonation works out well to the beers character. The hops have a bit of resinous quality which actually improves flavor and mouthfeel. Not bad and I hope to see more of these types of beers from Sierra. (1,187 characters)

Photo of seeswo
3.36/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark golden color with a large off-white head that fades away quickly. Looks very similar to New Glarus Apple Ale, FWIW. Smells weakly hoppy, but difficult to discern exactly in what way. It's not a nose that gets you super excited. Sweetness and a little malt balances a robust, generic hop flavor. Light bitterness hangs on the back of the tongue. I am drinking this 2 days after it hit shelves locally, and it's not lacking hop flavor, and yet it really is a let down. There is nothing wrong with it, but it really doesnt bring anything to the table that gets me excited. Maybe I am becoming a snob. Reasonably drinkable with well-hidden alcohol. Good carbonation with a sweet, but not thick mouthfeel. Meh. (724 characters)

Photo of musicforairports
3.33/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled Dec. 16, reviewed on Feb. 3.

Pour light golden in color, carbonation visible, head small but fluffy and leaves little lacing.

Smells like sweet citrus flavors--grapefruit, mango, etc., with a bit of pine. But it smells mostly sweet. Perhaps some alcohol in the aroma.

Tastes like candied citrus fruit with a bunch of background bitterness. A titch of malt sweetness. Full of hops, for sure, but they all combine for a sweet, puckering flavor that lacks in terms of layers of depth. Tough for me to pinpoint distinct hop flavors. Lots of alcohol going on here, also. Very different from the typical hoppy Sierra Nevada offering.

Mouthfeel is sticky sweet, not very thick but leaves a coating on the mouth, which is good in an IIPA.

The ABV makes this one a bit tough to drink, and the intense hop sweetness also makes it a one-and-done for me. I think the hops would shine better here with less alcohol. I don't imagine I'll get this one again. (956 characters)

Photo of Fenris244
4.61/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Copper amber in color, minimal head, not so great retention...

Hop, pine, fruit and citrus aromas dominate my nose the fruit smells are apple and pineapple also a little solvent aroma is tucked down somewhere.

Great hop bitterness, citrus and lemon peel flavors as well, sweetness is apparent on the finish but man does that bitterness last. The alcohol is well hidden and I feel like the hops have peeled back the enamel on my teeth, love it!

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, low in body and damn does it pack punch, great sipping dipa (536 characters)

Photo of sitarist
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper color. A few lazy bubbles rise up to an inch and a half of frothy white head. The head falls to a frothy cap that leaves lots of lacy lacing.

Wow...this really smells of citrus. Tangerines, grapefruit, nectarines, some hints of pine, and mango. Its aroma is sweet, and pleasant.

The flavors match the nose...lots of citrus, and resiny pine. Its candy-like with a bitter finish. Imagine a hop flavored jolly-rancher if you will.

Medium to full body with little carbonation. It has a long bitter finish. The mouthfeel lacks something.

Great aroma, and flavor...the alcohol is hidden well, but the mouthfeel just doesn't sit right with me. (662 characters)

Photo of greenmonstah
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

24 oz bottle into DFH snifter

A - Pours a nice deep copper with a finger of off white head. Lacing is just great, coating the glass all the way down. Nice head retention, the head never dissipates fully.

S - Hop profile is similar to Torpedo, with pine and citrus hops most prevalent. A bit of muted sweetness in the background.

T - Hops, primarily bitter grapefruit with considerable pine presence. A bit of flowery hop is present too. Some caramel malty sweetness. A bit of grain in the finish. Some booziness. This is a hop show, and a very good one at that.

M - Medium bodied, just right. Slightly wet, could use some kind of drying effect that just isn't present. Boozy warmth is exceptionally pleasant. you get the warming effects with only the tiniest hint of booze flavor, which is excellent.

D - Very easy to drink. Glass was empty very quickly. There's initially a tinge of booze in the taste, but this tends to become a bit less noticeable as you drink more. (974 characters)

Photo of PDXHops
3.49/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Duvel tulip, this is a gorgeous brew, see-thru orange-amber with an absolutely massive frothy head that oh-so-slowly settles down to an uneven pillowy layer. Crazy retention with a ton of soapy and sticky lacing starting all the way up at the rim of the glass.

Smells like it has a similar hop profile as Torpedo- piney and grassy with some citrus. A lot more of those hops, but a load of malt sweetness and a hefty dose of alcohol as well. Tastes similarly frustrating. Scathingly bitter with a load of leafy/grapefruit/pine flavors, but quite sweet and very boozy. Although the hops definitely remind me of Torpedo, this 'big brother' version is missing the same raw power. The bitterness burns, but there's no gritty/scratchy finish that leaves you begging for mercy. Hoppy as all hell, but the sweetness and especially the booze become very distracting as it warms up. Definitely superior to something like Hopslam, which is almost gentle for the style. Hoptimum definitely has the hop end of the equation right, and I might be able to overlook the booziness if the malt backbone was drier.

Overall impression: It's not a bad beer by any means, but Hoptimum fails to meet the high standards I have for this brewery (my score is definitely inflated by the appearance rating). With rare exceptions (Hopsickle's the only one I can think of right offhand), it seems that DIPAs over 8.5 or 9% can't avoid the scenario where a sweet and boozy combo completely derails what the hops are trying to accomplish. Hoptimum comes closer than most to pulling it off, but falls a little short. (1,598 characters)

Photo of jminsc76
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Into a Duvel tulip, pours a HUGE, thick, creamy head atop a golden body exhibiting a blood-orange tinge. As I pour and agitate, the head reemerges nearly as large as its initial predecessor. Thick lacing as I tilt, pretty dancing bubbles.

Aromas are medium intensity, and include pine, orange, and biscuit-like malt.

Flavors of malty caramel, some lavender, sweet honey biscuit, and a mild yet complex offering of piny hops, citrus, and oranges on the finish. Packs quite a punch, though almost too juicy on the palate; could be slightly dryer.

Mouthfeel is thin and light, with just a slight bit of heat and bitter pine aftertaste.

Overall, Hoptimum packs plenty of flavor and bite, however, the bite seems to rely more on the malt profile than the hops. Don't get me wrong, the hops are there and they are abundant, but in a blind taste test I may be unable to tell the difference between this and something like 90 Minute DIPA by DFH. No matter, this near rivals the delicious complexity of Avery's Maharaja, with a juicy freshness that, again, could be tempered slightly by a dryer quality. (1,102 characters)

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,389 ratings.