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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,424 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,424
Hads: 6,077
Avg: 4.11
pDev: 24.09%
Wants: 395
Gots: 1,044 | FT: 7
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,424 | Hads: 6,077
Photo of Haybeerman
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Bright, clear orange/amber color. Poured a 2 finger pillowy off-white head with excellent retention. Decanted lazily. Lots of sticky lace.

S: Big floral and pine hop aromas. Caramel malt and unfermented survey offset the alcohol.

T: Bitter resiny pine bite up front. Thick caramel sweetness follows. Grapefruit rind builds in the bitter finish. Resiny and dry with lots of alcohol.

M: Full body. Moderate carbonation. A little harsh though thick. Flavorful, resiny and very dry and warming.

D: Drinkable. Very big beer though; hops, malt and alcohol. ABV make it hard to be too drinkable.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A light, bubbly white head crowns a clear copper (more on the red side) body. Beautiful lacing.

S: Strong hoppy aroma with a big bite of bitter pine in the nose. Hints of sugars and caramel malts soften the booze and hoppiness.

T: Whoah! Upfront flavor is a strong bitter pine hop flavor, followed with a syrup-like sweetness from caramel malts, and ends with sticky, intense, grapefruit hop flavor. Very warming from the high ABV.

M: This beer is definitely a full body with medium carbonation. A very thick, chewy texture that finishes a bit sticky.

D: This DIPA is not for the faint of heart. The bitter hop flavor is very sharp & aggressive. Although I enjoyed it a lot, it's definitely a sipper for me and one bomber at a time due to the high ABV.

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

**Note I am updating my review. see below for 2012 update/rating will denote new update... 2011 batch was 3.5**

Pours a rusty copper with a beautiful translucence. Big frothy white head that is hanging around more than 5 minutes after the pour. Lots of lacing all over the tulip. Looks a lot like DFH 90 in the glass.

A little light at first on the nose. After it warms, the hop forward smells are evident. Pine, light lemon and a meadow of Spring flowers. The sweet malts begin to show after a while.

Wow, l know why it looks like 90 min... Because it tastes like it too! out of the gate it is a straight malt bomb. Sweet Candied sugars and molasses. As it warms, the hops show up. Bitter hops, pine and very boozy.

Medium to full body with ample carbonation.

Don't think I can call this drinkable. All over the map. It's pretty imbalanced on the nose and the palate. Starts malty and ends hoppy and boozy. The fact that you can only get this in a bomber, makes it hard to drink for a pint and 1/2.
2012 batch is now avail in 12 oz 4-pack. so glad I picked this up because this year's offering tastes like a totally different beer they worked out the malt bomb problems and came back with a much better hop profile. lots of pine from the hops. can still taste the alcohol as it warms but much more balanced. well done, SN. should absolutely drink this fresh because it gets sugary sweet once the hops fade.

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Photo of rand
2.86/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

From bottle to tulip

Pours a deep copper-red, clear and inviting, with a 2-inch sea-foam head. A thick layer of lacing cascades under it's own weight leaving little trace. The nose is all pine. Big wafts of freshly cut pine flow out of the tulip glass carried by ample alcohol volatiles. Maybe a touch of honey-grapefruit add a little contrast, but faintly so.

And the taste follows, at least up front. Aggressive pine tones swarm the palate, as hop oils penetrate every crevice of your mouth. Sticky, chewy and bitter. Really bitter, which seems even more pronounced by the weight of the ale. Sharp notes of alcohol compound the astringent character. Some honey-citrus notes add some balance, but not enough. Flavors are sharp and biting, and there's a layer of sticky resin left on your tongue after each swallow.

If your in the mood for a hop fix, this will deliver, but if you like your bitter beers balanced, look elsewhere. Flavors are fresh and earthy, but overly astringent and disjointed.

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Photo of aasher
3.19/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer looks spectacular. It pours a beautiful and clear copper in color with a very spongy two finger, off white head. The aromas are piny hops, a splash of honey, and overly sweet malts without any alcohol. I'm a little surprised there isn't more to the nose. The flavors very wet, very piny, feature some light honey, malty sweetness, and ALOT of alcohol. I'm really surprised by how much alcohol is present. The 10.4% is everywhere and abundant throughout. It drinks very fresh and crisp and has a good amount of carbonation. This beer is just ok. I'm disappointed by it, especially for the price. I'd take a Torpedo any day over the Hoptimum.

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

I Bought a 24oz bottle from Swiftway Beer & Soda.

A: Beautiful amber color, almost a bright sienna. Head is white and lingers for a while - leaves a lacy residue.

S: Not super hoppy in the nose especially for a wholecone hopped imperial IPA. Alot of alcohol present.

T: Somewhat hot upfront, but to be expected for a 10.4% abv beer. Fairly balanced with a nice hoppy finish.

M: Mouthfeel is fairly light.

D: Hoptimum is very drinkable, especially for a big IPA. I enjoyed the entire 24oz and wanted another.

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Photo of smcolw
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good three-finger head. Slightly off-white. Leaves abundant spider web lace. Neutral amber color with a mild chill haze. Minute bubbles continuously float to the surface. The head never seems to die.

Fulfills the advertisement--lots of raw, floral hop. More citrusy than anything else.

Initial sip show some malt, but it's gone in no time. Strong grapefruit hop bitterness in the swallow and aftertaste...completely dominant to any other flavors. In fact, long after the swallow, my mouth still feels as if it is sucking a hop pellet. The alcohol content, although quite high, does not show up. The body is as expected.

For a DIPA, this is an amazingly easy drink.

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Photo of CaptCleveland
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased from local Heinen's for $7.99/per.
Two-finger, thick off-white head atop dark orange elixir.
Head stays and I have to abut my nose into the foam for a large sniff.
First waft reveals piny hops and biscuit with a hint of sweet cane sugar.
Second nasal draw adds orange, citrus to the mix.
No longer waiting for the head to subside, I take a mouthful, swirling the elixir, mouth open, buds ready.
Bitter Simcoe hops hit first and drag throughout the tasting. This is definitely one that leaves a resinous aftertaste.
The alcohol at 10+ABV is present and really separates this from the top tier of DIPAs.
Overall somewhat disappointed. I have enjoyed SN brewing and can remember my first taste of their flagship Pale Ale with fond memories. But this brew does not reach the heights. I would much rather drink a Founder's Double Trouble, Bells Hopslam or Great Lakes Monster.
Don't get me wrong here, I would gladly drink this brew, but would not seek it out or pay an outrageous sum. The state of craft brewing, especially in Ohio, leaves me with many options.

Now drinking their new batch in 4-pack 12oz bottles. Improved. Alcohol pushed back. Hops are in your face but smoothed. Nice job SN!

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Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: served in a chalice, tight little off-white head dropping down to a thin ring, the beer itself a medium copper-amber in color

s: big citrusy hops strike first - grapefruit and orange rind, spicy-sweet passionfruit, pale malt structure with an appropriate caramel presence, good stuff,

m: carbonation between light and moderate, body a heavy medium, sugary slick at times

t: lots of citrusy hop flavor on a simple pale malt body with a big sweetness, oily grapefruit rind, passionfruit, big pine sap push in the finish, love the combination of massive hops and simple malts, tropical hop candy, juicy with an assertive bitterness

d: it's clearly a big beer, with a warming alcohol presence, but tasty enough to keep things moving, fits the SN mo and reminds of a sweetened, heavy Celebration in terms of hop profile

24 oz from WF Arlington

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Photo of russwbeck
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear orange pour with only a bit of haziness, but a nice sized white head. The head has decent retention and lacing.

S: Nice piney hoppiness with a malt backbone. Not as hoppy as I expected.

T: Hops up front. Nice bitterness to begin with, which gives way to a malty finish. Not as good as Hopslam, but very well balanced.

MF: Light with a nice amount of carbonation.

D: Very drinkable, really well balanced.

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Photo of LiquidBread219
3.11/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A= Really looks good in a glass golden orange in color, about a 2inch head nice lacing.

S= For the beer being called Hoptimum and using whole-cones there isn't much in the nose get some floral hops.

T= I get more breaddy taste than hops carmel malt backbone. Grapefruit bites on the tongue.

M= Nice carbonation for this beer.

D= To me was hoping for something better glad I tryed it but won't be seeking it out again.

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Photo of roodie
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a chilled bottle into a great divide goblet

A: light copper hue, ~2 finger pillowy head, moderately carbonated, typical for my experience with the style. low head retention, minimal lacing.

S: piney hops, resinous, hints of something sweet, maple syrup vs. molasses? hints of citrus. definitely improved as it warmed

T: hoppy and bitter, with a sweet malty backbone hint on the back end. definitely hop forward and hop dominant.

M: this beer is quite smooth, not heavily carbonated, with a lingering bitterness.

Overall, I really like this beer, more hopforward than my favorites, but a great beer.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours copper/orange with a thick creamy head. A lot clinging to the sides.

Nice has a solid malt base. A lot of fresh hop resin. Citrus and juicy fruit. Some spice.

A bunch of things are happening here. Earth tones up front but with a quick flash of caramel sweetness. A light sweetness carries through the middle. There is a balance of earth and fruity hops here I haven't experienced before. More on the earthy side with a quick hard hit of bitterness. Solid bitter finish but well balanced.

The 10.4%ABV is apparent so this is definitely a slow sipper. Medium malt body with a large amount of hops.

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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 WanderingFool
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hoptimum pours a clear, brilliant amber color into the glass with a steady stream of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass. On top a small stiff white head forms. As the foam dissolves several spots and lines of lace remain on the glass.

The aroma isn't as strong as I expected, but has nice notes of pine and grapefruit citrus. A little bit of pale malt is also detected.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer feels thick on the palate and slightly chewy and slick at the end. Moderate carbonation. The flavor is loaded with hops with pine and grapefruit citrus dominating. A little bit peppery in the middle and towards the end sweet caramel malt with a touch of light fruit (peach?) help balance out the hops. It finishes bitter with the citrus hops lingering on the palate when gone.

A very tasty, fairly easy to drink Imperial IPA. Should be sipped to enjoy each moment. The aroma comes through stronger as the beer warms. It could use a little more sweetness to help balance out all the hops.

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Photo of amcmaho1
3.65/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes...

Appearance: Golden body with tinges of orange. Big, frothy head which sticks around for some time. Nice lacing through out.

Smell: Hops obviously, and a great showcase at that. Lots of citrus and piney hop aroma with some malt sweetness, and some definite booziness.

Taste: Nice and bitter, without any residual sweetness of a beer with as high of an ABV. The alcohol seems a bit astringent, though not unpleasant; the hops are still center stage.

Mouthfeel: Thick and rather sticky for a DIPA, though not overly sweet at all.

Drinkability: It's a pretty big DIPA, and probably not for the faint of hops. I enjoyed the hop profile of this beer, and found that even though it's a bit oppressive, it still has it's nuances.

*I fear that hype had a little to do with me going out of my way to secure a bottle of this beer. Where it was good, i never had a "wow" moment with it, but that's just me...

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Photo of saintwarrick
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice amber/light orange. Foamy white head is long-term building fast then lacing the glass and the top of the beer. Aroma is hop oils, honey, light peaches and citrus fruits. Fresh hop leaves hit at the first sip, followed by grapefruit and orange peel. Taste starts light then turns bitter with some slight syrupy flavors. A hop head's delight. A very well-constructed brew, balanced for the style with no cloying. Just a damn tasty brew.

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

A: Medium amber in color. Crystal clear with a full just off white head.

S: Sweet caramel backed by a smack of hops. Pineapple, and tropical fruit, with some nice pine notes.

T: Caramel notes followed by a nice bitterness and hop flavor. Pine and some grassy notes as well as citrus, and tropical fruits.

M: Medium in body, nice carbonation.

D: Tasty. Something I would definitely drink again. Good hop flavors, and a nice bit of malt.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

$8.00 24 oz. bomber from Abe's.

Beautiful deep gold color, topped by three fingers of off-white super dense micro bubbles. Nice sticy lace down the ball of my Aventinus glass.

Big enticing aroma of pine and grapefruit.

Huge sweet slab across the tongue, like a flypaper covered phone book. After that there are explosions all around, drippy juicy fruit all over the mouth and a blast of bitterness that echoes on and on. Its on going on at once so the individual sensations can blur together.

Solid medium mouthfeel carries through well. Alcohol is tucked away nicely. Definitely in the dangerous drinkable category. I wouldn't have two of these in a night, but I definitely could go for more than the two bombers I bought.

Highly recommended if you are open to more IIPAs than Pliny and HopSlam.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After a glowing review from a palette that I trust decided to take the plunge...for my 300th review

A - Poured a nice deep rich orange/amber with a full finger of frothy white head into my oversized snifter. Lacing was kind of clingy.

S - Nicely sweetened hop profile. Sweet and inviting...a little biscuit like. I really expected this to be so much thicker and syrup like so the smell was a pleasant surprise. Candy bananas and clove vanilla too.

T - Wow. Different for sure. Vanilla hops. Alcohol drenched hops. It's brisk baby...and the malts are nicely balanced and the hops don't blow my head off.

M/D - Crisp and even. I really expected something way more hop forward and bitter. This was a pleasant surprise. Although I don't doubt my buddy's palette, he is definitely a fan of getting slammed in the face with hops, which I am not so much a fan of, although being in hopslam season, not much feels like a hops slap in the face. After taste is a tingly alcohol. Definitely worth the taste.

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Photo of grover37
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber from D'Vines for about $9 iirc.

Appearance (3.5): Mostly clear, dark orange. A finger of head with a lot of medium sized bubbles reduces a ring and a patch in the middle.

Smell (3): Strong crystal malt backbone and pretty hot. A bitter sweetness but not a whole lot of aroma hops stand out.

Taste (4): Orangey citrus flavor up front. A little bitter kick in the middle which sticks around. Not a whole lot of sweetness surprisingly. The caramel doesn't show up much.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Medium to full bodied and medium carbonation. Very bitter and warming.

Drinkability (2.5): Too hot for its own good. A good DIPA, but too strong for the hops. Balanced but not what I expected from a Sierra DIPA.

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Photo of tozz8
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

24 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A--Clear bright, golden amber body. Thick, 2 finger off-white head that matches the color of the body. The head lasts and lasts. very little lacing. Nice appearance, but its nothing special.

S--Pine and fruit as expected. Grapefruit and Strawberry? Yup, I'm going with strawberry. Not really picking up and malt characteristics.

T--Very bitter, but not a citrusy as advertised by the smell. While it not offensive or overpowering the alcohol is present as can be expected for an ABV of 10.4%. Malty sweetness is present to compliment the bitterness of the hops. I would say that it is a very balanced dipa(as balanced as they should be.)

M--Medium body. Not syrupy at all. Carbonation is nice, almost too light.

D--At 10.4% this is not a session beer. Considering that, I will jump at the chance to drink another the next time this one comes around.

Overall, Hoptimum has a great taste, but the alcohol distracts my palate so much that I am prevented from enjoying it. I much more enjoyed their Ghidorah IPA that was out this past summer/fall. I had high hopes that this would be the next Hopslam or even Pliny. While this is a good beer, it falls far short from being mentioned alongside those two.

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Photo of drinkiusmaximus
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a burnt orange color with a two fingers head. smells of orange peel and bitterness very inviting. taste is hoppy citrous and slightly sweet. medium to heavy body with a lingering bitterness. Drinkability is good for me although it is a DIPA so i probably wouldnt have too many glasses.


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Photo of 33nickadams
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yellowish amber, slight head and lacing, and transparent. Very citrusy smell. I wasn't expecting the taste to be so refreshing and tangy. A nice departure from other dipas I've had. Alcohol, at about 10%, is well hidden. Great carbonation and medium body. I wish they sold this in 6 packs instead of the bomber, because I would drink more than two glasses. Although the price at 9.99 a bomber is a little hard to overcome. I love my Mi dipa's and this is the first non midwest dipa that I really enjoyed.

Edit 5/17/12- Having this a 3rd time now and I can clearly say that this is one of the best DIPA's I've ever had.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hoptimum's body is a bright color that is somewhere between gold and shint copper. The thin, tan head leaves pretty good lacing behind.

The aroma is very nice. Loads of tropical fruit, leafy hops and resinous pine. Just a ton of hops, and very pleasant at that. Crystal malts float around in the background.

The main failing of Hoptimum in my mind is that the malts are much more assertive in the flavor than they are in the aroma, giving the beer a pretty good amount of sugary sweetness. The flavor does start out with a really good dose of hops though, with pineapple, apricot and a good bit of lemon. Next faint, leafy hop flavors mix with large, resinous pine flavors. There is a pretty large amount of bitterness. The malt comes through in the finish.

The mouthfeel is big and creamy with pretty smooth carbonation.

I like Hoptimum, and I'm a big Sierra Nevada fan, but the big sweetness turned me off a little bit. With that said, it hides the high ABV pretty well.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,424 ratings.