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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.

1,420 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,420
Hads: 6,049
Avg: 4.11
pDev: 24.09%
Wants: 393
Gots: 1,019 | 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: 1,420 | Hads: 6,049
Photo of jera1350
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a coppery gold color with a massive tan foamy head that produces a generous amount of lace and has nice retention.

Like a plump and juicy fresh hop cone. The only knock I have is that it's not the strongest smell, hence the four.

As expected a big dose of oily, resiny and citrus (grapefruit) hops. Not overly bitter due in large part to the big malt backbone present. Really fresh, clean and crisp. Some noticeable alcohol is present.

Foamy, creamy and frothy. Really a nice smooth mouthfeel from this medium full bodied beer. Very dry on the finish.

I like this beer, but I do not love it. It is a very good DIPA, but it is not top tier and it does come with a hefty price tag. I'm glad to have been able to try it and it is a well crafted beer that utilizes the glorious hop.

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

Poured from bottle into an oversize wine glass

A: Amber color. Medium carbonation. Minimal head and lacing.

S: Sweet and earthy. Pine and citrus. Wonderful dry hopped aroma.

T: Well balanced. Sweet malts and rich hop character. Not too piney. Strong hops present all the way through. For a 10.4% alcohol beer the alcohol is barely noticed. Full hop flavor.

M: Medium body. Carbonation and and body make for a smooth drink. Residual hop bitterness persists.

D: Much too easy to drink for a Double IPA. Hops are well balanced with sweetness and alcohol is barely noticed.

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Photo of billab914
3.15/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Southern Tier tulip glass. It poured a beautiful, clear, amber color with a thick and frothy white head to it. The head settled a bit but left some nice lacing as it did.

The aroma has a bright and fresh hoppy citrus to it. Lots of grapefruit with a little lemon and pine. The hops definitely feel very fresh and bright to it. I'm not clear if this was a fresh hop beer or not but the aroma feels like it is.

The taste starts off pretty nice with some bright citrus and grapefruit flavors. unfortunately though the alcohol really starts to come through and gives it a solvent like bite mixed with the resiny hop bitterness. I get some of the bitter pine and grapefruit flavors along with some sweet almost cookie like malt to it as well. The alcohol is unfortunately the biggest contributor in the finish though, even overshadowing the hops for me. It's definitely one of the booziest DIPA's I've had.

The mouthfeel is is medium bodied with a little below average carbonation for the style. The mouthfeel is also a bit slick and boozy. Drinkability is average, it has some nice hoppiness but too much alcohol bite and heat for me. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it were 8% or below. Not a bad beer to start the evening with (split 2 ways), but probably one I wouldn't buy again.

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Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
2.43/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks to loftisCT for providing the dating convention for this beer.

Picked this up tonight (see review date) and I have to say for all the hype and all the other Sierra Nevada brews that I love so much like Torpedo, that I'm disappointed in this beer.

I got the pint bottle and poured into a sparkling snifter and saw that it looks fantastic. Mostly clear with nice visible carbonation, nice warm amber color and white head with serious lacing. The aroma is floral, citrusy, w alcohol. The alcohol dominates this beer heavily which doesn't totally ruin it for me but with the label depicting a black-tie gentleman with a hop bud for a head why, you'd expect to be bowled over with the hops, not the alcohol - you aren't. FWIW, this is a potent brew.

Anyone reading this review please tell me if there's a date on the bottle other than the 2011 on the neck label. Logically, that seems like the date but from the taste, this seems like a hop beer that's been allowed to sit too long.

EDIT: Having been told the convention of the bottle date and this one was perfectly fresh. I've adjusted my scores to remove all doubt (and charitable points). This was a boozy, under-hopped mess. Having poured the remainder of the bottle down the drain, I will continue to enjoy other IPAs.

EDIT for draft: I recently was able to try this on tap and my original review stands. Although this has the potential to be a tasty hoppy brew, it is ruined by the high ABV content. SN, you almost pulled it off but this is just too hot. The original malt is too far hidden and the booze is off the charts. I finished the glass but not happily - and my tongue was scorched. Use this to clean your counter tops.

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

Drank this in my car while waiting out a snow storm. Poured into a plastic cup I found on the floor of my back seat. Cant get much of the color in a blue cup, but there is a nice pillowy white head and aromas of hops jump right out. Smells awesome, ctaste is clean and crisp with a super hoppy finish. Citrus fruits and pine intermingle, but this is a straight forward hop bomb. Perfect, one of the better over-hopped Sierra offerings.

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

A - Extremely clear, nice white head, stays around for awhile, nice lacing, low to moderate carbonation.

S - Citrus and floral hop aromas with the floral part having some sweetness. Definitely hop dominant.

T - Lots of hop flavor, predominantly citrus, some sweet malt but hops dominate throughout as they should in an IIPA.

M - Moderate body, they did a good job of getting the beer to attenuate which allows it to not feel too heave at the finish, especially with the alcohol warmth at the end.

D - This beer packs quite a hop punch, the fresh hops give it a nice floral character and a sweeter bite, but 22 oz is good enough for me.

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Photo of HURTemHIZZY
3.28/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I really wanted to like this more than I did. Love Sierra Nevada, but this beer is only ok. Pours a clear amber with a nice off white head that has decent retention and leaves decent lacing behind. Smell is heavy on the malt side, with the hops showing themselves as well in the form of pine primarily, but also with hints of citrus.

The smell worried me, as it was pretty malt heavy, and this carries over to the flavor. Simply too heavy on the malt bill for a iipa imo. Caramel and bready malts almost overshadow the hops, which shouldn't happen. The hops are also fairly one dimensional, with a huge lean towards pine. I like pine resin, but I like it to complement citrus, tropicals etc. Mouthfeel is probably the best attribute of the beer. Medium body, nice level of lively carbonation. I'll revisit this, but I was a bit disappointed the first time around.

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Photo of PreacherBrewer
3.02/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

First of all, the bottle design is kick ass. I love the dollar bill-esk design with the hop in the place of the face. Brilliant!

A - Pours a deep golden brown with a generous, creamy, eggshell-white head. Darker hue than any other DIPA I've seen. Makes my mouth water!

S - Sadly, not as complex as I had hoped. The scents of fresh pine, bright citrus and a hint of alcohol are pleasant once you can pick'em out. I'm used to DIPA's having wonderfully complex bouquets...not so with this one unfortunately.

T - Wow. Can you say Hop-bomb!?! You get some deep smooth malt on the palette right away, then quickly get smacked with very in your face hop bitterness. There is some pine sap, bark, and faint citrus notes. The piney-ness really takes over this brew, and even lingers long in the finish and aftertaste.

M - Almost full bodied and crisp. Not as creamy as other DIPA's so it might turn off some, and make other smile (Neutral difference).

0 - Honestly, it tastes like a glorified Torpedo. Nothing was special about it. I can drink one, but wouldn't reach for another. Hop bitterness is flirting with the line of tolerance. Definitely not worth the $9 price tag.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Lucky to find this at MGM St Loius Park as they only got 4 bottles in. Poured into a New Belgium tulip glass a copper amber orange color with a tight fluffy off white head. Laces while it settles. Sweet citric hoppy aroma in the nose. Very sweet start moves quickly to hard core citrus hop resin flavors with a pretty hot booze flavor. Lingering bitter and booze notes. Medium mouthfeel. Overall, I'm not really impressed with this. It's pretty over the top and not very balanced. I fully understand that the over the top was the goal but still it could have been better.

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Photo of Bludgeon
4.73/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I loved this beer when I drank a pint of it on tap at BC's Pizza and Beer in Clovis CA.

I loved how the head stuck to the glass, I guess you folks call that "lacing", but more importantly I loved that hoppy green floral smell that permeated from it.

Good thing for me that I love hoppy beer cause this beer is golly gosh darn hoppy folks!

I also loved how the hop flavor stuck in my mouth for a long time after I was finished drinking it too.

Ya know what else I loved about this beer folks? The high alcohol content. It made me all happy dappy after drinking it. The high alcohol level was brilliantly disguised by the wonderful and plentiful hops though. I could drink this beer all night long.

I did not take much notice to its color though, couldn't tell ya much about that part of the experiecnce but everything else was awesome.

Very drinkable to me but I love hoppy beers, folks who don't love the bitterness of hoppy beers might not care much for this exceptional brew but I give it a grade A thumbs up!

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Photo of Zorro
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear orange colored beer with a small tan colored head.

Smells strongly of pine. Scents of grapefruit, eucalyptus, mint and ginger. Faint trace of menthol.

Starts out hoppy and savory before your mouth can sort out the bitterness. Little bit sweet and herbal with a pineapple flavor. Papaya and a race of garlic and some mint.

Mouthfeel id OK.

Drinkability is OK. This is an OK Double IPA but it just didn't wow me.

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

24oz bottle served cool into a pint glass.

Hoptimum is a golden amber color with surprisingly good clarity for such a hoppy style. The head settles fairly quickly but leaves some nice lace behind.

Aroma is very hoppy with tons of grapefruit and other citrus.

Flavor is much the same - extremely bitter with a huge grapefruit presence. You could be forgiven for thinking they might have actually used grapefruit juice to make it. Other elements of the flavor, which are subtle by comparison are very similar to those found in other Sierra Nevada beers like their Celebration. Much of that may be the yeast.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and completely lacking in balance. This is a double IPA gone mad. Alcohol is strong and you can sense it in the mouth. Not quite hot but not far off.

Overall a huge DIPA and one that grapefruit fans will probably love. For me, it's just a bit one-dimensional.

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

24oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Pours a pretty coppery color, clear with no visible sediment, nice big pale head that fades and leaves a lot of thick lacing. Smell is powerful. I haven't even brought it close to my face and I can smell the hops, and it smells enticing. I smell pine and spice, lots of flowers. Loaded with hops.

Taste is dominated by hops bitterness, the malty sweetness cannot keep up. Perhaps about halfway through, I'll get more accustomed to the hops and it will seem a little better balanced. The flavors are good.

Mouthfeel is thick and sticky, drinkability is greatly enhanced by the dry bitterness.


This time in a 12 ounce bottle. This is still very good.

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Photo of pmccallum86
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden amber color with a thick bubbly head.

Smell is awesome, full of citrus and pine aromas. Awesome smelling DIPA.

Taste is bitter up front but fades into an awesome orchestra of hops. The malts take a back seat, the way a DIPA should be.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a medium level of carbonation, very nice.

Overall an excellent beer, I would love to see this more widely available.

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Photo of corby112
1.89/5  rDev -54%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On draft at London Grille.

Pours a clear golden yellowish orange color with pale golden yellow hues when held to a light source and a 1.5 finger frothy white head that slowly fades into a thin lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Earthy hop aroma with hints of pine as well as citrus and tropical fruit. There's also a prominent sweet alcohol aroma which takes away from the hops significantly and a nice biscuit/Graham cracker malt character. Subtle grapefruit and citrus peel but the nose is overpowered by an earthy/soil like and sweet alcohol presence.

Chewy body that's on the fuller end of the spectrum with a blast of earthy bitter hops up front that lingers throughout but fades toward the sweet, hot finish. Slick and oily feeling with a one dimensional hop profile. Very faint citrus/tropical fruit character and again, a way too powerful alcohol presence that kills the better qualities of this beer. Sweet pale malt backbone that lacks the graham cracker biscuit character that the aroma suggested. The ABV is well masked as far as heat is cncerned but there is a lot of alcohol flavor.

This beer is kind of a mess really. Not very hoppy, especially when the palate adjusts to the original earthy pine flavor. Half way through the glass it tastes like a mildly hoppy sweet phenolic failure. I'm a big fan of SN and I was really excited to try this one but it was a huge disappointment. I'm glad I didn't sprig for the bottles.

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Photo of bohemiandonut
4.68/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The sheer amount of recon work one has to do in San Diego to find a reliable beer store makes it near impossible to leave. Tonight, while getting my hands on some Firestone Double Jack, I stumble on... Hoptimum? Dude no way!

The pour is crystal clear and brilliant reddish orange. Head is dense, white, and there to stay. Indeed, even the look of this beer screams "Hop Masterpiece."

Others will no doubt dissect this grand aroma much better than myself, but I'm getting Simcoe loud and clear before the traditional Sierra Nevada blend. I say Simcoe anytime I mean "tropical, mango-ey, Sculpin-like" flavors, for the record. Those are definitely present here, and I'm loving it, especially rounded out by SN's expert use of malt. (Dat grass.) Alcohol is in the room but relatively sedate, showing up once or twice in the delicately chewy mouthfeel and spicy finish.

I can't wait to share a pitcher of this asap and must commend Sierra on successfully establishing itself among the DIPA elite. I knew they had it in 'em.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 01/21/11 notes.

a - Pours an orange color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus hops, fruity malts, caramel malts, and light pine.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, pine hops, and fruity malts. A bit bitter.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty nice DIPA. Lots of citrus in the nose, would try again.

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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 mcallister
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Copper with a redish hue, and unfortunately filtered. Large carbonation bubbles make there way to the two inch frothy head resting above the liquid. Patchy lacing crawls behind.

Piney, resinous hop aromas with some toffee and biscuity malt aspects. A bit of stonefruit also.

Nice, good prickly carbonation, a bit hot in the mouth, well balanced. Herbal, grassy, piney, stonefruit in your face hops on the finish. A tad a floral and citrus in there but on the back end. Cereal type grainy middle with hints of toffee. Big alcohol hurts drinkability.

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

On tap @ Pizza Port

A- pours a clear dark orange with no head, but leaves an impressive lacing trail

S- sweet earthy malt up front with a faint citric hop at the end. I was expecting a ton of hops

T- big pine assault with a bitter rind linger and a bready malt sweetness. Pretty heavy booze kick

M- a little on the thick side with low carbonation. A little unbalanced, but not bad at all

D- pretty decent. Not something I'd like to drink a ton of, and honestly I probably won't buy this again. For the cost, I feel this is an over hyped beer. There's plenty of stellar DIPA's out there, and living in SoCal, the pickin' is a plenty!!!

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Photo of emagana
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured in my Sierra Nevada pint glass.
Light. Copper orange with a half inch of white head.
Floral pint dominates the smell. Not as inticing as I would like but very balanced.
Starts of bitter right off the bat and coats every inch of the palate with hops. Grassy and piney all around. Finishes with some alcohol bite. The bitterness warns the mouth of the dangerous alcohol. Sierra Nevada did a great job with this and a definite winner. I wish they would sell in sixer for the future.

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

Appearance - Pours into my SA Perfect Pint with a dark orange/amber color. About two fingers of slight tan head is achieved with a decent pour, that dissipates at a moderate pace leaving nice looking lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Heavy grapefruit rind, floral/grass notes, citrus, pine, and heavy hops. A slight malty backbone is present.

Taste - Rather smooth considering what this is supposed to be, though there is a definite bitter sting up front and a lingering bitterness at the end. In between there is a heavy hop/piney resin flavor mixed with bitter grapefruit rind, lemon, floral/grass notes. There is also alcohol in the taste.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, creamy, medium to lower carbonation, finishes dry.

Drinkability - While the ABV is hidden relatively well, I can still taste it and feel it as I sip on this. The beer is, I don't know...somewhat average to be honest. At almost eleven dollars for a bomber of this, I will not be picking it up in the future. Good thing I have a Pliny in the refrigerator waiting for me.

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

A: blood orange colored, dense, mellow carbonation with a little dash of head that all but vanishes in the first 20 seconds, nice lacing.

S: hops hops hops, mostly of the citrus variety, grapefruit and lemon zest, melon.

T: so sweet, so bitter, so spicy it's almost overwhelming--scratch that, it IS overwhelming! But being overwhelmed never felt so good. Bittersweet was never more aptly applied to a flavor profile. I am left with the same impression as if I chewed up a hop flower, bit into a lemon and washed it down with a glass of simple syrup. Really it's like a mildly carbonated hop syrup.

M: thick and syrupy, low carbonation but not exactly flat, nice alcohol warmth.

D: I once ate a fresh Citra hop flower and I tasted pretty much exactly like this beer. It scorched my tongue, it caused my throat to seize up and resist, and it coated my entire mouth with the spicy, resiny, garlic-y, citrus-y hop oils. This is pretty much a distillation of that. And I like it.

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Photo of TKEbeerman
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into my pint glass, this brew pours a golden yellow with a giant fluffy tan head. This great looking IPA is just about spot on for a world class brew.

S: The aroma is similar to Celebration, but much more beefed up. Notes of grapefruit and citrus take over with a piny background.

T: The flavor profile is definitely the best thing Sierra Nevada has ever done with hops. The usual SN piny resin is there, but with a fresh hop citrus and sweetness backed up from the malt.

MF: Mouthfeel is spot on, medium full and with a pleasant hop after taste.

D: Drink is great, this brew is big, and alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of Someguy1989
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

A: Orange-Amber color with a decent white head

S: Like liquid sex. Smelt of the hop bomb it is, lots of fruit in the hops. Pineapple, grapefruit, piney, and a tad herbal. I can't think of many better smells on this earth.

T: Hoppy citrus flavors at first, an almost pineapple flavor at first.. As the beer warmed the hopiness became a little bit harsher and piney on the tongue.

M/D: Mouthfeel was thick and syrupy with a pleasant carbonation. However due to its heavy carbonation and palette nuking hoppiness, its not the most easy bomber to finish.

Overall a pretty damn good DIPA. not perfect but I'm glad I got to try it

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