1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,317 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,317
Reviews: 1,325
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 259
Gots: 575 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
A group of hop-heads and publicans challenged our Beer Camp brewers to push the extremes of whole-cone hop brewing. The result is this: a 100 IBU, whole-cone hurricane of flavor. Simply put —Hoptimum: the biggest whole-cone IPA we have ever produced. Aggressively hopped, dry-hopped, AND torpedoed with our exclusive new hop varieties for ultra-intense flavors and aromas.

Resinous "new-school" and exclusive hop varieties carry the bold and aromatic nose. The flavor follows the aroma with layers of aggressive hoppiness, featuring notes of grapefruit rind, rose, lilac, cedar, and tropical fruit—all culminating in a dry and lasting finish.

(Beer added by: kaseydad on 02-07-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,317 | Reviews: 1,325 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sailorastro
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

sailorastro, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into shaped Dogfish pint. Laser printed code deciphers to February 17, 2012 (9:23 AM), so just over a month old. Thanks, Jeff, for hooking me up with this.

A - Pours a bright copper color with total clarity. A few fingers of off white head dies to a thin layer and leaves a great tiered lacing.

S - Very strong sappy hop aroma with sweet citrus and some biscuit pulling it together. The hoppy aroma is powerful, but the smell is far from one dimensional.

T - There is an initial pine bite, then a very sweet tangerine and caramel malt center. The finish comes back to the whole cone hops and a little bit of alcohol. Strong pine aftertaste. Goes through a nice transition from bitter bite, to sweet, back to bitter in each sip. Very balanced.

M - Good carbonation and a medium feel. A little bit sticky on the tongue.

O - It is balanced, but that is not what I was expecting from "the ultimate whole-cone hop experience." I am usually not a firm believer in DIPA's falling off after a few weeks or a month, but I wonder what this tastes like super fresh. Either way, I really enjoyed it for the balance between bitter and tropical/citrusy/caramel sweet. Goes down easy for 10.4%. I will definitely get it again, especially if my local bottle shop ever gets it in.

EDIT: I have waited a while for this one to come back around and my palate has changed considerably since my review. I now find this beer to absolutely tasty. Resinous, citrus, pine, with a huge hop wallop. Well done. (Overall - 4.25)

NoLeafClover44, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of CSQ1111
4/5  rDev -4.3%

CSQ1111, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of sammo
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

sammo, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of russpowell
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent bronze with 3 fingers of cream colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Pineyness, grapefruit, not much else

T: Follows the nose, intense pineyness, grapefruit rind & some dry caramel up front. Pineyness gains intensity along with orange rind, a bit of biscuitty malt & caramel sweetness tries to fight through the bitterness, dome woody hops & ruby red grapefruit. Finishes with massive citric & pine bitterness with a touch of caramel hiding in the background.

MF: Fairly chewy, slight carbonation, skews hoppy, but in balance for the most part

I really liked this, not the best, but one I'll buy again if given the chance

russpowell, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of kchannel9
3/5  rDev -28.2%

kchannel9, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of divineaudio
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottled on the 31st day of 2012 (if i'm reading the code correctly).

a - pours amber in color and forms a two finger, creamy, off white head. retention is good, calming slowly to a thin film and leaving large swaths of lacing in the glass.

s - biscuity malt, grass, faint honey.

t - more of the nose really. bready and sweet with grassy hop character, occasional citrus notes and a lingering, piney bitterness for balance. alcohol content is well hidden.

m - full bodied, adequate carbonation, medium co2 profile.

o - solid overall, but not especially memorable. seems like the west coast version of hopslam, which i enjoyed more. worth trying if you're into super hoppy beers.

divineaudio, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of serottaboy
2/5  rDev -52.2%

serottaboy, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of geoffsm12
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

geoffsm12, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of Monkeyknife
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle a clear amber-gold with two fingers of rich off-white head. A good amount of sticky lacing left behind.

Juicy aroma of grapefruit, pineapple and fresh grass.

The taste was quite balanced with grapefruit and pineapple and a hit of honey and caramel malts. Bitter bite to the finish. The 10% abv was very well-hidden.

Medium bodied and syrupy with a moderate carbonation.

Delicious. This IIPA from SN rates amongst my favorites without a doubt.

Monkeyknife, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of barczar
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brilliantly clear copper color with a one finger cream head that dissipates into large bubbles across the surface.

Strong hop aromas of grapefruit pith, onion, and fresh cut grass dominate. Pineapple, caramel malt, and pine are evident in the second sniff.

Flavor is initially balanced, with bready sweet malt supporting grapefruit, apricot, and pine. Then, the bittering takes over and unleashes a dominant assault on the tongue. The finish is peppery and almost minty, likely accentuated by the massive bitterness.

Body is moderately heavy, with slightly low carbonation. An alcoholic warmth is felt.

Overall, a bit of a roller coaster ride of hop flavor. Very much citrus and herbal hop upfront, finishing bitter to the extreme. One of few beers I prefer on the colder side.

barczar, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I’ve never heard of this beer before, but anything hoppy from Sierra Nevada sounds good to me.

Brewed a month before the date of this tasting (Bottled on February 17, 2012).

A: Pours a thick amber, with a clear, yet dark hue. A big, tan head appears as a two-inch pillow of bubbles, leaving bold lacing all the way down. Retention is silky and thick; impressive.

S: It begins with a fresh fruit and pine juiciness, such incredible hop aromas of kiwi, lemon, resin, and tart berry. They fill the nostrils with a prickly citrus fruitiness, which push some syrupy malts to the front of the nose; grape jam, toffee, and toasted caramel malt roll out in full West Coast fashion. What a superb nose; balance and flavorful.

T: I feel like a carpet of malted grains covers the inside of the mouth as soon as I take a sip: caramel syrupiness and an oily, earthy honey flavor coat the mouth. Hops rise up: not stinging, not thick, but flavorful. A resiny pine sensation rips through the malt screen, tailing some sweet floral, some bitter grapefruit, and a lemony brightness. Coriander and some orange zest, potpourri-like spice add a loveable complexity to the bitterness, sweeping the aftertaste to a warm, alcoholic dryness. A bit biscuity on the finish, rounding this out nicely.

M: Incredibly drinkable – this really may be the best alcohol content to drinkability ratio of any beer I’ve ever had. This 10.4% brew is drinking like Prima Pils, and it’s scaring me; just a smoothly-full feel and a hint of astringency.

O: What a beer! Probably my favorite Sierra Nevada IPA behind Celebration (and maybe even surpassing it, considering the less abrasive hop bitterness). I’ll definitely buy this again, though it is pricey.

BarryMFBurton, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of dorianmarley
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is light brown with the biggest head imaginable and great lacing.

Nose is fresh, hardy hops with juniper berry and golden raisin.

Taste is an explosion of tart hops with some honeyed malt carrying along. There is plenty of caramel.

Mouthfeel is smooth, with sizzle from the hops. It has plenty of oil-slickness. Carbonation is medium-high. It goes down easily considering all the flavor.

Overall, this is a fun flavor-bomb.

dorianmarley, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of Archemedies
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Archemedies, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of TeasdAle
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

TeasdAle, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of tdmccarthy
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

tdmccarthy, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of PeteTheBeerDrinker
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

PeteTheBeerDrinker, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of pjeezus
5/5  rDev +19.6%

pjeezus, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of Kevlee722
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Kevlee722, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of tastybeer
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Amber beer with a big bubbly bone white head. Lacing is scattered around the glass once the head fades to a soapy 1/4". Aroma is pretty fantastic. Citrus and pine, lemon candy, bread dough, apple, pineapple....all sorts of yummy stuff. Everything comes together well. Taste is full of both bright, sweet hop flavors, and darker, danker, more earthy ones. Really well done for such a strong beer. Mouthfeel is smooth and a touch syrupy, with tingly carbonation which is pleasantly supplemented by steady bitterness through the finish. Great imperial IPA.

tastybeer, Mar 20, 2012
Photo of mz3frs
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

mz3frs, Mar 20, 2012
Photo of creez
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

creez, Mar 20, 2012
Photo of karatebartender
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

karatebartender, Mar 20, 2012
Photo of CaddyB
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

CaddyB, Mar 20, 2012
Photo of beerman999999
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

beerman999999, Mar 20, 2012
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 5,317 ratings.