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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.

5,369 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,369
Reviews: 1,331
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 262
Gots: 602 | 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:
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
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Ratings: 5,369 | Reviews: 1,331 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerAmbassador
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 24 oz bottle. Beer pours a light amber with a two finger head that dissipated after about 3 minutes. Resinous herbs along with grapefruit on the nose. Nice bitter punch and just a bit sweet on the end. It might be a little on the boozy side, which stands to reason since it is 10.4% but many big beers these days seem to hide their alcohol. All in all a nice beer but not something I would drink all that often. (probably because I am within a half hour of Russian River Brewery)

BeerAmbassador, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of rajendra82
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer poured out clear, and was orange in color. The head was about one finger thick and long lasting. The beer was extremely aromatic, and each whiff revealed smells of pine and grapefruit, followed by tangerine and a hint of banana. The taste was piny, herbal, and very bitter, which made it just about perfect for the style. The malt backbone was sticky and sugary, but it was only their as a supporting actor. The hops remained evident from the beginning to the end of each sip, and lingered on in the spicy aftertaste. Mouthfeel was slightly thicker than medium, providing a nice coating action. A fabulous example of the style from this brewery doesn't surprise me one bit.

rajendra82, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of diomz88
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - dark bright amber or orange, clear and not hazy for a double IPA, whitish head one finger that recedes right away.
S - piney, flowery, citrusy, more grapefruit and lemons, some herbs and spices, can't smell the hops though, and a little alcoholic.
T - HOPS, HOPS, HOPS! flavorful and pleasing to the tongue. grapefruit, some lemon, yeast, spicy but not due to the hops, sweet, malty BUT, high alcoholic taste.
M - very smooth, full bodied, creamy at the start, bitter in the middle till the end with a little aftertaste that lingers for awhile.
D - easily drinkable, suprisingly drinkable, and I liked this beer, which is suprising.

diomz88, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of WYVYRN527
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24 ounce bottle into a balloon glass. Served at cellar temperature.

A: Hoptimum pours a rich dark orange hue with a cream head that quickly settles. Lacing is not all that strong and retention is low. It also has very mild carbonation.

S: For the style, malt seems to be more dominant, with hints of caramel and toast. Hops kick in with aromas of pine, grapefruit and pineapple.

T: Flavor makes up for the smell and appearance. Malty at first, with caramel, honey, and freshly baked bread. Hops blast the palate with piney, citrusy notes, lending a bitter, floral finish that lasts for some time.

Notes: This is a full-bodied brew with lots of flavor. As a limited release, I did expect a bit more, but nonetheless a very solid brew. I'll be sure to try it again upon the next release.

WYVYRN527, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had to get this beer and I managed to get one of the first bottles sold in our area (wasn't even in their system yet). The beer was heavily advertised, great label, but in the end I won't pay the $10 premium for a beer that only has "good advertising." I have had great luck with Sierra Nevada IPAs and expect tremendous hoppy character from this beverage.

Brilliantly gleaming copper with a delicate white foam head blanketing the top. I am super excited by a beer with this much character on appearances alone. A small plume of tiny bubbles rushes to the top of my tulip serving glass to keep the head ever present. The beer leaves rich, lacy streaks down the side of my glass as well.

A mouthwatering sour grapefruit hits my nose first with strong sugar-coated sweetness. Ketone fruit and ethanol follow with a dank, oily resin holding it back. I would expect the alcohol to be more pungent at 10.4%abv, but it's likely too busy acting as an organic solvent for the bitter, whole cone oils...pushed to the maximum.

Outstanding. This beer is incredibly hoppy, yet balanced. I would not have expected a beer this to rack up a 100 ibu at first, but as the hops start to coat the palate, you get a glimpse of the real monster you've unleashed. At first I was disappointed by the grapefruit rind bitterness, but the flavors layer as you drink more and eventually they balance out. Strength in the ale, the beer's backbone, add additional desire to this beer because otherwise...what are the hops "preserving?"

Bitter, lots of hops hitting different senses in your nose and palate. However, sweet with a rich, flavorful body. The hops are stretched almost as far as they can go, but not completely over the top like I've had in other beers. Light citrus and grapefruit towards the end, more palatable when cold vs. warm. Creamy with aeration and no unpleasant, pungent aftertastes.

Superb beverage that is light and refreshing. I like how Sierra Nevada pushed this IPA beyond the other IPAs they've made, but the price is still a bit steep (At least give me a 750mL!?!?). The high ABV is masked by the bittersweet so stay aware of how much you are consuming. This beer would be delightful on tap, but would likely overpower most accompanying foods (it's a beer for beer drinking).

ThePorterSorter, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of OlRasputin989
4.93/5  rDev +17.9%
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.

OlRasputin989, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of TheSaboteur
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

TheSaboteur, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of vande
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
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..

vande, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Mora2000, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of Thickfreakness
3.93/5  rDev -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.

Thickfreakness, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of nimrod979
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

nimrod979, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of gabedivision
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

gabedivision, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of yemenmocha
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

yemenmocha, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of joshrosborne
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

joshrosborne, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of thedoubler55
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
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

thedoubler55, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of mondegreen
2.85/5  rDev -31.8%
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.

mondegreen, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of Gavage
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

Gavage, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of aerozeppl
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

aerozeppl, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of suspect
4.78/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

suspect, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of ncfranklin
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

ncfranklin, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of Lerxst
3.43/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

Lerxst, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of rowingbrewer
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

rowingbrewer, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of nlmartin
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

nlmartin, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of seeswo
3.35/5  rDev -19.9%
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.

seeswo, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of musicforairports
3.35/5  rDev -19.9%
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.

musicforairports, Feb 04, 2011
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 5,369 ratings.