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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.

5,578 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,578
Reviews: 1,345
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 304
Gots: 691 | 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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,578 | Reviews: 1,345 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Snow81
4.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Looks rich unfiltered hazy copper orange

Smell: Big citric and floral notes screams in the nose

Head: nice rich thick head that lasts the life of the beer

Taste: High citrus with some honey and some floral like flower petals, bitterness sets in the cheeks

Weight: medium body but the medium to high carbonation brings the body a bit more maltyness to it

Finish: love this beer, the honey and the hops stick all over the mouth cheeks palate going nuts if you need another flavor of this beer take a rip off your palate with your teeth. I like to call this little beer hop slam light, (from bell's brew)


second tasting

Aged for 120 days: bit of pine and bitter citrus, when the heat sets in the flavers fade fast. Not for ageing!

Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.08/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Was not overly impressed with this one, though I wasn't surprised I didn't like it as I seem to not understand the draw to their beers.

A: Pours a clear amber to copper color with small white head and pretty nice lacing around the glass that clings nicely.

S: I get a mix of citrus rind with large fruity malts for the most part. Lots of grassy notes and biscuit dry wheat smells. Not an overly open hop smell, but good.

T: Super sweet sugary front with bitter grassy pine yet alcohol soaked hops. Super bitter citrus dry back. Tangerine, alcohol confections, dry biscuit malts. A little confused and unfocused, seems like a big jumble of sweetness, hop and bitters.

M: Bitter back and sweet front, ok feel and carbo. Wicked dry, way too dry and sweet up front.

D: Hard to drink. I drained it, and my girl hated it...and I'm a hop man. Hm, surprised at the good reviews this seems totally unbalanced and uninspired.

Photo of racer2k
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured the contents of my bomber into a brandy snifter glass

A - Beer pours a shiny deep amber color which creates some thin white lacing that quickly dissolves in and around the sides of the glass. The color is vibrant in this beer and is accentuated by the large snifter.

S - Very forward citrus presence with strong aromas of grapefruit, pineapple, mango and sweet tangerine. There is also a strong pine earthy tone to the beer. There is a hint of sweet toasted malt but this is not the main event. Slight boozy smell but it is very well hidden.

T - Fantastic fruity hop presence that is quite tangy to the tongue and mouth. This beer just explodes in your mouth with a burst of fruity hops which transition to a pine and earthy finish. There is an interesting sweet grapefruity flavor to this beer which is excellent. You definitely have a back end warming alcohol sensation with the 10.40% abv but the fantastic taste of this beer hides it well.

M - Moderate body with a slight resiny feel consistent with an Imperial IPA. The beer starts off like fizzy pop rocks but finishes very clean and dry at the end. There is quite a transition with this monster.

D - Fantastic beer. I have had nearly every commercially released Sierra Nevada beer in the portfolio and this is in the top 2-3 of all time. I only got my hands on (2) bombers but if given an opportunity I would have paid $100+ for a case of bombers. Outstanding beer!
D - Exceptional.

Photo of Spider889
2.48/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Had this on tap at Bodega. Review from notes.

Hop bomb extraordinaire! Great label, probably my favorite SN label art to date.

The beer arrived a darker shade of brass, not very brilliant, though it was late enough in the evening that the bar lighting was fairly dim. Clear, with a short off-white head, ok lace tendrils were creeping down the glass.

The smell was mostly citrus - lots and lots of very bitter grapefruit and orange rind. The alcohol is definitely in the nose - it was biting but also very sweet.

The taste begins very malty and very boozy. The alcohol is entirely unwelcome for me in this beer. There was no need for it to clock in at over 10% abv. The hop character is as in your face as any DIPA ought to ever be. 100 ibu's? Yeah, I believe it. The hop character is essentially all pine in the flavor - super resinous to the point of being enamel-peeling. Way too much if you ask me. I want a little balance in my beer. I want a lot of balance if I am to drink more than one in a sitting. Frankly I didn't want to finish this one glass.

The mouthfeel is slick and bitter, long into the finish. Much too boozy - this is not something I would want to drink again.

Photo of jzeilinger
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a vibrant, deep amber color with thin white lacing and very minor carbonation. I would like to see more head on this but then again, I poured it too carefully and perhaps there was some soap film left on the glass? The color is a sight to behold!

S - Some nice pungent citrus fruit consisting of tangerines & pineapple, along with some nice pine notes. Malt is present in the form of light, sweet caramel to compliment the fruity aroma. As the beer warms, the aroma has an increased level of spice, oak, and effervescent booze and the tropical fruit becomes more ripe and juicy in the nose.

T - Absolutely outstanding fruit hop presence that hits the tongue immediately with a huge burst of tangerine, pineapples, papaya, ruby red overripe grapefruit, followed by a rush of pepper before migrating to a piney, sweet hoppy finish. There's a very obvious warming in the throat from the alcohol and Hoptimum is not shy in that department, it let's you know right away.

M - Velvet on the tongue with a big body and a little thick for an IPA. Finishes semi-dry and with some lip smacking lupulin sweetness.

D - Exceptional.

I like alot of Sierra's beers but in my opinion, this is the finest beer they've ever released. I hope they do this one again and I'm getting more than one bottle of this stuff. This is a high gravity beer that can hold it's own with the rest of the Imperial IPA "Big Boys". Very well done!

Photo of Radiodred
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not Bad, but not that great. I am a huge fan of Double IPAs and this is not a stand out. It is better than most. The first look is an eye catching pillow of foamy goodness, the color is amber like. I wanted to be ingulfed by hops on the aroma but was more like a little caramel and nobel-like, not the typical west coast citrus pungency. Mouth feel was mellow with me craving more bite. Its drinkable and true to its class, but here in so cal we have been spoiled by the abundence of IPAs

Photo of birderbeerer
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden amber with a white, two-finger, frothy head. Gorgeous frothy head. Decent lacing.

Piney and grapefruity aroma; pungent hops. Floral too. Very sweet smell of strong hops. Bit of apple in there too.

Taste is unique. Backing up the hops is a peaty/earthy taste that really is almost as prominent as the hops. Smoky, mesquite. The pine lingers throughout.

Chewy and sticky and the froth swirls around in your mouth. Deceptively big.

Very good. Fun to drink.

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber (no date) into a pint glass. Pours orange/apricot hue with a thin to medium soapy lace that quickly receded to a thin layer of froth. Nose picks up citrusy/fruit hops, pine, and some of that sugary crystal malt that I like in good DIPAs. Good carbonation and some decent head. Flavors are carry-forward from the aroma - toasted malts, piney hops, tangerine citrus. Mint leaf still comes in with a sweetish finish. Hops also turn bitter to balance the malts. The palate is creamy, a little astringent to the touch. Body is medium to full along with adequate carbonation throughout the drinking session. Overall, sweet, minty, woody, bitter, and a delicious DIPA from Sierra Nevada.

Photo of jjayjaye
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Hoptimum.
IMO this is a classic Imperial IPA. Right up there with Southern Tier, Three Floyd's and Russian River. I like welldigger888's analogy to 'honey'..i'll call it honey amber. Very nice..and it poured with better than a two finger stiff wheat-white collar with tons of hang time. Nice Belgian lacing (4.75). The aroma is intense and well balanced..big sweet-hoppiness. A tropical tangerine-pineapple that is enjoyed just short of arm's length (4.75). The flavor is spot on too and matches up to the nose quite nicely (4.75...i've got to round up here pretty soon). I especially like the mouth feel on this one. It steps up quickly..medium-heavy body, that supports the big nose and flavors really well. Smooth and creamy yet very substantial...a bold statement that there's a ton of quality ingredients in this one!! That all being said..talk to me about "Drinkability". I'm really fortunate to have had the opportunity to consider this one. A seriously 'easy drinker'..but at 10.4 ABV...it's best enjoyed in a time and place where you're in no hurry to get somewhere else.
Really nice effort. Wouldn't hesitate to snag a couple more to enjoy with friends.

Photo of welldigger888
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from growler into the hop etched imp pint, honey gold with some garnet hue and an ample just off white head with outragous lacing.
Strong aromas of tropical paradise rise to greet the nostrils,mango pineapple and the ever present piney resonious goodness that really makes american beer great!
Enamel stripping hop goodness,Citrus bursts first than quickly to the ever intoxicating piney resony hop heaven.A strong malt character is there, for support and a touch of sweet malt but that is all.Alcohol seems present but well in it's place.
Wow, spot on carbonation here. The palate asks for more.
The only draw back I can find, The ABV makes having the amount I want unobtainable. Half way down the pint, lace is still from lip to level on glass!!!

Photo of Frosty80
4.51/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color: pours clear, pale gold. sits clear copper with a BIG, fluffy off-white head.

Smell: big piny, citrusy hop presence that is rather subdued. its not as intense as i was expecting but because its a whole-cone IPA there is a lot more leafiness from the extra plant material. a hint of woodiness and pepper is also present, as well as a clean maltiness

Taste: underneath the unassuming aura of fragrance is bomb of an IPA! intense citrus and pine with a sharp bite of bitterness that lingers through and through. in good sierra nevada fashion they compliment the hoppiness/bitterness with delicious caramely malt. finish is intensely bitter with hint of citrus fruit and pine and a tinge of malt sweetness

Mouthfeel: medium body with medium carbonation

Notes: bite is definitely a lot bigger than its bark. the aroma was relatively mellow and in no way prepares you for the explosion of hops and bitterness that enslaves the buds. delicious IPA

Photo of metter98
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear orange in color and has a thin ring of off white bubbles encircling the edges of the glass. No carbonation is visible in the form of rising bubbles.
S: There are moderate aromas of floral hops in the nose--this beer almost smells like a marigold.
T: The taste is rather hoppy and like the smell tastes very similar to marigold flowers. The hops contribute a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is rather easy to drink despite the hoppy flavors and bitterness because they do not overpower your palate.

Photo of jwinship83
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at the bavarian lodge. i was excited to find this after not being able to get a bottle. served in a house snifter. review from notes.

A- its brought to me in a 10oz snifter. a translucent and very bright copper colored body with a small bright white head on top. small rings of lacing get left behind.

S- the first thing i can pick up in the nose are the hops. good. lots of resiny pine and grapefruit. after that i get some floral and lemony notes. finally, theres a decently strong caramel malt presence which adds a definite sweetness.

T- the taste starts out with sweet caramel malts and then moves onto the hops. lots of the floral notes i could smell come to the front. lesser amounts of the grapefruit and pine. the strong malt adds a level of balance and sweetness to this.

M- medium bodied and well carbonated. nice and bitter. the aftertaste could be a little drier.

D- this beer isnt what i thought it was going to be. it showed more balance than i would have liked from a west coast style DIPA. it was still easy to finish my glass though.

Photo of ThreeDimesDown
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a white head that left some lacing. (poor pour with little room for a head from the bartender...)

Aromas of citrus hops (grapefruit) and malts (light caramel).

Taste was nicely balanced with big hops and a strong, but not overbearing malt presence. Grass notes and toffee sweetness detected.

Mouthfeel was medium, slightly sticky, a bit dry. ABV % was well hidden. Tiny bubble carbonation fit well with the brew.

Overall, I enjoyed the brew. Was expecting a "hop bomb" but was pleasantly surprised by the balance and subtlety of the flavors.

Photo of tchenery
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Excellent deep straw color with a great slightly off white head that is already lacing.

Smells of spicy, piney hops. Pretty much what you would expect but not too much. It's almost minty in smell because they're so earthy and cutting.

Bitter bitter bitter. It's a warm one too due to the alcohol content. It's not too thick, but it's definitely resiny and sticky. A must for hopheads.

The great thing about this beer is it doesn't weigh too heavy on the palate. It's a 10 percenter, but you wouldn't know it right off. It's definitely balanced for what it is and probably the smoothest of these crazy Imperieal IPA's these days. It's the least barleywine-like one I've had so far and that's a good thing.

Photo of capeannbass36
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured from 2011 24 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Amber, orange color. Clear. 1 inch cream colored head that faded with 5 minutes. A little lacing left behind.

S- Citrus, hops

T- Citrus, a little malt, slightly bitter.
Almost an aspirin aftertaste...almost, but not as bad as a Weyerbacher Double Simcoe.

M- Slight to medium carbonation. Smooth.

D- fairly strong and potent. Wouldn't drink more than 2 at one sitting.
Overall...an enjoyable change for my palate after a long winter of mostly imperial stouts.

Photo of avalon07
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a growler to a tulip glass. Had an amber color and a slightly hazy texture. There was an inch of fairly long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A surprisingly subtle smell of hops, malt, and citrus.

T: Tasted of hops (predictably, but also had a huge dose of malt - more than you usually see in a DIPA. There was also a bit of citrus mixed in for good measure. Alcohol content is occasionally noticeable.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A solidly made, drinkable, slightly different DIPA.

Photo of Stoicfc
2.76/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

C: What is expected from a beer of this sort, nice common pale coloring.
S:Nice smooth, nothing special.
T:Hits you upside the head, but not exactly in a good way. A really off balanced brew that tried too hard to be cool.
Overall this one was not yet ready. Needs a bit more balancing. I would definitely never have this again & I'm a completely leveled bop head!

Photo of Shaw
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I missed this beer in bottles, but had to stop by Mr. Beery's to have it on tap.

It's a glowing amber/orange in color, without much of a head.

Hoppy and alcoholic aroma.

Very good taste, that's bitter, hoppy and malty. I prefer this take on big IPAs instead of the drier versions out there.

Slick and glassy body, but that's to be expected from a beer of this strength.

Overall an excellent beer and a must-try for hopheads.

Photo of mjtiernan
2.99/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It's basically a Torpedo on crack cocaine.

A: Pours with a smaller head than I anticipated. Pale in color. Very little lacing.

S: Scent is nice...caramel and pineapple.

T: Taste smacks you upside the head with malt...a bit too hot for my preference. Malt provides some sweetness followed by tongue-drying hops...mostly pine with citrus playing the supporting role. Finishes with a warming alcohol burn. A "winter warmer" DIPA which is kind of weird.

M: Texture is oily with not a whole lot of carbonation.

D: Not really my style. Wish I was drinking one of their Hemisphere beers instead. I drank one glass and will save the rest of the bomber for another cold night.

I'd give the label a 5 if i could :)

Photo of happy4hoppybeer
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received a 22/24.oz bomber of this from a trade with BA smakawhat, so a big thanks goes out to him.

Poured into snifter a hazy but yet clear orange,with very little head that fades quickly. Quite surprised at the almost lack of head here. Small traces of tiny lacing,really small lacing that comes in little dots. Appearance is not too impressive here.

Aromas sure make up for the rather lazy outward design. Hops,hops,hops with sweet caramel malt hit the nose immediately. Very pleasant. One of the best aromas I've encountered in a while.

Hops attack first and foremost upon first sip.Excellent. Malt backbone comes through,but cannot fight the hops. Beautiful. Just what I want in a DIPA.

A medium to full-fledged heavy body, with maybe a little too much carbonation.

If you love hoppy brews like I do, then this should qualify as a masterpiece,IMO. Not too sweet, great emphasis on hops make this frighteningly drinkable for the hophead, considering the ABV.Wow.

I can only hope I can get more in the future, or soon.

Photo of ToasterChef
3.2/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from my notes. Served in a tulip glass.

A: Cloud-like opaque orange liquid with a big cream colored and creamy looking head. A little bit of lace is left behind, along with a light coating of film.

S: Pine and citrus hops along with sugars that remind me of rock candy.

T: Brown sugar sweetness at first. Hop oils that are more oily than bitter. White grape juice and sugars. I get alcohol and bitterness as I swallow. There isn't that big bitter flavor that I find in SN Torpedo.

M: Full bodied. Medium carbonation with tiny bubbles. Some stickiness and a syrupy coat.

D: It's easy enough to drink one glass of this, but the high ABV limits multiple rounds. For me, I'm not impressed enough with this beer to have another. Perhaps my expectations were too high, or this keg was getting old (but how old could it be, this beer isn't very old), but there are a lot of better DIPA and SN beers available that I would choose over Hoptimum.

Photo of orangesol
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bomber purchased at Shady McGrady's and poured into a snifter. Thanks to my buddy bones for purchasing this one for us to try.

A - Pours deep amber orange with a thin film of white head, dissipating down to tiny spots of head, leaving light rings of lacing down the glass.

S - Still pretty smokey in this place so this could have been a little bit better I am sure. Plenty of grassy hops, rich caramel malts, and some dulled tropical fruits. A touch too sweet for my liking, almost smells like hoppy syrup.

T - A good amount of grassy citric hops up front mix well with the caramel malt sweetness and some light grapefruit acidity. Finish is sticky sweet with plenty of lingering hop bitterness. A touch hot once it warmed up a bit. Pretty good but not the best.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Pretty heavy in the feel, almost syrup like. Tons of hop bite in the finish with a good bit of it lingering for some time.

D - Decent stuff. I liked it but I could really only have one glass. The combination of the higher ABV. and the sticky sweet feel really got to me. Still a good beer tho.

Photo of IIKaRuII
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this thanks to Arnolds Carry Out in Willard Ohio.
Pours a light orange. With a nice khaki two finger head. retains well. see through
Smell is just what i wanted. citrus hops and light malts present. the name says it all! has a hint of spices.
drinks surprisingly smooth. Very citrusy and tart. very warm after presence. perfectly balanced... graciously bitter to the last drop.
mouthfeel is kinda oily, and thick. pleasently warm on the palate. The bitterness masks the alcohol well.
This is king of the bitterness for what i have tried. but being such a high ABV and masking of hops, this makes this thing a little scary drinkable.

Photo of FollowedMyFolly
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is the hoppiest of hoppy hop! Probably THE most hops I have ever tasted in a beer. However, the taste is amazing. The only reason why I put "average" as my choice for drinkability is because it would knock me on my butt if I drank too much. Sierra Nevada has greatly impressed me and I will now look for similar names to compare it to!

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 5,578 ratings.