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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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

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5,613 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,613
Reviews: 1,349
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 335
Gots: 726 | 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: 5,613 | Reviews: 1,349
Photo of sholland119
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a crystal clear golden with a tinge of apricot with a generous, pillowy off white head. Huge sticky lacing.

S-Pine and apricot, nicely resiny with a good amount of sweetness. Sweetness is mostly the hops but some nice malt undertones as well.

T-Flavor is much more resiny than sweet and much boozier than I might have hoped. Very hot, tasty yes, but the boozy heat is very present.

M-Surprisingly light given the heaviness of the ABV and hop bite. Tongue coating and sllightly oily but somehow not wearying to drink.

D-A very enjoyable beer, but a bit too much of a sipper for the style.


Photo of jpmclaug
2.65/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle poured into my Duvel tulip

Orange amber body with a white head on top, plenty of lacing. Smells citrusy and piney with a hint of sweetness. Piney hops dominate the flavor, an offputting booziness is present as well. Citrusy notes present as well but wow is this thing sweet and boozy. medium to heavy body, really syrupy.

Meh overall I'm kinda disappointed in this. Way too boozy for my liking. I'm also a fan of less piney DIPA's. Oh well worth trying! I wish I was drinking a Southern Hemisphere instead.

Photo of Sean9689
3.61/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at WLV Liquors, thanks Kristina! Poured from 22oz bomber into nonic.

A - Pours a copper orange color, off-white head, some nice lacing along the sides of the glass, and a thin cap on top and some bubbles here and there as well.

S - Huge dank hoppy syrupy sweetness, huge sugary malts, juicy grapefruits, slight citrus. Bottom line, tons of juicy hops and malty sweetness mixed in with lots of dankness.

T - Lip-puckering bitterness, slight sweetness, huge hoppy notes, my tastebuds are turned inside out...holy crap! The alcohol is evident from the very start, 10.4% right in your face, no doubt about it.

M - Medium, syrupy feel, good carbonation.

D - Wow, this is a hop/alcohol bomb...pretty sure I wouldn't be able to finish an entire bomber myself. Luckily, I'm splitting it. The alcohol is a little too evident and the syrupy notes are kind of off-putting as well. Good, not great.

Photo of Phelps
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the tap at Tops, in a tasting snifter.

Pours a pale tarnished gold with absolutely perfect clarity, topped with a dense and creamy one-finger head of sandy tan. It collapses only very slowly, leaving an incredibly thick and sticky ring clinging to the sides, along with lots of large-bubbled lace.

Smells sweeter and maltier than I usually get with Sierra Nevada. Lots of caramel soaked grapefruit, pine, honey, bready malt, some grainy alcohol, maybe some mango. There's an enticing sweetness here playing off the hops, and it creates a nice balance.

The increased maltiness continues. It tastes almost like an aged DIPA wherein the malt has been allowed to develop. Complex honey and sweet orange liqueur with grapefruit, rose petals and grass. It's richly malty and also very boozy, searing the nostrils.

Rather heavy and syrupy, as expected. Medium-full body, viscous and liqueur-like in mouthfeel. Lightly fizzy. A striking alcohol burns the nose, though it's well-masked in the flavor.

Hoptimum is not the most drinkable DIPA due to its heaviness of feel and booze. It is very flavorful, however, and is worth one or two return visits. Or three.

Photo of jeffjeff1
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My wife picked this up for me.

Appearance- Appearance is a clear coppery color with a pretty good size head.

Smell- Smell is mainly piney hops.

Taste- Piney hops. Hops are mainly all I got which I like. Good Hop bite

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- I thought this was very good. Good hop bite. Wish I could get more

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes scrawled on 2/9/11.

Hoptimum (how long will it be until all possibilities for hop-named beers are exhausted?) appears a gorgeous amber-gold with about one finger of head after I empty about half of the 24 ouncer. The carbonation bubbles move quickly up my snifter. The lacing is quite, well, lacy and racy.

Very resiny pine is the biggest impression on my nostrils, with dry grapefruit right behind. Earthy and grassy hops make their presence know for good measure. A little bit of malt sweetness is evident, but hops are THE STAR of this particular beer show.

A bit sweeter of a taste than the smell had led me to believe touches down on my palate. Don't get me wrong, dry pine resin, and grapefruit hops still rock and roll, but a sweet caramel malt presence fills in the middle of the taste between bursts of hops. The finish is a very back-of-the-palate resiny sizzler, while the aftertaste is very vividly green grassy.

The mouthfeel is quite biting throughout from the copious hops, but that bite is juxtaposed by a hearty, medium to full body for an Imperial IPA. This is right in my wheelhouse for the MF of a big hop bomb brew. The finish on my palate is dry resin.

Maybe it's just me right now, but I do not detect much booze in this guy. I find it drinkable on both counts; it goes down easily and is very titillating to my palate. I love hops and these are just what I was looking for- grassy, earthy, citrus-y, pine-y, and resiny. One big YUM from me.

Photo of Vineyardselite
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, rust-copper color with a thick, off-white head. Head retention is excellent!Aroma is fully of hops, hops and more hops! Very floral, earthy and spicy smelling. Big hop taste. Again, very floral and almost medicinal. Malts are there but not over powering. Finishes with a lingering bitterness.

Surprisingly full in the mouth.

Photo of bishopdc0
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful head forms very golden amber color very transparent

The nose is hops light but nice citrus grass and spice little of everything

The taste ups the hops. But it is mostly spicy hop flavor it start with a slight malt but becomes all hops spicy and ends bitter but light nice

Photo of HipHop5
3.18/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Clean copper color with a two finger creamy head that retain quit some time.

Lacing is good on a tulip.

Yeasty bread like first sniff, than a caramel malt sweet cloud escape of the glass on second sniff. It's very different from any IIPA I had lately. I am guessing that few low AA hops have been boiled, but no dry hopping signs here.
I bit hot on first sip, but the caramel malt sweetness takes over very quickly here. Thick medium to full body for this style of beer. Oily in the back. Has very havy high AA in back bone .The bitterness of the hops can barely sink in my taste buds because the viscosity . I wish Sierra Nevada lost few ABV and decreased considerably the OG because it has a great potential. After a 22 OZ bomber hop flavor sinks in after taste.

The very low carbonation doesn't help much the overall sirupy mouth feel.

More for a cold evening around the fire place than a mild California night:) If I forget this is an IIPA, I could actually enjoy it better because I was probably expecting something hopier than this. I really hope Sierra Nevada does make this seasonal brew a few notch less sweet next year. I'll be trying the 2012 for sure.

Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.4/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: light copper color, perfectly clear, nice white head and lacing. Served in a snifter.
S: caramel malts, pine, grapefruit, some tropical fruit.
T: big resiny bitterness and just over medium caramel malt sweetness. Hard to figure if this is on the malty or sweet side for a dipa.
M: med to full, well carbonated, bitterness lingers.
D: this reminded me of a slightly less sweet, slightly hoppier version of firestone double jack.
have had this since-the hops have that simcoe onion/garlic/rotting banana thing going on which i don't care for.

Photo of cavedave
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice pour, almost clear amber, shimmery look, a finger of off white head atop, and coriolis ejections of lace upon the Corsendonk tulip's curving interior.

I've smelled almost all the major league IIPA's, and most of the minor league affiliates, and the smell of this is not worthy of either league. A bit of neutral sweet, hints of citrus and pine, maybe an even lighter floral hint. Has all the aroma and dh faded? Not dry hopped at all?

Thankfully plenty of hop goodness in the taste. It is medium side of full flavor, starting with some syrupy sweet and assertive bitter, quickly joining with pine and sweet citrus to slide into a crescendo of deep herbal bitter, spicy warm alcohol, pine, and citrus pith. The sweet doesn't let up, it finishes juicy for style, but plenty dry enough to stimulate palate appropriately. As it warms caramel hints, and even some peach, enter the mix, giving it some nice complexity. Clean flavors, delicious.

Mouthfeel is very thick, low carb., highly resinous, a juicy/dry finish that is good but not epic.

Drinkability for this big beer is held back by the alcohol content. This is similar to M&M's, in that the alcohol melts your mind, not your mouth.

Impression: Through a fluke I got a bottle of this sold-out brew. Glad I tried this, but it doesn't live up to the hype. Gimme Torpedo for a much lower price.

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

Had on tap at Capones the night after the Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Event

This brew poured a golden amber color, with just a touch of a haziness. It has a nice cream, bubbly white head that had great retention. As the you drink, it left a great spiderweb like lace throughout glass.

The aroma on this brew is of course hop heavy, but not overkill. It has a nice strong pine hops aroma the the front. I does have a great hoppy flavor, but its not over abundant bitterness that you would expect with the name of the brew. It still has a nice profile that is nice and crisp smelling with a bit of a alcohol heat as well.

This brew has pretty good flavor. It has a nice citris hop character at the front, which was unexpected. It has a nice caramel malt profile that brings out the pine flavors too. As this brew warms, the malts and alcohol come forward more and give it a nice bite. I enjoyed it very much.

The mouth on this brew is a medium body. Not to heavy, with a nice carbonation level. Its a nice crisp, clean brew. The hop oils coat the mouth with a thick, stickiness.

The drinkability on this brew is pretty basic. With a brew that has such a high ABV, you expect a much heavier hop hit and bit more to the brew. I wanted more and it didn't produce in that sense. Its still a good brew, and I would go for it again, but with an ABV that big, I might reach for something else first. Still a decent brew.

Photo of Seanibus
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

After all the buzz, I was extremely excited to try this and pleased to snag a rare bottle at Capones way out in the 'burbs. And the verdict is - it's pretty good.

Pours a very clear amber with a slight but sticky white head - pretty typical of Sierra Nevada. You'd easily mistake this for a regular SN Pale Ale in the glass. The aroma, however, gives it away - it is deep, tight, and extraordinarily hoppy, like a Pale Ale concentrate.

The flavor is even deeper and tighter and more intense - pure hop bomb, with intense, sticky piny and citrus hops. There is just enough grain to distinguish this from the Russian River Plineys, which are probably the closest existing parallel - Hoptimum is a little darker, both in taste and color than the RR lineup, but they are both intense hop explosions with the grain serving mostly as a carrier for the citrus intensity.

For all the hop flavor, the bitterness is surprisingly restrained - it is distinct and strong, to be sure, but not as overpowering and palate-destroying as it could be. In fact, on the back of the mouth, the bitterness is little more than one might expect from a pungent pale ale, though the sticky, bitter resin of the hops clings on the front of the tongue.

The mouthfeel is sticky and resiny, again almost like a concentrate of the classic pale ale.

But here is the amazing moment of the beer - it is north of 10 percent ABV. There is no way this feels like a 10 percent monster, making this a dangerous and seductively drinkable brew. The main problem, as with the Plineys, is the pure flavor intensity - it would be hard to down too many of these Hoptimums even without the over-the-moon ABV.

Photo of ritzkiss
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big ol' 24oz bottle from Premier Gourmet in Buffalo. Pours a radiant crystal clear sunset orange with a couple fingers of tight head. Looks good.

Nose reveals hints of tropical fruits, a real caramel sweetness, pine and citrus.

Entry is sweet, notes of pineapple and citrus, caramel. Long, super bitter piney bitterness, aftertaste almost of Pine-Sol but I love the hop attack. Problem is that it's too sweet and slightly syrupy, especially evident in the middle. A little harsh and unbalanced overall, big beer and it shows.

Photo of Slatetank
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

24oz from Quick Six Mt Rose poured chilled into my willbecker

The color of deep amber w/ tangerine shade and great clarity with two fingers of pale ecru cap w/ slightly rocky topography. The bead is medium fine and lace clings in a film. Carbonation is visible in the liquid as it moves in a moderately fast pace. The smell is floral and tropical with mango scents and a hint of caramel/sugar w/ light grarpefruit/pine hop odors. There is a mainly pineapple like alcohol ester bringing some sweetness to the fruity smell. The feel is strong and bitter with semi-sweet malt w/ semi-strong alcoholic presence and moderately high carbonation w/ pretty dry and slightly juicy finish.

The taste is piney up front with subtle fruit which is a mix of mango and grapefruit w/ a splash of tropical juiciness maybe pineapple flavors w/ subtle pine that carries over into a slightly sugary and mildly alcoholic flavcr. The semidry taste and sticky residue on the palate comes off like a slightly stronger(3%) torpedo, but more citrus than tropical and noticeably sweeter w/ a moderate amount of alcohol in the taste. A good high gravity hoppy Imperial IPA, not too shabby but the sweetness and alcohol detract from the hop flavor w/ too much focus on bitterness + aroma -needs more flavor hops IMO but very good overall for the style

Photo of JamnesCameron
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter during a release event at Bavarian Lodge. Pours a clear, golden hue with orange highlights, with a rocky light tan head. Good lacing.

Aroma is more restrained than I expected, with grapefruit, cedar, and floral notes.

Flavor was equally restrained, with sweet, sticky malt, grapefruit zest, cedar, and a light floral quality. Finish was long, with a light bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium, with sticky malt and a resiny bitterness that coats the mouth.

Good drinkability, would go back for more. But this is much less aggressive than I was expecting.

Photo of iLovehops23
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

big ups to john at dennis brothers for the hook on this one. to cut to the chase and be very blunt, i hold this beer in very close esteem to pliney and hopslam. very clean, pungent hop aroma that is backed up by its mouth feel, nose and taste. at 10.4% abv this dipa is little on the dangerous side but well worth grabbing a sixer or at least a bomber or two.

masterful hop flavor, very well blanced, enjoyed it and cant wait to have it again soon.

Photo of kwjd
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased a couple days ago in Buffalo. Pours a bright orange colour with huge white head. Lots of lacing on the glass. Smells of huge citrus hops and more hops. Basically this smells like hops. Tastes of refreshing hoppy bitterness. Still has a lot of balance to it, but certainly the hoppiest beer from Sierra Nevada I've had. I really didn't realize this beer was over 10% alcohol, flavour is quite smooth and not boozy at all.

Photo of Gmann
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clear golden amber color with a smallish off-white head that disipated into a sparse cap with some light lacing.

The aroma is sweet from the malt, some honey. There are some faint pineapple and peppery hops. Some grassy and lime hop notes as well. The aroma is ok but I expected more hops.

Ok, hops were found in the flavor. Things start off with a huge piney blast and strong resin. Some very light pepper and pineapple. I must say it is a bit rough on the palate. There is a light honey and berry sweetness from the malt but it has a difficult overcoming the bitter hops. Kind of has a solvent flavor to it.

Moderate body with tingly carbonation. Starts off ok but quickly transitions into a bitter bomb with some solvent issues.

The unbalanced bitterness and high abv limit the drinkability of this beer. Definitely quite hoppy but is in desperate need of some malt balance.

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

Cheers to jmkratt for hooking me up with this bottle of Hoptimum!

Bright orange-amber pour with two fingers of lacy, white head. Rich smells of citrus, hops and earthy greens. Initial taste is big, chewy, citrus hops but still not completely as expected. It has a resilient, dense and almost thick mouthfeel. The mouthfeel sticks around and lingers like a child not eating his dinner.

More character than I would have anticipated and definitely enjoyed. Cheers!

Photo of david18
3.38/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm a big Sierra Nevada fan and love the pale ale, porter, stout and other offerings but this one is a little over the top for me. The IPA is great but the double ipa, the first one I've tried from them, is a little too much of everything.

The color is somewhat light for a double IPA but certainly within range. The carbonation died very fast, which was somewhat disappointing. Aroma and flavor was too strong and alcoholly and quite unbalanced. I really wanted to like this beer, and I may becoming more sensitive to this style, but I didn't really love it...and I had a few of them.

Photo of jhtipton
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you BK for getting me one of these in Spain. Wonderful appearance; it is a deep gold color wiith mild head and mild lacing in my tasting glass. Smell is a citrus, pine, extreme grassy aroma that I want to smell. Not sure where the carbonation is for an ABV of over 10! Taste-hops-hops-and hops. Never knew there were so many options of hops but they are here. Why can't other countries figure this out. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Wish it could bubble more. Probably the weight of the hops. Drinkability is great but should take it slow. Would not complain about a cigar accompaniment. Cheers - make more please!

Photo of amccormi
3.47/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 24oz bottle to a pint glass.

Looks nice with a rich gold to amber color and a fluffy head that has good retention and lacing.

The aroma is lacking, even after warming for about 30 minutes, it still only has a very weak hop aroma with a bit of bready malt. I really expected much more hop aroma.

Taste is where I would like to see it. Starts with a touch of sweetness, becomes a bit fruity, then finishes with a firm bitterness that is nice and drying. There is a touch of heat from the alcohol in the back of the throat.

A solid Imperial IPA with a good malt/hop balance and enough punch to make you drink it slowly. I reall think there shold have been a bigger hop aroma though, maybe I just couldn't pick it up.

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big bottle into mini-snifter. From cell phone notes:

I really really really liked this beer. Pour was a fantastic copper with a big snow white head. Nose was amazing- very hoppy, tropical fruit, floral aromas, and some new-growth pine. These hops explode on the tongue, very fruity and some heat in the finish. Honey and oranges come to mind, as does white pepper. Big and bold, with a hefty ABV, not for the faint of heart. You can taste the alcohol but it compliments the zesty hops. Whatever new hop varieties are in this beer, I want more of. The big bottle is a bit much even for me.. my head was buzzing when I was through.

This beer is a winner, one I will continue to buy as long as it's on the shelf. Sierra Nevada, please make more, and put 'em in 12oz bottles. This beer is too good to be a one-off.

Photo of VWBuggirl
3.51/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a clear copper color with a creamy fluffy head.

The initial scent when I opened the bottle was sweetness, which was very heavy. But, after pouring it into my tulip glass the sweetness dissipated a little and I get a hint of pine, but not the floral scent that makes me love this style and very faint hop characteristics.

The taste was really nothing special. It is quite bitter with nothing to mellow it or add to it. This just fell flat for me. I wish other flavors came across to compliment the hoppy bitterness.

It is pretty easy to drink and a perfect amount of carbonation.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 5,613 ratings.