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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.

5,544 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,544
Reviews: 1,337
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 286
Gots: 667 | FT: 6
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: 5,544 | Reviews: 1,337 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gdrydenc
3.43/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours gold amber with 2 fingers of thick white head. A thin layer of off white/light brown remains throughout.

S - Very fruity. Some bitterness, but seems well balanced with malts. A bit of the alcohol comes out as it warms.

T - Much like the smell, but the alcohol is present throughout. The fruitiness is phenomenal and the maltiness absolutely balances the bitterness. Yikes, as this warms, the alcohol is very prominent and detracts greatly for me.

M - Very syrupy, which kinda makes the alcohol content come out, which is a little disappointing.

D - The alcohol is high on this beer, which is usually not a problem for me, but the alcohol taste detracts greatly, as I said.

Photo of Buddha22
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 12/17/10

A: A beautiful amber color with a two finger head. As the head resides a nice film of foam remains on top throughout the beverage. Decent lacing around the glass. The amber/molasses color is amazing to look at.

S: Hops Hops Hops! Get a lot of pine in the nose with a little citrus. The smell is decent but nothing spectacular.

T: Citrus/pine in the front end with the bitterness hitting at the back with a slight metallic taste.

M: I really like the mouthfeel of this beer. Medium to full bodied, almost silky to the tongue.

D: Rather drinkable but the 100 IBUs definitely takes away from its drinkability, but I am not complaining for a 100 IBU it is for sure drinkable.

Photo of Bierguy5
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, 10.4% abv. Pours a crystal clear lighter copper color. White rocky head. Good head retention for such a big beer. Nice patches of lace.

Hop aroma runs the spectrum, piney, citrusy, grassy and herbal. Maybe some tropical fruit in the nose as well. Very light caramel in the nose. Some alcohol present as well.

A slight hint of caramel, but the malt character is on the lighter side, and slightly bready. Hop bitterness comes in hard. Juicy hops, citrusy, piney, and herbal. As most Sierra Nevada beers go, there is a drying, dextrose character at the end, which may help things out here. Hops bitterness lingers forever in the mouth, but is not overly cloying. Some heat from alcohol is felt.

Medium body, ample carbonation. Some heat from the alcohol, but overall this is a killer beer. A great double IPA from one of the pioneers in American brewing.

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

I have been eagerly anticipating this beer. Sierra Nevada has a great tradition of doing good things with hops, but, to this point, not much they've done has gone totally over the top, and I figured Hoptimum would be that product.

Big hops, no question, but not quite the hop monster I expected - if anything, more like a pumped-up Torpedo. Hops had a bit of a raw, hops oil herbacious note. Alchohol was a bit more forward than ideal, lending a slight fusel aspect. Bold flavor, a touch rough at the finish. Runs well with the pack of hop monsters, but no more than middle of the pack.

Photo of beagle75
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, light orange-amber color with less than one finger of diminishing white foam head. Light lacing remains.

S: Aggressively herbaceous with wild mint and herbal spice, but also featuring pine foliage to add depth to the hop-forward smells. Bright vinous fruit is also detectable amidst fermented pale malt. Alcohol fumes are detectable but restrained.

T: Begins decadently sweet, with rich toasted malt, and concentrated floral and juicy citrus hop aromatics. Volatile alcohol adds a spirituous edge, while acidity peaks early then spikes again in the middle. There is also the introduction of bitterness that tastes of grapefruit peel and green plant stems, which continues to surge until becoming potent in the finish and lingering long.

M: Medium viscosity, syrupy and sticky on the palate, with low carbonation.

D: A fine DIPA, delivered right after the new year--at the front-end of what appears to be DIPA season. It is unclear whether Sierra Nevada had some benchmark in mind when they built this immense beast of a DIPA, or if they followed the "kitchen sink" approach. It lacks the smoothness needed to be an attempt to clone and bottle Russian River's Pliny the Younger. It could be a lesson in styles, intended to show those that want to pin the DIPA label on Bigfoot just how off the mark they are. Like something distilled and timeless it is best when slowly savored, reminding of Port Hop 15, Alpine Exponential Hoppiness, or Avery's The Maharaja. Hoptimum seems over-priced for a Sierra Nevada beer (I was hoping it would come in six-packs priced similarly to Bigfoot) but it is worth trying.

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

Had this on 2011-01-29 at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach, CA while sitting on the patio.

A - Clear amber with a tangerine tint and a 2-finger head into a tall pint glass. Good lacing.

S - Smells like crabs. Just kidding but there's a fresh seafood store nearby and between it and the ocean water at the dock, I had to duck back inside to get a good whiff, which is like it was from the bottle. Flowery, yeast, sweet orange.

T - Again, much like it was from the bottle. Hop forward balanced by a big, sweet toast and caramel malt taste. Citrus peel and fruit flavors with some spice. The hop bitterness lingers nicely. Boozy alcohol flavor.

M - Medium body, light carbonation gives a creamy, oily feel that prickles and clings to the tongue.

D - A very fine brew. I followed up a Pliny the Elder with this Hoptimum and I was not disappointed. It's a big, boozy brew with a lot of flavor. Well-worth seeking out.

Photo of chilly460
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Amber/orange in color with a foamy tan head, about a finger worth. Head dissipated quickly, leaving heavy lacing on the glass.

S - Floral hops hits and dominates, with some fruity ester coming through.

T: Surprised by the taste as I was expecting a citrusy hops coming from the aroma. Very resiny/piney hops is the immediate taste. Gives way to mild sweet malt taste. Could have finished a little better, the sweet malts left some aftertaste.

M: Smooth and smoother, oily.

D: I found one of these to be enough, the sweet aftertaste limits it's drinkability for me. That said, for a big DIPA, it works. Next time I'll pour it at a colder temp and see if that dampens the sweetness a bit. **Re-tried the beer and while mostly the same, the beer is more balanced when at a cooler temperature.

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

Poured into my Ithaca tulip glass on 2/12/11.

A - Pours a clear copper orange with a big white fluffy foam that slowly disappeared leaving a nice layer of lacing down the glass

S - Nice mix of grapefruit and lemony hops with just a bit of sweetness

T - Really nice taste, mix of citrus and pine hops explode in the mouth with a nice malty sweetness finishing with just the slightest amount of grassy bitterness. The malty sweetness stays in the background until the finish and the alcohol warms you.

M/D - medium bodied with a nice crisp clean taste. Nice carbonation but not overly tingly. Its very easy to drink and I could try to have alot, the alcohol might catch up with me later if I treid.

Photo of ejimhof
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- pours an orange color with a thick head and lots of lacing

Smell- hops with slight citrus and grape fruit

Taste- Hops dominate throughout this beer in a good way

Mouthfeel- very smooth mouthfeel

Drinkability- I waited a long time to get this beer and the wait was worth it a nice beer from Sierra Nevada

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

I saw the well dressed hops and couldn't resist!

The appearance is a lovely gold or amber with a nice looking amount of carbonation.

Smell is wonderfully hoppy. Also has that first bit of sweetness to it.

Taste is great! It has a nice, hoppy bite that is amplified with the carbonation. You can tell they were going for a real hops flavor and bold characteristic with this beer, but they did it in a balanced way so it's not too overpowering.

It's full bodied the whole way, from first sip to the end, and personally, that's what I want.

The taste coupled with it's great smell make me find this brew irresistible.


Photo of stevenseg
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have been into big hops beers for a little while now. Especially being winter when the darker beers shine, the freshness and citrus of a solid IPA is refreshing. My favorite hops experiences come when a beer goes over the top with hop character, and that's what I am looking for when I picked up a bottle of Sierra Nevada's Hoptimum from my local beer slinger.

Hoptimum pours a clear light copper color with a white head, very reminiscent of its more popular brother, Pale Ale. The clarity is much greater than I am used to seeing in an imperial IPA. However, the brew clings to the glass showing its favorable viscosity.

I'm looking for a grapefruit nose, and I got it...with a hint of pine. The malt is faint in the nose...barely there...but the sweetness is there.

For a hoppy beer, there is very little bitter to Hoptimum. Most of the hops seem to have been added at the end of the boil for powerful nose and floral character. This also results in little bitter aftertaste, but a trace of malt and cones sticks around at the back of the tongue until the next sip...which is coming...now.

The texture of Sierra Nevada's beers never fail to impress. The styles that are supposed to be chewy and dense are served up a little leaner with no hit to taste and smell. The flavor and burst are there without having to chew before swallowing.

Since Sierra Nevada is such a large craft brewery, it's hard for me to grab a bottle and expect to be blown away with dramatic characteristics as the brewery tends to not live too dangerously given its widespread demographic. But SN has been serving up some winners for hopheads with their recent Estate series...and again with Hoptimum. a big beer for a big brewery, Hoptimum continues SN's drive to profile the West Coast hops.

Photo of wise456
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz. bomber into a pint glass. Date stamp of 035121403.

A: Golden light brown hue with an extremely dense head which dissipates fairly quickly. Highly carbonated.

S: Waves of piney hops with a touch of citrusy pineapple goodness.

T & M: Somewhat one dimensional as the hop bitterness overwhelms the balance of the flavor. Mouthfeel is a little sticky and a bit on the thin side but the high abv (10.4%) is masked by the hop attack.

D: The first glass went down quickly but the tastebuds eventually grew weary of the hop assault by the end of the bottle. A decent DIPA but a bit out of balance for me.

Photo of hooliganlife
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours a bright vibrant copper with very light head. light retention and no lacing.

this is where hoptimum shines. tons of citrus and tropical fruit. big orange, tangerine, and pineapple. light grapefruit and pine. sweet malt and biscuit.

lots of hops, mainly pine and citrus. heavy malt body. the one complaint i have is that when served at 45 degrees, this was VERY boozy. once this warms, the booze really comes out which kind of overpowers every hops flavor rather than blend.

nice moderate carbonation , full body, and alcohol sting on the mouth.

too boozy, kills all drinkability for me.

Photo of Jazz1
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to get one bottle after making several trips to my favorite local shop. The owner took pity on me and produced one out of nowhere after my third trip there. So I had pretty high expectations, and mostly they were fulfilled. Another review described this had a sweet taste to it and I'd agree, but not as sweet as Hoplam (which has honey in it).

I really like the grapefruit and resin taste, and of course the hops come through at the back sides of my tongue. (I know the taste map of the tongue has come under dispute). While the sweetness fades at the tip of my tongue. Kind of a neat ride in flavors going on in there. I'm getting a lot of astringency in the aftertaste, maybe a little too much.

I don't know right now I'm really liking Flying Dog's Double Dog which is far easier to get in my neck of the woods. But, I'd certainly buy more Hoptimum if I could find it.

Photo of Tilley4
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally getting to try this one... Read some mixed reviews on this one...

Pours out a rather dark golden with a thick creamy head and lots of active bubbles within... Persistent head here...

Pure dank hoppiness rolling off this thing.... Pungent and clean, like a boreal forest... Piney and dank aromas are overwhelming and have me really interested now...

Wow... Ya know some of the reviews mentioned a balanced brew but I'm not getting that at all here... Its almost like drinking hop syrup and booze... Almost overwhelmingly dank and green flavors of the whole hop cones used punish and coat the palate... Very intense for sure.. Like Torpedo except about 3 times more intense and dank... I was shocked as hell at this...

Now.... Its a bit boozy for sure... Its delicious but I can definitely detect that ABV with every sip... Makes it a chore towards the 2nd half of the bottle.. Still... This is damn good and I'm excioted to have a few left of this... Wonder where the hops will go here...

Mightve scored this higher had the booze not been so prevalent...

Photo of Soneast
2.88/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

24 oz. bottle. Bottled on December 31st, 2010. Pours a nice, clear, pale copper color, developing a 2-finger thick, off white colored head, that pretty much hangs on indefinitely.

The aroma is the highlight of this beer, being nice and hoppy. Very clean and citrusy, with a definite vegetal character, you can tell this thing was just loaded with dry-hops.

The flavor is pretty hoppy overall. Citrus character dominate the hop flavors, lemon and grapefruits. Behind all the up-front hoppiness is an underlying malt flavor, almost honey like. The combination is really quite balanced, although ending on an uncomfortably bitter note with just a ton of booze.

Medium to heavy body. Carbonation is pretty low. The boozy finish is unsettling and I maybe would prefer it to be a little dryer and a little less sweet and the bitterness is a little harsh and lingering. Certainly not something I will buy again, not at that price, at any rate.

Photo of ColdPoncho
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - deep copper body with lots of bubbles and a lingering taupe head. A very good-looking beer.

S - citrus hops, sweet citra hops. A hint of bugspray and no real malt balance, but what do you expect? (not bugspray, but lots of hops, for sure)

T - kind of a funny balance of sweet and bitter hops, with some spiciness on the front. There's that bugspray chemical sort of taste here...it's subtle but it's not something I want.

M - viscous, smooth, full body. Not too agressive. A great mouthfeel.

D - drinkability is ok, since the beer is not super-balanced and has a kind of off flavor.

Photo of hoppyhampy
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

24oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Bottled on 12/17/10. Pours a clear, yellow amber with two fingers of lumpy foam. Good amount of carbonation can be seen. Minimal lacing. Nice balance on the nose. Sweet malt up front with fresh and bright hops underneath. Pineapple and fresh pine aromas. Slightly different mouthfeel. Full bodied for sure but with the right amount of carbonation. The way it hits the palate belies its 10.4% abv. It seems quite a bit lighter. Balanced palate. Comes is silky smooth with a honeyed sweetness, not syrupy but more like a desert wine. Then a mouthful of resiny hops comes in to dominate through the finish with orange peel, mango, and pine. Definitely a great DIPA. Delivers balance without sacrificing IBUs.

Photo of robbrandes
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz, light-copper hue. Head is extremely thin, receded quickly. The smell is big draw here. Incredible blend of piney-pungency (is that a word?) and alcohol. If it's possible for a smell to be 'crisp', SN has done it!

Massive flavor - the pine-floral-alcohol sledgehammer assaults the palate. Just enough malt backbone and a hint of grassy to balance this monster out!

At 10%+, it feels strange rating the drinkability so high, but Hoptimum keeps you coming back for more.

I'm still a bit off-put by the 'whole cone' hype, it's nothing but a marketing gimmick, but this is a damn tasty beer!

Photo of Stunner97
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance- pours a very nice orange to golden brown in color, very thick tan head and lively carbonation nicely fill the snifter, nice look

Smell- very bright hop nose, slight citrus and grape fruit on what is a very bright strongly hopped nose,

Taste- up front there is a hint of malt but on the finish a very firm bitterness really dominates, its really a very long lingering finish of just that real astringent powerful hop bitterness, enjoyable and though quite firmly hoppy it has just enough malt to make it drinkable

Mouthfeel- very smooth and creamy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation

Drinkability- this beer certainly packs a well hidden wallop and at this young stage is just a pure hop bomb, its enjoyable at this point with just enough balance but certainly not one for people a lot of firm hops, interesting and overall a beer I certainly enjoyed

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

Picked up a 22oz bomber from Sea Trader Liquor here in OB for $10.49 and poured it into a Stone snifter.

A: Pours a clean honey-like hue with a light effervescence and a solid two finger head that dissipates after a few sips leaving decent lacing in my glass from start to finish.

S: Green and spicy hop up front with fresh baked biscuits and toasted grain in the mix as well - very earthy and fresh.

T: Very similar to the nose but even more hop - very fresh and resiny with flavors of pine and grapefruit rind, balanced with fresh baked biscuit and sweet toasted grains, with a hint of hot booze right at the end - very well balanced.

M: Solid medium-bodied brew, sticky with some viscosity to it, mellow carbonation that lends to the creaminess, finishing with a lingering bitterness from the hop.

D: I was bummin when I finished it, wishing I had snagged another, but at nearly $11. a pop, I had to stick to the one. If I were a baller i'd drink these all night - no problem. Ridiculously friendly for a DIPA.

Photo of tzieser
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a: poured from a 24oz bottle into a duvel tulip. pours a clear copper color with a pretty thick white head.

s: hmmmm. not nearly as hoppy as i expected. maybe it's because its still on the cold side, but my expectations were much higher. notes of piney hops and caramel malts but it seems muffled.

t: pretty sweet and malty at first but then it hits you. insanely hoppy bitterness smacks the tongue. it's kinda weird, the hops don't really kick in until after i swallowed the sip. this beer is relentlessly bitter though. nice piney hop character but i wish there was more citrus and floral notes here.

m&d: good mouthfeel; ok drinkability. kinda sucked that it costs $10/bottle.

this is a great brew that i had high expectations for. it didn't really meet those expectations, but i still loved it none the less. recommended.

Photo of coachdonovan
3.38/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

First of all, let me say how insane it is that this beer has nearly 350 reviews when it was released just over a month ago. I also have to add that I love the label art, and that has nothing to do with the artist being from Rhode Island.

Poured into a tulip from a bottle dated Dec 16, 2010. Color is a very metallic bronze/gold/copper, but depending on the light I get an almost pinkish hue to it. Eggshell head starts out frothy but fades quickly. I'm a little disappointed with the aroma. It's hoppy, obviously, but not quite as fragrant as I've seen within the style. There is a LOT of sweetness there.

Taste is pretty much the same. Somehow this beer manages to have too much malty sweetness and also wreck the palate with bitterness, and you can throw in a little burning alcohol in the finish.

Maybe I'm spoiled after having fresh Hopslam a few weeks ago, but this didn't seem to have the balance of that one. Extremists will love this one, but for me it missed the mark.

Photo of BrlyHpsWtrYst
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into Bruery tulip

A: Beautiful Amber color three finger off white head drapes some nice lacing down the class

S: I'm not getting that much aroma... too cold? agitated the glass, I'm getting peppery hints and whispers of pine but very subdued

T: Smooth introduction, some nondescript hop assertiveness, pine and black pepper, bitter on the finish, As I sip further the malt speaks up more.. crystal/carmel malt sweetness then dries out at the finish. Nicely done, not my favorite hop profile but this is well crafted. It has it's place.

M: medium bodied... slightly thick at times showing off it's gravity..

D: the spicy and bitter hop profile is a bit overwhelming/ palate fatigue, but should be expected at 10% abv and massively hoppy

O: Well made, although not my favorite for the style. They cant all be citrus hop bombs.

Photo of Kendo
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the 24 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Body is clear golden orange with a 1-finger ivory head. Good rings of lace left behind.

S: Nice - citrusy grapefruity, juicy hops over some sweet caramel malt. Waft of peppery alcohol bite too.

T: First impression is the finish, actually: peppery spiciness at the finish and later, in the burps. Decent sweet malt up front, loads of juicy, grapefruity, citrusy hops, then alcohol - both in heat and as a drying influence. Finishes with a lingering bitterness, but there's also a touch of toffee or butterscotch-like sweetness. Heat felt on the way down the gulley too.

M: Medium-to-full in heft. Carbonation is a bit sharp.

D: Good. A bit too hot for a higher score, but I like the hops. Just too much alcohol heat.

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 5,544 ratings.