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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.

5,575 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,575
Reviews: 1,345
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 305
Gots: 687 | 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: 5,575 | Reviews: 1,345 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DrStiffington
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been looking forward to trying this one, and luckily, my usual beer place had only one left when I asked for it today. It pours a reddish color, with a large, foamy head. The smell is fairly strong but not overpowering citrus. The bitter hops really stand out with this double IPA. The mouthfeel is moderately creamy. The bitterness lingers nicely with the aftertaste. I really enjoy Sierra Nevada as a brewery. This is not my favorite II IPA but I'm glad that I got the chance to enjoy this on a relaxing Saturday night.

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

Happy to try this as I've heard it is tasty. Pours a reddish gold color which is quite nice. A gathering of bubbly head appears on the top of the beer adding to the anticipation. Lacing is sporadic bubble splotches throughout the drink.

Scents of pine hope heaven along with sweet honey headline the smell. Pine resin really sticks to the nose as the smell lingers.

This is a really tasty DIPA. Plenty of sweet malts blend with bittering pine. The surrounding flavors are honey flower hops with an anchor of pine hops. The aftertaste is quite resin filled with a dry, clean finish.

The mouthfeel is medium to full with a smooth character. The bitter aftertaste lingers with a good deal of drying.

At 10%+ this is drinkable. It is fun to drink as each sip is interesting. A solid offering from SN that comes close to the upper levels of DIPA's everywhere.

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

No date on the bottle, but the label prominently says "2011" on it.

Poured from a bomber into a Bart & Yeti's pint glass.

A - Golden brown, light but rich color. A finger of head that dissipates to leave only a dusting of white on top of the beer, which remains throughout.

S - lots of citrus, less hop smell than I am expecting based on the name. Very grapefruity.

T - Big flavor, tastes like it smells from a citrus perspective, and here are the hops I was looking for. Slight sweet malt taste at the very end. Delicious, I really like the taste.

M - I am a fan of carbonation in an IPA, and this is really knocking it out of the park for me. I find many IIPA or DIPA are missing carbonation, but this beer has the perfect amount.

D - I could drink another bomber for sure based on taste, but at 10.4% ABV two would be the end of it. I don't mind the high ABV at all, and if it was less I could probably drink 3 bombers.

Overall I really like this beer. I hope I can find more.

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

2011 release. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. The beer is a vibrant, crystal clear orange-gold coloring with an immense, foamy, light head that starts about two fingers and slowly recedes as you drink. The head retention is impressive for an IPA. Nose is heavy hops, both dry and fresh aromas, flowery, and with a slight citrus hint underneath it all. The beer has a spicy hop flavor that hits mid-tongue at first, and then you get an all-over the tongue hoppy flavor. Other flavors include a slightly sour citrus/grapefruit note, as well as some peppery highlights. The beer is creamy and robust in mouth, and the body does a great job of carrying all the strong flavors. This beer is heavy, and extremely tasty. The aftertaste (prepare for a shocker) is all hops, with some of the citrus sneaking in there, too. The finish lingers, with the bitterness giving a slight pucker to the tip of the tongue, and the hops continue bouncing around in mouth while you contemplate another drink.

Photo of gregshead
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an orangish copper color with a thick finger of head that dissipates but a nice foam film remains.

S: Not much on the nose of this one. some grapefruit/citrusy smell.

T: A lot more malty sweet than I was expecting. That being said, the sugary malts hit first and fade into the background as the hops punch you in the mouth every so subtly at the end. This it has a second kick with some astringency.

M: That's some nice carbonation. Pretty nice feel and thickness/thinness level.

D: Easy to drink and enjoyable but I prefer Sierra Nevada Ghidorah. Still, it holds its own in a very difficult to brew, complex category of DIPAs.

Photo of LtCracker20
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes. Poured into a DFH shaped pint glass.

A- Pours a clear gold body with 2-fingers of soft white head that shows great retention and lace.

S- Not too strong at all. Grassy and piney hop aromas are there, but not too much. A little solvent smell as well..

T- Grassy and floral hop flavor. Good bitterness in the the finish, but also followed by sweetness. Not as hoppy as I had hoped for. Not saying it was a bad beer, but not was not what I expected out of a DIPA from Sierra Nevada.

MF/D- Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The ABV is hidden very well. Scary drinkable.

Notes. Glad I got to try it, but would not seek it out if it was released again.
A-4/S-3.5/T-3.5/MF-4.5/ O-4.5
OK, I lied. I saw this in 4-packs and decided to give it another shot. Scores are based on the new findings.

A- Pours the same clear golden/orange body with a 2-finger off white head that last a little while before falling to a nice cap leaving some good lacing.

S- Wow. Like I stuck my nose in a bag of assorted hops! Pine, citrus, grassy, little musty. Very nice! Much better this time around.

T- Again, much better this time. Piney and citrusy hops dominate the flavor, with a slight maltiness and good bitter backbone.

MF- Still a very good medium bodied feel, with a oiliness that coats the palate.

O- I'm very glad I tried this again. Seems that they tweaked it a little bit, and I really like this one!

Photo of Zundo
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice copper body with off-wite to tan two-finger head that laces very well. The head is a smooth frothy one.

Smell: Mostly citrus here...predominantly grapefruit with some orange.

Taste: Piney bite, then Grapefruit, with a buttery flavor and some orange. Very balanced.

Feel: Smooth and fairly carbonated. The finish is a touch oily and sticky.

Drink: This is near sessionable. The alcohol is barely present for such a high ABV.

Overall a really good beer.

Photo of kwakwhore
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful clear orange copper pour into a Sierra Nevada hop tulip pint glass with a thick off white head which has excellent retention. 

A bit of Bread Malt on the nose after the initial citrus hop blast. Hops continue all the way down the glass.
Serious hop presence in the first taste, a true west coast double IPA. Some malt presence, but this is a serious hop bomb with some juicy grapefruit accents 
Syrupy mouthfeel but not cloying . So far, pretty easy to drink and not hot at all considering the ABV.
Damn, this is a good beer. I wish they would release this year round.

Photo of prototypic
3.33/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Hoptimum pours a light copper color. It's very clear, and has nice orange highlights with backlighting. They almost look slightly crimson. An off-white head covers the top and stands about a finger and a half tall. It recedes to a surface covering quickly. Lacing was a little sticky, but light. Eh. Maybe a tad much on the alcohol?

The nose is weak and needs more strength. Up front it smells sweet and sugary. The malt base smells like a mix of light caramel and some other variety. The caramel isn't offensively strong, but it is awfully damn sweet smelling. The hops are easily noted and provide fruit notes of grapefruit, orange, and pineapple. Floral notes are in the mix as well. A light, toasted scent works its way in late. Alcohol is definitely in the mix. Pretty average.

The flavor is a little better than the nose. It's above average. It is very sweet and sugary up front. It's definitely a tad too sweet for me. The malt base is light caramel, a touch of toasted malt, and perhaps something else. It's sturdy enough, but just comes through too sweet. The hop flavor is primarily citric and features grapefruit, pineapple, and orange flavors. Floral hops are easily noted, and are nearly as strong. It definitely has a bitter bite to it, but the malts counter quite a bit of its bitterness. Alcohol is far too noticeable in flavor. It's a little too boozy. There's some alcohol warmth and tingling on the finish, in addition to a subtle bitter flavor.

Hoptimum has a nice medium body. Carbonation is very light, and it feels nice and smooth. This is probably its strongest asset. Drinkability, on the other hand, is rather average. The flavor's okay, but it's too boozy and sweet. Finishing off a 24 oz. bottle is a chore.

Hoptimum isn't a total disaster of a beer, but it is a little disappointing. With Sierra Nevada's history of impressive releases, I expected better. Its biggest problems are the overbearing sweetness and boozy alcohol flavor. Tweaking those two things would really get it going in the right direction. There's definitely something here to work with, it just needs to be dialed in. Here's hoping Sierra Nevada addresses these issues.

Photo of bfields4
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The classic clean filtered golden hue with a nice frothy off-white head.

Apricots, citrus, pineapple, grapefruit. Running the gambit of the piny citrus hop flavors. A bit of sweet honey malt to compliment.. def wouldn't say balance. Very exceptional smell.

They weren't lying about the IBUs floral herbal intense hop flavors blast the palate. The sweet grainy malts are present. A bit of the oily hoppyness too. A touch of cinnamon burn from the alcohol Taste is good. I don't know about quite up to the par of the aroma.

Good beer not quite great they absolutely nailed the aroma, but the bitterness overpowers a bit of the other flavors. There's a good creamy mouthfeel. I was a little let down, but still a solid offering.

Photo of cpone
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a duvel tulip - frothy head with minimal retention and no lacing. Clear, light caramel body.

S: Smells very fresh. Very floral hop aroma with strong mango and some sweet fruit candy and grapefruit in the nose. Exceptionally inviting.

T: Very smooth and delicate to start. Bitterness builds in a linear trend that is well balanced against the high malt bill. Alcohol is masked quite well.

M: Medium to strong body. This is where the alcohol makes its presence known.

D: For over 10% abv, extremely drinkable. Even more dangerous than PtE.

Photo of HOPPYKC
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the flying saucer in downtown KC.

A- a great amber. Clear to see through. Nice solid head. Lacing galore.

S- bitter hops and citrus. Pine and honey.

T- hops hard and up front. Mellowed with Bit of malt and the alcohol is hid well.

M&d- full flavored and smooth down the throat.

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

Review from notes

Shared with friends and Poured from a 24oz. bottle (per the label, but looks like a bomber to me) into a Bruery tulip glass. I got probably 8 oz.

The beer pours a clear golden amber color with a good white colored inch to two inch head that faded a little, but retained for the most part. Farily heavy lacing on the glass.

The Aroma's are full of pine, citrus, grapefruit and even some toffee and caramel backing that up. Great scents whiffing off of this DIPA.

The flavors in the taste bite up front with huger bitterness, citrus, pine, fresh cut grass, cedar in the middle, backed by a caramel sweetness on the finish.

The mouth feel is medium to high. Clean, creamy & consistent carbonation that coats the tongue and mouth.

This beer is dangerous, it goes down very smooth, and one has to remind themselves how high the ABV actually is at 10.4%

Overall, a great DIPA from Sierra Nevada, wish they made more of this, and less of some of their other seasonal, as it's quality shows, as it has flown off the shelves, and some of their others, summer fest, Kellerweis, Torpedo, just to name a few that are still sitting on shelves at a lot of shops I frequent.

Photo of lackenhauser
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pale, somewhat of an orangey/bronze color. Nice small off white head. Somewhat piney and grapefruit like aroma. I was expecting more of a total hop bomb here. Very malty and sweet flavor upfront. Mild toasted grain. Big hop flavors and bitterness but the malty sweetness is right there with it. Long, lingering hop bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is sweet and fades to a dryness with the lingering hop presence. Just a faint alcohol burn. While fairly standard as far as SN goes this is downright quaffable. I could see an easy night of this.

Photo of DNICE555
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Split one of these bad boys with R Moe Nay on his birthday at the Cask Republic and picked up another one from the local packy Willowbrook.

Appearance: Pours a honey glazed copper with a healthy white head. Nice lacing throughout

Smell: Floral hops, grapefruit, some pine.

Taste: Similar to the nose but a lot sweeter. Alcohol is warming but pleasant. Nothing special but fairly solid.

Mouthfeel: A Dipa is expected to be on the sweeter side but this is a bit too sweet for me.

Drinkability: Bold, very drikable. I couldn't put the glass down. It didn't have the best mouthfeel or taste... but there was something about it. 10.4% has never gone down so easily.

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

Large format bottle into tulip. From notes

A - Deep yellow with a good sized rocky white head. Lacing was minor and the head didn't stay around to see everything go down.

S - Huge pine and grass hops. Some lemon and orange citrus hidden in there and almost no malt sweetness from what I could tell

T - A solid hop bomb. Very bitter grasses and pine. A touch of rye and pepper in the back. Minor caramel malt.

M - Very dry, slightly biting carbonation, ABV hidden well

D - I liked this one from Sierra and would definitely pick another one up, if I could find one!

Photo of Cresant
3.48/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Served this 24 oz. brown bottle in a Sam Adams glass. 2011 vintage. The body was a clear, rich copper and bright. The head was a frothy stiff foam that left a lattice of lace.

The smell was big pine. Spicy hops. And some more leafy hops oils.

The taste was sweet up front with a slow burning bitterness. Pineapples. Some floweriness which was overwhelmed by the oily hops. This one definitely got boozy as it warmed. The alcohol overshadowed the other flavors near the end.

The mouthfeel was pretty creamy and oily. A good amount of scrubbing carbonation helped clear the palate for the next sip.

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

Pours a beautiful translucent amber, minimal head and lacing. The nose packs a punch, with class and complexity: Big pine resin notes, fresh cut grass on a hot summer day, candied apricot, big and full. Taste opens with an immediate sharp zip of hops across the tip of my tongue, a little harsh toward the middle but I find it pretty enjoyable -- definitely a test of the range of my palate -- and the aftertaste lingers on and on. This is one steep and curvy hop ride. Mouthfeel: Perfect weight, not too heavy, not too light and just the right amount of carbonation.

Hoptimum is well worth the trip, but don't start a session with a small glass of this, because your tongue will be down for the count.

Photo of HalfFull
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed a 24 of Hoptimum today. Sure, it's not a 40 but hey, it'll do for now. Poured into a pint glass showing a golden amber, and with a robust inch of foam atop. Pour clears up nicely and offers robust retention and lacing.

Nose of hemp and hops and a hint of caramel infused fruit. Bit of light lemon and grain. Nothing crazy yet incredibly well balanced on the nose.

Nice malt presence yet without the obvious sweetness. A good dose of hops and a smooth and subtle feel and an in your face hop spiciness throughout. Overall a delicious IPA that hides its ABV well and yet keeps it simple. Get one before they are gone....

Photo of david131
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- A clear orange liquid with a cm thick bone white head sitting on top with excellent retention.

S- Pine, mint, marijuana, lemon, and caramel. Alcohol is well hidden.

T- Heavy duty. Bitter hops, pine, mint, lemon, and a touch of marijuana. There is a decent malt backing.

M- A nice amount of carbonation makes for a nice body. Very bitter and dry on the finish.

D- A touch too heavy and bitter for my tastes. I would prefer this in a 12 oz bottle. At least the alcohol is well hidden.

Photo of koopa
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber given to me as a gift from a friend.

Appearance: Pours a super clear burnt copper with honey folds. The crown is 2 fingers, slightly off white (light khaki), shows good retention and good lace.

Smell: Floral hops take the lead with pine, grapefruit, and pith playing supporting roles.

Taste: Same as the nose with a pleasant addition of semi sweet caramel. I'm getting some alcohol burn and rubbing alcohol flavors upon the first sips. As the bottle warms and I adjust to the brew they are less noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Uninspired and the body is a bit heavy / undercarbonated despite the nice crown.

Drinkability: Big, bold, and fairly addictive!

Photo of BeerMaverick
4.78/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is easily one of the best beers I've ever had...

A - Pours a slightly hazy golden with a reddish tinge. Pure white beautiful head with fantastic retention...bubbles were there the entire time. Lots and lots of lacing obscuring the wine glass almost completely.

S - Sweet smell for a DIPA, but the hops are definitely there.

T - Unreal...like the smell there is a lot of sweetness, but the hops and other ingredients balance it out so well.

M - Fantastic, the hops last and last with the sweetness and bitterness continually playing off each other. Fantastic lasting aftertaste that stays with you until the next sip.

D - Only have a couple of these...although it's hard because you won't be driving anywhere at 10.4%.

Photo of megahurts4
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum
On-tap at The Avenue Pub, New Orleans, LA

Appearance: clear golden amber, medium-small head, and some good lacing.

Smell: hops, licorice, and a sweetness.

Taste: hops, grapefruit, licorice, and a malty-sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: medium and slightly tart.

The hops and grapefruit bite hard initially, and then they ease off to reveal the other subtle flavors.

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

A- Clear copper body full of lively carbonation. Large off white head that sticks around.

A- Perfumey hop aroma.

T- Oh dear god. It's like pure hope juice, vegetable like almost. However it is very sweet and almost fruity. I was concerned the hops would completely throw off the body, but it has a surprisingly larger body than I expected. It's sweet with a faint caramel.

M- Great moderate carbonation. Left a wonderful citrusy hop aftertaste.

D- For hop bombs this beer is bomb. I'd gladly take this over a pliny.

Photo of philbertk
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company--Hoptimum--Whole Cone Imperial IPA--The Ultimate Whole Cone Hop Experience--2011 24 oz. Bottle. 10.40% ABV. 100 IBU's. (5.0 / 5.0) Semi thick pour. Lacy thin rocky white head. Clear bright gold color. Clean pretty enticing appearance. Herbal mixed floral hop malt ester rich aromatic front. Creamy smooth mellow sweet mellow resinous hop pine caramel minimal grapefruit mildly earthy rich smooth body. Tasty well balanced bitter mild citrus crisp hop spice mild hot EtOH end. Dangerously smooth. Perfect balance of aroma body and finish. Sampled 2/8/2011. Purchased for $8.25 at PCC--Fremont on 1/18/2011.

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 5,575 ratings.