Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA

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1,391 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,391
Hads: 5,944
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 379
Gots: 943 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,391 | Hads: 5,944
Photo of peabody
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a really clear weak ice tea color with two and 1/2 fingers of very foamy suds that lace the glass.
Smell is strong hops. Is this Sierra N's attempt at Hopslam? Very good aroma with the alcohol being very faint. The hops and the strong malts are at work here.
Taste is bitter at first then sweet then boozy. Hops and malt sugar are king and the queen is the alcohol.
Mouthfeel is sticky but the alcohol burn is the star here. I am talking a good burn.
10.4% huh, well they hid the alcohol well. But one bottle of this hopmonster is more than enough. (558 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

4.0 A: Lightly hazed dark orange color. Two fingers of creamy off-white head. Retention is a touch above average and moderate amounts of lacing is left.

4.0 S: Pine, mango and papaya citrus, grapefruit, and hints of cat piss. Light caramel maltiness. Good.

4.0 T: Sugary hop flavor with pine and grapefruit dominating. Mango, papaya, and orange after that. Caramel and bready malts. The booze is perceived at what the actual ABV is.

4.0 M: Heaviery medium to heavy body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy and smooth enough with a boozy aftertaste.

3.5 D: Good and tasty. I would give this a 4.0 as well if it was a bit less boozy or bready. (679 characters)

Photo of BeerKangaroo
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In my chalice:

A: golden brown colored boy yielded a small white one finger head that lasted for a good fifteen seconds. Gentle flowing carbonation rose at a moderate pace. No lacing was left.

S: hops up front with a fruity yet malty background, however all were pretty powerful in the smell.

T: powerful combination of the hops, fruits and malts. There was the slight alcohol taste that came out.

M: medium with a decent level of carbonation. A slight creamy feel came out as the beer warmed.

O: this was a pretty good brew that I would happily welcome again despite the alcohol taste that came out a bit too strong. (622 characters)

Photo of david131
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
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. (489 characters)

Photo of mttaylor1066
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a Belgian thin-walled goblet. Perhaps a shade darker than clover honey. A bright foaming mousse of a head, laces down the glass quite nicely. Later, little pods of bubbles populate the surface.

S - A punch of hops, grapefruit and green grass. A little less strong than Victory's "Hop Devil". No surprise that this is a hoppy monster.

T - Hops again with just a touch of light malt. For a "lighter" ale this has good balance for the 10.5% ABV listed. Not much alcohol heat detected.

M - Smooth. The hops coat the tongue and kick in on the long aftertaste.

D - If you're a hop head, this is one you should enjoy. I tasted this on a cold winter evening and I'd prefer to have this on a July afternoon. Not a session beer. The alcohol and the hops will wear out your palate. (790 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours into a snifter dark orange with some haze, small off-white head quickly becomes a slight cap and ring.

Nose is decent, kinda weak strength though, but a good amount of resiny and fruity hops coming through.

Taste is better. Big oily hops, lots of earthy pine, orange peel, grapefruit, some pineapple. Though this is obviously hop-centric, malt makes a good effort at balance - a mix of toasty malts and sweeter caramel and toffee.

Nice creamy mouthfeel, good thickness and level carbonation. Feels big but drinks well for the ABV. Nicely done.

Overall quite good. At this ABV it still maintains a double IPA feel rather than moving into barleywine territory. Pretty good deal on the 4-pack. (701 characters)

Photo of Qbdoo
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%

Very aromatic with the woody qualities of pine and cedar dominating though there's a bit a grapefruit and orange. The taste is similar but this hops produce a pretty bitter beer. The texture is thick and oily. Probably the beer's most appealing quality. It tastes to me like a super-charged version of their Torpedo.This is a solid DIPA but not a a terribly complex one. (370 characters)

Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

24oz bottle from Arctic Liquors in Steamboat, CO. Around $8, into a DFH Signature glass.

A: Deep amber/orange in color with a white head, not quite half an inch thick that recedes down to an island of bubbles in the middle and a wall of lacing around the glass. Excellent clarity. Nice looking beer.

S: Decent amount of pine and grapefruit, and a ton of tropical fruit. Doesn't smell incredibly resinous, but still smells nice. Decent amount of caramel malt shines through as well. Fairly boozey too, it definitely isn't hiding.

T: Very flavorful, tons of caramel and pale malts, pretty sweet but has a great hoppy bitterness on the finish. Tons of pine and grapefruit, but also a significant amount of mango and pineapple in here as well. Definitely more of a balanced DIPA than I had expected, but pretty nice. Great notes of green tea linger in the mouth for quite some time after the swallow. Unrefined ethanol really hits hard at the finish, but it isn't too bad.

M: Very thick and creamy, light velvety carbonation, hot alcohol heat on the finish. Warms the whole way down. Bitterness aids in drying this out, but it definitely is a sweet beer.

D: Very well made and well done DIPA, just a little too harsh on the alcohol, which knocks it a bit in ease of drinking category, but still. Very enjoyable, but I don't think I could do a second bomber. (1,363 characters)

Photo of orangesol
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
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. (1,121 characters)

Photo of Retsinis
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
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. (1,189 characters)

Photo of ElGallo
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

24 oz. bottle poured into a balloon glass. I got this for $7.50 at my local beer shop, which I thought was a good price. Oh, and this was the "2011" vintage [just having some fun, Shogo :)]

Good fluffy head on the pour, though the nose did not overwhelm me as much as I had hoped. I mean, it was hoppy and pleasant, but I was expecting a sucker punch of hoppiness, and it just wasn't there. Of course, I had just come from the kitchen, where I was steaming carrots and sweet potatoes (don't ask), so perhaps my nose was tainted. Oh well, I'm an idiot.

A friend had warned me that this beer was simply "too" hoppy. I disagree. While the hop punch was absent in the nose, it's very much in the taste. Bitter, chewy, floral, fruity, but not dank, which I liked. No real dominance of citrus notes or pine notes, just slow palate-wrecking hop-a-long-Cassidyness.

As for mouthfeel, I'll borrow a line from Chowdahead: "You take a sip and you can feel the hop oils coating your teeth." That's just awesome... and very true.

Overall this is a very nice beer but still nowhere near Pliny, HopSlam, and other top-tier IIPAs. It will erode your palate, so I wouldn't recommend cracking a vintage ale right after drinking this :) (1,221 characters)

Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into shaped Dogfish pint. Laser printed code deciphers to February 17, 2012 (9:23 AM), so just over a month old. Thanks, Jeff, for hooking me up with this.

A - Pours a bright copper color with total clarity. A few fingers of off white head dies to a thin layer and leaves a great tiered lacing.

S - Very strong sappy hop aroma with sweet citrus and some biscuit pulling it together. The hoppy aroma is powerful, but the smell is far from one dimensional.

T - There is an initial pine bite, then a very sweet tangerine and caramel malt center. The finish comes back to the whole cone hops and a little bit of alcohol. Strong pine aftertaste. Goes through a nice transition from bitter bite, to sweet, back to bitter in each sip. Very balanced.

M - Good carbonation and a medium feel. A little bit sticky on the tongue.

O - It is balanced, but that is not what I was expecting from "the ultimate whole-cone hop experience." I am usually not a firm believer in DIPA's falling off after a few weeks or a month, but I wonder what this tastes like super fresh. Either way, I really enjoyed it for the balance between bitter and tropical/citrusy/caramel sweet. Goes down easy for 10.4%. I will definitely get it again, especially if my local bottle shop ever gets it in.

EDIT: I have waited a while for this one to come back around and my palate has changed considerably since my review. I now find this beer to absolutely tasty. Resinous, citrus, pine, with a huge hop wallop. Well done. (Overall - 4.25) (1,527 characters)

Photo of ChugginOil
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

Poured from bomber into a snifter.

This one pours a nice amber orange and leaves an inch of white colored head with sticky lacing.

The nose is made of pineapple, lemon rind, and a resinous pine aroma. A bit of booze underneath.

The taste is pretty similar to the nose. A very strong bitterness sets the stage for the floral hop offerings that slightly resemble fruits. A caramel flavored malt makes an attempt to balance but the bitterness is too much!

Hoptimum coats the palate with an oily pine residue and packs a bitter, carbonated punch.

Overall, this one is a flavorful sipper but stays a bit too traditional and doesnt woo me. I would have liked to see more fruity boldness. But dont get me wrong, this is yum status. B+ (756 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a orangish copper color with good carbonation and a nice white cap.

S: Nice fresh hops with a good hoppy aroma. Very green, fresh, citrus, floral notes

T: Some caramel, booze sting, good amount of hopoils and sitrus, floral notes. The bottle tasted more hop forward then the draft version to me

M: Medium bodied with a biting feel with a boozey, hop bite

D: Pretty good but after i fnished the bottle I diod not want another (438 characters)

Photo of mattbk
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear, copper color, filtered, small head, slow moving bubbles.

S: Familiar balance of grapefruit hops and some malt sweetness. Not overpowering. Nothing suprising or exceptional yet.

T: Very, very bitter, grapefruity, alcohol warmth at the end. Some light caramel/toffee sweetness in the back. Nice hop character, but not very interesting. A very bitter DIPA, and not very balanced... not that it should be balanced, but I'd prefer some more flavor to balance the bitterness. Alcohol playing more of a part as this warms.

M: Medium mouthfeel. Not very carbonated.

O: This beer... is actually less than the sum of its parts. It is not bad, but it's a fairly standard DIPA with a lot of hop bitterness, a lot of alcohol, and not actually a ton of flavor. I like my DIPAs too, but not a huge fan of this one. (813 characters)

Photo of MacQ32
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear copper/amber with a thinner near white head, retention is fair. A nice ring remains around the glass, leaves a decent lacing.

S - Piney and grassy hop aroma with a hint of grapefruit. Subtle sweetness comes from fruity hops. A little fainter than I would have liked

T - Strong bite up front, a nice combination of piney and mostly citrusy hops. Juicy fruity flavors play with strong bitters which leave a nice dry finish.

M - Medium bodied, appropriate carbonation. All really good here.. drinkable but maybe not quite sessionable. Either way this growler is going down

O - Very bitter, great hop flavors. Malt is hard to find, drinkable for sure, maybe not quite a session beer. Mouthfeel is right where I would want it. (743 characters)

Photo of THECPJ
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

Appearance: Copper orange color, with 2 finger head

Smell: citrus, hops, sweet,

Taste: hops, alcohol, dry, bitter,

Mouthfeel: mild carbonation, sticky, crisp

Drinkability: Drinkable just cant have to many of these the alcohol sneaks up on you.

the CPJ (286 characters)

Photo of jbdpsu82
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Snifter pour, bottle. Comes out a vibrant amber color with very thin, quickly dissipating head. Hoppy aroma, but not the strongest I've had. Tastes similar to flower power. Goes down smooth with a nice biting finish. Not sure it's worthy of the $10.50 for a 4-pack price tag, but very good nevertheless (302 characters)

Photo of emagana
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured in my Sierra Nevada pint glass.
Light. Copper orange with a half inch of white head.
Floral pint dominates the smell. Not as inticing as I would like but very balanced.
Starts of bitter right off the bat and coats every inch of the palate with hops. Grassy and piney all around. Finishes with some alcohol bite. The bitterness warns the mouth of the dangerous alcohol. Sierra Nevada did a great job with this and a definite winner. I wish they would sell in sixer for the future. (489 characters)

Photo of evanlarkin
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a mason jar. Re-poured when there was room.

Orange, as imperial IPAs tend to be. Nothing new in terms of color. Then again, show me a color I've never seen before and I'll probably die of shock.
Clear with a few bubbles. About a finger of head, but I generally try to prevent too much from forming when I pour an IPA.

Lots of hoppyness and citrus. A tad sweet smelling, but not overly so. Pure and clean.

Hops in the foreground, hops in the background. Fresh and tasty too. A citrusy zest accompanies. Malt undertones show up later on, just before the bitterness sets in. Hop forward, but manages to taste well-balanced.

Pretty full-bodied as far as IPAs go. Sharp and crisp too, with the alcohol peeling itself off your tongue afterwards.

Well, I drank a bomber no problem. In a night, I would probably be able to get through 2 of them easily, except for the price tag. It tastes very fresh and I'm sure it makes it's presence known in the DIPA world. (1,034 characters)

Photo of Tone
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/4 inch head of a white color. Slight retention and slight lacing. Smells of strong floral hops, hop oils, slight alcohol, slight sweet malt, hint of pine. Fits the style of an American Double/Imperial IPA. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. There is also a noticeable and expected bitterness. Tastes of strong floral hops, alcohol, hops oils, slight sweet malt, and hint of citrus hops. Overall, surprisingly weak appearance, but refreshing aroma, good feel, and good blend. (537 characters)

Photo of jminsc76
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Into a Duvel tulip, pours a HUGE, thick, creamy head atop a golden body exhibiting a blood-orange tinge. As I pour and agitate, the head reemerges nearly as large as its initial predecessor. Thick lacing as I tilt, pretty dancing bubbles.

Aromas are medium intensity, and include pine, orange, and biscuit-like malt.

Flavors of malty caramel, some lavender, sweet honey biscuit, and a mild yet complex offering of piny hops, citrus, and oranges on the finish. Packs quite a punch, though almost too juicy on the palate; could be slightly dryer.

Mouthfeel is thin and light, with just a slight bit of heat and bitter pine aftertaste.

Overall, Hoptimum packs plenty of flavor and bite, however, the bite seems to rely more on the malt profile than the hops. Don't get me wrong, the hops are there and they are abundant, but in a blind taste test I may be unable to tell the difference between this and something like 90 Minute DIPA by DFH. No matter, this near rivals the delicious complexity of Avery's Maharaja, with a juicy freshness that, again, could be tempered slightly by a dryer quality. (1,102 characters)

Photo of dmgeng
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer has been recommended to me by several people and only $9 for a 4 pack of DIPA is a good deal.

A - Deep orange color. Clear with bountiful white head with moderate lacing.

S - Very strong hop fragrance with lots of citrus fruit, pine, and dank hops almost candy like hops character. Could smell it before I picked it up. Almost perfume like from the magnitude of aromatics. Some slight alcohol presence while at 40 degrees.

T - Good flavor with the citrus hop character mingling with the other "C" hop trademarks. The alcohol and strong hop bitterness are also present making it not as good as some DIPA's I've had in the past but still pretty good. The bitterness seems to mask some of the late addition hops making it feel more like a hop bomb instead of showcasing any individual hop flavor. I think this strong bitter hop character is probably due to Magnum hops which is very similar to the SN Torpedo IPA. There are also light malt and caramel character in the middle .

M - Moderate mouth-feel with higher carbonation. The carbonation tries to make it a little lighter but it is slightly cloying and the bitterness lingers

Overall, a good DIPA but not my favorite. It seems muddled overall but there is definitely an attempt at balance but the alcohol and hop bitterness don't especially make this beer a top 10. This brew is good if you like Imperial IPAs without wanting just the major "C" hop explosion.

Glass- Shaker Pint (1,447 characters)

Photo of crowsoup
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I Hop.

The name doesn't lie. Hops on top of hops with some hops on top of those hops all up in this brew. Bitter, slick and slippery, it attacks the tongue up front, leaving a slight hint of malt behind. Not enough to offend the purist, but enough to make you dive in again in an attempt to quench another sudden burst of thirst. There's not a lot of balance here, but honestly, who would expect that out of something named "Hoptimum?" It is clean, it is crisp and the bitterness does cover the alcohol well, but there is an oily afterburn that will remind you that you are about to get drunk if you keep it up. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'll drink it again. And again. In fact, I have. And I will continue to do so when the mood strikes. (757 characters)

Photo of GilGarp
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

24oz bottle served cool into a pint glass.

Hoptimum is a golden amber color with surprisingly good clarity for such a hoppy style. The head settles fairly quickly but leaves some nice lace behind.

Aroma is very hoppy with tons of grapefruit and other citrus.

Flavor is much the same - extremely bitter with a huge grapefruit presence. You could be forgiven for thinking they might have actually used grapefruit juice to make it. Other elements of the flavor, which are subtle by comparison are very similar to those found in other Sierra Nevada beers like their Celebration. Much of that may be the yeast.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and completely lacking in balance. This is a double IPA gone mad. Alcohol is strong and you can sense it in the mouth. Not quite hot but not far off.

Overall a huge DIPA and one that grapefruit fans will probably love. For me, it's just a bit one-dimensional. (897 characters)

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,391 ratings.