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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1,388 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,388
Hads: 5,935
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 379
Gots: 935 | 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: 1,388 | Hads: 5,935
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 lackenhauser
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (546 characters)

Photo of DNICE555
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
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. (668 characters)

Photo of OakedCanuck
4/5  rDev -2.4%
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! (569 characters)

Photo of Cresant
3.48/5  rDev -15.1%
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. (600 characters)

Photo of RootedFool
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
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. (703 characters)

Photo of HalfFull
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
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.... (628 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 koopa
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
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! (663 characters)

Photo of BeerMaverick
4.78/5  rDev +16.6%
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 - 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%. (727 characters)

Photo of megahurts4
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
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. (397 characters)

Photo of gpogo
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
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. (519 characters)

Photo of philbertk
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
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. (635 characters)

Photo of saison19
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hop ti mum, a tasty trip of the tongue. Poured into a Duvel tulip it produced a thick creamy head that lingered, nice lacing too. Big hop and malt aroma. The first sip was sweet up front with lots of pineapple and grapefruit, followed by a massive hit of hops; wonderful, bittersweet complexity. Syrupy and lucious mouthfeel. Bittersweet dry aftertaste that begs for another sip.

One of the best DIPA's I've had. (414 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Bottle (2010)

Wisconsin Market
Oceanside, CA

An exceptionally beautiful DIPA. Rich, glowing sunset amber body with tons of visible carbonation bubbles racing to the top. A massive and stiff off-white head that leaves gobs of sticky, bubbling lacing all over the glass. A DIPA to behold!

Citrus fruit, pine, and alcohol hit the nose immediately. This beer smells massively of hops with a faint scent of lemon coming later.

Pine and bitter hops with a particularly harsh burn of alcohol to finish. A sweet but boldly hoppy DIPA that stays pretty hot, especially as the beer warms. I'm not oft to say this, but I think this beer would be significantly better at a lower ABV.

Medium to thick bodied with ample carbonation. Rich and divine mouthfeel. Sierra Nevada always scores well here.

Too much alcohol burn to be a truly drinkable DIPA. (842 characters)

Photo of cjacobsen
3.74/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Pours a clearish golden amber with a slight white head.

The smell was of hops, a lighter side of fruit like pear with a bit of sweetness.

Bold hops. There was way more hops in the taste than in the nose but it wasn't overwhelming. Light maltiness and even though there was a decent amount of bitterness up front, it really smoothed out toward the end. Ended slightly sweet.

Full bodied, smooth and malty.

Glad I split this up. This is a pretty big brew and it definitely holds its 10% well. It's a really good, hop heavy beer. Quite tasty. (566 characters)

Photo of larryi86
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

24 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- A clear copper color with a three finger off-white head

S- Piney hops, caramel malts, a touch of alcohol that seems out of place.

T- Sweet malts and herbal notes up front, hint of tropical fruit/citrus flavors, piney bitter finish, balanced. Alcohol is slightly noticeable, but not too much.

M- Creamy, refreshing, medium body.

D- Easy to drink and a solid IIPA. 10.4% ABV is fairly well hidden in the taste, I wish I could say the same for the nose. I am glad that I tried it, but I feel that if this was a year around beer that it would be overpriced. I will say that I have had better IIPAs for less money, but I feel to try this is worth the money. (695 characters)

Photo of turfy
3.18/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A- Amber orange color with a creamy white head about 1/2". Followed by nice lacing.

S- Slight pine with a touch of citrus

T - Initial sweetness with both bitter hops and malt represented, followed by a lingering bitter aftertaste, to a point it was slightly unpleasant even to this hop-head.

M- Fairly sticky mouthfeel

D - One of these was plenty. The high alcohol content was up front and apparent.

Somewhat disappointed in this one, as SN is one of my favorite breweries. Think I'm going to put my remaining bottles in storage to see if some aging will bring more balance. (623 characters)

Photo of claminat420
3.39/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- pours a transparent amber color with an off white tannish colored head. leaves a good amount of lacing.

S- just some caramel malt with the slightest citrus hop scent.

T- well the bitterness makes up for the not too crazy smell. the caramel malt shows up but it really doesn't have a hop taste. just bitterness. alcohol is noticable.

M- medium bodied. good carbonation.

D- not to bad but wouldn't buy another. especially for $9.99 a bottle can you say RIP!

Overall- this brew is highly overrated. it doesn't have a hop flavor but just bitterness. for a hophead i'm disappointed. simply overrated. (603 characters)

Photo of gdrydenc
3.48/5  rDev -15.1%
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. (687 characters)

Photo of Buddha22
3.74/5  rDev -8.8%
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. (696 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
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. (871 characters)

Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (588 characters)

Photo of beagle75
4.1/5  rDev 0%
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. (1,660 characters)

Photo of Tucquan
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
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. (915 characters)

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,388 ratings.