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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.

1,424 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,424
Hads: 6,075
Avg: 4.11
pDev: 24.09%
Wants: 393
Gots: 1,040 | FT: 7
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,424 | Hads: 6,075
Photo of badboyrsl84
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look - gold amber with little head

Smell - piny with some citrius and grapefruit.

Taste - very distinct unlike any ipa I've ever had. A solid amount of hops and carbonation. with a citrius distictness finish and bitterness

Very refreshing. Not bad at all for a whole hop brew.

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Photo of backfat
3.61/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

thanks to the roommate for picking up this fatty 24oz. about $8.99 I believe was the price. first of all, the bottle is great. sophisticated hop cone, needs a top hat though, hehe. lets see what sierra nevada's whole cone hop experience boils down to.

Pours with a brilliant clarity, shiny copper and very nice looking with red highlights.

smells spicy more than anything. sage, pine, lots of black pepper, and some red grapefruit with a touch of sweetness and some white grape skins.

the taste is powerful. quite bitter and intense at first. pine sap and bitter takes over. reminds me of when I actually tried a hop. chalkly and lingering like none other.

lots and lots of pleasant stinging carbonation. it feels good for what it is, and I like drinking it, but the bitterness is too much for high drinkability. someone that doesn't like bitter beers won't like this. I for one don't mind. reminds me quite a bit of torpedo.

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Photo of Meerkey
3.68/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A little bit of bubbly white head. Cloudy honey, amber color with lots of bubbles.

S: Fresh, hoppy citrusy and grainy sweetness.

T: Whoa. Way hoppier than the smell let on. Citrusy and bitter. Kind of overwhelming. Hints of burnt toast and maybe some grains behind all the hops.

M: Full and just a hint of carbonation. Nice, but not astounding.

O: A good beer, bitterness is definitely something to get used to. I do wish the mouthfeel had been a bit more exciting.

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Photo of C20Percent
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly clear gold with a half of finger worth of egg shell color head on top. This beer passes all my boxes when it comes to what I look for in appearance. Nice bubble action and little pieces of sediment swimming around in the body. And, good preliminary lacing. Very nice. Again, not a lot of complexity in the color, but very much so in the overall appearance.

S: Smells like someone just dropped a hop cone in my beer. Yes, a lot like Hopslam. A nice citrus -- somewhat boozy -- aroma. I've noticed that sometimes I think this is boozy and sometimes I think it's an addicting citrus smell. Nice malt smell in there too. Refreshing smell. Very nice.

T: A very balanced citrus, pine and malt taste that turns a bit -- just a bit -- boozy in the end before leaving a bitter finish. It coats the mouth in a somewhat astringent bitterness, but it more or less walks the line between crazy booziness and a well-balanced complex hoppy flavor. My opinion of the flavor changes often -- sometimes I like it sometimes I don't. I guess, in the end that's probably not good.

M: This is a smooth and creamy brew with a big medium body and superb carbonation. An oily feel to the lips. This is a good feel, not great, the carbonation carries this feature.

O: This beer, and beer like is, is quite interesting. There are beers that I can enjoy all the time and there are beers that my palette has to be ready for. I like Hoptimum; it's a good beer that I recommend, but sometimes I like it better than other times. I think I'll wait a year before purchasing more.

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Photo of rjd722
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 Edition, poured into my spiegelau IPA glass. Huge, frothy head that hung around for quite a while and had phenomenal lacing throughout. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the enormous head, nice addition to the beer overall. Golden-amber color with big resinous pine and citrus aroma. The taste strikes a great balance between having a big hoppy taste, but still a powerful (and very present) malt backbone that hangs with you. The aftertaste is essentially a battle between hops and sweet malty goodness, will satisfy fans of both DIPA camps. Excellent brew and a shoutout to my brother who recommended it to me!

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Photo of gwguest
3.63/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

2011 Vintage poured from a 22oz mega-stubby bottle into a Goose Island Imperial Pint.

Hoptimum pours a beautifuly orange/amber body with about 3/4 of an inch of slightly off-white foam. The foam holds nicely until I'm ready to dive in. The body is nearly brilliant clarity making for a picturesque beer.

Aroma is surprisingly sweet with a sharp caramel note running throughout a nice citrus, floral and pine hop bouquet. For the style, I was really expecting a bigger dose of hop aroma. It's pleasant and well-crafted, but not amazing.

There are no shortage of hops in the flavor. There is a strong bitterness from the front, middle and lingers long past when the beer is safely in your stomach. It's great to have a DIPA that isn't afraid to lean on the bitterness. Fortunately, it's not a sharp, unpleasant bitterness. It's more like a really heavy guy leaning on you to the point where you might almost fall over. If you're fit, you can handle it, but those who aren't properly trained will crumble under the bitterness.

Through the rest of the flavor is a firm caramel thread that balances the bitterness quite a bit. The hop flavors and resin are really well put together. The resinous quality is quite enjoyable. It's a much more unified and blended flavor that I've come to expect from the style. It's clearly not a single-hop beer, but it's not a kaleidoscope of flavors like most DIPA.

I rather enjoy the coating quality of the mouthfeel, but it is a bit heavy in the mouth along the way. It's just a little too dense to be exceptional.

Drinkability on this is surprisingly low. The carmel sweetness just adds up too quickly to the point that I simply don't want more. This 22oz bottle is going to be tough to get down. Recommended for sharing...maybe even three ways over a cheese course at the end of a meal.

[Edit: I had to knock the drinkability down on this one as I couldn't even finish 5oz without my stomach feeling like I'd been doing shots of syrup. The beer is tasty, but I couldn't even finish a serving.]

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Photo of Coduhhh
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 Oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Orange, almost copper colored. Fairly clear.

S: Strong pine, hint of grapefruit.

T: Very bitter, solid pine and grapefruit up front. Solid, malty backbone. Lingering finish.

M: Light carbonation, coats the tongue well.

O: Great dipa, wish I could get it more often.

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Photo of HopNuggets
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured 24oz bottle into Spiegelau stemmed pilsner glass.

A - Poured a nice clear light sunrise orange with a finger head that stuck around for a bit that could easily be agitated back up. Leaves a nice heavy lacing down the glass that is very impressive.

S - Major grapefruit upfront with some caramel / toffee backing it.

T - Citrus, citrus, citrus with caramel sweetness to follow. Bitterness is huge, probably one of the most bitter beers I have drank. The sweet smooth caramel comes out a bit in the late taste but aftertaste goes back to citrus and cheek puckering bitterness.

M - Moderate to higher carbonation on the tongue it's a bit thicker than the appearance makes it seem and leaves a coating around the mouth.

D - For 10.4% and well over 100 IBUs it is quite drinkable. I will have no issue finishing this entire super fresh 24oz.

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Photo of fitrock2112
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured Hoptimum into a Belgian Tulip.

A - Pours a dark orange color with two and half finger of eggshell white head.

S - Getting bitter pine, grapefruit, some citrus fills the nose.

T - Initial hop resin comes through immediately. Citrus and malt mid palate. Bitter aftertaste with more pine, grapefruit. Almost feels chewy

M - Medium smooth mouthfeel, medium carbonation. Finishes pretty nice here.

O - A quality beer by Sierra Nevada, but whats new. Its for the Hop Heads out there for sure. Enjoy ! Cheers!

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Photo of Fenris244
4.61/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Copper amber in color, minimal head, not so great retention...

Hop, pine, fruit and citrus aromas dominate my nose the fruit smells are apple and pineapple also a little solvent aroma is tucked down somewhere.

Great hop bitterness, citrus and lemon peel flavors as well, sweetness is apparent on the finish but man does that bitterness last. The alcohol is well hidden and I feel like the hops have peeled back the enamel on my teeth, love it!

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, low in body and damn does it pack punch, great sipping dipa

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Photo of Beernoisseur
4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a great big beer. The hop flavors are enormous, in your face, and lingering. The maltiness of this beer comes through in a moderate caramel and candy sugar kind of way, but the hops run the show with this brew. Grapefruit rind, resinous pine and an almost sage like herbal quality are quite obvious on both the nose and the palate.

All in all a fantastic imperial.

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Photo of trubeernick
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I saw this beer today in the store and had not heard of it. I went to school in Chico so I have a special place in my heart for SN. I love IPA's and this imperial is awesome. Not to hold bias, but It is great. I drank half the bottle and didn't realize that it was 10% alc until I went back for a refil. The aroma of the hops is perfect and combined with the sweetness of the flavor makes for a beer I will stock up on.

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Photo of dcs1548
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer starts with a slight foam head, light amber color and strong sweet pine smell. A super hoppy beer, possibly more than any other beer that I've tried. Very present pine after taste, yet not over whelming. Once again, Sierra Nevada delivers with high quality beer.

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Photo of templar316
4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Just hit the east coast, a few weeks after bottling. Pours a lovely honey gold with a bright white head a lots of lacing, it's been working throughout. Looks really inviting. The nose is a meddly of powerfull hops: a bright flowery sweetness, dances with citrus bitterness, with hints of mango and juniper around the edges. The flavor starts bright and frothy but the flowers and light are quickly crushed by powerfull hop bitterness. Grapefruit predominates, this is a hopheads dream.

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Photo of mudbug
4.67/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From the 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass results in a very clear amber body topped with a thin tight head that recedes into a sticky thin cap that leaves heavy lacing down the sides.
Bring your nose anywhere near this brew and it will smack you in that proboscis with a heaping fog of hop flower, pine, citrus, dank weed, fresh cut grass, tip it in and,
Wham! Imagine chewing on a fresh hop cone, layers of bitter,scrape your teeth clean and pucker the lips, then a delicate malt sweetness makes it's way up, but only for a hint because the next sip is going to be soon and the hop wrecking ball is going to swing.
Hop lovers meet another nirvana.
Overall just stellar, with a nice warming from the booze to remind you to use caution.

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Photo of Bitter_Echo
4.63/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear-ish, tannic, dark, slightly yellow amber haze. Demonstrates a fine, but low foam, extensive, persistent lacing, nose bringing fine notes of pine, balsam resin, citrus and grapefruit, without a strong malt presence. Taste is a fast, wet, sweetish spike with a grapefruit fruit bitter blast that coasts and coasts: a terrific hop echo to boot! This one is reminiscent of Founder's All Day IPA, but less fruit and longer transmuting drift of hop floral notes. Wouldn't guess this at 10% ABV. Mouth-feel brings favorable scrubbing level of carbonation, but isn't overly fussy, and not syrupy. Overall I'm drawn to this brew for certain. Wow! An instant favorite!

2013 Seems less on the citrus and pine, and very strong floral, not fruit hop forward. I tmight be fresher on this case than in 2012, but the bitter backbone has remarkable sustain, and the initial taste delivers and highly floral, loud, and almost confusing profile of flavors. This is terrific, as always...different this year and just as compelling as ever.

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Photo of alli4051
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24oz bottle into a pint.

Pours a bright, almost glowing, burnt orange with an off white head. Head is big and frothy, never really recedes completely, and leaves a thick wall of lacing down the sides of the glass. Scent is a pungent hop aroma, mostly citrus with some pine notes. Taste, as expected, is a big hop punch up front, same profile as the nose lots of citrus with some pine notes. A seemingly faint malt backbone is present to level things out a bit. Theres a strong alcohol bite to the finish that actually merges well with everything else and really kind of compliments things instead of taking away. Thoroughly medium bodied with a sticky bitterness to the finish. Split this bomber with a buddy and wish I could have finished it by myself. Solid brew with a definite kick to it; however, not the complete hop bomb some might expect.

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Photo of SDtastentune
4.97/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Nice deep orange/yellow, can't remember its clarity or me looking for it (only had one on tap), No head but I like that for an IPA, good lace but cant remember anything substantial.

S - Smells of citric hops and flavorful malts , pretty fragrant comparing this to lets say Sierra Nevada Torpedo EIPA, HOPS HOPS & more! Smells like a hop heads dream.

T - Taste is super for SN, compares to a micro or maybe Greenflash IIPA, Citric hops, deep malts, and overall nice bitterness of supercharged IPA.

M - Nice carbonation, medium to large... Perfect for a IPA.. I like my carbonation in the IPA's. Strong aftertaste of citic bitter hops, and some deep malts of some kind.

D - Drinks heavy, Obviously its a DIPA/IIPA, with some great characteristic IIPA notes, perfect for the hop head, lots of alcohol and bitter tastes. Perfect in my book, drinks easy for an acquired taste, want another already! Thumbs UP for SN!

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Photo of 4balance
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip, pours a gorgeous clear copper orange color with 1/2" white head that quickly reduces to a nice ring with minimal cap, spectacular lacing to the bitter end!

Smells so damn good, you could smell this one from across the room wondering who lit what! Hops, pine resin, grapefruit with a little bit of alcohol.

Tastes like a dream - crisp bitter hops, grapefruit rinds, pine resin, grassy earthiness, fresh tangy citrus with a slight malty backbone to balance it out, some booze but not much for 10.4%.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, drying bitter finish that is so crisp and clean, makes me grit my teeth and grin!

Overall - WOW such a magnificent balance that makes me want more until I have to go to sleep! Highly recommended.

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Hopslam glass.

A: Pours deep golden amber with a thick creamy white head that lingers for awhile and leaves behind some beautiful lacing.

S: Pine, citrus, biscuit, cedar, resiny floral hops.

T: Pine, citrus, grapefruit, black pepper, tropical fruits, biscuit, olive oil, rind, resiny bitter earthiness. Great and unique flavor.

M: Full bodied (for an IPA), lightly carbonated, oily and bitter on the finish.

O: What it lacks in the nose in makes up for in taste. A solid sipper with great flavor.

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Photo of capeannbass36
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured from 2011 24 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Amber, orange color. Clear. 1 inch cream colored head that faded with 5 minutes. A little lacing left behind.

S- Citrus, hops

T- Citrus, a little malt, slightly bitter.
Almost an aspirin aftertaste...almost, but not as bad as a Weyerbacher Double Simcoe.

M- Slight to medium carbonation. Smooth.

D- fairly strong and potent. Wouldn't drink more than 2 at one sitting.
Overall...an enjoyable change for my palate after a long winter of mostly imperial stouts.

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Photo of evilkalla
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Release.

Serving: Bottle into an ale glass.

A: Pours a brilliantly clear copper color, with a quarter inch of somewhat thin head which dissipated fairly fast. Carbonation is on the low side. Very attractive brew.

S: Very astringent, piney hops, however somewhat muted. A hint of sweet malts.

T: Very malty and piney bitterness up front. Both aspects are fairly well matched. Bitterness lasts a fairly long time and this one is pretty bitter on the finish as well. The hoppiness remains in the mouth for quite a while after each sip. Very, very good. If I was to change anything, I would dial the malt back just a hair.

M: Feels just fine.

O: Very good DIPA, definitely a hop bobs, with a slightly different character than most offerings out there. Definitely worth buying the 4-pack.

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Photo of b3shine
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to snifter. Looks good; deep burnt-orange with nice lacing. Smells good too; nice and hoppy. Tastes solid. It's hoppy without being too heavy. Mouthfeel was nice as well. Overall, a very good brew, and my favorite I've tried from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of 1sophrosyne1
3.54/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed over an easy half-hour after pour into an IPA glass--thanks, MNishCT77, for the education!
The color is golden orange with a creamy off-white top, side-supported by a fair stack of bubbles. Retention isn't long, but thin lumps of lacing remain for a while.
The nose is grassy and sweet; grapefruits and a peach nestle in a bed of pine nettles. Somewhat dank (increased with standing) and dipped in resin, but still bright with a kiss of floral wine.
Very hop forward flavor, with those oils carrying lots of pine and citrus past the teeth. The lack of acids and carbonation leave the experience of taste rather one-dimensional. There's a late cheesy funk one would expect, too, but the grains are obscured. Even the high ethanol content is muted by the Humulus heft.
It's a weighty syrup in the mouth, even down the throat and into the belly. Carbonation seems to have been purposely kept low to just show off those cones, but I think it needs more bubbles.
This brew is truly a slick hop-juice. It's useful to demonstrate what's possible with that herbal component. When it comes to a total composition, though, I'd liken it more to an etude than to a finished song.

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Photo of BeerAmbassador
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 24 oz bottle. Beer pours a light amber with a two finger head that dissipated after about 3 minutes. Resinous herbs along with grapefruit on the nose. Nice bitter punch and just a bit sweet on the end. It might be a little on the boozy side, which stands to reason since it is 10.4% but many big beers these days seem to hide their alcohol. All in all a nice beer but not something I would drink all that often. (probably because I am within a half hour of Russian River Brewery)

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,424 ratings.