1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

4,931 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,931
Reviews: 1,295
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 228
Gots: 424 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,931 | Reviews: 1,295 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JAHMUR
JAHMUR

Connecticut

3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

01-14-2012 19:29:09 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

2.75/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Draft at Toronado, served in a pint glass. Clear, bright and caramel-colored in the glass, dark for the style, topped by a small white cap. The aroma is solventy, lightly citrusy and heavy on the crystal malt. Pine and citrus-like dry hops are evident but overwhelmed by the alcohol. The taste is similarly harsh, very strong solventy alcohol matched by resiny hop bitterness and substantial caramel malt. While it's not especially sweet, the malt backbone is heavy and cumbersome, too syrupy for a DIPA and lacking finesse. It finishes bitter, heavy and sharply alcoholic. This is OK stuff and signature Sierra Nevada; heavy on the crystal malt and bittering hops but not particularly delicate. Can't say I would drink this again.

Serving type: on-tap

02-25-2010 23:25:41 | More by largadeer
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

8oz snifter, a surprising as hell find at our sandwich shop destination on a day tour of the North Kohala valley region of the Big Island.

This beer appears a clear medium golden amber hue, with one finger of foamy, rocky white head, which leaves some nice frozen hoar frost lace around the glass as it wisps away.

It smells of grapefruit and tropical citrus fruit, a slight pine resin note, and big caramel/toffee malt. The taste is bitter grapefruit, orange, and lime rind, pine oil, and hefty caramel nougat malt. A wee bit of booze warming bubbles up in the warm air.

The carbonation is a bit peppy, the body a solid medium weight, with a moderate buzz-saw hoppiness that obliterates what I would assume to be a sexy smoothness. It finishes pretty zingy from the you know what, but the malt is no pushover, keeping things precariously honest.

A stellar west coast DIPA - everything big and bold, and all in balance, with lofty booze only threatening the gates, without actually breaking through.

Serving type: on-tap

05-15-2012 01:01:55 | More by biboergosum
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
westcoastbeerlvr

California

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

11-15-2011 19:19:38 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of nickfl
nickfl

Florida

4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with half a finger of white foam on top of a clear, dark copper colored body. The head settles fairly quickly and leaves nice lace.

S - Notes of pine and citrus with some caramel in the background.

T - Thick, bready malt up front with rich toffee and pine hop flavors. More pungent hop character in the middle as a bit of grapefruit and some floral notes come out. Finishes with thick, caramel and toffee malt as well as pine, grapefruit, mango and strong bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately high carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - Despite the intense malt character the hops are able to push their way through and the beer is surprisingly well balanced in the finish. The aroma could be a bit more intensely hoppy, but everything else works exceptionally well.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2012 05:49:24 | More by nickfl
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

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

Poured from a 24oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains piney hops, a lot of fruity citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with a very strong burst of floral hops bitterness that is quickly followed by a very fruity citrus sweetness. There's a significant alcohol sting that comes through at times. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and creates some balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this a very solid 2IPA to drink for a long time but there are others in the style that I would choose first.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2011 02:55:24 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

True to form, Sierra Nevada puts out a nice dipa. Thick body on feel and flavor. Consistency all the way through. It's a good beer. The only downside is that it gets salty as it warns. I'm sure I could say that it's over hopped, but who cares. Tastes nice.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 07:39:24 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

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

A fresh batch of Hoptimum delivered straight to the Toronado 23rd Anniversary party. Served in a pint glass! WTF?

A - Pours with a finger of foam that settles to a thin cap and leaves behind nice lacework. Transparent dark golden body. Pretty attractive stuff.

S - This smells like weed. Super dank, resiny ganja with a hint of sweet malt. Literally smells like dispensary. If you like weed you'll love this, if you don't you'll hate it.

T - Again, it's quite weed-heavy, but there's actually other flavors present like pine, citrus rind, and a solid sugary malt backbone. The finish is still like second-hand blunt smoke.

M - Zesty carbonation, super sticky icky and resiny body. Finishes dry with no obvious alcohol heat.

D - I'm not sure how to approach this one - Sierra Nevada has made a pothead's delight. It also appears to be totally different from previous batches - Chris didn't even think it was the same beer. I had no problem finishing the pint, even at 10.4%, and it went down faster than expected. I think I prefer weed smell to weed taste, but if you love smoking you'll dig this one (at least this batch anyway).

Serving type: on-tap

08-18-2010 20:37:19 | More by MasterSki
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

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

12oz brown bottle with a freshness code on the bottle

LOOK: Bright golden hue, amazing lace

SMELL: Spicy, celery, vegtal, peppery, clementines, clean esters, marmalade, light caramel

TASTE: Chewy, creamy, smooth, very firm bitterness, blood oranges, lime leaf, tangerine, grapefruit rind, green peppercorn, rose water, faint broth, biscuity, bread crust, boozy, semi-dry bitter finish

Massive, a sipper ... this is Bigfoot's older half bother. Very nice to meet you. A real beer geek will need to have this notch on their belt and will most likely want to go back for more and more and more.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2012 01:52:51 | More by Jason
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hoptimum. Sierra Nevada. Whole Cone Imperial IPA. The Ultimate Whole Cone Hop Experience. ...and that's it, amazingly nothing else about where it was grown, or why, or how or the awesomeness of it. Just...hey, it's gonna be great, thanks for the $9.49. I guess. Okay, I'm ready for my Hoptimum.

Clear, coppery-amber coloration, solid, pillowy beige head above. Fits the basic look of an IPA. Yeah, mmm-hmmm.

Aroma: Pleasant, perfumey, leafy, grassy. Little bits of citrus, lemon, lime. Nice, nice.

Taste: Big fat bitterness, huge-ass hoppiness, great grit on the palate, nice ...wait, "Hoptimum"...that's like "Optimum", but with "Hop" in it! How did no one get at that yet? Why is that the final, last, exactly ultimate hop-based pun? I don't believe it, someone must've had this one first, and got bought out.

Let's go back to taste...pretty smooth for a highly hopped IPA, big citrus, fat bitterness...but not tongue punishing. Just enough sweet malt keeping everything in balance. Balance, such a nice word, a credo, a code which I feel Sierra Nevada will never betray. I can't imagine them ever doing a Maharaja, a Dreadnaught, a Pliny the younger, name your favorite carazy-over-the-top super-hoppy, palate-ripping double IPA. They'll never do it. Which means that Hoptimum will remain their very cute and delightful name for something that will never be what it is.

Despite that, it's damned delicious, super-hoppy, tangibly tasty, remarkably bitter, but not, no, never overwhelmingly so. It's never going to be the Optimum of Hops. They can keep the obviously cute name.

It's an essentially smooth, tasty, but hoppy, and very drinkable ale, despite the, what the!!!, 10.4% a.b.v??? Okay, it's big, but balanced, and lovely.

Fullish body, mildly bitter finish. Super duper beautiful.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2011 04:38:33 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent bronze with 3 fingers of cream colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Pineyness, grapefruit, not much else

T: Follows the nose, intense pineyness, grapefruit rind & some dry caramel up front. Pineyness gains intensity along with orange rind, a bit of biscuitty malt & caramel sweetness tries to fight through the bitterness, dome woody hops & ruby red grapefruit. Finishes with massive citric & pine bitterness with a touch of caramel hiding in the background.

MF: Fairly chewy, slight carbonation, skews hoppy, but in balance for the most part

I really liked this, not the best, but one I'll buy again if given the chance

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2012 13:56:15 | More by russpowell
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

24 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Huge thanks go to sholland119 and vickster259 for hooking me up with a bottle of this. You two are awesome!

Pours a brilliant crystal clear copper in the glass, topped with 1-2 fingers of rich off-white colored head. This retains with a frothy ½ finger, which just absolutely DRENCHES the sides of the glass with creamy lacing. Man, what a nice robust look to this! The aroma is flowery and deeply herbal smelling, with some additional sharp pangs of grapefruit and pine. Juicy tropical fruit, caramel, and toasted grains do a nice job of sweetening things up some here. This just has a real nice balance of flavors here in the nose.

The taste is also a well balanced blend of hop flavors, with bitter grapefruit, spice, and dry sticky resins all running into a wall of luscious ripe fruit character. There is also a maltier splash of toffee and toasted grains across the back of the palate but it's mostly that heavy tropical fruit presence that coats the tongue and brings most of the sweetness to the profile. This finishes very dry, with a good bit of green bitterness and pine sticking in the mouth. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a crisp yet creamy chewiness to it that is undercut by a smooth undercurrent of oily slickness. Unfortunately, this is showing a bit too much alcohol warmth here in the body. This does lessen some as the warms and balances but it just retains an overall beefy warmth the whole way through that cuts back on the approachability of this.

Well this certainly was a full flavored but still well balanced hoppy punch in the face from SN but they really need to dial the ABV of this back a bit. If they could maybe get this in the 8-9% range, this could end up being something special. For now, it's just another tasty but ultimately overly warm big DIPA.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2011 18:06:34 | More by Kegatron
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a stange. Beer is amber and clear with a small head of small and tiny bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate to low.

Earthy meets piny with a backdrop of some citrus hop character, smells like a Sierra Nevada IPA.

Beer is medium in body with only a mild malt backbone to begin with. The center palate has a nice hop forest on it with a complex mixture of flavors, pine and grapefruit with some earthy sulfur / resin. Beer is quite drinkable, about what I expected, it did not disappoint.

I will also say that this is a really cool label. It kind of makes me laugh.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2011 13:54:15 | More by drabmuh
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a bright copper pale ale with a billowing white head, maybe a touch of off white color. Fine even speckled lacing layers nicely down the sides of my glass, I've also recently had this on tap equally as impressive. Green aromatics, a bit of earthy vegetable notes, green onion, citrus, you name it when it comes to hops and it's here. It almost gives you a buzz based solely on the hop aromatics, a dank weed nose forms as well within the earthy citrus notes. This label states 10.4% abv which is noticeable on the palate with each sip, a beer so big with hops malts and alcohol that it tastes that way. Strong full on bitterness earthy, citric, vegetable hops like opening a bag of fresh hops...this beer has it. Whole cone hop concentrated in a double IPA malt base. Mouthfeel has a full bodied oily hop based texture with even carbonation that flows evenly. Overall excellent flowing DIPA, that has mucho mucho hop character, gotta love it.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2012 23:37:07 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank

Pennsylvania

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

24oz from Quick Six Mt Rose poured chilled into my willbecker

The color of deep amber w/ tangerine shade and great clarity with two fingers of pale ecru cap w/ slightly rocky topography. The bead is medium fine and lace clings in a film. Carbonation is visible in the liquid as it moves in a moderately fast pace. The smell is floral and tropical with mango scents and a hint of caramel/sugar w/ light grarpefruit/pine hop odors. There is a mainly pineapple like alcohol ester bringing some sweetness to the fruity smell. The feel is strong and bitter with semi-sweet malt w/ semi-strong alcoholic presence and moderately high carbonation w/ pretty dry and slightly juicy finish.

The taste is piney up front with subtle fruit which is a mix of mango and grapefruit w/ a splash of tropical juiciness maybe pineapple flavors w/ subtle pine that carries over into a slightly sugary and mildly alcoholic flavcr. The semidry taste and sticky residue on the palate comes off like a slightly stronger(3%) torpedo, but more citrus than tropical and noticeably sweeter w/ a moderate amount of alcohol in the taste. A good high gravity hoppy Imperial IPA, not too shabby but the sweetness and alcohol detract from the hop flavor w/ too much focus on bitterness + aroma -needs more flavor hops IMO but very good overall for the style

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2011 12:37:11 | More by Slatetank
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

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

Big creamy 1.5 finger head, sticky lacing, clear copper orange color.

Nose has some interesting pine hops, fresh hop oils, light citrus hops and hints of tropical fruit, light sweet malty backbone, very light must hop resin.

Taste is unique, fresh bettering hops, fairly bitter, hop oils and a bit of resin, light pine and citrus fruit hops, some spicy hops, light sweet malty base, light tingly booze and little sticky. Finishes dry with some lingering bitterness and fresh hops, bit of hop oil and resin linger.

Mouth is med with decent carb.

Drink is decent, touch of warming booze, somewhat bitter but balanced by bit of malts and dry finish.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2011 19:40:21 | More by jlindros
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a beautiful dark gold/amber color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a wonderful fresh hop scent; bitter and citrusy. The malt bill provides a solid base aroma; pale and Munich malts. The taste is f%cking awesome! Wow, this is perfection! Sweet, malty, yet bitter as hell with tons of citrus hops. It goes down easy with a resinating bitterness; almost 120 minute IPA-like. The mouthfeel is outstanding. It's a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine DIPA. It's well balanced with awesome hop character. Great Job
!!

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2011 01:11:13 | More by WesWes
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

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

Excited to try this one.

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the orange and pine from the hops. The flavor is similar. I get some caramel, orange and pine. The bitterness is about medium. The beer is also very boozy, much more than I expected. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very tasty, I just wish the alcohol was a little bit more subdued.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2011 03:24:19 | More by Mora2000
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium

Pennsylvania

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

First had: on tap at Monk's, Philly, PA

Served in a flared pils glass, a slightly hazy golden-amber color with a small foamy cap of white head that receded to a ringlet; bubbly carbonation visible. Herbal hop aroma, not too strong. Taste is a bit subdued for an imperial IPA, crisp herbal and piney hop bitterness, lightly toasted grains, biscuity hops. The weakness in flavor is made up for in the mouthfeel department; this is one drinkable beer, smooth and light on the tongue for the style, clean aftertaste, with the higher ABV almost unnoticeable. Nice beer overall.

Serving type: on-tap

08-28-2012 01:13:32 | More by Rifugium
Photo of SocalKicks
SocalKicks

California

4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

06-10-2013 05:59:06 | More by SocalKicks
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

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

huge huge ibu count on this baby, must be. pours a gloriously rich caramel color with one hell of a lively head, off white and lasting. smells like weed, straight up. this is an indica heavy hybrid with unreal potency. citrusy hops and some english smelling malts. flavor is bitter up front, and bitter in the back, with some nice malty sweetness in between. some pine elements and a very drinkable medium body on her. fair carbonation, maybe a touch low for this beer, but it seems to go down pretty easy for the alcohol content and bitterness. sierra nevada is the king of the hop as far as i am concerned, and this is just another wonderful illustration of what hops can be. superbly made beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2012 23:11:14 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of oline73
oline73

Maryland

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

On-tap at the Judge's Bench in Elicott City.

Appearance: This pours a very clear amber with an inch of fluffy white head. Head dissipates quickly but some remains throughout.

Smell: Starts off with sweet with hints of pine and tangerine. Smells amazing!

Taste: This one is initially quite sweet. Bitter pine hops and tangerine as well as quite a bit of alcohol. Sweet bitterness clings to the tongue throughout.

Mouthfeel: This one is fairly thick and sticky. It coats the mouth completely. The Carbonation is lower than average but that seems appropriate.

Drinkability: Perhaps there is a bit too much alcohol compared to the hops, but it is still very good. I would definitely drink this one again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-25-2011 03:20:38 | More by oline73
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79

New York

3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 01/21/11 notes.

a - Pours an orange color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus hops, fruity malts, caramel malts, and light pine.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, pine hops, and fruity malts. A bit bitter.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A pretty nice DIPA. Lots of citrus in the nose, would try again.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2011 02:23:16 | More by mdfb79
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

Washington

4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hugely aromatic, flowery, every hop descriptor you can think of. Yet it's not obscenely bitter in the southern California tradition. A bright, warm note followed by the fruity, malty richness.

Handsome orange amber, on the lighter shade. Attractive foam and carbonation. A touch of honey, lime and orange peel. Spicy with that eye-opening flavor. Crisp and sharp, with the mellow, rich base. As with every SN beer, it's well made and technically perfect.

The grapefruit flavors and the bitterness of citrus rind comes through loud and clear. But the overall fruity and warm character makes it quite, uh, sippable. More than a mouthful would be wasted. This must be one of the best strong DIPAs around. It's so hot, you might think it's some kind of crazy hopped-up gin.

From the 12 oz bottle.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2012 06:18:28 | More by mactrail
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

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

Sampled on tap at 1702; March 2011
This beer arrives from the tap with a pale head and a copper-gold hue that shows quite clear in the light. The nose smells of tangelo, lychee, lots of floral bright citrus and peach aromatics from the ample hop character. A cracker like malt character is joined by a hint of biscuit like maltiness; as the beer warms up the malt backbone becomes a bit more noticeable in the nose.

The beer tastes of super fruit hops as it first hits my tongue; this accentuates a sweetness, though this beer finishes dry with a biting bitterness that is not to overly aggressive. There are lots of floral hop flavors here that boost and accentuate an ample hop fruitiness; tropical fruit definitely, lychee, super ribe tangelo zest, amp’d up floral peach and even some mango notes are all contributed by the hops. This is all anchored by a menthol and herbal hop character, big lingering pine like notes and a bitterness that is always prevalent. The body has a certain fullness to it , but it is not cloying, but it is a touch heavier than I would absolutely prefer in a Double IPA.

This is quite nice and really enjoyable as I can always use a good hop fix. I wish it was a touch lighter in the body, though this is certainly not heavy when compared to many a Double IPA out there.

Serving type: on-tap

08-01-2011 14:43:02 | More by Gueuzedude
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 4,931 ratings.