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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.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

1,409 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,409
Hads: 6,013
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 390
Gots: 994 | 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: 1,409 | Hads: 6,013
Photo of Slatetank
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
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 (1,326 characters)

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice copper color, small white head to it. Great hoppy aroma. Taste has great mouthfeel, for the amount of hops and the high ABV it remains pretty well balanced, but this is a hop head's delight for sure. The bitterness dances around the taste buds and finishes clean and smooth. Bit of an alcohol warmness but that's to be expected. A great beer, I'm convinced SN can't make anything less than a "good" beer and this is one of the better ones I've had from them. Definitely pick it up if you see it! (508 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
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. (596 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (256 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
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 (665 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.73/5  rDev -9%
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. (573 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

10.40%. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I'm in the mood for a good IPA.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a two finger head of khaki colour, nice thickness, and great retention for the high ABV. Colour is a clear copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Piney oily hops, floral hops, some hop bitterness, clean malts, some caramelization, and cream. An average strength aroma.

T: Lots of pine on the backend is what I notice first, with floral character and caramelization throughout. Clean malts comprise the foundation of the body. Crystal malts. Slight cream emerges underneath the body. The piney character is overdone, negatively impacting the balance. Otherwise, it's nicely built. I like it for what it is, but it lacks real complexity or subtlety. There's nothing unique or special here.

Mf: Coarse and somewhat dry. It doesn't fully commit to either characteristic, leaving a middling unconfident beer. Good carbonation. Some nice cream. The crystal malt tingle/coarseness is a nice touch. A bit heavy on the palate. Too thick.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable. I'd try it on draught, but it's nothing exemplary. Hop heads might like it, but its lack of balance really holds it back.

C+ (1,473 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
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. (950 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good three-finger head. Slightly off-white. Leaves abundant spider web lace. Neutral amber color with a mild chill haze. Minute bubbles continuously float to the surface. The head never seems to die.

Fulfills the advertisement--lots of raw, floral hop. More citrusy than anything else.

Initial sip show some malt, but it's gone in no time. Strong grapefruit hop bitterness in the swallow and aftertaste...completely dominant to any other flavors. In fact, long after the swallow, my mouth still feels as if it is sucking a hop pellet. The alcohol content, although quite high, does not show up. The body is as expected.

For a DIPA, this is an amazingly easy drink. (667 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
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). (1,134 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
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. (363 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev 0%
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. (1,800 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled 2/17/2012. Pours hazy golden orange color with a nice 2 finger off white head with great retention that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of huge orange, pineapple, grapefruit, mango, honey, and light pine. Great aromas here with huge fruitiness and absolutely no alcohol noticeable at over 10%. Taste of big mango, grapefruit, pineapple, orange, pine, honey, biscuit, and light herbal spiciness. Surprisingly light bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of pineapple, mango, citrus, and herbal on the finish for a while. Great flavor balance without being too cloying. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a creamy, sticky, and slick mouthfeel. Nice and smooth, but is still definitely a sipper. Alcohol is very well hidden, with only a slight warming after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic DIPA. Huge hoppy flavor; but still very balanced and as smooth as a 10% brew could be. (988 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 chinchill
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage bottle; a large (~22oz) bottle not in the Camp Beer series.

Pours a crystal clear amber with a towering, sticky, highly durable, frothy off-white head.

Powerful hop aroma with some underlying sweet malts and alcohol esters. Floral, pine and citrus notes in the aroma and the flavor. The taste carries a strong hop hit, partly tamed by the addition of a significant sweet malt component. Long lasting, bitter-sweet hop aftertaste. Tastes like a high gravity beer, but still the high ABV (I'm surprised to see how high) is rather well-hidden.

M - Medium body; good, light-medium carbonation; smooth but with a mild hop/alcohol bite.

O - Near extreme hoppiness without the full bitter accompaniment. Hop nectar for hop heads. An able substitute for Bells Hopslam. (781 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%

Pours golden amber with a foamy, lasting head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is of citrus and tangerine with a bright "Sierra Nevada" house character.

The taste is of upfront citrus and tangerine that mixes with a honey-like caramel sweetness. The sweetness fades in the end to leave a fruity, leafy, bitter finish.

Despite the bite from the aggressive hops and the alcohol (which is relatively well-hidden) the malt backbone and on-spot carbonation give it a smooth character.

This is a hop-head's delight! Hops are tasty. A wonderful, enjoyable DIPA! (554 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
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. (624 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Edition

A: Pours a clear golden orange in color. The beer has a finger tall light beige head that reduces to an extremely thin film covering the entire surface of the beer, a thick patch, and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: The aroma is a wonderful bouquet of hops - strong floral, grapefruit, and citrus along with lighter amounts of pine.

T: There is some upfront caramel malt sweetness but that is quickly dominated by the hops flavors. The primary hop flavor is the grapefruit but that is supported by floral and light pine flavors. There is some moderate bitterness in this beer but it is not overly aggressive.

M: On the fuller side of medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Crisp.

O: For as big a beer as this is from a flavor and ABV perspective, this beer is quite easy to drink. I'm really enjoying sipping on this one while watching the Euros. Easier to drink than I expected with the hoppy flavors/aromas and bitterness because it is not overly agressive. (1,066 characters)

Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a white head. Good retention. Some lace. Color is a clear golden orange.

Aroma: a ton of hops and a ton of fruits. Floral and pine hops. Grapefruit and lemon citrus. A little bready malts.

Taste: tons of juicy hops. Floral and piney. Grapefruit stIckiness. Some bready malts. Hop resiny. Very oily.

Mouthfeel: sticky and bitter. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends sticky.

Overall, this was a tasty. It wasn't world class, but it was solid and definitely something I would drink again. Very nice iipa. (529 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
2.42/5  rDev -41%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review from notes 3/11/11. Thanks to THECPJ for picking this one up.

A: Pours a clear orange with very little head formation or retention. Spotty bits of lacing, but nothing to write home about.

S: Not impressive at all. Was expecting an overwhelming hop aroma, but I get dirty feet and locker room. Very off putting.

T: Now, the flavor is bit more I expected. It pretty much tastes like liquid hops, in fact all three of us tasting it all used the term hop juice to describe it. The flavor was overwhelming and no malt backbone could be detected.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation.

O: Extremely confusing and a let down. I had very high hopes, especially considering what SN puts out. The aroma made me not even want to give it a shot, and then the flavor like liquid hops...just confusing and hard to score. (823 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
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
!! (611 characters)

Photo of stakem
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stubby 12oz bottle into a pub glass. The brew appears a clear copper color with some particulate stuck in suspension keeping the brew from being perfectly clear. A yellowish stained cap that is about a finger strong composed of large bubbles stays atop due to streaming carbonation maintaining a thin lace atop for quite a duration. As the cap fades, it leaves some strings of webby lacing effect sticking to the glass.

The aroma is a pretty intense wack of fresh hoppy goodness. The nose initially is fresh and fruity with a floral bouquet that rapidly changes into more of an herbal aspect that gets quite dank with some pine inclusion. As it warms up, it gets a little grassy which is just an extension of the previously mentioned dank aspect mixed with a touch of alcohol tingle to the nose.

The taste is absolutely resinous with hops but surprisingly the hops carry quite the punch of flavor without getting excessively bitter. The resinous bite includes flavors of herbs, pine, grass, rinds and pulp. A bit of grass inclusion mixes with some fusel alcohol and towards the back it gets more focused on herbs and a bit of catty touch. Despite the assault of enjoyable hop flavoring, underneath is a respectable amount of contrasting caramel malt flavoring that is a bit toasty which provides enough sweetness to keep things enjoyable and rounded.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. I regret waiting this long to partake in this brew. In some ways, this was minorly reminiscent of that most fantastic experience I had with Ghidora back when it was originally released as a beer camp brew. This is a pretty intense brew from tip to hilt. It is sure to satisfy the most profound hop craving. (1,725 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (389 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes January, 2011

On tap at Busy Bee Cafe in Raleigh

Pours a perfect golden yellow. Smells of fruit and flowers; very inviting. Taste is also fruity and floral; for the ABV the alcohol is well masked. Mouthfeel is full bodied and warm; the warmth is only thing that makes the alcohol evident. This DIPA is delicious and incredibly drinkable. One of the best IPAs, DIPA or otherwise, that I have ever had. (413 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a lovely orange color with a 1" head that falls to a thick spotty surface foam with some large bubbles. Some mild lacing develops.

Smell: loads of floral hop bitterness, grapefruit, lemon, pine, and a quite woody and earthy tone.

Taste: big malt sweetness is well balanced with an floral hop bitterness. Grapefruits, pine, earthiness, and some honey sweetness rounds it out. Alcohol is well hidden here but the warming arrives late.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout with a mildly oily feel at the finish. Aftertaste is long lasting.

Drinkability: this beer is very quaffable despite going deep on both ends of the sweet malt and agressive hop bitterness. One bottle went down surprisingly quick. Great beer from Sierra Nevada. (767 characters)

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,409 ratings.