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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: 1,041 | 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 smakawhat
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Giant fist full head of off yellow bubbles. Creamy and fluffy looking head with a clear body of yellow/brown honey appearance. Good head retention and nice lacing throughout

First smell is a grapefruit but then the hops take over. Extremely hoppy nose, which strangely overpowers and takes away the grapefruit almost on a full second. Very soft grass smelling and some faint bread in the back.

Taste is a giant hop and pine resin. Thick bodied, with huge hope pine resin like taking in a forest. This is like eating a Christmas tree, and the fruit component is nowhere to be found. Extremely hoppy but borderline syrupy with a peppery dry finish.

Drinkability is okay but not really my style. However this is something many people could dig into based on feelings of forest and pine and dryness. ABV is a little masked but some residual sugar sweetness comes out.

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Photo of ejimhof
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- pours an orange color with a thick head and lots of lacing

Smell- hops with slight citrus and grape fruit

Taste- Hops dominate throughout this beer in a good way

Mouthfeel- very smooth mouthfeel

Drinkability- I waited a long time to get this beer and the wait was worth it a nice beer from Sierra Nevada

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Photo of Billolick
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear, lighter amber. Middle of the road/respectable lace. Enticing floral and resiny hop nose. Hop lovers rejoice, cuz this one delivers with a noticeably fresh tasting and crunching hopped presence. Sweet malt undertones and undercoating provides the bring it all together counter point. No surprise when SN puts out another outstanding and obviously well crafted and high quality brew. California style and very enjoyable DIPA

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Photo of Gavage
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle to a Philadelphia Eagles Pint Glass. I finally get to try this beer after two years of searching and waiting and searching and waiting. I was starting to think Hoptimum was a myth.

The beer slides into the glass very nice like with a penny gold bronzish color. A nice whisp of off white semi tan foam graced the top for a few, than bounced. The beer became still looking after time, no lace.

Smell is very bright with floral hops and some citrus coming into play. Some grapefruit and mango and slight piney note. A nice malty build as well, and yes, the 10% is not entirely hidden. All in all nice, a blend of west and east, BOLD.

Taste is pretty much what I expected, A nice citrus bite with some juicy floral notes as well up front followed by a big malt hit. SN manages to keep the hops at the forefront though, with this huge beer. Alcohol comes out to play in the end leaving a taste in my mouth.

Feel reminds me of Sixpoint resin on some level with the harsh aftertaste. There is some heat while the body is a definite medium, and the carbonation loses steam over time. The hops shine and so does the heat, I could only do one of these at a time. A good beer, but the hype is a bit much.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.65/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

24 oz. bottle poured into two snifters.

Appearance - Very hazy dark orange with a good size white head. Good retention and lacing.

Smell - Citrusy hops come through the most. Strong booze presence second. Some sweet malts come through in the end.

Taste - The taste is rather simple, unfortunately. Grapefruit hops initially, with a fair amount of booze. Sweet malts come through afterward with a lot of lingering bitterness. Tasty, but one dimensional.

Mouthfeel - Very thick and syrupy. A lot of unfermented sugars in it. Medium carbonation. Strong booze finish and a lot of bitterness hanging around after the swallow.

Overall - Tasty beer, but one-dimensional and way too boozy. I can't drink a full one of these without regretting wasting the liver damage on it. I do enjoy splitting it with someone, though.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very nice drinking beer. I'm not quite sure what a whole flowers add to this beer, but it's good anyway.

Pours a bright orangey-yellow, perhaps golden color. A soapy, semi-dense head with solid lacing.

Floral and citrus aroma, light biscuit, some green twigs. Fairly strong.

I get a simple sweetness all through the sip, but doesn't seem malty. Kind of honeysuckle or sweet floral...maybe that's the whole cone? Anyway, not very piny, mostly soft citrus. Clean and crisp.
A tad light, but easy drinking.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A careful pour produces a mostly clear orange/amber elixir with a one finger bubbly white head that recedes quickly but leaves lots of lace. Smells of pine and citrus with a bit of an earthy grassy tone mixed in there as well. Hints of sweet malt buried deep beneath barely find a voice in this one. Taste is pine and resin mixed with more bitter grapefruit and lemons than the produce isle at Hannaford. There's some malt in there I'm sure, but every time I think I can find it, its gone. Sticky resinous pine pitch mouthfeel, low to medium level of carbonation, medium body. Well you asked for hops, you got it! I was expecting that Sierra Nevada sameness that runs through their IPA line and was pleasantly surprised at this over the top DIPA. Its over the top hops, bracingly bitter, and that's just fine with me. Now put it in a six pack and charge me a fair price for it and I'll buy it often.

On a side note why is this vintage dated? Not a cellar candidate by any means.

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Photo of Halcyondays
2.81/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a light amber with a soft white head, good retention and lace, looks the part.

S: Piney hop notes, light tropicality, some booze, not wowing me.

T: Fairly mild malt profile with standard white grapefruit and pine hop characteristics that aren't really in DIPA territory. Noticable ethanol.

M: Medium-bodied, boozy, resiny, OK here.

D: Has its bright points, but a boozy mess at other points. After the first few sips I got pretty disinterested. Not one of SN's better efforts IMO. I'm glad I didn't pop the $10 for the bomber.

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Photo of yourefragile
1.69/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

24 oz bottle shared by 321Jeff. Thanks, jerk.

Damn, this was a disappointment; a borderline sloppy mess. Appearance is a filtered golden amber with a frothy whitish head that quickly fades to a thing crown with little lacing. Extremely mild, boring aroma of dirt and biscuity malt, with trace amounts of grapefruit and citrus rind hops. A solventy, medicinal tinge is troubling. Onto the flavor. Oof! It get's worse with no balance or cohesion between strong solvent and alcohol, bitter grapefruit rind, sweet carmel malt and dry breadiness. Body is thick and well carbonated, but extremely hot and boozy. After a few ounces I poured this out, so I give this a White Birch trademarked 1.0 on drinkability. I'm probably being overly harsh on this, but we tried this against some hoppy beers from Three Floyds, Shorts and Lawsons tonight and this was the uncontested failure champion. Sorry Sierra Nevada, I need a SN Pale Ale to get this out of my mind.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

Appearance: 24oz stubby bottle depicting a "hop head". Decanted into a simply huge mug. Bright orangish copper with a huge pillowy froth. Rings of lacing down the mug.

Smell: Lovely aroma of strong pine like a Christmas tree, some orange rind and pith. Resinous hop oils. Sweet caramel and bready malts underneath.

Taste: Bright hoppy flavors, yet earthy at the same time. Hops come off as leafy, faintly grapefruit like and just a bit spicy on the tip of the tongue. After the initial wave of bitterness that we like to call a "hop bite" there is some caramel malt doing a minor job balancing all the hops. A hop forward, yet surprisingly balanced ale with muted fruit notes and solid bitterness. The 10% is not apparent until the buzz.

Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium bodied, well carbonated, finishes clean with a small hop aftertaste.

Overall: I really enjoyed this offering. Puts Sierra Nevada on the map in Double/Imperial IPA land. If this beer was a place on Earth, I would consider living there. Excellent beer.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 release. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. The beer is a vibrant, crystal clear orange-gold coloring with an immense, foamy, light head that starts about two fingers and slowly recedes as you drink. The head retention is impressive for an IPA. Nose is heavy hops, both dry and fresh aromas, flowery, and with a slight citrus hint underneath it all. The beer has a spicy hop flavor that hits mid-tongue at first, and then you get an all-over the tongue hoppy flavor. Other flavors include a slightly sour citrus/grapefruit note, as well as some peppery highlights. The beer is creamy and robust in mouth, and the body does a great job of carrying all the strong flavors. This beer is heavy, and extremely tasty. The aftertaste (prepare for a shocker) is all hops, with some of the citrus sneaking in there, too. The finish lingers, with the bitterness giving a slight pucker to the tip of the tongue, and the hops continue bouncing around in mouth while you contemplate another drink.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.41/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An absolutely delicious double IPA- especially when fresh. Juicy hops, a balanced pine and citrus blast, interplay nicely with just enough sweet, clean malt to support the hops. Long, slightly sweet finish that finishes nicely piney. A little bit of crackery malt in the nose rounds things out. Agreat beer!

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Photo of Zorro
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear orange colored beer with a small tan colored head.

Smells strongly of pine. Scents of grapefruit, eucalyptus, mint and ginger. Faint trace of menthol.

Starts out hoppy and savory before your mouth can sort out the bitterness. Little bit sweet and herbal with a pineapple flavor. Papaya and a race of garlic and some mint.

Mouthfeel id OK.

Drinkability is OK. This is an OK Double IPA but it just didn't wow me.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a translucent golden orange with yellow highlights and had a very thin head leaving very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: some nice grassy hops show their face on the nose with caramel, citrus, and earthy notes.

T: the taste had a very nice hop profile with maybe some citra hops alongside citrus grapefruit that helped out on the bitterness factor but had a good malty sweetness and a touch of caramel.

M: the brew was medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, grassy, hoppy, citrusy, and bitter finish.

D: it was drinking pretty good and have to say I'm impressed by this sierra neveda IPA. I hope they keep up the good work.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Re-review. Original review on 03-28-2011 of the 2011 Vintage. Bottle from original review was fairly old (about 3 months); replacing review with review of fresh 2012 bottle.

2012 Vintage dated 204821059 (Feb 17/12)

A - Medium orange with some darker amber around the edges. Half a finger of bubbly off-white head formed with good retention. Very light lacing.

S - Grapefruit and pine up front with a fairly assertive bitterness present. Some sweet caramel malts in the background but overall fairly hop-forward.

T - A huge op punch up front with grapefruit, pine and orange zest flavours. Just enough of a malt backbone to be noticeable while providing a touch of of caramel flavour. The bitterness returns in the finish, which is dry and lingers considerably. The alcohol is slightly noticeable but is well masked overall considering the ABV.

M - Medium body with light carbonation. Loads of hop oils coat the tongue. Fresh and juicy.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice hazing golden orange color, nice carbonation, with a nice little fizzy off-white head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, sweet on the lips, with some malt notes, nice citrus/pine notes. The taste is pretty good, hoppy, a little bit of malts thrown in, nice balance of pines/citrus. Medium body, with a nice bitter/dry finish. Overall a pretty tasty brew. Was very surprised to see this in a Utah SLS.

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Photo of Duff27
3.93/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks kawilliams81!

A- One inch off white head on a clear light ruby red body. Well above average head retention and very nice lacing as well.

S- Juicy citrus smell, somewhat bright.

T- Hopbite is more pungent than the nose would lead you to believe. More citrus in there as hops overpower the malts in there one. Never would guess this at 10.4%abv, probably closer to 9%

M- On the thicker side for a double IPA. Adequate carbonation.

D/O- A palate wrecker for sure, Hoptimum stands with some of the most pungent dank hop DIPA profiles out there. Worth a try if for hopheads who need a new fix.

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Photo of John_M
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the bottled version of the 2012 Hoptimum.

The beer pours a very attractive copper amber color with very good head retention and considerable lacing. Color is a bit darker than SNPA, and the head is pillowy and long lasting. The nose is equally attractive, as I get coniderable dry citrus, pepper and dank earth, as well as considerable tropical fruit. I get the impression this intensely hoppy beer will have a considerable malt backbone (which it does). On the palate, this is quite good. The flavor profile generally replicates the nose, and I'm impressed by how well balanced this massively perportioned beer is. The hoppy bitterness carries the day on the finish, as the malty sweetness dries out. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a long, malty, bitter finish. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, though you can tell it's up there a bit.

Not that I would expect anything else, but this is a pretty impressive beer from SN. It's a bit malty/sweet for my taste, but is still a beer I can admire and appreciate. Impressive.

Note: Found this beer on draft the next day at Max's, and found I preferred the bottled version. The draft version was similar, but was a bit sweeter and maltier than the bottled version.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I had higher expectations for the hoptimum....especially from sierra nevada. This beer fell into the trap of most Imperial ipas....heavy on the sweet malt to counter the high ibus from the hops. The beer poured a hazy orange with white head that is leaving some lace. The scent is sweet with some bitter hops coming through. The taste is very sweet at the start then finishes bitter. The Mouthfeel is fuller in body with good carbonation. Overall it's ok.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.68/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz picked up tonight at the Boise COOP... poured into my small CC goblet... decent off white head... nice retention and lacing... the brew is a polished orange.... nice.

Nose is pretty huge grapefruit zest and some lesser piney notes... just enough pale malt sweetness helps balance..

Good bitter bite up front.. seems a touch sweet throughout.. the hops are plentiful, but seem muted by the heavier malt profile... finish shows the same pithy citrus, but trails off pretty quick.

Body is a bit hefty IMO... carbonation is creamy small bubble that accentuates the bigger body.

Good beer, especially for the $$... but I would prefer it to be quite a bit drier.


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Photo of vfgccp
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

- Tasted at Split Thy Skull 2011 at Mugs Alehouse -

A - A beautiful clear orange amber. Light head with nice lace.

S - Orange, grapefruit. Nice floral quality. Touch of fresh cut grass.

T - Smack of bitter pine. Soft malt into tangerine. Nice bread and woody (oak?) character on the back end.

M - Strong rolling bitterness with a medium-light body.

D - The bitterness is delicious but can really slow you down.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

D: Pretty good but after i fnished the bottle I diod not want another

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.43/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a deep copper body with a red hue and a thick bubbly boiling head of yellowish beige. There is a strong carbonation of big bubbles that pop to the surface.

S- The faint green hop aroma and some mint and cat nip hints and a musty pineapple finish. As the beer opens up the aroma changes to more of a green pungent quality.

T- The green hop flavor has apricot notes and fades to a dry alcohol bite in the finish. There is a pungent bitterness that lingers after the hop character fades. As the beer opens some green pine flavors come through but the alcohol covers that up. There is also a flinty and buttery flavor that follows the hops after the beer opens a bit.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a big alcohol heat that covers up a lot of the flavor.

O-This is a hop mess with to much alcohol to taste the hops and no malt sweetness to balance the alcohol heat. There are some nice unique hop characters underneath but they are lost. I bought this beer the day it hit shelves and chilled it 24 hours before consuming it so I hoped to drink it as fresh as possible but I don't know if the hops had already faded or were just not there.

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