Imperial IPA - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

593 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 593
Reviews: 332
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 27
Gots: 28 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.70% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: largadeer on 02-16-2008

Formerly known as 20th Anniversary Imperial IPA
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 593 | Reviews: 332
Reviews by Troyone:
Photo of Troyone
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light English tea color with a copper hue. Bone white head with some lacing and carb action.

Sweet esters of mild pine and different florals.

Strong English tea flavor with a multi hop tangerine/canalope taste.

Medium to strong bodied mouthfeel with lively smooth carbonation and a good balance of resins.

The balance is great if the strong English Tea flavor can be tolerated, good changeup for hopheads.

More User Reviews:
Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Nose: citrus, orange and grapefruit
Pours brilliant gold rocky 2” white head very fine to medium bubbles, lacy
Palate: Very citrusy hops throughout with background grapefruit rind over big biscuit body.
Creamy smooth, medium body to a shade above, medium to medium light carbonation.

Photo of oberon
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a slight hazed peach color with a tight formed one finger white head that left some broken lace as it settled slowly,awesome aromas of citrus and underlying pine with some biscuit malt and alcohol showing through as well.T he flavors are bit heavy handed on the alcohol,it rears its head early and often,nice lemon and grapefruit hop flavors show through but its a battle with the alcohol.Its not a 'huge' beer but the alcohol is prevelent,in saying that its still a nice American DIPA from a great brewery.

Photo of RoyalT
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This poured a rich, darkish orange but not muddy-looking. Most IPAs that come out dark orange look like pond water but this is a clean brownish-orange and very attractive. The head was a slightly yellowed white with some tight carbonation. It didn't have a lot of staying power but looked good.

Smell - This is big but balanced. The strong hops show a hint of pine but the peach is prominent. I can also get a bit of grass. The malt is not as big in the nose but based on the coloring I'm sure it's there at the taste.

Taste - Yes, this is truly a balanced DIPA. Everything is big but even-keeled. The malts really step up at the taste as I suspected and show a lot of mature sweetness. Otherwise this tastes pretty much like it smells.

Mouthfeel - This is a solid medium-body and surprisingly dry. It's not a bone-crusher or anything like that, but there is a chug-stopping dryness that will make you stand up and take note. The carbonation is mild but expertly tight.

Drinkability - This is a very sophisticated beer. Its complexities will be lost on the mindless hophead. Take your time with this one though and you will be greatly rewarded. A fitting anniversary tribute and another great hoppy beer from Anderson Valley.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #37 (Feb 2010):

A humble dedication to the late William Brand, originally brewed for their 20th anniversary in 2007.

Towering head reaches past the rim of the glass and nearly topples over; orange-amber clarity is stunning. Hop aroma jumps from white peppercorn to aspirin, from mint to pine sap and from ruby grapefruit to wild herbs ... the nose brings forth some tropical fruit and caramel malt to boot. Semi-crisp full body, hop bitterness tries to set in the same time alcohol hits the palate to form a duo of spiciness. Alcohol is warming with some fruity esters of pineapple, cherry and mango. A bit of citric rind, lime leaf, aspirin and thick wild herb show off the hop flavor. Caramel and biscuity malt lay underneath. Bitter finish with that alcoholic warmth.

Bitter to say the least, all of the checks for an Imperial IPA have been marked off here. AVBC has done the style much justice.

Photo of Beaver13
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a hazy copper gold with a medium frothy white head that retains fairly well and laces the glass.

The aroma is bready malts, tropical fruits and resiny, piney, grassy, slightly metallic hops.

The flavor is sweet caramel/crystal malts and tropical fruits with a decent sized piney, resiney hop bitterness that has a little residual sugar in the finish. The alcohol is warming. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, it's a solid DIPA. It's a bit on the sweet side, but I enjoyed drinking it.

Photo of merlin48
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber pours a dirty, murky, orange/brown body with a two finger ecru hued head. Good retention and some sticky patch lacing.

Aroma opens with grassy hops. Citrusy grapefruit and pineapple quickly jump in. Toasted caramel underneath.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a thick and creamy carbonation. Some hop resin bite also present.

Taste has an edgy hop bitterness. Grassy and citrus rind at the beginning, with some meaty caramel malt becoming assertive midway through. Pink grapefruit and orange notes add some citrusy sweetness until near the finish when a grassy and grainy presence take over. Finishes dry and bitter.

I like the drinkability of this one, overall, but it has moments of earthy and grainy astringency.

Photo of tigg924
3.2/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, clear, orange/brown in color

Smell: big dose of pine hops, some citrus hops and malt

Taste: big citrus hops that make them selves known midway through and sting to the end, small pine hops, some caramel

Mouthfeel: medium/light bodied, medium carbonation, slightly sweet start with a super bitter finish

Drinkability: When chilled this beer is slightly unbalanced. As it warms it becomes super bitter. If you like your ipas oozing bitterness, this is the beer for you. As for me one is enough.

Photo of Hamsteroceros
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a tulip glass.

A- Beautiful copper-orange color w/ rather light lacing and a head that lasted a good while.

S- A subdued caramel-citrus nose with a bit of pine and maybe mango (?) Not a particularly huge nose on this beer, especially for an imperial IPA.

T- A strong burst of citrus with very malty presence. Reminiscent of raisins and grapefruit. Very piney with a strong hop finish. Hides ABV very well.

M- Syrupy and resinous, yet not at all unclean on the finish.

D- Each sip is different from the next, which is something that I personally value over a "perfectly balanced" beer. This beer is very much a big brother to the Hop Ottin'- a beer I rather enjoy. Given the price point, this is an excellent beer. Could be a bit hoppier, though...

Photo of magictrokini
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours darker copper with a moderate and dense off-white head. Floral aroma with pine, oranges, mango, and caramel. Excellent taste. Lots of grapefruit, oranges, and resin. Slight caramel malt and a buttery finish that lingers. Sticky mouthfeel. Despite the relatively low rating, I loved this beer. Its just a very basic IIPA.

Photo of mattffrost
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into glass.

Appearance Beer is a very clear tea color. Head is a dirty off white color. Good sticking to the glass.

Smell Spicy piney smell. A slight hint of citrus

Taste Piny floral taste. The bitterness starts out and finishes the same which is kind of unusual. A slight sweet carmel flavor is also present.

Mouthfeel. Very low carbonation. Bitterness in the mouth.

drinkabily 1pt 6 ounce is plenty for me.

Photo of ehammond1
2.69/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle (2010)

Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

Hazy, golden-orange in color. A beautiful beer!
Inch-high head that sticks around, creamy off-white in color. Leaves lots of thick and sticky lace around and down the glass.

Sweet and candied aroma. Missing the tropical and citrus notes I enjoy in my favorite DIPAs. Can smell the alcohol.

"Bitterness" and "heat" are the first two things that come to mind. The hop bitterness is there, but I'm missing much of the pungent, pine and fruit notes I love in a DIPA. The alcohol is present and the beer seems extraordinarily hot.

The mouthfeel is appropriate for the style, but the alcohol becomes more and more present as the beer warms making it less and less enjoyable to drink.

Not a particularly drinkable beer. I would not order another one. The heat from the alcohol is too much for the (lackluster) taste to overcome.

There are too many good CA DIPAs to drink this one again as this does nothing in particular very well. It's a beautiful beer to look at, but stops scoring points there. I was so excited to see this beer on the shelves because I think Anderson Valley's Hop Ottin' IPA is a perfect IPA.
I'll be sticking with my Hop Ottin'.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another from the old notes of the 9th double IPA festival.

Looked good, was all jacked up to drink one of my favorite breweries imperial ipa, love the hop ottin' so I thought this would be the shit. Eh . . .

Appearance, a darker version, which the single ipa is pretty dark. Taste, as the darkness would indicate, they really upped the malt bill, but hop wise, this just doesn't seem to up the ante like the malt backbone did.

Drinkability is alright, but at 6 bucks a 22, I would just rather spend another buck or two and get a 6er of the hop ottin or oatmeal stout.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle pours a brilliant orange copper color with a bright slightly off white head...leaves behind fine speckled lacing as it dwindles. Aroma has big citrus, earthy notes, with a floral edge to it as well. Basically hops all day, enough sugary malts to balance it out blends nicely with the hops. Flavor has a nice blend of sugary hops and juicy malts intertwined with hops, fantastic blend of big DIPA. They've been around for awhile, but this is their first DIPA, since I've been drinking their wares in the last ten years. Nice mix of malts and hops not overbearing in alcohol or any one aspect, a nice balanced drinkable DIPA. Mouthfeel is slightly resinous with a flowing blend of hops and malts in each sip. Overall I can't complain about this beer, big hops, nice blend, balanced brew for the people into big flavors.

Photo of chinchill
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in snifter at Thirsty Monk (NC). Pub's description brags of "20 separate additions of the finest Pacific Northwest hops".

A - small but lasting head over a hazy apricot liquid.

M - medium body cridp medium carbonation

T - Sharp hop bite at outset, with high IBU level immediately apparent. Unlike most IPA's, this one seems to become less bitter after the initial hop hit, which is not to say the bitterness fades away until long after swallowing. Nice mix of sweet malt and hops (both piney and citrusy), with some sweet notes and caramel peeking out from behind the dominant bitter hop flavor.

O - strongly flavored and bordering on challenging, but rather than leaving a strongly bitter grapefruit finish, this one ends with less bitterness than might be feared. Although clearly bitter, there's some sweet malt flavor.

Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber at BeerBistro.

This beer pours a hazy orangish-brown hue, with two fingers of foamy, creamy white head, which leaves a wall of lace around the glass as it slowly settles. It smells of bready caramel malt, and grapefruit hops. The taste is caramel/toffee malt, pine and blended citrus hops, and a bit of oily booze. The carbonation is on the low side, the body full, unctuous, and smooth, and it finishes consistent, the hops and toffee sweetness battling it out for Tokyo's fate to the end.

A nicely balanced IIPA, but still pretty big all around, with a touch of warming alcohol.

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anderson Valley- 20th Anniversary DIPA

On tap at Isaac Newton's- Newtown, PA

A- Deep copper brown with a thick chunky lacing head.
S- Sweet caramel malt and big bitter oily pine hops.
T- Thick sweet buttery caramel malt that quickly gives way to a big oily dose of pine hops. Sweet pine needles with a slight mettalic twang.
M- Thick malt with a sweet hoppy bitterness.

Overall- An easy drinking DIPA, with a slight twangy bite.

Photo of asabreed
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice darker red amber with a good off-white, almost light orange head with good retention and stickiness.

Smell: Hugely floral and bouquet-like, but not overly sweet. A good amount of citrus and flowers comes to the forefront, along with candied fruit and pungent citrus.

Taste: What I like about this beer mostly, and I've said this for others like Nugget Nectar, is that it achieves a harmonious balance between the juiciness of the fruit ester and candied fruit aromas, and the pungent, rind-like hop bite at the end. This could've been disastrous if not balanced, but they find a way to do it so you have the caramel, candied malt flavors, a huge bouquet of fruit and flowers, and the good hop bite at the end. Spend some time with this one.

Mouthfeel: A lot creamier that I had anticipated, and something very unexpected for the style. More medium than full-bodied, but the carbonation levels are nearly perfectly balanced here, and it's hugely coating also.

Drinkability: One of those beers that's always changing as the temperature changes. I wish they'd do this in six-packs, but if not I'll have to buy at least one more.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a coppery gold with reddish highlights. Looks like a sunset. The head is half a finger thick but holds up for more than a few minutes. Little splashes of lace dot the glass.

Really like the aroma. It hints at a double IPA that's going to be as malty as it is hoppy. Good balance in the nose of caramel-ish malts, grassy hops that nearly go into herbal tea territory (ie. very strong herbal tea), and a smidgen of alcohol warmth in the background.

Flavor delivers everything the aroma hinted at. I'm as impressed with the gooey toffee/caramel taffy malt element as the herbal, grassy hop factor. Resiny, and thankfully lacking the unbalanced feel that makes some double IPAs taste like you just swished with salt water. Bitterness nicely offsets and complements the candy-like sweetness of the malt, yet somehow this big-malt double IPA doesn't blur the lines between its intended style and a barleywine or American strong ale as some do. Style, shmyle, I rarely care--all I know is this delivers big, big flavor. Alcohol? Can hardly feel it, but you know it's there in the most peripheral way. A well-behaved DIPA--one with no lack of character.

What's more, the texture is like fresh cream; lightly sticky, gooey and decadent, yet not overbearing in a lugubrious thickness. Carbonation takes a back seat, there only to keep things feeling alive, and that's as it should be considering the style.

This is a fantastic beer. I like when a double IPA is tongue-rippingly eccentric, but I also like when others are of the more balanced variety. This one is in the latter category, and it wins big points for its immense balance between bold candy-like hops and leafy hop bitterness. A treasure, and apparently an underrated one--according to my tongue anyway...

Photo of Magpie14
3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: not much to boast about. Copper orange and golden yellow complexion. Small sudsy filmy ring of lace and a few bubbles. Looks rather pleasant

S: Imperial IPA you say, I catch mostly malts in the nose with chunky caramel and roasted whiffs. Hops are of pine sapling and soft acidic fruits. I am a little nervous as the hops seem to be faint

T: burly malts with caramel, brown sugared and vanilla chewy cookies, and fruits that are mostly of oranges. What the devil where are the hops? Has a bitterness/peppermint that hangs at the back and helps alleviate some of the sweets, needs more green nuggets! The hops are somewhere in the mix and offer more of a watery herbal leafy (floral pine and maybe lemon) tea type quality...still, nowhere near an Imperial IPA or even some regular IPA's...shame shame

M: a mild stance overall with bitter alcohol tones showing up. Moments of silkiness and sometimes filmy and sticky

D: sweet tooth's might dig and it had some nice dimensions. But I have mixed emotions on this one and as Steely Dan's 5th album is titled "The Royal Scam." Not really a scam, but quite a bit of a letdown

Photo of Sammy
3.51/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle of a unique IPA, at Beer Bistro. More malty than hoppy though hops there an abundance. Orange colour, strange soapy aroma. Drinkable, lacey, not like any DIPA, more of a complex malt treat. Apparently 20 different malts used, and just a lot of West Coast hop.
Their regular DIPA Better than their 20th anniversary ale, this is a mellow DIPA, lots of malt profile and grapefruit taste clearly in aroma as well.Good drinkability though not in the top DIPA class.

Photo of aval89
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: dark orange to amber color.. 2 fingers worth of head..

s: nice sweet hops.. some peaches, green wet grass.. some hints of tropical fruits.. definite caramel as well..

t: upfront is sweet caramel malt.. then some fruity hop flavors pull through.. mild tropical fruit hints.. ruby red grapefruit as well.. finish is bitter but nothing over the top.. some resinous traits come in with a bit of biscuity malt..

mf: medium bodied with good carbonation.. semi-dry finish.. just a bit of warmth from alcohol..

o: pretty decent dipa.. alcohol is very well hidden.. not too sure on freshness..

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My bottle poured a somewhat hazy deep orange colored body beneath a full head of creamy off-white. Yeast is visible at the bottom of the glass so I wonder if I'd let it sit for longer, or maybe poured it more gently, it would be clear. To be honest, I don't really care. Cloudy beer is fine with me, and (bonus!) it's bottle conditioned. Anyway, the head retention is very good, and it leaves beautiful rings of creamy lace beneath thin curtains of Belgian lace at the outset of the glass. Beyond that, however, it lacks - which is a shame because a beer like this should really deliver more. Moving forward...

In the nose it's sweetish and floral, almost perfumey, and just lightly piney and citrusy. It's not as big as most "Imperial" IPA's, but it's good; and I appreciate that the malt comes through as well as the hops. No alcohol is noticeable, although there is a suggestion of it.

The flavor is more hoppy than the aroma suggests, and it's got the expected resinous character of a very hoppy beer, but beyond that it's pretty well tamed. Lots of pine comes out at first, and then some floral and mildly fruity notes. The biscuity and lightly caramelish malt underneath is clearly present, and it becomes part of the flavor experience rather than just acting as a spring-board for the hops. As you progress through the glass and it warms, the hops become more grassy and spicy, and it surprisingly exhibits very little of the citrus that most would expect of and American "Imperial" IPA. Unfortunately, some more of the alcohol shows as well.

As to drinkability, I look to the label for my answer - "for those wishing to savor high quality, flavorful and perfectly balanced beers" - I totally agree with that. Anderson Valley has always been about balanced beers, and this is no exception. It's not bombastic, but it IS balanced (considering it's an "Imperial" IPA). The hops are strong, and they do build on the palate, but they don't leave your palate blind after the first three or four sips. I enjoyed relaxing with a bottle of this, and finding it's greater breadth of character as it warmed. That would not have been possible tasting some of the other hop-bombs coming out of Cali. So, all in all, I found it pretty damned drinkable. I have one more bottle to enjoy, and I think I'll crack it open on the first really nice night of spring as the sun is going down and it's still warm with just a slight chill in the air coming in. And perhaps some Brie and toasty crackers might work as well.

Photo of cjgator3
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Pours a dark hazy amber color with a large off-white head with excellent lacing. The aroma is sweet malt with a good dose of pine and citrus hops, really nice hop profile in the nose. The taste is surprisingly smooth and balanced with a good malt backbone to support the heavy dose of hops hops. Overall, this is an excellent DIPA that is extremely smooth and drinkable despite the high ABV, highly recommended.

Photo of tempest
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Keith for sharing. This was surprisingly drinkable. And I dont often use this to describe hops, but they really did taste soapy. The appearance was fine, a clear light amber with a white head. While I didnt have any problem drinking this beer, I would have appreciated more bitterness, like a lot more. I could have mistaken this for some sort of imperial amber for the sweetness. The hops were very juicy, like pineapple and berry punch.

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Imperial IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 593 ratings.