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Imperial IPA - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

557 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 557
Reviews: 330
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.78%

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:
Formerly known as 20th Anniversary Imperial IPA

(Beer added by: largadeer on 02-16-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 557 | Reviews: 330 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of zookerman182


3.69/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden yellow color with a two finger foamy white head.
Aroma is bready, malty, caramel, toffee.
Flavor is much milder than the aroma. Malty but you get a good hop bitterness with a lingering flavor is apple and citrus.
You can't taste the alcohol but you can tell its a heavy hitter beer.
Incredible lacing.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2013 22:22:53 | More by zookerman182
Photo of scotorum


3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Unusual foil finished label of a bear with antlers (!) drinking from a stream lends a quality novelty look to the bottle. Poured directly into a tulip glass from the 12 oz. bottle.

a: Translucent amber. Two finger thick white head dwindled slowly to a heavy surface foam film with fairly even lacing all the way down. Excellent so far!

s: mild sweet citrus, orangeish.

t: Citrus/resin hops with a lingering bitter finish.

m: On the heavier side of light to medium, but the bitterness hangs in, making the mouthfeel seem even heavier and not very smooth.

o: A decent high ABV medium to strongly hopped IPA. The hop bitterness really IS persistently bitter, with not much other distinctive flavor to distract or balance it out, although malt does gradually become more evident as it warms.

Not bad, but if I wanted to get knocked on my ass by a high ABV IPA, I'd still pick Double Jack or even Ruination -- unless price was even more of an object than it is, at which point AV IIPA at $2 a bottle might be an attractive alternative to DJ or Ruination at $3.50@.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2013 05:11:51 | More by scotorum
Photo of phishsihq


3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Anderson Valley's Imperial IPA weighs in at a hefty 8.7% ABV and 100 IBUs. The beer was originally brewed to celebrate the brewery's 20th anniversary. It pours a slightly hazy, apricot color with a creamy, off-white head that provides some decent lacing. Citrus hops, mostly oranges and tangerines, provide a wonderful opening into this hop-forward nose. Floral aromas follow as the beer warms, and sweet, bready malt aromas underline the entire olfactory experience. The beer erupts on the palate with floral hop flavors taking the lead. As the flavors progress, sweet bready malt swirls with tangerines and pineapple on the way to a long sweet finish. Sweeter than most Imperial IPAs, the brew is medium bodied with a lighter level of carbonation. Sweet...

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2013 20:18:04 | More by phishsihq
Photo of Curtis


4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy dark gold, thick foamy head that lasted quite a while. Much cloudier than expected, almost Berliner Weisse or Hefe. Mounthfeel was exceptional. No harsh Hop after bitter. Aroma was fairly mild -could use a bit more. Fruity overtones, not too citrus, slightly floral. Smooth, very smooth The balance is exceptional, nice pale maltyness, blended with tasty hops.. Alcohol kick is fairly good at 8.7... it sneaks up quickly, yet quietly. I've had good experiences with this brewery (Boont Amber is a favorite) and they have impressed again.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2013 04:45:07 | More by Curtis
Photo of thierrynantes


4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (33 cl.) purchased from La Souffleur de Bière, and tasted 2013.

Appearance : amber color, with white foamy head (w lacing).
Smell : hops, malty and spicy aromas
Taste & mouthfeel : malty and dry hoppy flavors, leading with nice bitter finish.
Drinkability : a nice beer in the style American Imperial IPA.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2013 19:59:50 | More by thierrynantes
Photo of BS-

New Zealand (Aotearoa)

4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a highball glass.

Revisited: The last review was from 17/10/12. I'm not sure if it's a maturing of my palate or a broadening of my beerspeak vocabulary, but I no longer agree with it completely, so here's another.

Pours an almost hazy orange-gold with a thick, lumpy off-white head. Head is stubborn and maintains a nice, patchy layer over the beer, leaving behind decent patches of lacing.

Nose is full and aromatic. Thick, yeasty sweet malts hit you in the face, followed by a pleasant hop profile dominated by earthy, resiny, piney notes and touches of tropical fruit, mostly mangoes. Just a slightest touch of nuttiness can be picked up.

Sweet, hearty malts and an ephemeral pop of nuttiness come in upfront, but the hops jump in soon after and steal the show. The initital bang is mostly earthy, piney, resiny and somewhat grassy with this weird (but not enturely unpleasant) aspirin-like flavour (which I identified but could only put my finger on and express after reading BeerAdvocate's review). Tropical fruits soon follow, but less distinct and more fleeting than in the nose. The beer finishes resiny and bitter with a hint of that aspirin-like quality present. some sweet malts can be detected in the background. Very late into the aftertaste, a bean-like sweetness starts to unfurl and a mellow bitterness burrows it's way into the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly full and creamy with nice carbonation.

Overall a pretty good beer. Maybe not the best hop profile around, but still a very enjoyable brew. The flavour profile changes quite drastically with temperature.

Old review:

A: Golden honey with a good white head. Plenty of lacing.
S: Lots of caramel and pine with a hint of citrus and herbiness.
T: Comes straight at you with a sweet and malty body, balanced with bitter piny hop notes, some citrus and herbiness and just a hint of cinnamon. Surprisingly sweet and malty which made the beer seem less hop-centric. The hop taste also tends to fade away rather quickly.
M: Medium with decent carbonation. Leaves a rather dry feeling in the mouth.
O: Overall a very balanced and pleasant beer if you’re a fan of IPAs. Not the most revolutionary or aggressive IPA out there, but definitely a good beer to have once in a while. It’s a rather easy beer to drink during any occasion.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2013 16:11:29 | More by BS-
Photo of TheBrewo


3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

We pop the top and pour a brew of sunset orange. It holds a two finger head of massive white creamy bubbles. Patterned, soapy lacing is left down the glass as the head disappears at a medium pace. There is a big haze to it, with flecks of microsediment floating about. Carbonation appears slow and minimal. The aroma gives citric, nectary, and sweet floral hops. These mix with pale and borderline wheaty malts, mineral, fusel booze, coiny metallics, tomato acidity, and warmed caramel malt sweetness. With warmth comes orange flesh sweetness. Our first impression is that there is a nice pucker from the dirty, earthy hops, but a strong white sugar sweetness permeates and cuts a bit too deep. As we sip, the flavor opens with bite of baker’s yeast, lemon rind, grapefruit hops, and bitter grassiness. This is quickly cut by sugary sweet caramel malts and a sweeter, fusel booziness that gives more cloy than fire. The peak comes with more peppery alcohol, bready malts, flour, and yeastiness, bittering plastic phenols, and more bite of earthy and citric hops. The latter pulls us to a finish which washes with paler malts with less sweetness, more mineral, and light lactic sourness to full cut any remnants of malts from earlier. The aftertaste breathes of bittered soapy and citric hops, caramel malts, booze, black pepper, chalky flour, and coiny metallics. The body is light to medium, and the carbonation is lighter. There is a smoothness to it, with a cool, wet coating following an initial bittering pucker. There is decent slurp, smack, cream, and froth to the sip. The abv is fine, and the beer drinks appropriately.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the aroma. There was a nice balance to the bittering, citric and earthy hops and the caramel and pale malt mix. The flavoring followed decently, but didn’t seem to blend as well as the aromatics. The sweetness came as a basic taste of white sugar, without really any amalgamation or incorporated flavoring. The hops were similar in a sense of bitterness, but these certainly felt a bit more organic and real. This beer is drinkable and decent, but little more.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2012 01:50:35 | More by TheBrewo
Photo of WesM63


3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Pours a copper orange with a 1 finger head. Minimal retention and lacing.

S: Smells malty sweet with a hint of citrus hops (grapefruit) and a little bit resin.

T: Light malt sweetness followed up by citrus hops and resin. Finishes sweet with a bit of almost tropical flavors. Some bitterness lingers.

M: Medium body and carbonation. A bit of alcohol warmth.

O: As others have mentioned. Very good beer for the style, it is very well balanced. However, it is just not what I've come to expect in a DIPA.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2012 23:52:17 | More by WesM63
Photo of KMcG


3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy copper with 1-2 fingers of off white head that reduced after a couple of minutes to a variable lace.

The aroma is sweet caramel and resinous. The alcohol volitilizes and hits the nose hard. 

The taste is on the sweet side like caramel apple mixed with some rich pine hops.  In general the flavors are met with the heat of the alcohol, which has cognac like notes. The aftertaste is bready.

The mouthfeel is full body and thick for DIPA.  The booze throughout is distracting. 

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2012 23:21:45 | More by KMcG
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

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

12oz Bottle from the Potsdam NY IGA for 4$

Appearance - Slightly hazy amber/copper colour with an above average size fizzy/frothy off-white coloured head. There a low amount of carbonation and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for 4-5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, hops, oranges, grapefruit

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste hops and malts mixed with grapefruitand pineapple. There is also a touch of apricot and caramel. It ends with a sweet aftertaste and a bit of lingering hop bitterness.

Overall - A very good DIPA but at the same time it isn't very exciting. It has a nice balance and the flavours are well balanced, but it doesn't have the wow factor you find in the truly great west coast DIPA's. I'd buy it again though.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2012 00:30:23 | More by spinrsx
Photo of MagicJeff


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

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass

Appearance: hazy dark gold. Very nice head retained throughout drinking.

Smell: Caramel and toffee, oily pine and citrus rind

Taste: Initial taste of caramel rescinds to some grapefruit and lemon. after taste is sweet and malty, with faint citrus, with a slight burn of alcohol. very complex and well balanced taste.

mouthfeel: medium, standard carbonation. pretty drinkable for DIPA

Overall: Enjoyable and worth trying--would love to have on tap. Very well balanced beer with a delicious taste...not as hoppy as I expected for a DIPA but solid nonetheless

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2012 22:50:59 | More by MagicJeff
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear dark golden orange to copper in color with moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy beige head that slowly reduces but has great retention properties - leaving about a half finger tall head evenly covering the surface. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of citrus hops with some lighter amounts of pine/resin hops.

T: The beer starts out with some light amounts of caramel malt sweetness but they the hops flavors kick in. There are moderate to significant flavors of citrus hops with some light hints of pine/resin hops. There is a light amount of bitterness which does not linger and some light alcohol notes in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: This beer is well balanced, especially between the sweetness from the malts and the bitterness from the hops - leaving some very nice flavor elements. This beer is big and that comes through in the taste - light hints of alcohol - meaning that you will likely need to sip this one. Definitely an enjoyable beer and one I would definitely consider getting again.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2012 22:55:10 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of PeterIngemi


3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a duvel glass

A: pours a hazy golden orange with less then half a finger of white head, leavs minimal lacing...

S: citrus and tropical fruit, hints of pine... A touch of malt sweetness.

T: bready and caramel Malts balance out citrus and bitter earthy hops, a light touch of pine, the Malts are a little more dominant then I would like, wish this brew was a bit more aggressive hop wise, it is well balanced though.

M: medium body with medium carbonation, dry on the finish with a bitter slightly bready aftertaste. Not a huge fan of the aftertaste.

O: a decent brew... Nothing to get excited about, but certainly not
A bad beer, well balanced and tasty, just wish the hops were a bit more aggressive.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2012 01:59:34 | More by PeterIngemi
Photo of Georgiabeer


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

A nice fresh bottle just arrived in Georgia- I say that since it smells and tastes so fresh. Pours a slightly cloudy golden with a nice creamy head that sticks around as a thick, pure white cap and leaves some sheets of lacing. Nice resinous aromas of citrus and herbs, and a fair dose of sweet, light malt. The taste is somewhat on the sweet side as well, but the hop flavors are so clean and bright, with more citrus and herbs, and a bit of grassiness. There is a biscuity note to the malt, followed by a light, sweet, clean finish. Not heavy at all, and the abv is very well hidden. A very pleasant DIPA, particularly as fresh as this one is.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2012 00:28:58 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of mschind


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

A- 12 oz bottle in a chalice left a nice creamy head with good retention and beautiful lacing. Clear golden amber color.

S- The label delivers the warning, excessive amounts of malt which is what dominates the nose. Rich carmel malt leading to floral and herbal hops.

T- Big malty flavor balanced by hop bitterness but not much hop flavor.

M- Medium body, smooth carbonation, slightly astringent finish.

O- Not quite up to the definition of Imperial. A good effort, especially for malt lovers.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2012 23:14:10 | More by mschind
Photo of BlurryVisi0n

New York

3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Slight hazy amber, but very transparent body with little to no almost no bubbles, an off white head maybe 1/6" little thick but disappears after a little.

Smell: Light caramel scent. Awfully light. smells good just wish for more potency.

Taste: Very good taste, little sweet little bitter. It missing some floral feel which is what I was hoping for but yet satisfying.

Mouth: Medium carbonation which is a notch sharp. Sticky and effortlessly smooth.

Overall: This is very good beer. No not the best Imperial IPA you will have but you will sure remember. Salud!

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2012 05:33:56 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

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

$6.99 bomber from Rutherford Wine.

Slightly hazy golden orange body, topped but a level three fingers of micro bubbly creamy white foam. Drops quickly to one finger. Scattered lace drips.

Aroma of fresh apricots and pine, with perhaps a bit of orange in the mix. Inviting.

Sweet caramel on the tip of the tongue. Juicy fruits hit hard and fast along the sides. Big bitter wall crashes down at the swallow. Sense of warming alcohol, but not a direct burn. Fruitiness could be a bit brighter, fresher, give more balance against the bitter.

Medium-plus mouthfeel, low level carbonation. It's a bit thick.

A good IIPA that in keeping with Anderson Valley's high level reputation, but not a classic. Worth a try, but long term stick with Hop Ottin'.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2012 03:48:48 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of alk3kenny


4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy with a slight clarity not a thick or strong head nice nose hoppy, citrus, pine very welcoming. Not as hoppy smelly as I'd typically go for but still nice. Very easy to drink hoppy just enough for a sessionable beer. Not boozy at all just very pleasant hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is slightly creamy and easy drinking. At a pretty decent price point locally here in GA right around 7 for a bomber, I'd get this one again when looking for a nice IPA

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2012 04:20:44 | More by alk3kenny
Photo of cindyjeffsmith


3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

appearance: Hazy, robust amber. Looks like fruit juice with a head. Very appetizing.
smell: Some bitter, some sweet grapefruit. Nice, simple.
taste: Up front very similar to the nose. Balanced bitter and sweet grapefruit. Quite a lingering, bitter aftertaste.
overall: Adequate, though not inspiring DIPA.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2012 23:16:02 | More by cindyjeffsmith
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2012 19:34:34 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Cyberkedi


3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Strong aroma is quite hoppy with a firm grapefruit note and a yeasty hint. It pours a clear orange-amber with a thick, fluffy and rather persistent ivory head that leaves patchy lacing. Flavor is seriously hoppy, not quite like drinking a liquid pine tree, but very satisfyingly hoppy, subtly bitter, with notes of grapefruit and Mandarin orange and a hint of yeast. Smooth, full-bodied flavor has a good amount of fizz and leaves behind a persistent hoppy tingle. Hop to your favorite beer store for this one if you like IPAs!

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2012 18:52:28 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of Kromes


3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: A clear dark gold color with a thick off white head that sits on top of the beer and laces the glass.

S: Sweet malt aroma with herbal, pine, and citrus hop aromas. Also a fruity grape.

T: A nice clean, toasted malt flavor up front with a pine and citrus hop bite. The finish is a bit bitter with lingering hop and alcohol taste and warmth.

M: Medium/heavy body with lower carbonation. The finish is bitter and a little dry.

O: A solid West Coast Double IPA.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2012 22:12:55 | More by Kromes
Photo of rajendra82


3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The color of the beer was a shade lighter than standard issue IPA amber, and there was four finer thick head, but not much visible carbonation in the form of streamers. The smell was very subdued for the style. I could detect some citric hops and nothing else. The bland aroma had me worried about the the taste, but it was much better. There was a lot of citric and tropical flavor in the taste followed by a pleasing sweetness. Quite balanced considering the Imperial moniker and West Coast pedigree. Sticky on the tongue with a medium body, and a peppery aftertaste. So so.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2012 03:20:30 | More by rajendra82
Photo of Clydesdale

District of Columbia

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy orange-amber color. The orange-tinted head is fairly tall at first, with a thick, frothy texture. Retention is above average. Some weblike lacing sticks as the head recedes.

S: A fairly malty nose, with some definite caramel notes. Citric American hops are prominent, with orange and grapefruit prominent. Lightly tropical and resinous notes are also present, along with a faintly perfumey hint.

T: Malty up front, with firm caramel sweetness and a bit of toffee. Hop bitterness is moderate, but not bracing as many others are of this style. Citric flavors are prominent, along with lighter fruity and resiny/piney flavors. Alcohol is noticeable, but it doesn't detract from enjoyment.

M: Full bodied, with some residual sweetness almost akin to a barleywine. Carbonation is soft and supple. A gradually building dryness comes into focus towards the finish, helped along by a bit of alcohol.

D: This is a bit atypical for a West Coast Imperial IPA. Big bodied, malty, and somewhat sweet up front. Rest assured, there's a hefty dose of American C-hops to follow, which brings things back into familiar territory.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2012 23:53:16 | More by Clydesdale
Photo of TechTriumph


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

Thanks to MrMegaton09 for this one. I've got one waiting for you in return.

From notes on 05/14/12:
No freshness date; Poured in a pint glass.

A - One inch off-white creamy head with decent retention; Hazy at first, but pretty clear later with an orange hued amber color; Fairly good veils of lacing left behind

S - Quite pleasant aroma here with notes of floral and piney hops, vanilla, and underlying, but fairly prominent biscuity and caramel malts

T - Loads of hops here, but the malts have a pretty big balancing presence as well while still letting the hops shine; Hop flavors include the herbal, piney, light pungent onion, and light citrus varieties; Taste turns quite peppery in the finish; Nice shot of bitterness throughout the taste; Biscuity and light caramel flavors form the malt backbone

M - A bit above moderate carbonation; Nice, smooth, creamy mouthfeel behind the carbonation; Just a notch above medium bodied; Pretty dry finish with just a very subtle warmth that seems to strengthen a bit as the beer warms

O - Under the cap: "Yo Quiero Cerveza Crema!" This is a very tasty and satisfying DIPA that brings pretty good balance, while still showing a strong presence of delicious herbal, piney and oniony hops. The levels of bitterness and smooth mouthfeel characteristics seem just right too. Overall, I was pretty pleased with this brew and am curious to try other Anderson Valley offerings in the future.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2012 10:26:36 | More by TechTriumph
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Imperial IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 557 ratings.