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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 Sunnanek


3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pour is hazy amber with a small off-white head. Some lacings.

S: Some caramell malt, semi-sweet hides behind bitter hops as well as floral ones; tropical fruits. Some alcohol is noticable as well.

T: Bready sweet malt, caramell; slighlty roasted. Rich floral hops; grapefruit, pineapple and lemon sezt. The bitter hops are quite strong. Some dark dried fruits is also present.

M: Long warming aftertaste, with both bitterness and sweetness. Body is full and carbonation modest.

O: A nice one. In Sweden we don't get many DIPAs on tap so extra credits for that.

Serving type: on-tap

07-16-2012 12:43:20 | More by Sunnanek
Photo of barczar


3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky tawny brown with a solid half inch beige head that lingers indefinitely.

Bready caramel malt, brown sugar, grapefruit, booze, and bruised cherries comprise the aroma.

The flavor is heavily malty, with notes of caramel and a strong toasted breadcrust. There's a solid underlying grapefruit character that lingers throughout. The finish is fairly bitter, but the malt sweetness balances. The malt character is reminiscent of an old ale, almost, with dark fruit notes emerging.

Body is almost syrupy, with moderate carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

A bit malt dominant for the style, and the hop character is somewhat simple. Malt is definitely more complex.

Serving type: on-tap

07-02-2012 01:32:54 | More by barczar
Photo of nickfl


4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - poured with one finger of bone white head on a clear, golden body. The head settles slowly and leaves excellent lace.

S - a very fruity hop character with notes of pineapple and tangerine.

T - fruity hops and light toffee up front. Some pine in the middle with more bready malt. Finishes with pine, tangerine, grapefruit and moderate bitterness.

M - medium body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - good, but somehow lacking. The hop character is pleasantly fruity and certainly strong enough for the style, but it is oddly one dimensional. A bit of pine or even perhaps some caramel in the malt profile would help to add some variety and make for a more drinkable beer.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2012 01:00:06 | More by nickfl
Photo of argock


4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at in a Shaker pint at Mellow Mushroom (Charlottesville, VA). Reviewed from notes.

A: Amber-orange with a short cap of off-white small-bubbled head with a few slivers of lace.

S: Floral and orange citrus hops aromas with medium-resiny character meet light caramel and robust pale maltiness.

T: The flavor is also plenty resiny with an ample dose of herbal spiciness to compliment the floral and orange-grapefruit citrus components. The hop profile works fine, but no hop character really helps to make this DIPA stand out. THe pale malt and light crystal character is subdued to this beer's credit.

M: The resiny character lends a tacky, sticky feel which is what I look for in this style. The body is medium-full and the carbonation is low-medium overall but about right for the style.

O: A pretty good DIPA but it still gets lost in the stream of very good examples.

Serving type: on-tap

04-07-2012 03:17:48 | More by argock
Photo of notchucknorris


4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Really nice golden color a frothy cream colored head.

S: Definitely a bit more malt forward than I'm used to, but I kind of like it. Some piney hops with a lot of caramel and a hint of berries.

T: Grapefruit with a pretty good amount of pine hops and a ton of caramel on the finish. Slightly syrupy mouthfeel that works really well with the caramel sweetness. Just enough bitterness on the end to let you know you're drinking an IPA. Pretty nicely done.

Serving type: on-tap

01-22-2012 05:12:22 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of dansmcd


3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy burnt orange/copper coloured body beneath a creamy white head and sheet lacing.

S - Very malt forward for a DIPA. Caramel, toffee, honey with some pine and spice.

T - Again, not much of a fruit character here to duke it out with the malts. Big caramel and other sweet malts. Some piney hops. Reasonably heavy bitter finish yet not sure about it being 100 IBUs.

M - Smooth medium to full body, moderate carbonation.

O - Its big, its bold, its bitter, its a sweet malty DIPA. I like it but would like to have had some more balance there.

Serving type: on-tap

12-18-2011 10:30:01 | More by dansmcd
Photo of david18

New York

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

I had numerous drafts of this at the Amsterdam Ale House on Manhattan's upper west side. This is a great example of how west coast ipas are different, and in my opinion better, than east coast.

Appearance is a hazy orange. A lot of carbonation and a fluffy head that stuck around for a while and left some lacing behind.

Aroma was of strong hops, mostly citrus, with a malt backbone to back it up. Overall a very strong aroma.

Flavor was a little on the hoppy side but generally very well balanced and not too strong tasting at all.

Overall I liked this beer a lot and was sorry to see it go when the tap was eventually replace by another double ipa.

Serving type: on-tap

11-30-2011 20:55:19 | More by david18
Photo of ThaCreep


3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Fruity nose of IPA with mango and apricot, wrapped in a green floral hops and flavored, which makes the nose warmer, with even traces of toast with honey.

On the palate, the entry is quite strong, with surprising flavors of sweet caramel malt and biscuit, which is surprising for a beer of this style. Unfortunately, the finding of these flavors is that hops is a little too down and the finish does a nice bitterness, but nothing more after all.

Serving type: on-tap

11-09-2011 21:41:02 | More by ThaCreep
Photo of TMoney2591


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

Served in a tumbler at The Tribes.

The Accidental Highway to Hell Tour continues! This stop pours a clear amber-straw topped by a finger of cream-white foam. The nose comprises pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, caramel, powdered sugar, lime, strawberry, mango, kiwi, and light pine. The massive fruitiness came as a bit of a surprise to me, but it somehow worked out very well. The taste holds notes of pineapple, pine, light menthol, light-ish toffee, light biscuit, honey, light strawberry, honeydew, lime, light lemon zest, light mandarin orange syrup, and light grass. The body is a light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and an almost syrupy feel. Overall, a very nice DIPA, one that really shows how you can make a fruity, hoppy brew without going overboard on the hops and maintaining a general balance throughout.

Serving type: on-tap

11-09-2011 04:13:34 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of nickd717


3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review dated 5/4/2009.

On tap at AVBC tasting room. Not one of my favorites. Nice appearance, golden-amber color with a foamy white head. Aroma of citrusy hops and sweet malt. Flavor is the same, as you’d expect, but it lacks a little of the hop punch I was looking for from the style. Palate pretty average. Drinkable but nothing special.

Serving type: on-tap

08-26-2011 20:47:55 | More by nickd717
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

07-31-2011 18:18:11 | More by chinchill
Photo of Slatetank


4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed a pint of this at Al's of Hampden

Golden in highlights with medium amber body. The cap is white with rings of lace left on the glass after settling. The bead is tiny and carbonation is visible in the liquid. The aroma has a big floral quality w/ lots of grapefruit which is somewhat sweet smelling with a fruity yeast ester and mildy yeast creamy odor with light honeyed citrus scent. The feel is good with the citrus acidity as indicated by the nose. There is a moderate amount of bitterness which is actually balanced even though there are bitter edges and the high carbonation makes it seem slightly sharper than it really is. The middle is juicy and semi-sweet body with moderate caramel sweetness in the background.The finish seems semi-dry with a mild malt presence still hanging on.

The flavor is good since this is a fresh keg according to the tap list. There is a lemony essence with grapefruit tinge and light caramel sweetness from the malt. I get mild pinapple fruitiness which could be from the hops or yeast but the hops have an herbal element which is slightly piney since the resins from the hop come out slightly as it warms. The subtle yeast creamy quality is less apparent in the taste but it is there. The herbal notes blend in a good way with that flavor and some subtle pepper creeps forward mid-taste. I like the gentle lemon tinge with more of an orange rind juiciness I am getting with very mild toasted grain accent. The hops have a kind of floral/tropical synergy going on which is nice but also display some grassy notes. The finish has a semi-sweet herbal quality with a drying quality of alcohol. I enjoyed this one a good bit, a lot better than most in this style for me since the malt doesn't go too far and it doesn't display a lot of alcohol in the taste either. I recommend giving this a shot especially if it is fresh. The hops are pretty fresh, but not over the top or bitter for the sake of being bitter. I think it is fair to say the tap version exceeded my expectations since I tried the bottle version before and thought there was too much malt emphasis.

Serving type: on-tap

07-07-2011 17:05:58 | More by Slatetank
Photo of akorsak


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

On-tap at Al's.

A: The imperial IPA is tea colored, a lighter autumnal amber color. The transparency accentuates a steady stream of bubbles mid-glass. A thin white head is the output of those streams.

S: The nose is resiny, hopped to excess. The nose is strong on citrus but well balanced.

T: For an imperial IPA, it is well balanced, offering both sweet caramel malts and bitter hops in ample supply. A berry-like flavor comes through, an interesting turn of events for a bold IIPA. Peppery heat comes through later, after the ale has warmed up a few degrees. A decent DIPA.

M: The mouthfeel isn't as hop-centric as an DIPA should be, stressing the balance rather than the extreme.

Serving type: on-tap

07-03-2011 20:59:25 | More by akorsak
Photo of alexhahn82


3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A. Copper in color, roughly a 1/4 of a finger head.

S. Sweet, hoppy and fresh, this was on tap at the AVBC.

T. Sweet and punchy, with a very nice bite of bitterness from the hops.

Mouthfeel. Crisp and dry, no lingering sweetness just ass kicking hope bite.

Overall. A must try, 100 perfect IBU's, had this in the bottle before and it was excellent, but straight from the source at AVBC it is phenominal.

Serving type: on-tap

05-16-2011 19:31:27 | More by alexhahn82
Photo of DJED69

New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice DIPA from Anderson Valley! Pours a hazy copper-orange with notable lacing and nice head. The nose is very nice---hops, hops, hops! Taste is classic Cali. IPA but with a little extra OOMPH. Balanced, but rich with a touch of sweet malt to even out the intense hoppiness. It's got that 'West Coast Juciness'. Easy to drink as the 8.7% abv is very well hidden. A very well done brew.

Serving type: on-tap

04-05-2011 16:32:01 | More by DJED69
Photo of Stinkypuss


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

Pours a clear orange with a soapy head and minimal lace. 10 oz snifter pour. Hops and bright ale aromas, hinting at mango, pineapple, and citrus. All of these are present in the taste too, bitterness is toned down and alot of hop flavors resinate. Malt is sweet and almost like simple syrup. Nice hop profile, drinks like a big beer, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2011 14:19:11 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of OWSLEY069


4.65/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clean orange-ish color with yellow hints and an off white head. In the aroma, orange citrus and mango hops. In the taste, orange/ mango like citrus like hops and a small sweet to dry presence. A hop bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry orange citrus hop in the aftertaste. Hides the ABV and big west coast hops, I dig it!

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2010 15:37:21 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of woodychandler


4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am going to keep my original, on-tap review and add a new bottle review on 06-09-2013.

From the bottle: "Solar Powered Brewery"; "Brewed from only the finest hops, malted barley, yeast and pristine Boonville mineral water."; "Imperial IPA This IPA was first created in honor of our second decade as a brewer and purveyor of the finest ales in the world. This [limited - bold] release, over-the-top brew is loaded with excessive amounts of malts to balance 20 separate additions of the finest Pacific Northwest hops to create the kind of product " ... that made California craft ale famous."

I was anxious to get the Imperial party started so I went with an aggro pour that produced two fingers of dense, tawny foam with moderate retention which created beautiful lacing as it fell. Color was a slightly hazy copper. Nose was as pungent, intense and mind-blowing as a shot of pepper spray. No kidding, it bit right through my mild allergies of the day and went right into the old sinus cavity to wreak havoc! I do not know how to adequately describe it other than to tell you that you had best like hops if you are going to grapple with this beast. No Child Left Behind becomes No Hops Strain Left Unused. Jeez-O, man! I was suddenly scared and I am a hophead from way back, man. I took a draught and let it sit on my tongue and it was as heavy and viscous as a friggin' slug of liquid lead. Thank goodness for the balancing malts as the hops acted like hydrofluoric acid on my tongue, burning away dead and weak taste buds and worming its way into my soft palate. Holy hops, Batman! Once I actually swallowed and took a deep breath, I got that cool, minty flavor/feeling that I had mentioned almost three years ago. Okay, I may need to go to the hospital after this. Wow!

Transcribed from undated notes. (on-tap)

It started with a beautiful solid finger of bone-white head but it fell like a souffle when the oven door is banged shut. Back at the ranch, the color was a deep-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was somewhat muted with a mentholated scent. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste was minty, like mouthwash. Brilliant! Spearmint? Perhaps, but the finish was refreshing and clean, like peppermint. Death by mint - let's go!

Serving type: on-tap

08-10-2010 01:35:31 | More by woodychandler
Photo of Daniellobo

District of Columbia

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

Nice DIPA with a long and assertive edge between the malt and hop bill.

Presentation: 12 oz draft serving. Menu offers a brief and fairly accurate description. Notes Alc. by Vol. (8.7%) Served in a convex shaped glass.

A - Medium amber pour with a good head, retention and touches of lace.

S - Floral touches with hints of grapefruit, pineapple, and a zesty hint. Sweet notes emerge. Nose is a bit subdued but it is probably a bit too cold for its own good putting down some aspects of the range.

T - Hoppy sense, quite balanced out by the malty sweetness. Grapefruit, pine, and citrus linger around the caramel. Again slightly subdued but rather well placed.

M - Medium to medium-full body with medium carbonation, Rather smooth with a silky finish.

D - It works rather well. Balanced in a pleasant manner it makes for a nice DIPA

Notes: True that it may not exploit the hop bill it brags about as much as it should, but the overall sense balances this shortcoming rather well.

Serving type: on-tap

05-02-2010 20:36:11 | More by Daniellobo
Photo of tigg924


3.15/5  rDev -17.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2010 14:08:17 | More by tigg924
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-06-2010 09:54:43 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of jdense


3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at PDX Green Dragon 9/3 into pint glass.

Amber body, quick dissapation with medium lacing. Very hoppy taste, spicy and a bit hot from alcohol. Finish is pretty dryy but very hoppy. Alcohol not very well hidden, effects drinkability. Not one of Anderson Valley's best. I'm a bit disappointed, but compared to other IPAs/DIPAs I had this trip, this was not all that great.

Serving type: on-tap

09-07-2009 01:51:36 | More by jdense
Photo of illidurit


3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at 515 in Santa Cruz. Pours deep copper with a thin light-khaki head. Aroma is herbal, resinous, and piney, with some caramel sweetness. Flavor starts out with a big maple syrup note that lingers throughout, partially dampening the hop influence. The finish is better with a nice herbal hoppiness that leaves a medium bitterness. Too sweet for my double IPA taste.

Serving type: on-tap

08-22-2009 09:08:36 | More by illidurit
Photo of schmitter


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

Poured a dark gold from the tap with a flowing head, as it was the last in the keg. Definitely a hoppy IPA, as that was the main scent of the beer. Not too bitter, but not the most pleasurable IPA. Typical tastes, just a bit stronger than say a sierra nevada.

Serving type: on-tap

06-25-2009 00:51:16 | More by schmitter
Photo of Lexluthor33

New York

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber orange color with a nice head and lace.
The aroma of floral hops,piney notes and fruits.

The taste was medium sweetness,hops, some malts in the back with abundant fruit / grapefruit hints.

The feel was juicy,medium carbonation with mild bitterness.

Notes: A fine,smooth beer with a thirst quenching feel.I was really thirsty when I had it and it did the trick. No trace of alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

05-21-2009 01:20:44 | More by Lexluthor33
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Imperial IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 557 ratings.