Imperial IPA - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

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Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

331 Reviews

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Reviews: 331
Hads: 593
Avg: 3.8
pDev: 11.84%
Wants: 28
Gots: 29 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 331 | Hads: 593
Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

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.

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Photo of zookerman182
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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Photo of scotorum
3.82/5  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@.

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Photo of phishsihq
3.96/5  rDev +4.2%
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...

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Photo of Curtis
4.34/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

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Photo of thierrynantes
4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

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Photo of BS-
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

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Photo of WesM63
3.8/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of KMcG
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
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. 

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Photo of spinrsx
3.83/5  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.

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Photo of MagicJeff
3.83/5  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

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.86/5  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.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of mschind
3.83/5  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.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of barczar
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
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!

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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'.

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Photo of elgiacomo
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

32oz Growler from Beverage World in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA. Kegged May 1, 2012. Served at around 45F.

Pours lightly hazy amber with a large three-finger off-white head that leaves some drippy rings of lacing behind and recedes to a small foamy cap and ring.

Aroma starts with oranges and tangerines, some mango, citrus, apricot, floral hops, some caramel and bready malt, a bit of alcohol. Good strength.

Flavor is more tangerine citrus, apricot, some pine, floral hops, decent caramel malt backbone offering some sweetness, finishes with nice citrus rind bitterness and some alcohol, but the alcohol isn’t overpowering or distracting.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus bodied, oily, sticky, good carbonation.

Tasty Double IPA. Pretty citrusy with a good bit of apricot too. Goes down pretty easy. Not a world-beater, but a nice example of the style.

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Photo of alk3kenny
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
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

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.93/5  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!

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Imperial IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 331 ratings.