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Imperial IPA - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

591 Ratings

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Ratings: 591
Reviews: 332
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 28
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: 591 | Reviews: 332
Photo of tjsprague
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another nice offering from Anderson Valley.

The first thing I noticed when I popped open the bottle was the blast of hop aroma. It was a nice floral smell and I almost expected there to be hops floating on top.

The beer poured a nice deep copper color with a light copper head. The taste was not as hoppy as the smell lead me to believe, but that does not mean this isn't a hoppy beer. Most of the hop flavor comes in the form of a good bitterness. The body is not as heavy as I might have expected for an imperial IPA but it is thick enough, no real complaints about it.

The mouthfeel was good, not too much bitterness or hop resin to make it difficult to drink. You could have a couple of these in a sitting and not feel too full or get the hop resin taste left in your mouth.

A good all around beer.

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

Thought I would try something a bit different from AVBC. After reviewing the label was left wondering when the brew was made as the brewery was founded in 1986?

A- Pours a clear amber with moderate pale head which disappears quickly.

S- Smells of spicy hop, just a hint of malt.

T- The palate is greeted with an intense hop bitterness, not overly complex for having 20 hop additions. Through the hoppiness there is a mild sweetness.

M- All around I would say medium bodied.

D- Not a session beer but enjoyable. Would prefer a bit less sweetness.

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

A: Nice looking deep copper color with a finger of white head. Poor head retention though.

S: A nice woody and spicy smell up front. After that pungent wet hops. A little bit of citrus in the back. Fairly nice nose.

T: A really nice and different DIPA. The hints of wood are really there.A nice mix of citrus hops and sweet malt. Very well balanced. Honestly I have probably been overdoing the DIPAs lately and this is a nice change of pace.

M: Little bit sticky medium body.

D: Really a nice beer. I have not had anything by them in a few years now. A nice DIPA breaking from the mold. Just a very easy drinker. Without knowing I would think it was a single IPA.

Photo of Slats
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

App: Nice fluffy head that settles down quickly with some lace. Nice clean coppery color.

Aroma: Sweet malts mixed with floral hops. Decent citrus character and the slightest hint of cheesy hops.

Taste: Bitterness hits first but fades fast. Much sweeter than I was expecting, like a sugary dough once the initial bitterness fades.

Mouth: Smooth with a nice crisp finish.

Drink: Not fatiguing but it did not call out to me to drink more.

I am a fan of most Anderson Valley beers but this one just didn't do it for me.

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 PDXHops
2.25/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap in a shaker pint.

Amberish copper body with half a finger of off-white head. Not much head retention and little lacing.

The nose is surprising. Very herbal and floral, quite gentle. Touch of caramel and citrus. Very tame.

Weird doughy/yeasty taste up front, followed by sweet malt and a tiny bit of toastiness, plus some herbal/medicinal notes. Finishes with nice citrusy bitterness, but it's not a pleasant transition from the doughy taste up front to the citrus at the end. Basically, I like it as I swallow, but nothing before that.

Medium-light smooth body and carbonation.

Overall impression: Subpar DIPA. Disappointing offering from a brewery I usually enjoy.

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.

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.

Photo of colts9016
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter at 52 degrees.

Appearance: A deep amber color with an orangish hue. There is a one finger creamy white head that has some retention to it. There is effervescence in the beer. The clarity of the beer is clear and brilliant. There is a lot of lacing on the beer.

Nose: A nice grapefruit. pine, and a subtle malty sweetness. You can smell a the fruity esters in the brew.

Taste: A hoppy grapefruit and pine beer with some fruity esters. There is subtle malty sweetness in the brew.

Overall: A medium body slightly dry with some creaminess and astringency. The finish is medium and bitter. This to me is a better version of Hopslam. It is a very nice hoppy beer and well balance with a good malt backbone. It is not a dry beer and very nice to sip. I enjoyed this beer.

Photo of BeerSox
3.21/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a nonic.

Crystal clear amber, almost like a polished sphere of the substance of the color's name. The head is thick, about an inch high, with a surprisingly white color. Just barely off white.

The aroma is very tame, with lots of citrusy hops, but not as aromatic as the typical DIPA. There's a very organic and herbal aroma in the background.

Somewhat of an odd taste to this one. The malts are strong for a DIPA, with a little toastiness and a good chunk of caramel. The hops add a little bit of citrusy flavor. The herbal aroma is back in the flavor. Full bodied.

Sort of a weird DIPA. More like an IPA, with some odd flavors in it for the style. Not a bad beer, but probably not one to consider when craving a hop bomb. If you're looking for a high %ABV Pale Ale, then this one is for you.

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

On tap at the 12th Street Ale House, Charlottesville, VA's newest beer destination. Served in a 20 oz. (!) Imperial Pint for a mere $4.

Appearance: An orange amber, copper-colored brew, crystal clear, with a relatively-fast fading head that's almost gone by the time this one arrived (even though I was sitting at the bar) with lots of foamy collar-ific goodness and a thin sheen of dust. There's also plenty of carbonation, average-sized, though very fast.

Aroma: Very light and floral, with plenty of spicy, bright pine and flourishes of tropical fruit. Unfortunately, it's also both slightly somewhat soapy and slightly faint.

Taste: A relatively large amount of bitterness, with some dull, slightly chemically hoppy notes, a few bright dashes of tropical fruit - pineapple, guava perhaps - definite juniper berry/pine, and a very strong, sweet, roasted backbone, with slight hints of gummy bear-like sugars.

Mouthfeel: Very even and smooth, moderately crisp in that hop proteiny kinda way. The best aspect of this beer.

Drinkability: Glad I tried this one on tap for $4, as I don't think think the 22 oz. bottle is really worth the $6.29 - $6.99 I'm seeing it for around here, and even though downing an Imperial pint of it was no problem, I can't really say this beer is much more than slightly above average. The hop notes are a little dull and chemically, and that just really kills it for me when there are so many great DIPAs out there. Oh well.

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

22 fl oz brown bottle; served in an oversized wine glass.

Pours a clean auburn-copper in color with noticeable carbonation. Foamy white head composed of a pool of bubbles, that recedes outside in after a few moments. Thinly webbed lacing with decent strength.

Intense pine and citrus hop oils: lemon and grapefruit. Rum-like alcohol presence intermingled with tropical fruity esters. Semi-sweetened toasted malt with a rounded, creamy presence.

Intense floral and pine/spruce flavors that attack the tastebuds almost immediately. The floral hops are burnt and bitter leaving only traces of oily resins in the middle. The malt character is smooth and creamy despite the onslaught of gritty hops, and is pretty hefty for a Californian IPA. Heavily bitter with a uniquely, heavy-handed creaminess. The aftertaste is occupied by gritty pine and earthen floral hops.

Full bodied; more or less balanced despite a bulky malt character and an overpowering hop profile.

A surprise from a left coast brewery. I was expecting more of a bright, citrus hop presence and a very delicate malt balance, but this sure is a different version. Strong intense flavors and aromatics. A solid offering fitting for a 20th anniversary.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a four-finger thick, off-white colored head that . The beer is a clear, lightly red tinged, rich amber color that shows an absolutely brilliantly clear, richly red hued copper color when held up to the light. The aroma smells of sweet citrus fruits, though it is a bit restrained for a Double IPA; notes of tangelo, kumquat, weak tangerine juice, and some tart star fruit. There is a touch of malt character here once you start to root around the nose; cracker like grain and perhaps a caramel at times is noticeable. The aroma really is a bit weak over all, though it is not bad.

The flavor is again extremely weak for a Double IPA, it has the hop character of a slightly hoppy Pale ale. It does have a bit more body than a Pale ale, though this is still drinkable; in fact this is one of the things they seem to have gotten right, as the body is pretty spot on for a Double IPA. This is of course hop dominated and the flavors remind me of washed out lychee, muted tangelo, orange juice as well as a vegetal hoppiness that really isn't very appealing. The malt is incredibly clean here, which is not unexpected with this polished beer and the malt is actually subtle like it should be despite the lack of overt hoppiness here. This has some bitterness to it, it is fairly solid, though not overly aggressive for the style.

This is just a very disappointing beer, the hop character needs to be multiplied by at least two times before it will be worth trying again (for me at least).

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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 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 hopdog
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Poured a medium amberish color with an averaged sized off white head. Lots of small suspended floaters. Aromas of ctirus, toasted malts, and floral. Tastes of citrus, caramel, and some pine. Medium alcohol burn in the finish.

Notes from 4/21/08

Photo of Chelsea1905
3.13/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Looked good from the pour, amber colour, hazy in appearance, white ehad with good lacing as you move the glass about.

Smells of caramel in plastic wrapping

Tastes caramel and hoppy upfront, but not in any real pleasing way. The follow up is very plastic based, and chemically. Not the best

Mouthfeel is fine, but the burning from the manufactured flavour takes any enjoyment away

Not sure I'll drink all this 22ozer,let alone many more

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed by Wisemen Nick and Justin.

Appearance: Hazy caramel (Justin says butterscotch), with big, soapy, khaki-colored head. Head looks very sticky, but doesn't leave a whole lot of lacing.

Smell: Tons of caramel and oily hops. Also, toasted bread and wood.

Taste: Piney hops, wood, caramel, and some grass. Not very complex.

Mouthfeel: Great mouth numbing (Justin likes), medium carbonation, syrupy, and pretty full bodied. Quite a bit of warmth as well (and ABV ain't that high).

Drinkability: A pretty standard I2PA. While we each could drink another, the desire isn't really there. Good for beginners (in terms of I2PAs).

Photo of beachbum1975
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

DrewOSU and I shared this one at my place tonight.

Pours a cludy, orange/copper with a ¾ inch chunky, eggshell colored top. Great, sticky lacing on the walls of my traditional pint glass.

Grapefruit and tangerine hops on the nose. Slightly bitter. After further sniffing, I get some spicy caramel malts.

Much like the nose... Bold, grapefruit bitterness from the hops in this medium bodied, medium to full flavored beer. Average carbonation in the mouthfeel.

Nice looking but nothing amazingly unique in the flavor department.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
2.71/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance - pours a bubbly, active tangerine color, a creamy thick finger of soft white, orange tinted foam on top. Thick walls of lace are glued to the sides.

Aroma - nice orange, grapefruit and pine nose. Not the most intense but it stays at a good aromatic level.

Taste - starts off with a slightly sweet, caramal and grain opening. Quickly replaced by bitter and medicinal hops. Grows harsher still on the swallow and ends up a dry, unpleasantly bitter flavor. No palate adjustment helps here, it stays pretty rough no matter what. Needs maybe a shot of something sweet. Being out of Grand Marnier, I tossed in a shot of peach schnapps. Kind of took over things but it's better.

Mouthfeel - medium body, decent carbonation feel, about medium as well. Not great for the style but it works.

Drinkability - nahhh, I like 'em sweeter, more balanced with some malts. Even the 2nd glass, after the peach-schnapps-polluted first glass, was still unpleasant. Ahhh, that's better...

Photo of cameraman
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A deep amber color, with touches of gold along the glass. A cream colored head sits atop, about a finger thick, lacing slowly. A surprisingly malty fragrance at first scent, then a strong citrus and pine fragrances take over and are dominant till the end. The malt makes chameo appearance at the front, and leaves very quickly. The hops soon take over to become the star attraction. That is where it comes in three stages grassy and green at the start, Then blending to a strong citrus, grapefruit flavor. Then it ends with an intense earthy and pine flavor. The palate is left dry, with the lingering flavor of hops, along with a tanin roughness left on the palate. Man, this is definately a hop bomb, with a shortage of hops out there as well. A spicy dish of jambalya goes very well with this beer.

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

I quite liked this beer, it was definitely on the strong side taste-wise and a bit "boozy" but the massive hoppyness and floral nose seemed to even it out. Nice beer, i have bought it a few times, and for some reason it's only $2.79 at a local liquor store (seems a bit cheap to me!)

Photo of ckeegan04
3.36/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Orangsih brown with slightly peach colored hues around the edge. Thick bubbly head, about three fingers initially. Quickly fades to about one finger and leaves chunky lace on the glass.

S - The first thing that hits me is alot of booze, which I dont consider a good thing. Especially at only 8.7%. Lots of sweetness as well, primarily toffee and a sweet breadiness. Some nice bitterness lingers underneath, primarily citrus. Not as much bitterness in the nose as I would like.

T - Lightly bready and sweet initially. Some caramel and toffee comes in quickly as well. It has the bitterness of a DIPA but not much real hop flavor. Some citrus notes with hints of grapefruit. The alcohol is present but not as strong in the taste as the nose. This beer just does not provide the full flavored hoppiness that I desire in DIPA's.

M/D - A little thin on the feel and some chewiness as well. Good levels of carbonation but the beer is a little rough around the edges with the excessive bitterness and alcohol coming through.

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Imperial IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 591 ratings.