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Imperial IPA - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial IPAImperial IPA

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

564 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 564
Reviews: 330
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 28
Gots: 20 | FT: 1
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: 564 | Reviews: 330 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of popery


3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A really nice looking beer, burnt orange with a big frothy head. This beer is a bit like a very strong IPA, rather than an IPA with increased flavor, which is really what I'm looking for in a DIPA. It smells sweet with caramel and too little hops. Alcohol is overly present in both the aroma and flavor. The taste is sweet fruit and alcohol, like fermented prunes. It has good mouthfeel. The scores suffers from the category competition for DIPAs. There are some great DIPAs out there, and unfortunately, this isn't one of them.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2008 05:49:20 | More by popery
Photo of kirok1999


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

Pours a slightly hazy dark gold with sticky lacing. Smell is a grassy, piney hop note.
Taste is massivly hoppy. Very bitter aftertaste that lingers for a very long time. Lots of herbal and grassy hop notes. Some lavender, pine and a very bitter, lingering finish. This thing can stand up to any food you want to eat with it. Mouthfeel is dense and rocky.
Fantastic with some assertive food, don't try to pair it with anything mild as it will blow it out of the water.
Damn fine hop monster.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2008 23:47:43 | More by kirok1999
Photo of BrewMonkey


3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Big dense slightly off-white head caps a somewhat hazy orange colored ale.

Big citrusy hop aroma with hints of grassiness. Some mild candy sweetness, orange zest, sweet fruit and slight herbal notes.

Pretty sweet and big malt backbone gives way quickly to resinous hop flavor and bitterness. Mostly citrus hop flavor with some hints of spice and floral components keep the big sweetness in check. Loads and loads of bitterness become heavy towards the end. Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and very dry.

Pretty good for an anniversary ale, though the bigness of the hops does hamper the overall drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2008 02:12:53 | More by BrewMonkey
Photo of MisterClean


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

On tap at the rubicon.

A - Deep red, 2 finger head, dissipates moderately slow, and leaves nice lacing.

S - Flowers, citrus, and malt.

T - Flowers, citrus and a large malt bill to back the IPA up.

M - Great balance. Still too much malt though, could be slightly hoppier for the style.

D - No doubt it's a good beer, but could have gone hoppier.

Serving type: on-tap

10-11-2008 16:42:28 | More by MisterClean
Photo of erikm25


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

A: Pours a little more amber and copper than orange. Still despite this tinting it is clear in appearance. Full pillowing honey colored head. The lacing is above average from the start.

S: This one leans towards a more orangey citrus coupled with cherry aroma. Hints of spiced mango and peppered pineapple.

T: Taste is bursting with grape-fruity hoppiness at the start. Rest assured the sugary malts still come into play and make this anything but balanced. This should be expected as the bottle gives fair warning. However, there is a slight grassy medicinal tint to the taste. I would have preferred maybe a percentage or two increase in the but still enjoyed the assault my taste buds experienced..

M: Medium bodied and syrupy. Very decent imperial astringency and warm alcohol tone.

D: Overall very solid and the price increases the drinkability. Maybe I take back my comments about wishing for an higher ABV because by the end it has done its job.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2008 21:36:51 | More by erikm25
Photo of kosmoraios


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

Pours a very clear orange-copper with a 1.5 finger white head that laces nicely. Ample carbonation is visible in the glass.

Aroma is pungeant and estery. Malts immediately up front with a sticky-sweet caramel nose. Some citrus and pine, very perfumy florals.

Malt hits you right away with a great big caramel-toffee flavor with the hops right behind it. Too much malt for a IIPA, very sweet and floral. The bitterness of the hops is heavy, but the malt has drowned out the hoppy flavors. Alcohol is quite evident.

Mouthfeel is oily and carbonated with some interesting herbal taste on the back of the tongue that lingers. Not as drinkable as I'd like. A good beer, but for the style, too malty for an IIPA.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2008 02:29:24 | More by kosmoraios
Photo of Imstillthegman


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

I received this bomber from someone...whom exactly I can't remember right now. Whoever you are, you generous BA, thanks!

Pours an amber color with a nice sized white head. There are some nice chunks of lacing on the upper parts of the glass. As the head fades, so does the lacing.

The aroma is nice, albeit a little to "malty" for a DIPA, imo. Sweet biscuit malts intertwine with citrus hops. At times the malts almost overpower the hops, not exactly my ideal DIPA aroma.

The flavor consists of citrus (mainly grapefruit) hops with just a tad bit of an earthy hop note mixed with some caramel and biscuit malts. Not as "in your face" as other DIPAs with the hops, but this one does have a nice bitterness to it.

Medium bodied. Nice creamy feel to it. Aftertaste is only slightly bitter is a little drying. Not a bad beer. I am glad to have had the opportunity to have tried. Thanks go to whomever it was that sent it to me!

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2008 23:04:31 | More by Imstillthegman
Photo of WillClark


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

Poured out of a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass a swampy reddish orange with two fingers worth of head that released a smooth sweetness and a balanced hoppiness considering this is an Imperial IPA...I was expecting something much larger. Nice malt on the front and a smooth bitterness that was capped off by a nice effervescence that washed this brew down my throat.

Quite drinkable Imperial from one of my favorite breweries. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2008 01:32:19 | More by WillClark
Photo of russpowell


3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes, sampled a few months ago

Poured amber/caramel with 3 fingers of cream colored head. Some floaties, above average lacing & head retention

S: A bit of citrussy hops

T: Grapefruit & piney hops, plus fruiityness & breadyness up front. Some orange hops, leafy hops & apricots as this warms. Finishes with grapefruit & leafy hops

MF: Medium bodied, low carbonation, some stickyness. The balance isn't there for me, I believe it involves the hop mix used

Drinks easy for the ABV, but not my cup of tea. I expected more from this brewery to be sure

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2008 05:25:32 | More by russpowell
Photo of charlesw

New York

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

20th anniversary, huh? Well, good on yah! And cool and whatever. I'm not, um, thrilled with this beer, however. There's this HUGE taste in there... LIke drinking orange peel oil. It pretty much detracts from everything good I could say about this. I really am pretty impressed that it's so strong even considering this is at least several months old. Why, it's like you maybe used orange peels in this and not just hops. Ditch that and I'll probably be pretty happy with this - it seems like a very nice beer. Very well made. Good job. Just work on the hop/flavoring schedule and we can all be happy!

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2008 00:02:26 | More by charlesw
Photo of TheodorHerzl


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

Received from AndySr15 in trade. Thanks Andy.

This beer pours a very dark blood-orange color with a massive three fingers worth of white head on it and small and spotty lacing on the walls of my pint glass. The nose was a little strange. It has the usual players in it including: citrus fruit, slight earthiness, and floral hops, but I also smell a certain medicinal smell as well almost like what a bottle of asprin smells like. After the beer warmed up a bit I get more caramel malt in the nose than hops. The hops do not seem as prominent as I would have expected when the bottle says they used twenty varieties of hops. The flavor profile starts out with a mild shot of bitterness that is offset by the caramel malt. The hops flavors are again muted in the flavor profile when compared to malt really showcasing just two main flavors, and those are citrus fruit and dry pine. The malt though is really nice with plenty of toffee and caramel sweetness to it, but I think the malt is showcased over the hops here. The mouthfeel is slightly chewy that rendered itself to be quite dry with medium carbonation. The drinkability is decent for what it is, but I am not usually a big fan of malt driven DIPAs.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2008 18:50:47 | More by TheodorHerzl
Photo of tonistruth


4.28/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- clear light bronze, tall fluffy off-white head with great retension

S- citrus and sweet cookie malts

T- crazy hop profile, stars with strong citrus then gets earthy, peppery and spicy with some citrus grind, sweet and bready malt flavors sit in between, subtle hints of alchohol

M- medium and smooth with a dry finish

D- amazing complexity of malts and hops with a great after taste, too bad it's a one off release

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2008 05:19:40 | More by tonistruth
Photo of younger35


3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this brew from inflatablechair in a trade as an extra a couple months ago. I've had probably every normal offering from Anderson Valley and most are pretty decent. Drank from my Stone India Pale Ale flute.

Appearance- Pours a super clear orangish yellow with a small half finger bright white head that recedes quickly leaving not much cap and thin collar. A good bit of lacing is left c considering the small head that's left.
Smell- Almost a Barley Wine-esque nose (more so than a DIPA) with lightly dirty, grassy hops. A bit of zesty citrus and fleshy peach but more earth than fruit. After some of the IPA's I've had lately I kind of forgot what malt smelled like. A bit of light caramel and brown sugar subdue the hops quite a bit but not the alcohol.
Taste- Damn, I wanted this to be badass and hoppy SO bad. Very malty and clean with loads of toffee and caramel and a light sweetness that seems to be more pronounced than the bitterness. There is a light biting bitterness that lingers into the finish but it's fairly mild. Oranges and apricots are light but definitely perceptible and so is quite a bit of alcohol.
Mouthfeel- Pretty thin and alcoholic with light crisp carbonation.
Drinkability- Not the big hop bomb I was hoping for but honestly it kind of ended up being a nice change of pace. It definitely reminds me more of a mild Barley Wine than a DIPA but it is what it is. I wouldn't seek this one out but if I ran into it fresh on tap I'd probably try it again. Thanks again Sam!

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2008 02:29:49 | More by younger35
Photo of rxdrewthejew


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

Always have liked the Hop Ottin' IPA, so did not hesistate to pick this up when I saw it.

A: Pours a fairly clear reddish-amber with plenty of bubbles rising from the bottom. Nice big head on this one, at least two fingers, tan and fluffy, with extremely good retention and lacing.

S: Good balance in the nose between estery sweet malt and a mix of citrus and pine hops. Even though the hops are of course relevent, the malt seems a bit more prominent in the nose...though I doubt it will be like than in the taste.

T: Contrary to almost every IIPA I've ever had, this starts hoppy and then becomes malty. Opening is bitter with piney/resiny hops, quickly being overtaken by a big sugary sweetness. Then the hops come back in full force, really assaulting the tongue, although the flavors themselves get drowned out by the malt. Nice but a bit unconventional.

MF: Full bodied and somewhat syrupy. The finish is dry and extremely corrosive. This is no Hopsicle, but it really leaves your taste buds burning. Carbonation is not really a factor. Tons of warming from the first sip.

D: Not the biggest IIPA in terms of alcohol, but it does seem to hit a bit harder than the ABV would suggest. Perhaps owing to the large malt bill, not sure. Overall this is a solid IIPA with a bit of uniqueness. It almost ventures into strong ale territory for me in terms of flavor. I could go for a bit more hop character and a bit less hop acidity...the abrasiveness of the hops decreases the drinkability even though it's not particularly bitter. Enjoyable, but I doubt I'd run out and drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2008 04:49:25 | More by rxdrewthejew
Photo of torchednoodle


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

I actually had this beer sitting in my fridge for 2 months before even sampling it, and I'm sorry I didn't try it earlier, or else I would have bought more of it. A hint of pine is a plus in my book. To my tastes, it's a very drinkable beer, mixing creamy malt taste with hops and a decent 8.7% alcohol.

This is s a good beer and you should try it, if you can.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2008 00:34:05 | More by torchednoodle
Photo of KeefD


3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark hazy amber color with orange highlights. A nice, fluffy 1 inch head forms, leaving behind slight lacing. Big wafts of floral, piney hops in the nose. A bit of lemon peel, and strangely, a hint of strawberries. Taste is big time bitterness. The sweet caramel malts try to make a presence, but the big, sticky, hop resin flavor overtakes it quite quickly. If you like 'em bitter, this one's for you. Some hints of honey yet dry on the finish. a bit syrupy on the tongue, but how could not be with this much hops? Alchol is high, so drinking too much is out of the question, especially combined with this bitterness.

A nice brew, but could have used a little more malt sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2008 03:22:45 | More by KeefD
Photo of Wasatch


4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very nice hazy golden orange color, very nice carbonation, very nice small, but thick creamy off-white head, that just does not disappear at all. The nose is malty, hoppy, with some citrus and slight pines. The taste is malty, with some nice hop notes, very nice citrus/pines. Medium body, nice chewiness, with a nice bitter/dry finish. Very drinkable, this is a very nice DIPA, more on the malty side though.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2008 00:42:44 | More by Wasatch
Photo of BEERchitect


3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I consider this brewery to be a master of the IPA's. This beer takes on a flavor profile that reminds me a lot of their Hop Ottin' IPA, but there's a lot more to it. The beer begins with a golden-rust color, and pours quite viscous with an unrelenting head formation and retention. Some haziness indicates the typical dry-hopping. Aromas are very plump and juicy with C-hops and perhaps a Willamette thrown in for a spicy, floral, piney note. Caramel malts give a lot of sweetness to the nose along with a strong alcoholic scent. Flavors of the malts come through with a less than fully attenuated sweetness that later weighs heavy. The hops are very sharp and citrusy, but delivering all the flavor that the nose promised. Flavors also take on a mineraly, salty, metalic note that is amplified by alcohols and hop bite-- a little astringent late. Textures are heavy, malty, and full but with some fusals going on. Do you lay it down and let the alcohols cool and risk loosing the hops? Tough call. The beer finishes with a long dry lingering with resiny hops and soft caramel flavors. A worthy Anniversary Ale but those alcohols and sweetness kinda get in the way.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2008 19:05:16 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of paytoplay


4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What 1st strikes you is the color. Like amber from ancient tree sap. Almost ruby. Aroma is ok, woody and dark hops. The flavor is where this beer really impressed me. Layers of stuff going on, intense, balanced and dense with weight and complexity to it that I haven't experienced in any other recent Imperial IPA's. My rating is higher than most but I think this beer needed some time to come around and put on weight, much like a wine. Will have to get more and try one in a year and see if it continues to get better.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2008 17:25:31 | More by paytoplay
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2008 04:08:16 | More by cjgator3
Photo of hoegaardenhero


3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: beautiful rust body that is slightly hazy w about 1/2 inch of off-white head that is very foamy and leaves sticky lace

s: sweet citrus and floral hops; spicy hops; a little bit of caramel warmth; mostly just a big bouquet of wild hop fragrances

t: first grainy/malty warmth; followed by the slow rise of bitter hops; some spiciness;i expected a lot more hop flavors after the nose

m: smooth with pretty substantive with light carb

d: ok beer but not up to hop snuff for a DIPA

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2008 07:39:02 | More by hoegaardenhero
Photo of FreightTrain


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

Pours a hazy amber with a nice two finger white head that mellows out to a moderate lacing.

Smell was floral but also a little odd...overripe fruit maybe. Kind of a mishmash of hop odors. A little muddy.

Taste is most notable for its solid maltiness up front. Then comes a smooth, not very bitter but a pronounced hop flavor. Not what you expect from an IIPA, especially from Anderson Valley, but tasty anyway. Definitely a unique take on the style.

Quite a full mouthfeel; don't let it get too warm or it gets syrupy.

It's quite drinkable as the alcohol is well hidden and neither the hops nor the malts are overwhelming. If a hop bomb is what you're looking for, this ain't it, but it's a tasty, enjoyable beer regardless.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2008 03:21:40 | More by FreightTrain
Photo of athensbeermaster


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

This brew pours a modest head with small amounts of lacing. The nose is below average for their being 20 different types of hops in this batch?
I get some butterscotch and dried apricot on the nose. The taste is more malt driven than hoppy?
Good caramel and butterscotch and some fig flavors. The hops shows a little spicy citrus lemon that quickly fades into a manderin orange finish. A good average ipa. I dont understand why this one isn't more hoppy for being a 20th. anniversary ale and having a supposed 20 different hop variety in the mix?

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2008 04:37:50 | More by athensbeermaster
Photo of arizcards


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

Picked up a bomber in early March at the Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, Ca for $4.99.

Beer poured a brownish-orange with a well sustained off white head. Nose has ripened apricot notes and floral hops. Taste is nicely balanced, a subtly sweet malt backbone balanced by a fair amount of west coast hops leaving an apricot aftertaste. Mouthfeel is full bodied, very cream, and glides quite nicely across the palate. Drinkability is quite nice as there is not a hint of the 8.7 abv. This is a more subtle imperial ipa from the hopping standpoint. Definitely try it out if you are a fan of the style!

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2008 23:27:29 | More by arizcards
Photo of bbothen


3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Happy 20th Anderson Valley Brewing Co.

Pretty deep copper & orange color. Nice bubble 2 finger head. Good amount of sticky lacing on glass.

Smells mostly of sweet caramel malt with an orange citrus aroma in the background. Hops are there, but not dominant.

Spicy & citrus hop character. Sweet caramel & toffee maltiness. Nice dry hop finish.

Medium to full bodied. Highly carbonated. Oily on the tongue.

Drinkability is good.

This is a tasty brew. Different than what my expectations were. Quite enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2008 23:04:57 | More by bbothen
Imperial IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 564 ratings.