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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

581 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 581
Reviews: 331
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 12.04%
Wants: 30
Gots: 26 | 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: 581 | Reviews: 331 | Display Reviews Only:
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

russpowell, Aug 23, 2008
Photo of charlesw
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!

charlesw, Aug 22, 2008
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.

TheodorHerzl, Aug 21, 2008
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

tonistruth, Aug 21, 2008
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!

younger35, Aug 05, 2008
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.

rxdrewthejew, Aug 03, 2008
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.

torchednoodle, Aug 02, 2008
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.

KeefD, Jul 31, 2008
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.

Wasatch, Jul 23, 2008
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.

BEERchitect, Jul 19, 2008
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.

paytoplay, Jul 10, 2008
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.

cjgator3, Jul 10, 2008
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

hoegaardenhero, Jul 03, 2008
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.

FreightTrain, Jul 02, 2008
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?

athensbeermaster, Jun 23, 2008
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!

arizcards, Jun 23, 2008
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.

bbothen, Jun 23, 2008
Photo of Reagan1984
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a bomber

This was not as hoppy as I like my Imperial IPA's, but it was a nice beer and worthy of a try.

There was a nice foamy head that was off white in color that topped this crystal clear bright copper colored ale. A very nice amount of lacing was left behind as the beer was consumed.

Aroma was more sweet/malt focused vs. a floral hop aroma.

Flavor was spicy/Orange/caramel and perhaps a little pineapple.

Sweet/Hoppy balance with some nice hop linger that also is accompanied by a roasted malt after taste.

A decent beer. Nothing extraordinary and frankly I prefer their Hop Ottin' IPA.

Reagan1984, Jun 16, 2008
Photo of TheLiterati
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful pour into a standard pint glass, amber-orange in color with a creamy head.

Aroma as expected - big and hoppy, not as arrogant as a Bastard, but aggressive nonetheless. Citrus with malty undertones.

Flavor hits the palate subtly at first, then explodes with hoppiness. Note that the spicy burn usually associated with this style is present but well-balanced - maybe that's the overall lack of more hops that other BA's have noted, but I don't find it entirely offensive

Smooth, nicely carbonated composition earns a solid "good" rating on mouthfeel.

Strong (ABV wise), but all in all quite drinkable. There will likely always be a better DIPA out there since there are so many on the market, but for an anniversary offering, this one is good.

TheLiterati, Jun 08, 2008
Photo of TheEremite
3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep gold with a thin off white head, decent retention. I had high hopes for this beer and the aroma delivers but the rest falls short. It's got a big bright dry hop smell, slightly grassy and then the flavor is crushingly bitter with a strong pithy orange aftertaste. It's also got a heavy malt backbone that makes it a little overly complex. I guess it's decent enough, but it just doesn't measure up to other west cost DIPAs out there. I think I'd pass it up if I saw it again.

TheEremite, Jun 04, 2008
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 picked up by my great beer-buddy inflatablechair when he was last in Portland.. I've been saving it for about a month now... tonight is the night. Poured into my shaped Sam Adams glass while listening to Sasha's Involver mix.

Tight meringue like foamy 2 finger+ head atop an only slightly hop-hazed honey orange brew... surprising spotty sticky lacing.

Aroma is will rounded citric hops.. but without being too overdone... I could be getting a little caramel.. but my nose could be playing tricks on me.

Flavor mirrors the aroma.. but with a background fruity hoppiness.. Amarillos? Big bitterness is balanced nicely with a light toasty malty body.. could use a little bit more pronounced hop flavor with maybe dialing down the bitterness a notch.. Bitterness cuts down on the drinkabilty for me.. but I am not going to cut it for that.. maybe tonight my palate wasn't ready. Mouthfeel is pretty much perfect for an IPA.. good viscosity and just enough carbonation.

All and all... I would buy this for sure if it was in Boise... I would probably buy it alot.. but alas, my bottle came from Portland.. Thanks Sam!!

JohnGalt1, Jun 03, 2008
Photo of rallison
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smells good with a fair amount of citrusy hops.

Overly harsh bitterness in the taste with a toffee-like sweetness in the background. Could be good if the hops were not so harsh. As is, things don't come together quite right.

Mouthfeel is rich but well enough carbonated and drinkability is decent.

Overall, meh. There are many better DIPAs out there.

rallison, May 31, 2008
Photo of charlzm
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 05/21/08 at LAX Radisson beer tasting.

Pours a mostly clear, deep coppery orange with a thin white foam head.

Aroma was old sweat socks and ammonia. Ack.

Flavor was better than the aroma, thank goodness. Sweet caramel and toffee malt flavors are on offer in this thick-ish beer. The finish is dry with a lingering, somewhat earthy hop character.

Well balanced and (surprisingly) light enough on the palate to be a fairly easy drinker, but the 8.7% ABV might give me a little pause before opening a bomber solo.

charlzm, May 24, 2008
Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from a bomber into a pint glass.small head which dissipated quickly.it's somewhat of a light amber hue.nothing out of the ordinary

smell-very citrusy hop scent,with a nice pine accent.a hint of alcohol.delightful.

taste-strong hop bitterness hit me right away.pretty powerful,even the after taste has a strong bitterness to it.picking up some grapefruit notes and a little bit of pine.i barely pick up any malt backround whatsover.

mouthfeel-nice amount of carbonation.bubbles kind of attack my tongue,a nice sensation.

drinkability-don't think i could put too many of these away.it's a nice brew though.

wyattshotmaker, May 24, 2008
Photo of peabody
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a light brown to amber clear with lots of white suds that leave lacing around the tulip glass.
Smell is the best thing about this one. Lots of citrusy hops that seem like you are drinking lemon/grapefruit juice in a pine forest.
Taste like an average IPA with the exception of having a very nice aftertaste. Lemon peel and malt with an alcohol chaser.
Mouthfeel is somewhat clean with just a hint of oilyness from the hops. You can feel the alcohol in the aftertaste though.
If this were just a tad sweeter and more hoppy, this would be better.

peabody, May 22, 2008
Imperial IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 581 ratings.