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Imperial IPA - Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

590 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 590
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: 590 | Reviews: 332
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.

Photo of Reagan1984
3.51/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

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.

Photo of TheEremite
3.14/5  rDev -17.8%
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.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
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!!

Photo of rallison
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Photo of charlzm
3.4/5  rDev -11%
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.

Photo of wyattshotmaker
3.99/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Photo of peabody
3.82/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of 1759Girl
4.78/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance> Dark golden, clear, light carbonation, not much lacing

Smell> Caramel. Oh my goodness!

Taste> Complex. Sweet, strong, hoppy bitterness, resiny smooth finish.

Mouthfeel> perfect

Drinkability> 5. We've bought several bottles since this tasting.

Photo of errantnight
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A tasty, orange-y DIPA that is fairly well-balanced as hop bombs go.

Pours a shade of amber with relatively luxurious head (2+ fingers) into my Levitation tulip. Slightly hazed. Nice retention, lacing.

Aroma is a juicy fruit / orange explosion, hints of sweet caramel and just a bit of toasty bread.

Taste is an exceedingly balanced experience, despite the predominant hop flavor. Medium bodied sweetness with a drying finish that carries an orange/citrus forward hop flavor backed by a bready malt backbone that's not quite as toasty as, say, HopDevil, but is prominent all the same.

As it warms the hops slip to the side a bit, and it's still exceedingly drinkable. One of the two bottles I've had, however, had some rising solventy alcohol notes that were a bit much.

Still, an enjoyable and repeatable experience, if for a bit of a change of pace to some of the other west coast style DIPAs around. Be sad when it's gone.

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

I found this in the back of the fridge, figured I would finally try it.

Poured a nice copper color with a hint of redness. Head quickly dissolved to lace.

Aroma has an immediate smell of stinky woodsy hop, slight citrus (orange? tangerine?) and spicy tones. Hop is big, but not overwhelming the malt aromas.

Taste is interesting, almost odd. Immediate hit of toffee sweetness from the malts. Moderate body, light carbonation. I get an almost burnt taste of malts. Hop complex is citrusy, woodsy again, but not overpowering. Excellent balance of malt and hop considering it is a DIPA, bitterness is subdued. Not hot at all.

While this is a finely balanced beer, I grew bored of it during the second glass. Good but not very memorable, which is unfortunate for me but perhaps a testament to the straight forward styles of Anderson Valley over the last 20 years.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Electric apricot with a fine yeasty haze. Given what's in the bottom of the bottle, the beer should become significantly murky on future pours. The three finger crown is a looker. It's French vanilla in color, with small splashes of orange and lemon juice. It's also incredibly sticky and is plastering the glass with gobs of soon-to-be-crusty lace.

The aroma is semi-bright and citrus fruity, but is too subdued. It's hard for a DIPA to smell radiantly bright because of the leveling effect of all the malt. I'll go with almost exclusively pale malt and assorted American hops (that includes at least one of the 4-Cs). Anything more specific will require the taste buds.

20th Anniversary Imperial IPA commits a few of the cardinal sins of the DIPA style. First of all, there isn't anywhere near enough hoppiness. Bitterness isn't a problem (100 IBUs), but alpha acids don't get it done on their own. The whole purpose of hoppy beer is to taste the hops!

Second of all, the alcohol is too prominent and is a little too raw-edged and hot. I *might* be able to excuse it at an ABV of 10.7%, but 8.7%? Not a chance. That's pretty much it for the negatives, although those are some pretty big-ass negatives if you ask me. And you must have, since you're reading this review.

The beer may have started out a little on the cool side (estimated 55 degrees). It's hard to figure why breweries insist on recommending consumption temperatures for big beer that are way too low. This one is supposed to be served between 40 and 45 degrees. What the hell?! Hoppy beer that cold is bound to be excessively bitter. Having said all that, warming isn't doing much to help the flavor profile...

... which is made up of sugar cookies soaked in sugar syrup and grain alcohol, crushed aspirin and bitter orange peel. Age can't be a factor since the first review was just three months ago. Time is only going to make things worse since the hops will fade from barely present to gone without a trace.

The body/mouthfeel is quasi-chewy and heavyweight silky, without being gummy or sticky. Actually, it's right about where it should be for a beer of this style. A quiescent feel to the carbonation helps as well.

AVBC 20th Anniversary Imperial IPA has an impressive name, an impressive label and an impressive bottle cap. The contents of the bottle, though, leave more than a little to be desired. I hope this offering isn't a casualty of the hop shortage. Anderson Valley is capable of much better beer than this.

Photo of Floydster
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle purchased at Whole Foods in La Jolla for about six dollars, split with a friend last night, poured into a clear pint glass

A-Golden orange color that was a little on the yellow side, 3/4 inch slightly foamy white head, stuck around for close to five minutes, nice retention, tons of lacing

S-Large amounts of pine hoppiness, peaches, oranges, grapefruit, and tangerine as well, some evident malt aromas showing that it had some balance just from the aroma, also a bit of floral accents, lemon juice, grass, and caramel

T-Started off with a huge piney flavor, did not fade into much malt, stayed dry pretty much the whole way through at the beginning, later on the malt came out more but so did the citrus hops, Cascade were still dominant in my opinion though, finish became less dry and a little sweet by the end, this beer had a nice balance and tasted good both chilled and once it warmed, enjoyable all throughout

M-Dry, bitter, and sometimes chewy mouthfeel, medium bodied, lots of carbonation which was good because it was not syrup-like, taste lingered for a few minutes after

D-Could have drank this bottle by myself rather easily, smooth for such a hoppy beer, all booze were hidden, did not taste like it was almost nine percent alcohol, good drinkability

I knew I would be a huge fan of this beer just by reading the label, I mean twenty different hop additions, you cannot wrong with that, hoppier than Hop 15 which was the most bitter double IPA I tasted before this one, too bad this is only a one time shot, would definitely drink again, recommended

Photo of RoyalT
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This poured a rich, darkish orange but not muddy-looking. Most IPAs that come out dark orange look like pond water but this is a clean brownish-orange and very attractive. The head was a slightly yellowed white with some tight carbonation. It didn't have a lot of staying power but looked good.

Smell - This is big but balanced. The strong hops show a hint of pine but the peach is prominent. I can also get a bit of grass. The malt is not as big in the nose but based on the coloring I'm sure it's there at the taste.

Taste - Yes, this is truly a balanced DIPA. Everything is big but even-keeled. The malts really step up at the taste as I suspected and show a lot of mature sweetness. Otherwise this tastes pretty much like it smells.

Mouthfeel - This is a solid medium-body and surprisingly dry. It's not a bone-crusher or anything like that, but there is a chug-stopping dryness that will make you stand up and take note. The carbonation is mild but expertly tight.

Drinkability - This is a very sophisticated beer. Its complexities will be lost on the mindless hophead. Take your time with this one though and you will be greatly rewarded. A fitting anniversary tribute and another great hoppy beer from Anderson Valley.

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

Pours very bright and a just crystal clear light copper. Light brings out shades of honey colored highlights. The off white head is very tight and has an oily sheen resting on the top that appears slick, almost as if it's creating surface tension, holding the larger bubbles in place.

Smells of light fruits with floral and pine notes followed by a slight earthly almost grassy tinge at the end mixed with black pepper and spice. The malt bill hits big up front with syrup ladden sweetness that pervades through waves of hop attacks. First citrus, then pine, then spicey peppered notes followed by that same slight earthy note found in the nose. Big PacNorthWest hops are certainly present but there are some nice subtle notes here as well, herbal at times, which was unexpected.

Carbonation is right in line and not overbearing, I'm very pleased with the way this beer feels on the tongue. Not heavy or rosiny like some DIPAs/IIPAs, very approachable and highly drinkable at 8.7%. AVB never disappoints me and this beer is no exception.

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

Poured out with a great full head. Beer is a nice clean amber color with an off-white head. Good lacing left around the glass as it goes down.

Smell is a combination of citrusy hops and sweet/caramely malts.

Taste hits up front with the hop bitterness. Following is some roasted malts and some sweetness that fades away to a lingering bitterness and citrus.

Mouthfeel is right around medium bodied.

Drinkability is ok on this one. Not amazingly high but I do enjoy this beer. I wish it had a higher hop profile and a more dominant smell, but it isn't bad at all.

Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Copper copper brew, a very slight haze, almost more of an evident viscosity. Large head that leave thick clouds of lacing.

S - Pine resin, some grapefruit pith, peppery, biscuits. The aroma is strong and delicious.

T - Hops! First, there is a crisp shock of grapefruit. Then there are pine hops upfront, then it shifts to a peppery flavor, then a bitterness that grows and grows until it fades suddenly, almost vanishes, leaving only a faint malt on the palette. Very good.

M - Thick, smooth, very refreshing. Only initially, the abv started to make the throat parched - which make me want to drink more.

D - Awesome. I couldn't put this juicy brew down. It is a DIPA that drink like a hefe. I love it. I might buy another bottle the next time I see one. An awesome brew. Happy 20th Anderson Valley.

Photo of scottoale
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. brown bomber with an attractive, colorful, 20th Anniversary label and cap, with "solar powered brewery" on top and Boont Wiser under the seal.

This ale pours a bright apricot-orange with a slight green tint and a tight one-finger, off-white head. The head settles to a ring, leaving nice sticky lace clinging to the glass.

Orange blossom and piney hops first strike the nose. Earthy malt, citus and tea follow with more resiny hop notes aplenty.

Big malty, earthy intro with mega citric and piney hop flavors following up in a fairly complex way. Heavy on the citrus, melding into pine with tea and a faint tobacco to the nice balanced finish. The alcohol is burried in the flavor and hardly detectable for the 8.7% ABV that is stated.

Healthy body with a crisp, refreshing finish that makes this a very easy drinking ale of this style. Quality, tasty brew that is well worth recommending. Happy 20th AVBC!

Photo of trackstar1043
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Found this Gem at Bevmo Fremont, there was a only a few left.

A - Pours a hazy golden / orange, with a massive rocky off white head. Increadable amounts of the stickest lacing I have seen in a IIPA.

S - Huge aroma, massive hops and citrus, very earthy, as fresh and envirograting as a evergreen forest. Man this is a Hoppy Beer, Fan-Freaking-Tastic!

T - All the hops and citrus is there but they have done a great job balancing the beer into this smooth, crisp and almost wild ale with all the flavors busting out.

M - For all the intense hoppy flavors and bitter bite, this is one extremely smooth and easy to drink beer, I was expecting some what of a challenge given the rep of IIPAs, but wonderfully it was smooth, clean finish with a bitter bite that lasted a while.

D - Surprisingly very easy to drink and was left wanting another, great beer.

Photo of woemad
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber purchased in Spokane at Huckleberry's for $5.29. No freshness date, but information from the label makes it obvious it was released no earlier than the end of last year.

Poured a golden amber color, with an inch of white foam perched on top. Lots of sticky lace.

The nose is predictably hoppy, with both citrus and herbal tones. This smells like it's going to be a more complex DIPA than most (my one criticism of the style is that most that I've tried have been heavily skewed towards the citrus side, making them a little easier on the palate than a regular IPA despite their higher abv).

The impression conveyed by the nose is proven by the taste - and then some. This starts out as a typical, palate friendly IPA with citrus flavors somewhere between oranges and grapefruits. But then bitter, herbal hops kick in and match the fruit flavors. The contrast between sweet and bitter is damn near perfect. This beer manages to be both tartly sweet and so tart that everything on the body capable of puckering does so with all speed - and it happens just a hair's breadth from simultaneously. But though the citrus fruit flavors have an ever so slight lead, the finish is dominated by a taste bud-smacking bitterness and dryness. Whatever maltiness there is happens to be on hand just to help hold things together, like a scarcely-noticed pillar on a building. Otherwise, the malts just mutter quietly to themselves, "The horror, the horror..."

Compared to other DIPAs (especially Devil Dog, which I think is the last of the style I've drank), this is relatively thin for the style, with a body more like a less complex regular IPA. It has an oily yet effervescent mouthfeel.

A tasty DIPA if you like bitterness paired with citrus flavors in your beers. I can see people finding this a bit too raw, but I like it. I wouldn't mind seeing it become a regular or seasonal brew. AVBC, you've done it again.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.42/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber, bought at Mike's Liquors in Huntington Beach, CA,

A: Pours a light burnt orange, with a light tan head, good retention, fair lacing.

S: Heavy on the grapefruit, citrus, pineapple, tree sap.

T: Taste begins with a smack of pine bitterness, white grapefruit and tropical fruit come in later, big malt flavours, some resiny toffee, close to barleywine territory.

M: Very resiny, oily, slick, medium-bodied.

D: An interesting Double IPA, not up there with the best I've ever had, but a solid effort.

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

04/16/08- Recieved from BA member Talisker.

Presentation- 22oz bottle, no freshness dating, but it's their 2008 20th Anniversary release. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Deep amber in color with a 3/4 inch head on the pour. Forms a nice ufo circle of head in the middle of the glass. A light rim remains for the endurance. Light sheeting ans spotty lace take their place in the glass.

Smell- Smells of pine and grapefruit hops, fairly sweet and bitter nose. Caramel malt as well with a sweet taosted nose.

Taste- This one could really pass for a Barleywine as well. It tastes like those new fangled Barleywines where they use 75% hops and a wee bit of malt. As you consume it though, the sweet caramel malt comes out more and seems to balance things out a bit. Hops are prevelant and are lighty burning. Mostly pine in the taste.

Mouthfeel- Brisk carbonation and a nice pine needle bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability- Really reminded me of Bigfoot or Old Godfather, but not quite up to their level. Still was a very nice beer that I may go to again for the right price. This is one DIPA that may age decently into a more well rounded brew.

Photo of cswhitehorse
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The 20th Anniversary Imperial IPA poured a partially hazy orangish amber color with a 2 finger foam head with small sudsy lacing.

The aroma was wonderful with plenty of cascade hops that gave a dank hop smell with a lovely floral presence.

In tasting the brew it gave me an off flavor. Might be that I was expecting more of hop flavor but got hit with a malt one. It did have a high IBU with a malty backbone.

In the mouth the bitterness lasts quite a while and overall not a bad brew. Nice work AV!

Photo of SurlyDuff
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found this gem at Belmont Station in Portland. First of all, hooray for 20 great years AV!

Clear amber orange pours from my 22oz bomber. Decent fluffy head, but it quickly dies down to sticky lacing.

Grapefruit-forward hop presence in the aroma. Lemon rind and a syrupy fruit sugar. Floral, but not as much as the Maharaja that I had last week.

Just a tad cloying syrupy sweetness in this one, but it's gotta be to pack in this much hops and still be balanced. This went a way a bit as it warmed, and i was able to get more alcohol in the mouthfeel and taste. Didn't detect the alcohol at all during the first few drinks, or in the aroma.

Overall, a damn good IIPA, and a fitting tribute to 20 years of good brewing. Cheers! Here's to the next 20!

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Imperial IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 590 ratings.