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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

575 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 575
Reviews: 331
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 29
Gots: 23 | 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: 575 | Reviews: 331 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gwood
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%

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.

gwood, May 08, 2008
Photo of abankovich
3.63/5  rDev -5%

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.

abankovich, May 01, 2008
Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%

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.

mrasskicktastic, Apr 24, 2008
Photo of scottoale
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

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!

scottoale, Apr 21, 2008
Photo of trackstar1043
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%

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.

trackstar1043, Apr 21, 2008
Photo of woemad
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

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.

woemad, Apr 21, 2008
Photo of Halcyondays
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%

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.

Halcyondays, Apr 20, 2008
Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +4.7%

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.

GClarkage, Apr 18, 2008
Photo of cswhitehorse
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%

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!

cswhitehorse, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of SurlyDuff
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%

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!

SurlyDuff, Apr 10, 2008
Photo of ojiikun
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%

Found just recenctly, so presumed to be the one and only 2008 vintage. No bottling date, though. Popped without fanfare and poured into a handy tulip. Body is medium-dark honey coloured with a very white head that has to be coaxed up before it returns to a fine, thin layer of bubbles and islands surrounded by a nice, hefty ring on the glass. Body has the slightest touch of haze to it.

Smell is slightly vinous and, of course, quite hoppy. Not so much piney but very fruity. Quite boozey with intersting notes like pomegranate and white raisins that's downright reminiscient of a dark belgian abbey. Bubblegum, like juicyfruit.

Taste is clean, dry, and just the tinies bit salty. Alphas are there, but not overwhelmingly. Whole presentation fades cleanly and quickly. Malt profile is just the light side of medium and is huge, like most of the AV brews. Yeast profile somehow reminds me of water crackers. Some spicy notes from the hops pop up as evergreen herbs like rosemary.

Mouthfeel is quite clean, though a bit watery, if you will. Carbonation is there, but just this side of sufficient. Still, no bad afterthoughts here. Booze makes no attempt to hide.

What a nice little IPA. The nose is the real star of this bottle, and the body has a bit of a difficult time living up to any sane expectations therefrom. Whole brew almost begs to be just a little bit more. Worth a taste, though.

ojiikun, Apr 03, 2008
Photo of willjschmidt
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Pours a bronze color with an off white head. No sediment in the bottle. Good lacing.

S: A wallop of hops: the standard west coast variety smelling of citrus and pine.

T: Exactly as advertised: a no holding back, smack to the face, rough around the edges, west coast DIPA. Is it balanced? Not exactly but I doubt that it's supposed to be. All in all, a solid DIPA. Great hop flavors, not too sweet, not too thick and a nice balance between citrus and piney.

M: Bordering on the edge of being thick, we'll call it medium-full bodied. Lots of piney hop resin.

D: Not the most drinkable DIPA but if you're looking for a west coast hop bomb you could do a lot worse than this brew.

willjschmidt, Apr 02, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

So I received this one as an extra in a trade recently, which was awesome, as I was going to go out and buy it this weekend, so that worked out well. I was excited to try it not only because it was an Anniversary edition, and an IIPA, but I have had pretty good luck with Anderson Valley in the past so let us see where this one will bring us. The pour was very nice with a deep rich amber color coming forward, lots of cloudiness and haze with even a touch of sediment rolling through on this one as well. A nice three finger high head of off white colored foam then rose up over the top and had some really nice staying power, really only coming down after a few minutes, and even then, it left behind a good amount of side glass lace in its wake. Overall a very nice looking big IPA.

The aroma was highly hopped as I would have expected, with rich deep notes of floral hops coming through very clearly here. Very nice well-rounded hop profile on the nose with hints of orange and tangerine mixed in with some nice sugary notes as well, really letting it pull itself up quite nicely. Definitely, a good amount of sweetness in there as it really was beginning to show nicely as it warmed up. The flavor followed through on this very nicely. Sometimes these big west coast IPA's can be a little too big, not in this case though, as this was very nicely done and really well balanced and put together. A good amount of floral hoppiness was evident on the first taste. A nice bit of orange and sweet tangerine like flavors delivering the first punch, but more sweet then bitter. A nice unfolding malt tone in the background, did not dominate, but assuredly, you could tell it was there. Really nice presence here all around with fresh aromatic flavors being the norm. Nice medium body and a super smooth feel. The carbonation was very well done, again nothing being over blown here. No hint of alcohol, which was nice and made this considerably smoother then it could have been. I easily polished off this bottle with dinner without much of an effort, which was really nice to be honest. I would have loved to have had more, as this was definitely a solid offering and a really nicely done brew.

Overall, I thought this was really well put together. Nothing mind blowing mind you, however really just well crafted and very well balanced big IPA. It had those sticky piney resin like moments though, do not get me wrong, however I just thought it was incredibly drinkable and really nice with dinner. There is no doubt I would go for this one again. A quality offering for sure.

mikesgroove, Mar 26, 2008
Photo of flexabull
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%

Congrats on 20 years Anderson Valley! I remember drinking Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout about 12 years ago when I first started to get into craft beers...

Anyways, I picked this bottle up today at the Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa.

Pours a bright and clear orange color with a small white head.

Aromas are of sweet hard candies, grapefruit, and other cirtus fruits.

Taste is a bit rough around the edges, but still with lots of nice "West Coast" Double IPA flavors. Flavors are VERY hops dominant, bitter, resin like, and piney up front. There is a touch of malt creaminess there, it's kind of subtle, but it makes itself known. Finish is crisp, bitter, and mineral like. Hop heads rejoice... that's about all there is here. Whoa...

Mouthfeel is nice. The feel is a bit biting with all the hop flavors, but there still feels nice, thick, and full in the mouth.

Drinkability lacks on this one. It's a nice hop flavored bomb of a beer, but it need some refining in my opinion. I love hoppy brews, but this one needs a little work to be really good.

flexabull, Mar 23, 2008
Photo of bcm119
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%

Deep copper colored; thin off white head. Aroma of candied citrus with whisps of a weedy/grassy smell. Begins with punchy hops that are supported by a chewy, biscuity malt profile. Full mouthfeel with excellent viscosity and carbonation. The chewy yet dry, crackery malt is classic Anderson Valley, and it is perfectly balanced by the flavoring and bittering hops. The slick, coating mouthfeel cleans up nicely for a pleasantly dry, grapefruity finish. A fantastic double IPA-- bright, balanced and fresh flavors, with a supple mouthfeel and refreshing finish.

bcm119, Mar 22, 2008
Photo of mattmaples
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%

Clear copper in color, the head pours well but falls quickly. The aroma is of oily hops that come across as lime and pine. The flavor starts sweet but settles into the hop profile of pine and fruit. It has some respectable IUBs for an imperial and I give it well deserved thumbs up.

mattmaples, Mar 22, 2008
Photo of rkuhnel
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%

From a 22 oz bottle this poured a clear and very rich copper color with an off-white head and solid lacing. Nose of of flowery hops and caramel malts. Very rich and smooth mouthfeel. Reminds me of Pliney the Elder just not as extreme. Flavor is of malts and hops, with flowers, pine, and citrus all present. Finish is of spices and bitter hops and very pleasant . A really easy to drink DIPA. I will have to go get some more for the cellar.

rkuhnel, Mar 21, 2008
Photo of Dukeofearl
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

22 ounce bomber, noew to LaBodega in Riverside, CA in March, 2008. $5.49; tasted in March as well.

Pours a syrupy orange with red tints, a big creamy head settles on top with a minimal pour. A very nice looking beer.

Aroma of peaches and pears, a light citrus tone, and some weedy/grassy hops. Pleasant enough.

Flavor- at first taste, the fusel alcohol burn tied in with bitter hops is so strong I don't really get any flavor. Not my favorite way to start a beer. But after a few swallows, this subsides and grapefruit and juniper/pine oil hops fight through the alcohol. A bit of orange sweetness comes out at the end of the swallow.

Decent, enjoyable, not as thick, rich and heavy as some IIPAs, but this one is not half bad.

Dukeofearl, Mar 20, 2008
Photo of Zorro
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%

Brand new so I pounced on it.

Clear deeply bronze colored beer bordering on red; held up to a strong light the color is copper. Small white head forms and falls.

Smell is sweet and very heady with the hop oils. Strong tropical fruit smell pineapple, mango, lime and a little eucalyptus funk. Quite spicy smelling with grapefruit and black pepper riding on the ethanol fumes. Strong hop scent here this is very close to hop perfume.

The taste starts out sweet and dry shocking the taste buds, a melon flavor emerges. Things quickly lighten up and the fruit and pine flavors appear. Pineapple, mango, melon, and strawberry-banana.

Mouthfeel is good.

Strong IIPA but not subtle like some. Strong takes no prisoners beer for hopheads.

Zorro, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of RustyDiamond
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%

Poured a clear, yellow sunshine into my SA BA glass. A nice 2 fingers of white froth quickly rushed to the rim. A slight haze of (what I am guessing is) hop residue was noticeable. Other than that, very clear and bright...just how I like my IPAs and IIPAs.

Aromas of hop nasty with some shoe leather and a dash of sweetness.

I can best describe the taste as a hop sledgehammer. Starts out with a nice hop flavor, then the sharp, pungent hammer hits the mouth. Really over-the-top grapefruit explosion on the roof of my mouth. Sticky, syrupy mouthfeel. Balanced? No way. I then glance at the label: "Our IIPA is loaded with excessive amounts of malts and 20 separate additions of the finest Pacific Northwest hops."

Uh...20 separate additions? That about sums it up for me. But I love the torture.

RustyDiamond, Mar 05, 2008
Photo of Tdizzle
2.83/5  rDev -25.9%

I initially gave this beer a pretty harsh review. I didn't like it at all, but I decided to give it a second try.

A- Poured into my Dogfish Head snifter, this beer is a clear dark amber color with a foamy off-white head that settles quickly and leaves very little lacing. This is much darker in color than any DIPA I've had.

S- Metallic with citrusy and piney hops and some herbal malt in the background. Not as strong an aroma as I expected from a DIPA. As the beer warms, the hoppy aroma disappears leaving a very green, medicinal, and metallic herbal aroma that I don't care for at all.

T- The bitterness is "dirty", sharp, and lacking hop flavor. I really don't care for the aroma or the taste that the malt backing imposes on this beer. The hops resurface in the back of the throat, but it's a hard metallic bitterness that becomes tiresome.

M- Slightly oily and slick with little carbonation.

D- I just didn't want to finish a whole bomber of this, so I can't really give this beer high marks for drinkability.

My least favorite Double IPA that I've tried. I gave this beer two chances seeing as I bought two bottles, but I just can't get into it. I don't care for the aroma or the taste of this beer.

Tdizzle, Mar 04, 2008
Photo of jakon
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%

22oz bottle

Pours copper with a forced 2-finger eggshell colored head that dissipates quickly while leaving behind sparse lacing.

The aroma is primarily of grapefruit and earthy hops. Not as powerful as I had hoped for from a fresh IIPA, but I can tell I'm about to quench my thirst for hops, and that's enough for me. The caramel malt is apparent, as well.

The taste is very nice. Big on the grapefruit bitterness with a nice background honey-like sweetness. This is a well balanced IPA. A bit grassy, but I like it. There are hints of various fruits in there too.

Overall, this is a nice, solid IIPA that I'd love to have around all the time. It's not a "wow" beer, but I think that's a good thing sometimes.

jakon, Mar 02, 2008
Photo of ccrida
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%

Bomber poured into an imperial pint, the 20th anny is a clear copper with a large, pillowy ivory head that leaves avg lace.
Smell is sweet floral and tropical fruit hops, with an incredibly nice soft zing. I was underwhelmed until I realized how juicy it was and couldn't stop drooling...best on the colder side, I served this fridge temp of course.
Taste is loads of fruity hops but fairly well-balanced. Citrus perhaps a little astringent at first, but ultimately the malt sugars balance those out on the finish, which is dry, earthy and a tad blood-like. I haven't been too impressed with the last few Anderson Valley's I've had, but this has really restored my faith in my West Coast OGs.
Mouthfeel is pushing average for a DIPA, some stickiness but dried out from the booze and hops enough to keep the digestability higher...
Drinkability is really pretty good, refreshing, with a nice balance even though it drinks a little bigger then it is.

ccrida, Mar 01, 2008
Photo of unclederby
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%

Well balanced 2IPA with an earthy hop profile.

In the glass it's honey-colored and has just a wisp of foam for a head. Minimal lacing on my Full Sail tulip. Smell is kinda sweet and malt driven - a bit like jarred cherries - and of funky, grassy, and herbacious hops.

The flavors are nicely balanced: this is immensely drinkable. Again, i would say this is a malt-driven ale, with a sufficient amount of hops that you know it's an IPA. There is a strong citrus presence tinged with lemongrass and a bit of alcoholic warmth.

Medium bodied with a slick, oily mouthfeel and complementing carbonation.

Hops are keenly used here to lend to aromatics and to impart spice; this is no over-the-top palate wrecker. This is one bomber i have no problem putting down and if not for the ABV i could easily do two, but i'd just grow tired and wimp out - fall asleep - and waste half a bomber.

I'll drink it again soon,
maybe tomorrow.

unclederby, Feb 27, 2008
Photo of largadeer
3.03/5  rDev -20.7%

Appearance - Bottle conditioned in a 22 oz bomber. The beer itself is bright, clear amber with a frothy off-white head and an impressive stream of rising bubbles. The head retains incredibly well, leaving behind sheets of sticky lace as the glass empties.

Smell - Very hoppy and fresh. Aromas of fresh herbs, cut grass and lemons. Slightly medicinal. A hint of malt appears once the beer has warmed a bit.

Taste & mouthfeel - Pretty rough upon first impression. A semi-sweet malt foundation struggles to make itself known amidst the herbal, medicinal hop flavor. The bottle conditioning provides a soft and pleasant carbonation, but that's the only good thing I can say about the mouthfeel. Noticeable alcohol and sticky, astringent hops cling to the palate in the finish, making this a pretty tiring beer to finish.

Notes - A great looking beer with a fairly pleasant aroma, but it falls apart after that. Decent at best.

largadeer, Feb 16, 2008
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Imperial IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 575 ratings.