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Hophead Imperial IPA - Bend Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hophead Imperial IPAHophead Imperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

65 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 65
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.66%
Wants: 21
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bend Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: RedDiamond on 10-01-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 65 | Reviews: 30 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Elimination:
Photo of Elimination
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a decent clear copper, white head chilling on top.

Aroma of slight citrus pine and a decent amount of lemon. Sharper bitterness than sweet smells

Taste is bitterness up front falling to a very well rounded cOmbo of northwest hops has quite a bit of natural lemon sticky pine and some orange

Great mouthfeel very clean nutral yeast, smooth and quite easy drinking

Overall a great dipa but needs a bit of drying out to make it better

Elimination, Aug 14, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Conflicted to see this listed on BA as a IIPA…it was sold to me as a regular IPA and as a regular IPA I found it utterly perfect. I am reviewing this as an IPA. As a IIPA, my review would be slightly lower because of a lack of malt balance, body, and strength.
Served in a 4 oz glass (with a half pint follow up) at Concordia Ale House during some sort of IPA Festival. This was my second favorite of the day.
Uber clean, crisp, and frankly spot on in terms of a CA or American IPA. They simply do not come more perfectly than this. Pine and juniper rule. Bitterness is moderate ad well done. Body is light. Color is a wonderful yellow-orange bronze…warm and welcoming. Malt flavor is mild and caramel focused. Some artichoke grassy flavor is found along with French celery. Good Lace.

DaPeculierDane, Jul 25, 2007
Photo of daveytheformer
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice lightly hazy golden orange color with a bright white head that fades to some lacing and lots of spotting.

Leafy hops and pine dominate the aroma at first followed by strong grapefruit citrus smell. This might be one of the best smelling IIPA's I've encountered from Oregon if not ever.

A quick sharp citrus blast upon first sip backed up by a dry bitterness. A mild sweetness in the background balances all the flavors together perfectly. Crisp, a little dry, fruity and very drinkable for the ABV.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with mild carbonation.

Overall is an excellent beer. Solid and easily drinkable. Really stand up to some of the big popular IPA's out there. I went out and bought another bottle the next day after having this one.

daveytheformer, Sep 02, 2011
Photo of WaydeRafnel
4/5  rDev -3.4%

WaydeRafnel, Jul 24, 2012
Photo of biboergosum
3.18/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A pint at the brewpub on the Deschutes river in Bend.

This beer pours a clear medium golden hue, with one finger of thin creamy white head, which leaves a wall of broken painted lace around the glass as it sinks away. It smells of caramel cream, and a bit of grapefruit and orange hops. The taste is sweet caramel malt, equally sweet alcohol, and orange liqueur. The carbonation is fairly light, the body a solid medium weight, and smooth. It finishes with a thinning booziness uber alles.

A bit strange, even given the style, to see an alcohol-dominated IIPA - the hops and malt just seem stamped down. Not particularly drinkable.

biboergosum, Jul 14, 2011
Photo of ElGordo
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to my co-worker Angelo for bringing a bottle back from his trip to Bend. Pours a bright orange-golden color with a small amount of turbidity, topped by a thin ring of bright white head. Aroma of fresh, zesty floral hops, light sweet malt, and notes of grapefruit and cannabis. Palate is quite tasty - tangy hops dominate up front, mellowed slightly by the mid-palate emergence of some sweet caramel malt. Notes of tart grapefruit and pine are evident, especially before the swallow. Finish is a lingering hoppy bitterness that is quite satisfying.
Body is fairly light for an imperial IPA, lacking the typical syrupy feel. I'm pretty OK with that. On the whole, this is an easy-drinking ale, especially given the amount of alcohol and aggressive hops. Wish I had more than one bottle. Guess I have to go to Bend soon to stock up.

ElGordo, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of bobbrew
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Something magical about this beer when I first tasted it in 2005 at the Sasquatch Beer Festival in Eugene, Oregon. Hughly hoppy with a feminine finesse. No rough edges here - just as it should be as it's brewed by the loveliest lady brewer in America. (I'm a huge fan of this style as I used to travel to Sierra Nevada in Chico so I could be the first non - SN employee to taste Celebration every year). Hophead made me forget about Celebration except for the uncontrollable subconcious lip smacking they both induce. This beer is very limited as it's brewed by a small lady in an equally small brewery. If you land a taste, pint or pitcher consider yourself one of the luckiest beer consumers in America.

bobbrew, Oct 01, 2006
Photo of Hops_n_Footy
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%

Hops_n_Footy, Yesterday at 11:51 PM
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Hazy orange body. Nice white head. Wisps and a collar.

Smell - Grassy pine hops. Sweet malts. Kinda musty.

Taste - Pine and grapefruit up front. Sweet caramel and then it dries out. Bitterness kicks in. Builds into a piney hop bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - A touch heavy, but drinkable. Quite bitter.

Overall - Pretty good beer. Tasty but bitter.

Alieniloquium, Jun 02, 2013
Photo of mc4z
4/5  rDev -3.4%

mc4z, Jun 08, 2014
Photo of Travisnin
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Travisnin, Sep 13, 2012
Photo of kylemckinnis
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

kylemckinnis, Aug 20, 2012
Photo of Neilbeermaster
4.83/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from the brewpub in Bend, Oregon in November 2008.

This beer has been aging in my 'cellar' for five months.

Pours a dark gold blond, a little cloudy, but still very transparent. Head is a tiny, 1mm ring around the outside, and a patchy, very thin cover throughout the top.

Nose is fragrant, very fragrant of floral hops, and very kind, calming hops with a bit of malty sweetness.

Front is crisp, very sharp, and tingles a little bit after I swallow. Finish is assertive, but not attacking; very straightforward.

Bittering hops are strong, a little bit citric, and a tiny bit piney, but never unpleasant. Sweetness exists on the finish, but overall, the beer finishes like a very pleasant, quaffable 5% pale, but still lingers like an IPA.

It is unfathomable that this beer is 8.7% alcohol. It feels so pleasant.

Neilbeermaster, Apr 19, 2008
Photo of SurlyDuff
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very good IIPA. Nice orange hue, a bit cloudy.

Aroma is juicy citrus, spicy. Pine, juniper and other fruits in the background.

Pure IIPA goodness. Nice bite too it, a bit of resin feeling, but not to sharp.

Really like the finish on this one. It lingers and coats the mouth, and the only thing it seems would compliment it...is another sip!

This ones over 8%, deceptivly enough...so watch yourself!

SurlyDuff, Feb 12, 2008
Photo of saintruggler
5/5  rDev +20.8%

saintruggler, Nov 24, 2013
Photo of SMITHAND
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

SMITHAND, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of caskstrength
4.88/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Bend Brewing.

Pours a typical yellow/orange, carbonation as expected with a 1/2 inch head in a shaker pint glass.

Smells are salty resinous pine, some citrus, but pine is dominant. No alcohol, no buttery or floral notes. Getting excited.

Pine and resin jump out and throw a party. Wow, let me introduce myself, I am a West Coast IPA. Some floral complements to the pine, some citrus complements too. Pithy rinds weave into the pine, a symphony ensues. Barely enough malt to balance, fine by me.

Resinous and salty. I love when hops work magic like this.

This is up there with the greats. Got a growler to go, and 2 bombers as well (Should have bought more). Highly recommended.

caskstrength, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of bluckbeyes
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

bluckbeyes, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of hopdog
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this one on tap. I see from the picture this one is bottled, so I'll have to try that one too!

Poured a medium amber color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of citrus, pine, melons, and some malts. Tastes of citrus, melons, caramel, and pines.

hopdog, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of Kurmaraja
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Kurmaraja, Feb 03, 2014
Photo of bumchilly25
4/5  rDev -3.4%

bumchilly25, Aug 18, 2012
Photo of BeerNW
4/5  rDev -3.4%

BeerNW, Nov 25, 2012
Photo of flexabull
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Re-review 1/16/2011

Pours a bright orange color with a nice white head that faded quickly, but leaves nice lacing on the glass.

Aromas are of citrus, hard candies, resin, and oranges.

Taste is very refined for a DIPA. Light caramel creamy malt sweetness and slightly bready. Finish has a really complex hoppiness, resiny, earthy, spicy, with slight apricot notes as well. This is flavorful, but not overwhelmingly bitter.

Mouthfeel is good, full, smooth, with good carbonation.

Drinkability is quite good. I am so glad I got revisit this one. I am fairly certain the last bottle had a bad cap because it was barely carbonated. But this good bottle really has let me properly taste this one, and it's excellent. Tasty but not overly strong, well balanced, and is a pleasure to drink. This is an under the radar top notch DIPA.

---

Original review. (I believe this was a bad bottle ) 3 / 4.5 / 4.5 / 2.5 / 3.5

Pours a bright and clear dark orange/gold color with no head.

Aromas are nice. There is something in here I can't quite pin down that I like... hard candies, citrus, resin, and almost like sugary oranges.

Taste is very similar to the nose. Thick, and with a general creaminess, some sugary sweetness in the background as well. Foreground is all about the hops, as is the finish. Resin, grapefruits, and a snappy crisp bitterness.

Mouthfeel is full, but there is an obvious lack of carbonation which is a bummer.

Drinkability is good. But man, this beer tastes like it could be great with better carbonation.

Wow, this bottle was all over the map. I think it might have had a bad cap or something, because it was kind of flat. Too bad, I'd love to try it again, it has serious potential to be quite good.

flexabull, Dec 17, 2010
Photo of gizmodave
5/5  rDev +20.8%

gizmodave, Dec 07, 2011
Photo of John_M
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to Jeff (Jdense) for gifting me a bottle of one my favorite NW DIPA's during his visit to DC.

The beer pours a glowing, nearly opaque orange amber color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose this is all DIPA goodness, showcasing considerable pine and grapefruit rind, but with some noticeable cherry and lemon as well from the light sweet malt. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely in this well crafted, West Coast all the way DIPA. There is some noticeable sweet malt to balance out the avalanche of hoppy bitterness, but the finish is still long, dry and bitter. There's something of a tongue tingling, peppery flavor at the very end that I quite like. Mouthfeel is full and bitter, with some noticeable alcohol in the mid palate. However, the beer is not the least bit hot, heavy or tiring on the palate, though one can tell the abv. is up there. Still, I would have to rate drinkability as still pretty good, as the alcohol is integrated very well into the flavor profile with this one.

For me, this beer epitomizes the NW style of DIPA, as it showcases considerable hoppy bitterness, but somehow maintains a sense of proportion and balance. An altogether excellent beer... I've been a fan since the first time I tasted this beer on tap many moons ago at Concordia Alehouse during my former PDX life. Just an altogether excellent beer... whether on tap (preferred) or out of the bottle.

John_M, Dec 02, 2010
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Hophead Imperial IPA from Bend Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.