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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
91
outstanding

63 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 63
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.66%
Wants: 21
Gots: 4 | 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: 63 | Reviews: 30 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brentk56
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a respectable head that leaves some lacing behind

Smell: Floral and sugary, with pithy and piney undertones

Taste: Definitely in the piney side, with a lot of pith as well; underneath, the sugary malts come on strong by mid-palate and into the finish, ringing pineapple flavors, as well

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and moderately carbonated; a bit sticky

Overall: A pretty darn good DIPA, though I would prefer a bit more attenuation or a bigger hop bill (may have been my fault for sitting on the bottle for a month and a half)

Thanks, chumba526, for the opportunity

brentk56, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of biboergosum
3.18/5  rDev -23.2%

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 Mebuzzard
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Mebuzzard, Jul 15, 2014
Photo of John_M
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%

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
Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev -3.4%

rab53, Mar 06, 2014
Photo of beertunes
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a relatively light golden yellow with about a half-inch of white head that had moderate retention and lacing.

The aroma was strongly pine hops with some citrus in the background. There wasn't any noticeable malt in the nose. On the tongue, there there was pine and citrus hops. The malt was barely noticeable.

The body was far thinner than I like for the style. Drinkability was very good, far above average for the style. Overall, a very nice example of the style, worth seeking out.

beertunes, Jul 03, 2010
Photo of Derek
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

A: Clear, golden bronze with a white head, thin ring of retention, some nice lace.

S: Big citrus & pine aroma, somewhat grassy and floral.

T: Quite hop-forward with a pleasant (not over-bearing) bitterness. Some alcohol warmth, but I wouldn't have guessed it was this strong. Pine, tangerine and nectarine... definitely some Amarillo here. Hints of underlying biscuit and toffee from the malt. Really great stuff.

M: Well attenuated, moderate body has a slight hop acidity with a crisp finish.

D/O: I could session this and SERIOUSLY regret it. Personally, I'd cut back on the booze a bit, but to have a brew of this strength so balanced, flavourful and drinkable is an art.

Derek, Sep 14, 2011
Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%

22oz bottle picked up in Bend, OR.

A - Pours a slightly cloudy, medium orange with a small cream-colored head that fades slowly, leaving lacing on the glass.

S - Citrusy, oranges mostly, sweet malts, slight pine.

T - Sweet malts hit me first, then some oranges and carmel flavors. Where did the hops go?

D - Lower carbonation, a bit chewy and thick for an Imperial IPA.

O - Sweeter, citrusy. OK.

HuskyinPDX, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

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 ccrida
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%

Bomber bought at the brewpub last night, poured into a shaker pint, Hophead DIPA is a pale auburn gold with a white head that leaves decent lace.

Smell is tangerine hops, kind of over ripe vibe, maybe a bit of cat pee. I just had the Elk Lake and the smell and flavor are basically the same, but obviously cranked up here. It's robust, but has a similar smell of over ripe apricots or tangerines, right as they've started to turn. Maybe the mix of cat pee I get from centennials with the citrus variety hops, perhaps an English ale yeast ester as well. The ABV is clear here as well, no fusels, just sweet.

Taste is pretty hoppy, big orange creamsicle, accentuated by a clean, but obvious, sweet alcohol note, which is pleasantly spicy on the finish, with a little resiny pine hops on the lingering aftertaste. Betetr the the smell, the hops are still a little too orange tasting for me, but there's just enough pepper and pine to balance it out.

Mouthfeel is sticky with sugars and hop oils, medium bodied.

Drinkability is pretty good, a big ass DIPA, well balanced within the genre, typical PNW style, just not quite to my taste with the sweet, overripe fruits.

ccrida, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of dgilks
3.4/5  rDev -17.9%

Clear orange colour with a small, off-white head. Fair head retention.

Light piney character with a touch of citrus. Lacking.

Big bitterness with a crisp, resinous hop character. Mild malt with a hint of syrupy sugar. Decent.

Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. Fair.

An okay IIPA. It's a little thick and syrupy but still good.

dgilks, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of RedDiamond
3.45/5  rDev -16.7%

The bartender at the BBC can’t pour this beer fast enough. It reminds me of those scenes from the 1930’s when there were runs on the banks. Hophead has a big juicy aroma and haunted lace and tastes surprisingly mild and light bodied. It is bright orange-gold, clouded, and has a slightly chalky mouthfeel. Strong in demeanor, yet casual in appeal, it serves the style well enough but is not a big scary hop monster by any means.

RedDiamond, Oct 01, 2005
Photo of hopdog
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%

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 strongaf
4/5  rDev -3.4%

strongaf, Apr 07, 2013
Photo of flexabull
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%

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 shelby415
4/5  rDev -3.4%

shelby415, Aug 21, 2013
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 CoryR
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

CoryR, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of Adamostella
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Adamostella, Aug 17, 2013
Photo of ElGordo
4.43/5  rDev +7%

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 Paccamacca
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Paccamacca, Aug 14, 2014
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%

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 jdense
4.1/5  rDev -1%

Shared a bomber hand carried from BBC on recent visit, all the way back home to The Big, shared with homeboy during recent Eastern Oregon craft brew tasting 9.8.10, poured into Chimay chalices.

One finger creamy white head, medium-fast dissipation with above average lacing. Clear gold body, multiple trails of carbonation. Nose is tropical fruit, some breadiness, not overly sweet, a bit try on back end. Taste mirrors the tropical fruit aspect of nose, once again not overly sweet, nice balance. Mouthfeel is medium, decent effervescence. Not sure of the bottling date, seemed to have lost a bit of the hop aggresiveness from the last time I had it on tap. One of the PNW's best IIPAs, and certainly one of the hardest (other than Barley Brown's) to obtain. It it wasn't so frickin' hard to get, I'd go pour the other bottle right now. Along with Outback X, a true expression of Tanya Cornett's brewing art. Check it out.

jdense, Sep 09, 2010
Photo of mc4z
4/5  rDev -3.4%

mc4z, Jun 08, 2014
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Hophead Imperial IPA from Bend Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.