Nelson Imperial IPA - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Nelson Imperial IPANelson Imperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

563 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 563
Reviews: 183
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.39%
Wants: 27
Gots: 27 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: olmatty on 04-06-2011

70 IBU
Original Gravity : 21 Plato
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Carapils, Caramel 10-L
Hops: Alchemy, Nelson Sauvin, Cascade, Willamette
View: Beers (73) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 563 | Reviews: 183
Reviews by olmatty:
Photo of olmatty
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

According to the "Not So Professional Beer Blog" this beer is the new incarnation of Widmer's Deadlift recipe which will now be retired. One of the series 924 beers.

Appearance-Pours a deep golden amber beer that is absolutely unclouded. There's a big foamy cap that settled down to a creamy one finger head which creates lots of lacing in the glass.

Smell- Significant toasted malt biscuit bits first, balanced with deep hop bitterness in the form of orange peel, mild citrus and spice. More bittering hop than finishing hop.

Taste-Citrus peel bitter followed by malts which have been bittered significantly lots of early addition hops. Some light pine and a little candy sweetness. Lots of residual sugar and a long lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Think and sticky IPA. Lots of body. Quite palate coating.

Overall-A very pleasant and drinkable Imperial IPA. Somewhat one dimensional, but what's there is enjoyable.

More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In a snifter the beer was copper colored with a medium tan head. There was some lacing.

Mostly a piney/herbal aroma. A little bit of citrus. Some sweet malt.

The taste was dominated by piney hops. There was a little bit of citrus and tropical fruit. Fairly strong malt background.

I thought this was kind of a "meh" beer. Nothing too damning to say about it, but more on the average side.

Photo of SunDevilBeer
3.33/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Been seeing alot of the Widmer line in my area since they started brewing the beers @ Redhook in Portsmouth, NH so decided to give this a try. $9.49 per 4-pack.

Pours and looks like a good DIPA should. Bright orange with a little head that disappears quickly. Sure smells like a DIPA too, it's got a nice nose.

Strong hop presence in the taste. A bit of hot alcohol too. Both these characters become more evident as it warms up, not in a good way. Last few sips to finish the glass are tough.

An OK, not bad DIPA, but the bar has been set pretty high with this style and this beer doesn't quite measure up.

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with a bottled on date on the label.

Shiny pale brass color with a great clarity, the suds do their job to keep the beer appearance up. Minty, mango, peppery, lime zest and mandarin orange come from the hops and light biscuity grain and alcohol round out the hoppy nose. Smooth and slick with a moderate sized creamy body. Bitterness might not be massive which is fine, the hop flavor is the real showcase here. Peppery, mint and exotic fruit hop flavor though I am sure some of that fruitiness is coming from the alcohol. Star fruit, ripe pineapple and papaya comes to mind. Faint caramel and cake malt flavors, alcohol is very noticeable but does not distract from any other flavor.

Looks like the complete re-vamp of Deadlift ends up being a win now.

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, from a $8.99 four pack, purchased at Anconia's, Ridgefield Ct.

"Mar. 29 11" printed on front label. Bottling date?

Pours clear, lighter honey amber. Medium khaki head, stays nicely, tightly knit, then a thicker film, collar and respectable scattered fine lace.

Nose is full of tropical fruits and sniffs, like lime and ginger.

Flavorful and enjoyable DIPA, more lime, mint, ginger, gin picked up. Easy drinking, hops crushing but not overpowering the fruity goodness abounding here. Well done, well worth a try.

Photo of joeworrall
4.09/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured from a bottle into a wine glass, comparing it head to head with Green Flash Green Bullet Triple IPA and New Belgium Imperial IPA.

I've heard of Widmer Brothers, but didn't think of them as a "craft" beer brewer until today. I read about this IPA and was anxious to try it. It did not disappoint...

Lovely dark amber color, and subtle hop aroma and flavor. Subtle... nice, but not overwhelming. You can taste the malted barley with the hop flavor balancing it.

this is a beer I will come back to again... not a bargain, but a well crafted IPA that I will look forward to enjoying again

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful orange color, 1" of white head on it, great small bubbles, decent lace, excellent retention. Aroma, when fresh, very nice and Nelson hoppy. Really did a good job with the nelson sauvin hop, one of my favorites, really comes across tropical and citrus wise in the nose.

Taste, effortless to drink, covers alcohol amazingly well, tons of hop flavor to it. Gets some of the funky white grape nelson kind of mouthfeel to it. Just really excellent beer, at an excellent price, with excellent production numbers and availability.

Widmer has really been knocking it out of the park hoppy wise the last 2 years.

Photo of chinchill
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A true DIPA, as advertised, particularly in the tasting where a strong, hoppy flavor hits mid-taste and then lasts a long time.

Aroma is excellent if a bit subdued for style.

Hops are mainly piney, but also have a notable citrus component.
The malts are definitely present, but the balance favors the hops. Nicely strong, bitter, and hoppy without being challenging (at least for a fan of IPAs).

Photo of jbphoto88
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Right out of the bottle this one is a looker with deep orange color and a clear body. The head is thick, tan and bubbly with a nice lacey stickiness.

The nose is an impressive dose of grapefruit and sweet malts. A clean hop bill that doesn't get overly gritty or boozy. I am looking forward to diving my tounge into this one.

Taste falters slightly from the nose. The grapefruit like hops carry over but thin out compared to the scent. The grains offer a nice balance and provide the bones for the hop muscles moving the body of this IIPA. The finish is satisfying and has a pine like taste that lingers.

Mouthfeel is also a solid plus for this brew. It is not overly bitter or astringent but seems to have the perfect balance of hop pinch to grain sweet. The finish gets a little dry and boozy for my taste but other then that a very enjoyable beer. Glad to have tried this and can't wait to get my hands on some more.

Photo of rdilauro
3.62/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A perfect golden tan pour with a nice but not over the top creamy head. No question about the hops in this beer. A perfect blend. The hops are fresh and alive.
The bouquet was just about as perfect as I could imagine.
The first sip and I was totally convince, this was one serious IPA, good amount of HOPS, not over malty, a perfect balance.
Loved it now and will drink it many times in the future

Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, a souvenir from a lovely, informative trip to Portland earlier this month.

This beer pours a glassy pale amber hue, with a multitude of dense foamy off-white head, which leaves some nice ropy, layered lace around the glass as things sink away. It smells of grapefruit and otherwise restrained citrus hops, caramel/toffee malt, and a soft booze edginess. The taste is fairly intrusive bitter pine hops, with a minor in citrus and leafiness, all rather obtrusive over the steadfast caramel and bready malt that seems to arise out of the ether, accompanied by a mildly invasive alcohol edge. The carbonation is moderate, aided by a still vigorous sweetness, the body a heavy medium weight, and sugary smooth. It finishes more sedate, the malt sweetness still prevalent, facing a decent citrus, earthy hop offset.

An appreciably intense DIPA, from one of those microbreweries that seem to somehow beg for big boy analysis, and yet still come off all the better. Large, and in charge, this has all the right moves - big malt, big hops, and an agreeably levelled upscale ABV - wow, A-Fucking-OK by me. The only issue I have, is my oversight in not visiting this brewhouse amongst all else during that fateful afternoon in downtown PDX, after the lunch pods...

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on date of October 12, 2012

Appearance - Pours a hazy golden copper with an off-white finger width head and fair retention. Lacing clumps in spots, and is spotty in others. Nice stick.

Smell - I can smell the caramel malts from a mile away. Hops are secondary, coming across as floral with touches of citrus.

Taste - Caramel malts are predominant to start, with lesser notes of orange popping through cleanly by mid-taste. Lightly floral. Mild grapefruit pith bitterness comes across in the aftertaste, which builds after each sip.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full body with fair carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall - I should have checked the date before buying the bottle. At nearly 5 months old, I'm sure the hop bite in this beer has taken a substantial hit. I still enjoyed it, but a definite candidate for re-review with a fresher sample. I'm guessing I didn't get the Full Nelson experience (yes, pun intended).

UPDATE: Had this fresh on tap the other night, and there wasn't much of a difference. The hops were maybe a smidgeon stronger. Maybe.

Photo of augustgarage
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head oversized snifter. Bottled in December, 2012.

Clear, deep carrot orange liquid with brighter highlights and a thin rim of beige up top. Average retention at best, vague lacing.

Spruce, orange, candied ginger, and menthol in the nose...faint caramel as well.

Sweet moderately bitter flavor profile - syrupy, earthy, peppery, with cherries and mint throughout. An odd collection of tastes, like a kiwi making the most of a rainy PDX winter. Aftertaste of overcooked apricot and herbs. Would go well with a number of Moroccoan dishes actually...

Oily, medium-bodied mouth-feel with light carbonation with a bit of a bite from the alcohol.

A decent example of the style, though not my favorite.

Photo of tdm168
3.94/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - orangish amber with a big, white head that fades to a thin lacing

S - huge floral aroma with some underlying citrus and sweet malts

T - floral, citrus, faintly spicy, faintly herbal, some orange, orange rind, sugary sweetness, mildly bitter finish

M - dry, well carbonated, a bit warm, well carbonated

This is a nice IPA, but it doesn't have the intense hop character that I would have liked. I do like the orange, citrusy notes that come through and the faint herbal notes. Ultimately, however, for a DIPA this is underwhelming. It's a solid, drinkable IPA, but not a great DIPA. I definitely will never turn this down, but I won't seek it out.

Photo of ElGordo
4.04/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a snifter. Body is a deep golden color with a wisp of creamy white head. Aroma is huge on grapefruit and pine resin, with a light sweetness that holds a hint of dark fruit. A decent amount of booze is evident as well.
Palate is big on piny hops, with huge notes of grapefruit. A syrupy sweetness from the malt is accompanied by some mild dark fruit flavor. Finish has some lingering citrusy hops and some sweet bready notes. Body is full but not sticky or syrupy. great aroma and flavor really showcase the Nelson hops, but the body is a bit flat and the palate is a bit one-dimensional.

Photo of Damian74Shensky
3.86/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz from a 4 pack poured into a snifter.

A- nice orange with a finger of white foam, a touch of haze.

S- malt aroma with hops and some citrus notes.

T- malts with floral hop flavor, which goes well with the citrus aroma. Bitterness is pretty mild for a DIPA.

M- medium rich body with medium carbonation.

O-Good beer, but with better DIPA's out there, don't know if I'll get again.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.87/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured a finger and half of head on a cloudy, copper colored body.
The aroma is a nice grapefruit, lemon and a touch of caramel.
The taste is loaded with malt, which is well balanced by the moderate bitterness.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation and medium body.
It's a tasty and drinkable DIPA.

Photo of dannydetox
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 22 into a standard pint glass. beer left a thin, bubbly head that dissipated into a ring of foam within a minute or two. nose has tropical fruits up front, maybe a touch of pine under a layer of breadiness and damp grains. mango aromas come through first as the beer goes down. i also taste some malt sweetness before the understated bitterness comes through. seems like a fairly typical double/imperial ipa, but i like the fact that there is no alcohol burn on this one. priced at $3.99 i am in, but i wouldn't want to pay more than that for the Nelson Imperial. for a sublime Nelson hop experience i recommend Alpine Beer Co. Nelson.

Photo of mdvatab
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle (dated 3/3/11) into Ommegang chalice.

Aroma: Spicy, piney, and apricot hop notes. Honey graham cracker sweetness.

Appearance: Off-white two finger head sticks around for a while. Decent lacing. Slightly hazy golden amber body.

Flavor: Very prominent honey-like malty sweetness up front. Pleasant (but a bit subdued for an IIPA) bitterness in the middle. And grapefruit-like flavor/bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-to-low carbonation. Sweetness coats the sides, and hop tannins are slightly drying on the middle of the tongue.

Overall: I have a feeling the hop aroma and flavor have faded significantly since the 3/3 bottled-on date. This beer was pretty drinkable at first, but after a few sips, the sweetness was lacking in depth, and a bit cloying. I recommend trying this, but it will surely be better if consumed within 30 days of bottling.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32 oz. growler from House of Brews. I've always found this beer to be a sleeper.

Appearance - Clear orange. Not much of a head. Some wisps on the surface and a collar of big discrete bubbles.

Smell - Lots of nice citrus hops. Bright orange hop aroma. A little bit of sweetness back there, but a lot of nice hops. Finishes with a peachy fruit flavor.

Taste - Nice citrus hop again. Balanced with a good dose of pale malt sweetness. Hardly bitter, but enough of a hop presence to balance the sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Easy drinking if a little heavy. Definitely feels like a DIPA, Medium carbonation.

Overall - I drink the hell out of this when it's on tap. Remarkably well made. Maybe not the same quality has some of the top-tier DIPAs, but for a regular beer I don't have to fight for, it's excellent.

Photo of Glibber
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Rusty red amber color, not cloudy but not opaque, with a foamy white head that thinned out quickly but still left some nice lacing. Faint citrus, orange smell, smooth drinking, not overly hoppy, but some hop carryover. You don' taste the alcohol that much and a good offering from Widmere. Glad to see Widmer offer some higher octane beers in 12 oz bottles with the 11' and now this.

Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a clear copper, with 2-3 fingers of eggshell-white head. This settles down into a frothy ¾ finger, which throws up a big foamy cascade of lacing that descends down into sticky swathes that dot the sides of the glass. The aroma smells leafy and a little dank, with some pine and spice thrown in for good measure. Green citrus, some much lighter tropical fruit, and sweet malt sit underneath, imparting a zesty twang in the back of the nostrils.

The taste has a lot of sweetness going on with it, both from the sugary graininess of the malts and the juicy tropical fruit character of the hops as well. This is cut through by a mix of zesty grapefruit bitterness and resins that is surrounded on the sides by a good bit of a herbal feel. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe a little bit fuller, with some crispness to the carbonation on top but the overall feel here has a rather nice feeling smooth oily creaminess to it that glides along easily in the mouth. There is some light warmth here but the ABV is helped along immensely by the silkiness of the feel.

This was a pretty darn decent DIPA. I just wish that the sweetness and bitterness of the flavor profile could have been reversed (with the more aggressive aspects of the hops being compliment by the sweetness instead of the other way around) but there is still enough here to keep most hop heads happy and you can’t beat the smooth feel on this. This is really nice for an off the shelf take on the style. I could get down with more of it!

Photo of inthebeeraisle
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a regular pint glass.

A: Moderate carbonation with light lacing & low head retention. A nice light filtered orange color.

S: A big fruity nose reminiscent of tropical fruit. Does remind me a little of a Sauv. Blanc wine. Alcohol is clearly also present in the nose.

T: Slightly sweet with the intense passion fruit hop flavor balanced nicely by a hearty malt backbone.

M: A intense resin full mouthfeel that lingers for a moment. A slight peppery hinge.

O: I really enjoyed this one. Not too sweet, well balanced, quite bitter. The alcohol definately comes through strong, but it is also 8.6%. What do you expect? I'd buy this beer again.

Photo of HalfFull
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Standard 22 oz. bottle poured into a large wine glass. Shows a bright golden with a just a hint of hazed golden. Sports a half inch of fairly dense eggshell foam, which does sink in a few minutes to a light film yet drops some bubbly lace.

Nice hop aroma with some tangerine citrus and strong floral notes along with a touch of hop oil muskiness. A good swirl brings up some more earthy hops.

Solid flavor which is not too sweet and offers a moderate bitterness. An oily citrus/tangerine flavor is easy on the palate. Offers a moderate feel with a well balanced carbonation level. Fruity up front with a pleasant but never obtrusive hop aroma or bitterness. Better than a single, this brew is a double off the left field wall, though not a home run by any means. Not stellar but solid and quite approachable, and a good value to boot.

Photo of bum732
3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

S: Grapefruit with hoppy resin, slight wine notes, slight bready malt

L: Fairly clear amber golden, white creamy head that dissipates.

T: Resiny hoppy blast up front with a slight malt backbone. Medium high, pungent bitterness. Slight winey or phenolics in the middle. Finishes quite dry with residual hoppy resin.

M: Medium high carbonation, almost effervescent. Medium bodied.

Not bad, would love to try this a little fresher. The nelson wine notes were fairly mellow compared to other similar beers with this hop.

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Nelson Imperial IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 563 ratings.