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Nelson Imperial IPA - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Nelson Imperial IPANelson Imperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

555 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 555
Reviews: 181
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.65%
Wants: 26
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:
70 IBU
Original Gravity : 21 Plato
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Carapils, Caramel 10-L
Hops: Alchemy, Nelson Sauvin, Cascade, Willamette

(Beer added by: olmatty on 04-06-2011)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 555 | Reviews: 181 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rdilauro
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
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 beertunes
3.18/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 10oz glass. poured a fairly typical, but still attractive, medium golden amber with about a quarter-inch of white head that quickly settled into a ring and had very light lacing.

The aroma was mostly piney hops, with just a bit of grain in the background. The flavors were similar, mostly hops with just traces of malts, and a slight citrusy, dry finish.

The body was typical for the the style, perhaps just a bit on the thin side. Drinkability was OK, my 12oz bottle disappeared fairly quickly, and if I saw it on tap I'd give it another shot. Overall, a solid, decent brew. Try it when you see it.

Photo of SunDevilBeer
3.28/5  rDev -17%
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 grittybrews
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a ruby-tinged amber into a tulip with a finger of off-white head. Strong aroma of grapefruit, apricot, honey, and a hint of booze.

Moderate carbonation and a full, creamy mouthfeel. Floral up front with apricot and tangerine followed by strong honey caramel and some gentle grapefruit bitterness on the finish.

Not overly puckering but not too sweet either; full flavors with good balance and very-easy drinking for a double IPA.

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 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 Halcyondays
3.13/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a clear light orange with a minimal fizzy head. Good head retention, real light lacing, not good to style.

S: Grass, kiwi fruit (New Zealand influence perhaps?), cantaloupe. Big amount of malt as well.

T: Grassy and piney hop character with a clear malt presence. Just is too boozy; the underlying character is nice, but is covered up by the heat.

M: Full-bodied, oily, resiny, fairly smooth.

O: Pretty much an average East Coast style DIPA. Worth a shot at its inexpensive price.

Photo of Jwaks
2.98/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Translucent light copper with thin off-white head, little to no lacing, several columns of small bubbles make their way to the top of the beer.

A - I had to strain with this one, muted with sweetish caramel malt, some white grape, grapefruit with winey notes, peppery spice, hints of tropical fruit like kiwi and mango and perfumy alcohol notes.

T - mirrors the aroma with sweet carmelly, bready malt dominating, winey, fruity and spicy hop flavor throughout with pronounced, slightly hot alcohol in the finish. A light green vegital flavor comes through late in the finish. Pleasant hop bitterness lingers well after the finish.

M - moderate to full bodied with slightly overbearing alcohol, overdone malt with moderate bitterness make it dificult to drink.

O - Malt and hop flavor is awesome, just lacking intensity and follow-through. The reticent nose, distractingly hot alcohol and overdone malt are a dissapoinment. I think this would be better as an IPA with lower alcohol and malt presence than a DIPA.

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

On tap at Cooper seafood in Scranton.

The beer pours a copper amber with good head retention and lacing. Don't get a whole lot on the nose, just some light citrus, sweet malt and graham cracker. On the palate, what sticks out immediately is how sweet and malty this beer is. There's not nearly enough hoppy bitterness to counter it, with the beer coming off as an amber ale that happens to a bit more hop than usual, as well as alcohol. The beer isn't too boozy, thankfully, but otherwise there was little about this beer that I found particularly enjoyable. Mouthfeel was medium bodied to full, with a fairly long, lightly bitter, malty finish.

There weren't a whole lot of interesting options at Cooper's, otherwise I probably wouldn't have taken a chance with this beer to begin with. Mehhh...

Photo of Takahiro
3.38/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

sampled in a tulip glass

A: deep golden - light amber, clear, thick lingering head

S: caramel and juicy hop aroma upfront. reminds me of brew-day. hop aroma is grape fruit / almost grassy

T: grape fruit bitterness, lots of (burnt?) caramel. balance is leaning towards the malty side. very sweet & overwhelming maltiness. feel alcohol warmth afterwards. simple formulation.

M: full body, thick, and cloying.

D: not so well with this one.

little bit too sweet and cloying on mouth. this may be a good winter sipper, but not interesting enough.

Photo of shand
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic.

This one pours a very transparent (obviously filtered) orange-amber color crested with a nice three wingers of head that retains and laces very well. The aroma is a very nice banquet of tropical fruits, oranges and hops. The taste is also quite good. It honestly reminds me a lot of Hopslam with the tropical fruits and honey sweetness. It's a bit dryer and hoppier on the finish though, with less of an alcohol slam and less complexity. Overall, it's a good replacement for Hopslam though.

The mouthfeel is nice, although it might be a bit too smooth. Some more abrasion on the carbonation would be welcome. The drinkability is quite good, this is a DIPA that goes down easily. Overall, a very good DIPA that's just a touch away from greatness. Hopslam's younger brother, if you will.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - It pours a light copper hue, and is capped with a modest white head. Lacing is minimal.

S - The nose is quite fruity-dank. It is hard to pinpoint the specifics, but there seems to be a pungent ripe tropical fruit suggestion, as well as perhaps a bit of amaretto in the aroma. The malt is mild, mineral-y, and pale.

T - The flavor is big and tropically fruit-juicy, and has that almond twang that I found in the nose. Cannabis notes are strongly tangible. The malt is, again, mild, mineral-y, and pale; I tend to like that over the big caramel malt base that is quite common to the DIPA style.

M - IPA. Good. Not gonna be confused with ABW either.

O - Nice beer here. Widmer seems to do a good job with hoppy ales (Drifter, Pitch Black, this...)

Photo of inthebeeraisle
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
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 josiahschlender
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's a strange thing to have a lot of Widmer in my fridge, since it's low on the totem pole of craft breweries in Portland. But, they're cheap, and I'm always interested in a new DIPA that comes around. Didn't hurt Nelson was just over six bucks for a four-pack.

Pours a clear copper with red highlights. Medium head leaves moderate lacing. Pretty good looking beer.

The aroma is somewhat faint, but pleasing sweet fruit are present. Pineapple, spruce, maybe some mandarin. I like what it has going on, but it's just not the intensity that I've come to appreciate from the style.

Lots of the sweet hops in the flavor, with an appreciable amount of sweet malts to balance it out. Not the big intensity that you have with a lot of NW ales of this style, but pretty well crafted and enjoyable.

Fairly light body, low carbonation, somewhat slick. The lighter feel probably fits the lighter aromas and flavors for this beer. Finish isn't long and complex, but it's pleasant. Much better than Widmer's other DIPA, Deadlift.

For me, this beer ended up quite a bit more pleasing than the Widmer's more common DIPA. Deadlift is bitter, poorly balanced and way too heavy on the alcohol. I believe the ABV is about the same with this beer, but it's well hidden. Nelson is a better crafted beer. Not a standout in the DIPA world, but it's and enjoyable beer that I'll probably get again if it sticks around. If I were Widmer, I'd replace Deadlift with Nelson in a heartbeat.

Photo of BB1313
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a transparent copper w/ a nice white head and sticky lacing. Great nose! I'm really digging the aromas. I'm picking up lots or tropical fruits, specifically pineapple and mango. Very sweet aromas! The taste isn't bad, but I feel a tad letdown due to the aromas. Pretty sticky. Extremely bitter, the hops seems to take over. Not too much pine and resin going on. Lots of fruits, but gets diminished due to the bitterness. There are slight hints of caramel and malts giving it some sweetness. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, maybe it's slightly thin, but that's the least of my worries. Finishes dry and slightly warm. Alcohol goes unnoticed for the most part. This is an easy drinking DIPA.

This is a good DIPA.. but it could've been really good.

Photo of DoctorDog
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: From a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic. "MAR 03 11" stamped on bottom of label, and presumably a bottled on date.

A- Clear amber/copper. Pours with ~1 finger of off-white head, which fades into a thin cap.

S- Hints of pine/citrus hopiness, and sweet tropical fruits...pineapple and mango....

T- Lots of mango / citrus / tropical fruit notes....moderate level of hop bitterness. A bit of caramel sweetness to go along with the fruity sweetness.

M- Moderate to slightly low carbonation and a medium full feel.

O- Good. Interesting and enjoyable. Very easy drinking DIPA. A bit more head and carbonation and this one might really pop.

Future outlook: Good beer that might warrant another trial down the road to see how it fares.

Photo of julian
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: exceptionally clear copper color with a thick lasting fluffy white head. very, very nice!

S: definitely some Citra hops in this one. Smells of strong citrus, mango and peaches in the background. Kind of muted in aroma compared to the X-114 IPA but similar.

T&M: Very smooth...medium bodied...wasn't expecting that. This is by no means a dry IIPA like Pliny...this is considerably thicker bodied and richer. The backbone is that of a sweet malty caramel variety. Very smooth, but also a lot sweeter than I was expecting. I'd compare it at least in sweetness to Hopslam. Carbonation is about average...could be slightly better. On the tail end, this finishes with a nice hoppy bite. Clean aftertaste.

O: Overall, this is a solid IIPA, but not world class. It's a little too sweet for my liking, though it does hold up for the style, and to other beers in it's class. Great offering from Widmer. I'd buy 6 packs of it if it were cheaper (this 1 12oz bottle cost me $2.29+tax)

Photo of jera1350
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Date of March 3rd, 2011.

Golden orange in color with a one finger cap of dirty white foam. Fair lacing and nice retention.

Really nice tropical fruity and citrusy hop scent. Some malt sweetness as well. It is a little bit on the light side overall on the nose however.

A well balanced DIPA. The hops are citrusy and tropical, but not real strong and not very bitter. Some sweet malt for balance along with some diacetyl. The taste is pretty short, but leaves a little bitterness on the end.

Smooth with creamy soft carbonation and a juicier finish.

A nice DIPA for the price, but with so many awesome ones out there now, I can't see myself revisiting this one again. It is a nice brew though.

Photo of theopholis
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Body is a clear, orangey-amber color; reminds me of old honey. The head is small. white, with some nice lacing. Very little head retention.

Smell: Somewhat subdued. Hints of malt sweetness and floral hops. Maybe a hint of citrus.

Taste: Not as powerful as you'd expect a DIPA to by, but quite nice. LEts call it an IPA and a half. Nice, simple malt profile with a hint of malt sweetness. Blends well with bittering and flavoring hops. Just the barest hint of caramel in the after-taste, and the after-taste is quite nice.

Mouthfell: Perfect mixture of carbonation and body. It needs to be a bit oily for a DIPA tho.

Drinkability: Not a true DIPA, but very nice and drinkable.

Photo of biggred1
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, dark honey colored with a dense creamy alabaster head that leaves fine sparkling lace on the glass. Mint and tropical fruity hop notes in the aroma. Mango, pineapple and a touch of tobacco leaf with mild caramel malt and some alcoholic heat in the finish. Medium bodied with fine carbonation. Pretty good beer from Widmer, I like the new flavor direction.

Photo of LazyL
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear butterscotch orange with an off white light filmy head. The nose is all citrus all the time! Mandrin and tropical fruits explode from the glass. Very nice, refreshing and inviting. The taste is mandrin orange and tangerine with a touch of pine. This is definitely a North West IPA. The mouthfeel is semi dry with a slight tang and a bit of an oily feel. This is a really nice ale and I find myself enjoying it immensely. Very bright, very fresh, very good.

Photo of Billolick
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
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 Kendo
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on March 3, 2011, consumed on April 23, 2011.

A: Poured into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is clear, orangey-amber with a small whitish head. Leaves behind some decent lace.

S: Tropical fruity hops, ripe apricots & peaches.

T: Light honey malt foundation, then tropical fruit hops with a touch of apricot - pretty much follows the nose. Finishes with a touch of spice. Lingering sticky hop juice.

M: Thicker than expected, slight oily slickness to it.

O: A nice DIPA, though one that's on the lighter side of the style. It's good to see a DIPA with a hop profile that differs from the typical citrusy C-hops - this one leans more towards tropical fruit salad and apricots/peaches than the citrus/pine side of the hop equation. This gives it an overall lighter impression, and enhances drinkability.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, bottled on March 3, 2011. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a clear orange/amber color with about a half inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both decent. Aroma is mostly citrusy (tropical fruit, orange) and pine hops, along with some bready malt. Taste is the same as the aroma, and it has a nice lingering bitter finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit oily and creamy with good carbonation. I think it's a solid overall brew, I'd buy this again in the future.

Photo of allengarvin
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Into a normal pint glass, this pours a clear amber color, with a very small, and quickly dissipating head. The nose reminds me pretty much of the other Widmer hoppy beers, with a light malt backed by resinous hops. Taste follows the aroma, with moderately high bitterness, piney hop flavor, and medium malt. Mouthfeel is about average.

Actually... does this differ in any way from their Deadlift IPA? It's drinkable, but nothing stands out about it. Maybe they wanted to repackage Deadlift into a 4-bottle carrier, and keep the same price, but thought a new name would fool consumers into thinking they're getting something new and special.

Nelson Imperial IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 555 ratings.