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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

547 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 547
Reviews: 181
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 11.39%
Wants: 24
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 547 | Reviews: 181 | Display Reviews Only:
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...

John_M, May 21, 2011
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.

Takahiro, May 19, 2011
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.

shand, May 19, 2011
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...)

ktrillionaire, May 16, 2011
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.

inthebeeraisle, May 14, 2011
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.

josiahschlender, May 11, 2011
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.

BB1313, May 11, 2011
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.

DoctorDog, May 08, 2011
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)

julian, May 06, 2011
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.

jera1350, May 04, 2011
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.

theopholis, May 01, 2011
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.

biggred1, May 01, 2011
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.

LazyL, Apr 27, 2011
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.

Billolick, Apr 25, 2011
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.

Kendo, Apr 24, 2011
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.

bluejacket74, Apr 23, 2011
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.

allengarvin, Apr 23, 2011
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.

Jason, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of PicoPapa
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with Mar 03 11 on the far right corner of the label. Pours a translucent light golden color with a half inch of head. Tons of lacing throughout. Smells great. Big hoppy citrus nose. Almost tropical. Taste is more of the tropical fruit and citrus hops but a bit more subdued. Some pine as well. Tastes kind of like its watered down. Still, pretty tasty. Good level of bitterness. Its actually a really drinkable Imperial IPA. Between this and Deadlift I may have not been giving Widmer Bros. a fair shake. Overall, I like this beer and although I like Deadlift better this is a very comparable brew. Next time I may grab a 4 pack.

PicoPapa, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of velosuds
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a clear pint glass. Bottled on Mar 03 11, 2010. Paid $6.99 for a 4-pack on sale at local grocer. Normally $8.99.

A-Pours a very clear golden-amber hue with a two finger, egg shell-white head with good retention and copious lacing.

S-Very fragrant piney and citrus hops are nicely balanced by a pleasant foundation of biscuit like malt. This is a great improvement over Deadlift.

T-Taste is a very satisfying blend of piney, resinous hops and sweet and bready malts. This is better than I expected, and may be my favorite from Widmer.

M-Very smooth and well carbonated. The 8.6% ABV is nicely masked.

O-This is a very good DIPA, surprisingly so. I don't know how much is attributable to the Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand, and this is the first beer I have had that includes this hop, but this is good beer. I have had two and am ready for a third. Well done, Widmer. Overall, I would give this a 4.25.

velosuds, Apr 10, 2011
Photo of 12vman
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I agree with Olmatty on much of his review. The only other thing that I would add is that I found there was a big pine cone scent, and to a lesser degree, taste. Very appealing. First tasted this at the Glens Falls Brewfest this past weekend, then finally found it in Saratoga Springs.

12vman, Apr 08, 2011
Photo of olmatty
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

olmatty, Apr 06, 2011
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Nelson Imperial IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 547 ratings.