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Nelson Imperial IPA - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Nelson Imperial IPANelson Imperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

560 Ratings

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Ratings: 560
Reviews: 182
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 11.42%
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
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 560 | Reviews: 182
Photo of BeerBoss
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served out of a bottle into a chalice glass.

A: nice rich amber color with intricate lacing

S: Quite a nose! Grassy/hoppy notes with a hint of grapefruit.

T: Ok here we go...hmmm nice! Very smooth distinct sweet grapefruit front with a clean hoppy finish. A little bitter.

M: Butter and smooth.

O: Very drinkable! Either it should be a bit colder or Im just very hot right now!

Photo of OlieIPA
3.57/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared by my good buddy Pehlman on a glourious brew day! Poured into an Imperial Pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle.

A: The beer exhibits a various array of orange and copper hues with a 1-finger off-white head. The lacing was mediocre, but overall...a decent looking brew.

S: Suprisingly, the malt body comes through a bit more than anticipated. Nice and a little sweet, which goes well with New Zealand hop character.

T: A very well balance DIPA; malt backing is nice and the hop flavor is easily detectable. The only criticism is the slight metallic flavor I get towards the backend of each sip.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation.

O: Widmer did a very good job with this beer! I've been spoiled with Alpine's version of this beer, but again...I would recommend this beer to my fellow advocates. A try it beer! Cheers!

Photo of Bfarr
3.57/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Almost copper with big tan foamy/frothy head with good retention and nice lacing. Sweet floral and pine aroma. Sweet floral citrus flavors with unique pine counterbalance. Sweetness dominates and finishes with a moderate hop linger. Very tacky and foamy feel.

This one hop seems to have all the hop flavors rolled into one (if they really only used the one hop). However, the label states that it also has what I took to be a lighter, non-resinous feel. What your left with is a mouthcoating, very tacky feel that lingers on and on and becomes a huge distraction. Very nice flavor and aroma, unique even but not one I look forward to having again because of the feel.

Photo of obrike
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

4 pack at HEB in Round Rock for $8.49.

Very nice looking DIPA...copper/orange...fairly light head, disappates slowly...a ring of light suds surrounds the top of the drink for the duration...spotty lacing throughout.

Crisp, fruity scent...picking up orange, tangerine, a bit of pine as well...not nearly as noxious as the Deadlift strawberry assault.

Very smooth, sweet fruity hops...some subduded carmel malt on the backside...just not as pronounced as I was looking for. Almost a non-descript taste...

A nice improvement over Deadlift for sure...but the move to a 4-pack, and the multitude of much better DIPAs out there leaves me not exactly salivating to pick up another 4 pack any time soon. If we see a price drop down to 6.99, let me know.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Solid hop character spreads across zesty citrus, fruity tropical, and resiny bitterness for a lupilin dominant beer with supporting caramel sweetness and alcoholic strength to match.

Deep golden in color, the beer's ample carbonation fuels a fluffy white head and allows for moderate lacing. A general look for IPA's.

Red grapefuit, orange zest, tangerine, pineapple, and mango give a glimpse into the hop and ester blend that leave impressions on the nose. Supporting malt character seems lighly malt-rich but moreso caramel sweet. Alcohol and peppery phenols resinate with the olfactory sense, promising strength.

Flavors of caramel sweetness set the early tone, but with the rise of citrus and tropical fruit zest, the beer turns decidedly fruity. The fruity tone persists through the increased hop bitterness and spicy alcoholic finish. Hop intensity remains slighly subdued, allowing for the malt sweetness and alcohol to play a bit more of a role in the balance than they need to.

Full bodied, but sweetly rich with caramel sweetnes plays on the palate, never developing the malty dry-character that's needed. Caramel lingers on the tongue and accompany the alcoholic evaporation and hoppy dryness that help to clean the finish to some degree. Still, the beer has a grainy feel that causes mild grassy astringency that could be avoided.

A rewarding imperial IPA that misses a few marks on creating something special. Still, a welcome beer anytime a hop-fix is needed.

Photo of rdilauro
3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
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 -19.3%
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
3.33/5  rDev -15.5%
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
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
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 -10.4%
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 -9.1%
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
3.14/5  rDev -20.3%
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
2.93/5  rDev -25.6%
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 -10.4%
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 -14.2%
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
4.42/5  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
4.04/5  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
3.97/5  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
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
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
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | 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
3.92/5  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
3.86/5  rDev -2%
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
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
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
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
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 +1.5%
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.

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Nelson Imperial IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 560 ratings.