Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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American Imperial IPA
4.21 | pDev: 11.16%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: A group of hop-heads and publicans challenged our Beer Camp brewers to push the extremes of whole-cone hop brewing. The result is this: a 100 IBU, whole-cone hurricane of flavor. Simply put —Hoptimum: the biggest whole-cone IPA we have ever produced. Aggressively hopped, dry-hopped, AND torpedoed with our exclusive new hop varieties for ultra-intense flavors and aromas.

Resinous "new-school" and exclusive hop varieties carry the bold and aromatic nose. The flavor follows the aroma with layers of aggressive hoppiness, featuring notes of grapefruit rind, rose, lilac, cedar, and tropical fruit—all culminating in a dry and lasting finish.

Our Brewers selected the finest, most flavorful hops, pushed them beyond their limits and forged them into this all-new triple IPA. This reimagined Hoptimum is our hoppiest beer yet, providing a blend of tropical and citrus hop aroma that delivers a refined yet aggressive character.

Bittering hops: Simcoe
Finishing hops: Citra, Chinook, Simcoe.
Reviews: 1,511 | Ratings: 6,420 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rex_4539
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

L: Slightly hazy (quite clear) amber color, one finger white head, superb lacing, good carbonation.

S: Hops, hops, hops, malts. Amazing aroma.

T: Hoppy, malty, lots of alcohol (too much), very bitter. Super smooth.

F: Full bodied, full of hop flavor.

O: A BIG triple IPA. Not for everyday but very good.

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rex_4539 from Greece, Nov 01, 2019
Photo of mothmanscott
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From notes 10/21/12: Pours a rich orange amber with 2 inches of creamy, variously bubbled, moderately lasting, white head that leaves stick, clumpy and pasty lacing. Aroma is sweet caramel malt, slight vanilla hints,with hops being resinous pine and grapefruit among other citrus hints. Taste is cloyingly sweet caramel malt and butter; loosely balanced with mostly resinous pine and to a lesser degree grapefruit/citrus hops with a dry and very bitter finish. Aftertaste is a hop/malt bitter-sweetness that rapidly gravitates to an imperial bitter. A nice example of an American double IPA.

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Photo of Thankin_Hank
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 050819.Richer, maltier looking beer with very fine suspension and fair carbonation. A thin head. The aroma isn't as strong as I expected but otherwise a pleasant hoppy smell that reflects the malt. The taste is good. Hops strong and a good blend of malt that's not too sweet. I don't get a lot of citrus but at 9.6% ABV the alcohol is well hidden. Mouthfeel is smooth. Really enlightens the tongue with resin. Overall an excellent IPA to add to the repertoire when you want a different IPA. Share with your beer nerd friends.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.69/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


bottle to snifter.

LOOK: light amber color, clear, creamy eggshell head ,very good retention of head; legs.
AROMA: citrus jumps in front here, with woody/sappy notes filling in the gaps.
TASTE: pine resin first and foremost, hints of citrus (orange, grapefruit), tartar, cracker. High ABV is not hiding.
FEEL: Medium body, alcohol is felt as well as tasted. Good carbonation.

Tasty enough and thick and strong. I did not get any "tropical" flavors as some have said.


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q33jeff from New Jersey, Jul 15, 2019
Photo of BerkeleyBeerSleuth
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark copper color with a 1 inch creamy head. Clear body with light bubbles. Aroma of Pine, Floral notes, Citrus. Finishes clean with low alcohol burn.

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Photo of jrc1093
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on 4/24/19

Pours a deep burnished copper and capped with a finger and a half of fluffy, off-white foam; consistent retention ultimately fades to a slight, mostly bubbly collar and a layer of thicker, almost soapy lacing.

Aromas of resinous grapefruit, pineapple, and mango are dosed with a lacquered floral tone opening upfront; candied tropical fruits offer a slightly sweeter edge over time, while potpourri and a slight pine and crisp malt backbone reveal themselves further toward the finish.

Taste opens with honeyed orange and grapefruit peel followed by decidedly earthier tones of mango and pine resin on the mid-palate; oaky potpourri and slight caramel malt and citrus esters fade to the finish.

Mouthfeel gives impressions of a medium-heavy body throughout, leveled by a consistent dryness; touches on syrupy at times but is never overly apparent, but does give off a mildly discernable booziness from the mid-palate onward; finish brings a balanced but burly bitterness and a swallow that stifles the boozier elements some.

A sturdy sample of a TIPA that packs its punch while not letting booziness build to anything too cloyingly sweet; nice balance overall with a depth in profile that comes through reasonably well; a reliable (and steadily drinkable) option for the style.

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jrc1093 from Connecticut, Jul 02, 2019
Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The 2019 edition, poured into a tulip

Pours orange/amber and slightly hazy with limited head but good lacing.

The aromas are predominantly fruity, at the start, with mango, peach, pineapple, ruby red grapefruit, and white grape, but strong floral notes and a touch of honey are present as well.

The brew hits the tongue with honey and tropical fruit. As the brew crosses the mid-palate, grapefruit flesh and zest provide immediate balance and body, along with some caramel malt. The finish is solidly resin hop--thinking cedar more than pine or spruce--not dank, with some well-hidden but ultimately emerging booze.

The brew is medium to medium-full bodied, but very well carbonated, and the booze helps dry things out.

Overall, another year, another excellent Hoptimum.

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Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota, Jun 02, 2019
Photo of patre_tim
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper filtered with lots of carbonation and 2 fingers of off white head.

Smells of caramel and evergreen hops, and foam toffee.

Tastes of creme brulee, caramel, and big, bitter hops.

Medium to heavy, syrupy and dank body with moderate carbonation.

Very hoppy, delicious brew. Drank from the brewery in Chico the first time, and now May 27th, 2019 in Redding.

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patre_tim from Thailand, May 28, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
3.67/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 6/20/14; drank 8/24/14 @ the Yarchives.

Semi-opaque golden color.

White head; frothy lace.

Pine, fresh soap & mild honey nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Mild honey, fresh pine & fresh soap flavors up front; mild orange citrus as this warms. A too bitter finish mars this.

Careful: the booze is well-hidden.

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GuyFawkes from Illinois, Apr 09, 2019
Photo of Snowcrash000
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy, dark golden amber, coppery coloration with a large foamy/creamy head. Smells of biscuity, caramel malt and citrus/tropical fruit, with quite a bit of pine coming through as well. Taste follows the nose, with some sweet, biscuity, caramel malt in the foreground, backed up by quite resinous hops with citrus/tropical notes of grapefruit, mango and pineapple, as well as pine needles. Finishes with a strong bitterness and some citrus and pine lingering in the aftertaste. Smooth mouthfeel with a rich body and medium carbonation.

This held up quite well over 8 months, still feeling quite resinous and bitter, with some good citrus/tropical notes and a strong, sweet malt presence that I have little doubt is present fresh as well though. Would still love to taste this fresh for comparison. Very little booziness to this either, very nice brew.

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Photo of ericstin
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I really enjoy this beer. They've done a nice job with it. *Almost* a nice NE Triple or something. Sweetness of the malt hides the alcohol well. Not hazy or cloudy . Has a nice mouth feel but not at all creamy, just hoppy. I actually don't know why this isn't rated higher.

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ericstin from Rhode Island, Feb 03, 2019
Photo of Buckeye55
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I remember the one time I had this brew. July 4 2015, I bought a 12 to take to a cookout. I hadn't had it before, and thought the packaging was cool.
I remember it as oustanding in every aspect. Just didn't realize it had a 9.6 abv, hell back the I didn't know what abv really was. I realized what it was the next morning after consuming the entire 12.

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Buckeye55 from North Carolina, Jan 22, 2019
Photo of sokol_1993
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got a bottle from Bodega liquor, SD
Look: dark yellow, with some head but not too much, and dissipated quickly.
Taste: piney at first, and then the taste of orange peel, fruitiness, malt sweetness.
Feel: full body, first the bitterness on your tongue, but when that faded away, sweetness is all that's left, and orange peel taste.

An excellent brew. Will recommend it to anyone!

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sokol_1993 from California, Oct 10, 2018
Photo of woodychandler
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

OMFG! How izzit that I have NOT drank, reviewed & rated this beer until now?!? Granted, it only comes in Bottled format, but still, I have had at least one every year since its inception. I must have been drinking them out in town, away from my keyboard, but it is high time to correct that oversight!

From the Bottle: "Distinguished, yet devilishly hoppy"; "Every year, we try to top ourselves by making the hoppiest, most intense and most flavorful IPA we can muster. This year, we chose the most flavorful hops and pushed them beyond their limits in this all-new triple IPA. This reimagined Hoptimum is our hoppiest beer yet, providing a blend of tropical and citrus hop aroma that delivers a refined yet aggressive character."; "We brew in Chico, CA, and Mills River, NC, to bring you the finest quality beer."

I felt really lucky to score a single bottle of the 2018 Edition & I was anxious to get started, so I "Use[d a] Bottle Opener" on the "Fresh Seal Cap" & began a C-Line pour. It jumped up to greet me like an eager puppy upon its master's return from a day at work! I got just under three fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, tawny head with good retention that left elegant lacing in its wake. Color was Amber to Deep Amber/Light Copper (SRM = > 9, < 13) with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled very tropical with loads of mango, papaya, guava & passionfruit. Mmm. I don't get as excited for Southern Hemisphere hops as I once did, but this set my mouth to watering. Mouthfeel was medium, a little light for this big style. The taste was indicative of what I hope is the coming DIPA trend - a blend of PNW and SoHem hops to offset the (usually) cloying sweetness of the tropical fruitiness with the bitterness from citrusy hops. Here, the tropical fruit salad party was disrupted by the sudden jangly arrival of grapefruit, but the two factions got along well. It was still sweet ... ish, but the bitter citrusiness was not only welcome, but it helped to hold the sweetness in check. Not to be overlooked, the alcohol content cast a fusel heat on the party, reminding the participants to take it easy & NOT to slug it down as though it were nothing. Finish was pleasantly dry & you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be partaking again next year!

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woodychandler from Pennsylvania, Sep 15, 2018
Photo of Squire
4.04/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, rich gold color with good white cap and lacing.

Aroma of resin, citrus and a deeper scent I'll call ripe fruit.

Hops are upfront and strong, as expected, yet held together by an invisible cord that keeps the whole hop bundle continuous rather than strands fraying off. I can identify certain hop flavors but indistinctly because each blends with the other so well there is no clear line when one leaves off and another starts. Very complex and dry.

Brewer says hoppy and I believe it, not from bitterness, rather from sheer hop presence. Very complex and balanced with an emphasis on hop levels geared toward the true hop fan.

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Squire from Mississippi, Aug 19, 2018
Photo of josanguapo
4.46/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From Decervecitas. In Teku glass. Playing Avadon 3. Nice herbal and citrusy notes above a deliciously sweet malty body, with the high abv well hidden and an adequate bitterness compensating

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Photo of daliandragon
3.99/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a classic cpper color and off white head with crystal clarity. Nothing hazy here. Nose is citrus and pinecones. Not overly aggressive so far.

Big hop flavors initially, with medicinal and herbal hops joining the thrust and parry of citrus and pine. Alcohol comes on in the second half of the sip but quickly subsides. There is even the faintest hint of malty bread notes in the finish, not that this necessarily makes this balanced, but still. A bit heavy in the texture. Not my favorite DIPA, but certainly a solid effort on the style.

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daliandragon from Maryland, Jul 19, 2018
Photo of TomEfiller
3.84/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look is a burnt orange with a flat head. Smells dank, piney with a hint of citra hop. Taste is smooth and very boozy. Fells like velvet but with a heavy alcohol presence at the end. Overall this is a put you on your ass DIPA. 2 will do the the trick but 3 will keep you from doing any tricks.

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TomEfiller from Alabama, Jul 16, 2018
Photo of laketang
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Impressive look in the glass, fluffy thick white head, and has a glowing amber look. Coming out of that is a fruity bouquet. Nice smooth taste with a good level of bitterness, nice sweetness level. The alcohol doesn't show itself much while drinking. Nice creamy mouthfeel , medium. A very good beer to drink.

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laketang from Illinois, Jun 16, 2018
Photo of AyatollahGold
3.58/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. glass. This beer pours out an extremely clear darker golden color. Has a off white crown that forms to be on the thinner side, but it has great retention and heavy lacing throughout. I do love the clarity of the brew though. The smell brings pine, a really fresh like pine. But other than that it is a little underwhelming, especially for the style. The taste has a sweetness that comes into play very early on. The hops aren't exploding in this and I have to say this is probably the most "balanced" triple IPA that I've ever had. I would guess this at a regular, not even a double, if this was blind. Not saying it's bad, because I can respect balance. Wet mouthfeel but not really sticky or in for the stay. Overall, this isn't a bad brew I just expect more than what I got from this when I grab a triple IPA.

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Photo of BayAreaJoe
4.29/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 4/11/18, consumed 5/6/18

Always found SN to make solid brews, but this here is pretty impressive.

L: Clear amber, small thick head that left good lacing.

S: My favorite part, rich but really balanced mix of dank, resiny, & piney hops, bright zesty citrus fruits, and some tropical fruits. Stellar.

T: More about the danky notes than the fruity ones.

F: Medium, ABV well masked, very solid and strong bitterness, clean finish.

O: This is really a top quality imperial IPA, priced at a crazy ridiculous value compared to everyone else. One of the best SN brews I've had.

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BayAreaJoe from California, May 06, 2018
Photo of craigbelly
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear amber orange color. Intense hop flavors and aromas of grapefruit rind, pine, herbs, and tropical fruit. Hops, hops, and more hops. Non hop heads need not apply. Bitterness and alcohol are both moderate considering how high they both register. Medium body. Everything's in check here. Excellent brew.

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Photo of Claude-Irishman
3.94/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep apricot, blood orange color. Smell is intense, they were not kidding about being packed with hops. Taste is fruity, malty,piny, semi-bitter,mildly buttery.Feels well balanced for a big boy IPA, not too viscous,almost perfect. Overall this brew aged fairly well, about 6 months ( I realize some people are opposed to aging IPA's altogether) Sierra Nevada never really disappoints.

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Claude-Irishman from New Jersey, Apr 13, 2018
Photo of DexterRoberts
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer is amazing. The smell is so far from what you taste and feel in your mouth and it throws you off at first. The taste from start to finish brings something different throughout, it's not one taste all the way down, you can literally taste every element of what they put into the beer, I HIGHLY recommend this beer.

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Photo of digboy
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear bright orange color. Nice sweet warm aroma with a little alcohol in it. Taste is smooth and warm and malty up front but not overpowering. A little pine comes through in the end but this is really about the malt. Bitterness is moderate, slight burn but almost not present.

Wow this was a surprise. Just perfectly crafted.

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digboy from New Hampshire, Aug 22, 2017
Hoptimum from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 6420 ratings