Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA
6,316 Ratings
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by kaseydad on 02-07-2010

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,316 |  Reviews: 1,486
Photo of PaleZombie
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

A - Nice copper/tangerine color with about 1 finger of foamy white head that quickly dissipated.

S - Big grapefruit, pine, some citrus, slight note of some sweet malts. Only a mild alcohol sent as it warmed.

T - Very bitter grapefruit followed by pine then the slight slight citrus and malt to clean up the pallet. Bitter in the finish though which lasts quite long. Surprisingly I barely detect the alcohol it seems more like a 6-7% as opposed to a 10.4.

M - Fairly slick oily feel with a medium body and perfect carbonation.

O - The more I drank this and let it warm the more I liked it. The flavor and aromas were awesome and for a 10.4% beer I could hardly detect the alcohol. This beer is extremely well crafted and another great beer from Sierra Nevada. Cheers!!

 820 characters

Photo of travMI13
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage. Bottled 2/17/2012. 12 oz. bottle poured into an oversized tulip.

A: Pours a deep golden orange with a full 2 inches of fluffy white head. Whoa. Great head retention and lacing.

S: Grapefruit and citrusy hops along with some booze. Very unpretentious here. There is almost a faint, fruity sweetness to the nose.

T: Huge grapefruit notes and tons of citrusy hops. Maybe some piney hops in there as well. There is definitely some heat and some sweetness on the back end. The sweet malts hold the hops up nicely. Make no mistake: this DIPA is huge.

M: Nicely carbonated. The stickiness and the resins from the hops linger nicely, providing nice balance to the heat that also lingers. The mouthfeel is syrupy, but it isn't heavy or overpowering.

O: This is a fantastic DIPA. This is finishing a little hot, but I am ok with that at 10.4%. Very glad Sierra Nevada decided to brew this again and make it available in 4 packs. Highly recommended.

 957 characters

Photo of heygeebee
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy copper amber. One finger off-white head bubbles and dies. Spotty lace, almost some lace legs.

Aromas are citrus and pine dominated. Some grapefruit, orange peel, lemon.

Tastes is not as massively hoppy bitter as I thought it would be. More balanced Big Hit IPA with Malt. Citrus flavours linger, oranges peel, tangerines. Lets not forget a pine hint, not hit. Alcohol well hidden. Almost too well.

Mouthfeel spot on, medium bodied, not too high carb.

Overall great complex flavours without a hop explosion. Very well balanced beer indeed.

 555 characters

Photo of feylure
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I saw the well dressed hops and couldn't resist!

The appearance is a lovely gold or amber with a nice looking amount of carbonation.

Smell is wonderfully hoppy. Also has that first bit of sweetness to it.

Taste is great! It has a nice, hoppy bite that is amplified with the carbonation. You can tell they were going for a real hops flavor and bold characteristic with this beer, but they did it in a balanced way so it's not too overpowering.

It's full bodied the whole way, from first sip to the end, and personally, that's what I want.

The taste coupled with it's great smell make me find this brew irresistible.


 627 characters

Photo of facundoCNB
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a clear orange/amber pour with 2 fingers of fluffy off-white head, great lacing. smells of honey, grass, pine, maple, grapefruit. a very hop heavy initial sweet taste followed by an earthly bitterness. grapefruit, dirt, pine, honey. medium bodied but heavy. creamy on the roof but nicely carbonated and sweet on the palate. a great sipper.

a bit bitter even out by malt nicely. mainly a hop bomb, though it has it's flavorful sweetness of honey-caramel... with a name like hoptimum, what else could i expect?

 510 characters

Photo of danedelman
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thebeerbug for this extra in our trade.

A-very copper/orange with 1 finger head. Great lacing on glass as it is going down.

S-Very floral with a hint of citrus/grapefruit hops. Hint of malty sweetness in the background. Very fresh smelling, like I am standing in a hop field.

T-bitter hits first with a dose of citrus burst. Lingering in the back is the malt backbone and is a good one, little more on the sweet side to balance the hop bitterness. Ok, hops just made me sneeze. That means good IPA.

M-medium body and very easy drinking. Didn't know the ABV and that hides in there very well.

 605 characters

Photo of BrewerB
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared a big bomber with a couple buddies. Our average scores and combined comments are listed below.

Poured a bright copper color with a thin off-white head. Good retention and lacing. Hops first and foremost in the aroma with pineapple, "like punch, fruit punch, with orange", and a slight graininess. Hops again take charge in the flavor and linger on, with more of the citrus/fruit punch character. A touch of oak. Medium bodied and moderately carbonated but as noted by a taster "lasting astringency".

Overall, an IIPA I could drink all night. Though all night at this intensity would likely just be a couple pints. Astringency a big detractor for one of our tasters.

 676 characters

Photo of CaptCleveland
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased from local Heinen's for $7.99/per.
Two-finger, thick off-white head atop dark orange elixir.
Head stays and I have to abut my nose into the foam for a large sniff.
First waft reveals piny hops and biscuit with a hint of sweet cane sugar.
Second nasal draw adds orange, citrus to the mix.
No longer waiting for the head to subside, I take a mouthful, swirling the elixir, mouth open, buds ready.
Bitter Simcoe hops hit first and drag throughout the tasting. This is definitely one that leaves a resinous aftertaste.
The alcohol at 10+ABV is present and really separates this from the top tier of DIPAs.
Overall somewhat disappointed. I have enjoyed SN brewing and can remember my first taste of their flagship Pale Ale with fond memories. But this brew does not reach the heights. I would much rather drink a Founder's Double Trouble, Bells Hopslam or Great Lakes Monster.
Don't get me wrong here, I would gladly drink this brew, but would not seek it out or pay an outrageous sum. The state of craft brewing, especially in Ohio, leaves me with many options.

Now drinking their new batch in 4-pack 12oz bottles. Improved. Alcohol pushed back. Hops are in your face but smoothed. Nice job SN!

 1,209 characters

Photo of Zundo
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice copper body with off-wite to tan two-finger head that laces very well. The head is a smooth frothy one.

Smell: Mostly citrus here...predominantly grapefruit with some orange.

Taste: Piney bite, then Grapefruit, with a buttery flavor and some orange. Very balanced.

Feel: Smooth and fairly carbonated. The finish is a touch oily and sticky.

Drink: This is near sessionable. The alcohol is barely present for such a high ABV.

Overall a really good beer.

 477 characters

Photo of nataku00
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Bistro for their anniversary night event, poured into a 10 oz weizen glass. Clear dark orange beer with just a slight amount of off white soapy head when poured off tap. Plenty of lacing despite the lack of head when you drink, clings longingly to the glass. Impressive looking IPA.

For such a high abv beer, the alcohol is not very apparent on the nose at all. Lots of orange, grapefruit and tropical fruit sweetness on the nose. Very fragrant. Not too much bitterness on the nose though, but it smells like a very ripe fruit basket. However, for a DIPA, this rivals Sculpin for the amount of fruitiness off the nose.

The sweet citrus and tropical fruits (lots of mango and some pineapple sourness) upfront, and the sweetness lingers on through a slightly grapefruit peel finish. Unfortunately, it seemed a tad too sweet from the combination of malts and hops used for this. Just a bit more bittering hops would have made this beer immensely delicious.

Really surprisingly full bodied IPA that just envelops your mouth when you take a sip. Bordering on chewy as you work toward swallowing. Carbonation was excellent on tap, just enough to contribute to a dry and clean finish despite the initial sweetness of the beer.

A very good beer, that could have been amazing with just a more citrus bitterness on the tongue. I could see a small tweak to the recipe making this one of the better DIPA's out there.

 1,426 characters

Photo of abar22
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Growler poured into a DFH Signature Glass...

Looks great. Nice copper orange. Fluffy white head, solid cap, spotty lacing.

Fantastic nose on this one. Hops are definitely dominant with full range smells; grass, pine, lemon, tropical fruit. All that mixed with a slight hint of alcohol. Just enough to know this is a DIPA.

Taste mirrors the smell. Hops assault the tongue in the best way possible. SN style pine bitterness. Loads of tropical fruit. Delicious!

Dry and grassy in the aftertaste. A bit thin in the mouthfeel but nothing off-putting.

Here's hoping the put these in 6 packs every year so I can knock em back with pleasure.

 639 characters

Photo of Dwinslow15
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Durtdiggler
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Golden yellow pour into tulip glass from bottle. Nice foam monster that settles quickly with lacing around the glass.

Aroma is awesome. grapefruit, pineapple with slight spice and floral overtones. All blends together very well. Simcoe, probably some Citra hops in here. Powerful but not earthy. Slight sweetness with the malt profile.

Malt profile showcases the hops. I like that the malt isn't too sweet here so that the hops can shine. Not a very complex profile IPA but it;s extremely well balanced beer without being boozy and overly sweet with crystal.

Mouthfeel is awesome. Creamy, smooth, soft and finishes clean.

This is an excellent DIPA as it's built to showcase hops and not malt. Very balanced drinking with long hop bitterness and great aroma. Lacks some complexity versus some others but wouldn't hesitate to buy more. It's very easy drinking for it's ABV and can sense the Sierra sense of style with this one.

 931 characters

Photo of rotten77
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker pint. Looks inviting. Smells inviting. So I must go in

A: poured a 1 finger head that didn't stay long. Color was a foggy clouded amber Orange

S: pine grapefuit and citrus! Wow! Smell like a hop bomb!!!!

T: and the taste follows the nose! No bs here...a pallet smasher...more pine coming though than anything else...Not a bad thing though...alcohol is very well hidden.

M: pretty mouthfilling to me...the hop oil kinda just sticks around like the beautiful lacing in thr sides of my glass. But smooth as well. I can't stop reaching for another drink!

O: a great beer for the hop heads. One of my favorites. Well worth the wait...great job sierra nevada you haven't let me down thus far!!!

 716 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 24oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains piney hops, a lot of fruity citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with a very strong burst of floral hops bitterness that is quickly followed by a very fruity citrus sweetness. There's a significant alcohol sting that comes through at times. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and creates some balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this a very solid 2IPA to drink for a long time but there are others in the style that I would choose first.

 876 characters

Photo of BeerAficionadoMCMXC
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A light brown pour. Almost bronze-like.
S- Resiney and piney. Smells like a 100 IBU beer.
T_ Tastes like a hop bomb with a clean finish. The 10.4% certainly lends an alcoholic bite to the finish. Not your session beer.
M- A nice medium bodied beer but leaning to the heavy side of the scale. It lends to the drinkability factor as well.
O- Gotta love the sweet Hoptimum release. I still like the Narwhal RIS better.

 418 characters

Photo of jkblr
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottled 4/18/17 poured into a Spiegelau IPA glass at fridge temp 9.6% ABV. The beer is a bright golden copper color with off white head. Lacing is strong. The aroma is citrus, grapefruit and peach. The taste is caramel malt first quickly transitioning to citrus, pine and fruit salad. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, adequately carbonated and finishes dry. There is a hint of alcohol burn on the finish but nothing compared to previous years. Overall, very good. In the past, I would intentionally let these sit in the fridge for a couple months to take the edge off. This is good right off the shelf and $12/6pk makes it a great value.

 646 characters

Photo of zeledonia
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 17 February 2012.

Pours a clear orangey amber with a lovely glow. One finger of off-white head, fades fast but leaves good lacing. Tons of carbonation visible in the glass.

Smells freaking delicious. Hops, hops, and more hops, with a big bolus of malts to support them. Tons of pine, but also some nice fruit in the background. The malts provide an excellent base, and a shade of sweetness that complements the aggression of the hops really well.

Taste is well balanced, with a whole lot of caramel malts to go along with all those hops. Sure, it's bitter, but the beer handles that bitterness well. I like this kind of DIPA, where the hops have a stage to perform on, rather than being out there on their own blasting away. Lots of pine and resin, again, but a grainy warmth and smoothness beneath that. Alcohol is nowhere to be found... wow.

Mouthfeel - medium-heavy body. Pretty chewy for a DIPA, with the expected syrupy sticky feel, but the carbonation loosens things up quite nicely.

This is a really good, balanced, piney DIPA. Right up my alley. Hard to believe it's over 10% ABV (so much so that I actually went and checked the bottle). If this were more available, I would drink it often.

 1,212 characters

Photo of ProudBeerSnob
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into Unibroue tulip glass. Nice color; almost a pale copper with a surprisingly small head. Very little lacing.

All pine, very little citrus in the nose. Taste is different. Pine still predominates, but there's a nice hint of citrus in the beginning of the sip, with a solid super hoppy finish.

Better than remember, I'll be picking this up again.

 368 characters

Photo of abrethanson
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Korkers and enjoyed for sunset #072012. Super fresh!

Appearance - pours a 1-2 finger head with a heavy cream lacing around the tulip glass. A crisp clear copper / auburn color. Looks solid and well balanced.

Smell - A crisp citrus with bitter pine finish. The booziness emanates faintly from the tulip.

Taste - This beer comes packaged in balanced amounts of typical Sierra Nevada bitter hoppiness accompanied by floral hops and malt booziness. The hops definitely pack a wallop with 100 IBU but not so much that it wrecks your palette. Pine forest & grapefruit bitterness, vanilla sweetness, burnt coffee at the end. Hops are omnipresent throughout the taste and linger like funky morning breath.

Mouthfeel - fairly smooth and creamy.

Overall - A delicious beer with a complexity of flavors that dance well together. The alcohol definitely catches up to you quickly.

 891 characters

Photo of hitter114
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a medium amber-copper color
S: Smells of Hops strait up, nice profile
T: Taste is similar to the smell, hop forward bitter and sweet
Mouth feel: Sharp and bittey
Overall: Great DIPA overall nice and smooth for 10%, delicious. Could have more balance

 258 characters

Photo of Jacurdy60
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours a hella deep brown, golden color with a vibrant golden hue 'round the rim of the glass. So deep brown it almost looks like a brown ale. Nice, creamy white, almost yellow colored 1 finger width head with medium retention. Leaves no lacing but coats the whole glass as I sip.

S-Hops, hops, and more hops make up the front of the nose. Grapefruit, saltiness, pine and other tart fruits follow the pungent hops, and both precede a semi-sweet orange smell that rounds up the nose quite nicely. There is also some zest in there at the end, perhaps from coriander or cinnamon?

T-Salty, grapefruit, more acidic and citrusy hops precede a nice, but very subtle malty sweet and fruity backbone with a warming alcoholic bite. Very balanced. There is a lingering lemon-grass and sage finish in there as well.

MF-Creamy and smooth. Body is nice and full for a DIPA. I love this.

O-I had high expectations, and they were met. I'm not surprised, as SN brews exceptional brew after exceptional brew.

 997 characters

Photo of websherpa
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearnance: Very clean and clean dark golden, with some hints of orange. Off white 1 finger head with decent retention. This could be brought back to life with agitation. Some limited lacing.

Smell: So wonderful. This is very similar to Laguntitas Hop Stoopid, but bigger and more floral. Obviously it's all about the hops. Pineapple, grapefruit, maybe some tangerine, but not quite orange. I wish this was what my house smelled like when I got home. As the beer warms the alcohol comes through a bit more.

Taste: Similar to the smell but slightly more piney and citric rather than floral. It's very good and still marks up there with the best but... I wish it replicated the smell just slightly better. The nose is just so perfect, and taste since it seems to veer of slightly can't match that perfection. At the tail end after you've put the beer down and are enjoying it, a heavy bitterness sets in. I love it, but it's probably one of the bigger bitter bites I've had in a beer. As the beer warms the alcohol comes through a little more.

Mouthfeel: Light and crisp. This isn't the big chewy sticky IPA. This is the clean and refreshing approach.

Drinkability: For how clean the beer smells, looks, feels and tastes up front the kick from the bittering hops is tough to deal with. I wanted to just keep getting back to the goods but the bitterness made me slow down quite a bit. I easily would have finished this beer in under 5 min had it not been for the strong finish. Instead this took me close to 30. It's a great beer, and I see myself buying this every year. However, I won't be having this everyday until stores runout.

 1,637 characters

Photo of RummyRedbeard
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

(copied from blog - written May 6th, 2013)

Appearance – Slightly cloudy light-goldish-orange in color. Actually doesn’t look much different than a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Solid one finger white head. Leaves heavy lacing that washes away quickly.
Smell – Allergies/cold prevent me from revealing the scent… From what I can tell through a mostly stuffy nose – strong pine and citrus with an earthy note.
Taste – Up front a blast of hoppy bitterness and orange juice, grapefruit, underlying caramel sweetness. Lingering bitter piney flavor.

This big imperial offering from Sierra Nevada is quite the monster. Its appearance is OK… surprisingly straw looking for the huge amount of flavor that comes out of it. As I said, I unfortunately can’t smell much out of my nose, but then again that might say something about this brew since I CAN smell something from the top of the glass! The taste when you drink it is pretty cool because it starts off basically tasting like super hoppy OJ (or otherwise just regular grapefruit juice) and there is this caramel sweetness that weaves in and out making it appear balanced at one moment and at the next next seem like a hop head’s wet dream wrapped in pine. The 10.4% only reveals itself once you stop drinking for too long and you feel that boozy warmness in your belly. After one and a half beers I’m feeelinggg quite niiice.

 1,387 characters

Photo of bump8628
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Much anticipated. The Godfather of American hops brewing a big-ass Imperial IPA is long overdue. Clear copper with an inch of crisp, white foam on top. The alcohol and body is apparent with a quick swirl in the glass that shows off the legs of the beer. Almost sweet in the aroma with a blend of bright, citric American hops and alcohol esters. The palate reveals the slightly aggressive hopping I was hoping for with a big punch of vibrant pine and juicy citrus. A smooth ethanol note persists through to the finish along with a backing caramel flavor. I guess I was hoping for the malt-minimal, dry, West-Coast Double IPA. Hoptimum is more of "balanced" Imperial IPA, but an awesome beer, nonetheless. Despite the malt heft and alcohol, there is a smooth and vibrant hop flavor that manages to stay in the fore.

 813 characters

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 6,316 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.