Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,461 Reviews
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): 10.40%

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.

Added by kaseydad on 02-07-2010

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Reviews: 1,461 | Ratings: 6,256
Photo of joe16siny
2/5  rDev -51.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2015 version (4/17/15) Was moving some beer and found this one. If you're thinking of ageing a beer this isn't the one, it's much better fresh. It taste like a barely wine but not a good one. Glad i only saved one.

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Photo of aronamerican
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is quite the prodigious IPA. Reminiscent of a barleywine with regard to mouthfeel and taste. SRM in the low teens. Not a lot of head, though lacing is respectable. An agreeable drink for the end-of-the-week celebration.

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Photo of Nicolaiw
3.62/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber with off white frothy head
Aroma is dank, sweet malt, oak, hops
Taste is oak, lots of sweet malt, bitter finish. A bit to sweet for my taste

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Photo of bushbeer75
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz brown bottle - bottled 4/19/16

Hoptimum Imperial IPA has a clear red gold body with fine carbonation rushing to the top of my tulip glass. Atop was a nice 1-1/2 finger white foamy and bubbly head that dissipated to a collar of foam with no lacing to speak of. The nose was clean and fresh. The smell was of grassy hops, grapefruit, pine and light fruit. The taste followed the nose with a lingering hop bitterness. The mouth feel was crisp, clean with a medium-body and almost a prickly carbonation.

Not being a 'hop head' this was my first venture into the Imperial IPA style. Hoptimum is not 'over-the-top', in bitterness as I was expecting. No, the Imperial IPA style is not my favorite, however, I enjoyed Hoptimum more than I anticipated I would.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.51/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Amber brown glass holds a solid half finger of tan head. Several carbonation streams keep it alive.

Aroma: Hop oils, hop leaves, sweet malty base with a little toffee, and more hops. Hops are mostly pine and citric with some earthy notes blended in.

Taste: Heavy malt base struggles to soak up all the hop acids and slowly loses the fight leaving a bitter, almost burning acidic finish. It's glorious, but it requires a bit of sadomasochistic love of intense hop goodness. The base is enjoyable but fleeting, just a thin toffee ribbon in raw hop juice.

Mouthfeel: Bit hot, medium body is a touch thin, oily texture requires a firm swallow, almost a chew. Bit numbing, gritty carbonation.

Overall: Big hop flavors, West coast goodness that I greatly enjoy. Not for everyone, if you are over your hop head days try something else, but if you are looking for a hop fix, this brings an embarrassment of riches.
Highly recommended.

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Photo of drmeto
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

-pours a clear amber-orange with a big,frothy,sand-coloured head
-low carbonation visible
-pine,resin,caramel,alcohol,cooked potatoes,strawberries,peach,herbs,plums
-grapefruit,big pine,resin,grassy,honey,caramel,peach
-high,lingering bitterniss for the style
-medium carbonation
-full body
-alcohol is very present
This is unapologetically West Coast.
Very good one.

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Photo of Kdubzz
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L- Pours a deep orange to almost amber color with an off white inch of head that lasts forever.

S- Overripe citrus fruits, blood orange, tangerine. Somewhat sickly sweet aroma that gets more intense as it warms.

T- About the same as the smell, but with a nice strong bitterness that lingers on the back of the tongue. Overripe blood orange, tangerine, and mandarin are heavy up front with a moderate malt sweetness in the middle finishing quite bitter.

F- Medium-heavy mouthfeel. Lower end of medium carbonation. Mild dryness.

O- It's a little over-sweet for me. That overripe fruit thing is so prevalent that it makes it somewhat one demensional. That being said, it's quite tropical and interesting and drinks easily for 10% and 100 IBU.
Good, but not quite great.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.65/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear amber color with creamy, beige head. Aroma is quite malty with earthy notes, grapefruit peel and hop resin. Taste starts malty and sweet but gets quickly bombarded by intense resinous hops. Finish is really bitter and abrasive. Medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Not bad but too harsh for my taste.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nice light appearance, yellow in color with about 3/4" white head, amazing clarity and professionalism in the appearance. Aroma wasn't the juiciest, seems like they still went heavy on the Cascades, why not, do what brought you to the dance.

Taste is great, super dry and light toasted pale malts, way beneath the surface, while C hops, something tropical proprietary and and Simcoe seem to be all up in this. Hides alcohol very well. Chico yeast holding neutral. What was a neat divergence for SN here was what seemed like a total lack of crystal malt.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Single twelve-ounce bottle copped at Total Wine and More. Pours a hazy, copper hue with moderate frothing. Aroma is whole cone citrus with a strong and dominant hop presence. Similar flavor as well with nuances of bitter grapefruit pouring through. Not bad.

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Photo of Indy8080
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

I buy this beer from Kahn's in Indianapolis, where it is fresh with rapid turnover and and available year around. Often it's already gone from the shelves. It compares with Bell's Hopslam, perhaps equal, but with its own characteristics. One must buy the hoppy beers absolutely as fresh as possible, as the hops rapidly fall off. A word to the wise: I wouldn't drink a heavily hopped IPA more than a month old, because there's already a difference.

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Photo of DMarlinJ
3.01/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap for first time. Not sure if the tap line needs to be cleaned or it normally smells like funk but this smells rank. Great head and lace, color as it should be for a double. I can't get past the funk smell to get to the taste. I don't get the complexity of the hops that are advertised, just kind of one note.

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Photo of HockeyBrewmeister
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 6/3/16 (2 months old)

L: Deep orange, copper.

S: Juicy on the nose.. pineapple/peach. Some floral characters but not much more than that. Minimal hops which is baffling, maybe b/c it is 2 months old? Not what I was expecting.

T: Again.. juicier than I anticipated. Pineapple/peach/mango flavors up front. Followed by floral hops and some candied malts. Decent alcohol warming on the backend.

F: Medium-full body

O: I expected a hop bomb but got a surprisingly juicy and floral DIPA. The aroma is lacking but taste is enjoyable. I love the fact that you don't get the big malt backbone like most big DIPA's give you. Definitely enjoyable, but would've liked to try it fresh. Solid 4 out of 5.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.99/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mostly clear copper body, off white velvety rocky head that fades to a veneer, thick webs of lace. Smell and taste are both an equal balance of rich caramel malt, a bit sugary like crystal malt, and a good amount of piney, orange-rind, bracing bitter hops. Pretty straightforward, but excellent potency and balance. Nose does carry a hint of the alcohol within. Body is a bit syrupy, with restrained carbonation.
Solid beer. Great balance between malt and hop, even if it lacked a wide range of flavors.

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Photo of Skrumpy
3.56/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber in color, thin head with little lacing. Aroma is pine, herbs, and malt. The flavor is very hoppy, herbs, peppercorn, pine, and grapefruit. Resinous mouthfeel with a lingering bitterness. Overall a decent beer.

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Photo of lbloom
4.09/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened 46 days from bottling date.

A: Dark gold, minimal head. Lacing is thick and sticky. Hasn't moved a millimeter over the last thirty minutes. Lacing is beautiful, otherwise the appearance is typical for a DIPA with this sort of ABV.

S: Piney hops, sweet malt, honey, wildflowers. Sweet yet thick and resinous.

T: Hop taste is muted but powerfully bitter. The bitter pucker lingers for twenty or thirty seconds after each sip. It is resinous and oily and strong. Piney and rich. A powerful malt backbone keeps the bitterness in check at the beginning. For the first few seconds, one could be deceived into thinking this wasn't a huge hop bomb. Then the pine and grapefruit rind blows up and takes over. No alcohol taste whatsoever, it hides completely under the rich malts and dank oily bitterness.

M: Thick and sweet. Stops short of being syrupy, but definitely a heavy and rich beer. Well carbonated. Pleasant but not outstanding in any respect.

O: This is far from the hoppiest beer I've ever had, but it has a unique ability to linger. Enormous beer. As far as wide-release DIPAs are concerned, you can't go wrong with Hoptimum. A classic that proudly represents the West Coast tradition throughout the country.

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Photo of Lucular
2.15/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2

Had on tap. Something must have gone wrong with the storage or serving of this beer since it smelled like manure. Straight-up, barnyard driving past the cows manure. The taste wasn't similarly tainted but it was overly sweet and not very good overall.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a single 12 oz bottle at The Malt Shoppe in Milwaukee. The bottle stamp indicates this was packaged two months ago. Poured at slightly above refrigerator temperature into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a deep ruddy copper, just slightly hazy, with an inch of light tan head that sticks around for a bit, falls to a healthy film and ring, and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Profuse, lazy visible carbonation.

S: Sweet caramel malts intermingle with fruit hop notes of ripe tropical and stone fruit--there's some citrus, melon, and raisin coming through, as well. There are earthy tones and some cracked pepper. The whole bouquet is a bit muddled--none of the fruits strike me as fresh-smelling, and nothing particularly stands apart from the rest.

T: Caramel malt and ripe stone fruit right out of the gates--a bit of raisin in there, too. This one has a nice balance between the malts and hops at the outset. The middle brings on greater intensity of hop flavor, with tropical fruit and citrus taking more of the center stage, and some of that earthiness from the nose. The malts continue to work to keep things in balance. Even in the middle, there's an emerging warming alcohol flavor coming through. The back end continues the aforementioned fruit flavors, with bitter citrus rind becoming the dominant note by the end--it's quite resinous into the aftertaste. That alcohol flavor does grow into the end, but it never becomes overbearing.

F: Medium-bodied, this one is extremely smooth and creamy, thanks to a nice level of carbonation. Although it has a huge ABV, that carbonation keeps things light and lively on the palate. Quite drinkable for a beer this big.

O: I enjoyed this one a good deal. While I would've liked a bit fresher fruit profile in the nose and the taste, this one still brings a ton of flavor and nice balance, especially for a beer with an ABV above 10%. Certainly not a beer to be pounded, it can be put away without a ton of work. I definitely recommend giving this one a try.

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Photo of TripleSun
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Could only find a single at my local beer mart poured into a pint glass

L - Amber color with a frothy head
S - Very hoppy and has a clean smell
T - Has a malty kick in the back, almost candy-ish without it being disgusting
F - Feels more like an 8% even though it is over 10% ABV, medium-full bodied

My first whole-cone beer and it won't be my last! I'm already dreaming of find another next time.

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Photo of MJSFS
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The aroma on this beer reminds me of cheesy breadsticks. It's very malty and peppery. It is very bitter but the caramel malt flavors really balances it out well. It has a very creamy mouthfeel. I'd buy this year round if it were available.

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Photo of dalizzie
4.31/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle (pkged 5/5/16)

(L) The color was burnt orange. Creamy 2 finger head and long-lasting lacing.
(A) Smell was resinous with fruit salad and citrus.
(T) Taste was like aroma, but more prevalent. Super hoppy with nice malt backbone. Good bite. Citrus, grass, and pine coming through also. Great blend of flavors.
(F) Medium bodied and smooth considering ABV. Dry finish.

With so many aromas and flavors coming through, this felt really balanced. They're all there, but not competing like with some other beers. Very drinkable considering high alcohol.

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Photo of Harrison8
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nearly clear fiery orange with an off-white medium-sized head. Head retention is so-so, with a good line of lacing starting early before disappearing later in the glass. The aroma is wonderfully wholesome. It's filled with notes of resin, dank, and floral notes. Sierra Nevada tends to have a more subdued aroma and flavor profile, but this certainly delivers great and boisterous notes in both categories. The flavor profile has plenty of resin hop notes, with additions of dank, pine, citrus, and floral. The hop notes are just enormous, and yet they remain balanced and in-check which keeps this 10% beer easy to drink. Mouth feel is bold, filling, and sticky. It has a medium-thick consistency that proves fun to drink, and thankfully fills you up before you can consume too much. Overall, it's a wonderfully hoppy beer. Despite the presence of hops, it does not seem "bitter" or overwhelming, which is a nice note for those who think hops are only bitter and always overwhelming. It certainly has plenty of character and depth to keep a seasoned IPA drinker thinking, and yet enough simplicity to smash a bottle or two in the parking lot of your favorite sports stadium before a game.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of IndianaDrinker
3.54/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I wanted this to be great, and it was ok at best. I feel the price point and alcohol content get this pushed up higher than it should be. It is strong and flavorful but it just doesn't work out that well. If you have the option get resin or dogfish.

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Photo of A20sp
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from a pilsner glass, poured from a 12 oz bottle. 40F

L:- Mainly a medium amber, to a lighter almost gold hue depending on the lighting and depth of the glass (I like pilsner glasses for giving a good representation of this). A one finger head which settles shortly. Leaves a lovely lacing.
S:- Hoppy with a light dankness (I think of a blend of good pot and cat-pee), a pleasing mixture of grass and subtle citrus. Has a present malty aftertone.
T:- A nice marriage of various citrus with the added touch of pine (rather light in contrast compared to other beers from this company). A bit of sweet malt and grass/bread combo which plays more prominently as the beer adjusts.
F:- Smooth yet lightly sticky. A good feel to compliment the bitterness. Medium build with a "heavy" effect thanks to a pleasing yet present amount of carbonation.

:- I always enter a new beer with a blind eye. After drinking 2 of the four pack (and gifting one to a true drink connoisseur) I poured my remaining single into a glass to enjoy proper. I was pleased, there is a big difference to enjoyment when drinking from a glass cup than bottle. I enjoyed this double and would drink again. It had a good taste and view to cover the 10%abv well. My favorite drink from the Sierra Nevada lineup.

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Photo of Oldejoe
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Looks. Light golden Amber with a rich tan head.
Smell. Clear, high-toned hops, possibly a bit citrusy, mostly just nose clearing.
Taste. Quick citrus pucker, mid-mouth malty fullness, a slightly dry finish.
Feel. Medium heavy richness, nice bold puckeriness.
Overall. Good rich imperial characteristics, though not that special in aroma or taste.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.11 out of 5 based on 6,256 ratings.
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