Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,460 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: 1,460 | Ratings: 6,252
Photo of WanderingFool
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hoptimum pours a clear, brilliant amber color into the glass with a steady stream of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass. On top a small stiff white head forms. As the foam dissolves several spots and lines of lace remain on the glass.

The aroma isn't as strong as I expected, but has nice notes of pine and grapefruit citrus. A little bit of pale malt is also detected.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer feels thick on the palate and slightly chewy and slick at the end. Moderate carbonation. The flavor is loaded with hops with pine and grapefruit citrus dominating. A little bit peppery in the middle and towards the end sweet caramel malt with a touch of light fruit (peach?) help balance out the hops. It finishes bitter with the citrus hops lingering on the palate when gone.

A very tasty, fairly easy to drink Imperial IPA. Should be sipped to enjoy each moment. The aroma comes through stronger as the beer warms. It could use a little more sweetness to help balance out all the hops.

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Photo of amcmaho1
3.65/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes...

Appearance: Golden body with tinges of orange. Big, frothy head which sticks around for some time. Nice lacing through out.

Smell: Hops obviously, and a great showcase at that. Lots of citrus and piney hop aroma with some malt sweetness, and some definite booziness.

Taste: Nice and bitter, without any residual sweetness of a beer with as high of an ABV. The alcohol seems a bit astringent, though not unpleasant; the hops are still center stage.

Mouthfeel: Thick and rather sticky for a DIPA, though not overly sweet at all.

Drinkability: It's a pretty big DIPA, and probably not for the faint of hops. I enjoyed the hop profile of this beer, and found that even though it's a bit oppressive, it still has it's nuances.

*I fear that hype had a little to do with me going out of my way to secure a bottle of this beer. Where it was good, i never had a "wow" moment with it, but that's just me...

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Photo of saintwarrick
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice amber/light orange. Foamy white head is long-term building fast then lacing the glass and the top of the beer. Aroma is hop oils, honey, light peaches and citrus fruits. Fresh hop leaves hit at the first sip, followed by grapefruit and orange peel. Taste starts light then turns bitter with some slight syrupy flavors. A hop head's delight. A very well-constructed brew, balanced for the style with no cloying. Just a damn tasty brew.

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Photo of Beejay
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Medium amber in color. Crystal clear with a full just off white head.

S: Sweet caramel backed by a smack of hops. Pineapple, and tropical fruit, with some nice pine notes.

T: Caramel notes followed by a nice bitterness and hop flavor. Pine and some grassy notes as well as citrus, and tropical fruits.

M: Medium in body, nice carbonation.

D: Tasty. Something I would definitely drink again. Good hop flavors, and a nice bit of malt.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

$8.00 24 oz. bomber from Abe's.

Beautiful deep gold color, topped by three fingers of off-white super dense micro bubbles. Nice sticy lace down the ball of my Aventinus glass.

Big enticing aroma of pine and grapefruit.

Huge sweet slab across the tongue, like a flypaper covered phone book. After that there are explosions all around, drippy juicy fruit all over the mouth and a blast of bitterness that echoes on and on. Its on going on at once so the individual sensations can blur together.

Solid medium mouthfeel carries through well. Alcohol is tucked away nicely. Definitely in the dangerous drinkable category. I wouldn't have two of these in a night, but I definitely could go for more than the two bombers I bought.

Highly recommended if you are open to more IIPAs than Pliny and HopSlam.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After a glowing review from a palette that I trust decided to take the plunge...for my 300th review

A - Poured a nice deep rich orange/amber with a full finger of frothy white head into my oversized snifter. Lacing was kind of clingy.

S - Nicely sweetened hop profile. Sweet and inviting...a little biscuit like. I really expected this to be so much thicker and syrup like so the smell was a pleasant surprise. Candy bananas and clove vanilla too.

T - Wow. Different for sure. Vanilla hops. Alcohol drenched hops. It's brisk baby...and the malts are nicely balanced and the hops don't blow my head off.

M/D - Crisp and even. I really expected something way more hop forward and bitter. This was a pleasant surprise. Although I don't doubt my buddy's palette, he is definitely a fan of getting slammed in the face with hops, which I am not so much a fan of, although being in hopslam season, not much feels like a hops slap in the face. After taste is a tingly alcohol. Definitely worth the taste.

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Photo of grover37
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber from D'Vines for about $9 iirc.

Appearance (3.5): Mostly clear, dark orange. A finger of head with a lot of medium sized bubbles reduces a ring and a patch in the middle.

Smell (3): Strong crystal malt backbone and pretty hot. A bitter sweetness but not a whole lot of aroma hops stand out.

Taste (4): Orangey citrus flavor up front. A little bitter kick in the middle which sticks around. Not a whole lot of sweetness surprisingly. The caramel doesn't show up much.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Medium to full bodied and medium carbonation. Very bitter and warming.

Drinkability (2.5): Too hot for its own good. A good DIPA, but too strong for the hops. Balanced but not what I expected from a Sierra DIPA.

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Photo of tozz8
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

24 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A--Clear bright, golden amber body. Thick, 2 finger off-white head that matches the color of the body. The head lasts and lasts. very little lacing. Nice appearance, but its nothing special.

S--Pine and fruit as expected. Grapefruit and Strawberry? Yup, I'm going with strawberry. Not really picking up and malt characteristics.

T--Very bitter, but not a citrusy as advertised by the smell. While it not offensive or overpowering the alcohol is present as can be expected for an ABV of 10.4%. Malty sweetness is present to compliment the bitterness of the hops. I would say that it is a very balanced dipa(as balanced as they should be.)

M--Medium body. Not syrupy at all. Carbonation is nice, almost too light.

D--At 10.4% this is not a session beer. Considering that, I will jump at the chance to drink another the next time this one comes around.

Overall, Hoptimum has a great taste, but the alcohol distracts my palate so much that I am prevented from enjoying it. I much more enjoyed their Ghidorah IPA that was out this past summer/fall. I had high hopes that this would be the next Hopslam or even Pliny. While this is a good beer, it falls far short from being mentioned alongside those two.

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Photo of drinkiusmaximus
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a burnt orange color with a two fingers head. smells of orange peel and bitterness very inviting. taste is hoppy citrous and slightly sweet. medium to heavy body with a lingering bitterness. Drinkability is good for me although it is a DIPA so i probably wouldnt have too many glasses.


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Photo of 33nickadams
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yellowish amber, slight head and lacing, and transparent. Very citrusy smell. I wasn't expecting the taste to be so refreshing and tangy. A nice departure from other dipas I've had. Alcohol, at about 10%, is well hidden. Great carbonation and medium body. I wish they sold this in 6 packs instead of the bomber, because I would drink more than two glasses. Although the price at 9.99 a bomber is a little hard to overcome. I love my Mi dipa's and this is the first non midwest dipa that I really enjoyed.

Edit 5/17/12- Having this a 3rd time now and I can clearly say that this is one of the best DIPA's I've ever had.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hoptimum's body is a bright color that is somewhere between gold and shint copper. The thin, tan head leaves pretty good lacing behind.

The aroma is very nice. Loads of tropical fruit, leafy hops and resinous pine. Just a ton of hops, and very pleasant at that. Crystal malts float around in the background.

The main failing of Hoptimum in my mind is that the malts are much more assertive in the flavor than they are in the aroma, giving the beer a pretty good amount of sugary sweetness. The flavor does start out with a really good dose of hops though, with pineapple, apricot and a good bit of lemon. Next faint, leafy hop flavors mix with large, resinous pine flavors. There is a pretty large amount of bitterness. The malt comes through in the finish.

The mouthfeel is big and creamy with pretty smooth carbonation.

I like Hoptimum, and I'm a big Sierra Nevada fan, but the big sweetness turned me off a little bit. With that said, it hides the high ABV pretty well.

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Photo of MattyV
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A cross between golden and orange, it pours with a frothy 1 finger head. Doesn't last too long, but laces well.
Sweet and fruity nose, full of tangerine, pineapple, and a faint hint of alcohol.
Sweet and juicy at first, then a wave of pine/citrus bitterness hits you and later meshes with a noticeable alcohol burn to provide a crisp/bitter lingering finish. Sweetness/alcohol is accentuated as it warms.
Medium body, a bit oily, nice carbonation.
Wasn't blown away with this one. It was a nice DIPA, nice hop flavours and bitterness, I just wish the alcohol was a bit less noticeable.

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Photo of cdizinno
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured into a 'Deadlift' glass from a 24oz. "stubby" bottle 2011.

A: Deep golden orange, almost has a reddish tint it is so deep. Nice thick off-white head. Fairly clear with moderate lacing.

S: Nice fragrant pine and citrus. NOt quite as big as some of the other top rated DIPA's, but very good.

T&M: Very smooth, sweet floral up front with a dry hoppy backlash that fades slowly. Nicely balanced malt to hop taste. Resinous pine dominates and is great.

I'm a big fan of the IPA's and DIPA's. This one is great and at 10.4% ABV, the alcohol is masked well!

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Hoptimum on tap at Shorty's, Hell's Kitchen NYC, served in a regular pint.

Appearance: Minimum head, dies quickly. Pretty good lacing for a DIPA. Light citrus color, totally transparent. Low carbonation and retention. This is pure hop juice!

Smell: Reminds me of Nugget Nectar. Resiny hops, oil, citrus. Pineapple juice, some sweetness.

Taste: A hop overload, and more citrus. Pungent, bitter, brutal. Not much going on other than oily hops. Can't tell those whole-cone hops from other hops, but it sure is tasty. A bit one-dimensional, though. Again, it is pure hop juice.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, very bitter, super dry. Not a pleasant feel, but good for the style (I guess?). Have some water!

Drinkability: Pretty damn high for a 10% beer, but one is enough: this really is too dry, pungent and linear. Too much!

Glad I tried, but not a big fan.

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Photo of NStLincoln
3.81/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a orangey red color with a whipped egg white head.

Complex nose. Like if oranges grew on pine trees. Lots of spicy forest.

Tastes bright with more citrus/pine. Mouthfeel is thicker than expected, makes me feel like I'm eating a pine flavored creamcicle. The alcohol is right on the edge of being overbearing, but the hops are big enough to balance it out.

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Photo of Reagan1984
2.63/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

So much potential. So disappointing.

Things started well as this had all the physical attributes of a beautiful Sierra Nevada beer. Thick creamy head with lots of structure and great retention. Great clarity and bright amber color. Only a touch of lacing. Very light for a Sierra Nevada product. (Lacing)

Aroma was more balanced than I had expected. Some toasty malt notes with a first hint at the alcohol flavor to come. More pine vs. citrus, but a slight sense of grapefruit.

This is where things went south quickly. Sometimes in reviews we comment that the ABV is well hidden. This is the exact opposite. For a 10% abv this is WAY too boozy and it really takes away from the beer. Below this is actually a pretty decent beer, but the hot alcohol flavor stands in the way. Flavor is more grapefruit focused vs. the aroma. Aggressive bitterness and juicy hop flavor and feel.

Big and hot in your mouth.

Sadly, I had no interest in finishing the entire bottle. Probably my most disappointing Sierra Nevada product ever.

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Photo of BeerAmbassador
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 24 oz bottle. Beer pours a light amber with a two finger head that dissipated after about 3 minutes. Resinous herbs along with grapefruit on the nose. Nice bitter punch and just a bit sweet on the end. It might be a little on the boozy side, which stands to reason since it is 10.4% but many big beers these days seem to hide their alcohol. All in all a nice beer but not something I would drink all that often. (probably because I am within a half hour of Russian River Brewery)

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Photo of rajendra82
4.87/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer poured out clear, and was orange in color. The head was about one finger thick and long lasting. The beer was extremely aromatic, and each whiff revealed smells of pine and grapefruit, followed by tangerine and a hint of banana. The taste was piny, herbal, and very bitter, which made it just about perfect for the style. The malt backbone was sticky and sugary, but it was only their as a supporting actor. The hops remained evident from the beginning to the end of each sip, and lingered on in the spicy aftertaste. Mouthfeel was slightly thicker than medium, providing a nice coating action. A fabulous example of the style from this brewery doesn't surprise me one bit.

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Photo of diomz88
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - dark bright amber or orange, clear and not hazy for a double IPA, whitish head one finger that recedes right away.
S - piney, flowery, citrusy, more grapefruit and lemons, some herbs and spices, can't smell the hops though, and a little alcoholic.
T - HOPS, HOPS, HOPS! flavorful and pleasing to the tongue. grapefruit, some lemon, yeast, spicy but not due to the hops, sweet, malty BUT, high alcoholic taste.
M - very smooth, full bodied, creamy at the start, bitter in the middle till the end with a little aftertaste that lingers for awhile.
D - easily drinkable, suprisingly drinkable, and I liked this beer, which is suprising.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24 ounce bottle into a balloon glass. Served at cellar temperature.

A: Hoptimum pours a rich dark orange hue with a cream head that quickly settles. Lacing is not all that strong and retention is low. It also has very mild carbonation.

S: For the style, malt seems to be more dominant, with hints of caramel and toast. Hops kick in with aromas of pine, grapefruit and pineapple.

T: Flavor makes up for the smell and appearance. Malty at first, with caramel, honey, and freshly baked bread. Hops blast the palate with piney, citrusy notes, lending a bitter, floral finish that lasts for some time.

Notes: This is a full-bodied brew with lots of flavor. As a limited release, I did expect a bit more, but nonetheless a very solid brew. I'll be sure to try it again upon the next release.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had to get this beer and I managed to get one of the first bottles sold in our area (wasn't even in their system yet). The beer was heavily advertised, great label, but in the end I won't pay the $10 premium for a beer that only has "good advertising." I have had great luck with Sierra Nevada IPAs and expect tremendous hoppy character from this beverage.

Brilliantly gleaming copper with a delicate white foam head blanketing the top. I am super excited by a beer with this much character on appearances alone. A small plume of tiny bubbles rushes to the top of my tulip serving glass to keep the head ever present. The beer leaves rich, lacy streaks down the side of my glass as well.

A mouthwatering sour grapefruit hits my nose first with strong sugar-coated sweetness. Ketone fruit and ethanol follow with a dank, oily resin holding it back. I would expect the alcohol to be more pungent at 10.4%abv, but it's likely too busy acting as an organic solvent for the bitter, whole cone oils...pushed to the maximum.

Outstanding. This beer is incredibly hoppy, yet balanced. I would not have expected a beer this to rack up a 100 ibu at first, but as the hops start to coat the palate, you get a glimpse of the real monster you've unleashed. At first I was disappointed by the grapefruit rind bitterness, but the flavors layer as you drink more and eventually they balance out. Strength in the ale, the beer's backbone, add additional desire to this beer because otherwise...what are the hops "preserving?"

Bitter, lots of hops hitting different senses in your nose and palate. However, sweet with a rich, flavorful body. The hops are stretched almost as far as they can go, but not completely over the top like I've had in other beers. Light citrus and grapefruit towards the end, more palatable when cold vs. warm. Creamy with aeration and no unpleasant, pungent aftertastes.

Superb beverage that is light and refreshing. I like how Sierra Nevada pushed this IPA beyond the other IPAs they've made, but the price is still a bit steep (At least give me a 750mL!?!?). The high ABV is masked by the bittersweet so stay aware of how much you are consuming. This beer would be delightful on tap, but would likely overpower most accompanying foods (it's a beer for beer drinking).

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Photo of OlRasputin989
4.92/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into Duvel tulip...

A: Pours a beautiful reddish orange with a thick and mousse-like head. Globs of lacing. The engraving at the bottom of the glass keeps the head creamy.

S: Aromas are of grapefuit peel, cedar wood, and rose buds. I hate to be un-original but I was checking the stats on this one at the website. I got to say, they were dead on in the description. Only a couple things I noticed was the booziness, just a hint however, and an evergreen aroma, reminding me of christmas.

T: Pure hoppiness. I was actually blown away on the first sip. Most imperial ipas are plagued by the excessive malt used and the alcohol character. After seeing this was over 10%, I would've bet money this was the same. I would've been wrong. Very sweet and fruity up front, with alot of orange flavor riding on a caramel steed. Very spicy. Gains a cotton candy flavor somewhere along the way then right back to a woodsy, piney finish, like you fell face first down a mountainside full of pine trees. I must've missed something. No trace of that 10.4% alcohol anywhere. I either drink too many big beers, or Sierra Nevada is just on top of their game.

M: medium full body with a resiny, warming and dry finish

Overall, I was more than happy with this overpriced purchase(or so i thought at first, it was $10, though i got it at one of the most expensive stores in Arkansas). A totally bombastic, in-your-face, manly-man IIPA. I would only suggest this to fellow hop heads. No amateurs.

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Photo of TheSaboteur
4.65/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Boulevard Smokestack tulip.
(This was actually a side-by-side w/ Bell's Hopslam)

A: Poured a glowing, light amber w/ some haze. Puffy, Fluffy, Cotton head that slowly dissipates.

S: liquid dank. Evenly distributed malty backbone that lends some sweetness, but is overpowered by a piney, and to a lesser extent, citrus aroma. Something reminds me of sweaty socks...isovaleric acids perhaps?

T: The astringency of the simcoe, the fruitiness of the citra, the torpedoing dry-hopped process...this is a HOP BOMB of nuclear proportion.

M: Yahtzee! This naughty little puppy is chewy and sticky. Gives a serious tingling sensation that sucks your checks in and body-checks your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

D: I love this beer. It's a brutal, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners, hops so good it makes ya wanna slap yo mama, beer. This moves way up the charts in my dipa rankings...sorry Grand Rapids, you just lost your spot in the top 3.

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Photo of vande
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The alcohol is pretty well hidden on this little beauty and I'm sure will be sneaking up on me later... its been sittin' in my pint for a good 15 or 20 minutes, and the bubbles are still floating to the top. A solid golden color with a little lacing of head left...Goes down smooth..sweet...hoppy..unfortunately, I was only able to get my hands on one..

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excited to try this one.

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the orange and pine from the hops. The flavor is similar. I get some caramel, orange and pine. The bitterness is about medium. The beer is also very boozy, much more than I expected. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very tasty, I just wish the alcohol was a little bit more subdued.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.11 out of 5 based on 6,252 ratings.
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