Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA
6,326 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
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Ratings: 6,326 |  Reviews: 1,486
Photo of chumba526
3.28/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

It appears translucent orange with a small white head.

It smells of pine, citrus, caramel, and grassy hops.

It tastes initially of citrus: orange and lemon. There is a nice grassy and pine like flavor to the beer. I get a little bit of a caramel like malt taste but in general the malts are not very noticeable. The finish is quite bitter and hoppy. The hop profile of the beer is very nice but the caramel like taste is not that pleasant in this beer. Don't get me wrong this ale tastes pretty good but there are some flaws to the ale.

The carbonation is moderate low and adds smoothness to the beer.

The drinkability is ok: a glass or two is all I would want to drink of this as it is pretty rich.

Overall not a bad beer but not a great Imperial IPA. I suppose it is slightly better than average though.

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Photo of MADhombrewer
3.1/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- Nice golden, grapefruit color with a very pillowy, off white head. Good lacing as well.

Smell- Big grapefruit aroma with a good amount of malt to back it up. Lemon, orange and pine are right there as well.

Taste- Lots of malt and alcohol in the taste. Didn't smell that much alcohol, but there is a lot in the taste. There is also the citrus as in the smell, but alcohol takes over.

Mouthfeel- For a 10% IIPA this is a full mouthfeel. The malt in this makes it almost grainy in the feel.

Drinkability- Not very good, I am afraid. Very "hairy" and "edgy". I will anticipate this to get worse as it warms.

I was looking forward to this until I saw it was over 10% abv. Way too bozey for me.

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Photo of CourteManche
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served from a 22oz. bottle into a glass snifter.

A - Beautiful! Super clear, like a Kristall Hefeweizen; cloudless orange amber; very minimal, fingernails-width light-brown head; appears to be slightly carbonated; little-to-no lacing throughout the drink.

S - More hoppy than malty; Simcoe hops not as profound on the nose as would expect; slightly taken aback because of; intrigued!

T - Wow, there's that whole-cone! Decent amount of carbonation for a Double IPA - a pleasant surprise! Explosion of bitter hops (Magnum) on the finish; sweetness that segues into hints of pine, earth and Evergreen; pinch of caramel; very profound linger with little-to-no heat.

M - Medium bodied; slightly-syrupy; coats your mouth; resonates with a very subdued, sweet tartness.

D - Hyper drinkable. Full points for drinkablility.

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Photo of beertunes
3.38/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in tulip. Poured a clean, clear, coppery amber color and had 3/4 inch of off-white head that had very good retention and lacing.

The aroma was mostly floral and weed hops, had a touch of sweetness, but had no real grain or malt profile. On the tongue the beer was very hoppy upfront, seemed kind of chalky in the middle and had a dry citrusy finish. There was no noticeable malt or grain in the taste.

The body was good, not quite full and was fairly typical. Drinkability was pretty good for the style, but at this strength I probably wouldn't have more than 2 in a row.

Overall, a good, but not great example of the style. Worth trying when you can.

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Photo of Zodijackyl
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Perfect orange-amber with enough suspended solids to be slightly cloudy yet transparent. Full, thick white head that expands at a touch of agitation. Aroma of very raw, clean and fresh hops - fruity and citrus scents with a very tangy freshness.

Taste is a huge mouthful of hops that display the fruity character of very fresh hops. The fruit character is balanced by the bitterness of the volume of the hops, and a little bit of alcohol character. Mouthfeel is very clean and a touch bitterness, and the alcohol shows through a bit due to the strength. Fairly drinkable, moreso considering the strength, but the alcohol and bitterness diminish this a bit while still being good.

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Photo of Eschulz91
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Great hop content without being overly hippy. Very smooth, better as it warms. More nose opens with warming. Had it at limited release at bistro in hayward. Can't wait to be able to get it at more retailers. The vibrant hops comes through on each sip. High alcohol content, but hops covers it enough to trick even the most expierienced faster. Or the newbie.

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Photo of BarrelO
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

24oz bottle poured into a snifter. You know, I'm kind of disappointed to see Sierra Nevada release a beer with a cutesy name like this. I thought they were better than that.

A: Amber body. Head leaves decent lacing.

S: Tons of citrus with some grassiness.

T: A ton of tropical fruitiness. Some grassiness. Hints of honey and sweet bread. Alcohol is well hidden.

M: Medium-bodied, slightly syrupy.

D: An outstanding DIPA. If not for the alcohol, this would drink like water. Thumbs way up.

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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.

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Photo of merculite
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fantasic hop a freshly crush whole cone.

On the lighter end of IIPAs.

Intensely bitter. Lots of depth in hop flavor.

Nice balance between malt sweetness and hop bitterness.

Overall Impression:
An excellent example of an IIPA. A showcase for hops.

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Photo of Neffbeer
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy light amber with some nice head retention, decent lacing. A boat load of hops in the nose, floral, citrus, and piney. The taste is an assault of hops that completely overwhelm the palate (in a good way). It finishes bitter and hot. Good carbonation and full bodied. It is a great beer but the bitterness would limit my consumption.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fresh batch of Hoptimum delivered straight to the Toronado 23rd Anniversary party. Served in a pint glass! WTF?

A - Pours with a finger of foam that settles to a thin cap and leaves behind nice lacework. Transparent dark golden body. Pretty attractive stuff.

S - This smells like weed. Super dank, resiny ganja with a hint of sweet malt. Literally smells like dispensary. If you like weed you'll love this, if you don't you'll hate it.

T - Again, it's quite weed-heavy, but there's actually other flavors present like pine, citrus rind, and a solid sugary malt backbone. The finish is still like second-hand blunt smoke.

M - Zesty carbonation, super sticky icky and resiny body. Finishes dry with no obvious alcohol heat.

D - I'm not sure how to approach this one - Sierra Nevada has made a pothead's delight. It also appears to be totally different from previous batches - Chris didn't even think it was the same beer. I had no problem finishing the pint, even at 10.4%, and it went down faster than expected. I think I prefer weed smell to weed taste, but if you love smoking you'll dig this one (at least this batch anyway).

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.62/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

On tap at Barclay's in Rockridge. Half-pint.

A: Pours on the lighter side for an IPA; it's a clear orange-amber with short-lived off-white head. Some lace.

S: A very organic aroma: wet pine needles and moss, grapefruit pith, and sugar cookie. I also smell some solvent.

T: Tastes much like the above: a really powerful hop delivery vehicle, with pine needles and grapefruit defining the profile. They're counterbalanced by an aggressive sugar cookie backbone, which tries and fails to cover up a substantial booze quotient.

M: Thick, chewy, sticky body. Boozy. Boozy boozy boozy.

D: Needs some work, but I'd have it again. Sierra Nevada can make this one great.

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Photo of Billolick
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear, lighter amber. Middle of the road/respectable lace. Enticing floral and resiny hop nose. Hop lovers rejoice, cuz this one delivers with a noticeably fresh tasting and crunching hopped presence. Sweet malt undertones and undercoating provides the bring it all together counter point. No surprise when SN puts out another outstanding and obviously well crafted and high quality brew. California style and very enjoyable DIPA

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Photo of MCfunkyJ
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Only for the Hop-Heads!

Anybody who rated this low deserved to be drug out back and shot down like the dirty dog they are.

I got the pleasure to try this on-tap at the 2nd Annual IPA Fest at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach.

I rank this right up there with the best of them. This is one of the hoppiest and tastiest brews Sierra Nevada has ever produced.

If your fortunate enough to try this and like hoppy beer then get it while the getting is good!

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Photo of 4000qtrap
2.73/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Source/Serving: Draft

Smell: Earthy, musky, woody, and (unexpectedly) a little horsy (or something like it) around the edges.

Taste: More traditional pine/citrus flavors than the nose has. Moderately juicy. Quite balanced malts and bitterness, but slightly on the sweet side overall. In the middle fresh pine flavor really shines through which is nice. Malts are inconspicuous but lay a nice foundation which come through as it warms. Mouthfeel is light. Finish is short, semi-bitter, orange, and lingers for a while.

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Photo of mjl21
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Toronado. Poured into a pint glass. No abv info is given.

A-Nice looking beer. Pours a clear light amber color. It has a one finger off white head that collapses fairly quickly. Leaves some nice lace.

S-Smells of fresh dank, grapefruit, pine, and sugar sweetness.

T-The dank, pine, and grapefruit flavors from the hops are quickly met by a big and sweet caramel malt backbone that is prevalent throughout each sip. There is also some booze that is noticeable in the middle. As I wrote in my notes, it is "certainly sweet".

M-It is thick, creamy and sticky.

D-The sweetness and booze limit this one for me. Best served as a 10 ounce pour.

As noted above, this one is too sweet for me. The hop profile is good and if the malt were cut back this would be an outstanding DIPA.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Served up a clear, bright, bronze-plated body topped by an inch of white foam.

Smell: Initially, the nose isn't very aromatic at all, though, given some time to warm, it eventually comes around. After some minutes, you're given a sweet-scented aroma with a rather forward whiff of lemons. Lighter hop hints of meadow flowers and white pine.

Taste: Sweet-tasting pale maltiness with hints of almond sugar and wildflower honey. As it warms, a very faint basic breadiness develops in the taste and aroma. Pithy, citrusy lemon peel hop character with additional accents of flowers and resinous pine. Boldly bitter, though the sweetness does make a modest comeback late in the taste. Still, it does manage to finish both dry and bitterness. Lemony taste lingers into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-light carbonation.

Drinkability: I dug it, though those who don't appreciate a notable malt presence and sweetness in their DIPA's might not care for this one.

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Photo of femALEist
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Toronado's Beer Camp night during SF Beer Week.
Made at Beer Camp #19 and 10.4%. It had members from Toronado, Zeigeist, Pi Bar, Barclays and the B Street Bistro. It's an Imperial IPA with pale and Munich malts, Simcoe, Chinook, Citra and Magnum hops. It poured a yellowish brown. It smelled of lemon citrus, hops and grass. It tasted light with some bitterness, some sweetness but not too hoppy.

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Photo of coolbrys
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Purchased a growler at the brewery for a hefty price.

A: First appearance shows a nice orange hue, with a very long lasting head. As the beer is drank, it leaves a remnant head along the glass. Quite hazy.

S: Upon first smell, a wave of hops, and a nice grapefruit smell shines through. Very reminiscent of Torpedo, but way stronger. Must be the Citra hops coming through.

T: As the lightly carbonated brew slides gently through your mouth, you get a significant sweet syrupy taste from the malts, transitioning perfectly into a nice grapefruit flavor, followed by a long lasting hop bitterness that is an excellent end to the flavor of a DIPA. The alcohol flavor is incorporated perfectly with the flow of the taste, adding a significant balance to the taste that is much appreciated. The 10.4% may be apparent, but it's not overwhelming. Be careful drinking more then one of these, however.

M: As a DIPA, the mouthfeel is perfect. The carbonation is low but apparent, and the ale is not too thick or thin, being a medium bodied ale that completely captures the idea of a good West Coast DIPA.

D: The drinkability is good for a DIPA. The alcohol content and the syrupy character hinder it from being too drinkable, but at 10.4%, that's a good thing.

Overall, a fantastic offering from the excellent brewers at Sierra Nevada. Being a strong lover of all things hops, and of all things Sierra Nevada - especially Torpedo - this stands out excellently. When I was at the brewery, this beer was going extremely fast, and everyone loved it. I would love to see this bottled.

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Photo of excal
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this this afternoon on-tap at the SN taproom, poured into a 10 oz tulip glass. It arrived a clear amber with a one finger head, slightly off-white. The smell is a big whiff of hops and citrus. The taste was hop-forward, with bitter and slightly sweet citrus being the strongest notes, though a piney hint was also present, as was a faint hint of alcohol, though not a lot for a 10%+ beer, I have to say. The malt backing is almost syrupy, reminding me a bit of this year's Pliny the Younger. Carbonation was spot on. Very drinkable. If I wasn't driving home, I'd have had another. As it was, I bought a growler on the spot.

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Photo of somabeer
2.28/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Had on tap last weekend at Toronado SF

Poured into a pint glass. An amber colored with decent off white head. The beer smells like a lot of hops and some m=bready maltness. The taste definitely seemed off. There is lot of this German Bready maltness an intense hoppy bitterness and a lot of boozy alcohol flavor, there is no interplay between flavors, it just tastes like a boozy mess. Carbonation was fine. This beer tastes like a train wreck

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Photo of largadeer
2.76/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Draft at Toronado, served in a pint glass. Clear, bright and caramel-colored in the glass, dark for the style, topped by a small white cap. The aroma is solventy, lightly citrusy and heavy on the crystal malt. Pine and citrus-like dry hops are evident but overwhelmed by the alcohol. The taste is similarly harsh, very strong solventy alcohol matched by resiny hop bitterness and substantial caramel malt. While it's not especially sweet, the malt backbone is heavy and cumbersome, too syrupy for a DIPA and lacking finesse. It finishes bitter, heavy and sharply alcoholic. This is OK stuff and signature Sierra Nevada; heavy on the crystal malt and bittering hops but not particularly delicate. Can't say I would drink this again.

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Photo of Timmush
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on Tap at the EBF 2010.

Not sure if I should rate this one because of the amount of IPA's that I had before and after it, but this one stood out. I liked it so much that I had to give it it's props.
Had Both Pliny's and DFH120 and others that night and I thought it ranked right up there.
Lots of citrus hops, not as much pine as the Torpedo.
I am hoping this comes out in bottles. Try it if you can.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the tap into a tasting glass.

The color is a cloudy orange with a finger or two of foamy white head and some nice lacing.

The smell is of coarse hoppy with some strong citrus fruits in the nose. Mango, oranges and a bit of a pineapple flavor.

The taste was again hoppy with more citrus flavor and sweet fruit. Some floral flavor and a bit of pine flavor that does sting a slight bit on the taste buds.

The feel of this beer is really nice and pretty medium bodied. The seemed to be just the right ammount of carbonation and went down quite well.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I too had this at the Bistro DIPA fest.

Immediately, I saw this as a double anniversary ale from SN. Looked the same pale straw yellow, aroma was SN cascade, taste a stronger anniversary ale. Plenty hoppy, minimal malt bill compared to its other hoppy beers. An enjoyable sweetness to it, stays light on its feet while delivering massive hoppiness.

Mouthfeel was more complex than SN Anniv. Maintained the minimal fruity yeast effect. Very drinkable, would like to see this bottled.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 6,326 ratings