Hoptimum | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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6,357 Ratings

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: 6,357 |  Reviews: 1,495
Photo of Bitterbill
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A bright, slightly hazed, 24K gold colour with a 1 finger head of foam with some good to damn good lacing. Gorgeous looking brew.

A fairly weak nose of pine with some noticeable sweet malt notes.

Very resiny hop bitterness that stick to my tongue in a very good way. It's like pine sap and and is tasty but I find that the malt does a decent job of interjecting and providing some relief from what could be an immense bitterness that I would not totally enjoy. A very long finish and aftertaste keeps the spirit of the beer on your palate long after the swallow. And, pretty much, no sign or intrusion of the ample alcohol.

Ooops...there it is. Some warming building now.

Medium bodied bordering on full with medium carbonation, this has a great mouth feel.

This is a big old 24ozer, bottled on Dec 17, 2010, and is very delicious and surprisingly easy to drink. Thanks go out to my local retailer for picking this one up so I can enjoy it.

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Photo of mttaylor1066
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a Belgian thin-walled goblet. Perhaps a shade darker than clover honey. A bright foaming mousse of a head, laces down the glass quite nicely. Later, little pods of bubbles populate the surface.

S - A punch of hops, grapefruit and green grass. A little less strong than Victory's "Hop Devil". No surprise that this is a hoppy monster.

T - Hops again with just a touch of light malt. For a "lighter" ale this has good balance for the 10.5% ABV listed. Not much alcohol heat detected.

M - Smooth. The hops coat the tongue and kick in on the long aftertaste.

D - If you're a hop head, this is one you should enjoy. I tasted this on a cold winter evening and I'd prefer to have this on a July afternoon. Not a session beer. The alcohol and the hops will wear out your palate.

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Photo of mechamifune
3.36/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Well, no Hopslam or Double Trouble yet, but lo and behold I have found Hoptimum to hold me over... or at least i'm assuming it will hold me over, as its awesome label reminds me of colonel quick-e-mart's kentucky bourbon from an early episode of the simpsons for some reason... but anyway, let's see....

Poured into a tulip, a light frothy white head develops and dissolves in short order. Nice golden color, completely clear.

Smell is like a pine punch in the face. Resiny, piney, with some slight notes of citrus. The taste is.... shockingly, almost exactly like the smell. No real malt presence to be found, just pure resiny hops over and over, some citrus notes rise up here and there.... but really bitterness through and through, and an incredibly bitter finish to boot.

Mouthfeel is probably the hight point, creamy and smooth but still crisp on the finish. A sticky resin remains with each finished sip, which I don't altogether mind.... its just so friggin bitter.

As you might surmise from my constant notes on the bitterness, this is not an especially drinkable ipa (though to be fair, the high abv is well hidden). Not like drainpour undrinkable, but just too much to drink more than a pint of. I've had younger, elder, expo hoppiness, hopslam and plenty of other super hoppy beers, but this one just does not give you the fruit/citrus notes or any kind of sweetness to counter the pure hop bitterness. Will take a good deal of convincing for me to get it again.

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Photo of chickencoop
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gotta say, this may be my new favorite, but in moderation. It's like a perfect storm minus marky mark if you are a DIPA fan and a Sierra fan. For some reason, and probally obvious, most micro's tend to have a dominate trait or taste to them, and for Sierra, this is that dominate hop but amplified. Big crisp hops start you out on the taste, but a pleasant citrusy finish puts this over the top. I love this beer, but....the 10% crushes the drinkability on this, it was so easy to drink, that I got loopy watching wonder pets with the kids, awesome beer, only drawback....

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 1/3 and today is 1/12...pretty damn fresh.

I'll start by saying I feel people will go one way or another with this beer, very contradicting as I'm in the middle. Before I start I will say this beer is straight hop oils and resin in a glass. Sticky icky icky.

Appearance - come one people, for 10.4% this beer is a nice golden orange and looks clean like most 7- 8% DIPAs. Beautiful looking beer although the head does not form nearly as heavy with a semi-agressive pour like all SN's other offerings do. Very good.

Smell - You get that typical SN hop profile but mangos, tropical fuit, some peach and a little caramel come through. Smells better and more potent than any other SN offering.

Taste - As it warms there are sweet mangos, tropical fruits, orange rind and freaking DANK. Sticky sticky dank. This is the most resiny and hop oily beer I've ever had...hop oils linger and linger and linger long after every sip. I didn't find the bit of caramel sweetness in the finish offensive although usually I don't care for it. It added to the hop oils and resin I thought. This is not for a mild hop head...this beer was brewed for the extreme hop head. Thanks SN for finally saying "you want a freaking DIPA...I'll phucking give you a DIPA!" Might not have been the most balanced but it's a all out Hop attack.

Mouthfeel - see taste as I think I explained it. Good but drinks like 10% and a bit boozy which I didn't mind too much. Booze is detectable but not over-whelming. To someone who is not a complete hophead, they would say this is one HOT IPA though. Good but not great.

Drinkability - same, good but not great. I can put down DIPAs but I wouldn't open another 24oz bottle after the first one.

Final Thoughts - I'm impressed. They went balls out with this one. I'd buy again. I don't think this is meant to be compared with Sculpin (I know it's a single), PtE, Hop Stoopid and the other 8% to 9% DIPAs etc...
I feel this brew was brewed for the extreme hop head. If you're only into single IPAs and entering into hops, this will be most certainly over the top for you. I for one liked it and didn't care much for it on tap 4-5 months ago. I knew a fresh bottle would be the only way to truly see where I stood with this one

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Photo of SurlyMe
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - translucent orange amber in color, one finger off white head that thins to a light cap, nice lacing

S - orange rind, funky hops, light caramel and spice notes, reminds me a lot of other sierra beers just more intense

T - citrusy (grapefruit and orange) hops, slight creaminess, caramel and light spice finish

M - medium body, nice carbonation, light bitterness on the finish

D - This is a fairly "big" rich beer, maybe a pint or two at most in one sitting. The 10.4% alc. is covered well, no boozy taste but it certianly catches up with you.

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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 aroma...like 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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Hoptimum from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 6,357 ratings