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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,447 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA

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

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: 1,447 | Ratings: 6,196
Photo of kjyost
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle purchased from Happy Harry's, Grand Forks South. Poured into a Perfect Pint glass, fridge cold.

Pours a clear copper body with a one finger tall white head that drops and doesn't leave much lacing, much to my amazement. A decently enjoyable nose of hoppy fruity aromas, including grapefruit and a bit of dank earthy / piney hops. The body is solid, though nothing special. Not hot and with a decent bitterness that balances the somewhat sweet caramel malt in the body. Hop flavours continue in the same fashion as the nose, though i wish they were more prevalent. Fairly dry. A good beer, just not great. More hops!

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Photo of Philousa
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly clear orange. The light catches it metallic and shiny. Half a finger of head settles to a thin layer on top. Decent lacing throughout. Very pungent aroma. Some floral notes over dank, oily pine hoppiness. Potent IPA malt. Very orangey and viscous. Yes, I can tell it's going to be thick just by the smell. Sweet nectar comes out as it warms. Orange citrus flavor flashes over the palate, but is overtaken by a solid, gritty biscuit boned malt with a touch of honey. Turns uber bitter - very piney and barkish. Syrupy hop oil remains on the palate. A little viscous in consistency with a dry finish.

I was prepared to be disappointed, since I'm not a huge fan of Torpedo. I figured this would be a ramped up Torpedo, but boy was I wrong. This is a different malt bill and, most importantly, very different hop schedule. This is very dank but not too thick. Very well balanced considering all the features of this beer. Well done.

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Photo of sfprint
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Between a light gold and a light copper, slightly hazy, little rising carbonation and barely a head.

The nose is both hoppy and sweet. The sweetness is like a fruity honey. Definitely vanilla and a degree of syrupyness.

Certainly dense and intense. Pleasantly dirty/grassy hops, particularly in the aftertaste. Very grassy for an DIPA. Intense yet the alcohol is well hidden. And syrupy.

Syrupy with mild carbonation sting, medium to heavy body.

Syrupy, intense but nice DIPA with a grass finish. Definitely interesting and good, but this particular combination of qualities has me rating it 3.75 according to my personal taste.

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Photo of aepb1
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Translucent golden body, a nice gold! Big frothy white head with nice lacing

S- Piney hops though not quite as big as I thought it'd be but still good

T- Piney and citrusy hops slam right up front, a nice caramel malt underbelly adds some sweetness with an alcohol and hoppy bite finishing it off

M- Medium body, bite from the hop resin and alcohol stick with you

D- My taste buds begin to acclimate after one so I can't imagine another but it's a good beer none-the-less

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Photo of Rukasu
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comes close, but falls a little short of Hopslam.

Growler fill from Whole Foods Fair Lakes, VA.

A - Nice orange color with one-finger creamy white head, disipates quickly

S -Sweet up front with faint citrus and pine, but a big whiff will pick up a savory/umami bouillon hints from the high alcohol. Might seem off-putting, but works fairly well.

T - Certainly packs a punch. Big alcohol and grapefruit rind, some pine, still getting some of that savory taste.

M - Certainly full bodied, you almost need a glass of water to chase.

O - One pint was probably enough, but I went for two and that was probably a mistake. I think this beer is meant to just kick you in the face and walk away, because there was nothing really memorable about it other than the high ABV. There is little subtlety to this beer, at $10 for a growler, it was worth giving it a shot, but I'll stick with Hopslam.

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Photo of PBoegel
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So I picked up two bottles of this brew at Half Time in Poughkeepsie, not cheap either, what I'd expect to pay at a bar for a draft pour. Reviewing after the second bottle.

Popped the 24 oz bottle, label bottled on December 15, 2010, nice audible carbonation hiss, served at about 55 degrees to maximize aromas.

Poured into a Sierra Hop Tulip Pint, bright shiny bronze and golden, perfect clarity, some amber tones, a nice inch tall cloud white head. Decent lacing, however, the head breaks down to a thing but persistent topper.

Aromas are very subdued and overall clean fermentation profile for a big beer, but a lot of perfume like floral alcohol tones. Some mellow citrus and tropical fruit and an underlying malt honey crisp sweetness.

Flavor profile is where this beer shines. Not the most explosive flavor from an Imperial IPA but nice, clean and interesting. Good cantaloupe, honeydew melon tones, with some sharp grapefruit acidity and bitterness. Some raspberry and a layer of resinous spruce pine coats the tongue before a deep bitter finish, which is not taxing but cleans the palate along with the warming floral alcohol across the tongue.

The beer has a nice medium light body, excellent for the style, not cloying or sweet with an intense dry and bitter palate cleansing finish. No harsh astringency or numbing alcohol heat.

For its heft it is drinkable, with good and interesting flavors, very unique character. The aroma is subdued, much like I believe Torpedo is, but with consideration of the 10% abv, you can sip your way through a 24 oz bottle in an evening without struggle, but good enjoyment.

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Photo of teromous
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From the back label: "PKGD 04/19/16 11:59"
From the package date this is about three and a half weeks old.

Appearance: It has a very lovely dark bronze colored body with great clarity. The eggshell white head is thick and creamy with good head retention and nice lacing.

Aroma: It has a very lovely sweet tangerine aroma with some light grapefruit. Farther away from the glass I picked up some pine resin and some sweet malt scents.

Taste: It has a very wonderful pine resin flavor mixed with some grain flavor and a little bit of bread crust. Good bitterness throughout the entire drinking experience. A touch of vegetal flavor. No alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is thick and a bit syrupy which makes it a bit awkward with the strong bitterness. Although it feels on the thick side it is very smooth.

Overall: The character of the beer really reminds me of the "East Coast Style" of hop character with a strong malt backbone, even for an Imperial IPA. I found the beer to be outstanding and I would drink it again. This is the kind of beer I would pick up a four-pack of instead of a single. I will certainly be buying more of this before it fades from the shelves this season. I would not say that this is better than the other Imperial or Double IPA's that I can normally find on the shelf but I would still buy and enjoy it.

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Photo of tbeckett
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap during the Sierra Nevada keg debut at Beer Deluxe. Rough notes on my phone.

A - Poured dark copper with good carbonation, one finger of creamy white head. Film of retention and good rings of lace.

S - Lot's of pine, honey, grass, and citrus.

T - Booze, honey, citrus hops, and boozy pineapple.

M - Good carbonation, medium body and quite bitter.

O/D - Pretty nice stuff. A solid DIPA in the American vein. Tasty and pretty drinkable, yet a bit boozy, but for 10% I understand why.

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Photo of GregSVT
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a clear dark golden yellow with a nice white head that fades to a ring and leaves some nice lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is mainly piney hops and caramel malt. There are some tropical fruits in there as well but I didn't think it smelled that impressive.

T: The taste was not what I was expecting after the nose. At first it blasts you with a ton of pine and grapefruit rind...it's incredibly bitter. After a few more sips your palate gets used to the bitter and you can detect a ton of tropical fruit, pine, and caramel malt flavors.

M: The feel is medium bodied and creamy.

O: This is about as tasty as I expected and something I could drink occasionally. The nose was the only disappointment but the taste made up for it.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This IPA is visually outstanding. Two-finger thick head with massive staying power. Clear, pale-coppery hue, and abundant streams of carbonation. The aroma is nice, sort of a signature Sierra Nevada hoppiness, with loads of pine, light citrus, and not much sweetness in the mix. It's good, but nothing that really jumps out at me.

The taste is overwhelming with piney hop resin. It's sticky, but not overly sweet, and there is a heavy sharp/bitterness. It might just be the alcohol that puts it over the top, but it's like all the good things about a hoppy Sierra Nevada beer, just pushed a little too far. The mouthfeel is a bit syrupy, but not heavy and overall appropriate.

A massive IBU monster, it's just a bit too strong for my liking. While it's certainly west coast, it doesn't have the same aroma hops that draw you in like those San Diego style IPA's. If you like Double IPA's more than singles, and you don't mind some alcohol bite, than maybe this is for you.

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Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Feels like a thousand IBU, a lot of sweet malt backing it up. The alcohol is huge and is well hidden by the taste. Huge foamy retained white head. Hoppy aromas. Citrus lime and lemon, a little grapefruit.Some palate shredding. Very drinkable.Bottle from Premiere.

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Photo of Glibber
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tried this beer again on tap at the Front Door in Boise- the first time I was overcome by the hops, but this time I was more preparred and in the mood. I am not necessarily a hop head, but this beer had good complex flavors on the front end before the hops slammed you on the back end.
A nice light clear amber color and very thick white head with heavy lacing. Served in a small tulip glass (10oz pour).
When you consider the 10.5% ABV, this is pretty impressive beer.

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Photo of Kinsman
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear light-amber colored body with a big creamy white head on top. Sierra knows how to make a good looking beer, no doubt.

Big piney and resiny hop aroma initially before the citrus and grapefruit get a chance to come in. Faint hint of alcohol underneath all the hops.

A potent and flavorful hop character hits the palate with a nice variety of grapefruit and orange citrus with a health dose of pine and floral notes alongside. The 10.4 Abv does come through a bit stronger than expected but it's not all that unpleasing. Little room is left for some malt character to come through.

Full bodied feel, rather thick compared to many a DIPA. Overall, a nice tasty hop-bomb from Sierra.

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Photo of jegross2
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Hoptimum from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
Score: 90

2012 vintage bottle with bottling code "2048206:09." Served in a Stella Artois chalice and enjoyed on 03/26/12.

Appearance: Pours a golden orange color that falls between transparent and translucent. Almost three fingers of thick, cream colored seafoam head that settles into a thin layer. Amazing lacing, superior retention. 5/5

Smell: Resinous pine, heavy honey, and tropical citrus mixed with some earthy hops. Spiced caramel heat, orange, mango and pineapple. 4/5

Taste: Super hopped hop bomb! Huge doses of earthy hops, mulch, a little pine, pineapple, orange rind and juicy orange. Lot of heavy, bitter, spiced caramel on the midpalate and in the finish. Maybe a little sweet honey? The alcohol is pretty well hidden. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Bitter hoppiness sits heavy on the tongue. Oily mouthfeel. Dry and bitter finish. 3.5/5

Overall: Not the most balanced or flavorful DIPA, but this is a solid hop bomb. I enjoyed this one more than Southern Tier's Unearthly. I would absolutely buy/drink this again at some point in the future.

Recommendation: Hop haters and casual beer drinkers probably will not enjoy this one.

Pairings: Swiss-and-almond cheese spread.

Cost: $2.89 for a 12 oz bottle.

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Photo of Akfan
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

after much fanfare, and stalking the BevMo Manager I was able to locate a few bottles in the San Diego area. I enjoyed the taste tho not my fav DIPA. That would be HUB's.
A darker pour than expected. Almost amber in color. Smell not the strong fruity smell, rather a balanced one. On taste,...sweet is the first thing rolling off my tongue. Medium body, and actually got a bit of malt in the DIPA.Nice. Drinkable, tho with 10.5% ABV that must be considered. Overall, I would recommend this beer to any Hop Head. Above ave in all catagories but not at the Stone, Caldera, Ballast Point level.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Hoptomic. Pours a rich brassy amber hue and is capped with a big frothy head; looks par for the Sierra Nevada course, AKA good-lookin'. The nose is piney and cannabis-ike, with lesser notes of tangerine and pink grapefruit. The taste delivers a large amount of bitterness and alcohol, too much in each case. I do not object to the level of bitterness, I just don't find it to be dynamic enough. Still, it is an above-average DIPA, with a lot of tell-tale SN flavor. The feel is big and creamy, as most of the SN brews are. Overall, nice, but not any better than the average offering from this brewer.

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Photo of Premo88
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into tulip

3 183 2 10:53 printed on bottle (born on July 2, 2013)

L: bright orange, about 90% clear; it's not murky, just a slight haze keeps it from being crystal clear; classic Sierra Nevada lacing -- what does this brewery do? it's amazing ... stick from the 1 1/4-inch head and massive lacing on the way down.

S: so many whole-cone hops ... hops! green, green and green -- piney with loads of sweet tropical fruit/candied caramel under the piney hops; mango; as it warms, it goes from the piney/grassy/green note to the sweeter mango/tropical fruit note

T: bitter. it's classic DIPA stuff with a huge bitter bite back-ended by a load of caramel/tropical fruit sweetness. it's almost salty at first, there's so many hops ... hard to explain exactly, but "salty" fits. there's supposedly four different types of malted barley in this brew, but they've got no chance to shine -- it's all about the little green guys.

F: perfect. carbonated out the ying-yang, full midweight that's exactly right without ripping your tongue off b/c of all the carbonation.

O: cannot taste 1 molecule of alcohol despite the 10.4% ABV, so it gets big-time bonus points from me. with that said, it's impossible for me to distinguish the TASTE of this American imperial IPA from all the other American imperial IPAs I've had -- the look is better, Sierra Nevada style, but honestly, almost every beer I've had in this category tastes the same, i.e., like hops.

if you want a good American DIPA, you'll always win with this brew.

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Photo of Radiodred
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not Bad, but not that great. I am a huge fan of Double IPAs and this is not a stand out. It is better than most. The first look is an eye catching pillow of foamy goodness, the color is amber like. I wanted to be ingulfed by hops on the aroma but was more like a little caramel and nobel-like, not the typical west coast citrus pungency. Mouth feel was mellow with me craving more bite. Its drinkable and true to its class, but here in so cal we have been spoiled by the abundence of IPAs

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Photo of DoctorDog
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 1 pint 8 oz. bottle into a nonic.

A- Copper / amber, and strikingly clear. 2+ fingers of off white head, which fades very slowly to a thin cap, leaving loads of lacing.

S- Piney and herbaceous hopiness...a hint of citrus/grapefruit. Hints of malty sweetness.

T- Strong pine and herbal hops notes provide a strong bitter kick. Solid caramel malt keeps the sturdy bitterness in check. Really excellent.

M- Moderate carbonation, medium feel. Slightly too thin. Touch of alcohol warming.

D- Good. Solid and easy to drink in spite of it's hefty 10+% ABV.

Future outlook: Good but not great beer. Happy to have tried it, but at the premium price tag, certainly no need to get again.

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Photo of cquinn17
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz into a skinny tulip

A- Dark, burnt orange with a 1.5 inch white head. Pleasant looking DIPA

S- Pure hops as is to be expected. Mostly piney hops with a hint of citrus and not much floral.

T- Again, all hops. I get mostly pine and a little pineapple at the end. It finishes with a bitter bite and a very minimal alcohol burn.

M- Its a medium bodied, almost heavy DIPA. Has a solid amount of carbonation and leaves a resiny, pine taste throughout the mouth.

O- Solid DIPA for the price. Not my favorite but thats mostly because its too piney for my tastes. It definitely shows its 10.4% as well. Good offering from SN who do a ton of styles very well.

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Photo of alli4051
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24oz bottle into a pint.

Pours a bright, almost glowing, burnt orange with an off white head. Head is big and frothy, never really recedes completely, and leaves a thick wall of lacing down the sides of the glass. Scent is a pungent hop aroma, mostly citrus with some pine notes. Taste, as expected, is a big hop punch up front, same profile as the nose lots of citrus with some pine notes. A seemingly faint malt backbone is present to level things out a bit. Theres a strong alcohol bite to the finish that actually merges well with everything else and really kind of compliments things instead of taking away. Thoroughly medium bodied with a sticky bitterness to the finish. Split this bomber with a buddy and wish I could have finished it by myself. Solid brew with a definite kick to it; however, not the complete hop bomb some might expect.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: wonderfully clear orange-copper, lacking sustaining head, but given ABV, not a huge surprise. A quick swirl brings the carbonation out.
S: having trouble with this where I'm tasting, but seems to be orange in nature, with a sweet grain backbone (need to revisit this on a re-review)

T: starts with some maltiness (brown sugar, sugar cane), but the grapefruit bitterness grows almost immediately. As such, I would probably say this is hop-forward, but there is a significant sweetness initially (to me). This taste overtakes all else 1/4 way into taste (scientific, this is). I like grapefruit notes in my beer, but this to me is overpoweringly one-dimensional, which in this case, doesn't work for me. However, I rated partially on the fact that it promises what it says... 100 IBU.

M: definitely west-coast palate-wrecking bitterness that dominates the mouth in the end. The carbonation missing in the appearance does make an appearance in the taste when it's cold, less as the beer sits.

O: this beer has two likable components to me, a malty front, and a hops bite in the end. Unfortunately, to my tastes, these contrast each other too much in this beer, especially if it's too cold. Of course, the contrast mellows, but the fairly intense grapefruit rind bitterness in the end is a little too much for me.

Note: if you have similar tastes to what I explain, let this warm considerably, you'll enjoy it a little more.

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Photo of anichols70
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Great clear orange with a thick head that dissipates quickly leaving some light lace on the glass.
S: Floral, herbal, dank hops. Some light citrus? A bit underwhelming considering the amount of hops involved. Doesn't stick around.
T: Some citrus, good bitterness, strong hop flavor. Alcohol, maybe a bit too much at times.
M: Medium mouth-feel, slightly syrupy, but not cloying. Light carbonation.
O: A good, solid DIPA that won't do you wrong, but not quite up to the hype, IMO. Could be a little more balance. If you really like hops, kind of hard to argue against it though.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a large snifter glass. No discernible freshness date, but this is the 2013 batch, so likely fresh within the last month or so.

Appearance - An aggressive pour yields a one-finger head resting atop a body of glowing orange, with hints of umber. The head dissipates quickly to leave a ring of foam around the edge of the glass and an island of medium-sized bubbles in the center. Lacing is pretty generous as I drink the level of the liquid down. Hangs around for quite awhile.

Smell - Orange zest pushes its way through at first, along with some herbal notes and perhaps a hint of pine, but the aroma is predominantly fruity. After a few smells, I can detect a little bit of the alcohol that is coursing through this 10.5% beer. There is almost a hint of locker-room funk to it as well. Interesting smell for a DIPA.

Taste - The hop bitterness dominates, but rests on a bed of citrus notes. I'm a little surprised there isn't more depth of flavor going on here. I certainly expected more. However, it certainly does showcase the hops, which are present from start to finish, and even linger on after the beer has been long swallowed.

Mouthfeel - Lingering bitterness is actually pleasant, and hints at grapefruit where the smell and taste did not. For lack of a better term, the mouthfeel is "wet", and by that I guess I mean there is a hint of cloying sweetness to it, as much as it makes sense for a descriptor like "cloying" to be paired with a "hint".

Overall, a satisfying beer, but there are a handful of Imperial IPAs that I would pick off the shelf prior to this one. I will say that it's quite drinkable for 10.5% ABV.

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Photo of MACrist
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: A very clear orange/amber, almost ruby in a certain light. Finger + of foamy/creamy lingering head that slowly settles down to a ring. Leaves some mild lacing down the glass.
AROMA: A bit of a floral note, alcohol, some mild pine and citrus, a honey-like note, and some caramel malt.
TASTE: Immediately get some sweet caramel malt, followed immediately by a good dose of a generic bitterness. Very mild grapefruit and pine notes.
FEEL: Medium body, average carbonation, a little sticky but drying on the finish.
OVERALL: A little disappointed with the flavor, especially. Generic, no nice pine resin punch or killer citrus notes.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,447 ratings.
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