Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,461 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A group of hop-heads and publicans challenged our Beer Camp brewers to push the extremes of whole-cone hop brewing. The result is this: a 100 IBU, whole-cone hurricane of flavor. Simply put —Hoptimum: the biggest whole-cone IPA we have ever produced. Aggressively hopped, dry-hopped, AND torpedoed with our exclusive new hop varieties for ultra-intense flavors and aromas.

Resinous "new-school" and exclusive hop varieties carry the bold and aromatic nose. The flavor follows the aroma with layers of aggressive hoppiness, featuring notes of grapefruit rind, rose, lilac, cedar, and tropical fruit—all culminating in a dry and lasting finish.

Added by kaseydad on 02-07-2010

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Reviews: 1,461 | Ratings: 6,253
Photo of aronamerican
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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

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

Had on tap at the Salty Pig in Boston...

Poured a golden orange color with a 2 finger bleach white head.

Smelled up front of some piney hops, a bit of grapefruit and lemon.

Taste was pretty good. Hid the alcohol well behind the hoppiness. Wish there was a bit more malt to balance it out more.

Mouthfeel was solid, no heat given the 10% abv.

Overall pretty good, but still not close to touching the top IIPAs.

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Photo of ronniebruner
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

There is a trend going on now with the breweries trying to make the ultimate hoppiest beer. This is probably because everyone wants to be Hop Slam. First off this beer pours a rich creamy color of a dark yellow color. The aroma is extremely grassy and earthy. It pours with a great deal of carbonation. The beer is sweet, but very grassy on the tongue, but leaves a nice aftertaste. A worthy effort indeed, but definitely second rate compared to Hop Slam.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours copper/orange with a thick creamy head. A lot clinging to the sides.

Nice has a solid malt base. A lot of fresh hop resin. Citrus and juicy fruit. Some spice.

A bunch of things are happening here. Earth tones up front but with a quick flash of caramel sweetness. A light sweetness carries through the middle. There is a balance of earth and fruity hops here I haven't experienced before. More on the earthy side with a quick hard hit of bitterness. Solid bitter finish but well balanced.

The 10.4%ABV is apparent so this is definitely a slow sipper. Medium malt body with a large amount of hops.

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

Orange and hazy with a one finger head that had some staying power and left decent lace.

Smells like hops! I like that in a beer! Piney and fruity hops dominate the nose, leaving little else in their wake.

The taste follows the nose with a hop bomb from the very depths of the ninth layer of hell. Bud drinker's hell, that is. It's kind of sweet with a dry finish, bitter as hell, monstrously hoppy, with a little (very little, that is) malt balance.

It's a pretty one way beer, but enjoyable. Finishes dry, oily, and bitter with a lingering bitter aftertaste.

Enjoyable, but not overly stupendous. I brewed a homebrew that kind of approaches this, and essentially I just pounded a red ale with gobs and gobs of hops, especially late.

Hops head alert: buy this beer.

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Photo of Mojo
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Wow this is one big beer.

A - clear as a bell copper with an initial two finger foamy head, excellent retention, and stellar lacing.
S- Lots of pine, resin, and bread, maybe some citrus
T - Initial taste is maltiness with a kind of peach flavor. Finish is a massive hop bomb with a boozy feel going down
M- Medium thick with a hoppy aftertaste
O- Seems like a great example of a DIPA. I've got four more and I am interested in seeing how it tastes once they are a couple of months old. The hops should fade and the booze should mellow making this one a litle more balanced.

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

From notes. 24 oz. bottle on January 28th, 2011 in a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

A - Light gold coloring, a little hazy, with a foamy white head and similar lacing.

S - Pulling a lot of pine out of this one. Variety of fruit but predominantly lemon zest.

T - More bitterness than the smell lead me to believe. Still getting the pine notes. Not much in the way of malts on either front or backends.

M - Smoother with appropriate carbonation, not overly crisp, really obvious bitter coating on the tongue with a little heat.

D - Slightly disappointed in this one, I missed out on fresh Hopslam and was hoping this would give me my DIPA fix. Overall not bad though, best hoppy brew I tried during this session night.

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

Glowing ruby amber with a slim off white head that fades fast with sparse trailers and thick sheets. Lots of resin and orange Swedish fish on the nose.
Gooey Crystal malts, papaya maybe, and honeycomb, then orange peel, tropical fruit and a touch of pine needle with aspirin hop hit. Ginger bark finish and astringent linger. Medium, chewy and sticky, some burn.

A big, quality, high IBU DIPA, but not "the ultimate whole cone experience" like the label says. Given how SN hop everything and don't have a regular DIPA, that's kind of a disappointment. Better off getting a Maharajah.

2nd tasting, 9.Aug.13, btl dated 7.jun.13: Looking this time for big Simtra flavors, which I've found is a great combo. And there is some good grapefruit peel and skunky resin with orange jellies up front. But there's not enough aroma somehow - too much balancing caramel malts? - and the booze kills the head retention, which doesn't help the aroma, either. Still falls short of admittedly lofty expectations.

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

On tap at Fat Heads Pgh

A: Pours a bright orange color with some reddish hues. Provides a small film of white foam with some spotty lacing.

S: A nice amount of pine, citrus, grapefruit hops with some bread and caramel malt.

T: Starts off quite bitter with a big burst of citrus hops hitting the palate first. The malt character, mostly bread/biscuit and caramel comes through in the middle and provides a solid backbone. It finishes with a splash of pine hops.

M: Leaves a nice bitter pine flavor on the palate. A nice medium body

D: A nicely balanced DIPA. Lots of hop bitterness with a solid malt backbone. Despite the high ABV, it is hidden nicely for the most part.

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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 bylerteck
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'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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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.11 out of 5 based on 6,253 ratings.
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