Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,460 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.40%

Availability: Rotating

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

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

Added by kaseydad on 02-07-2010

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Reviews: 1,460 | Ratings: 6,252
Photo of DMarlinJ
3.01/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap for first time. Not sure if the tap line needs to be cleaned or it normally smells like funk but this smells rank. Great head and lace, color as it should be for a double. I can't get past the funk smell to get to the taste. I don't get the complexity of the hops that are advertised, just kind of one note.

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

Bottled 6/3/16 (2 months old)

L: Deep orange, copper.

S: Juicy on the nose.. pineapple/peach. Some floral characters but not much more than that. Minimal hops which is baffling, maybe b/c it is 2 months old? Not what I was expecting.

T: Again.. juicier than I anticipated. Pineapple/peach/mango flavors up front. Followed by floral hops and some candied malts. Decent alcohol warming on the backend.

F: Medium-full body

O: I expected a hop bomb but got a surprisingly juicy and floral DIPA. The aroma is lacking but taste is enjoyable. I love the fact that you don't get the big malt backbone like most big DIPA's give you. Definitely enjoyable, but would've liked to try it fresh. Solid 4 out of 5.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.99/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mostly clear copper body, off white velvety rocky head that fades to a veneer, thick webs of lace. Smell and taste are both an equal balance of rich caramel malt, a bit sugary like crystal malt, and a good amount of piney, orange-rind, bracing bitter hops. Pretty straightforward, but excellent potency and balance. Nose does carry a hint of the alcohol within. Body is a bit syrupy, with restrained carbonation.
Solid beer. Great balance between malt and hop, even if it lacked a wide range of flavors.

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Photo of Skrumpy
3.56/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber in color, thin head with little lacing. Aroma is pine, herbs, and malt. The flavor is very hoppy, herbs, peppercorn, pine, and grapefruit. Resinous mouthfeel with a lingering bitterness. Overall a decent beer.

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Photo of lbloom
4.09/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened 46 days from bottling date.

A: Dark gold, minimal head. Lacing is thick and sticky. Hasn't moved a millimeter over the last thirty minutes. Lacing is beautiful, otherwise the appearance is typical for a DIPA with this sort of ABV.

S: Piney hops, sweet malt, honey, wildflowers. Sweet yet thick and resinous.

T: Hop taste is muted but powerfully bitter. The bitter pucker lingers for twenty or thirty seconds after each sip. It is resinous and oily and strong. Piney and rich. A powerful malt backbone keeps the bitterness in check at the beginning. For the first few seconds, one could be deceived into thinking this wasn't a huge hop bomb. Then the pine and grapefruit rind blows up and takes over. No alcohol taste whatsoever, it hides completely under the rich malts and dank oily bitterness.

M: Thick and sweet. Stops short of being syrupy, but definitely a heavy and rich beer. Well carbonated. Pleasant but not outstanding in any respect.

O: This is far from the hoppiest beer I've ever had, but it has a unique ability to linger. Enormous beer. As far as wide-release DIPAs are concerned, you can't go wrong with Hoptimum. A classic that proudly represents the West Coast tradition throughout the country.

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Photo of Lucular
2.15/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2

Had on tap. Something must have gone wrong with the storage or serving of this beer since it smelled like manure. Straight-up, barnyard driving past the cows manure. The taste wasn't similarly tainted but it was overly sweet and not very good overall.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a single 12 oz bottle at The Malt Shoppe in Milwaukee. The bottle stamp indicates this was packaged two months ago. Poured at slightly above refrigerator temperature into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a deep ruddy copper, just slightly hazy, with an inch of light tan head that sticks around for a bit, falls to a healthy film and ring, and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Profuse, lazy visible carbonation.

S: Sweet caramel malts intermingle with fruit hop notes of ripe tropical and stone fruit--there's some citrus, melon, and raisin coming through, as well. There are earthy tones and some cracked pepper. The whole bouquet is a bit muddled--none of the fruits strike me as fresh-smelling, and nothing particularly stands apart from the rest.

T: Caramel malt and ripe stone fruit right out of the gates--a bit of raisin in there, too. This one has a nice balance between the malts and hops at the outset. The middle brings on greater intensity of hop flavor, with tropical fruit and citrus taking more of the center stage, and some of that earthiness from the nose. The malts continue to work to keep things in balance. Even in the middle, there's an emerging warming alcohol flavor coming through. The back end continues the aforementioned fruit flavors, with bitter citrus rind becoming the dominant note by the end--it's quite resinous into the aftertaste. That alcohol flavor does grow into the end, but it never becomes overbearing.

F: Medium-bodied, this one is extremely smooth and creamy, thanks to a nice level of carbonation. Although it has a huge ABV, that carbonation keeps things light and lively on the palate. Quite drinkable for a beer this big.

O: I enjoyed this one a good deal. While I would've liked a bit fresher fruit profile in the nose and the taste, this one still brings a ton of flavor and nice balance, especially for a beer with an ABV above 10%. Certainly not a beer to be pounded, it can be put away without a ton of work. I definitely recommend giving this one a try.

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Photo of TripleSun
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Could only find a single at my local beer mart poured into a pint glass

L - Amber color with a frothy head
S - Very hoppy and has a clean smell
T - Has a malty kick in the back, almost candy-ish without it being disgusting
F - Feels more like an 8% even though it is over 10% ABV, medium-full bodied

My first whole-cone beer and it won't be my last! I'm already dreaming of find another next time.

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Photo of MJSFS
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The aroma on this beer reminds me of cheesy breadsticks. It's very malty and peppery. It is very bitter but the caramel malt flavors really balances it out well. It has a very creamy mouthfeel. I'd buy this year round if it were available.

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Photo of dalizzie
4.31/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle (pkged 5/5/16)

(L) The color was burnt orange. Creamy 2 finger head and long-lasting lacing.
(A) Smell was resinous with fruit salad and citrus.
(T) Taste was like aroma, but more prevalent. Super hoppy with nice malt backbone. Good bite. Citrus, grass, and pine coming through also. Great blend of flavors.
(F) Medium bodied and smooth considering ABV. Dry finish.

With so many aromas and flavors coming through, this felt really balanced. They're all there, but not competing like with some other beers. Very drinkable considering high alcohol.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nearly clear fiery orange with an off-white medium-sized head. Head retention is so-so, with a good line of lacing starting early before disappearing later in the glass. The aroma is wonderfully wholesome. It's filled with notes of resin, dank, and floral notes. Sierra Nevada tends to have a more subdued aroma and flavor profile, but this certainly delivers great and boisterous notes in both categories. The flavor profile has plenty of resin hop notes, with additions of dank, pine, citrus, and floral. The hop notes are just enormous, and yet they remain balanced and in-check which keeps this 10% beer easy to drink. Mouth feel is bold, filling, and sticky. It has a medium-thick consistency that proves fun to drink, and thankfully fills you up before you can consume too much. Overall, it's a wonderfully hoppy beer. Despite the presence of hops, it does not seem "bitter" or overwhelming, which is a nice note for those who think hops are only bitter and always overwhelming. It certainly has plenty of character and depth to keep a seasoned IPA drinker thinking, and yet enough simplicity to smash a bottle or two in the parking lot of your favorite sports stadium before a game.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of IndianaDrinker
3.54/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I wanted this to be great, and it was ok at best. I feel the price point and alcohol content get this pushed up higher than it should be. It is strong and flavorful but it just doesn't work out that well. If you have the option get resin or dogfish.

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Photo of A20sp
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from a pilsner glass, poured from a 12 oz bottle. 40F

L:- Mainly a medium amber, to a lighter almost gold hue depending on the lighting and depth of the glass (I like pilsner glasses for giving a good representation of this). A one finger head which settles shortly. Leaves a lovely lacing.
S:- Hoppy with a light dankness (I think of a blend of good pot and cat-pee), a pleasing mixture of grass and subtle citrus. Has a present malty aftertone.
T:- A nice marriage of various citrus with the added touch of pine (rather light in contrast compared to other beers from this company). A bit of sweet malt and grass/bread combo which plays more prominently as the beer adjusts.
F:- Smooth yet lightly sticky. A good feel to compliment the bitterness. Medium build with a "heavy" effect thanks to a pleasing yet present amount of carbonation.

:- I always enter a new beer with a blind eye. After drinking 2 of the four pack (and gifting one to a true drink connoisseur) I poured my remaining single into a glass to enjoy proper. I was pleased, there is a big difference to enjoyment when drinking from a glass cup than bottle. I enjoyed this double and would drink again. It had a good taste and view to cover the 10%abv well. My favorite drink from the Sierra Nevada lineup.

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Photo of Oldejoe
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Looks. Light golden Amber with a rich tan head.
Smell. Clear, high-toned hops, possibly a bit citrusy, mostly just nose clearing.
Taste. Quick citrus pucker, mid-mouth malty fullness, a slightly dry finish.
Feel. Medium heavy richness, nice bold puckeriness.
Overall. Good rich imperial characteristics, though not that special in aroma or taste.

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Photo of matcris
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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Photo of dgmirelli
3.56/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

look - big head and very carbonated, smell was citrus and fruit, taste was very alcoholy for my liking and very carbonated. feel was again loaded with carbonation. this is too much for me.

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Photo of oldn00b
4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeous beer - fat foamy head with the stickiest lacing I've seen in a long time. Amazing retention. Clear, amber. Beautiful.

Nose is a bit light really - tropical and citrus notes but not a ton going on which was surprising.

Flavor is fantastic. Big, resin, piney bitter up front and finish, nice spice and strong malt presence for some balance but holy hell this is a big DIPA. Not just a bitter bomb but a bit juicy, a hint of onion and grassy notes.

Feel is great - nice and abrasive but in the good way. Well rounded with a completely full feel. Really a world class brew here - fantastic job.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

pours amber with a thick head, so far so great.

smell is caramel malt and heavy hops.

taste is good, heavy malt and hops in this. goes down smooth for 10.4% but is a heavy beer for sure.

not bad but nothing special. a damn good beer

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Great looking beer with thick malty base to carry a really intense hop load. Its got a pretty thick, sticky mouthfeel that actually balances out the beer really well. The booze is present in the nose, but it's not off-putting and this things drinks really easily.

If I'm getting picky, I'd like to see the nose a little cleaner, but its got a nice bold smell to it that lets you know there's some serious bitterness coming. Well done.

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
1.93/5  rDev -53%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

L: Pours an orange color with a one finger beige head. Leaves almost no lacing.

S: Smells like Nyquil cough syrup, absolutely not what I was expecting. It has this very chalky, overtly sweet, cherry aroma.

If I really stick my nose deep down into the glass I can pick up notes of oranges, alcohol, and wet dog. It still sorta smells like a double IPA so I guess I won't take off too many points on the aroma but god damn, it's not what I would call appetizing.

T: The taste unfortunately follows the nose. Maybe my palate isn't advanced enough for this offering.

I'm just getting more of that acrid, chalky, terribly sweet cherry flavor. Maybe I can't get any other flavors because I'm drinking it slightly chilled? But no, even when it warms up, I'm still getting medicinal notes of cough syrup, but at least it's not as powerful as it is when the beer is ice cold.

F: A one and done beer in my opinion.

It's completely unsessionable. It's incredibly sweet, dry and chalky, not to mention high in ABV (although you can't feel it as you drink it) so at least the beer hides it's alcohol content well - but two or more of these and you'll definitely be borderline, if not completely drunk.

O: Thank you Sierra Nevada, but I'll have your Pale Ale over this any day. I'm glad I got a chance to at least give this a try, but this is no Stone Enjoy By or 90 minute.

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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 StoutElk_92
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle dated 04/13/16

Pours burnt orange amber with a creamy khaki colored head. Smells like pineapple upside down cake, juicy papaya and mango, orange, mild caramel and toffee sweetness, with some floral earthy pine and grass. Tastes slightly boozy with some dark caramel malt, toffee, mild cracker, bitter floral pine, woody earthy grass, sticky pine sap resin, papaya, mango, orange, pineapple, and grapefruit. Feels medium bodied, slick and smooth with low carbonation. Overall a really nice double IPA.

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Photo of havron
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle with a packaged date of 05/06/15, so over seven months later it's likely this specimen has lost some of its intended whole-cone freshness. Nevertheless, here we go...

Poured into my trusty Sixpoint Resin snifter. Seemed appropriate.

L: Pours a slightly hazy deep orange with a thin white head leaving fantastic sticky lacing down the glass.

S: Biscuity caramel malts is the main aroma, much like Dogfish Head 90 Minute. Floating above that base are some fruity esters and a mild but healthy dose of resin.

T: BAM! The intense bitterness of this wicked brew makes you wake up and take notice, but not before giving you a bit of a ride first. Starts out rather sweet, with caramel and biscuits from the malt leading to fruity floral hop flavors progressing through to dank piney resins. The bitter crescendo builds quickly about a third of the way into the taste and lingers long as sticky hop resins coat the tongue. The alcohol is covered well, primarily on account of all the hop intensity. Quite an experience, and surprisingly enjoyable despite the palate thrashing.

F: Medium-full, this is a real sipper and roller. Solid carbonation without being overly aggressive in an attempt to steal the show from the massively bitter hops.

O: This was a fun experience which I fully endorse as a must-try for all hopheads. I've grown to become a bit of a glutton for hop punishment, and this bitter brew did not disappoint. Beyond the novelty of extreme bitterness, it was tasty and well-balanced to boot. A+ effort from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of Zephan
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I sought this one out off a friends recommendation. A little on the overly strong bitter taste for my liking but a quality dipa nonetheless. That 10.4% is well masked and will getcha

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Photo of katybee
3.66/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Great entry from a major brewer into the craft marketplace.

Beautiful clear orange amber color, although the thin cream head quickly disipated.

Although you can taste the grapefruit, there's only a hint of scent; everything about this beer is flavor.

Medium bodied, and lightly creamy texture, it's great sipped and rolled around the palate.

The pungent grapefruit bitterness predominates, but with a bittersweet character... It's certainly not a grassy dry beer like a Guinness, or as bitter as some British bitters. Although it packs a strong punch, like hop Czar, it's somewhat one-dimensional for me. Only the lightest biscuit malting, and any pine, rose or fruit aspects are very, very subtle. And yet the high ABV is well-hidden in flavor. It is a flavorful, strong beer, to tickle the back of your tongue...

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