Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

6,258 Ratings
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA

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

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 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: 6,258
Photo of jwinship83
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at the bavarian lodge. i was excited to find this after not being able to get a bottle. served in a house snifter. review from notes.

A- its brought to me in a 10oz snifter. a translucent and very bright copper colored body with a small bright white head on top. small rings of lacing get left behind.

S- the first thing i can pick up in the nose are the hops. good. lots of resiny pine and grapefruit. after that i get some floral and lemony notes. finally, theres a decently strong caramel malt presence which adds a definite sweetness.

T- the taste starts out with sweet caramel malts and then moves onto the hops. lots of the floral notes i could smell come to the front. lesser amounts of the grapefruit and pine. the strong malt adds a level of balance and sweetness to this.

M- medium bodied and well carbonated. nice and bitter. the aftertaste could be a little drier.

D- this beer isnt what i thought it was going to be. it showed more balance than i would have liked from a west coast style DIPA. it was still easy to finish my glass though.

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Photo of ThreeDimesDown
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a white head that left some lacing. (poor pour with little room for a head from the bartender...)

Aromas of citrus hops (grapefruit) and malts (light caramel).

Taste was nicely balanced with big hops and a strong, but not overbearing malt presence. Grass notes and toffee sweetness detected.

Mouthfeel was medium, slightly sticky, a bit dry. ABV % was well hidden. Tiny bubble carbonation fit well with the brew.

Overall, I enjoyed the brew. Was expecting a "hop bomb" but was pleasantly surprised by the balance and subtlety of the flavors.

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Photo of tchenery
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Excellent deep straw color with a great slightly off white head that is already lacing.

Smells of spicy, piney hops. Pretty much what you would expect but not too much. It's almost minty in smell because they're so earthy and cutting.

Bitter bitter bitter. It's a warm one too due to the alcohol content. It's not too thick, but it's definitely resiny and sticky. A must for hopheads.

The great thing about this beer is it doesn't weigh too heavy on the palate. It's a 10 percenter, but you wouldn't know it right off. It's definitely balanced for what it is and probably the smoothest of these crazy Imperieal IPA's these days. It's the least barleywine-like one I've had so far and that's a good thing.

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Photo of capeannbass36
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured from 2011 24 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Amber, orange color. Clear. 1 inch cream colored head that faded with 5 minutes. A little lacing left behind.

S- Citrus, hops

T- Citrus, a little malt, slightly bitter.
Almost an aspirin aftertaste...almost, but not as bad as a Weyerbacher Double Simcoe.

M- Slight to medium carbonation. Smooth.

D- fairly strong and potent. Wouldn't drink more than 2 at one sitting. enjoyable change for my palate after a long winter of mostly imperial stouts.

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Photo of avalon07
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a growler to a tulip glass. Had an amber color and a slightly hazy texture. There was an inch of fairly long-lasting head. Very good lacing.

S: A surprisingly subtle smell of hops, malt, and citrus.

T: Tasted of hops (predictably, but also had a huge dose of malt - more than you usually see in a DIPA. There was also a bit of citrus mixed in for good measure. Alcohol content is occasionally noticeable.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A solidly made, drinkable, slightly different DIPA.

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Photo of Stoicfc
2.76/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

C: What is expected from a beer of this sort, nice common pale coloring.
S:Nice smooth, nothing special.
T:Hits you upside the head, but not exactly in a good way. A really off balanced brew that tried too hard to be cool.
Overall this one was not yet ready. Needs a bit more balancing. I would definitely never have this again & I'm a completely leveled bop head!

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Photo of Shaw
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I missed this beer in bottles, but had to stop by Mr. Beery's to have it on tap.

It's a glowing amber/orange in color, without much of a head.

Hoppy and alcoholic aroma.

Very good taste, that's bitter, hoppy and malty. I prefer this take on big IPAs instead of the drier versions out there.

Slick and glassy body, but that's to be expected from a beer of this strength.

Overall an excellent beer and a must-try for hopheads.

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Photo of mjtiernan
2.99/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It's basically a Torpedo on crack cocaine.

A: Pours with a smaller head than I anticipated. Pale in color. Very little lacing.

S: Scent is nice...caramel and pineapple.

T: Taste smacks you upside the head with malt...a bit too hot for my preference. Malt provides some sweetness followed by tongue-drying hops...mostly pine with citrus playing the supporting role. Finishes with a warming alcohol burn. A "winter warmer" DIPA which is kind of weird.

M: Texture is oily with not a whole lot of carbonation.

D: Not really my style. Wish I was drinking one of their Hemisphere beers instead. I drank one glass and will save the rest of the bomber for another cold night.

I'd give the label a 5 if i could :)

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
4.85/5  rDev +18%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received a 22/24.oz bomber of this from a trade with BA smakawhat, so a big thanks goes out to him.

Poured into snifter a hazy but yet clear orange,with very little head that fades quickly. Quite surprised at the almost lack of head here. Small traces of tiny lacing,really small lacing that comes in little dots. Appearance is not too impressive here.

Aromas sure make up for the rather lazy outward design. Hops,hops,hops with sweet caramel malt hit the nose immediately. Very pleasant. One of the best aromas I've encountered in a while.

Hops attack first and foremost upon first sip.Excellent. Malt backbone comes through,but cannot fight the hops. Beautiful. Just what I want in a DIPA.

A medium to full-fledged heavy body, with maybe a little too much carbonation.

If you love hoppy brews like I do, then this should qualify as a masterpiece,IMO. Not too sweet, great emphasis on hops make this frighteningly drinkable for the hophead, considering the ABV.Wow.

I can only hope I can get more in the future, or soon.

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Photo of ToasterChef
3.2/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from my notes. Served in a tulip glass.

A: Cloud-like opaque orange liquid with a big cream colored and creamy looking head. A little bit of lace is left behind, along with a light coating of film.

S: Pine and citrus hops along with sugars that remind me of rock candy.

T: Brown sugar sweetness at first. Hop oils that are more oily than bitter. White grape juice and sugars. I get alcohol and bitterness as I swallow. There isn't that big bitter flavor that I find in SN Torpedo.

M: Full bodied. Medium carbonation with tiny bubbles. Some stickiness and a syrupy coat.

D: It's easy enough to drink one glass of this, but the high ABV limits multiple rounds. For me, I'm not impressed enough with this beer to have another. Perhaps my expectations were too high, or this keg was getting old (but how old could it be, this beer isn't very old), but there are a lot of better DIPA and SN beers available that I would choose over Hoptimum.

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Photo of orangesol
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bomber purchased at Shady McGrady's and poured into a snifter. Thanks to my buddy bones for purchasing this one for us to try.

A - Pours deep amber orange with a thin film of white head, dissipating down to tiny spots of head, leaving light rings of lacing down the glass.

S - Still pretty smokey in this place so this could have been a little bit better I am sure. Plenty of grassy hops, rich caramel malts, and some dulled tropical fruits. A touch too sweet for my liking, almost smells like hoppy syrup.

T - A good amount of grassy citric hops up front mix well with the caramel malt sweetness and some light grapefruit acidity. Finish is sticky sweet with plenty of lingering hop bitterness. A touch hot once it warmed up a bit. Pretty good but not the best.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Pretty heavy in the feel, almost syrup like. Tons of hop bite in the finish with a good bit of it lingering for some time.

D - Decent stuff. I liked it but I could really only have one glass. The combination of the higher ABV. and the sticky sweet feel really got to me. Still a good beer tho.

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Photo of IIKaRuII
4.64/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this thanks to Arnolds Carry Out in Willard Ohio.
Pours a light orange. With a nice khaki two finger head. retains well. see through
Smell is just what i wanted. citrus hops and light malts present. the name says it all! has a hint of spices.
drinks surprisingly smooth. Very citrusy and tart. very warm after presence. perfectly balanced... graciously bitter to the last drop.
mouthfeel is kinda oily, and thick. pleasently warm on the palate. The bitterness masks the alcohol well.
This is king of the bitterness for what i have tried. but being such a high ABV and masking of hops, this makes this thing a little scary drinkable.

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Photo of FollowedMyFolly
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is the hoppiest of hoppy hop! Probably THE most hops I have ever tasted in a beer. However, the taste is amazing. The only reason why I put "average" as my choice for drinkability is because it would knock me on my butt if I drank too much. Sierra Nevada has greatly impressed me and I will now look for similar names to compare it to!

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours an orange-copper color with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades fairly quickly to a nice ring around the glass lacing nicely.

S - Lots of citrus hops in the nose. There is also a fine amount of sweet carmel malt that breaks through and balances.

T - Starts off with a ton of citrus and piney hop flavor and bitterness. There is also some nice carmel malt flavor that breaks through. Through the middle there is even more bitterness that comes through. The finish has a blend of grassy and citrus hop bitterness and also some carmel flavor. Lingers really nicely.

M - Medium to medium-full bodied with moderate tingly carbonation. Very smooth and crisp with a really nice dry finish. Even fairly clean.

D - Very drinkable. Very nice hop profile with a lot of taste mixed in. Barely any of the alcohol flavor comes through. Nice amount of malt flavor also in there to balance.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

Appearance: Copper orange color, with 2 finger head

Smell: citrus, hops, sweet,

Taste: hops, alcohol, dry, bitter,

Mouthfeel: mild carbonation, sticky, crisp

Drinkability: Drinkable just cant have to many of these the alcohol sneaks up on you.

the CPJ

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Photo of betsona
3.87/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Josh, the alleykatking. 24oz stubby bottle poured into an 8oz tulip. I could not figure out how to figure out the bottle date of 0 351216.

A- Pours a light strawish amber color. After moderate pour resulted in two finger off white head. Dissipates into thing film covering. Moderate lacing on the glass. Constant carbonation bubbles occur throughout drink.

S- Grapefruit smell with a piney resin undertone. Light sweet amber malt comes through as a small undertone to the hops.

T- Plenty of resiny goodness. After that, it seemed hot. Had a lot of alcohol taste to it. Bypassing the heat, there is plenty of bitterness. From start to finish it is pleasantly bitter. Some sweet maltiness comes through with the bitterness. Predominantly bitter with alcohol.

M- Syrupy light to medium body with good carbonation. Though syrupy, it has a smooth easy texture.

D- Thrilled I got to try it finally. I look forward to sharing my remaining bottle with a fellow hophead. Doubt I will actively search this one out again.

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Photo of mavbrew
3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 24oz. bottle into DFH signature glass.

A: Pours an amber color with a thick, frothy off-white head that slowly dissipates and leaves a nice lacing.

S: The most obvious smell is, wait for it...Hops! Not surprising here with a name like Hoptimum. There is also hints of citrus (grapefruit) and caramel malts.

T: The taste is what you would expect from a 100 IBU beer, very hoppy up front. The hops don't fade fast either, they linger throughout. There are quick hints of the citrus which is then followed by oily resins and slight caramel malts. The finish is very dry and oily.

M: Medium bodied with decent carbonation. Feel is very dry, oily and hoppy that linger throughout.

D: Very hoppy IIPA, pretty good overall. I wouldn't say that it's top tier, but it's good. The resins seem to be a bit too bold and a little too much of an "oily" feel. Probably wouldn't get it again though if I saw it, there a much better IIPA's out there.

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Photo of kzoobrew
3.51/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bright glowing orange body, clear and free of haze. Three finger eggshell white head sits atop. Retention is impressive, heavy moth eaten lacing clings to the glass. Very good looking DIPA.

Very resinous hop aroma. Pungent pine and juicy citrus aroma. There is a bit too much caramel coming through for my likings. Grassy and citrus zest aromas are more subdued but noticeable. The aroma is pleasant and balanced but overall there just is nothing special about it.

Bitter pine and pith tear into the tongue out of the glass. Very biting pine and pith flavors right off the bat. Citrus and caramel fall in just behind before the flavor transitions back towards the biting bitterness. The malt flavor is a bit more noticeable than most DIPAs, caramel flavors are stronger. The sweetness balances the bitterness but to be honest I am not a fan of the recipe. A lighter malt body, stronger citrus flavors to combat the bitterness and you would have a winner.

Medium to medium plus body. Moderate to low carbonation though it is appropriate. Despite the sweetness the finish does end up fairly dry. Sticky resinous hop flavor coats the tongue for several minutes after.

Decent beer, though a bit disappointing Probably my least favorite from the IPA line up from Sierra Nevada. The flavor is the one aspect that is a bit off putting. All the other components are thee however. One bomber is pushing it, a glass would be good with me.

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Photo of budgood1
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out of the 24oz. stubby bottle a clear looking copper and amber colour with a respectable off white frothy head. it has definite staying power with a good deal of chunky lace. huge nose on this one...tremendous piney hop aroma with herbal earthy notes and some backdoor citrus zest. some caramel maltiness comes through but it's all hops in the nose. slick caramel like maltiness comes through first in the flavour profile, quickly supplanted by a generous dose of resiny, earth and pine hop cones. this is followed by a tongue numbing, long and lingering back end bitterness. there is a good deal of alcohol present but it seems to interact quite well with the wallop of bitterness that never seems to fade away. definitely belly warming and subsequently mind altering. it certainly has a beefed up body...sweet and oily slick but maybe just short of being too cloying. therefore the mouthfeel has a nice balance between blisteringly bitter and mouthwatering malty. drinkability is about what one would expect from such a high ABV hop bomb. in other words, don't drink this one too quickly.

well...another big, brash and bold double IPA has passed my lips, warmed my belly, scorched my palate and skewed my mental function. i guess that's why they are brewed and this one did not disappoint. i don't know if this "the ultimate whole cone hop experience"....but it's got to be close. recommended.

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Photo of zachary80
3.71/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice thick, off-white frothy head. Tons of lacing. Orange hued body

S: Very nice strong hop aroma. Floral, somewhat one-dimensional though

T: Toasted oats, bready malt with a resinous very bitter hop taste. Decent malt backbone for a hop bomb. Super long lingering bitterness

M: Sticky. Pretty thick for the style

O: Not bad, was nice to try. Not worth the premium

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.19/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

02/27/11- Had this one on-tap at Studio 35 during the Oscars at $7 a pint.
A: Clear reddish amber, constant bubbles and a steady white head. Looks good.
S: Citrus and aged cheese, pineapple, caramel and honey sweetness, and some oranges. OK. This doens't really stand out at all.
T: Orange soda to pineapple and apple sweetness that lingers. There is some gin alcohol. OK. Again, it doesn't really stand out and I'm getting the impression that this is just a sweeter, less balanced version of their pale ale.
M: Moderately syrupy, with a somewhat spritzy carbonation you wouldn't expect from its appearance.
D: OK.

Relatively lame. I'd rather spend half the money on plain, old SNPA, and I don't even really like SNPA that much.

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Photo of Stigs
3.55/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle, thanks to my buddy Edgar for this

served in a Stone Levitation glass

A - pours with about an inch of slightly creamy, fluffy just off-white colored foam. falling and covering about half the glass with some wet sticky lace. the beer is clear, dark gold in color.

S - big punch of tropical fruity hops: pineapple, grapefruit and a bit of mango. strong, assertive malt base brings a heap of caramel along. hints of bubblegum near the end.

T - hops struggle against the massive grain bill. dont get me wrong, its a Double IPA all the way...but the flavors are muddles a bit against the rich caramel sweetness. not helping at all is a big boozy bite, which both distracts and then wipes everything clean.

M - rich, almost syrupy body. carbonation is maybe a touch or two above moderate. lingering bitterness competes again with a burning alcohol.

D - well, admittedly a bit disappointed by this one. a big, boozy mess and overly sweet as well. wish the hops had more of a chance to shine.

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Photo of tlazaroff
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Bright clear orange with visible carbonation and a white head.
S: Sweeter than one would expect, though maybe the fresh hops don't come through as well.
T: Sweet upfront with a bitter backend. I get oranges, big time citrusy character, and just the right amount of bitterness.
M: Moderate carbonation and a little sticky, but not overly so.
D: High drinkability, but I love IPAs

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Photo of n2185
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a hazy golden orange with about half a finger of white head that recedes into a thin layer with some lacing.

S: sweet orange citrus up front with some pine notes on the finish.

T: taste is mostly of resiny pine at first, tingling the taste buds. There is a noticeable alcohol burn on the finish along with some resiny bitterness that doesn't linger too long.

M: medium body and carbonation that goes well with the bitterness and alcohol burn.

D: goes down fairly smooth, though the alcohol burn keeps it from being very drinkable.

Overall, a good but not great DIPA.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.88/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is very close to the most perfect brew I have ever had. I dinged it on smell because I could take more finishing hops, but there is nothing wrong with it.

If I had to find things wrong with it they would be about being "too" something. Too expensive, first off. If somebody can figure out how to make something like this and sell it cheap they can take over the beer dringking world. Too strong (but that's not a negative when it doesn't TASTE strong, and it's not Dogfish Head 120 either). Too clear (if that implied poor taste, which it doesn't).

It's just too good. I don't deserve it. You aren't worthy either, but if you have eight bucks, get yourself a bottle.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.11 out of 5 based on 6,258 ratings.
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