Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,453 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,453 | Ratings: 6,237
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.

 898 characters

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

 286 characters

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.

 1,031 characters

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.

 950 characters

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.

 1,433 characters

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.

 1,403 characters

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

 371 characters

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.

 729 characters

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.

 1,002 characters

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

 381 characters

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.

 581 characters

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.

 674 characters

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.

 674 characters

Photo of sjverla
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nose: Sweet fruit and a little boozy. Blueberries and grapefruit. Crisp malt aroma. Gentle pine, but a damn lot of citrus.

Appearance: Thin head, but a lovely copper-amber. Nice clarity and inviting color.

Taste: Grapefruit! A little boozy in the nose. Nice resiny, big bitterness. Excellent clean taste. Very earthy hoppiness that fills the mouth. Lively feel on the gums and smooth to the back.

Overall: Awesome. Hops hops hops hops.

 438 characters

Photo of TexIndy
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 24oz bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Bottled on date of Dec 17, 2010. Was a slightly hazy copper color with good carb streams. Had a large foamy, white head that settled into a good collar, foam center and film covering the rest. Great lacing with lots sticking.

The aroma was awesome with a good balance of piney and citric hops with a sweet, pale malt. Can smell the bitter. The taste was excellent. A great hop flavor with some good bitterness but not tongue shredding balanced with the sweet. Full mouthfeel with a bit of oily texture. Good carbonation and aftertaste. Can taste and feel the 10.4% ABV though.

Overall, an excellent ADIPA that I highly recommend. Great flavor and aroma with a good balance but enough of a bitter bite to let you know it's an ADIPA. Avail here in TX but hard to find. Shout out to Rick at LoneStar Beverages for hooking me up. Rotation - probably only shot at this one this year but would buy several if I could. [R;Y]

 971 characters

Photo of sholland119
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a crystal clear golden with a tinge of apricot with a generous, pillowy off white head. Huge sticky lacing.

S-Pine and apricot, nicely resiny with a good amount of sweetness. Sweetness is mostly the hops but some nice malt undertones as well.

T-Flavor is much more resiny than sweet and much boozier than I might have hoped. Very hot, tasty yes, but the boozy heat is very present.

M-Surprisingly light given the heaviness of the ABV and hop bite. Tongue coating and sllightly oily but somehow not wearying to drink.

D-A very enjoyable beer, but a bit too much of a sipper for the style.


 604 characters

Photo of jpmclaug
2.65/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle poured into my Duvel tulip

Orange amber body with a white head on top, plenty of lacing. Smells citrusy and piney with a hint of sweetness. Piney hops dominate the flavor, an offputting booziness is present as well. Citrusy notes present as well but wow is this thing sweet and boozy. medium to heavy body, really syrupy.

Meh overall I'm kinda disappointed in this. Way too boozy for my liking. I'm also a fan of less piney DIPA's. Oh well worth trying! I wish I was drinking a Southern Hemisphere instead.

 515 characters

Photo of Sean9689
3.61/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at WLV Liquors, thanks Kristina! Poured from 22oz bomber into nonic.

A - Pours a copper orange color, off-white head, some nice lacing along the sides of the glass, and a thin cap on top and some bubbles here and there as well.

S - Huge dank hoppy syrupy sweetness, huge sugary malts, juicy grapefruits, slight citrus. Bottom line, tons of juicy hops and malty sweetness mixed in with lots of dankness.

T - Lip-puckering bitterness, slight sweetness, huge hoppy notes, my tastebuds are turned inside out...holy crap! The alcohol is evident from the very start, 10.4% right in your face, no doubt about it.

M - Medium, syrupy feel, good carbonation.

D - Wow, this is a hop/alcohol bomb...pretty sure I wouldn't be able to finish an entire bomber myself. Luckily, I'm splitting it. The alcohol is a little too evident and the syrupy notes are kind of off-putting as well. Good, not great.

 908 characters

Photo of Phelps
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the tap at Tops, in a tasting snifter.

Pours a pale tarnished gold with absolutely perfect clarity, topped with a dense and creamy one-finger head of sandy tan. It collapses only very slowly, leaving an incredibly thick and sticky ring clinging to the sides, along with lots of large-bubbled lace.

Smells sweeter and maltier than I usually get with Sierra Nevada. Lots of caramel soaked grapefruit, pine, honey, bready malt, some grainy alcohol, maybe some mango. There's an enticing sweetness here playing off the hops, and it creates a nice balance.

The increased maltiness continues. It tastes almost like an aged DIPA wherein the malt has been allowed to develop. Complex honey and sweet orange liqueur with grapefruit, rose petals and grass. It's richly malty and also very boozy, searing the nostrils.

Rather heavy and syrupy, as expected. Medium-full body, viscous and liqueur-like in mouthfeel. Lightly fizzy. A striking alcohol burns the nose, though it's well-masked in the flavor.

Hoptimum is not the most drinkable DIPA due to its heaviness of feel and booze. It is very flavorful, however, and is worth one or two return visits. Or three.

 1,174 characters

Photo of jeffjeff1
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My wife picked this up for me.

Appearance- Appearance is a clear coppery color with a pretty good size head.

Smell- Smell is mainly piney hops.

Taste- Piney hops. Hops are mainly all I got which I like. Good Hop bite

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- I thought this was very good. Good hop bite. Wish I could get more

 327 characters

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes scrawled on 2/9/11.

Hoptimum (how long will it be until all possibilities for hop-named beers are exhausted?) appears a gorgeous amber-gold with about one finger of head after I empty about half of the 24 ouncer. The carbonation bubbles move quickly up my snifter. The lacing is quite, well, lacy and racy.

Very resiny pine is the biggest impression on my nostrils, with dry grapefruit right behind. Earthy and grassy hops make their presence know for good measure. A little bit of malt sweetness is evident, but hops are THE STAR of this particular beer show.

A bit sweeter of a taste than the smell had led me to believe touches down on my palate. Don't get me wrong, dry pine resin, and grapefruit hops still rock and roll, but a sweet caramel malt presence fills in the middle of the taste between bursts of hops. The finish is a very back-of-the-palate resiny sizzler, while the aftertaste is very vividly green grassy.

The mouthfeel is quite biting throughout from the copious hops, but that bite is juxtaposed by a hearty, medium to full body for an Imperial IPA. This is right in my wheelhouse for the MF of a big hop bomb brew. The finish on my palate is dry resin.

Maybe it's just me right now, but I do not detect much booze in this guy. I find it drinkable on both counts; it goes down easily and is very titillating to my palate. I love hops and these are just what I was looking for- grassy, earthy, citrus-y, pine-y, and resiny. One big YUM from me.

 1,492 characters

Photo of Vineyardselite
4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, rust-copper color with a thick, off-white head. Head retention is excellent!Aroma is fully of hops, hops and more hops! Very floral, earthy and spicy smelling. Big hop taste. Again, very floral and almost medicinal. Malts are there but not over powering. Finishes with a lingering bitterness.

Surprisingly full in the mouth.

 341 characters

Photo of bishopdc0
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful head forms very golden amber color very transparent

The nose is hops light but nice citrus grass and spice little of everything

The taste ups the hops. But it is mostly spicy hop flavor it start with a slight malt but becomes all hops spicy and ends bitter but light nice

 284 characters

Photo of HipHop5
3.18/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Clean copper color with a two finger creamy head that retain quit some time.

Lacing is good on a tulip.

Yeasty bread like first sniff, than a caramel malt sweet cloud escape of the glass on second sniff. It's very different from any IIPA I had lately. I am guessing that few low AA hops have been boiled, but no dry hopping signs here.
I bit hot on first sip, but the caramel malt sweetness takes over very quickly here. Thick medium to full body for this style of beer. Oily in the back. Has very havy high AA in back bone .The bitterness of the hops can barely sink in my taste buds because the viscosity . I wish Sierra Nevada lost few ABV and decreased considerably the OG because it has a great potential. After a 22 OZ bomber hop flavor sinks in after taste.

The very low carbonation doesn't help much the overall sirupy mouth feel.

More for a cold evening around the fire place than a mild California night:) If I forget this is an IIPA, I could actually enjoy it better because I was probably expecting something hopier than this. I really hope Sierra Nevada does make this seasonal brew a few notch less sweet next year. I'll be trying the 2012 for sure.

 1,167 characters

Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.4/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: light copper color, perfectly clear, nice white head and lacing. Served in a snifter.
S: caramel malts, pine, grapefruit, some tropical fruit.
T: big resiny bitterness and just over medium caramel malt sweetness. Hard to figure if this is on the malty or sweet side for a dipa.
M: med to full, well carbonated, bitterness lingers.
D: this reminded me of a slightly less sweet, slightly hoppier version of firestone double jack.
have had this since-the hops have that simcoe onion/garlic/rotting banana thing going on which i don't care for.

 544 characters

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.11 out of 5 based on 6,237 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!