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 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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Photo of thepenguin
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 8/20/12

L: A very deep copper-amber. Pretty clear but tiny bits of sediment in suspension.

S: A delightful clean citrusy hop blast with strong malt backbone. Grapefruity hops, bisquity malt.

T: A tremendous hoppiness with palate-shredding bitterness. With 100 ibu’s, this one is not for the faint of heart as it can be a bit overbearing. Some bready yet clean maltiness balances the flavor out somewhat, but perhaps not enough. Hops are certainly on the citrusy side, giving notes of grapefruit, lemons, and bitter orange. On a down note, the booze comes through in the flavor quite a bit.

F: Full body, moderate carbonation, a good deal alcoholic warmth. The mouthfeel is chewy.

O: This one was a hop bomb if I’ve ever had one. But with such extreme bitterness, it could have used more malt to balance it out. A quality DIPA, but a bit abrasive.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.11/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From bottle, Pours a hazy orange amber with off white head. Aroma is pine, floral and biscuits. Taste has sweet malt backbone. Heaps pine resin. Some floral and earthy notes too with a little caramel. Just a hint of citrus. A really bitter IPA. very nice.

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Photo of JasW
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

As we all know, the key to a good IIPA is balance -- balance between being ridiculously if not insanely hopped, and cloying malt sweetness. Balance achieved here. This is a world class IIPA.

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

I had higher expectations for the hoptimum....especially from sierra nevada. This beer fell into the trap of most Imperial ipas....heavy on the sweet malt to counter the high ibus from the hops. The beer poured a hazy orange with white head that is leaving some lace. The scent is sweet with some bitter hops coming through. The taste is very sweet at the start then finishes bitter. The Mouthfeel is fuller in body with good carbonation. Overall it's ok.

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

12 fl.oz. bottle. Packaged on 2015-04-17. Poured into tulip.

A: Clear cropper. Poured with moderate amount of foam that was well retained.
S: Grapefruit, somewhat orange peel. Biscuits. Some sweet and caramel notes.
T: Ouch! I was punched. The flavors were so strong. Caramel, moderate sweet, orange juice. Medium to high bitterness. Dry finish.
M: Full bodied.
O: As an IPA whose ABV is as high as 10%, the alcohol hiding was done quite well. The flavors were so strong yet well balanced with the hops and malts. If the drinkability is concerned, however, I think I could not drink it on regular basis. Nevertheless, it's still a excellent brew I would like to drink it occasionally.

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Photo of mtvolkens
4.56/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This poured real easy with a perfect head into my Spiegelau Dogfishhead IPA glass. Aromas of pine, sweet caramel, and pear are apparent to me. This beer is so delicious. Big hops on the front end, quickly subtled with a sweet pear note and a touch of malt, ending with a huge bitter back end, but not so much to leave your mouth feeling gross, just a real nice mouth feel. Phenomenal IPA, and a prime example of what a balanced and complex Double IPA can look like.

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Photo of RMD579
4.85/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.
This is a ridiculously good beer. Definitely my favorite IPA that's readily available. It's quite bitter, but not too harsh due to the great malt backbone. Lots of complexity in the taste. Pine, hop resin, mango and other tropical fruits, maybe some hints of citrus. There's plenty going on but it blends so well together. Very hoppy, very refreshing, and not boozy at all despite being 10.4%! The mouthfeel on this one is perfect, it's hard to stop drinking. It's just a beautifully balanced beer for how hoppy it is and for how much alcohol is involved. I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed. I'll be keeping this in my fridge for sure.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass: color is copper, head is off white with great lacing and nice lingering top.

Smell is resinous, spruce/pine, floral, lighter citrus like hop flavors, then a touch of clean, toasted malt.

Taste continues the resinous character, a bit sharp but totally expected at 10+% ABV, but then the malt backbone comes through and softens the flavor; hops are similar to the aroma, floral/pine/lighter citrus; malt is toasted with no real caramel sweetness but more of a sweet flavor to soften the bitterness.

Mouthfeel is incredible for a beer of this strength, it is bitter and biting, but the malt backbone balances but without any cloying presence. Incredible presence, strength and depth of qualities.

Overall, a great beer, one of the best IIPA's out there, but unique in that the there is a sweeter/maltier backbone and incredibly smooth bitterness.

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Photo of JPowell712
4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Another hop head dream come true. All the hops you could want in a beer. This was a great aggressive full on kick you in the face beer clocking in at 10.4% ABV and 100 IBU's. You get the hop bitterness and citrusy flavors and one hell of a burn going down. This is one of the best of you crave the hops!

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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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