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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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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

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Reviews: 1,453 | Ratings: 6,237
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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Photo of GeorgiaFunkadelic
4.51/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bought this 4-pack 12 oz bottles ($10.19) mainly because it boasts of a hurricane of flavor. Wow, this did not disappoint. Lots going on here, lots of hops!
Dark amber color, little head, with a little bitterness. Of course, the 10.4% will make you happy! This is a high quality beer, and not for amateurs.

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Photo of hasher
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L orange color, white head
S sweet hoppy smell
T a bit bitter after taste. Little boozy
F light carbonation, not flat

Good double IPA, better than most. Booze masks some of the fruit flavors.

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Photo of scurfie
4.99/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought a 4 pack. Couldn't wait to try it so opened bottle and took a slow drink. I've enjoyed many double IPAs, and this is one of the best. Definitely will buy this again. Reminds me of their Torpedo, only not as bitter yet has that hops feel and bite. Really love this beer.

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Photo of Hoptimistic_Pissamesstic
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 out of a pint glass at room temperature. this year seems maltose than years past. Smells dense tropical but also dense malt tastes sweet tropical,there are hints of berries. Take torpedo ipa and double and more every aspect. this is a treat each year!

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Photo of MarkLinton1
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This may be the highest rating I have ever posted. Incredible Imperial IPA. You will want to approach this beer the same way you would a glass of fine Kentucky bourbon. A definite sipper not only because of the 10.4 ABV...because of all the flavors going on. Grapefruit, tropical fruit, herbs, carmel and some flowery notes. Lots of hop bitterness yet extremely smooth and earthy with a dry finish. Each sip you will discover a new flavor. An absolute bucket list beer for any true hop head.

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Photo of TomMorris
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark apricot with about a finger of creamy head. The nose is aggressively hoppy and brings to mind ripe tropical fruits and very oily pine resin. There's definitely some discernible alcohol as well. The taste follows the nose with an explosion of bright fruity flavors and thick resin that leaves quite a bit of bitterness on the tongue directly following consumption. There's not much of a malt presence, which detracts a little from the beer's overall balance and mouthfeel (which is slightly thinner than I want it to be) but as a hop-lover, Sierra Nevada really delivered with this one. A pleasant surprise for me, and something I would definitely purchase again.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

700th full review. Purchased while in the US and excited to see this available. Served just above fridge temperature into a snifter.

Appearance - Gorgeous coppery coloured beer, that is clear with some visible carbonation. Nice finger and change of head, with impressive retention, staying around for more than few minutes. Nice wall of lacing that sticks to the edge of the glass.

Smell - a hint of mango and melon sweetness, accompanied by robust heat and spicy notes. Plenty of resinous hops follow that up with a steady caramel backbone.

Taste - resinous hops, sticky caramel, some bright fruit flavours of melon and mango. Then boom, a massive hops overload rips onto the tongue, leaving behind a very bitter flavor, and some slightly roasty and spicy flavours. Boozy finish, but this is a DIPA that is tasty. Mouth puckering finish.

Mouthfeel - smooth, lightly carbonated, and very syrupy in that it will stick to your mouth.

Overall - a very well crafted beer that deserves it's place amount the most intense of the style. Tastes like a beer that is close to the advertised ABV. Good stuff, enjoyed this more than some of my other recent Forays into the style such as RuinTen.

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

Poured into IPA glass. The color is a beautiful amber orange with thick, milk-white and thick lacing. The smell is classic IPA: citrus, pine, and floral hops. Big, hoppy citrus taste but with a touch of malty sweetness at the finish. Really, really good. Medium-bodied with really nice carbonation. For 10.4 ABV, it's pretty easy to drink. This is easily one of my favorite IPA's.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter tasting glass.

A= Golden color with a bit of orange tint. Off white head appears creamy and settles fast into ring around the glass. Tons of clingy lacing sticks to the glass.

S= Big and deep hop aroma that comes across as earthy/piney/resinous with a bit of citrus.

T= Like the aroma, big and bold hop flavors, resinous and dank with pine, earthy grass, grapefruit and other citrus. Good amount of bitterness and malt flavors.

M= Heavy side of medium body with moderate carbonation.

O= Big and bold with a ton of things to like. Not messing around with its blast of hop aroma and flavors.

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Photo of ScrewBud
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L - typical IPA, not much head
S - great! Nice mix of citrus and pine, very unique
T - like it smells plus a little alcohol
F - refreshing, a little thick
O - unique hoppy flavor makes this a must try

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Photo of rjd722
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 Edition, poured into my spiegelau IPA glass. Huge, frothy head that hung around for quite a while and had phenomenal lacing throughout. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the enormous head, nice addition to the beer overall. Golden-amber color with big resinous pine and citrus aroma. The taste strikes a great balance between having a big hoppy taste, but still a powerful (and very present) malt backbone that hangs with you. The aftertaste is essentially a battle between hops and sweet malty goodness, will satisfy fans of both DIPA camps. Excellent brew and a shoutout to my brother who recommended it to me!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.51/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. "Hoptimum"
12 oz. brown glass bottle, coded but without a freshness date: "041715 C1 14:44"
$3.49 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Absolutely stunning! In the past I've heard complaints that Sierra Nevada wasn't making hoppy-enough beers, and then when they stepped up their game, the same complaints were repeated again! Well, that's over - this Imperial IPA is about as hoppy as you can get while still retaining some modicum of dignity through balance and polished elegance (which is what Sierra has always done). It's not intended to claw your face and shred your tastebuds, although it is headed somewhat in that direction with it's 100 IBUs! As you progress through the glass you'll find that it changes as you adapt to certain flavors and become open to others. That journey will most likely be different for each imbiber, and even for each new serving that they try, but some notes that it will most likely include are: grapefruit, papaya, pineapple, pine/pine resin, lavender, apple, soft pear, dull herbs, rose, melon, orange/tangerine, and lemon. It's a sipper to be sure, and at 10.4% abv. that's not just because of the hops! Absolutely worth trying!

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