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 yarnbomb
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

I need to try one of these a bit closer to its home. By the time I see any, it's usually a bit powdery with its bitters. Draft is great though- it's nice to see, but rare around here.

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Photo of PolarBear3
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a golden colour with white frothy one fingered head that retains to a thin film

S - Wow..extremely hoppy, floral, herbal grapefruit, peach, pineapple, very tropical on the nose and sweet

T - Similiar to the nose, with grapefruit prominent, matched with some sweetness in caramel, toffee apple with a nice well balnced dry and slightly bitter finish

M - Low carbonation and medium bodied

O - Extremely tasty but sweet hoppy IPA that is balanced nicely. Love the dry finish and would definately recommend.

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Photo of smooth_aleing
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pour into pint glass, from bottle.

A= beautiful honey color with amber tint. Nice, frothy head with decent lacing.

S= Honey, pine, wildflowers, berries. Powerful hop punch to the nose. Sweet, toasted malt smell.

T= Wonderful hop kick. Bitterness throughout the tongue, but doesn't overwhelm. Well-balanced hops, with a very nice honey taste.

M= Lightly carbonated, light and easy to drink.

0= A wonderful double IPA. Truly great bitterness, as one would expect from an IPA. Very, very good beer.

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Photo of pinyin
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This was ok for a DIPA, but it wasnt quite what I was expecting given the $11.99 price point for a 4 pack.

Served 39F in a golbet from the bottle.

Nose is very yeasty. The famous US-05 SB California yeast. That is the scent that rings strongest to my nassal cavity. I dont quite smell any hops up front, the hop smell is very subdued, and in the background behind the ever present yeast.

Color is good and very typical for a double ipa. Dark golden bronze.

Minimalist carbonation, as is typical for a double ipa.

Mouthfeel is heavy but typical.

Taste is where Sierra Nevada did me wrong on this ale. The most present or omnipotent taste is ethyl alcohol. It is barely masked by the supposed hop additions in this ale. Yes there is a dry finish and a strong hop afterbite, but I dont taste any malts, and I really do not like the hop blend in this beer.

I really wished I had purchased Hop Hunter instead, as that tastes so much better than this, and has a better yeast, malt, hop balance.

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Photo of nickadams2
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A_Burnt orange amber in color with a thick off white head. Great retention and tons of lacing.

S_Citrus,pine, and a peppery/floral aroma.

T_Orange,honey,pine and a spicy floral finish. Really warms on the way down.

M_Full bodied,sticky and lots of carbonation.

D_Really drinkable . Very memorable DIPA.

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Photo of Star80
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours out a copperish color, with a sticky head. Not tons of lacing, but maybe the dishwasher didn't clean it well enough.

S- Smell is big resinous hops. Smell some pine, and some wild tropical scents in there as well, faint alcohol.

T- Taste is densely layered with hops. Some pine, some lemony citrus, tons of grapefruits, and some wild ass flavors, probably from Citra hops. A hoplover's wet dream for sure.

M- Mouthfeel is rich, slightly syrupy but nothing getting in the way of drinkability. Just a big hoppy beer.''

O- Overall another impressive brew from hopmasters Sierra Nevada. I've had more IPA's or DIPA's than I can count but they still do it best, using the best ingredients and some of the best brewing methods. Pound for pound one of the best brands, and in this case, beers you can buy at the store.

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Photo of mtlasley
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hoptimum hits the glass and produces and really gorgeous, deep amber coloring. It's "rich" looking for a beer that you can see through. A tall 2 finger amber head takes it's time dissipating, Lacing is nice and strong. This beer has legs. 3.75/5

Smell: Of course hops hit you first. And they take the first few hairs in your nose along with them. For as strong as the scent is, it's deep. There's bold pine, lemons, oranges, grapefruit. I get a "stiffness" here that really helps the hops make a point. Hops aren't the whole show though. The high ABV imparts a warmness that gives this brew real backbone. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: This IPA really lives up to it's Imperial tag. It's heavy. Surprisingly so. The carbonation carries things along nicely but I get a syrupy feel at the end of the mouth. It's great. Get ready to ruin your palate for the evening though. 4/5

Taste: You really have to have a few sips before you can get to the taste here. It's quite overwhelming (in a good way). Lemon, grapefruit and peach stand up front. with a tangy pine that I want more of. There's a mild warming from the alcohol that helps the hops give a real punch. And it sticks with you for quite sometime. Close your evening with this because anything else will taste like water. It's amazing. 3.75/5

Overall: Sierra Nevada has a real winner here. Of course it's hoppy but it still manages to be fruity and rich. This beer is complex AND dominating in taste. And surprisingly drinkable. At 10%ABV though, one is enough. Your palate will walk away ruined but I think the people that are buying this are well aware.. It's a top notch Imperial IPA and I couldn't be happier with my buy.

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Photo of --Dom--
4.77/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a slightly hazy copper, minimal head, doesn't stick around. Smells of strong piney hops and also sweet malt. The nose is full of sweet aroma.

All I can say about the taste is wow. It's just great. Opens up with huge piney hops, bitter grapefruit that is well in balance. The bitter is just spot on, all the right bitter flavor and none of the bad. Not to knock hopslam in any way, it's a world class beer. But this one has the hop profile I wanted to taste when I got hopslam. There is certainly a good malt presence but the hop always remains forward in this beer. It's near perfect for me.

Thick mouthfeel as to be expected. Carbonation is good. Overall, I love this beer. The flavor, the hop profile, everything about it is excellent. It's probably taking the number one spot as far as imperial IPA's go for me. Try it, you may not love it as much as I do, but it is definitely not something you want to miss.

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Photo of Qwest_35
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I picked up some Hoptimum today that is only about 1 month old, pretty fresh, so here we go. Pours almost like a lager, golden-clear, no haze at all, which is weird for a DIPA. Head is about 2 fingers of creamy tan bubbles. I would say this beer smells more in the piney-earthy realm more than the tropical fruit realm, along the lines of their Celebration Ale. This beer is all hops! Wow, bitter and boozy, but in a good way, don't look for any malt here, the malt got run out of town. So overall, I gotta say in my opinion, this beer is a bit too unbalanced, but if it's a hop experience you are looking for, than this is your beer.

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Photo of racer2k
4.82/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured the contents of my bomber into a brandy snifter glass

A - Beer pours a shiny deep amber color which creates some thin white lacing that quickly dissolves in and around the sides of the glass. The color is vibrant in this beer and is accentuated by the large snifter.

S - Very forward citrus presence with strong aromas of grapefruit, pineapple, mango and sweet tangerine. There is also a strong pine earthy tone to the beer. There is a hint of sweet toasted malt but this is not the main event. Slight boozy smell but it is very well hidden.

T - Fantastic fruity hop presence that is quite tangy to the tongue and mouth. This beer just explodes in your mouth with a burst of fruity hops which transition to a pine and earthy finish. There is an interesting sweet grapefruity flavor to this beer which is excellent. You definitely have a back end warming alcohol sensation with the 10.40% abv but the fantastic taste of this beer hides it well.

M - Moderate body with a slight resiny feel consistent with an Imperial IPA. The beer starts off like fizzy pop rocks but finishes very clean and dry at the end. There is quite a transition with this monster.

D - Fantastic beer. I have had nearly every commercially released Sierra Nevada beer in the portfolio and this is in the top 2-3 of all time. I only got my hands on (2) bombers but if given an opportunity I would have paid $100+ for a case of bombers. Outstanding beer!
D - Exceptional.

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Photo of HURTemHIZZY
3.28/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I really wanted to like this more than I did. Love Sierra Nevada, but this beer is only ok. Pours a clear amber with a nice off white head that has decent retention and leaves decent lacing behind. Smell is heavy on the malt side, with the hops showing themselves as well in the form of pine primarily, but also with hints of citrus.

The smell worried me, as it was pretty malt heavy, and this carries over to the flavor. Simply too heavy on the malt bill for a iipa imo. Caramel and bready malts almost overshadow the hops, which shouldn't happen. The hops are also fairly one dimensional, with a huge lean towards pine. I like pine resin, but I like it to complement citrus, tropicals etc. Mouthfeel is probably the best attribute of the beer. Medium body, nice level of lively carbonation. I'll revisit this, but I was a bit disappointed the first time around.

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Photo of mfavoino
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Translucent light amber color with some orange to it as well. A one finger head settles on top of the body. Lots of lacing left behind by this beer.

Smell: Incredibly pungent resiny pine scent. I've never smelled such a strong pine aroma before. Earthy, spicy, herbal, and dank.

Taste: This is a big DIPA that smacks your palate with a strong pine hop presence. Earthy and sticky hops dominate the palate, leaving a longer bitter finish. Not much of a strong malt backbone to balance it all out.

Mouthfeel: Warm alcohol to the point that I think it's too prominent. A touch too heavy in my opinion.

Overall: Interesting to say the least, and something that pine lovers will seek out. A bit too much for me and as a DIPA, I can't put this in the same league as the Hopslams and PtEs of the world.

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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 wr3ck00n
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours as a transparent coppery amber. Large but not terribly dense head with a lovely linger that leaves a thin lace.

Smell - Very fresh and crisp. Leaves me in a mind of apples, though not as much for the taste but as the texture.. if one can -smell- a texture.. hints of citrus, maybe some grapefruit. Pleasantly strong cardamom.

Mouthfeel - Caramelly smooth.. not overly dense but very flowing and filling. Tingly and lingers on the tongue.

Taste - Pretty damned enjoyable. Very hoppy, but complex with other flavors. Makes me think of apple blossoms and summer afternoons. Citrus undertones and a bitter aftertaste. Hints of burnt caramel and again with the cardamom that kind of ties it all together.

Overall - Very nice. Hoppy to be sure, but to a hop head, that's heaven. I will miss this when it takes a hiatus.

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Photo of Emnmarko
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Unfortunately this beer was enjoyed in a bottle so it looked brown.

S- Hop madness. Bitter as a old man who lost his retirement. Sour and then some. A little angry.

T- A bit overbearing. A bitter hop earthquake followed by a substantial aftershock of more bitter hops. Hops with a bitter southern drawl.

M- Heavy and moving. Powerful. Overbearing. I love bitter hops but damn son! Too medicinal for me in the long run. But I don't dare rate poorly with with the fear that I may be mugged.

O- Makes me want to cuss! A beer with attitude. A chip on it's shoulder. This beer punches babies right in the face and could care less. Rank to the point of enjoyment. Good luck!

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Photo of birderbeerer
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden amber with a white, two-finger, frothy head. Gorgeous frothy head. Decent lacing.

Piney and grapefruity aroma; pungent hops. Floral too. Very sweet smell of strong hops. Bit of apple in there too.

Taste is unique. Backing up the hops is a peaty/earthy taste that really is almost as prominent as the hops. Smoky, mesquite. The pine lingers throughout.

Chewy and sticky and the froth swirls around in your mouth. Deceptively big.

Very good. Fun to drink.

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Photo of aggiearcher13
3.86/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Orange hued and crystal clear. Not much of a head on this but that's really my fault for being too gentle in the pour. Some really nice lacing rims the glass.

S: It may be a little cold, but the aroma is a little disappointing. I get some lemon and pine with an underlying sugary note.

T: Bitter citrus peel, pine. Surprisingly lemony and quite dry.

M: Moderate to light body and low to medium carbonation. It works well, but not the best body I've ever had with this style.

D: Drinkability is middle of the road for the style I think. Better than average, quite bitter, but lacking a little bit of hop flavor and aroma that would really make it great.

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

Having seen all the hype lately about Hoptimum, I decided to grab myself a couple of bottles. Upon opening the bottle, I expected to be hit over the head with hops...but I wasn't. It's much more subtle. This is not a pine forest of hops but rather a fruity fragrant bouquet of hops. Citra is there along with someothers. Grapefruit.

The pour is nice. Golden body with a decent head that quickly evaporates. And the taste? Not bad. I don't know. For all the hype this beer has been getting lately, I expected something to rival Pliny or Citra. I wouldn't immediately peg this as an extra-ordinary DIPA.

The mouthfeel is nice and pleasant. Smooth. As others have commented, the abv is quite well hidden. 10.4%? I barely notice it. It is boozy on the first taste, but it smooths over nicely.

Overall, I had pretty high expectations for Hoptimum. I was slightly disappointed. Is it a good beer? Yes, absolutely. Is it something to go dashing out the doors and drive all over town looking for? I'm not so sure about that. Still, it is a good drink.

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Photo of Groomsy
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

24 oz. bottle, split with a friend and poured into a snifter.

Appearance: A beautiful orange/copper color with hints of amber with moderate carbonation bubbles and who-knows-what kind of residue (hop resin) in suspension, slightly hazy look. Topped by a 2-finger head of clingy ivory foam and leaves fantastic lacing.

Smell: Wowza. Big stuff going on, kinda like sticking your head in a hop warehouse. The nose gets blasted with pine and floral hops out front, the main feature, with tons of citrus and tropical fruit hanging in the balance. There's a backbone of heavy caramel malt to balance out the bitterness. Big stuff going on here, but still perfectly balanced.

Taste: Starts off with aggressive, brutal presence of pine and floral hops on the front of the palate, but neither of them are total bruisers or overwhelming. This is followed by piney/herbal notes which melt into a heavy, almost sickly sweet caramel malt presence on the palate to provide some balance. More pine notes shine in the finish with some warming from the alcohol in the finish. This is a big beer, no doubt - but it's still very balanced, something I expect from Sierra Nevada. Excellent beer overall.

Mouthfeel: Full, thick, and resinous with hop flavors. Almost oily, but not quite. Even for how big the body is on this, it's still fairly soft and well-carbonated in the mouth. Hugely drying finish from both the alcohol and the hops.

Overall: This is a beer for the big boys, but it doesn't rip your head off. If you like some malt with your hops in a double IPA, you'll enjoy this. If you're looking for a tongue-ripper though, go elsewhere. A fantastic beer, true to SN quality.

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Photo of Swim424
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into bell's pint glass

Pours nice copper yellowish color. Nice half inch head falling into a thin layer of white across the top. When the aroma hit my nose I got really excited for this one. Smells like fresh hops. This is what I like the smell before I taste a DIPA. Definitely has a nice caramel sweet malt scent to it as well. Damn, nice. Has an interesting sweetness upfront, with a great Hoppy bitterness to finish it off. Sort of a citrus maltiness to it. Could use more of a maple syrup, or caramel type sweetner to improve on the citrus, but I'm not always a fan of the hoppy bitter and citrus bitter. Nice feel to it, a bit creamy, very smooth, and nice medium balanced carbonation and body to it. Overall this is pretty damn good. Again i'm not a huge citrus DIPA fan, more of a thicker heavier DIPA fan but this is delicious.

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Photo of DAllspaw
3.71/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep copper with solid, heavy head. Looks the part of a IIPA. Smell is more on the earthy piney side of things and also has that characteristic SN whole hop thing going on, hard to put into words. Taste also bring out some citrus and pine with some solid grapefruit.

Nothing cloying about this, with very solid body for he style. This will become a regular, if not pursued as heavily as Double Trouble or Hopslam.

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Photo of syrupjoe
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint glass enjoyed at home after some Thai food. Pours a crystal clear light-medium amber color with a 1.5 finger bone colored head that recedes a bit but hangs out for awhile.

Nose: Vegetal, onion, dankness that pierces the nostrils, also with subtle notes of grapefruit

Taste: Candy sweet and teeth curlingly bitter hopsplosion. Mango, cotton candy, piney bitterness with bitter but tight aftertaste.

Overall this is a holy crap of a beer. Intense sweetness and hop bitterness that lingers for minutes. Not super well balanced, but a great way to get a hop fix. Won't seek out, but would drink again.

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Photo of peacebone116
4.06/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into tulip glass.

A: Honey colored; slightly hazy but mostly clear. Great head retention and carbonation throughout.

N: Pine--not as strong as I anticipated based on the reviews, but there is a hint of tropical fruit in the background.

T/M: No doubt a Double IPA. Lots of pine then a sweet pineapple/peach note comes through. Very alcoholic, but the bitter "earthiness" of the hops melds well with it. The malt backbone is weak but does well to keep the flavor propped up. Very good; just the way I like it. Dangerously drinkable (if you are a hop-head), despite its oily mouthfeel and the high alcohol.

This is exactly what I would have expected from Sierra Nevada had I not spoken with others about it or read any reviews, which can be somewhat misleading because of the hype. A great IIPA for the price. Thank you SN for finally making a Double IPA!

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a DFH snifter

A-Beautiful orange, nice pillowy head with lacing

S-Off the hizzle, pine, citrus, hop deliciousness

T-Everything is here in nice balance, this is a keeper

M-if DFH 90 minute is my gold standard for mouth when it comes to DIPA, this is the only place that it falls a little short

O-Awesome, SN is my favorite brewer for a reason

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

A: Clear, copper color, filtered, small head, slow moving bubbles.

S: Familiar balance of grapefruit hops and some malt sweetness. Not overpowering. Nothing suprising or exceptional yet.

T: Very, very bitter, grapefruity, alcohol warmth at the end. Some light caramel/toffee sweetness in the back. Nice hop character, but not very interesting. A very bitter DIPA, and not very balanced... not that it should be balanced, but I'd prefer some more flavor to balance the bitterness. Alcohol playing more of a part as this warms.

M: Medium mouthfeel. Not very carbonated.

O: This beer... is actually less than the sum of its parts. It is not bad, but it's a fairly standard DIPA with a lot of hop bitterness, a lot of alcohol, and not actually a ton of flavor. I like my DIPAs too, but not a huge fan of this one.

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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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