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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

1,447 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA

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

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
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Reviews: 1,447 | Ratings: 6,190
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 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 khmel
4.79/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. in a mug

A: Dark golden to light amber color. A little hazy. Creamy, off-white head, 1 finger at pour with medium high retention.

S: HOPS! The smell of this beer is incredible and screams that it is, indeed, a DIPA. Strong grapefruit and pineapple notes.

M: Medium body. Low carbonation. Smooth.

T: All about the hops! Citrus moving to pine flavors as it warms. The malt and alcohol flavors play a far second to this hophead's dream.

O: Highly recommended! If you are a hop lover, get your hands on this one!

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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 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 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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Photo of dwilson01
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bomber into my arrogant bastard pint glass, the body color is a clear yellow tinted with orange and brick red to give it the look of the browned top of a buttermilk biscuit. The carbonation rises quickly through the beer keeping a nice half finger of head atop it.

The smell is amazing, I get a sweet citrus scent that refreshes my nostrils. The orange smell is great, it smells so fresh like it was just bottled a week ago. There is a slight sweet matly scent on the back end and the bitter hops are just barely intermingled there. Must have dry hopped like crazy to get that aroma.

The flavor has a profile and a half. It starts right where the smell left off, citrusy sweetness hilts your palate and washes out anything that was there beforehand. This is followed by the body of malt which imparts a sweet bread and clover honey flavor. The last part is the bitter hopping, it comes in slow but it definitely comes, that pine flavored bitterness reminiscent of Sierra Nevada brews comes out with a vengeance to let you know just what you're getting into. No alcohol flavor at all on the back end, the bitter nops linger for a long long time.

The mouthfeel is perfect, just before you take a sip your lips touch the light fluffy head which is ultra soft, the beer itself is smooth as I can remember any IPA being with a strong malty creamyness.

The drinkability is amazing, I feel like I could session on this beer...of course there is no way I could keep that up for any length of time, but it's definitely that good. If you're not into the super bitter IIPA's then this is definitely one to try out.

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Photo of femALEist
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Toronado's Beer Camp night during SF Beer Week.
Made at Beer Camp #19 and 10.4%. It had members from Toronado, Zeigeist, Pi Bar, Barclays and the B Street Bistro. It's an Imperial IPA with pale and Munich malts, Simcoe, Chinook, Citra and Magnum hops. It poured a yellowish brown. It smelled of lemon citrus, hops and grass. It tasted light with some bitterness, some sweetness but not too hoppy.

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

Had on tap at Capones the night after the Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Event

This brew poured a golden amber color, with just a touch of a haziness. It has a nice cream, bubbly white head that had great retention. As the you drink, it left a great spiderweb like lace throughout glass.

The aroma on this brew is of course hop heavy, but not overkill. It has a nice strong pine hops aroma the the front. I does have a great hoppy flavor, but its not over abundant bitterness that you would expect with the name of the brew. It still has a nice profile that is nice and crisp smelling with a bit of a alcohol heat as well.

This brew has pretty good flavor. It has a nice citris hop character at the front, which was unexpected. It has a nice caramel malt profile that brings out the pine flavors too. As this brew warms, the malts and alcohol come forward more and give it a nice bite. I enjoyed it very much.

The mouth on this brew is a medium body. Not to heavy, with a nice carbonation level. Its a nice crisp, clean brew. The hop oils coat the mouth with a thick, stickiness.

The drinkability on this brew is pretty basic. With a brew that has such a high ABV, you expect a much heavier hop hit and bit more to the brew. I wanted more and it didn't produce in that sense. Its still a good brew, and I would go for it again, but with an ABV that big, I might reach for something else first. Still a decent brew.

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Photo of cosmo4u
4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

purchased at cable beverage nanuet ny

22oz bottle 8.99

A: golden in color. when poured got a nice head that trapped the aroma nicely

S: Literally as soon as I began pouring you could smell the hops everywhere. It consumed my taste buds and made my mouth water

T: I was expecting a more bitey taste from all the hops, but instead got a smooth almost velvet like taste

M: was like silk. left a nice smooth feel that really hit home with not much alcohol to it

D: very easy to get real into one of these and not stop. I was feeling very good after my bottle and had to refrain from cracking another one. It went down so easy that next time, Im going to force myslef to drink it even slower

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Photo of Triglycerides
4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got a 12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a lovely golden-amber color with a 1.5in head. Head slowly dissipates and leaves some intricate lacing along the side of the glass, although I would have liked the head to have lasted a bit longer. Certainly looks great though.

Smell: Smells a bit of peppery alcohol, pine, and citrus. Grapefruit comes to mind especially on this. The combination of all the smells works really nicely, and it definitely makes me come back for more.

Taste: Taste is a wonderful interplay between sweet and bitter notes from the hops, although the hops definitely dominate here. Each sip seems to start out a bit hoppy, then has a warming malt note. The mouthwatering finish seems to work with the balance of sweet citrus and the bitterness from the hops which hangs around for a while. Alcohol is hidden pretty well for a 10.4% ABV.

Mouthfeel: This brew's definitely full-bodied but smooth. Carbonation is spot-on and is neither too much or too little. Not too much spectacular either.

Overall: Hoptimum is a great, well-balanced example of DIPA. I'd definitely go back to this one. Also, I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a hoppy, bitter beer with some serious character. Really wish I had more than one of these gems.

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Photo of gwguest
3.63/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

2011 Vintage poured from a 22oz mega-stubby bottle into a Goose Island Imperial Pint.

Hoptimum pours a beautifuly orange/amber body with about 3/4 of an inch of slightly off-white foam. The foam holds nicely until I'm ready to dive in. The body is nearly brilliant clarity making for a picturesque beer.

Aroma is surprisingly sweet with a sharp caramel note running throughout a nice citrus, floral and pine hop bouquet. For the style, I was really expecting a bigger dose of hop aroma. It's pleasant and well-crafted, but not amazing.

There are no shortage of hops in the flavor. There is a strong bitterness from the front, middle and lingers long past when the beer is safely in your stomach. It's great to have a DIPA that isn't afraid to lean on the bitterness. Fortunately, it's not a sharp, unpleasant bitterness. It's more like a really heavy guy leaning on you to the point where you might almost fall over. If you're fit, you can handle it, but those who aren't properly trained will crumble under the bitterness.

Through the rest of the flavor is a firm caramel thread that balances the bitterness quite a bit. The hop flavors and resin are really well put together. The resinous quality is quite enjoyable. It's a much more unified and blended flavor that I've come to expect from the style. It's clearly not a single-hop beer, but it's not a kaleidoscope of flavors like most DIPA.

I rather enjoy the coating quality of the mouthfeel, but it is a bit heavy in the mouth along the way. It's just a little too dense to be exceptional.

Drinkability on this is surprisingly low. The carmel sweetness just adds up too quickly to the point that I simply don't want more. This 22oz bottle is going to be tough to get down. Recommended for sharing...maybe even three ways over a cheese course at the end of a meal.

[Edit: I had to knock the drinkability down on this one as I couldn't even finish 5oz without my stomach feeling like I'd been doing shots of syrup. The beer is tasty, but I couldn't even finish a serving.]

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

Drank this in my car while waiting out a snow storm. Poured into a plastic cup I found on the floor of my back seat. Cant get much of the color in a blue cup, but there is a nice pillowy white head and aromas of hops jump right out. Smells awesome, ctaste is clean and crisp with a super hoppy finish. Citrus fruits and pine intermingle, but this is a straight forward hop bomb. Perfect, one of the better over-hopped Sierra offerings.

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Photo of 321jeff
2.1/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clear amber with very golden edges and about a finger or two of rocky white head. As it fades, a lot of lacing is left on the glass. Wierd, as I hold it up one way, it looks amber, and I move it and it looks gold. Almost like a holographic beer.

Aroma is very weak. Hints of piney hops, but very hard to pick out anything else.

Taste starts out sweet with some piney hop resins in the middle and a borderline medicinal finish. Not at all what I look for in a DIPA, no bitterness whatsoever and much like the aroma, the flavors that are detectable are very weak.

The mouthfeel is the only thing that is decent about this beer. Farily thick in body with a good bit of carbonation. Based on the high price point and weak aroma and flavors, I won't be trying this one again.

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Photo of brstls4drmrs
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice copper color with a white foam head.

S - Some great fruit smells like pineapple and a little citrus. A good smell of hops and a little apple cider scent as well.

T - A wonderful mix of hops, citrus fruits, and good caramel sugars. Just a great taste all around.

M - Crisp and coats the tongue very well. The finish is quite wet leaving the taste linger around for a second after consuming. Not too bitter.

O - Don't drink this one too fast. Very nice imperial IPA.

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Photo of JTSbeerislife
4.62/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Fridge

Poured into a Dogfish Head Signature Snifter.

Pours a medium ¼” thick white colored head, which rapidly diminishes to a thin film.
Excellent lace, sticks to the side of the glass with each drink, beautiful.
Gorgeous amber color. Classic looks! Beautiful!

The aroma attacks your senses with distinct, dry hopped, floral, herbal and resin hops, with a hint of pine to finish it/you off! This is followed by medium intense but rich, refined, grainy malt, the malt fights to come out but is buried by the incredible spicy hops. Amazing nose! Very refined despite the power.

Crisp, distinct, powerful entry on the palate of bitter, dry hopped, resiny and herbal hops. Spicy. Exceptionally enjoyable and totally dominating. Wow!
Followed by distinct, rich, refined roasted grain malt.
The crisp acidity, full creamy mouth feel, fine carbonation and medium sweetness makes for an exceptionally balanced ale.
Unbelievably delicious!! The hops dominate totally.

Exceptionally long, bitter hop finish with some malt trying unsuccessfully to come forward. The hop oils linger forever!!

This is an extraordinary, delicious powerful ale. Complex and superbly balanced.
This is why we search for the best the craft world has to offer! What an effort from SN and rather unexpected.
Highly Recommended! Worth traveling for!
If bottled watch your dates, though this review is from draft, the bottled version is very close in flavor profile but has about a two month to maybe three month window before it starts to lose some of the hop intensity.

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

poured into pint glass

A-clear, copper 1/2 inch thick foamy head slowly dissipates healthy lacing

S-citrus, not a strong aroma

T-juicy citrus, alcohol well hidden, some mild sweetness, some piny notes, greatfruit finish, tasty brew

M- creamy and slick, fully covers the inside of the mouth,

O-solid DIPA that is very drinkable despite the high abv
worth drinking again and again

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Photo of wise456
3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz. bomber into a pint glass. Date stamp of 035121403.

A: Golden light brown hue with an extremely dense head which dissipates fairly quickly. Highly carbonated.

S: Waves of piney hops with a touch of citrusy pineapple goodness.

T & M: Somewhat one dimensional as the hop bitterness overwhelms the balance of the flavor. Mouthfeel is a little sticky and a bit on the thin side but the high abv (10.4%) is masked by the hop attack.

D: The first glass went down quickly but the tastebuds eventually grew weary of the hop assault by the end of the bottle. A decent DIPA but a bit out of balance for me.

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Photo of leokbelo
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep, hazy copper into a snifter. 2 inch foamy head dissipates into an inch lacing that lasts till the end!
Rich pine scent, citrusy and crisp! The Hops at work!
Hop spices coming out in the palate, very citrusy, very sharp, with some malt sweetness to balance it all out, for a truly Imperial IPA kick!
This is one kick ass Imperial IPA, from the folks at Sierra Nevada!
Highly recommended!

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Photo of gdrydenc
3.48/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours gold amber with 2 fingers of thick white head. A thin layer of off white/light brown remains throughout.

S - Very fruity. Some bitterness, but seems well balanced with malts. A bit of the alcohol comes out as it warms.

T - Much like the smell, but the alcohol is present throughout. The fruitiness is phenomenal and the maltiness absolutely balances the bitterness. Yikes, as this warms, the alcohol is very prominent and detracts greatly for me.

M - Very syrupy, which kinda makes the alcohol content come out, which is a little disappointing.

D - The alcohol is high on this beer, which is usually not a problem for me, but the alcohol taste detracts greatly, as I said.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,447 ratings.
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