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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding
1,453 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPASierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
sierra-nevada.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,453
Ratings:
6,238
Avg:
4.11
pDev:
23.84%
 
 
Wants:
432
Gots:
1,181
For Trade:
6
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,453 | Ratings: 6,238
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hoptimum. Sierra Nevada. Whole Cone Imperial IPA. The Ultimate Whole Cone Hop Experience. ...and that's it, amazingly nothing else about where it was grown, or why, or how or the awesomeness of it. Just...hey, it's gonna be great, thanks for the $9.49. I guess. Okay, I'm ready for my Hoptimum.

Clear, coppery-amber coloration, solid, pillowy beige head above. Fits the basic look of an IPA. Yeah, mmm-hmmm.

Aroma: Pleasant, perfumey, leafy, grassy. Little bits of citrus, lemon, lime. Nice, nice.

Taste: Big fat bitterness, huge-ass hoppiness, great grit on the palate, nice ...wait, "Hoptimum"...that's like "Optimum", but with "Hop" in it! How did no one get at that yet? Why is that the final, last, exactly ultimate hop-based pun? I don't believe it, someone must've had this one first, and got bought out.

Let's go back to taste...pretty smooth for a highly hopped IPA, big citrus, fat bitterness...but not tongue punishing. Just enough sweet malt keeping everything in balance. Balance, such a nice word, a credo, a code which I feel Sierra Nevada will never betray. I can't imagine them ever doing a Maharaja, a Dreadnaught, a Pliny the younger, name your favorite carazy-over-the-top super-hoppy, palate-ripping double IPA. They'll never do it. Which means that Hoptimum will remain their very cute and delightful name for something that will never be what it is.

Despite that, it's damned delicious, super-hoppy, tangibly tasty, remarkably bitter, but not, no, never overwhelmingly so. It's never going to be the Optimum of Hops. They can keep the obviously cute name.

It's an essentially smooth, tasty, but hoppy, and very drinkable ale, despite the, what the!!!, 10.4% a.b.v??? Okay, it's big, but balanced, and lovely.

Fullish body, mildly bitter finish. Super duper beautiful.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

- Tasted at Split Thy Skull 2011 at Mugs Alehouse -

A - A beautiful clear orange amber. Light head with nice lace.

S - Orange, grapefruit. Nice floral quality. Touch of fresh cut grass.

T - Smack of bitter pine. Soft malt into tangerine. Nice bread and woody (oak?) character on the back end.

M - Strong rolling bitterness with a medium-light body.

D - The bitterness is delicious but can really slow you down.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fresh batch of Hoptimum delivered straight to the Toronado 23rd Anniversary party. Served in a pint glass! WTF?

A - Pours with a finger of foam that settles to a thin cap and leaves behind nice lacework. Transparent dark golden body. Pretty attractive stuff.

S - This smells like weed. Super dank, resiny ganja with a hint of sweet malt. Literally smells like dispensary. If you like weed you'll love this, if you don't you'll hate it.

T - Again, it's quite weed-heavy, but there's actually other flavors present like pine, citrus rind, and a solid sugary malt backbone. The finish is still like second-hand blunt smoke.

M - Zesty carbonation, super sticky icky and resiny body. Finishes dry with no obvious alcohol heat.

D - I'm not sure how to approach this one - Sierra Nevada has made a pothead's delight. It also appears to be totally different from previous batches - Chris didn't even think it was the same beer. I had no problem finishing the pint, even at 10.4%, and it went down faster than expected. I think I prefer weed smell to weed taste, but if you love smoking you'll dig this one (at least this batch anyway).

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

2011 release. Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. The beer is a vibrant, crystal clear orange-gold coloring with an immense, foamy, light head that starts about two fingers and slowly recedes as you drink. The head retention is impressive for an IPA. Nose is heavy hops, both dry and fresh aromas, flowery, and with a slight citrus hint underneath it all. The beer has a spicy hop flavor that hits mid-tongue at first, and then you get an all-over the tongue hoppy flavor. Other flavors include a slightly sour citrus/grapefruit note, as well as some peppery highlights. The beer is creamy and robust in mouth, and the body does a great job of carrying all the strong flavors. This beer is heavy, and extremely tasty. The aftertaste (prepare for a shocker) is all hops, with some of the citrus sneaking in there, too. The finish lingers, with the bitterness giving a slight pucker to the tip of the tongue, and the hops continue bouncing around in mouth while you contemplate another drink.

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Photo of Billolick
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear, lighter amber. Middle of the road/respectable lace. Enticing floral and resiny hop nose. Hop lovers rejoice, cuz this one delivers with a noticeably fresh tasting and crunching hopped presence. Sweet malt undertones and undercoating provides the bring it all together counter point. No surprise when SN puts out another outstanding and obviously well crafted and high quality brew. California style and very enjoyable DIPA

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Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a stange. Beer is amber and clear with a small head of small and tiny bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate to low.

Earthy meets piny with a backdrop of some citrus hop character, smells like a Sierra Nevada IPA.

Beer is medium in body with only a mild malt backbone to begin with. The center palate has a nice hop forest on it with a complex mixture of flavors, pine and grapefruit with some earthy sulfur / resin. Beer is quite drinkable, about what I expected, it did not disappoint.

I will also say that this is a really cool label. It kind of makes me laugh.

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Photo of stevoj
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Near perfect Imperial IPA, amber body with creamy off-white head., adequate sticky lacing. aroma of soft citrus, piney hops. Taste is mildly astringent pine forest and grapefruit. Soft hoppy finish lingers. Wow!

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a translucent golden orange with yellow highlights and had a very thin head leaving very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: some nice grassy hops show their face on the nose with caramel, citrus, and earthy notes.

T: the taste had a very nice hop profile with maybe some citra hops alongside citrus grapefruit that helped out on the bitterness factor but had a good malty sweetness and a touch of caramel.

M: the brew was medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, grassy, hoppy, citrusy, and bitter finish.

D: it was drinking pretty good and have to say I'm impressed by this sierra neveda IPA. I hope they keep up the good work.

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Photo of Tone
3.89/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/4 inch head of a white color. Slight retention and slight lacing. Smells of strong floral hops, hop oils, slight alcohol, slight sweet malt, hint of pine. Fits the style of an American Double/Imperial IPA. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. There is also a noticeable and expected bitterness. Tastes of strong floral hops, alcohol, hops oils, slight sweet malt, and hint of citrus hops. Overall, surprisingly weak appearance, but refreshing aroma, good feel, and good blend.

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

Re-review. Original review on 03-28-2011 of the 2011 Vintage. Bottle from original review was fairly old (about 3 months); replacing review with review of fresh 2012 bottle.

2012 Vintage dated 204821059 (Feb 17/12)

A - Medium orange with some darker amber around the edges. Half a finger of bubbly off-white head formed with good retention. Very light lacing.

S - Grapefruit and pine up front with a fairly assertive bitterness present. Some sweet caramel malts in the background but overall fairly hop-forward.

T - A huge op punch up front with grapefruit, pine and orange zest flavours. Just enough of a malt backbone to be noticeable while providing a touch of of caramel flavour. The bitterness returns in the finish, which is dry and lingers considerably. The alcohol is slightly noticeable but is well masked overall considering the ABV.

M - Medium body with light carbonation. Loads of hop oils coat the tongue. Fresh and juicy.

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Photo of Duff27
3.93/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks kawilliams81!

A- One inch off white head on a clear light ruby red body. Well above average head retention and very nice lacing as well.

S- Juicy citrus smell, somewhat bright.

T- Hopbite is more pungent than the nose would lead you to believe. More citrus in there as hops overpower the malts in there one. Never would guess this at 10.4%abv, probably closer to 9%

M- On the thicker side for a double IPA. Adequate carbonation.

D/O- A palate wrecker for sure, Hoptimum stands with some of the most pungent dank hop DIPA profiles out there. Worth a try if for hopheads who need a new fix.

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

A very nice drinking beer. I'm not quite sure what a whole flowers add to this beer, but it's good anyway.

Pours a bright orangey-yellow, perhaps golden color. A soapy, semi-dense head with solid lacing.

Floral and citrus aroma, light biscuit, some green twigs. Fairly strong.

I get a simple sweetness all through the sip, but doesn't seem malty. Kind of honeysuckle or sweet floral...maybe that's the whole cone? Anyway, not very piny, mostly soft citrus. Clean and crisp.
A tad light, but easy drinking.

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

Appearance: pours a lovely orange color with a 1" head that falls to a thick spotty surface foam with some large bubbles. Some mild lacing develops.

Smell: loads of floral hop bitterness, grapefruit, lemon, pine, and a quite woody and earthy tone.

Taste: big malt sweetness is well balanced with an floral hop bitterness. Grapefruits, pine, earthiness, and some honey sweetness rounds it out. Alcohol is well hidden here but the warming arrives late.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout with a mildly oily feel at the finish. Aftertaste is long lasting.

Drinkability: this beer is very quaffable despite going deep on both ends of the sweet malt and agressive hop bitterness. One bottle went down surprisingly quick. Great beer from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of WesWes
4.67/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a beautiful dark gold/amber color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a wonderful fresh hop scent; bitter and citrusy. The malt bill provides a solid base aroma; pale and Munich malts. The taste is f%cking awesome! Wow, this is perfection! Sweet, malty, yet bitter as hell with tons of citrus hops. It goes down easy with a resinating bitterness; almost 120 minute IPA-like. The mouthfeel is outstanding. It's a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine DIPA. It's well balanced with awesome hop character. Great Job
!!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.65/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from 1/2011 notes. Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a medium coppery orange amber. Small fine white head and lots of lacing. Aroma of citrus and piney hops. Flavor is hop forward, but with a nice thick sweet malt backbone. Very well integrated. Finishes with hops, citrus, sweet malt; long lasting pleasant flavor aftertaste. To my taste a perfect balance of intense hops and a serious malt body. A very nicely made and hands down my favorite DIPA.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excited to try this one.

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the orange and pine from the hops. The flavor is similar. I get some caramel, orange and pine. The bitterness is about medium. The beer is also very boozy, much more than I expected. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very tasty, I just wish the alcohol was a little bit more subdued.

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Photo of aasher
3.19/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer looks spectacular. It pours a beautiful and clear copper in color with a very spongy two finger, off white head. The aromas are piny hops, a splash of honey, and overly sweet malts without any alcohol. I'm a little surprised there isn't more to the nose. The flavors very wet, very piny, feature some light honey, malty sweetness, and ALOT of alcohol. I'm really surprised by how much alcohol is present. The 10.4% is everywhere and abundant throughout. It drinks very fresh and crisp and has a good amount of carbonation. This beer is just ok. I'm disappointed by it, especially for the price. I'd take a Torpedo any day over the Hoptimum.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice hazing golden orange color, nice carbonation, with a nice little fizzy off-white head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is hoppy, sweet on the lips, with some malt notes, nice citrus/pine notes. The taste is pretty good, hoppy, a little bit of malts thrown in, nice balance of pines/citrus. Medium body, with a nice bitter/dry finish. Overall a pretty tasty brew. Was very surprised to see this in a Utah SLS.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle to a Philadelphia Eagles Pint Glass. I finally get to try this beer after two years of searching and waiting and searching and waiting. I was starting to think Hoptimum was a myth.

The beer slides into the glass very nice like with a penny gold bronzish color. A nice whisp of off white semi tan foam graced the top for a few, than bounced. The beer became still looking after time, no lace.

Smell is very bright with floral hops and some citrus coming into play. Some grapefruit and mango and slight piney note. A nice malty build as well, and yes, the 10% is not entirely hidden. All in all nice, a blend of west and east, BOLD.

Taste is pretty much what I expected, A nice citrus bite with some juicy floral notes as well up front followed by a big malt hit. SN manages to keep the hops at the forefront though, with this huge beer. Alcohol comes out to play in the end leaving a taste in my mouth.

Feel reminds me of Sixpoint resin on some level with the harsh aftertaste. There is some heat while the body is a definite medium, and the carbonation loses steam over time. The hops shine and so does the heat, I could only do one of these at a time. A good beer, but the hype is a bit much.

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

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

Appearance: 24oz stubby bottle depicting a "hop head". Decanted into a simply huge mug. Bright orangish copper with a huge pillowy froth. Rings of lacing down the mug.

Smell: Lovely aroma of strong pine like a Christmas tree, some orange rind and pith. Resinous hop oils. Sweet caramel and bready malts underneath.

Taste: Bright hoppy flavors, yet earthy at the same time. Hops come off as leafy, faintly grapefruit like and just a bit spicy on the tip of the tongue. After the initial wave of bitterness that we like to call a "hop bite" there is some caramel malt doing a minor job balancing all the hops. A hop forward, yet surprisingly balanced ale with muted fruit notes and solid bitterness. The 10% is not apparent until the buzz.

Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium bodied, well carbonated, finishes clean with a small hop aftertaste.

Overall: I really enjoyed this offering. Puts Sierra Nevada on the map in Double/Imperial IPA land. If this beer was a place on Earth, I would consider living there. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at 1702; March 2011
This beer arrives from the tap with a pale head and a copper-gold hue that shows quite clear in the light. The nose smells of tangelo, lychee, lots of floral bright citrus and peach aromatics from the ample hop character. A cracker like malt character is joined by a hint of biscuit like maltiness; as the beer warms up the malt backbone becomes a bit more noticeable in the nose.

The beer tastes of super fruit hops as it first hits my tongue; this accentuates a sweetness, though this beer finishes dry with a biting bitterness that is not to overly aggressive. There are lots of floral hop flavors here that boost and accentuate an ample hop fruitiness; tropical fruit definitely, lychee, super ribe tangelo zest, amp’d up floral peach and even some mango notes are all contributed by the hops. This is all anchored by a menthol and herbal hop character, big lingering pine like notes and a bitterness that is always prevalent. The body has a certain fullness to it , but it is not cloying, but it is a touch heavier than I would absolutely prefer in a Double IPA.

This is quite nice and really enjoyable as I can always use a good hop fix. I wish it was a touch lighter in the body, though this is certainly not heavy when compared to many a Double IPA out there.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.68/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz picked up tonight at the Boise COOP... poured into my small CC goblet... decent off white head... nice retention and lacing... the brew is a polished orange.... nice.

Nose is pretty huge grapefruit zest and some lesser piney notes... just enough pale malt sweetness helps balance..

Good bitter bite up front.. seems a touch sweet throughout.. the hops are plentiful, but seem muted by the heavier malt profile... finish shows the same pithy citrus, but trails off pretty quick.

Body is a bit hefty IMO... carbonation is creamy small bubble that accentuates the bigger body.

Good beer, especially for the $$... but I would prefer it to be quite a bit drier.

4.5/4/3.5/3.5/3.5

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Photo of yourefragile
1.69/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

24 oz bottle shared by 321Jeff. Thanks, jerk.

Damn, this was a disappointment; a borderline sloppy mess. Appearance is a filtered golden amber with a frothy whitish head that quickly fades to a thing crown with little lacing. Extremely mild, boring aroma of dirt and biscuity malt, with trace amounts of grapefruit and citrus rind hops. A solventy, medicinal tinge is troubling. Onto the flavor. Oof! It get's worse with no balance or cohesion between strong solvent and alcohol, bitter grapefruit rind, sweet carmel malt and dry breadiness. Body is thick and well carbonated, but extremely hot and boozy. After a few ounces I poured this out, so I give this a White Birch trademarked 1.0 on drinkability. I'm probably being overly harsh on this, but we tried this against some hoppy beers from Three Floyds, Shorts and Lawsons tonight and this was the uncontested failure champion. Sorry Sierra Nevada, I need a SN Pale Ale to get this out of my mind.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.41/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a clear amber color, with a quarter inch head, and lots of lacing. I don't think I poured it very well. I'm not taking points off for my inadequacy, fortunately.

Smells like pine and herbal hops, in bone-crushing amounts. Very typical and very enjoyable Sierra Nevada whole cone hop aroma.

Tastes like a big ol' explosion of grapefruit, pine, and dank herbal flavors. Slightly spicy and peppery on the back end, almost like it was brewed with rye. There's a bit of slightly sweet toasted malt backing up the hop flavor as well.

Medium bodied, crisp, dry mouthfeel. Very, very drinkable. Can't stress that enough. Medium carbonation.

This blew me away, just an amazing DIPA.

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Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.11 out of 5 based on 6,238 ratings.
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