Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Imperial IPA | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
332 Reviews
Imperial IPAImperial IPA

Brewed by:
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly known as 20th Anniversary Imperial IPA

Added by largadeer on 02-16-2008

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 332 | Ratings: 594
Reviews by jzeilinger:
Photo of jzeilinger
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a translucent, honey amber color with no head, mild lacing, and a mild amount of carbonation. Smells of biscuity caramel and orange citrus. Some floral notes vaguely come through and you really have to concentrate to pick it out. For a big D-IPA, the aroma isn't overly big as you would expect.

Taste is caramel biscuit sweetness on the tip of the tongue which stays intact as an underlying backbone for the entire sip. There's a massive amount of hops in this beer and it's going to need a strong support of malts to keep the hops from getting overly "unruly", with lack of a better word. There's a floral citrus hoppiness that is pretty even throughout the entire sip, in fact, the balance between the hops and malts is just about as perfect as it gets, nothing overpowers the other.

This is a heavier bodied beer (on the medium end of the spectrum), is a little chewy for a D-IPA, and finishes dry to semi-dry. There's also a slight metallic-like finish gradually after the sip. This is also a very FILLING beer which is why I can't have more than one of these.

Usually, when I call something low in drinkability I'm referring to either a high ABV or something that doesn't taste overly good, this bad boy is just plain filling. I hated this beer the first time I tried it because I was expecting a massive amount of hop bitterness, but never expected this much malt either. 20 hops is impressive but then again, to keep all those hops in check you need alot of sugary backbone, so is more actually better? I'd rather see Anderson Valley dial back the amount of hops and malts, still keep it bitter, but would make it less filling. This is pretty much bread on a platter (in a tastey way). This got the award for the Best Double IPA at the U.S. Open Beer Championship in 2009. I think what kills this beer the most (in my own opinion), is that more aroma is needed and the fact that it's so darn filling. From the judges perspective, I can see why they liked it, it's as balanced as a D-IPA gets. However, for a hop junky, it leaves us wanting more in the taste.

 2,075 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

Nose: citrus, orange and grapefruit
Pours brilliant gold rocky 2” white head very fine to medium bubbles, lacy
Palate: Very citrusy hops throughout with background grapefruit rind over big biscuit body.
Creamy smooth, medium body to a shade above, medium to medium light carbonation.

 287 characters

Photo of oberon
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a slight hazed peach color with a tight formed one finger white head that left some broken lace as it settled slowly,awesome aromas of citrus and underlying pine with some biscuit malt and alcohol showing through as well.T he flavors are bit heavy handed on the alcohol,it rears its head early and often,nice lemon and grapefruit hop flavors show through but its a battle with the alcohol.Its not a 'huge' beer but the alcohol is prevelent,in saying that its still a nice American DIPA from a great brewery.

 514 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This poured a rich, darkish orange but not muddy-looking. Most IPAs that come out dark orange look like pond water but this is a clean brownish-orange and very attractive. The head was a slightly yellowed white with some tight carbonation. It didn't have a lot of staying power but looked good.

Smell - This is big but balanced. The strong hops show a hint of pine but the peach is prominent. I can also get a bit of grass. The malt is not as big in the nose but based on the coloring I'm sure it's there at the taste.

Taste - Yes, this is truly a balanced DIPA. Everything is big but even-keeled. The malts really step up at the taste as I suspected and show a lot of mature sweetness. Otherwise this tastes pretty much like it smells.

Mouthfeel - This is a solid medium-body and surprisingly dry. It's not a bone-crusher or anything like that, but there is a chug-stopping dryness that will make you stand up and take note. The carbonation is mild but expertly tight.

Drinkability - This is a very sophisticated beer. Its complexities will be lost on the mindless hophead. Take your time with this one though and you will be greatly rewarded. A fitting anniversary tribute and another great hoppy beer from Anderson Valley.

 1,242 characters

Photo of Zakk
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #37 (Feb 2010):

A humble dedication to the late William Brand, originally brewed for their 20th anniversary in 2007.

Towering head reaches past the rim of the glass and nearly topples over; orange-amber clarity is stunning. Hop aroma jumps from white peppercorn to aspirin, from mint to pine sap and from ruby grapefruit to wild herbs ... the nose brings forth some tropical fruit and caramel malt to boot. Semi-crisp full body, hop bitterness tries to set in the same time alcohol hits the palate to form a duo of spiciness. Alcohol is warming with some fruity esters of pineapple, cherry and mango. A bit of citric rind, lime leaf, aspirin and thick wild herb show off the hop flavor. Caramel and biscuity malt lay underneath. Bitter finish with that alcoholic warmth.

Bitter to say the least, all of the checks for an Imperial IPA have been marked off here. AVBC has done the style much justice.

 941 characters

Photo of danthehopslamman
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of DWolf
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Photo of Beaver13
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a hazy copper gold with a medium frothy white head that retains fairly well and laces the glass.

The aroma is bready malts, tropical fruits and resiny, piney, grassy, slightly metallic hops.

The flavor is sweet caramel/crystal malts and tropical fruits with a decent sized piney, resiney hop bitterness that has a little residual sugar in the finish. The alcohol is warming. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, it's a solid DIPA. It's a bit on the sweet side, but I enjoyed drinking it.

 546 characters

Photo of Beerswag
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of megamass
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of merlin48
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber pours a dirty, murky, orange/brown body with a two finger ecru hued head. Good retention and some sticky patch lacing.

Aroma opens with grassy hops. Citrusy grapefruit and pineapple quickly jump in. Toasted caramel underneath.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a thick and creamy carbonation. Some hop resin bite also present.

Taste has an edgy hop bitterness. Grassy and citrus rind at the beginning, with some meaty caramel malt becoming assertive midway through. Pink grapefruit and orange notes add some citrusy sweetness until near the finish when a grassy and grainy presence take over. Finishes dry and bitter.

I like the drinkability of this one, overall, but it has moments of earthy and grainy astringency.

 725 characters

Photo of tigg924
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, clear, orange/brown in color

Smell: big dose of pine hops, some citrus hops and malt

Taste: big citrus hops that make them selves known midway through and sting to the end, small pine hops, some caramel

Mouthfeel: medium/light bodied, medium carbonation, slightly sweet start with a super bitter finish

Drinkability: When chilled this beer is slightly unbalanced. As it warms it becomes super bitter. If you like your ipas oozing bitterness, this is the beer for you. As for me one is enough.

 523 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of Hamsteroceros
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a tulip glass.

A- Beautiful copper-orange color w/ rather light lacing and a head that lasted a good while.

S- A subdued caramel-citrus nose with a bit of pine and maybe mango (?) Not a particularly huge nose on this beer, especially for an imperial IPA.

T- A strong burst of citrus with very malty presence. Reminiscent of raisins and grapefruit. Very piney with a strong hop finish. Hides ABV very well.

M- Syrupy and resinous, yet not at all unclean on the finish.

D- Each sip is different from the next, which is something that I personally value over a "perfectly balanced" beer. This beer is very much a big brother to the Hop Ottin'- a beer I rather enjoy. Given the price point, this is an excellent beer. Could be a bit hoppier, though...

 772 characters

Photo of IDYVM
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of jisak74
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of magictrokini
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours darker copper with a moderate and dense off-white head. Floral aroma with pine, oranges, mango, and caramel. Excellent taste. Lots of grapefruit, oranges, and resin. Slight caramel malt and a buttery finish that lingers. Sticky mouthfeel. Despite the relatively low rating, I loved this beer. Its just a very basic IIPA.

 326 characters

Photo of fionn13
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of bpfrush
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of mattffrost
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into glass.

Appearance Beer is a very clear tea color. Head is a dirty off white color. Good sticking to the glass.

Smell Spicy piney smell. A slight hint of citrus

Taste Piny floral taste. The bitterness starts out and finishes the same which is kind of unusual. A slight sweet carmel flavor is also present.

Mouthfeel. Very low carbonation. Bitterness in the mouth.

drinkabily 1pt 6 ounce is plenty for me.

 428 characters

Photo of ehammond1
2.69/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle (2010)

Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

Hazy, golden-orange in color. A beautiful beer!
Inch-high head that sticks around, creamy off-white in color. Leaves lots of thick and sticky lace around and down the glass.

Sweet and candied aroma. Missing the tropical and citrus notes I enjoy in my favorite DIPAs. Can smell the alcohol.

"Bitterness" and "heat" are the first two things that come to mind. The hop bitterness is there, but I'm missing much of the pungent, pine and fruit notes I love in a DIPA. The alcohol is present and the beer seems extraordinarily hot.

The mouthfeel is appropriate for the style, but the alcohol becomes more and more present as the beer warms making it less and less enjoyable to drink.

Not a particularly drinkable beer. I would not order another one. The heat from the alcohol is too much for the (lackluster) taste to overcome.

There are too many good CA DIPAs to drink this one again as this does nothing in particular very well. It's a beautiful beer to look at, but stops scoring points there. I was so excited to see this beer on the shelves because I think Anderson Valley's Hop Ottin' IPA is a perfect IPA.
I'll be sticking with my Hop Ottin'.

 1,198 characters

Photo of bluelynbrewing
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of chickenm
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of doremite
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Imperial IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
3.8 out of 5 based on 594 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!