Imperial IPA | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

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

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Reviews: 332 | Ratings: 594
Photo of kchannel9
4.97/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love love love this beer. One of the finest possible, in my opinion. Perfect bridge of carbonation, smooth, sweet, bitter, malty. I feel blessed to taste this alchemical masterpiece, and would gladly choose this beer over almost any other IPA, well besides Maximus.

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Photo of 1759Girl
4.78/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance> Dark golden, clear, light carbonation, not much lacing

Smell> Caramel. Oh my goodness!

Taste> Complex. Sweet, strong, hoppy bitterness, resiny smooth finish.

Mouthfeel> perfect

Drinkability> 5. We've bought several bottles since this tasting.

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Photo of jgap
4.71/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I love IPAs and my palate has been conditioned accordingly. This is my favorite IPA and probably my favorite beer. It pours a nice amber with a huge frothy off-white head. Smell is grapefuit with some caramel sugars. Make that a lot of caramel. Taste is smooth and extremely well blended, lots of caramel malts fading to an easy hop bitterness. Hops are very, very well balanced with crisp malts. The bitterness actually complements the malt profile but neither commands the other. In this way it is, in my mind, a perfect balance between an english ipa and a hop-bomb American ipa. Edeptionally well developed taste yet very drinkable. I hope I can find another bottle!

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Photo of jsh420
4.7/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pours deep amber orange with a 2 finger head the leaves lacing all doen the glass

smells of pine citrus hops candy carmel malts and a little booze - very nice but not blow you away

taste however did blow me away - with all the uberhoppy beers in the market today its nice to taste one that is and does not forget to put in the malts as well - this beer is balanced to perfection

mouthfeel is perfect too - tickles the tongue at first and goes down so smooth and creamy

drinkability again perfect - i feel as though i did my good deed for the day by sharing this bomber

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.62/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clean orange-ish color with yellow hints and an off white head. In the aroma, orange citrus and mango hops. In the taste, orange/ mango like citrus like hops and a small sweet to dry presence. A hop bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry orange citrus hop in the aftertaste. Hides the ABV and big west coast hops, I dig it!

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.57/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: 1/3" cream coloured head that dissipated quickly. Amber colored beer that was slightly cloudy.

S: Pineapple and apple.

T: Hops, pineapple, apple and malt. Relatively strong hops at the start and a very clean and crisp finish with malt at the end.

M: Thick feeling, nice medium level of carbonation.

O: Very well balanced Imperial IPA. One of my favorite beers of all time.

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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.

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Photo of cameraman
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A deep amber color, with touches of gold along the glass. A cream colored head sits atop, about a finger thick, lacing slowly. A surprisingly malty fragrance at first scent, then a strong citrus and pine fragrances take over and are dominant till the end. The malt makes chameo appearance at the front, and leaves very quickly. The hops soon take over to become the star attraction. That is where it comes in three stages grassy and green at the start, Then blending to a strong citrus, grapefruit flavor. Then it ends with an intense earthy and pine flavor. The palate is left dry, with the lingering flavor of hops, along with a tanin roughness left on the palate. Man, this is definately a hop bomb, with a shortage of hops out there as well. A spicy dish of jambalya goes very well with this beer.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a coppery gold with reddish highlights. Looks like a sunset. The head is half a finger thick but holds up for more than a few minutes. Little splashes of lace dot the glass.

Really like the aroma. It hints at a double IPA that's going to be as malty as it is hoppy. Good balance in the nose of caramel-ish malts, grassy hops that nearly go into herbal tea territory (ie. very strong herbal tea), and a smidgen of alcohol warmth in the background.

Flavor delivers everything the aroma hinted at. I'm as impressed with the gooey toffee/caramel taffy malt element as the herbal, grassy hop factor. Resiny, and thankfully lacking the unbalanced feel that makes some double IPAs taste like you just swished with salt water. Bitterness nicely offsets and complements the candy-like sweetness of the malt, yet somehow this big-malt double IPA doesn't blur the lines between its intended style and a barleywine or American strong ale as some do. Style, shmyle, I rarely care--all I know is this delivers big, big flavor. Alcohol? Can hardly feel it, but you know it's there in the most peripheral way. A well-behaved DIPA--one with no lack of character.

What's more, the texture is like fresh cream; lightly sticky, gooey and decadent, yet not overbearing in a lugubrious thickness. Carbonation takes a back seat, there only to keep things feeling alive, and that's as it should be considering the style.

This is a fantastic beer. I like when a double IPA is tongue-rippingly eccentric, but I also like when others are of the more balanced variety. This one is in the latter category, and it wins big points for its immense balance between bold candy-like hops and leafy hop bitterness. A treasure, and apparently an underrated one--according to my tongue anyway...

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Photo of wchesak
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured in dogfish head shaped pint glass

A- light orangey brown body with slightly off cream color head, about half an inch, leaves a bit of lacing

S- citrusy hops, very fresh smelling like you had a nugget sitting in there

T- bitterness fills the mouth and its noticeable through out the swallow with a slight caramel malt hidden in there, can not pick out the alcohol except for after the swallow, feel a slight burn in the chest

M- crisp and smooth

D- im a sucker for imperial ipa, so i would saw only the alcohol would stop be from drinking more than a few

west coast imperial ipa that definitely ranks among the top from the region

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Photo of ADZA
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a clear light orange/amber hue with nice carbonation that leaves behind a creamy,smoggy one finger head and nice sticky lacing here and there,the smell of this beer is a mix of aromas of citrus,lemon zest and of course piney hops,it has an above medium bodied mouthfeel which coats the mouth and tounge with a nice sticky feeling and the taste is very tasty indeed with flavours of pineapple,lychee,citrus and piney hops all coming through and i know they used excessive amounts of malts in this brew but they really only can be seen in the background which to me is a good thing as i reckon they have perfectly balanced out this brew to make the end bitterness not really that bitter at all and suprisingly enough i find that their mainstay AIPA was way more bitter but in saying that i really enjoy this brew and rate it higher than their everyday AIPA as its 8.7%ABV is very well hidden and will def buy again just wish it was abit cheaper.

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Photo of ryantho00
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a deep rusty orange with an initial frothy head that laces the glass through. I smell pine, hops, malty caramel, vanilla and slight tropical fruits in the nose. This beer has many different flavors in the medium bodied brew. Some notes I get are, citrus, pineapple, hops, dry tobacco, slight alcohol that warms and dies quickly. I really like this take on the imperial IPA, I am very impressed with the really creamy vanilla maltiness that balances out the wonderful brew. This is one of my new favorite imperial IPA's and am very happy I tried it.

Pick this up if you find it. Great aftertaste.


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4.41/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I typically like Anderson Valley beers, and this one was the best I've ever had from them.

From the pour into the glass I knew this would be a good beer. Nice creamy head which never went away as it sat and as I drank. Left a beautiful lace on the glass.

Excellent taste-- smooth at first, followed by the bitter hops finish that is just about perfect.

Not as over the top strong as a typical Imperial IPA, so very easy to drink.

I don't agree with the reviewer who made the comparison to a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale...this is much stronger and more flavorful, and it a great Imperial IPA in my book.


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Photo of cjgator3
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Pours a dark hazy amber color with a large off-white head with excellent lacing. The aroma is sweet malt with a good dose of pine and citrus hops, really nice hop profile in the nose. The taste is surprisingly smooth and balanced with a good malt backbone to support the heavy dose of hops hops. Overall, this is an excellent DIPA that is extremely smooth and drinkable despite the high ABV, highly recommended.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.39/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a one finger off-white head that slowly fades leaving a good lace. Murky amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is malts and grapefruit. Flavor has the caramel malts up front that mute the solid grapefruit hops. One of the better imp IPAs I've had. $5.99 for a 22oz bottle from Haggens Supermarket Tigard, OR.

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Photo of bstave
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into Dogfish Head tulip pint glass.

A- Poured a semi-transparent dark copper orange forming a nice 2 finger white head. It stuck around for a while finally dissipating into a thin layer leaving some nice sticky lacing. Very nice looking beer.

S- Getting mostly sweet malts from the nose, but after letting it warm up a bit, now I am getting some piny hops that have brightened it up nicely.

T- Taste is way more hoppy than the nose. Big, mostly pine and some citrus. Nicely balanced with the big caramel malt backbone. A little alcohol warming sneaks up afterwards. Very well done here.

M- Mouthfeel is very smooth with nice creamy texture. Carbonation is spot-on for a big imperial. Very smooth with nice alcohol warming at the end.

O- I really like this IIPA. I remember having it at the brewery in Booneville and really enjoying it. I think I have a very fresh bottle, because the hops are profiled nicely especially in the taste, which is the biggest factor for me. Well done and I am looking forward to picking up a four pack next time.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Copper copper brew, a very slight haze, almost more of an evident viscosity. Large head that leave thick clouds of lacing.

S - Pine resin, some grapefruit pith, peppery, biscuits. The aroma is strong and delicious.

T - Hops! First, there is a crisp shock of grapefruit. Then there are pine hops upfront, then it shifts to a peppery flavor, then a bitterness that grows and grows until it fades suddenly, almost vanishes, leaving only a faint malt on the palette. Very good.

M - Thick, smooth, very refreshing. Only initially, the abv started to make the throat parched - which make me want to drink more.

D - Awesome. I couldn't put this juicy brew down. It is a DIPA that drink like a hefe. I love it. I might buy another bottle the next time I see one. An awesome brew. Happy 20th Anderson Valley.

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Photo of trackstar1043
4.37/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Found this Gem at Bevmo Fremont, there was a only a few left.

A - Pours a hazy golden / orange, with a massive rocky off white head. Increadable amounts of the stickest lacing I have seen in a IIPA.

S - Huge aroma, massive hops and citrus, very earthy, as fresh and envirograting as a evergreen forest. Man this is a Hoppy Beer, Fan-Freaking-Tastic!

T - All the hops and citrus is there but they have done a great job balancing the beer into this smooth, crisp and almost wild ale with all the flavors busting out.

M - For all the intense hoppy flavors and bitter bite, this is one extremely smooth and easy to drink beer, I was expecting some what of a challenge given the rep of IIPAs, but wonderfully it was smooth, clean finish with a bitter bite that lasted a while.

D - Surprisingly very easy to drink and was left wanting another, great beer.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.37/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Orange body with some brass towards the core. Little carbonation visible but it comes through when gobbled.

Its a very easy drinking DIPA. Leaning towards the fruity side of the hop profile. If you like IPA's with less resin on the palate and more of a soft brew than this is for you. I liked it because it was clean and without flaws.

Notes: I'd seek this brew out. Well worth the price.

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Photo of Curtis
4.34/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy dark gold, thick foamy head that lasted quite a while. Much cloudier than expected, almost Berliner Weisse or Hefe. Mounthfeel was exceptional. No harsh Hop after bitter. Aroma was fairly mild -could use a bit more. Fruity overtones, not too citrus, slightly floral. Smooth, very smooth The balance is exceptional, nice pale maltyness, blended with tasty hops.. Alcohol kick is fairly good at 8.7... it sneaks up quickly, yet quietly. I've had good experiences with this brewery (Boont Amber is a favorite) and they have impressed again.

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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...

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

pours a turbulent topaz color and when it clears it puts up an amazingly tight 1-1/2 finger head - leaves minimal lace but maintains a thick ring around the outside all the way down - aroma of hops greets the nose as if I had walked into a garden of different hop varieties, with a little sweetness as well - taste is hops resin, fruity and herbal, with a toffee like sweetness on the back - alcohol is very well hidden with a slight warming deep down - good prickly carbonation with a mildly sticky finish that gets cleaned-up on the next sip - another winner from this brewery - good stuff -

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

Pours a very nice hazy golden orange color, very nice carbonation, very nice small, but thick creamy off-white head, that just does not disappear at all. The nose is malty, hoppy, with some citrus and slight pines. The taste is malty, with some nice hop notes, very nice citrus/pines. Medium body, nice chewiness, with a nice bitter/dry finish. Very drinkable, this is a very nice DIPA, more on the malty side though.

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

22 ounce bottle purchased at Whole Foods in La Jolla for about six dollars, split with a friend last night, poured into a clear pint glass

A-Golden orange color that was a little on the yellow side, 3/4 inch slightly foamy white head, stuck around for close to five minutes, nice retention, tons of lacing

S-Large amounts of pine hoppiness, peaches, oranges, grapefruit, and tangerine as well, some evident malt aromas showing that it had some balance just from the aroma, also a bit of floral accents, lemon juice, grass, and caramel

T-Started off with a huge piney flavor, did not fade into much malt, stayed dry pretty much the whole way through at the beginning, later on the malt came out more but so did the citrus hops, Cascade were still dominant in my opinion though, finish became less dry and a little sweet by the end, this beer had a nice balance and tasted good both chilled and once it warmed, enjoyable all throughout

M-Dry, bitter, and sometimes chewy mouthfeel, medium bodied, lots of carbonation which was good because it was not syrup-like, taste lingered for a few minutes after

D-Could have drank this bottle by myself rather easily, smooth for such a hoppy beer, all booze were hidden, did not taste like it was almost nine percent alcohol, good drinkability

I knew I would be a huge fan of this beer just by reading the label, I mean twenty different hop additions, you cannot wrong with that, hoppier than Hop 15 which was the most bitter double IPA I tasted before this one, too bad this is only a one time shot, would definitely drink again, recommended

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle pours a brilliant orange copper color with a bright slightly off white head...leaves behind fine speckled lacing as it dwindles. Aroma has big citrus, earthy notes, with a floral edge to it as well. Basically hops all day, enough sugary malts to balance it out blends nicely with the hops. Flavor has a nice blend of sugary hops and juicy malts intertwined with hops, fantastic blend of big DIPA. They've been around for awhile, but this is their first DIPA, since I've been drinking their wares in the last ten years. Nice mix of malts and hops not overbearing in alcohol or any one aspect, a nice balanced drinkable DIPA. Mouthfeel is slightly resinous with a flowing blend of hops and malts in each sip. Overall I can't complain about this beer, big hops, nice blend, balanced brew for the people into big flavors.

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Imperial IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
3.8 out of 5 based on 594 ratings.
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