Imperial IPA | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

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Imperial IPAImperial IPA
Very Good
595 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 595 |  Reviews: 332
Photo of BaltoNorm
1/5  rDev -73.8%

Photo of TheBigBoy
2/5  rDev -47.6%

Photo of GennyCreamAle
2/5  rDev -47.6%

Photo of babyismycat
2.25/5  rDev -41.1%

Photo of PDXHops
2.25/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap in a shaker pint.

Amberish copper body with half a finger of off-white head. Not much head retention and little lacing.

The nose is surprising. Very herbal and floral, quite gentle. Touch of caramel and citrus. Very tame.

Weird doughy/yeasty taste up front, followed by sweet malt and a tiny bit of toastiness, plus some herbal/medicinal notes. Finishes with nice citrusy bitterness, but it's not a pleasant transition from the doughy taste up front to the citrus at the end. Basically, I like it as I swallow, but nothing before that.

Medium-light smooth body and carbonation.

Overall impression: Subpar DIPA. Disappointing offering from a brewery I usually enjoy.

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Photo of Nichols33
2.25/5  rDev -41.1%

Photo of abgba121
2.41/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: pours a very hazy light amber with about a half inch of head, leaves a strong, dotty lace.

S: smells strong and sour, not very pleasant, neither hops nor malts on the nose

T: Weird taste, at first some of the sourness, then some sweet, but the beer finishes with bitter hops.

M: about average here

O: not a beer I would ever buy again. I don't know if my bottle was a fluke or what, but it was not enjoyable.

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Photo of hoptrip619
2.48/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Picked up a bomber for around $6 at BevMo in San Jose. It was only after digging a little deeper that I discovered their 20th Anniversary was in 2007. The code on the beer didn't reflect a two year old beer but you could have fooled me.

A- Amber/Orange with a fluffy 1.5" off white head.

S- Sweet malty caramel, alcohol, VERY subtle floral hoppiness

T- Two sips is all it took to realize this was NOT a good representation of an Imperial IPA. Chewy malt character with lots of sweet caramelized flavor. Very prominent hot ethanolic character with a less than desirable finish.

M/D - This full-bodied attempt at a popular California beer style sadly met its end in the sink.

Moral: You can't always pick a winner...

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Photo of wcintula
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%

Photo of GrindFatherBob
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%

Photo of Straycorn
2.51/5  rDev -34.3%

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
2.67/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a hazy amber with a medium head that straight dies in half a second. I see one spot of lacing, and it's tiny.
Very balanced smell, though a little weak. Some floral and citrus notes cover a sweet malt background.
I taste resin and sweat (but not as salty) with a bit of citrus. The taste really throws me off.
If the taste gets a 2.5 then so does the feel. The only thing that sticks to my mouth is a bitter sweaty afterglow (that doesn't disappear.
I mention sweat several times in here to get the point across. There is something off in the taste, which is a bummer because I'm a big fan of their Hop Ottin' IPA. For a DIPA I give it a thumbs down.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.69/5  rDev -29.6%
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'.

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Photo of DevilsCups
2.69/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Grabbed a bottle of this at Halftime in Poughkeepsie NY.

A - Amber. Amber like the mosquito at the top of John Hammonds cane in Jurassic Park. Crystal Clear with a nice sticking head and decent lacing.

S - Cantaloupe. Nothing else. Not a hint of hops. The scent is musty cantaloupe or melon.

T - Similar to the scent, very subtle cantaloupe taste. The least hop-forward DIPA I've ever had. The only thing the hops contribute to this brew is bitterness, otherwise it's not the classic 'West-Coast style' hoppy DIPA. Malty isn't the word for this. If you're looking for a malt-bomb in a DIPA, this one's for you.

M - A tad over-carbonated in my opinion. The bitterness doesn't compliment the absence of hop flavors, but it's not overwhelming. Again, the only thing you get from the hops is bitterness.

O - Glad I grabbed one if only for the fact that it affirmed what I wasn't looking for in a DIPA. It's not a bad brew, but when they highlight the "excessive amounts of malts" on the label, please notE that they aren't kidding.

If you're a malty ale fan with a touch of bitterness, this one's for you. I guess I was just assuming something coming from Mendocino, CA would be hop-forward but I was wrong. Again, not bad, but not typical for a West Coast DIPA.

 1,270 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
2.71/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance - pours a bubbly, active tangerine color, a creamy thick finger of soft white, orange tinted foam on top. Thick walls of lace are glued to the sides.

Aroma - nice orange, grapefruit and pine nose. Not the most intense but it stays at a good aromatic level.

Taste - starts off with a slightly sweet, caramal and grain opening. Quickly replaced by bitter and medicinal hops. Grows harsher still on the swallow and ends up a dry, unpleasantly bitter flavor. No palate adjustment helps here, it stays pretty rough no matter what. Needs maybe a shot of something sweet. Being out of Grand Marnier, I tossed in a shot of peach schnapps. Kind of took over things but it's better.

Mouthfeel - medium body, decent carbonation feel, about medium as well. Not great for the style but it works.

Drinkability - nahhh, I like 'em sweeter, more balanced with some malts. Even the 2nd glass, after the peach-schnapps-polluted first glass, was still unpleasant. Ahhh, that's better...

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Photo of buffs9
2.73/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Got this as an extra in a trade. No date on this, so possible that it's just past it's prime and thus not very impressive.
A: Pours a nice orange color with decent head and some lovely bubbles
S: Smell of caramel, slight hop scent but mostly malt and even some vanilla
T: Not very good, some hops and oxidation. Almost tastes a bit like blood and metal in the beer, which isn't very pleasant.
M: Medium bodied beer, nice amount of carbonation
D: more malty than most double IPA's and I'm hoping this one is just a bit too old or this is a poor excuse for a double IPA.

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Photo of mithrascruor
2.73/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy copper-orange color. Minimal off-white head becomes a thin film.

Smell: Aroma of orange and what I want to call a "sticky sweet" smell that I can't quite place. Not quite my favorite smell here.

Taste: ...and "sticky sweetness" we have. Not quite sure how to describe this. I've experienced it before with beers, but not quite this much. There's some orange and spiciness there, but it feels covered over by this sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied but pretty viscous. Minimal carbonation.

Drinkability: The alcohol level isn't too strong here, and I can hardly taste it, but the flavor here rubs me the wrong way after a little bit. A beer to enjoy in moderation, I suppose.

When some good breweries try and do a double-whatever ale or "high-octane" beer, it falls on its face. I'm afraid that is the case here. The taste is just sort of weird, and I'm not feeling particularly inclined towards finishing it.

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Photo of MonkeymooTJ
2.81/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3


Thick 2" head and a body that is copper and gold with a good amount of bubbles floating to the surface


Toasty, caramel malts in the forefront and very potent. Backed up by a lesser amount of grassy, herbally hop notes


Malt-centric for sure. The initial sweetness hits extremely hard. A bit of an awkward, almost out of place bitterness follows that leaves a bit of a tangy feel on the tongue


Medium to full body with a lack of carbonation. Leaves a bit of a bitter residue on the palate which lingers for a little while.


I didnt care too much for this one. I thought the malt profile was way to strong for a DIPA. The hops that did come through were bitter but lacking a good flavor. I wont be having this one again

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Photo of GRG1313
2.84/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dark golden orange amber with a white/yellowish head.

Nose of cooked carmel fruited whiskey. Lots of "whiskey character" in the nose. Also assertive alcohol in the nose (the "sweet smell" of assertive alcohol that can be confused with a fruity character). Nose is deceiving since what many may find pleasant is actually an assertive sweet smell of pure alcohol.

Medium/full mouthfeel with nice carbonation but the flavor profile simply is not pleasant and over rides everything.

Big malty fruit carmel very front to a nice malt/hop middle but then immediately to a heavy droopy bitter middle/end palate that goes to an off bitter pine finish.

This one is simply does not have good flavor integration in my opinion. The individual flavor profiles are good; just not put together well. The beer seems to have too many personalities, none of which stands out well. Unpleasant long heavy bitter pine finish.

Some may like this as it appears as a big flavorful beer. I believe it's deceiving and really not very attractive; or, it's just not my style.

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Photo of Tdizzle
2.84/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I initially gave this beer a pretty harsh review. I didn't like it at all, but I decided to give it a second try.

A- Poured into my Dogfish Head snifter, this beer is a clear dark amber color with a foamy off-white head that settles quickly and leaves very little lacing. This is much darker in color than any DIPA I've had.

S- Metallic with citrusy and piney hops and some herbal malt in the background. Not as strong an aroma as I expected from a DIPA. As the beer warms, the hoppy aroma disappears leaving a very green, medicinal, and metallic herbal aroma that I don't care for at all.

T- The bitterness is "dirty", sharp, and lacking hop flavor. I really don't care for the aroma or the taste that the malt backing imposes on this beer. The hops resurface in the back of the throat, but it's a hard metallic bitterness that becomes tiresome.

M- Slightly oily and slick with little carbonation.

D- I just didn't want to finish a whole bomber of this, so I can't really give this beer high marks for drinkability.

My least favorite Double IPA that I've tried. I gave this beer two chances seeing as I bought two bottles, but I just can't get into it. I don't care for the aroma or the taste of this beer.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
2.86/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Bright, slightly cloudy orange with a 1 finger cream colored head. Good retention.

S- Malty and sweet.

T- Sweet malts, that's it. Where is the citrus and pine?

D- Creamy and very sweet!

O- WTF is this? Very disappointed here. Fine, it is sweet, but it isn't even a good sweet. Not what I think of when I order an Imperial IPA.

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Photo of seabass87
2.95/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 1 Pt. 6 Oz. bottle into glass.

A- Pours like a thick IIPA with a cloudy copper body and a healthy 2-finger head that leaves attractive lacing. No carbonation.

S- Very piney, just like the Hop Ottin' IPA, but with a bit more citrus. A warm, sweet malt backbone.

T- Although it mostly follows the nose, the malt presence comes out the strongest, with citrus hop afterthoughts. Aftertaste is piney hops with definite alcohol burn. The malts and hops balance each other I suppose, but it's a bit abrasive without very much of a reward.

M- Medium feel for an IIPA with zero carbonation. I would expect a thicker feel for a beer with such a strong bite.

O- I would go for the classic Hop Ottin' IPA over this any day. I've had good experiences with Anderson Valley in general, but this one was a bit disappointing. Not horrible, but I'm not getting this again.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
2.99/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: clear orange/light amber, diminishing white head.
S: lots of toffee, buttery, hops are oniony/garlicky (summit or simcoe has this trait? forget which), also some tropical fruit and citrus. some alcohol noted.
T: buttery toffeeish malts are medium to full sweet, zingy, spicy hop bitterness lingers. the onion and garlic comes through as well.
M: viscous, almost full body.
O: the onion/garlic and buttered toffee aspects made this almost a chore to drink. bigger body and alcohol presence than i would've guessed for this abv.

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Photo of jasinviso
3/5  rDev -21.5%

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Imperial IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 595 ratings