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

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
Photo of PDXHops
2.25/5  rDev -40.8%
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.

 678 characters

Photo of abgba121
2.41/5  rDev -36.6%
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.

 415 characters

Photo of hoptrip619
2.48/5  rDev -34.7%
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...

 723 characters

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
2.67/5  rDev -29.7%
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.

 656 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 DevilsCups
2.69/5  rDev -29.2%
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 -28.7%
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...

 982 characters

Photo of buffs9
2.73/5  rDev -28.2%
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.

 568 characters

Photo of mithrascruor
2.73/5  rDev -28.2%
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.

 982 characters

Photo of MonkeymooTJ
2.81/5  rDev -26.1%
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

 771 characters

Photo of GRG1313
2.84/5  rDev -25.3%
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.

 1,054 characters

Photo of Tdizzle
2.84/5  rDev -25.3%
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.

 1,215 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
2.86/5  rDev -24.7%
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.

 372 characters

Photo of seabass87
2.95/5  rDev -22.4%
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.

 871 characters

Photo of MrMcGibblets
2.99/5  rDev -21.3%
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.

 529 characters

Photo of gatornation
3.06/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 0z bottle

A- pours a mostly clear glowing amber color with a 1 finger head some good lacing..looks good

S- is caramel malts and honey some hops and wet grass..all light and average

T- it is malts and honey some toffee and hops some wet grass very average and kinda dull

M- its carbonated has some flavor but not that of a 2ipa or an ipa its just average

D- will finish this one it i guess ok just not an imperial ipa IMO will not buy it again and do not recommend it

 474 characters

Photo of bogus564
3.06/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 fl oz, poured into a pint glass.

My previous review, written last night, was somehow lost; it's likely due to my overactive security software. Going from memory (and the fact that I have half the bottle still here on my desk).

Cloudy copper color, half beer, half head. Head is wheat-colored, and lasts quite awhile. This could be something worth trying.

It smells predominantly of prunes and piny hops. It's so overpowering that I can't discern any other aromas.

Oh, the disappointment in taste. It tastes predominantly of prunes and piny hops. If I were drinking prune juice, I'd appreciate that, but in an IPA, not so much. Wow.

Mouthfeel is, well, ehh. It's medium in body, very strongly carbonated, dances over the palate like Ron Artest (Metta World Peace) attempting the quick-step, icky piny finish.

Overall, I can say that I tried this beer, but I don't believe I'll be trying anything else from this brewery.

 927 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Let's go imperial with an IPA. On to the beer:

The head features a semi-creamy texture, which leaves a little lacing. It's dark amber orange in color, with plenty of bubbles running towards the top. You can tell by the nose that it's been hopped up, but the execuation is only so-so. Overripened grapefruit, pine and cough syrup qualities to smell.

Big and syrupy. Syrupy bitter hops play in, grapefruit, out comes resiny flavors. Some solvent alcohol cuts into the palate at times. The problem here is that this beer is messy, though a little warming up smoothens out some aspects. Decent enough to drink, though lots of better examples of the style exist.

 660 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Bottle conditioned in a 22 oz bomber. The beer itself is bright, clear amber with a frothy off-white head and an impressive stream of rising bubbles. The head retains incredibly well, leaving behind sheets of sticky lace as the glass empties.

Smell - Very hoppy and fresh. Aromas of fresh herbs, cut grass and lemons. Slightly medicinal. A hint of malt appears once the beer has warmed a bit.

Taste & mouthfeel - Pretty rough upon first impression. A semi-sweet malt foundation struggles to make itself known amidst the herbal, medicinal hop flavor. The bottle conditioning provides a soft and pleasant carbonation, but that's the only good thing I can say about the mouthfeel. Noticeable alcohol and sticky, astringent hops cling to the palate in the finish, making this a pretty tiring beer to finish.

Notes - A great looking beer with a fairly pleasant aroma, but it falls apart after that. Decent at best.

 925 characters

Photo of emmasdad
3.11/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Maybe this one wasn't all that fresh (no idea when it was brewed), but I really wasn't all that impressed. Poured a nice copper color, with some pretty white foam. Got some honey and malt on the nose, but no hops whatsoever. Flavorwise, I got more malt, some alcohol and maybe a bit of orange. Bitter and really seemingly past its prime. (BevMo warm shelf purchase--coincidence?)

 379 characters

Photo of Jimmys
3.11/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into tulip. no bottled on date located.

A: yellow/pale orange body with a creamy off-white head. decent retention, minimal lacing.

S: limes and boatload of caramel malt. a little bit of roast. pecan pie. the nose is definitely more on the malty side in my opinion.

T: caramel and a mild toffee in the middle. a lingering moss/green hop into the finish. dry bitterness as well.

M: average carb on a medium/full-ish body.

D: the lack of hop aromas/flavors leads me to believe that this isnt the freshest offering of this particular brew. or at least i hope thats the case. meh, not too impressed here, but i gotta figure this isnt super fresh. if that is the case, dont bother with it unless it is super fresh.

 730 characters

Photo of Mikes360
3.12/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love double ipa's and ipa's, but to me this didn't taste like either. I know it is an imperial ipa and maybe I am just very wrong but I thought they were supposed to be similar to doubles. Anyway, had a good malty flavor but just didn't have that hoppy fragrant aroma I love from my doubles. So in the end... good beer but to me the label is deceiving

 353 characters

Photo of farrago
3.12/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Strong pour only gets you less than a finger of albeit dense cream white foam, nothing unusual about the lacing, what you'd expect from the category. Soft gauziness to the otherwise luminescent zinc orange color, not much hue change throughout. The nose first goes heavy on caramel, nougat and toffee, makes even the orange citrus syrupy, stocky pine sap to boot, the florality gets submerged some, light fruit paste quality to the apricot, peach and pineapple scents. Medium to full-bodied with a sappy carbonation which adds minor churn at best, the palate easily replicates the nose with chocolate, caramel, toffee and butterscotch by far the major flavors. Slightly more edge in the tangerine, white grapefruit citrus. The stickiness undermines any clarity among the pine, flowers, cashew nut and forest scrub elements. Pineapple, papaya, nectarine, apricot fruit sweet yet somehow not sugary, no easy flow, too gluey. Tasty for sure but it just bogs down in itself and lacks for almost any refreshing qualities.

 1,016 characters

Photo of Chelsea1905
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Looked good from the pour, amber colour, hazy in appearance, white ehad with good lacing as you move the glass about.

Smells of caramel in plastic wrapping

Tastes caramel and hoppy upfront, but not in any real pleasing way. The follow up is very plastic based, and chemically. Not the best

Mouthfeel is fine, but the burning from the manufactured flavour takes any enjoyment away

Not sure I'll drink all this 22ozer,let alone many more

 439 characters

Photo of TheEremite
3.14/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep gold with a thin off white head, decent retention. I had high hopes for this beer and the aroma delivers but the rest falls short. It's got a big bright dry hop smell, slightly grassy and then the flavor is crushingly bitter with a strong pithy orange aftertaste. It's also got a heavy malt backbone that makes it a little overly complex. I guess it's decent enough, but it just doesn't measure up to other west cost DIPAs out there. I think I'd pass it up if I saw it again.

 488 characters

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
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.