Imperial IPA | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Imperial IPAImperial IPA
Liked This Beer
3.82 w/ 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 595 |  Reviews: 332
Photo of shufon
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of ThaCreep
3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Fruity nose of IPA with mango and apricot, wrapped in a green floral hops and flavored, which makes the nose warmer, with even traces of toast with honey.

On the palate, the entry is quite strong, with surprising flavors of sweet caramel malt and biscuit, which is surprising for a beer of this style. Unfortunately, the finding of these flavors is that hops is a little too down and the finish does a nice bitterness, but nothing more after all.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tumbler at The Tribes.

The Accidental Highway to Hell Tour continues! This stop pours a clear amber-straw topped by a finger of cream-white foam. The nose comprises pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, caramel, powdered sugar, lime, strawberry, mango, kiwi, and light pine. The massive fruitiness came as a bit of a surprise to me, but it somehow worked out very well. The taste holds notes of pineapple, pine, light menthol, light-ish toffee, light biscuit, honey, light strawberry, honeydew, lime, light lemon zest, light mandarin orange syrup, and light grass. The body is a light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and an almost syrupy feel. Overall, a very nice DIPA, one that really shows how you can make a fruity, hoppy brew without going overboard on the hops and maintaining a general balance throughout.

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Photo of IllNate
3.66/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours and extreemly clear medium amber. With a good amount of white froathy head which subsides to webbing. Was expecting a hop haze with an imperial IPA...

S - Hoppy nose, but not huge. Citrus and earthy hops. Not much else.

T - BITTER! Was expecting a bit tamer from the nose. Citrus and earthy hops again. Hops overpower any malt character, but there is a caramel nature to it as well.

M - Puckering bitterness, not a great balance to this beer. The malt body just isn't there.

O - A good brew, but not the best IIPA I've had.

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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 uustal
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale, flat yellow with a slight white head. Picked up orange in the aroma first. Also some grapefruit and malty notes. A lot of nice sweetness in this IPA off the bat. Sweet, juicy orange and grapefruit notes. Kind of a syrupy canned fruit juice vibe. Nice caramel malt before a balancing pine hop to finish. A double IPA on the sweeter and maltier side, even when fresh, but the hops still have their say.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a DFH signature glass for my pleasure. Beer is orange with a mild haze but is mostly clear.

Off white head of small bubbles, minimal lacing, decent retention, moderate to low carbonation, Looks good

Aroma is a strong mixture of pine and grapefruit hops. Nice, me like.

Beer has a strong backbone behind it, which is good, but it intrudes on the hops which should always be the star of any decent IPA. Balance hop bitterness with hop flavor, not with malt backbone. That is always a mistake. This beer walks the line but trends toward malt in the end. The bitterness is there and the nice hop florals are there but in the end this is malty beer. not my favorite but worht a look.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark copper/amber color into a snifter from a 22 oz bomber. There was no date of bottling, or best-by, however ABV and serving temperature were on the label.

Two finger foamy, frothy head from a moderately aggressive pour, that dissipated slowly, leaving behind some stunning lace. Very good carbonation with a constant stream of bubbles.

Aroma was predominantly fruity; citrus, grapefruit, pineapple notes coming through with hints of floral hops. As the beer warmed up the malt notes came through with caramel and candy like aroma. Very pleasant on the nose.

From the first sip, it was noticeable that this IPA had a strong malt backbone. Sweet notes upfront with hints of hop bitterness trying to make their presence felt only to be taken over again by subtle, candy like sweetness. The balance in this ale is very good, and also the alcohol is masked very well.
Considering the high ABV, this is surprisingly easy to drink.
One of the really good imperial IPA's out there in my opinion.

Overall, I think this is a solid brew from Anderson Valley and comes highly recommended. A 'must-try' for every IPA enthusiast.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle into a Bell's stemmed tulip. Poured orange with a one finger slightly off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, grain, earth, earthy hop, and subtle citrus. The flavor was of sweet malt, earth, earthy hop, subtle citrus, and subtle pine. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. The earthiness in this brew was definitely in full-effect here. While not being abrasive to the palate it was still a little much which hurt the beer's score overall for myself. The slight citrus aspect did try to counteract this, but it was a case of 'too little, too late'. Still worth trying for anyone interested in an earthy DIPA or the ticker out there who has to try them all.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. $2 from Bottle Revolution.

Appearance: Its a good looking, clear orange beer with a nice whitish head and pretty good looking lacing in spots and sheets.

Smell: Theres a nice caramel malty sweetness and a pretty good dose of piney and citrus hops. Its not an all out hops assault, but pretty good. Somewhat subdued for a DIPA.

Taste: Bitter hops with pine and citrus pith. A bit of sweet malt takes a backseat. A grainy, slightly vegetal taste I associate with old hops is there too.

Mouthfeel: Pretty good actually. Soft but tingly with well executed carbonation and a resiny stickiness on the end.

Overall: Its OK. Looking at other reviews that date back to at least July makes me think this isnt that fresh, and it shows. Could probably be better.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a 16 oz. snifter.

A- Light copper with off-white 2 finger head. Very good lacing that sticks to the glass.

S- Skunk piney hops, some citrus and sweet malts.

T- Sweet malts, pine hop bitterness. Hard to pick out much citrus from the pine, but it's there.

M- Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Leaves a bitter dry mouth.

O- Decent DIPA. Not sure how fresh this is but flavors may have faded some possibly?

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Photo of Knapp85
3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one poured out pretty nice lookin with a golden color and a foamy white head on top. The smell of the beer had a good citrusy hop aroma to it. The taste of the beer though I thought was a little in the weak side. I was surprised by how the smell was so good but the taste just wasn't there for me. The mouthfeel was pretty crisp and light. Overall just really bummed about the taste. Other than that it was pretty good.

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Photo of bogus564
3.06/5  rDev -19.9%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear light orange with a 2 puffy inch whitish-orange head that settles to a thin cap. Foamy swaths of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of grapefruit and some pineapple, citrus zest, and malt aromas. Taste is of grapefruit/citrus fruits, citrus zest, and a malty brown sugar finish. The bitterness on this one is fairly mild but sticks around on the palate after each sip. This beer is crisp and slightly sticky in the mouth. Overall, this is a very good DIPA with a nice balance between the hops and a nice brown sugar malty flavor. Almost like a very hoppy barleywine in my opinion.

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Photo of thain709
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - The body was burnt orange in color and had some clarity to finger of creamy, white head sat atop of the hardly feel at all leaving behind a full, thick cap...nice lacing

S - Citrus hops are strong with a lot of grapefruit and orange...I can pick up some caramel and alcohol as well

T - Again, lots of citrus going tastes like fresh grapefruit and orange rind...that bitterness starts at the beginning then comes back just as strong at the end...there is a balance in the middle with a strong caramel flavor that has set in...again though, I'm detecting a lot of alcohol

M - Medium bodied...very bitter with only a brief moment of balance...alcohol

O - I was very surprised at the presence of the alcohol in this one, seeing as it's only 8.7%...this would have been an enjoyable DIPA (lots of citrus, slight balance, very bitter) if it wasn't for the huge alcohol presence

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Photo of brentk56
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: The crystal clear amber liquid is covered by an impressive head; the retention is good, as well, and it leaves some clumps of foam behind

Smell: Fairly balanced, with the sugary malts combining with the hops to produce a tropical fruit character

Taste: Very sweet, up front, with lots of sugary malt providing caramel flavors; initially, the tropical fruit elements of minty pineapple and citrus converge but by mid-palate, the beer gets very bitter, with the high alpha acids doing their thing; with the big malt character, however, the sweetness returns to provide a rather sticky finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; sticky and somewhat hot

Overall: I guess you could say that this is a balanced DIPA but as I prefer more hops and less sticky malts, it does not rank among my favorites of the style

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Photo of Johnnyfacelift
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was holding on to this brew for a bit in the fridge and almost lost it to some late night drunken family members... I was inside asleep on the couch with the kids watching Shrek 2:-) Luck was in my favor and they never got around to drinking it.

The color is a copper brown that still has some haze. The head was foamy and thick but didn't hold up for too long; after a couple of minutes it settled into a thin constant layer that floated on top. The aroma is a big malt punch with sweetness and alcohol being the up front characters, I don't get to much hop aroma which is a bit of a let down in an IPA. There is a common theme in most imperial IPA's where the malt character takes the drivers seat. The taste is balanced between the maltiness and the bitterness, some resin type hop character comes through but again its all about the malt here.
A rich mouthfeel rounds it out, but it's not to thick. Nice IPA offering but my pallet begs for that big hop burst.

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Photo of Tballz420
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anderson Valley Imperial IPA is a clear, deep golden colored brew, with a sizable white head afloat it's body. Just a few spare carbonation bubbles rising to the occasion.

The scent really has a lot of tropical fruit tones, reminding me of Odell Myrcenary Double IPA. That is overlaying a sweet malt base.

The taste also has a lot of that tropical fruit action. There is a light caramel malt start, but that gets overwhelmed quickly by the tropical blast, which itself is followed by a prominent spicy alcohol finish. There are some honey, citrus, and floral notes to this as well.The body is light to medium and very smooth.

First off, any beer that has a label that is reminiscent of the Imperial Japanese flag, and is called an Imperial IPA, has to fall under the assumption that it is an aggressive beer. And this beer is, because of the alcohol, which I feel needs to be better blended. The malts are a bit light for this, the hops are extremely tasty, but then the finish is a bit boozy.

Ok, Anderson Valley Imperial IPA is a 8.70% ABV beer, so yeah, it does have some booze in it, but there are other beers of this stature that are better blended than this. I think if they upped the malts just a bit, the entire thing would come together better.

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Photo of rinhaak
4.17/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a rich caramel-copper/gold. A little hazy but clean, there is one finger of head that faded a bit quickly.

Lots of lemonheads in the nose, with bits of orange zest and lots of dry hopped aromas (cascade, perhaps?)

The taste is sweet and a little grassy. Though abundantly hoppy, this beer is far from bitter. Lots of citrus (predominantly grapefruit) on the tongue, a bit zesty and a little tangy. There is a nice malt/hop finish that lingers in the mouth. As it sits, a boozy flavor revealing the ABV starts to be noticeable.

The beer has a pretty high carbonation level, but it envelops the tongue rather nicely and feels great in the mouth.

Overall a well made DIPA: smooth, sweet, and refreshing.

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Photo of nickd717
3.21/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Review dated 5/4/2009.

On tap at AVBC tasting room. Not one of my favorites. Nice appearance, golden-amber color with a foamy white head. Aroma of citrusy hops and sweet malt. Flavor is the same, as you’d expect, but it lacks a little of the hop punch I was looking for from the style. Palate pretty average. Drinkable but nothing special.

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Photo of DaveHS
3.15/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours clear light amber with a 1/4 inch of creamy eggshell white head. Leaves rings of streaky lacing.

S-Biscuity malt sweetness offset by grassy/citrusy hops.

T/M-Pleasant bready malts pave the way for a brief wave of dry, grassy hops, after which the maltiness becomes dominant. The finish is a bit sweet, with a touch of piny hops that dry out on the back end. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O-Not the most hop forward Imperial IPA. Would've liked to have seen more hop dominance in the flavor profile. Drinks more like a strong American amber ale than an IPA.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Translucent orange, one finger head.

S-Some dirt, grass and pine.

T-Missing some malt presence, but lots of bitterness and some earthy notes make up for it.

M-Medium bodied, some carbonation, smooth.

O- For a DIPA this is disappointing. It is lacking the citrus and floral notes, and the balance isn't there. But at the end of the day I always love a good hop bomb so there is salvation there.

Edit-Put the wrong value for Mouthfeel initially.

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Photo of Wreckoncile
4.17/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz into Konic pint.

A - Pours to a light copper, with about one inch of thick white foam with standard retention that leaves only slight lacing upon disappating.

S - Solid scent. The hops comes through immediately from the initial pour, but after it has a chance to breathe in the glass, I felt that a slight malty note comes out that compliments the hops well. The initial hops blast was piney on the nose, but a sweeter malty breadiness linger beneath.

T - As with the scent, the malt actually makes more of an appearance than I've come to expect from the style. Although the hoppiness is there, its more grassy/piney than citrusy, and that allows the malt to shine through the bitterness for a more overall balanced flavor. The IBUs are there, its definitely an IIPA, but is seemed to have the right contrast in malt character.

M - Medium body with light carbonation and a bit of viscosity. Nothing overwhelming, but altogether quality.

O - Overall among my favorites for the style. I just felt like it retained that traditional IIPA character, as you can taste the IBUs, but managed to really even it out right with the rest of the profile.

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Photo of chinchill
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in snifter at Thirsty Monk (NC). Pub's description brags of "20 separate additions of the finest Pacific Northwest hops".

A - small but lasting head over a hazy apricot liquid.

M - medium body cridp medium carbonation

T - Sharp hop bite at outset, with high IBU level immediately apparent. Unlike most IPA's, this one seems to become less bitter after the initial hop hit, which is not to say the bitterness fades away until long after swallowing. Nice mix of sweet malt and hops (both piney and citrusy), with some sweet notes and caramel peeking out from behind the dominant bitter hop flavor.

O - strongly flavored and bordering on challenging, but rather than leaving a strongly bitter grapefruit finish, this one ends with less bitterness than might be feared. Although clearly bitter, there's some sweet malt flavor.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Golden yellow/tan, 1/4 inch head. Some very minor lacing,

Smell - Hops, some carmal, malts, light citrus,not very strong smell at all.

Taste - Piney hops at first, then carmal and huge malts finish it off. Plenty of orange, grapefruit, sweet malts, even some lemon. MIld alcohol warmth at the end.

Mouthfeel - Coats mouth with hops and malts. TOunge gets worked out with above mentioned flavors. Tounge is lighty bittered, then catches some alcohol warmth. Medium thickness and aftertaste is bitter and warm.

Overall - Not what i was expecting, alot of malts. Hops are pretty bold, but malts really come out. I really enjoyed this for the fact is is differnt from typical imperial ipa's. Its tasty, but strong, its probily 1 or2 and done kind of beer. Nice job, surprized me, id drink this again for sure.

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Imperial IPA from Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Beer rating: 67.6% out of 100 with 595 ratings
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