Imperial IPA | Anderson Valley Brewing Company

Imperial IPAImperial IPA
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 merlin48
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of deereless
3.54/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A solid inch of head, light and frothy foam, deep golden copper in color, patches of head that stick to the side of the glass - 4.25, S: Some unusual aromas - possibly some papaya, a breadiness that remidns me of biscotti, quite a mild aroma and really lacking the hops that define an Imperial IPA - 2.75, T: Very bitter, noticeable alcohol, what I perceive as a maple syrup sweetness, some raisins, heaps of caramel, pine sap from the hops - 4.00, M: The solid malt provides the heavy body, a little bit of stickiness to the mouth feel - 4.25, D: Lacks the hops that really establishes a quality IPA, drinkable but missing is something to push this up the ladder - 3.25

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Photo of Offa
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this from the cask at Toad in the Hole. It is a tasty beer with well-rounded flavour but definitely on the heavy sweet side.

Hazy pale amber, it has a small, thin off-white head that lingers, slowly shrinking to a ring, but leaving no real lace.

The aroma is pretty good with definite American double IPA qualities. It first presents grapefruit but this quickly fades into a mix of other elements, malty and hoppy. It is slightly resiny but, inaddition to the grapefruit, has definite candied orange, hint of pineapple. It also has caramelly, raisiny alcohol.

The taste is well balanced between malt and hop flavours, with a lot of candied orange peel, some grapefruit, hint of pine, a little tea-like leafiness (like strong, unsweetened iced tea), along with a very strong raisiny quality and a little caramelised plum. It has plenty of hop flavours, but very light bitterness in the face of the thick, almost syurpy, raisiny-fruity sweetness, yet has raisiny-alcoholic spicey warmth. The latter is quite strong yet smooth.

The feel is smooth and thick, a bit oily.

It's tasty and rather easy to drink given the alcohol, but it is a bit sweet and overall the elements are a bit muddled and subdued.

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Photo of Lothore
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a orangish yellow hue with a small, off white head that leaves lacing on the way down.

S- Smell is very hoppy, a bit floral, indistinct sweetness, caramel, maybe a little pineapple.

T- Very malty, lots of light fruit, banana, pineapple, perhaps a bit of melon, with some grapefruity hops that balance the back end pretty well but are not anywhere near the level I expected.

M- Medium to full bodied with medium carbonation.

D- This was a nice little DIPA that was definitely on the malty side. I would recommend it if it is easily obtainable.

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Photo of weeare138
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appears a hazy light orange with a small white cap that slowly fades into a gentle cap. Scattered bits of lacing around the glass.
Smell is of pepery spice, herbs, caramel, vanilla, & orange citrus.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with brown sugar, vanilla, with peppery grapefruit stabbing the tastebuds.
Mouthfeel is syrupy, sugary, caramel, n hoppy.

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Photo of bhalter8
3.44/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lucked into picking this one up recently, and was excited to give the impressive looking bottle a pour. Pours a hazy orange with a nice looking 1 1/2 finger, creamy white head resting on top. A very nice looking DIPA, indeed. I am having a hard time picking up much hop aroma in the nose. I've tried warming and waiting, and I get a slight tart citrus aroma, but rather faint compared to other DIPAs. A crisp bitterness in the first sip, and present alcohol, as well. The bitterness is there, but I am wanting a bit more from it. It seems like its all bitter, and not enough accompanying flavors. The two powerful players here in the taste are alcohol, and a bitter tart grapefruit. Due to the previously mentioned bitterness and alcohol, it doesn't rest too easy in your mouth as you sip it. Also makes it a bit tough on its drinkability. I have been drinking a lot of different DIPAs as of late, and had hoped for a bit more from this one, but it just seems like its missing some supporting parts. Certainly a decent DIPA, but it does not break into the upper echelon, as I had hoped.

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Photo of Lexluthor33
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber orange color with a nice head and lace.
The aroma of floral hops,piney notes and fruits.

The taste was medium sweetness,hops, some malts in the back with abundant fruit / grapefruit hints.

The feel was juicy,medium carbonation with mild bitterness.

Notes: A fine,smooth beer with a thirst quenching feel.I was really thirsty when I had it and it did the trick. No trace of alcohol.

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Photo of bark
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The colour is deep amber; the liquid is clear. The low head is white.

The smell is medium strong. Sour-bitter American hoppy flavours. It is quite neutral for a DIPA.

The taste is very pleasant with bitter citric notes of grapefruits and bitter oranges. Some perfumed notes and fresh vegetables. The aftertaste is mellow with sweet-bitter hoppy flavours - it is strong but not in any way extreme.

The carbonation is strong and fresh, the bubbles medium sized. The liquid is smooth.

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Photo of froghop
3.15/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

pours a pale amber-orange with a small egg-shell head, and good lacing.

smell is faint, caramel, and a touch of grapefruit.

taste is creamy, bitter, somewhat metallic, and roasted nuts, ends bitter and a little dry.

overall a pretty good IPA but not as bitter as i would like for an imperial IPA.

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Photo of bunnyhustle
3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear, dark copper in color. Bubbley white head, two-finger, with ok retention and some lacing. Smell wasnt bad, but wasnt what I was expecting. A deep caramel scent, one of the strongest I've ever noticed. Some citrus but not much, just the caramel. Taste was pretty unbalanced I thought. This seemed to be a malt bomb. While there were some piney hops they were almost muted by the sweet malt and caramel, some toasted grain too. The hop presence definitely kicked in at the back of the mouth, slightly warming sensation as it went down. Mouthfeel was fuller, slightly oily and chewy. Overall not a bad beer. I just wouldnt have pegged it as an Imperial IPA, almost seemed more Barleywine-ish...but then again who cares!

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

22oz bottle from the fridge.

Pours dark copper with a quarter inch head of white froth. A slight haze with moderate retention.

Aromatics lead off with pungent pine notes with citrus zest and grape jam. Hops resins and spruce follow through along with light malt and hard candies.

Medium bodied with a crisp, tacky, chewy mouthfeel.

Ripe fruit, pine boughs, and grape candies start the palate. Plump malt, leafy citrus hops and a firm bitterness follow through.

Finishes with a lingering bitterness, pine-laden hops, and warming alcohol.

Tasty enough, but lacking greatness.
I was fairly dissapointed in this one as I'm a big fan of Anderson's IPA, but for a $9.00 anniversary brew, I'd like a fresher, more pungent IIPA.

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Photo of Beernoisseur
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Anytime I can find an IIPA, I rejoice. they're difficult to come by here in the good old beehive state.

I have always been impressed with Anderson Valley's beers in the past, I am expecting this to be no different. It pours a pretty orange amber with a huge head that retains and laces with big chunky spots on the glass.

The aroma is more malt heavy than I prefer in the style, but not bad smelling in the least. Sugary sweetness comes first, but pine and grapefruit rind are in there too. Good smelling beer.

The flavor is more malt forward than I would like, but enjoyable. More bready than I am used to on the finish. the bitterness comes through about ten seconds after you swallow, but it's definitely there. Grainy sweetness, brown sugar like. Sugar cookies and citric fruitiness. Nice, but different than what I was expecting.

Very soft and pleasing. Solid medium body. The drinkability is a little lower because of the sweetness, but still very good.

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Photo of bigbelcher
3.51/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep golden almost amber color with a small white head. Plenty of Belgian lacing. Hop aroma is there but also plenty of sweet malt aroma. Some citrus notes. Flavor is a a lot like the aroma, lots of sweet unfermented malt with a big hop bitterness, not a lot of hop flavor, just bitterness. Full bodied but overall was a pretty disapointing imperial IPA.

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Photo of jgap
4.71/5  rDev +23.3%
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 Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a clear light copper color ale with a large pure white foamy head with good retention and some great lacing. Aroma of bitter hops with some notes of citrusy hops and some floral undertones. Taste is also very well balance between bitter and citrus hops with some good floral notes and a very solid dry caramel malt backbone. Average body for the style with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Nothing extraordinary but solid take on the style.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My bottle poured a somewhat hazy deep orange colored body beneath a full head of creamy off-white. Yeast is visible at the bottom of the glass so I wonder if I'd let it sit for longer, or maybe poured it more gently, it would be clear. To be honest, I don't really care. Cloudy beer is fine with me, and (bonus!) it's bottle conditioned. Anyway, the head retention is very good, and it leaves beautiful rings of creamy lace beneath thin curtains of Belgian lace at the outset of the glass. Beyond that, however, it lacks - which is a shame because a beer like this should really deliver more. Moving forward...

In the nose it's sweetish and floral, almost perfumey, and just lightly piney and citrusy. It's not as big as most "Imperial" IPA's, but it's good; and I appreciate that the malt comes through as well as the hops. No alcohol is noticeable, although there is a suggestion of it.

The flavor is more hoppy than the aroma suggests, and it's got the expected resinous character of a very hoppy beer, but beyond that it's pretty well tamed. Lots of pine comes out at first, and then some floral and mildly fruity notes. The biscuity and lightly caramelish malt underneath is clearly present, and it becomes part of the flavor experience rather than just acting as a spring-board for the hops. As you progress through the glass and it warms, the hops become more grassy and spicy, and it surprisingly exhibits very little of the citrus that most would expect of and American "Imperial" IPA. Unfortunately, some more of the alcohol shows as well.

As to drinkability, I look to the label for my answer - "for those wishing to savor high quality, flavorful and perfectly balanced beers" - I totally agree with that. Anderson Valley has always been about balanced beers, and this is no exception. It's not bombastic, but it IS balanced (considering it's an "Imperial" IPA). The hops are strong, and they do build on the palate, but they don't leave your palate blind after the first three or four sips. I enjoyed relaxing with a bottle of this, and finding it's greater breadth of character as it warmed. That would not have been possible tasting some of the other hop-bombs coming out of Cali. So, all in all, I found it pretty damned drinkable. I have one more bottle to enjoy, and I think I'll crack it open on the first really nice night of spring as the sun is going down and it's still warm with just a slight chill in the air coming in. And perhaps some Brie and toasty crackers might work as well.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright orange/amber color with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is a good blend of fruity citrus, floral hops and caramelized malts.

T: The taste is fruity and sweet up front with a strong citrus flavor and some caramel in the background. Then a strong hops bitterness comes in along with an alcohol bite. The malt character is on the thin side for the style despite the sweetness. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, it's a good beer but there are definitely several other 2IPA's that I would choose first.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A= Pours a deep red color with a very small head that sticks around for a little while.
S= an interesting soapy smell with pineapple and pine. Some grapefruit in there as well, not much malt
T= strong underipe grapefruit taste with some pine quality in it and an actual malt backbone is detected which I didn't expect. There is also some of that odd soapyness that I smelled.
M= Great
D= Very high actually. The taste from the soapiness improves and I start to enjoy it more as I drink it more. Well crafted and unexpected never heard of the brewery before.

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Photo of yeastsipper
3.74/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours a beautiful dark copper color with a nice thick white head. Smells include citrus and pine but for me the malt really dominates the nose. The taste is good if not amazing. Lots of pine and malt. Great balance, but perhaps not what I am looking for in a DIPA I want more hops and less malt - this really feels like a barleywine to me. Beer is a touch syrupy for my taste. Nice hop bitterness lingers on the palate, very enjoyable. A good beer, worth trying, but by no means amazing.

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Photo of smcolw
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dramatic head that recedes slowly and in a rocky fashion leaving copious amounts of chunky lace. Slightly hazy; orange amber colored liquid.

Mild aroma of lemon and berry. Really no hop. Some "fridge" smells also.

This is not a hop bomb IIPA. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of hop, but it doesn't cover up the pale and crystal malt flavors. While the alcohol is noticeable, it is not oily.

The only detraction is the lack of smell. Wonderful balance for the style.

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

22 oz. bottle tried 1 Jun 2008.

Very small white head. Almost flat. Clear bright auburn color. Aroma is sweet and hoppy, lots of orange and pine, ethanol. Pretty big hop profile throughout, resiny and citric. Alcohol front and center as well, quite warming. Plenty of malt underneath the hops, sweet with a hint of banana. Long lingering bitter citrus aftertaste. Medium body, full mouthfeel.

Tasty IIPA, recommended.

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Photo of bosco7
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice clear dark orange with a pale white fluffy head, nice.

Orange juice and peel, pine needles, and plenty of malt in the nose. Smells very sweet and sticky.

Wow, very sweet and malt forward. Hops show up after the initial bonbardement of malt. Surprisingly this beer is not too hoppy, the hops are orangey with some pine but lacking that pungent quality of West Coast DIPAs. If tasted blind I would think it came from the east. A little disappointing for sure. Pretty damn bitter.

Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, and compliments the more balanced nature of the flavor profile. I think that I was expecting a lot because of Anderson Valley's Hop Ottin IPA which I feel is more than amazing and has been a permanent resident in my fridge for years. Still, its a good DIPA and worth trying.

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Photo of mtrentm
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter

A: Orange/Amber colored with a 2-finger cream colored head.

S: The aroma is mostly spicy & floral, a little bit of citrus with a hint of malt in the background.

T: Floral & pine flavors up-front followed with a hop bitterness & slight sweet citrus & caramel finish.

M: Medium-Full bodied. Creamier than expected with a very well balanced carbonation.

D: This was a very drinkable DIPA.

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Photo of JayQue
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mixed was ok....not great. I usually like "great" when the alcohol level is this high. Pours a mostly clear orange color with a big white head. The head dissipates quickly to a ring around the glass. Leaves thick lacing in spots.

Aroma is very mild for a West Coast IPA, a little bitterness, thats it. The taste was not up to West Coast IPA standards. Started with fairly non-descript bitterness followed by a malty finish. As you keep drinking, the hops fade and maltiness is followed by a slightly sour macro lager type finish.

Mouthfeel seemed a bit thin at first, then more rich as the beer coated the tongue and tastebuds.

Drinkability is about average...not a bad beer but is it worth the recovery time expected for a beer close to 9 %? I'd stick with Hop Otten if I was drinking Anderson Valley beers.

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Photo of WalterSobchak
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a very slight haze, big fluffy head dissipates to a film-like cap.
Subdued hops and a hint of floral, nothing too big.
Big hops punch right up front that quickly fades to a sweet malts...bitters stick on the back end.
Really nice IPA with a light carbonation but it leaves a bit too much on the palate for my taste. Good IPA

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