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

This bottle was acquired in a trade with colts9016 - thank you Benjamin for a great trade!

Poured into a Duvel glass at 45 degrees is beer is a very clear russett copper. Head retention is minmal; lacing is pale white.

The aroma is of muted hops and barley. There isn't really much going on in the nose. This is probably this beers least definable characteristic.

The taste is amazing. After smelling this beer I thought it would be rather bland but the flavors pop off the tongue. The hop flavors are much like Moylan's IPA's (Double and Triple - r.e. Hopsickle). There is a sharp tartness with a dry malty robust deminsion.

Mouthfeel is probably one of the best I've ever encountered from an Imperial IPA. This beer is full and with the proper amount of attenuation.

I wouldn't call any 8.7% alcohol beer extremely drinkable, but this is exceptional. I would reach for not one, not two, but three bombers in an afternoon (if available). This is one delicious beer.

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Photo of dougfir
4.26/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle acquired at the brewery in Boonville and poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Pours a nice dark golden color with a finger head on it that quickly dissipates.

Smell - Nice hoppy smell...not too much else to report. For some reason it struck me as really smelling like a normal 'beer'...nothing exotic here.

Taste - Very good. Starts with a bright hoppiness that lingers the whole way through. Nice mellow malt flavor. Slight citrus/straw notes that makes this beer feel very 'bright'.

Mouthfeel - Good carbonation and very smooth going down. Good balance of sweetness and bitterness.

Drinkability - Excellent. I downed the 22ozer faster than I hoped...

Overall - An excellent IPA. Not my favorite style, but I do really enjoy this one. It's a classic 'west coast IPA'...very hoppy and very good.

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Photo of wchesak
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
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 jsp2
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a pint class, a dark gold clear color and a thick frothy white head one would expect from the style.

Has a soapy grapefruit hop aroma that is floral and vinous with a hint of background sweetness.

Sourness subsides to a strong, delicious sweetness, following by an intense bitterness. Huge malt backbone in this one. Sweeter than some in this category but still well balanced with the bitterness. The hops are there big time for the bitterness but the hop flavor and aroma is a little less than some other examples of the style. Too be fair, there is no telling how fresh it is. I would like to try this one on tap.

Still, an excellent tasting well crafted and balanced DIPA.

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Photo of tjsprague
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another nice offering from Anderson Valley.

The first thing I noticed when I popped open the bottle was the blast of hop aroma. It was a nice floral smell and I almost expected there to be hops floating on top.

The beer poured a nice deep copper color with a light copper head. The taste was not as hoppy as the smell lead me to believe, but that does not mean this isn't a hoppy beer. Most of the hop flavor comes in the form of a good bitterness. The body is not as heavy as I might have expected for an imperial IPA but it is thick enough, no real complaints about it.

The mouthfeel was good, not too much bitterness or hop resin to make it difficult to drink. You could have a couple of these in a sitting and not feel too full or get the hop resin taste left in your mouth.

A good all around beer.

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Photo of BrutalBeerFan
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thought I would try something a bit different from AVBC. After reviewing the label was left wondering when the brew was made as the brewery was founded in 1986?

A- Pours a clear amber with moderate pale head which disappears quickly.

S- Smells of spicy hop, just a hint of malt.

T- The palate is greeted with an intense hop bitterness, not overly complex for having 20 hop additions. Through the hoppiness there is a mild sweetness.

M- All around I would say medium bodied.

D- Not a session beer but enjoyable. Would prefer a bit less sweetness.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice looking deep copper color with a finger of white head. Poor head retention though.

S: A nice woody and spicy smell up front. After that pungent wet hops. A little bit of citrus in the back. Fairly nice nose.

T: A really nice and different DIPA. The hints of wood are really there.A nice mix of citrus hops and sweet malt. Very well balanced. Honestly I have probably been overdoing the DIPAs lately and this is a nice change of pace.

M: Little bit sticky medium body.

D: Really a nice beer. I have not had anything by them in a few years now. A nice DIPA breaking from the mold. Just a very easy drinker. Without knowing I would think it was a single IPA.

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Photo of Slats
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

App: Nice fluffy head that settles down quickly with some lace. Nice clean coppery color.

Aroma: Sweet malts mixed with floral hops. Decent citrus character and the slightest hint of cheesy hops.

Taste: Bitterness hits first but fades fast. Much sweeter than I was expecting, like a sugary dough once the initial bitterness fades.

Mouth: Smooth with a nice crisp finish.

Drink: Not fatiguing but it did not call out to me to drink more.

I am a fan of most Anderson Valley beers but this one just didn't do it for me.

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Photo of mattffrost
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into glass.

Appearance Beer is a very clear tea color. Head is a dirty off white color. Good sticking to the glass.

Smell Spicy piney smell. A slight hint of citrus

Taste Piny floral taste. The bitterness starts out and finishes the same which is kind of unusual. A slight sweet carmel flavor is also present.

Mouthfeel. Very low carbonation. Bitterness in the mouth.

drinkabily 1pt 6 ounce is plenty for me.

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

Light English tea color with a copper hue. Bone white head with some lacing and carb action.

Sweet esters of mild pine and different florals.

Strong English tea flavor with a multi hop tangerine/canalope taste.

Medium to strong bodied mouthfeel with lively smooth carbonation and a good balance of resins.

The balance is great if the strong English Tea flavor can be tolerated, good changeup for hopheads.

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Photo of tempest
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Keith for sharing. This was surprisingly drinkable. And I dont often use this to describe hops, but they really did taste soapy. The appearance was fine, a clear light amber with a white head. While I didnt have any problem drinking this beer, I would have appreciated more bitterness, like a lot more. I could have mistaken this for some sort of imperial amber for the sweetness. The hops were very juicy, like pineapple and berry punch.

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Photo of colts9016
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter at 52 degrees.

Appearance: A deep amber color with an orangish hue. There is a one finger creamy white head that has some retention to it. There is effervescence in the beer. The clarity of the beer is clear and brilliant. There is a lot of lacing on the beer.

Nose: A nice grapefruit. pine, and a subtle malty sweetness. You can smell a the fruity esters in the brew.

Taste: A hoppy grapefruit and pine beer with some fruity esters. There is subtle malty sweetness in the brew.

Overall: A medium body slightly dry with some creaminess and astringency. The finish is medium and bitter. This to me is a better version of Hopslam. It is a very nice hoppy beer and well balance with a good malt backbone. It is not a dry beer and very nice to sip. I enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.21/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a nonic.

Crystal clear amber, almost like a polished sphere of the substance of the color's name. The head is thick, about an inch high, with a surprisingly white color. Just barely off white.

The aroma is very tame, with lots of citrusy hops, but not as aromatic as the typical DIPA. There's a very organic and herbal aroma in the background.

Somewhat of an odd taste to this one. The malts are strong for a DIPA, with a little toastiness and a good chunk of caramel. The hops add a little bit of citrusy flavor. The herbal aroma is back in the flavor. Full bodied.

Sort of a weird DIPA. More like an IPA, with some odd flavors in it for the style. Not a bad beer, but probably not one to consider when craving a hop bomb. If you're looking for a high %ABV Pale Ale, then this one is for you.

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Photo of Magpie14
3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: not much to boast about. Copper orange and golden yellow complexion. Small sudsy filmy ring of lace and a few bubbles. Looks rather pleasant

S: Imperial IPA you say, I catch mostly malts in the nose with chunky caramel and roasted whiffs. Hops are of pine sapling and soft acidic fruits. I am a little nervous as the hops seem to be faint

T: burly malts with caramel, brown sugared and vanilla chewy cookies, and fruits that are mostly of oranges. What the devil where are the hops? Has a bitterness/peppermint that hangs at the back and helps alleviate some of the sweets, needs more green nuggets! The hops are somewhere in the mix and offer more of a watery herbal leafy (floral pine and maybe lemon) tea type quality...still, nowhere near an Imperial IPA or even some regular IPA's...shame shame

M: a mild stance overall with bitter alcohol tones showing up. Moments of silkiness and sometimes filmy and sticky

D: sweet tooth's might dig and it had some nice dimensions. But I have mixed emotions on this one and as Steely Dan's 5th album is titled "The Royal Scam." Not really a scam, but quite a bit of a letdown

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

On tap at the 12th Street Ale House, Charlottesville, VA's newest beer destination. Served in a 20 oz. (!) Imperial Pint for a mere $4.

Appearance: An orange amber, copper-colored brew, crystal clear, with a relatively-fast fading head that's almost gone by the time this one arrived (even though I was sitting at the bar) with lots of foamy collar-ific goodness and a thin sheen of dust. There's also plenty of carbonation, average-sized, though very fast.

Aroma: Very light and floral, with plenty of spicy, bright pine and flourishes of tropical fruit. Unfortunately, it's also both slightly somewhat soapy and slightly faint.

Taste: A relatively large amount of bitterness, with some dull, slightly chemically hoppy notes, a few bright dashes of tropical fruit - pineapple, guava perhaps - definite juniper berry/pine, and a very strong, sweet, roasted backbone, with slight hints of gummy bear-like sugars.

Mouthfeel: Very even and smooth, moderately crisp in that hop proteiny kinda way. The best aspect of this beer.

Drinkability: Glad I tried this one on tap for $4, as I don't think think the 22 oz. bottle is really worth the $6.29 - $6.99 I'm seeing it for around here, and even though downing an Imperial pint of it was no problem, I can't really say this beer is much more than slightly above average. The hop notes are a little dull and chemically, and that just really kills it for me when there are so many great DIPAs out there. Oh well.

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

Bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice darker red amber with a good off-white, almost light orange head with good retention and stickiness.

Smell: Hugely floral and bouquet-like, but not overly sweet. A good amount of citrus and flowers comes to the forefront, along with candied fruit and pungent citrus.

Taste: What I like about this beer mostly, and I've said this for others like Nugget Nectar, is that it achieves a harmonious balance between the juiciness of the fruit ester and candied fruit aromas, and the pungent, rind-like hop bite at the end. This could've been disastrous if not balanced, but they find a way to do it so you have the caramel, candied malt flavors, a huge bouquet of fruit and flowers, and the good hop bite at the end. Spend some time with this one.

Mouthfeel: A lot creamier that I had anticipated, and something very unexpected for the style. More medium than full-bodied, but the carbonation levels are nearly perfectly balanced here, and it's hugely coating also.

Drinkability: One of those beers that's always changing as the temperature changes. I wish they'd do this in six-packs, but if not I'll have to buy at least one more.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 fl oz brown bottle; served in an oversized wine glass.

Pours a clean auburn-copper in color with noticeable carbonation. Foamy white head composed of a pool of bubbles, that recedes outside in after a few moments. Thinly webbed lacing with decent strength.

Intense pine and citrus hop oils: lemon and grapefruit. Rum-like alcohol presence intermingled with tropical fruity esters. Semi-sweetened toasted malt with a rounded, creamy presence.

Intense floral and pine/spruce flavors that attack the tastebuds almost immediately. The floral hops are burnt and bitter leaving only traces of oily resins in the middle. The malt character is smooth and creamy despite the onslaught of gritty hops, and is pretty hefty for a Californian IPA. Heavily bitter with a uniquely, heavy-handed creaminess. The aftertaste is occupied by gritty pine and earthen floral hops.

Full bodied; more or less balanced despite a bulky malt character and an overpowering hop profile.

A surprise from a left coast brewery. I was expecting more of a bright, citrus hop presence and a very delicate malt balance, but this sure is a different version. Strong intense flavors and aromatics. A solid offering fitting for a 20th anniversary.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a four-finger thick, off-white colored head that . The beer is a clear, lightly red tinged, rich amber color that shows an absolutely brilliantly clear, richly red hued copper color when held up to the light. The aroma smells of sweet citrus fruits, though it is a bit restrained for a Double IPA; notes of tangelo, kumquat, weak tangerine juice, and some tart star fruit. There is a touch of malt character here once you start to root around the nose; cracker like grain and perhaps a caramel at times is noticeable. The aroma really is a bit weak over all, though it is not bad.

The flavor is again extremely weak for a Double IPA, it has the hop character of a slightly hoppy Pale ale. It does have a bit more body than a Pale ale, though this is still drinkable; in fact this is one of the things they seem to have gotten right, as the body is pretty spot on for a Double IPA. This is of course hop dominated and the flavors remind me of washed out lychee, muted tangelo, orange juice as well as a vegetal hoppiness that really isn't very appealing. The malt is incredibly clean here, which is not unexpected with this polished beer and the malt is actually subtle like it should be despite the lack of overt hoppiness here. This has some bitterness to it, it is fairly solid, though not overly aggressive for the style.

This is just a very disappointing beer, the hop character needs to be multiplied by at least two times before it will be worth trying again (for me at least).

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Anderson Valley- 20th Anniversary DIPA

On tap at Isaac Newton's- Newtown, PA

A- Deep copper brown with a thick chunky lacing head.
S- Sweet caramel malt and big bitter oily pine hops.
T- Thick sweet buttery caramel malt that quickly gives way to a big oily dose of pine hops. Sweet pine needles with a slight mettalic twang.
M- Thick malt with a sweet hoppy bitterness.

Overall- An easy drinking DIPA, with a slight twangy bite.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours darker copper with a moderate and dense off-white head. Floral aroma with pine, oranges, mango, and caramel. Excellent taste. Lots of grapefruit, oranges, and resin. Slight caramel malt and a buttery finish that lingers. Sticky mouthfeel. Despite the relatively low rating, I loved this beer. Its just a very basic IIPA.

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Photo of hopdog
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Poured a medium amberish color with an averaged sized off white head. Lots of small suspended floaters. Aromas of ctirus, toasted malts, and floral. Tastes of citrus, caramel, and some pine. Medium alcohol burn in the finish.

Notes from 4/21/08

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Photo of Chelsea1905
3.13/5  rDev -18.1%
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

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed by Wisemen Nick and Justin.

Appearance: Hazy caramel (Justin says butterscotch), with big, soapy, khaki-colored head. Head looks very sticky, but doesn't leave a whole lot of lacing.

Smell: Tons of caramel and oily hops. Also, toasted bread and wood.

Taste: Piney hops, wood, caramel, and some grass. Not very complex.

Mouthfeel: Great mouth numbing (Justin likes), medium carbonation, syrupy, and pretty full bodied. Quite a bit of warmth as well (and ABV ain't that high).

Drinkability: A pretty standard I2PA. While we each could drink another, the desire isn't really there. Good for beginners (in terms of I2PAs).

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

DrewOSU and I shared this one at my place tonight.

Pours a cludy, orange/copper with a ¾ inch chunky, eggshell colored top. Great, sticky lacing on the walls of my traditional pint glass.

Grapefruit and tangerine hops on the nose. Slightly bitter. After further sniffing, I get some spicy caramel malts.

Much like the nose... Bold, grapefruit bitterness from the hops in this medium bodied, medium to full flavored beer. Average carbonation in the mouthfeel.

Nice looking but nothing amazingly unique in the flavor department.

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