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 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 cameraman
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A deep amber color, with touches of gold along the glass. A cream colored head sits atop, about a finger thick, lacing slowly. A surprisingly malty fragrance at first scent, then a strong citrus and pine fragrances take over and are dominant till the end. The malt makes chameo appearance at the front, and leaves very quickly. The hops soon take over to become the star attraction. That is where it comes in three stages grassy and green at the start, Then blending to a strong citrus, grapefruit flavor. Then it ends with an intense earthy and pine flavor. The palate is left dry, with the lingering flavor of hops, along with a tanin roughness left on the palate. Man, this is definately a hop bomb, with a shortage of hops out there as well. A spicy dish of jambalya goes very well with this beer.

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

I quite liked this beer, it was definitely on the strong side taste-wise and a bit "boozy" but the massive hoppyness and floral nose seemed to even it out. Nice beer, i have bought it a few times, and for some reason it's only $2.79 at a local liquor store (seems a bit cheap to me!)

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.36/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Orangsih brown with slightly peach colored hues around the edge. Thick bubbly head, about three fingers initially. Quickly fades to about one finger and leaves chunky lace on the glass.

S - The first thing that hits me is alot of booze, which I dont consider a good thing. Especially at only 8.7%. Lots of sweetness as well, primarily toffee and a sweet breadiness. Some nice bitterness lingers underneath, primarily citrus. Not as much bitterness in the nose as I would like.

T - Lightly bready and sweet initially. Some caramel and toffee comes in quickly as well. It has the bitterness of a DIPA but not much real hop flavor. Some citrus notes with hints of grapefruit. The alcohol is present but not as strong in the taste as the nose. This beer just does not provide the full flavored hoppiness that I desire in DIPA's.

M/D - A little thin on the feel and some chewiness as well. Good levels of carbonation but the beer is a little rough around the edges with the excessive bitterness and alcohol coming through.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into my Duvel tulip

A: Pours crystal clear with great clarity. There a dense off-white head that slowly recedes to a disk, leaving a bit of lace

S: Lots of piney hops with some juicy citrus hop character up front. It initially smelt a little chalky but giving it time to breathe, it's cleaned up. There's some sweetness too, more along the lines of a fruity sweetness. There's some alcohol in the back too.

T: Starts off with some hoppy bitterness up front with a lot of pine and spruce character with a little bit of citrus coming in. While it's pretty thin with no real malt character to speak of, there is some mild sweetness with a floral character that comes in before the bitter and mildly astringent finish

M: Light in body, great carbonation but the finish has an astringency I don't care for.

D: This is pretty easy to drink

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

Poured a slight hazed peach color with a tight formed one finger white head that left some broken lace as it settled slowly,awesome aromas of citrus and underlying pine with some biscuit malt and alcohol showing through as well.T he flavors are bit heavy handed on the alcohol,it rears its head early and often,nice lemon and grapefruit hop flavors show through but its a battle with the alcohol.Its not a 'huge' beer but the alcohol is prevelent,in saying that its still a nice American DIPA from a great brewery.

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Photo of popery
3.41/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A really nice looking beer, burnt orange with a big frothy head. This beer is a bit like a very strong IPA, rather than an IPA with increased flavor, which is really what I'm looking for in a DIPA. It smells sweet with caramel and too little hops. Alcohol is overly present in both the aroma and flavor. The taste is sweet fruit and alcohol, like fermented prunes. It has good mouthfeel. The scores suffers from the category competition for DIPAs. There are some great DIPAs out there, and unfortunately, this isn't one of them.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy dark gold with sticky lacing. Smell is a grassy, piney hop note.
Taste is massivly hoppy. Very bitter aftertaste that lingers for a very long time. Lots of herbal and grassy hop notes. Some lavender, pine and a very bitter, lingering finish. This thing can stand up to any food you want to eat with it. Mouthfeel is dense and rocky.
Fantastic with some assertive food, don't try to pair it with anything mild as it will blow it out of the water.
Damn fine hop monster.

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Photo of BrewMonkey
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Big dense slightly off-white head caps a somewhat hazy orange colored ale.

Big citrusy hop aroma with hints of grassiness. Some mild candy sweetness, orange zest, sweet fruit and slight herbal notes.

Pretty sweet and big malt backbone gives way quickly to resinous hop flavor and bitterness. Mostly citrus hop flavor with some hints of spice and floral components keep the big sweetness in check. Loads and loads of bitterness become heavy towards the end. Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and very dry.

Pretty good for an anniversary ale, though the bigness of the hops does hamper the overall drinkability.

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

On tap at the rubicon.

A - Deep red, 2 finger head, dissipates moderately slow, and leaves nice lacing.

S - Flowers, citrus, and malt.

T - Flowers, citrus and a large malt bill to back the IPA up.

M - Great balance. Still too much malt though, could be slightly hoppier for the style.

D - No doubt it's a good beer, but could have gone hoppier.

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Photo of erikm25
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a little more amber and copper than orange. Still despite this tinting it is clear in appearance. Full pillowing honey colored head. The lacing is above average from the start.

S: This one leans towards a more orangey citrus coupled with cherry aroma. Hints of spiced mango and peppered pineapple.

T: Taste is bursting with grape-fruity hoppiness at the start. Rest assured the sugary malts still come into play and make this anything but balanced. This should be expected as the bottle gives fair warning. However, there is a slight grassy medicinal tint to the taste. I would have preferred maybe a percentage or two increase in the but still enjoyed the assault my taste buds experienced..

M: Medium bodied and syrupy. Very decent imperial astringency and warm alcohol tone.

D: Overall very solid and the price increases the drinkability. Maybe I take back my comments about wishing for an higher ABV because by the end it has done its job.

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Photo of kosmoraios
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very clear orange-copper with a 1.5 finger white head that laces nicely. Ample carbonation is visible in the glass.

Aroma is pungeant and estery. Malts immediately up front with a sticky-sweet caramel nose. Some citrus and pine, very perfumy florals.

Malt hits you right away with a great big caramel-toffee flavor with the hops right behind it. Too much malt for a IIPA, very sweet and floral. The bitterness of the hops is heavy, but the malt has drowned out the hoppy flavors. Alcohol is quite evident.

Mouthfeel is oily and carbonated with some interesting herbal taste on the back of the tongue that lingers. Not as drinkable as I'd like. A good beer, but for the style, too malty for an IIPA.

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

I received this bomber from someone...whom exactly I can't remember right now. Whoever you are, you generous BA, thanks!

Pours an amber color with a nice sized white head. There are some nice chunks of lacing on the upper parts of the glass. As the head fades, so does the lacing.

The aroma is nice, albeit a little to "malty" for a DIPA, imo. Sweet biscuit malts intertwine with citrus hops. At times the malts almost overpower the hops, not exactly my ideal DIPA aroma.

The flavor consists of citrus (mainly grapefruit) hops with just a tad bit of an earthy hop note mixed with some caramel and biscuit malts. Not as "in your face" as other DIPAs with the hops, but this one does have a nice bitterness to it.

Medium bodied. Nice creamy feel to it. Aftertaste is only slightly bitter is a little drying. Not a bad beer. I am glad to have had the opportunity to have tried. Thanks go to whomever it was that sent it to me!

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Photo of WillClark
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass a swampy reddish orange with two fingers worth of head that released a smooth sweetness and a balanced hoppiness considering this is an Imperial IPA...I was expecting something much larger. Nice malt on the front and a smooth bitterness that was capped off by a nice effervescence that washed this brew down my throat.

Quite drinkable Imperial from one of my favorite breweries. Alcohol is very well hidden.

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Photo of russpowell
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes, sampled a few months ago

Poured amber/caramel with 3 fingers of cream colored head. Some floaties, above average lacing & head retention

S: A bit of citrussy hops

T: Grapefruit & piney hops, plus fruiityness & breadyness up front. Some orange hops, leafy hops & apricots as this warms. Finishes with grapefruit & leafy hops

MF: Medium bodied, low carbonation, some stickyness. The balance isn't there for me, I believe it involves the hop mix used

Drinks easy for the ABV, but not my cup of tea. I expected more from this brewery to be sure

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

20th anniversary, huh? Well, good on yah! And cool and whatever. I'm not, um, thrilled with this beer, however. There's this HUGE taste in there... LIke drinking orange peel oil. It pretty much detracts from everything good I could say about this. I really am pretty impressed that it's so strong even considering this is at least several months old. Why, it's like you maybe used orange peels in this and not just hops. Ditch that and I'll probably be pretty happy with this - it seems like a very nice beer. Very well made. Good job. Just work on the hop/flavoring schedule and we can all be happy!

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

Received from AndySr15 in trade. Thanks Andy.

This beer pours a very dark blood-orange color with a massive three fingers worth of white head on it and small and spotty lacing on the walls of my pint glass. The nose was a little strange. It has the usual players in it including: citrus fruit, slight earthiness, and floral hops, but I also smell a certain medicinal smell as well almost like what a bottle of asprin smells like. After the beer warmed up a bit I get more caramel malt in the nose than hops. The hops do not seem as prominent as I would have expected when the bottle says they used twenty varieties of hops. The flavor profile starts out with a mild shot of bitterness that is offset by the caramel malt. The hops flavors are again muted in the flavor profile when compared to malt really showcasing just two main flavors, and those are citrus fruit and dry pine. The malt though is really nice with plenty of toffee and caramel sweetness to it, but I think the malt is showcased over the hops here. The mouthfeel is slightly chewy that rendered itself to be quite dry with medium carbonation. The drinkability is decent for what it is, but I am not usually a big fan of malt driven DIPAs.

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Photo of tonistruth
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- clear light bronze, tall fluffy off-white head with great retension

S- citrus and sweet cookie malts

T- crazy hop profile, stars with strong citrus then gets earthy, peppery and spicy with some citrus grind, sweet and bready malt flavors sit in between, subtle hints of alchohol

M- medium and smooth with a dry finish

D- amazing complexity of malts and hops with a great after taste, too bad it's a one off release

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Photo of younger35
3.31/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this brew from inflatablechair in a trade as an extra a couple months ago. I've had probably every normal offering from Anderson Valley and most are pretty decent. Drank from my Stone India Pale Ale flute.

Appearance- Pours a super clear orangish yellow with a small half finger bright white head that recedes quickly leaving not much cap and thin collar. A good bit of lacing is left c considering the small head that's left.
Smell- Almost a Barley Wine-esque nose (more so than a DIPA) with lightly dirty, grassy hops. A bit of zesty citrus and fleshy peach but more earth than fruit. After some of the IPA's I've had lately I kind of forgot what malt smelled like. A bit of light caramel and brown sugar subdue the hops quite a bit but not the alcohol.
Taste- Damn, I wanted this to be badass and hoppy SO bad. Very malty and clean with loads of toffee and caramel and a light sweetness that seems to be more pronounced than the bitterness. There is a light biting bitterness that lingers into the finish but it's fairly mild. Oranges and apricots are light but definitely perceptible and so is quite a bit of alcohol.
Mouthfeel- Pretty thin and alcoholic with light crisp carbonation.
Drinkability- Not the big hop bomb I was hoping for but honestly it kind of ended up being a nice change of pace. It definitely reminds me more of a mild Barley Wine than a DIPA but it is what it is. I wouldn't seek this one out but if I ran into it fresh on tap I'd probably try it again. Thanks again Sam!

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

Always have liked the Hop Ottin' IPA, so did not hesistate to pick this up when I saw it.

A: Pours a fairly clear reddish-amber with plenty of bubbles rising from the bottom. Nice big head on this one, at least two fingers, tan and fluffy, with extremely good retention and lacing.

S: Good balance in the nose between estery sweet malt and a mix of citrus and pine hops. Even though the hops are of course relevent, the malt seems a bit more prominent in the nose...though I doubt it will be like than in the taste.

T: Contrary to almost every IIPA I've ever had, this starts hoppy and then becomes malty. Opening is bitter with piney/resiny hops, quickly being overtaken by a big sugary sweetness. Then the hops come back in full force, really assaulting the tongue, although the flavors themselves get drowned out by the malt. Nice but a bit unconventional.

MF: Full bodied and somewhat syrupy. The finish is dry and extremely corrosive. This is no Hopsicle, but it really leaves your taste buds burning. Carbonation is not really a factor. Tons of warming from the first sip.

D: Not the biggest IIPA in terms of alcohol, but it does seem to hit a bit harder than the ABV would suggest. Perhaps owing to the large malt bill, not sure. Overall this is a solid IIPA with a bit of uniqueness. It almost ventures into strong ale territory for me in terms of flavor. I could go for a bit more hop character and a bit less hop acidity...the abrasiveness of the hops decreases the drinkability even though it's not particularly bitter. Enjoyable, but I doubt I'd run out and drink it again.

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

I actually had this beer sitting in my fridge for 2 months before even sampling it, and I'm sorry I didn't try it earlier, or else I would have bought more of it. A hint of pine is a plus in my book. To my tastes, it's a very drinkable beer, mixing creamy malt taste with hops and a decent 8.7% alcohol.

This is s a good beer and you should try it, if you can.

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Photo of KeefD
3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark hazy amber color with orange highlights. A nice, fluffy 1 inch head forms, leaving behind slight lacing. Big wafts of floral, piney hops in the nose. A bit of lemon peel, and strangely, a hint of strawberries. Taste is big time bitterness. The sweet caramel malts try to make a presence, but the big, sticky, hop resin flavor overtakes it quite quickly. If you like 'em bitter, this one's for you. Some hints of honey yet dry on the finish. a bit syrupy on the tongue, but how could not be with this much hops? Alchol is high, so drinking too much is out of the question, especially combined with this bitterness.

A nice brew, but could have used a little more malt sweetness.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very nice hazy golden orange color, very nice carbonation, very nice small, but thick creamy off-white head, that just does not disappear at all. The nose is malty, hoppy, with some citrus and slight pines. The taste is malty, with some nice hop notes, very nice citrus/pines. Medium body, nice chewiness, with a nice bitter/dry finish. Very drinkable, this is a very nice DIPA, more on the malty side though.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I consider this brewery to be a master of the IPA's. This beer takes on a flavor profile that reminds me a lot of their Hop Ottin' IPA, but there's a lot more to it. The beer begins with a golden-rust color, and pours quite viscous with an unrelenting head formation and retention. Some haziness indicates the typical dry-hopping. Aromas are very plump and juicy with C-hops and perhaps a Willamette thrown in for a spicy, floral, piney note. Caramel malts give a lot of sweetness to the nose along with a strong alcoholic scent. Flavors of the malts come through with a less than fully attenuated sweetness that later weighs heavy. The hops are very sharp and citrusy, but delivering all the flavor that the nose promised. Flavors also take on a mineraly, salty, metalic note that is amplified by alcohols and hop bite-- a little astringent late. Textures are heavy, malty, and full but with some fusals going on. Do you lay it down and let the alcohols cool and risk loosing the hops? Tough call. The beer finishes with a long dry lingering with resiny hops and soft caramel flavors. A worthy Anniversary Ale but those alcohols and sweetness kinda get in the way.

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Photo of paytoplay
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What 1st strikes you is the color. Like amber from ancient tree sap. Almost ruby. Aroma is ok, woody and dark hops. The flavor is where this beer really impressed me. Layers of stuff going on, intense, balanced and dense with weight and complexity to it that I haven't experienced in any other recent Imperial IPA's. My rating is higher than most but I think this beer needed some time to come around and put on weight, much like a wine. Will have to get more and try one in a year and see if it continues to get better.

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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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