Nelson Imperial IPA | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

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184 Reviews
Nelson Imperial IPANelson Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
70 IBU
Original Gravity : 21 Plato
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Carapils, Caramel 10-L
Hops: Alchemy, Nelson Sauvin, Cascade, Willamette

Added by olmatty on 04-06-2011

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Reviews: 184 | Ratings: 572
Photo of BhamBeerLover
4.8/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

All in all one of my favorite imperial IPAs recently. This beer is not too much on the malt side or on the hop. The Nelson Sauvin hops are a new favorite of mine and I will always buy anything mentioning this fine hop breed on the label. Impressed me significantly more than the Pitch Black IPA, which was by no means less than satisfactory. Keep it up Widmer Bros et al. Awesome option for the hophead desiring higher abv.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.77/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

More bottles from my latest Philly run. I am feeling adventurous today and may try to eradicate the bottle backlog that has been an albatross since school started back.

From the bottle: "Series 924"; "'Prost! Or if you prefer, Haka.'"; "Hopped to Perfection".

Before I begin to describe the head coming off of the pour, let me tell you about the nose. It was astounding! I have been a self-avowed hophead for some time, but this acted like air freshener in the room. It was pungently floral and my mouth was watering in anticipation as a result. The two dense, rocky fingers of eggnog-colored head sat there and defied me to disturb them. No problem! I was quite content to sit there and let the aroma fill my sinus cavity. Notes of orange zest, lemon peel, fresh mown grass and caramel malt satiated me nicely. Color was a golden-amber, the color some people tan to or like a chicken's skin when you know that it is ready to come off of the rotisserie, along with NE-quality clarity. As the head slowly fell, sticky lacing remained in its wake. My first sip and I heard the singing of angels as the hops went to work on my tongue, scrubbing away dead and unused taste buds to enhance my enjoyment. Mouthfeel was medium and the citrus fruit flavors were just wonderful. This simply reaffirmed my decision to be a hophead. It was not too bitter, nor too malty, either. This was Goldilocks beer - just right. Finish was dry, but not gaspingly dry, allowing me to savor the taste that much longer.

S**t, I forgot! I am no longer a hophead but a hops junkie and I haven't fixed for a while! Now, the singing has changed to the screeching of a monkey on my back. I gotta go score, man.

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Photo of SerialHiker
4.76/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours an awesome golden orange color…lots of bubbles dancing on the inside…head is just off white, about a finger width thick and somewhat lasting…(4.25/5)

Smell: Mmmm…citrus hop boom to the nose…very rich and lively aroma…it’s more hoppy than citrus which I like…smells of fresh hops bursting out of the glass making my mouth water…(5/5)

Taste: Complex flavor here…citrus and piney hops all over, but this one is deep and very tasty…sweet malts are evident, certainly not lost on the tongue…cascade hops definitely in there…a fruity sweet after taste lingers…though it’s an imperial, the alcohol isn’t a major factor in the flavor and is only noticeable by the growing grin on my face…very tasty, excellent finish…(5/5)

Mouthfeel: A watery full bodied beer (if that makes sense)…carbonation is medium with a little bite to it...citrus and malt all over the palette…fresh, crisp and lingering…not overly bitter anywhere…(4/5)

Overall: Fantastic beer…love the hops but appreciate the discreet nature of the ABV…flavor all over the place here with enough hops for the heads but plenty of malt balance for the beer snob…it’s citrusy without being lemony or overly zesty in any way, which for me adds to it’s drinkability…I will definitely get this one again and set it aside for a later date…highly recommended for sipping on during MNF or really anytime…(4.5/5)

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Photo of ZAP
4.72/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a flat-out kick-ass DIPA that is rated much too low from what I see.

A-Oak colored...minimal head

S-Awesome DIPA aroma of sweet tropical fruits, apricots, peaches and a sweeter malt backing..

T-first and foremost I get apricots and peaches but the tropical fruits are there in smaller abundance....also some overripe mandarin orange....really an awesome fruit flavor and just the right malt backing to make it work.

M-Medium to full bodied...not huge but not small.

O-Not a ton of bitterness to this if that is what you want but this is an outstanding DIPA I will buy more of if I see it. Got it on my North Dakota excursion so I hope I find it again.

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Photo of CHickman
4.64/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours hazy orange color with a foamy off white head that faded very slowly and was full of bubbles, leaving excellent lacing clinging to the sides; a foamy layer stayed on top and kept this looking very inviting.

Smells of huge hops up front, with citrus hops, grapefruit, orange peel, lemon, mango, floral hops, flowers, sweet malt, caramel, herbs, piney hops, light grains, spices like pepper and coriander, and mild alcohol; very hoppy, sweet and fruity, this smells like fresh hops were floating in the beer - just delicious.

Tastes like it smells, with citrus hops, grapefruit, orange peel, lemon, mango, guava, floral hops, flowers, sweet malt, caramel, pear, herbs, piney hops, brown sugar, light grains, spices like pepper, cinnamon and coriander, mild alcohol like a pina colada; damn this is hoppy and tasty, with a nice citrus pith, mild grains and enough malts to add balance but let the fruity hop sweetness dominate. This reminds me of Cigar City Jai Alai IPA or Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA, and that is a major compliment. Very tasty and easy to drink with a slight bitterness that lets you know that this is a DIPA.

Mouthfeel is creamy and oily slick, with a medium body, a chewy feel, and a thick overall feel that is slightly bitter with a fruity finish that’s all about the hops.

A great beer that was refreshing and easy to drink for a DIPA, one which I consider highly drinkable and I shall seek out again. Brought a growler of this to a party to share and drank most of it myself – it was that damn good.

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Photo of joesmithrealname
4.61/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best beer I've EVER tasted.

Just did a 6oz tasting with a pull from a log I just put on @ HOOPS-N-HOPS. !@#$% so sweet.

Lemme just get this outta the's been about 45 minutres since I drank it, and I'm a bit light headed from it...!
Powerful stuff, here.

Sticky stringy white foam, the smell of grapefruits and warm pineapples, which smell much different from the cold ones.

The taste was so different from what I'd imagined.
Nat King Cole on a beach in the early Summer wearing sandals and a linen shirt next to a girl who is not as beautiful as she is amazing when the sun goes down and the star to your left drops a few feet in the sky to remind you that magic is not a dream, but what you wish it to be...

Betcha wanna try some now!

(Sure, it's expensive, but, I only needed one to get lyrical.)

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Photo of WhiteOak
4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A nice looking orange copper color with a big, sticky white head.

S- Seductive aroma of malt, grapefruit, mango, and Fir needles.

T- Huge, rich, sweet, delicious caramel and cake batter MALT paints the palate, with an interesting mid-palate of saltiness. The finish is of balanced, restrained tropical fruit hops with very restrained bitterness.

M, D- The body verges on heavy -- certainly for the type. The mouthfeel is pure pleasure. The drinkability excellent.

I absolutely applaud and welcome this maltier style! Having the hops as a complement in perfect balance is such a welcome change from overblown hops.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.55/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the tap a clear golden amber wit ha fine-bubbled pale amber head. Rich and hoppy aroma is strongly evergreen. Strongly hoppy flavor fills the mouth with evergreen so it is like drinking a pine tree. There is a subtle hint of citrus. Thick, full-bodied, fizzy, edgy texture leaves behind a strongly hoppy tingle. This beer is a must for hops lovers!

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Photo of ely2000k
4.53/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had a few others beers by this brewery, and none of them ever seemed very memorable. This beer is one I will come back to however. Pours a great hazy looking amber orange color with a good head, and a nice amount of it sticking to the glass. Smell is very hop strong... smell some pine and spruce in there. I like the taste a lot. Strong hops, but with some faint sweetness that helps balance it out well. I think this is exactly the taste I look for in an IPA/Double IPA. Body is good for the style, and though slightly dry, it strikes a good balance.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours brilliant amber under a 1” white foam collar that is moderately persistent and clingy. S: Berry, pine, maybe rosemary and tropical fruit aromas. T: this has a real fruity palate dominated by berries and tropical fruit riding on a light caramel malt backbone. The hops are big but exceptionally well done with the hop and malt flavors balancing the hop bitterness. F: Medium body and carbonation. O: This is an exceptional beer that might very well appeal to wine drinkers.

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Photo of dcook11
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into a snifter. Bottled Aug 17th. Pours a golden honey color with a thick white head and generous lacing. Looks very much how a great double IPA should.

S- Brings to mind Ruination. An initial sweetness followed by a strong punch of citrus hop, tropical fruit, and malt. As it warms the beer takes on a more Simcoe hop side.

T- Strong hop punch, stronger than the aroma lets on. Alcohol slightly noticeable. Much more pine dominant than the nose, but still possessing an ample amount of citrus character. Nice malt backbone.

M- Medium bodied.

O- One of my all time favorite DIPAS.

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Photo of dheacck11
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pour is a glowing golden amber orange with a half finger of dense white head. Modest amount of lacing.

Nose is mighty strong, with lots of ripe, floral hops, and bright citrus character.

Taste follows the nose, with big fresh juicy fruits, passion fruit, a little grape fruit. Luscious throughout. Finishes with nice pine resin hop, with just a softest bitters too it.

Mouth feel is on the thicker side of medium. Works well with the flavors.

Really a fantastic DIPA. Love all the fruit and flavors. Could have used just a touch more hop on the finish for me, but really phenomenal overall.

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Photo of 12vman
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I agree with Olmatty on much of his review. The only other thing that I would add is that I found there was a big pine cone scent, and to a lesser degree, taste. Very appealing. First tasted this at the Glens Falls Brewfest this past weekend, then finally found it in Saratoga Springs.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, fuzzy peach colored body. Thin off white heads leaves decent amounts of lace down the glass walls. Nice citric hop aroma. White grapefruit, passion fruit, peach and what this hop brings to the table. Flavor is all Nelson Sauvin. Love this hop. Citric and tropical. Grapefruit pulp. Apricot. Lemon oil. So flavorful. Clean bitterness. This is a great beer.

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Photo of IPAaDay
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Maybe it was drinking this beer in the sunshine on the first day it was warm enough to wear shorts this year, but this IPA really hit the spot. It's got the intense citrus flavors I really look for in every sip ... and the flavor that lingers after the sip is swallowed stays pleasing unlike how I've found some other of the genre. This is one of my new favorite (double) IPAs and definitely one I'd be happy to drink everyday.

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Photo of Philousa
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear sandy brown with one inch head that laces quite well. Floral, citrus, grapefruit aromas hit first, with a little skunky hops, and sweet pale malt. Easy on the tongue at first, I got tart, floral malt flavors, tasty but not substantial enough to be bready.This is all about the hops. I get hop oil taste and feel, and it's not even wet hopped. The oil flavor is still quite floral and easy going, it doesn't stick around too long. Light in feel, this beer is a bit watery and a bit oily with a wet finish.

Maybe it's because I came into this with low expectations, but this is one of the best DIPA's I've had. And yes, that includes Pliny. Nelson is just a showcase for floral, delicate hops. This imperial IPA doesn't hit you hard, but rather takes it easy and lets you explore the complexity in the hop profile. The malt is light enough to get you straight to the hops, and sweet enough to balance the bitterness. This is the first beer I've had that tasted wet hopped but wasn't clearly labeled as a wet hop beer. I don't have the bottling date because I recycled it soon after drinking it, but it had to be fresh to taste this good. This one is a keeper.

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Photo of PDXtoSoCal
4.46/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank in a tulip from a bomber
Beautiful orange color, nice lacing, tight head.

Smell was subdued. Not a sniffing beer.

Solid West Coast Imp. IPA. Citrus (Pineapple?) on the front end, balanced on the back. Nice finish.

Mouthfeel is tops helf. Tight carbonation that doesn't get in the way.

A super lefty IPA. Those who enjoy the west coast micros will enjoy this one.

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Photo of LazyL
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear butterscotch orange with an off white light filmy head. The nose is all citrus all the time! Mandrin and tropical fruits explode from the glass. Very nice, refreshing and inviting. The taste is mandrin orange and tangerine with a touch of pine. This is definitely a North West IPA. The mouthfeel is semi dry with a slight tang and a bit of an oily feel. This is a really nice ale and I find myself enjoying it immensely. Very bright, very fresh, very good.

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Photo of lazy8
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into glass...
A - slightly cloudy amber with a small head and some lacing
S - excellent fruity and hoppy aroma
T - bitter with strong hop aftertaste. Malt taste is present, but mild as the overriding profile is from the hops
M - slightly creamy mouthfeel
O - fantastic beer with strong flavor and great taste. Excellent beer. I wish it was more widely available.

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Photo of homersimpson67
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At first somewhat unsure about Widmer Brothers stuff but this Imperial Ipa is pretty damn special.
Nice two fingers of lacing in the Tulip glass I like to use, golden cooper color very inviting.
Smells incredible floral and enticing, pine and hoppie very frickin nice!
Taste is great, just keeps me wanting more.
In my quest for best ipa this is top five.
Feels good nothing out of the ordinary but really very good.
Overall excedllent imperial IPA will look forward to sampling again sometime soon.

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Photo of shand
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic.

This one pours a very transparent (obviously filtered) orange-amber color crested with a nice three wingers of head that retains and laces very well. The aroma is a very nice banquet of tropical fruits, oranges and hops. The taste is also quite good. It honestly reminds me a lot of Hopslam with the tropical fruits and honey sweetness. It's a bit dryer and hoppier on the finish though, with less of an alcohol slam and less complexity. Overall, it's a good replacement for Hopslam though.

The mouthfeel is nice, although it might be a bit too smooth. Some more abrasion on the carbonation would be welcome. The drinkability is quite good, this is a DIPA that goes down easily. Overall, a very good DIPA that's just a touch away from greatness. Hopslam's younger brother, if you will.

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Photo of ChrisPr
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours with a nice head and bursting, sticky hop aromatics. The color is light amber with deep golden hues. The flavor is hop, with hop, more hop and topped-off with hop. It shows how briliant this New Zealand hop can be.

To me it is one of the great double IPAs. Not quite Pliny the Elder, but in it's league. It's great to see Widmer putting out a bunch of great new beers, and this might be the best of them all.

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Photo of Hendry
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pale copper color,clear as a bell,fluffy two finger bone white head sticks around well before leaving some sticky lacing in the glass, well carbonated.

Aroma is nicely hoppy, but moderately so, malt is barely noticeable.The Nelson hops have a pleasant nose in this IIPA.

Taste is grapefruit/orange rind & pine, slight lingering bitterness on the swallow.The malt has a slight introduction in the initial taste,but not in an overpowering way.

Mouthfeel is very nice, light medium,crisp and dry finish.

Always a good thing when you are pleasantly surprised by a purchase made on a hunch. I was on vacation in Maine and decided to grab this one on a whim, and it turned out to be a solid selection.If you like hops over malt, and a smooth drinker, pick this one up!

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Photo of Jesse13713
4.39/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at rays place in Kent.

Appearance - A dark and silky sunset amber orange. A pleasant eighth inch of head remains at the top after quite some time. An extraordinary lacing to the glass.

Smell - Full of citrus and living hops. A bit of an orange peel scent. The hops smell fresh and pungent.

Taste - A lot smoother than the smell implies. A bit of sweet orange and light lemon. The hops here are very fresh and taste almost as if they were just picked. This is a delicious and extraordinary well balanced imperial ipa.

Mouthfeel and drinkability - very drinkable and enjoyable until he last drop. Very well balanced and medium bodied. This one surprised me.

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Photo of Aidandad
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I tried this beer because it was on special at a local distributor. I've had some of the Rotator IPA series brews and enjoyed them, but never thought they were much more than above average. It had a great color and pour into the glass. The taste is above average, with a fine aftertaste that was crisp and had me reaching for a second bottle. For the price, it was exceptional!

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Nelson Imperial IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.9 out of 5 based on 572 ratings.
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