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Nelson Imperial IPA | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

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very good
184 Reviews
Nelson Imperial IPANelson Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

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 JednoPivoProsim
2.16/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Poured from a 12 FL. OZ. bottle into a pint glass. Bottle date MAY 08 12. Hope this is bottled on date and not best by date - either way pretty out of date.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy hazy orange body with a relatively thin white head.

Aroma: Strong caramel malt. Smells like a beer that has aged somewhat. Not much on the hop side.

Taste: Probably one of the maltiest DIPAs I have ever tasted. I don't detect any of the Nelson Sauvin hops I came for. It's a bit of a sugary boozy mess.

Mouthfeel: Thick and heavy. Not a lot of carbonation.

Overall: A huge disappointment. I have been loving a lot of the Nelson Sauvin beers I have tasted recently, but this is not representative. I'm guessing it might be the age, but with no plans to revisit, I may never know. In my experience, 7-8 month old DIPAs do not do too well.

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Photo of pperrecone
2.26/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured nice and bright golden

Smell was not like most nelson ipas not much grapefruit or passion fruit at all. mostly sweet pale 2 row malt.

tase was the same very low hop flavor dominated by the malt bill. Not up to par with the west coast ipa as I know them.

body was noce no problems with that.

Overall I was let down and did not like this one as much as their cirta hoped ipa.

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Photo of C20Percent
2.54/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

*Review taken from notes*

A: Interesting color scheme -- a hazy dark tan at the top that gets lighter near the bottom. Good head on this brew.

S: Pepto Bismal? What is that? I'm getting some earthy hoppiness, but an off-putting smell that's like medicine.

T: Dead for me. Weak flavor for any IPA, and this is supposed to be an Imperial. Dry finish. A bit boozy.

M: Medium body that is easy drinking.

O: Pretty disappointing brew. Would not recommend. Not worth the money. Taste was even soapy. Expected more from Widmer.

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Photo of PatrickSwayze
2.56/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: In a glass, this beer is presented as a tangerine gold and quite clear

S: This bottle is about 5 months old so defintely past its prime. The smell is almost completely gone. Linegering malt profile remains

T: Lemon and crisp biscuit malt is what comes to mind. Decent flavor remains with the amount of age on this. 

M: Somewhat dry with slight full bodied hint of sweetness

O: Like i said i wish i could of had this fresh. Seems as though it would of tasted wonderful then. But reviewing beer as is, it comes in a tad under par

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Photo of bylerteck
2.66/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of biboergosum. Thanks. Bottled April 12 2011.

A - Pours a slightly dark orange sorta colour. Originally a one finger white head but gone to a film pretty quick. Slightly hazy with mild to medium carbonation. No retention or lacing.

S - Not your typical aroma for a IIPA. Bubblegum, bread, mint, grass, and alot of tropical fruit. Not the typical grapefruit tropical stuff but it's pushed towards more exotic stuff with a bit of mango and papaya I think, definately alot of orange.

T - Hmmm. Eggs? Tropical fruit is there again but it's got a harsh note to it I can't quite pin down. Orange is there again. Detergent comes to mind with rotten fruits. Maybe sugar as well. It's really harsh and unpleasant.

M - Good carbonation, light to mediumt body with a gross finish and very little bitterness.

O/D - Wow. I wasn't expecting this to be this bad. I'm hoping it's not the age b/c I've had older, but yikes, something happened here. There is something wrong here or I just really don't like the hop profile here. It's been really harsh and has a rotten compost, garage floor taste. Too bad.

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Photo of bastardface
2.69/5  rDev -31%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The smell is not overwhelming even though there is a sweetness to the aroma which is a bit hoppy. The color is lighter than I thought considering the heavy taste. It's a dark golden color. The taste surprised me considering it tasted so rich and hoppy. It's a strong beer at 8.6%. It's not the best beer but it is one of the most intriguing beer I've had.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.87/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into an EKU 28 snifter in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Acquried at a local Ralph's market. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given the brewery. I'm not horribly fond of the style, which I find tends to be brewed incorrectly.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm up over the course of consumption. I like to drink my IPAs cold, though.

Sidepoured with standard vigor; I didn't anticipate carbonation issues.

A: Pours a half finger head of fair thickness, slight cream, and bad retention (~30 seconds). Colour is a clear yellow-copper. Generally appealing. Nothing unique or special catches my eye.

Sm: A hoppy aroma - more floral than bittering, and not at all overwhelming. Clean malts. No yeast or alcohol. Pleasant. A touch of vinegar perhaps. A mild to moderate strength aroma.

T: Hoppy, with floral notes ending in a vinegar-esque near cider note. Almost a bit piney on the climax. No alcohol or yeast comes through. Some light red apple. No layering of flavours; maybe a bit with the hops. It's fresh but I'd refrain from calling it refreshing. A simple example of the style, but a fairly enjoyable one. The balance isn't perfect, but it's decent. Very clean.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Adequately carbonated. Not too thick or too thin in any broad way, but not perfect by any means. It complements the flavours in a general sense, but isn't remarkable. Too slick on the finish.

Dr: It hides its ABV well. The flavours are usual for the style, and will likely satisfy fans of the style, but there's nothing unique or special about the beer that would make me buy it again. "Hopped to perfection" me arse. A very average imperial IPA. There are far more enjoyable beers in the style.


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Photo of popery
2.87/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From notes. Rated to style.

Appearance is fine. Mildly cloudy, bright orange. A dissipating head that stuck around for awhile as a thin film of bubbles. The aroma is grassy with tropical fruits - more kiwi/papaya than pineapple, like some hops. A bit grapey, too. Not quite strong enough for my taste but pretty good. On the palate, it starts out with some hop resin flavor with an alright crystal malt backbone, but the finish mars things with a big booze note that goes particularly poorly with the grassy bitterness. Mouthfeel is, well, hot. Plus, the beer is a bit sticky. Didn't much like this one, despite the hop choice.

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Photo of HopHead84
2.9/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5


On tap at URGE

A: Transparent gold with a creamy white cap.

S: Aromatic floral notes blend with orange and grapefruit. Nice citrus profile. I get some white grape as well. Malt is redolent of bread. Alcohol is well hidden.

T: Strong bread notes with some caramel. Citrus is sweet orange flesh. Alcohol is pretty strong. Bitterness is at a moderate level. The hops were pretty vibrant in the aroma but they're dull in the taste.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: A solid aroma, but the flavor is malty, muted, and boozy.

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Photo of Jwaks
2.93/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Translucent light copper with thin off-white head, little to no lacing, several columns of small bubbles make their way to the top of the beer.

A - I had to strain with this one, muted with sweetish caramel malt, some white grape, grapefruit with winey notes, peppery spice, hints of tropical fruit like kiwi and mango and perfumy alcohol notes.

T - mirrors the aroma with sweet carmelly, bready malt dominating, winey, fruity and spicy hop flavor throughout with pronounced, slightly hot alcohol in the finish. A light green vegital flavor comes through late in the finish. Pleasant hop bitterness lingers well after the finish.

M - moderate to full bodied with slightly overbearing alcohol, overdone malt with moderate bitterness make it dificult to drink.

O - Malt and hop flavor is awesome, just lacking intensity and follow-through. The reticent nose, distractingly hot alcohol and overdone malt are a dissapoinment. I think this would be better as an IPA with lower alcohol and malt presence than a DIPA.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.14/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a clear light orange with a minimal fizzy head. Good head retention, real light lacing, not good to style.

S: Grass, kiwi fruit (New Zealand influence perhaps?), cantaloupe. Big amount of malt as well.

T: Grassy and piney hop character with a clear malt presence. Just is too boozy; the underlying character is nice, but is covered up by the heat.

M: Full-bodied, oily, resiny, fairly smooth.

O: Pretty much an average East Coast style DIPA. Worth a shot at its inexpensive price.

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Photo of beertunes
3.18/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 10oz glass. poured a fairly typical, but still attractive, medium golden amber with about a quarter-inch of white head that quickly settled into a ring and had very light lacing.

The aroma was mostly piney hops, with just a bit of grain in the background. The flavors were similar, mostly hops with just traces of malts, and a slight citrusy, dry finish.

The body was typical for the the style, perhaps just a bit on the thin side. Drinkability was OK, my 12oz bottle disappeared fairly quickly, and if I saw it on tap I'd give it another shot. Overall, a solid, decent brew. Try it when you see it.

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: amber body, finger khaki head, fine lacing

S: ripe fruit, sweet biscuit malt, lemon peel

T: same as the nose, but solid malt with bitter finish

M: med body, decent oily mouth

O: Fine Imp IPA for newbies, has plenty of balanced
hops and malt. Enjoyed this reasonably priced 750ml.


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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.26/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 22oz bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 7/2/12
*From notes

-- Bottled April 4 2012 --

A: Clean and charred pumpkin orange in hue. A good pour yields a pretty three finger sticky head. Nice retention and lacing.

S: Bummer. A bit stale. I'll bet that when fresh, this is quite nice. There's a Barleywine-like faded hop quality to it. Candied and a touch of plastic as it warms.

T: Malty with a bitter, candied hop bite. Just stale, like it's been sitting on a warm shelf for too long.

M: Now this is solid. Dense and big. A sipper for sure.

O: It's a disappointment that this isn't fresher, but I can see the potential in this one. I'll return to this when I see a new batch, as I assume this an above average DIPA.

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Photo of SunDevilBeer
3.33/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Been seeing alot of the Widmer line in my area since they started brewing the beers @ Redhook in Portsmouth, NH so decided to give this a try. $9.49 per 4-pack.

Pours and looks like a good DIPA should. Bright orange with a little head that disappears quickly. Sure smells like a DIPA too, it's got a nice nose.

Strong hop presence in the taste. A bit of hot alcohol too. Both these characters become more evident as it warms up, not in a good way. Last few sips to finish the glass are tough.

An OK, not bad DIPA, but the bar has been set pretty high with this style and this beer doesn't quite measure up.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.33/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clean yellow to orange-ish color with an off white head. In the aroma, a mellow orange citrus hop. In the taste, dry orange juice like citrus to a small mint hop in the end. A small hop bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry orange juice like hop and a small alcohol in the aftertaste. Mellow and a nice hop, a bit boozy for 8.6%

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Photo of justintcoons
3.35/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours golden amber with 1 finger of white head that dissipates somewhat quickly leaving behind tight webbed lacing. Slightly hazed with a moderate carbonation stream from the center of the glass.

N: Mango, papaya, tangerine, pineapple and caramel. Smells good but is rather faded.

T: Faded, tangerine, pineapple and papaya upfront followed by caramel malts, pine, rye and some toffee mid-palate. Finishes with faint pineapple and mango. Also has some kind of lingering rye flavor.

M: Medium-full bodied, creamy, semi-chewy, bitter and dry.

O: I really wish I checked the date on this at the store: July 7, 2011. This DIPA is 7 months old. I was disappointed before I even tasted it. What could have been an excellent beer was spoiled by a store that doesn't check its inventory. I'm sure this is awesome fresh. Check your bottles! It's still not all that bad but the tropical flavors are really subtle at this point.

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Photo of Takahiro
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

sampled in a tulip glass

A: deep golden - light amber, clear, thick lingering head

S: caramel and juicy hop aroma upfront. reminds me of brew-day. hop aroma is grape fruit / almost grassy

T: grape fruit bitterness, lots of (burnt?) caramel. balance is leaning towards the malty side. very sweet & overwhelming maltiness. feel alcohol warmth afterwards. simple formulation.

M: full body, thick, and cloying.

D: not so well with this one.

little bit too sweet and cloying on mouth. this may be a good winter sipper, but not interesting enough.

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Photo of Andrew041180
3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Note: this review is primarily for myself. I received a four-pack as a gift and unfortunately it was a good 8-months old. Given the other reviews on this site I would like to try the fresh version.

A - a nice clear amber with about an inch of head. The head faded, but never disappeared, and left a really nice amount of lacing on the glass all the way down.

S - Maltiness, the hops have faded on this 8-month old beer.

T - actually tasted something like the Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shutdown Ale, which I found both too malty and too boozy. I don't think the level of alcohol is the problem with this one, so I'm chalking it up to old age.

M - Classic DIPA feel. Soft, medium-full body.

O - I argued with myself over whether or not to review it, but ultimately I'd rather have the record, and a reminder to give this one a fair shot.

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Photo of goldbot
3.41/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy, copper-orange beer with short, white, foamy head. Good head retention with a fair amount of active carbonation visible. The aroma is of earthy, peppery hops with a bit of pine sap. The hopping seems stale or flat. The favor features sweet caramel malt with a spicy hop zing packing decent bitterness but not very much real flavor. A slight touch of acidic grapefruit and sharp pine. Medium-full body with a fairly strong ethanol bite.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.41/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2011-10-15 at Capone's (from notes). Of interest, this was listed as "Full Nelson" with a 9.7% ABV instead of the 8.6% listed here.

A - Clear amber with a 1/2-finger head and mild lacing.

S - Mild fruit/citrus and pale malt

T - "Safe" tasting for those not looking for the boldest DIPA. Semi-sweet (like a Troegs Perpetual IPA). A little spicy. Moderate grapefruit bitterness. Doesn't completly dry out.

M - Medium body and light-medium carbonation. A bit syrupy.

O - OK but not an explosion of flavors.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

L - dulled brass color with a white head that thinned to a ring.

S - tangerine and earthiness.

T - mix of sweet and tart orange/tangerine flavor with a twist of lemon.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation.

O - tart and tasty.

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Photo of dmatsui
3.49/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip. Pretty burnt orange, hazy with a one-finger head that dissipated pretty quickly. Nice lacing.

Nose is nice and fruity with a strong hint of orange pith. Faint malt sweetness.

Sweet, boozy, citrusy hoppiness. Very nice.

Well, it's a very standard double IPA in my opinion but very clean and well-balanced. Definitely worth picking up.

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Photo of cindiwindi1025
3.49/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a- really bangin on the orange hue, its clear orange and very pretty. sticky white lacing that lingers. nice.

s- found the smell kind of off-putting. smells like watered down skunk.

t- sweet, sugary hop bomb. malt undertone, ends with a prickly burning hop flavor. slight grapefruit, not much. nicely done, different for a DIPA. bubblegum aftertaste.

m- very sticky! light carbonation, prickly hop heat on the tongue that lingers.

o- good buy for the price, decent flavor, very drinkable...i would get this again if i came across it.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.49/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a (512) Anniv3rsary tulip.

Pours beautifully with a fiery orange body that's bright with haze. Slight lace left behind on the glass thanks to a cap of bone white foam. Decidedly weak aroma--a small tinge of grapefruity hops and balance from caramel malt. Just not much there for a double IPA.

Flavor picks up the pace with tangy citrus hops and fruity booze esters greeting the top of the tongue. A hearty backing of sweet bread and caramel malt with a lingering alcohol and hop bitterness on the finish. Body is nicely carbonated and medium in thickness. Overall, a serviceable IIPA, but I was hoping for something a little more.

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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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