Nelson Imperial IPA | Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

very good
304 Reviews
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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:
Formerly Deadlift Imperial IPA

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

Added by msubulldog25 on 01-08-2010

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Reviews: 304 | Ratings: 749
Photo of Damian74
3.86/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz from a 4 pack poured into a snifter.

A- nice orange with a finger of white foam, a touch of haze.

S- malt aroma with hops and some citrus notes.

T- malts with floral hop flavor, which goes well with the citrus aroma. Bitterness is pretty mild for a DIPA.

M- medium rich body with medium carbonation.

O-Good beer, but with better DIPA's out there, don't know if I'll get again.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head oversized snifter. Bottled in December, 2012.

Clear, deep carrot orange liquid with brighter highlights and a thin rim of beige up top. Average retention at best, vague lacing.

Spruce, orange, candied ginger, and menthol in the nose...faint caramel as well.

Sweet moderately bitter flavor profile - syrupy, earthy, peppery, with cherries and mint throughout. An odd collection of tastes, like a kiwi making the most of a rainy PDX winter. Aftertaste of overcooked apricot and herbs. Would go well with a number of Moroccoan dishes actually...

Oily, medium-bodied mouth-feel with light carbonation with a bit of a bite from the alcohol.

A decent example of the style, though not my favorite.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Amber edging towards nut brown and clingy taupe froth that speckles.
Wood spice, gooseberry jam, passionfruit and tangerine skin – yummy.
Caramel and orange juice up front then lots of cinnamon, spruce, and sandalwood hops.
Spiced grape and Orange Swedish fish finish and tingly peppermint linger.
Medium, chewy, round, oily, slight burn.

A fair whack of caramel; too much malt for the hops. And it somehow buries the NS (which only comes through at the end) under what tastes to me like a lot of Willamette pepper and blackberry. Interesting, but not really as advertised.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured a finger and half of head on a cloudy, copper colored body.
The aroma is a nice grapefruit, lemon and a touch of caramel.
The taste is loaded with malt, which is well balanced by the moderate bitterness.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation and medium body.
It's a tasty and drinkable DIPA.

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
2.16/5  rDev -44.2%
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 rajendra82
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The amber color and hazy body, had this beer looking almost like a textbook DIPA, but the pinkie thin head was not long lasting and spoiled the look somewhat. The smell had some citric hops and some pine, but wasn't as assertive as a DIPA can be. The taste was very citric, with grapefruit, mandarin oranges, and tangerine, with mineralized mid palette feel, and some candy like sweetness. The finish was citric with some pith bitterness. The mouthfeel was medium to thick and slippery, rather than sticky. Nice overall, but I like my DIPAs more extreme in their approach.

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Photo of SerialHiker
4.76/5  rDev +23%
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 mick303
4.29/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a healthy few fingers of soapy off-white foamy head, really great retention and lacing, colour is a muted copper gold.

Smell has soapy grapefruity notes, piney hops, lots of tropical fruity overtones, probably coming from the nz hops, thick ripe and juicey.

Taste has a sweet start, some pleasant malty notes, with plenty of juicy tropical notes, pineapple, apricot, some pleasant sweet nutty notes, for a DIPA this is surprisingly sweet and fruity, with the hops coming through as a pleasant countering citrus bitterness. Finish is dry, a bit bitter, and smooth.

Mouthfeel has a moderate light carbonation, smooth body, drinks very nicely, quite refreshing and smooth for the style. Really juicy and nice.

A really nice take on the DIPA style and it works really well with a ton more tropical fruit flavour, less of the west coast pine and grapefruit, and the change is really nice, an interesting and complex brew that deserves a try for its uniqueness.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle to standard pint glass
BD: Oct-12-12

A: Pours a copper amber body with fine clarity and a thick finger of sudsy eggshell colored head. Looks picturesque with some nice retention noted and a sticky trellis of lace down the glass.

S: Aroma is pungent with heavy grapefruit flesh, white wine, and some gooseberry. Has a real musk and turns a little catty even. Mellows out to a surprisingly nice nose with a tropical fruit medley of mango and melons. Some soft sweetened bread lies underneath it all.

T: Taste delivers on the Nelson hops with a flourish of white wine grape, melon, unripe berry, mango and grapefruit. Nice intense bitterness to the beer. Malt offers a soft caramel note on top of some doughy breads. There is just enough sugary bits to bitter ratio and a tease of alcohol. Very green hop flavors with a nice long linger. A really great tasting and well done IPA. Very hoppy and refreshing.

M: Mouth feel is moderate and on the lighter side in body. Even carbonation gives a nice spritzy feel while there is big drying crisp towards the finish. Ends out a bit wetter than some but not by much. A constricting bitterness gives way to some residual sugars and sticky hop oils.

D: Overall this is probably the best beer Widmer has put out. A real tasty and drinkable Imperial IPA that really focuses in on the Nelson hops. Nice balance here overall. I rather did enjoy and would gladly purchase again.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single finger head with decent retention and lacing on a clear golden copper body. Mustiness of Nelson hops are well represented in the aroma with candied fruit and caramel malts. Flavor is similar and is fairly malt forward with more candied citrus and typical earthy and musty Nelson hops. Medium body and moderate carbonation, oily on the palate. Booze are well hidden, the hops are as good as Nelson hops can be but are in a good degree.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light amber color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains floral hops, caramelized malts and fruity citrus.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of caramel and citrus. Then a strong hops bitterness comes in. The malt character is hearty and provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

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

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a very solid 2IPA to drink for a long time.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.77/5  rDev +23.3%
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 Alieniloquium
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32 oz. growler from House of Brews. I've always found this beer to be a sleeper.

Appearance - Clear orange. Not much of a head. Some wisps on the surface and a collar of big discrete bubbles.

Smell - Lots of nice citrus hops. Bright orange hop aroma. A little bit of sweetness back there, but a lot of nice hops. Finishes with a peachy fruit flavor.

Taste - Nice citrus hop again. Balanced with a good dose of pale malt sweetness. Hardly bitter, but enough of a hop presence to balance the sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Easy drinking if a little heavy. Definitely feels like a DIPA, Medium carbonation.

Overall - I drink the hell out of this when it's on tap. Remarkably well made. Maybe not the same quality has some of the top-tier DIPAs, but for a regular beer I don't have to fight for, it's excellent.

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Photo of smcolw
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Large bubbled head but it settles tightly to a thin layer of tiny bubbles. It leaves an extensive blanket of lace. The broth is light amber and mildly hazy.

Creamy pale malt smell with a strong pineapple hop aroma. Well balanced for a DIPA.

Strongly flavorful, but well balanced. Despite the style, this is not extreme. The initial taste is oily from the alcohol level. The floral hop bitterness is slow to intensify but it dominates the swallow and aftertaste. Full bodied with an elevated level of carbonation.

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Photo of davey101
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled August 27, 2012. 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a clear dark golden amber body. Two finger creamy white head with great lacing and retention.

S - Grapefruit, biscuity crackers and just a touch of those exotic Nelson hop, mango, pepper, and musk.

T - Grapefruit, crackery malt, mango, and tangerines. Finish is spicy and peppery. Less complex and exciting than the nose. Mouth feel is well carbonated and slick.

O - Excellent aroma, but the taste falls a bit flat. Probably not a great spoksebeer for the Nelson hop variety, but quite a solid DIPA.

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Photo of BhamBeerLover
4.8/5  rDev +24%
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 CraftBeerTastic
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ba Review #229
Served On: 10/12/2012
Glassware: Duvel Glass
Labeled ABV: 8.6%
Date/ Code: 01/09/12

This was a 22oz bomber from Evergreen Liquors in Frederick, MD. It was $5.49 a bottle - not bad.

Look: The resiny brew poured a semi-clear orangeish yellow color. The head was an initial 2 fingers of eggshell foam consisting of mostly tight bubbles. Within a few moments all that remained was a patchy coating of lace. Carbonation level was rather low.

Smell: Some complex notes of berries and tart pine over a smooth mango. The aroma seemed surprising mild given the hops added.

Taste: First was a sweet malt that gave way to a quick powerful bitterness. Then the hop profile seemed to open up towards the end of the palate followed by a nectar-sweetness of mango and peach. The aftertaste was a lingering fruity sweetness.

This was a very balanced IPA that seemed to break away from the typical west coast Imperials. No alcohol heat was noticeable. This would make a great alternative to the hop bombs found in so many Imperial IPAs.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a bright, deep and trsparent orange color with good carbonation leaving a nice white cap, bubbles and good lacing

S: Biscuity, a little booze, Earthiness and light citrus

T: Biscuit and caramel upfront with a faded hop like presence with some citrus, a little prickly pine needle,I almost detect a tad bit of honey. There is a lingering biscuity, citrus presence on this beer I sordove dig. The finish is moderately dry, light bite, booze.

M: Medium body yet full, well carbonated, caramel biscuits and citrus sit on the palate

O: Not to shabby. My beer may have been on the shelf for a while and yet it was still tasty. Balanced. I would drink again. Widmer has really stepped up the game in the past two years and I am proud!

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Photo of PDXtoSoCal
4.46/5  rDev +15.2%
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 NicoDuval
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- a nice burnt orange with about 2 cm of head.

S- citus, hops and a floral hint.

T- A good amount of citrus, hoppy but not overly hoppy. Faintest hint of alcohol, much less than I would expect from such a light tasting beer. Very well balanced.

F- Moderate carbonation with a bit of a bite. Light and crisp.

O- A very well done imperial IPA. Surprisingly high alcohol content without having to try to hide it with a lot of hops or other flavors. Would definitely buy again.

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Photo of dmatsui
3.49/5  rDev -9.8%
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 ThePorterSorter
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a clear copper with a loose white head that settles quickly to a razor thin blanketing. Tight bubbles build a modest white halo of lacing. The nose is intensely tropical and citrusy with an expected amount of sugar to build the beer's medium mouthfeel and help balance out the beer's biting alcohol and lingering bitterness. Candied pineapple is the first thing that comes to mind...
This is a relatively straight forward DIPA with easy drinkability and a reserved bitterness. The beer's alcoholic bite intensifies as the beer warms making it harder to continue drinking. Overall it's good, but doesn't blow me away.

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Photo of MrDanno96
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a light orange/copper color with a half finger of white head and some spotting lacing.

S: Lemon and pine mixed with some sweet maltiness. Aromas of grass and nondescript tropical fruits also linger in the background.

T: The malt is very noticable and overall the flavor is very sweet. Resin. Sticky. Notes of citrus cut through the sweet malt flavors in the mid palate. This would benefit from a little more hop bitterness in the finish, but not bad overall.

M: Full bodied, thick, and syrupy. Very very mild carbonation. About par for the DIPA course.

O: A decent DIPA. Nothing outstanding about it, but all-around decent. Not a bad bang-for-your-buck either at <$10/4 pack.

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Photo of alexgash
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. Bottled on Feb 14, 2012.

Pours a partly cloudy coppery orange. Thick finger of dense, creamy, light beige-white head. Great lacing. Very hoppy nose with notes of citrus (orange, lemon), tropical fruit, pine, and cat pee. Sugary, fruity malt underneath.

Herbal, peppery hop bitterness up front. Sugary fruit malt sweetness wells up. Lots of tropical fruit flavors (mango, pineapple, and papaya). Bitterness crescendos, with citrusy, peppery, herbal hops. Dry, refreshing, citrusy finish. Medium-full body. Creamy feel. A very nice DIPA.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful orange color, 1" of white head on it, great small bubbles, decent lace, excellent retention. Aroma, when fresh, very nice and Nelson hoppy. Really did a good job with the nelson sauvin hop, one of my favorites, really comes across tropical and citrus wise in the nose.

Taste, effortless to drink, covers alcohol amazingly well, tons of hop flavor to it. Gets some of the funky white grape nelson kind of mouthfeel to it. Just really excellent beer, at an excellent price, with excellent production numbers and availability.

Widmer has really been knocking it out of the park hoppy wise the last 2 years.

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Nelson Imperial IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 749 ratings.
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