Review of Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

Everyone (me) was very excited about Sierra Nevada Brewing’s first Imperial IPA, due out January First. Well, it did not trickle out in the Bay Area until at least the 20th, but I got my hands on some bottles. First impressions: Unimpressed. Too Sweet. In more detail, I think for an Imperial IPA to carry on the same character as an IPA, but bigger, requires careful control of the sweetness when the alcohol starts getting up to 10.4% (which is high even by Imperial IPA standards), otherwise it feels cloying and fatiguing. Unfortunately, I don’t think they have the sweetness under control. The unique 24 oz bottle does not help with this, as the sweetness climbs throughout the large bottle.

On a second tasting, when drinking about 8 oz, I found it to be more enjoyable, with better balance, and the hop character is really nice. So, share a bottle with friends, as I did for the 2nd one. But I think others have this category better sewn up, and I hope Sierra Nevada Brewing can iterate on this, and balance it a bit better next year, or just sell it in smaller bottles (like they do for Bigfoot Barleywine).

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