Saturday, June 2, 2012

Addendum to the DIPA Project - Review #21 - Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

June 2, 2012

For those of you who have been reading the blog since the beginning, you know that we began here at 20 Beers in 20 Nights with The DIPA Project – an effort to drink and review each of the 20 most reviewed Double IPAs on Beer Advocate.  That project was finally completed last fall when my beer trading buddy, Ren, was able to send me a bottle of AleSmith’s YuleSmith (Summer) Ale. 

The YuleSmith turned out to be one of my absolute favorite beers on The List, but it occupied the 20th spot (in terms of how many times it was reviewed on BA) on the list and on top of that it is a seasonal beer from a brewery that does not have very extensive distribution.  It was destined to fall out of the Top 20 at some point and two months ago it was finally overtaken by two different beers; Green Flash Imperial IPA and Sierra Nevada Hoptimum.  The Hoptimum, however, now holds the 20th position 19th position (Also surpassing Moylan’s Hopsickle) and given that nearly 300 people have reviewed this 2-year old release from Sierra within the last three months alone, I would imagine that it will continue to rise in the rankings before this year’s batch is all dried up.

Although the project is technically complete, now that the Top 20 have changed I feel as though it is isn’t.  So, with that in mind, I tracked down a 4-pack with the intent of updating The Project with Beer #21.  The first time I tried this beer was on tap at The West End Tavern here in Boulder.  I thought it was alright, but not worth all the hype.  This review, however, will be done from the bottle, at home, with much better conditions for tasting and without all the distractions of a bar.  So we’ll see how this second chance goes. 

ABV: 10.4%
IBUs: 100
Brewery Location: Chico, California
Style: American Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Average Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.06
My Beer Advocate Rating: B+/3.73
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 889/19th
Bottled On: NA

APPEARANCE:  (4.5 out of 5) Brilliantly clean, light orange in color, the Hoptimum has a nice, big, thick, foamy and stark-white head.  Good retention as the head has only receded about halfway in the past few minutes.  A big, thick, sticky ring of lacing is also clinging to the edge of the glass where the head has fallen from.  As the beer level recedes, that thick lacing continues.  It is covering nearly 100% of the back side of the glass – gorgeous. 

SMELL:  (2.5 out of 5) Dank is not a word I use very often to describe the smell of a beer, but in this case I do believe it is the only appropriate description.  The resinous pine has a very funky and earthy aroma to it and while I can see how many beer drinkers would enjoy this, it isn’t for me.

TASTE:  (4 out of 5) Although the aroma seems to be too earthy and a little overboard, the funky flavors are nicely muted by a big dose of malt and a bright, slightly bitter fruit profile.  The grapefruit is really sharp in this beer and very pleasant.  That weed-like resin from the aroma is still very strong, but it works really well with the rest of these flavors.  I have to say I am happy I gave it a second chance.

MOUTHFEEL:  (4 out of 5) The Hoptimum has an interesting mouthfeel.  It is sweet and a little sticky, but it’s also very crisp and refreshing.  It would be a little more crisp and refreshing if there were a decent amount of carbonation and sparkle, and the lack of that is a drawback, but it is still has a pretty good feel.

OVERALL:  (4 out of 5) I think I finally understand what people are getting so excited about with this beer and I really do enjoy it.  That said, the aroma is really a turn off for me and (this is the first time I have ever said this about a beer’s aroma) if it were toned down a bit I think I would enjoy the overall experience more.  As a side note, at $9.99 for the 4-pack, this is one of the most affordable, high-quality DIPAs available at the moment.


  1. I can't wait to try this. Great Review man!

  2. Thanks man! Like the site and your reviews! Keep up the good work.

  3. Love that picture. Nice info!

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