For having never tried an Anderson Valley beer, why not start off with a limited edition brew that celebrates the use of hops in a big way. Catching a little blurb on the side of the bottle it became apparent that I was in for a hefty beer. They claim that it “is loaded with excessive amounts of malts to balance 20 separate additions of the finest Pacific Northwest hops…”

One thing is for sure, it’s hoppy. The aroma wafting from my glass is bold and true to the California style of IPAs. Since the word “imperial” has found its way onto the label, there is also a strong sweet malty aroma that balances out the hops. It is a mixture of caramel and sticky pine resin (oh and a huge alcoholic punch that sort of smells like octane).

Since there are 20 additions of hops, the beer is entirely saturated with them. Every aspect from smell to taste highlights was these little cones can do. I’d say that the main hop characteristic is that of a dank resinous pine hop which supporting citrus, floral, pungent, and earthy qualities.

The taste is overwhelmingly hops, but not in a Stone Ruination kind of way. They were a little more muted and dank lacking some freshness. The malts also served to take way some of the spotlight as the orange blossom honey hue liquid tastes as thought it was made up of pale and lighter crystal malts.

Sticky hops coated my palate the whole sip while allowing for a hint of sweetness to grace my tongue. The alcohol aspect is rather noticeable in this brew as it collects at the roof of your mouth. With a clean, yet resinous finish this beer is crisp and spicy.

After sampling a bunch of imperial IPAs over the recent months I can say that I appreciate that it is not pushing the limits into the Barleywine style. If you can find this, buy it…I’m confident you will not be disappointed. Sold in a bomber you might want to share it with a friend or two.

ABV: 8.7%

Grade: A-