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Entries in Sierra Nevada (11)



Sierra Nevada Beer Camp 2013 Black IPA #94. A strange combination of hops and yeast for a black IPA.

It utilises Sorachi Ace from Japan (which is known for its predominately lemon flavour) along with Nelson Sauvin from New Zealand (which delivers a trademark Sauvignon blanc flavour). Then it is fermented with Belgian yeast, which usually imparts a bubblegum flavour. Being 7.7% ABV, it’s relatively boozy.

Very dark brown colour it blocks out the light.  Fine light brown head with a medium body and moderate carbonation. Grainy chocolate malt aroma. Smooth, rich milk chocolate taste with a clean and slightly acidic mouthfeel.

The hop flavours aren’t particularly evident.  It's not very IPA-like, the hop flavours and bitterness are too low. It's more of a chocolate dessert beer.





Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA. The name of this beer refers to the ‘Hop Torpedo’ used to dry hop this brew.

So what exactly is a ‘Hop Torpedo’? It’s a cylindrical stainless steel vessel containing a filter basket packed full of whole cone hops and sealed against pressure. Beer is circulated out of the fermenter, through the Hop Torpedo and back into the fermenter. By adjusting the temperature and flow rate of the beer different flavours and aromas can be extracted from the hops.

Like other Sierra Nevada beers the recipe is simple but effective. On the malt bill are pale malt and caramel malt. On the hop front are Magnum for bittering and Magnum, Crystal and Citra for flavour and aroma.

It’s in the usual ballpark for an American IPA being 7.2% ABV and 65 IBU. The word extra has been thrown in the name to emphasise the amount of dry hopping. However, it’s just another marketing gimmick to make it stand out from other IPAs.

Golden yellow colour, fine head with large bubbles of hop oils. Moderate carbonation and medium body. Surprisingly there is not much in the way of aroma, mostly an alcohol smell.

The first thing you notice is the bitterness as you take a sip. Caramel and bready malt flavour leading into a predominately citrus, herbal and slightly spicy flavour.  Strong bitter and slightly boozy aftertaste. Despite being 7.2% it's not as heavy or sickly as other IPAs. It has a slightly dry finish and medium body which makes it refreshing.

I get the impression it has lost hop flavour in transit. Fresh in the US it's probably much tastier.

Not a bad IPA but definitely not the best.





Sierra Nevada Beer Camp #93 IPA. Beer camp actually exists and it’s not a bible camp in disguise. Each year Sierra Nevada holds a competition inviting fans to send in a video explaining why they should be invited to beer camp. So what is beer camp?  It’s a week of hands on training at Sierra Nevada’s brewery. After training participants are challenged to create a unique beer, the more creative the better. It’s basically a beer nerd’s wet dream. The final products are judged and the best ones are released commercially.

#93 is an American IPA hopped with whole hop cones of Cascade and Citra. It’s 6.9% ABV and 70 IBU.

Like other beers brewed at Sierra Nevada the beer itself is a beautiful sight - golden yellow colour with a fine and compact head. Moderate carbonation and medium body. Sweet grainy malt and weedy hop aroma. Nice mouthfeel. Mild sweet malt flavour leading into a gentle citrus, little bit of weed and tropical fruit aftertaste. It's not very bitter for an IPA. It tastes more like an APA and the relatively high ABV is well hidden.

Good but not ground breaking.





Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA. A twist on the usual American IPA by the addition of rye.

Dark honey colour with a fine head and grainy malt aroma. Medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. A malt driven IPA with an earthly malt flavour and a slight spiciness due to the rye.

You can detect an American hop resin quality to it but without the usual citrus/pine flavour. It has that strong hop bitterness which some people call the ashtray taste, but it’s not bitey. It has a moderately dry and chalky finish.

Overall it’s quite drinkable but nothing amazing.





Sierra Nevada Hoptimum 2013. A whole-cone Imperial IPA that delivers “the ultimate whole-cone hop experience”. Usually this would be marketing bullshit but when it’s a Sierra Nevada beer, you know you’re in for something very good.

It uses Magnum hops for bittering and Chinook, Simcoe and a  new proprietary for flavour and aroma. According to the label it’s 100 IBU and is “aggressively hopped, dry-hopped AND torpedoed”. Let’s just hope they remembered to throw enough malt in. They used two-row Pale, Golden Promise, Munich and Wheat malt to keep the hops in check.

When you pour this from the bottle you can immediately smell the beautiful pine aroma. Honey coloured with a fine head. Medium body with relatively low carbonation.

Strong pine and grapefruit flavour, with a resinous mouthfeel and a firm bitter finish. The hop oils and bitterness linger for a long time. As it warms up a bit it becomes more resinous and less bitter. Like other Sierra Nevada beers it’s beautifully balanced. Whilst it packs a hell of a hop punch the malt keeps the bitterness in check.

This is a hop lover's wet dream. 





Sierra Nevada Northern Hemisphere Harvest 2012. What makes this beer different is the use of “wet hops”.

According to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co website “wet hops are un-dried hops, picked and shipped from the growing fields within 24 hours.” So, that's not to be confused with “fresh hops” which are “the freshest dried hops to come from the fields, typically within seven days of harvest.”

They go on further to claim “because hops are incredibly perishable, using hops 'wet,' or un-dried, preserves all of the precious oils and resins for a unique drinking experience.”

I’m surprised that last statement got past the legal team. Marketing aside let’s get to the beer…

You can tell from its appearance it’s going to be tasty. Orange / amber in colour with a foamy head that retains for a considerable period.

There are caramel and bready malt aromas mixed with citrusy hop aromas. The initial flavours are of grapefruit and pine, followed by a bready malt flavour with a bitter finish that lingers.

At 6.7% ABV it’s strong enough to carry the robust flavours but doesn’t suffer from the cloying, syrupy, bitter-sweet flavours beers over 7% often seem to have. Like other Sierra Nevada beers the recipe is simple but effective : Two-row Pale and Caramel malts, Centennial for bittering and Cascade / Centennial for flavour and aroma.

Unfortunately, really hoppy beers don’t seem to travel well, often losing their hop flavour and aroma. This is the second time I’ve tried a bottle of this beer, and whilst better than the first, it still seem a bit lacking.

I get the impression the hop flavours have diminished, making it taste more malty than it should. Given how much they bang on about how the wet hops “preserves all of the precious oils and resins”, I’m not getting any of those oils or resins, such as that found in the Feral Hop Hog.

I tend to agree with another reviewer that said it’s a bit of a mix between American and English IPA. It has English earthy malt flavours mixed with American citrusy hop flavours. Overall it’s well balanced and surprisingly easy to drink.





Every time I try a new Sierra Nevada beer, I feel nervous that maybe this one is the dud of the range.  I need not have worried, it is not the Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale.

I do like a brown ale and this one is a great version of the variety.  It's got a sweet malty flavour that is very easy to drink.  It has a lovely smoothness to it.

The label says its the ultimate Autumn beer. I disagree. I would drink this all year round!





Sierra Nevada Pale Ale by "Prospect" Martin Beves. This is the iconic beer that kick started the US craft beer industry way back in 1980.

Today it’s still the second best-selling craft beer in the US (thanks wiki). The beer which created the obsession and style of American Pale Ales remains the benchmark to which others are compared.

Had it not been for Sierra Nevada we’d probably all still be drinking mega-swill. There is a reason why – it’s damn tasty. 

It is proof a simple beer can deliver - pale and caramel malts, Magnum and Perle hops for bittering and a generous amount of whole cone Cascade hops for flavour and aroma.

There is a small amount of caramel sweetness upfront, backed up with some floral, citrusy and light pine flavours. It’s refreshing yet flavoursome.

A great example of a well balanced beer. Hop heads and beer nerds won’t be blown away by this beer, but they won’t be disappointed. It’s a great beer to ween your mates from mega-swill to tasty craft beer. 





Sierra Nevada Porter by "Prospect" Martin Beves. This is a dessert kind of porter.

It has a solid roasted malt taste backed up with strong but well balanced coffee and chocolate flavours.

It’s quite smooth, medium bodied and a good sipping beer. I’d choose this over the chocolate mousse any day.





Sierra Nevada Stout by "Prospect" Martin Beves. The first thing you notice is the smooth, thick mouth feel of this beer.

Roasted malt, coffee and chocolate flavours with a more pronounced hop bitterness than their Porter.

It tastes like a slightly stronger version of the Porter. It’s ok, but there are better stouts out there.