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Sierra Nevada Chico Estate Harvest Wet Hop Ale (2008) - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Chico Estate Harvest Wet Hop Ale (2008)Sierra Nevada Chico Estate Harvest Wet Hop Ale (2008)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

201 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 201
Reviews: 159
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 8.53%
Wants: 6
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: flexabull on 09-07-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 201 | Reviews: 159 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by chiefydawg:
Photo of chiefydawg
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Crystal clear copper with actively rising bubbles. And what a head: thick, fluffy, rocky, alive. Grasping the sides like it's gonna take a rubber spatula to remove it, and it clings the entire time. Sits on top for awhile like whipped cream.

Got a shot of yeast and CO2 directly as I sniffed the fresh pour, much reminding me of the first whiff of a primary fermenter when done. Then grapefruit, pine needle, and wildflower essence from hops follow. Also is a slightly roasted toffee that very nicely balances the hop. It smells good and balanced, but there was less of it than expected. I don't think I have a cold...

Although this has the predicted citrus/pine taste, it is without the token big bitterness. At the swallow, one has to be thinking: 'here it comes - the grapefruit pulp bite', but it never does. I like it bitter as the next hophead, but to to make a beer just to this edge is just art. Some this is due to the malt balance hinted at in the scent. Never heavy-handed like one would expect to fend off the lupulin, it is gentle and understated - just enough to get the job done with caramel, and warm wheat bread. Hop flavor and bitterness shines unencumbered, but that malt keeps the harsh edges down. Not incredibly complex, but that would be unwelcome here.

This is an incredibly balanced beer without any real flaws. Smooth and soft,and with zero hint of 6.8% until the last sips, the medium-light body adds to a drinkability that is barely on the charts for an real IPA.

I'm grateful this is a 24oz bottle, and wish it was a 40. Gonna snag a keg if I can. Now one of my favorite beers.

chiefydawg, Oct 18, 2008
More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue X:

Bring on the wet hops--that is what hopheads dream about, right?

The head sits there towering over the beer: It passed the top of the glass during the initial pour, but never fell over, and there are huge patches of lace stuck to the glass. Enough talk about the insane head. Nearly crystal-clear, amber hue. Thick hop-resin aroma of spearmint, pine sap, fresh-cut grass and a faint jasmine spice. Sure, there is a bit of toasted malt and fruitiness in the nose, but the hops are clearly on top. So very smooth on the palate with a medium body. The full hop jacket lays down, covering bitterness, and follows with a thick, vegetal flavor that soon unfolds to more spicy, pine, hemp seed oil, blonde tobacco and wild herbal tones. That hop flavor sticks to the taste buds throughout. The toasted malt has enough muscle to push past most of the hop character; mild yet sweet apricot juice fruitiness from the yeast. Alcohol is mildly warming. Finishes with a sticky resin hop residual and lands semisweet with the malt.

There is no such thing as too much hops, no matter which way you get them. Sierra Nevada brought it with Chico Estate and put down a large but soft footprint of hop prowess.

BeerAdvocate, Sep 20, 2010
Photo of Dmann
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I could drink this one all day if I had the chance! The pour was great with a nice dark amber color and a frothy white head that laced the glass nicely. The beer had a earthy smell that was hard to pinpoint and strangely inviting and unique. The flavor was killer! I could tell there were copious amounts of hops, but they were not of the face melting variety, more subtle and they played off the solid malt backbone very well. Again a very earthy flavor, for some reason I was reminded of peanut butter at one point! Very good mouthfeel and just dry enough in the finish to make you grab for that next sip. If you can locate this one, grab a few, you will not regret it!

Dmann, Oct 30, 2008
Photo of orbitalr0x
3.93/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage. Pours into my Sierra Nevada tulip a clear reddish orange with two fingers of rocky, dense off white head that leaves tons of lacing on the glass. Aromas start out with crisp caramel and crystal malt accents. Hops slam their way in with big herbal, earthy accents. Green with quite a grassy accent and some floral and spicy hints as well. The hops are unique in aroma here.

First sip brings a somewhat sweet malt upfront that is somewhat nutty and has notes of caramel. The hops roll in with an herbal, earthy flavor off the bat. It segues into floral accents with a spicy kick as well. Bitterness hits last along with a grassy afterthought. Hops go through a good number of flavors here and are quite interesting and bold. Another tasty brew in the Harvest series.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and somewhat creamy. Good carbonation makes for an easy drinking brew overall. I have no problem taking down the whole bottle myself and it's quite a treat. An interesting twist on their Harvest Ale and although I'm not as big a fan of the hop flavors from these specific hops as compared to the regular Harvest Ale, this is still a tasty brew. Glad that I was able to pick it up.

orbitalr0x, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Capone's. Cheers. Pours with a big head. Amber in color. Not very hoppy in smell for a wet hopped brew. Not surprising that this has a rich pine hop flavor. Drinkable with a very smooth mouthfeel. Nice brew from Sierra Nevada. I would buy a case if I could. Cheers.

SkinnyElvis, Oct 17, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Possibly the best wet-hop beer Sierra Nevade puts out. Pours clear auburn with a foamy white head. Resiny, pine tar aroma that just drips out of the glass. Soapy, a bit grassy, and hardly any malt to speak of. The taste comes through in the same fashion. Lots of resin, now with grapefruit and mango. A little caramel malt, but not enough to slow down the hops. Very fresh taste and crisp mouthfeel. Delicious.

magictrokini, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of kingcrowing
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

24oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark amber/brown with no head. Smell is tons of malt and a good amount of hops, but not too over the top.

Taste is just as the nose, but ever hoppier than I was expecting. Mouthfeel is nice and thick with some of the best hoppiness I've had in a while. Bitterness lingers for quite a while, overall very good.

kingcrowing, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of ironlung
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep, rich copper w/thick pillow like off white head. Leaves a nice lacing on my Celebration Ale pint glass {can't wait for that stuff this year).
Not much on the nose . Just hops! nice wet hops (mmm hops!) taste is awsome. Wish I could get this beer year 'round! Can't get tired of this beer if I tried. Wish it wasn't so rare! Guess I should not complain since i got 17 bottles b4 it dissappered. I herd there will be more and more each year as the garden expands.

ironlung, Sep 23, 2008
Photo of Kraken
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Went to D.C. yesterday 10/18/08 with the GF for a day away from Baltimore. Did some museum tours, then walked up 7th street to find some grub. Stumbled upon RFD. Almost didn't go in as it was packed with Caps fans and didn't seem like our scene, I am glad I braved it. To my surprise I found Chico Estate Harvest on tap. Due to the rarity of this brew I thought it was a misprint but I ordered one anyway. Whoa Momma! this is good stuff.

2 fingers of wonderfully creamy off white head, with nice staying power and a moderate lace. Pours a dark copper tinged amber.

Nose is fantastic with copious amounts of rich citric hops, ruby grapefruit, and blood orange. Light caramel.

Palate- Hop profile is wonderful. Very full and rich citrus elements, the afore mentioned ruby red grapefruit really stands out. Not as bitter as the Anniversary Ale. Some caramels and toffees, slightly sweet, the focus is really on the fresh hops. great finish, mildly dry, long.

Fantastic Seekout

Kraken, Oct 19, 2008
Photo of far333
3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burnished copper color with swarms of small bubbles rising up quickly to a two finger head of dimpled rocky foam.

Inviting aroma of citrus and toffee.

Big hoppy flavor right upfront, loads of tangerine and grapefruit and peach, turning quickly to red grapefruit, finishing piney. Balanced nicely with toffee and honey malt. A peppery spiciness lingers.

Full and even mouthfeel, fairly creamy, but moderate to high carbonation with a bubbly finish.

Very tasty and drinkable beer.

far333, Sep 19, 2009
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

WVbeergeek, Mar 18, 2014
Photo of jbphoto88
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks great!! An deep orange terracotta brew that has heavy garnet highlights. A fluffy tan head that is a mix of big and small bubbles. The beer is slightly hazed with some nice lacing left by the head.

The smell is a light citrus pine tea with a sweet malt background. This brew has some great hop personality but it's mild for an American IPA style. A nice balance between the malts and the hops.

Taste starts with a sweet malt and progresses to a wonderful bitterness in the finish. The hop profile moves from grassy and citrus to floral and herbal. There isn't a definitive hop flavor it kind of flows through a good mix of hops.

Chico Estate is not overly bitter giving a superb drinkability. It's smooth and slightly chewy being a little on the full body side of things. Nice brew, well worth checking out.

jbphoto88, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of NJpadreFan
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

SN- Chico

A- Brilliant copper with a thick heavy lacing white head.
S- Thick sweet caramel malt, grapefruit rind, and a mossy pine hop aroma.
T- Sugary sweet butter and caramel malt with sour grapefruit and earthy oily pine hops.
M- Thick and creamy sweet malt starts off but quickly fades into a slight citrus but more earthy pine bitterness. Hoppy and oily on the tongue.

Overall- Big malts with even bigger hops make this tasty. Very good beer from tap!

NJpadreFan, Mar 23, 2009
Photo of tastybeer
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pretty red-orange, coppery tinted kind of brew topped by a delightful sticky head. The delicious looking orangish white, clumpy head appears to have a soapy, oily texture. Aroma is loaded with dank fragrant and pungent hoppy goodness. Aromas include orange and lemon, sweet flowers, syrupy caramel, honey, leaves, and a little bit of a woody forest. Taste is also dankly hoppy. You can definitely notice the wet hopping. Very fresh and also a nice smoothly blended concoction. Texture is slick, light, soft, evenly tingly and easy on the bitterness (compared to the flavor, aroma hoppiness). Body is medium and could be reasonably heavier though I like its unimposing character with this particular beer. The drinkability also remains quite high as I get deeper into my glass.

I enjoy this.

tastybeer, Sep 30, 2008
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

24 oz. bottle 2008

As I pour this I quickly realize that this stuff is very fresh. A beautiful, deep amber with tons of tiny bubbles shows off nice carboantion levels. The head quality is amazing, it's thick, rocky, very dense, bright white in color and never really dissipates fully, i mean it literally sticks around until the very end. Obviously high quality just at a look.

The hops scent is very bold and complex with a boozy pineapple and strawberries fruity sweetness coupled with big-time earthiness and peppery effects...it's the best of both worlds, herbal and very fruity. The malt adds further sweetness and depth.

The first sip is a true mindbender, reality seemed to shift for the better! It's very crisp, medium bodied with a SICK smoothness from the VERY creamy head. The malt is mildly sweet with acorn-like nuttiness to balance out what proves to be one of the most complex and enjoyable hop flavor's I've ever had. The hop profile has just the right amount of tangy and sweet fruits, pineapple, strawberries, kiwi and then comes the blast of herbs and spices, becoming peppery and zesty....you name the hop effect,...it's in here!! I really couldn't get enough of this brew, There's nothing really extreme here, just high quality hops, perfect malt balance and a slight amount of heat tingles the tongue right at the end, and at 6.7% it's right on! The finish is a bit more bitter, but it doesn't go over the edge.

This might be my alltime favorite American IPA from the folks who put west coast style hops on the map! Guess what? they just reinvented the style and raised the bar even higher.

GratefulBeerGuy, Oct 04, 2008
Photo of alamode
5/5  rDev +18.5%

alamode, Dec 06, 2011
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Interesting bitter beer enjoyed on-tap at Buckeye Beer Engine. Orange coloured body with lace plus. Aggressively hopped. Just tapped, high carbonation. Real West Coast bitter.Good drinkability. This is where Sierra has been going lately with these beers for hopheads and clear hop flavour.

Sammy, Sep 23, 2008
Photo of pmcadamis
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - I like the unique size of SN's harvest pale ales... at 24oz, it's exactly two beers! Perfect "man" sized container IMO. Anyhow, the head on this thing is friggin' ridiculous! At a solid four tall fingers, this slightly yellowish foam beast threatens to run over the edges of my 16oz glass after only pouring 10oz of beer. The beer beneath the beautifully rocky head is slightly a dusky bronze with a purplish hue. TONS of really crusty lace stick to the glass and form permanent rings of hard tacky crust. Whew! This one is gorgeous!

S - Grassy, green, and summery... like a walk in oppressively hot and moist woods. I can definitely smell the dank, moist, green, botanical notes stemming from the wet hop process. This smells like dandelion stems smashed into a pulpy liquid. I also detect sunflower seeds, rice cakes, sake, and peanut butter. That is some pretty cool stuff to smell in a pale ale! The word complex doesn't even do it justice. This is odd, herbal, unique, and hoppy as hell.

T - Tastes almost exactly like it smells. The hops are the star of the show, but don't overshadow the unique underlying elements of peanut butter and rice. I've got it... this tastes like chik-o-sticks. remember those orange round sticks that you could buy at penny candy stores? Those were made from peanut butter, loads of sugar, and something else (something orange?). This is a liquid "Chico" stick!

M - Medium bodied, well carbonated, bitter-green, and dry as hell on the finish. This is some lip-smackin' stuff that makes me want another sip as soon as I set the glass down. The tasty herbal hop finish is looong lasting and really dry and green.

D - This is a damn fine brew. Definitely in the top tier of American IPA's. Currently the best one that I can recall, but I'll have to check my reviews to see where it actually stands. This is unique, tasty, hoppy-but-not-in-a-typical-way, tasty, refreshing, and addictive. I'm a big SN fan, and this could be their best iteration of their specialty ... the American IPA/pale-ale.

pmcadamis, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of Damian74Shensky
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Damian74Shensky, Dec 07, 2012
Photo of prototypic
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This one pours a very nice looking golden brown color. It's moderately hazy and features a very attractive head. It's frothy and vanilla in color. It easily stands two fingers tall and stuck around quite a while. A very thick, sticky coat of lace clung to the glass as it subsided.

Smell: It smells malty and sweet up front. A nice mix of caramel malts and citrus aromas blend very well. Primarily, the citrus scents are grapefruit and pineapple. Very enticing. Hops are very prevalent and are very west coast in character. There's some strong piney and citric elements to them. I have no clue what types of hops were used, but it's a very nice smelling profile. There's a slight earthy element to it which may be attributable to the infusion of some floral hops. While the hops are noteable, they don't overpower any of the other scents. It smells pretty well balanced actually.

Taste: This is really a nice beer. The citrus pineapple and grapefruit flavors are sweet and have a very fine flavor. There's a good mix of caramel and pale malts, but it tastes like mostly pale. They're sweet and add a solid base. The hop profile is indeed very nice and provides an excellent bitter flavor. It has that proverbial west coast character, but actually seems just a tad deeper than that. There are some fine piney and citric qualities, but there's a floral aspect that gives it an earthy vibe with a slight minty bite. It's very, very nice. The hops are actually more bitter than I expected and it definitely is skewed in that direction. Malts do a decent job at balancing it some degree, but ultimately the bitter taste lingers. Finishes dry and bitter.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's medium bodied and is very smooth. Carbonation is well done and provides a nice crisp bite. I like that. It goes down very smooth and easy. Drinkability is very, very high. It's smooth, crisp and refreshing. At 6.7% abv, it's not strong to be intimidated. Where's my other bottle? Dammit....if only I had another.

Sierra Nevada's got another winner here. Personally, I think I might prefer this one slightly to the "garden variety" Harvest Ale. That's a close call though. There's just something about this one that I really like. Without question, it is better than Southern Hemisphere. Kudos to Sierra Nevada for growing their own hops and brewing a damn fine beer. Recommended...if you can find one.

prototypic, Nov 03, 2008
Photo of tempest
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle at Four Firkins and man, after trying this beer, I really wish it were a little cheaper and a lot more available.

It poured a clear amber with a tall white head. The aroma and flavor have a deep mix of citrus and spice in what has to be one of the best balanced hop profiles I've tasted. The grapefruit, orange peel, and pine develop and fade into a long aftertaste. The body is very drinkable and while the flavor is very complex, it's never overpowering like some IPAs and I'm left wanting more, not bemoaning the lose of my tastebuds.

tempest, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of mikey711
3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love this concept. Way to go Sierra Nevada!

A: Rich amber and copper in color with a two finger thick head. some areas of the foam have bigger bubbles than other areas and the head lingers for a minute or two leaving nice lacy rings.

S: Very fruity and floral hops. It is not super complex in terms of smell but it is very pleasant.

T: Oily hop flavor that is strongly bitter. It is piney with a bit of malt sweetness in the background/

M: Full flavored and bodied. It is a bit harsh but only due to the hoppiness that exists.

D: Easy to drink a bomber, but more enjoyable to split. There is a ton of hops in this beer

mikey711, Oct 05, 2009
Photo of nickd717
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint on tap at Rose & Crown in Palo Alto for $7, which seemed a little high but I had to try it. The rating may have been higher if I hadn't had fresh Sculpin just prior to drinking this, but hey, I've got high standards (for beer at least).

A - Clear amber with an off white head. Good lacing and retention.

S - Fresh hop aroma along with some caramel malt.

T - Flavor is malty with lots of caramel, grain, and toast, almost like a scotch ale-marzen-IPA, which is a little strange but not bad. Hops not as intense as I'd like, but still nice.

M - Palate fairly smooth with hop bitterness lasting despite the hop flavor being only average, with medium body.

D - Pretty solid. I got it down fairly quickly, but hell, I drink DFH 120 Minute quickly too. That's probably part of the reason why I always have brutal hangovers the day after like I do now.

nickd717, Sep 19, 2009
Photo of despond
5/5  rDev +18.5%

despond, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of Kegatron
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper with several fingers of foamy off-white head. The head on this is one of the most rich and thick looking that I've ever seen. It's literally rigid at times. Wow! That's something you don't see every beer! Amazingly, this "super-head" finally settles down and compacts into a thinner layer (that is still very creamy and frothy), stays tough, and leaves a massive latticework of sticky lacing all down the sides of the glass. The aroma is extremely floral and herbal smelling, with additional notes of grapefruit citrus, spiciness, and underlying malt sweetness. Just the slightest twinge of heat makes its way into the bouquet as well.

The taste is hops up front that are a little more herbal and earthy in nature but a resinous edge does emerge that increases the bitterness quotient, as does a nice crisp bite of grapefruit citrus. A silky undercurrent of bread and caramel even things out nicely and the finish sees a flush of citrus, some sweetness, and lingering dry bitterness that end things well. The mouthfeel is medium bodied but feels somewhat lighter thanks to the great slick and creamy feel that the carbonation provides. I mean this stuff just moves effortlessly across the palette and down the gullet. This 22 oz bottle did not survive long.

Very nice stuff here that fits in nicely with the other SN Harvest Ales. This was just packed with delicous herbal hops and juicy grapefruit and the body and overall drinkibility was incredibly smooth. This can be a tough one to find but it's worth seeking out.

Kegatron, Dec 18, 2008
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Sierra Nevada Chico Estate Harvest Wet Hop Ale (2008) from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 201 ratings.