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Old Chico Crystal Wheat - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Chico Crystal WheatOld Chico Crystal Wheat

Educational use only; do not reuse.

48 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 48
Hads: 200
Avg: 3.52
pDev: 15.91%
Wants: 11
Gots: 20 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Wheat Ale |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: flexabull on 04-03-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 48 | Hads: 200
Photo of CrookedStill
2.47/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

*from notes 05/25/11"

Pours a very pale yellow, nearly transparent, with a one finger white head.

Not really a lot going on here. Maybe a light sweetness but mostly nothing.

Again there isn't much going on. There's some sweetness present and behind that there's something that's trying be a faint bitterness.

Very thin body. Med/high carbonation and very crisp.

Has to be one of the most transparent beers I've had in a long time, and I'm not just talking about the appearance. Although I don't think Sierra Nevada set out to break barriers with this one but maybe aimed just high enough to make something that's just crisp and refreshing. If so then they've done a wonderful job. It really is a good "lawnmower" beer and is enjoyable all the same, just don't expect new doors to be opened for you with it.

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Photo of illidurit
2.73/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Typical transparent gold with a mediocre white head. Musty rotting bananas and cereal on the nose. Not exactly an intoxicating bouquet. Flavor is a subtle blend of tart fermented wheat, barely-there citrus hops, banana peels, and sticky grains. I’m not sure why I punished myself by buying what is obviously a lame-ass beer (another coveted wheat ale tick!) but what’s done is done. I emerge from this experience unsatisfied.

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Photo of williamjbauer
2.98/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A light golden-amber color
S Medium wheat scent with light pine overall very light scent
T First strong wheat flavor with citrus tones afterward
M Pretty smooth mouthfeel

Overall - best drank on a hot summer day, an average wheat beer, I'd drink it if it was on sale or a gift :)

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Photo of Zorro
3.06/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear golden colored ale with a medium sized white head.

Smells of wheat cracker and lemon with a slight citrus funk. Truthfully the scent is very light.

Starts out light and mildly sweet with a wheat cracker flavor. Slight vanilla and caramel flavors. This is lightly flavored and fizzy, pretty much a lawnmower beer.

Mouthfeel is light.

Overall this is OK and a good choice for treating thirst. This is just a light wheat ale.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.06/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Big thanks to LivMtdew420 for this local that I had never heard of. Bright yellow, transparent and looks like a light beer. Smells yeasty, not bad. Flavor is wheat and yeast but so darn light. I could pound these at a barbecue but at the same time I'd rather just have two pale ales. I was still quite glad to try this beer.

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Photo of pitasoup
3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to flexabull for this bottle from the blind bif #5. Didn't realize this was a local-only distro.

A: Clear yellow with half an inch of head that quickly subsides. 3.5

S: Subtle floral hops. Not much else here. Noble hops (saaz?) after a few sips. 3.0

T: A bit of hop bitterness, perhaps biscuit malts, and a slightly metallic finish. The smallest hint of cloves at the end, then more lingering bitterness. 3.0

M: light and refreshing. 3.5

O: I mistook this for a generic pils. Clean body and straightforward presentation of hops. This was an uninteresting beer to me, nothing wrong with it, but nothing to write home about. 3.5

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Photo of tdm168
3.21/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a pale yellow with little head, carbonation is evident. Very little in the nose; mild straw and hint of yeast. Taste is much the same; wheat and yeast. Mouthfeel is incredibly light and dry. This beer lacks strong flavor and backbone, but if your looking for a sessionable beer this fits the bill.

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Photo of vkv822
3.23/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12oz : tulip
bottled May 2nd, 2013

Pours a brilliantly clear, golden with a thick, foamy white head.

Aroma, while pleasant, is quite subdued, with just some faint floral hops and grainy, malty, wheat notes. The taste follows through with pretty much the same profile.

Medium-full body with foamy carbonation.

The taste was not unpleasant, but it was quite subdued, which is what led me to score it as I did.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.27/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass. Half finger of head, golden transparent color.

A metallic smell with a mild orange.

Soapy taste, orange, banana and lemon.

Crisp and clean body, moderate carbonation.

A good enough beer, maybe for throwing back a couple on a summer day.

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Photo of harrymel
3.29/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled around 01DEC11

A: pours a brilliant straw ale with a finger of fine, white foam. This falls to a sheet of the same leaving soapy lace.
S: Wheat, grain, dust, some earthy crispness. It seems to have a decent pilsner tone with subdued earthen hops.
T: Some sweet cereal flavors with a bit of crispy pizzazz that provides a slight peppery flavor. I can dig.
M: thin with hi carb and a dry finish.
O: Really a drinkable beer. I wouldn't got too far outta my way to drink it, but if it were 100F outside, I'd be happy to split a pitcher.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a clear, golden straw, with a finger width head, dissipates quickly, and leaves behind a fair, sticky lace.

Smell - Primarily wheat, some sweet malt, and a bit of hoppiness. All very basic.

Taste - A little on the hoppy side, but plenty of wheat maltiness shines through. Very plain. Not much outside of a basic wheat, hop, and yeast profile.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium body. Decent carbonation.

Overall - A fairly bland, lifeless wheat beer. Drinkable, but nothing outstanding.

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Photo of kaseydad
3.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clear yellow (dare I say pee) ale with a fizzy white head. The smell is definitely cracklin wheat and a whiff of light lemon. Not getting anything else here. Yikes…I might even be getting some cereal like characteristics. Uh-oh. The taste is wheat…and more wheat with a healthy dose of hoppiness on each sip. Slightly peppery but not all unpleasant. Nothing of note on the mouthfeel. A tad thin. Overall I was not overly impressed with this offering. If you are a wheat loving person….this is your beer. I could see myself partaking of this on a hot summer day washing cars…or the dog but otherwise I would pass. Cool label though. Rustic and just plain cool.

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Photo of raynmoon
3.34/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's completely clear and light gold in color. Very small head that disappeared pretty quickly. Looks like a typical Macro lager but slightly more orange in color.

It smells very grainy, a little grassy maybe? Sweet malts.

The taste is much better than the appearance and the aroma. Really crisp, a little bitter, but refreshing.

Overall it is pretty nice. Reminds me of some pilsners I've had. Not the greatest offering from Sierra Nevada, but worth trying. The packaging definitely sells it.

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Photo of JamesQuaff
3.38/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gift bottle from the neighbor. Served in a pint glass.

Poured a deep golden-yellow with a 1" head that faded quickly, leaving light lacing. Very clear and clean. Would make a great movie prop for 'glass of beer'. Looks like something either meant to be drunk standing up while outdoors or in a 1930's photo of people drinking beer.

I can smell the wheat, and a different hop profile than I'm used to from Sierra Nevada, much less aggressive. A few faint floral/grassy notes. No off notes, but it's really making me struggle to pick out anything specific. Not particularly aromatic. But I like it. Smells like something that's about to go down smooth.

I'm really digging the taste. The wheat comes on first, intensifies and fades, then the bitterness comes in and lasts through the finish with the tiniest hint of floral sweetness.

Mouthfeel is just right for the style. I was anticipating a bit more bite from the carbonation based on the appearance, but it was quite smooth. Light-bodied and crisp.

Overall a very refreshing, tasty beer. Quite sessionable, but with a good measure of flavor and enough complexity to be interesting. I can see this guesting at a BBQ or two this summer.

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Photo of BilbosNuts
3.42/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear, pale golden color. It appears to have a high amount of carbonation that gives it a nice sparkle. It has a medium white head that reduces quickly to a thin film.

S: The overall scent is very clean with barley, wheat, and yeast aromas. There is a grassy hint and also a touch of hops.

T: Mostly wheat comes through in the taste. There are also some subtle earthy and clove spices that can be spotted.

M: It is a very smooth drink with a body on the lighter side. There is definitely a lot of carbonation, maybe even too much so. It's very clean and easy to drink.

O: This is a very clean drink and easy to drink. I could see myself throwing a few of these back no problem. Some aspects were lacking in the taste, but not bad overall.

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Photo of flexabull
3.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Limited release NorCal only beer. For awhile, this was Chico only, now it's getting a little bigger distribution.

Pours a bright and clear gold color with a small white head.

Aromas are dusty and floral, with some wheat grain.

Taste is really crisp and clean. Light cream malt sweetness, soft wheat grains, and faint lemon citrus hops on the finish.

Mouthfeel is good, smooth and full, with nice carbonation.

Overall, a decent beer. It's definitely a "gateway" type of beer that seems to be designed to appeal to the non beer geeks. But it has it's redeeming qualities, it's refreshing, and easy drinking, but it's really simple.

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Photo of mjyoung
3.43/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

4/24/11 - Limited distribution

A: A light honey color, with a very thin head that completely disappears.

S: Pretty nondescript. The slightest hint of wheat, but you have to try.

T: Very light and refreshing, a hint of wheat underlying the lack of all other flavors.

M: Nicely carbonated, with an appropriately thin body.

O: Although it's not particularly memorable, this beer hits the spot as a drinkable summer brew.

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Photo of dfillius
3.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.
A: Moderate pour yields 1/2 finger of pure white head with poor retention; only a thin film remains. Better head retention please. Liquid is crystal clear pale gold.
S: Light apple, ester, yeast mustiness.
T: Delicate. Bready with a gentle but noticeable citrus and apple hop bite in the aftertaste. A bit 2 dimensional in that it is not quite full and round. Not entirely cohesive either.
M: Dry, kind of thin. A bit too dry. made with fresh hops? (not sure why I noted the last sentence in my hand written review)
D: Enjoyable, but I wouldn't order another or buy 6. Maybe I'd grab a second if at a BBQ or something like that.

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Photo of ales4baldo
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation- nice bottle. Shows the brewery or what seems to be the old one. Nice.

Appearance- really clear. A soft light gold like color. Like an apple juice almost.

Smell- not really getting much. Yeast and wheat are present. Minimal hops. Normal.

Taste- Lots of wheat for sure. Clean. Subtle.

Mouthfull- Nice carbonation. Has a lot of it too. Clean and bubbly. Finishes nice and somewhat dry.

Overall- Not bad for a wheat beer. I don't drink much of these types of beer but it's pretty good. It's really mellow, good drinking beer. I like.

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Photo of litheum94
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 7/23/10.

P: Clear, straw yellow color with a thin, bone white head that settles to an even thinner cover. Pretty good stickyness on the glass.

A: Yeast and grains, a touch of bubble gum sweetness. Lemon citrus and toasty malts.

T: Light and effervescent. Cereal grains and yeast. Cracker dryness on the finish. A touch of lemon zest.

Tastes like summer in a glass. Pretty simple, but good flavors and drinks so damn easy. I'd drink a whole case on a hot summer day.

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Photo of DesertRat
3.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip.
A: Weak head confirms this is not a Hef or strong wheat beer. Color is clear, definitely filtered.
S: Light yeast, reminds me of a lager yeast.
T: Very mild. Unsusspectingly noticeable hop middle. Tasting lager yeast on the finish. Interesting and light.
M: Dry and crisp up front, but finishes leaving me wanting a sip of water.
D: Nice alternative if your feeling like a lighter beer to have with food and not interested in a more boring option. By no means a bad beer, I think I was just expecting more.

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Photo of DragonXero
3.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

To be completely honest, this is a beer that doesn't do anything wrong, but isn't particularly special.

Sierra Nevada doesn't seem to know how to seek a middle ground for their beers. This is a fairly average-tasting wheat beer, but it definitely has its high points.

This is a very lager-tasting beer. There are certainly hints of the wheat left after filtering, but it lacks that gritty mouthfeel of the unfiltered wheat. For many, including myself, that's definitely not a bad thing. I've actually had this both from a botltle and on tap, and both are extremely refreshing. The issue might be that it tastes a bit watery for some who like their beers chewy, but that's pretty much the style here.

Basically, this pours looking like a pretty standard lager. It has a fairly thin head, fair carbonation, and a nice, pretty light-gold color, but it certainly doesn't stand out.

It's a great summer beer, but it definitely doesn't have the consistency to hold up in the fall and winter months, so if you're going to buy a pack, get it while it's scorching outside. There's very little bitter taste, and it finishes quite smoothly.

In short, this isn't the kind of specialty craft beer you pick up to do a tasting with friends. This is something you'd be happier just grabbing a six-pack for yourself and downing it to cool off. Be mindful, however: This does have a fair kick to it, betraying its smooth taste. A six-pack of this will definitely get you further along than the macrobrew lagers, and its less-bitter taste is quite deceptive.

It's a beer you'll probably want to drink more of, simply because the flavor is there, but not overwhelming. It's smooth and crisp, but it will get the job done. It may not be cheap, but it certainly beats the taste of a macrobrew lager.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to drewone for sharing this one at his tasting.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy off-white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, wheat, grains, and some slight hop aromas. Taste is much the same with a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is light and easy to drink.

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Photo of Bobheed
3.52/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Very clear bright yellow. About a two finger bright white head, lots of bubbling.

S: Wheat. Actually reminded me of the smell of whole wheat flour, a bit of fruitiness from the hops as well.

T: Very refreshing, crisp, smooth, definitely get the wheat malts, some small hop bitterness.

M: Highly carbonated, but still goes down like water.

This is what we call a river beer. Not too complex, but still a great, refreshing beer to enjoy out on the river.

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Photo of climax
3.53/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a straw gold color, very good clarity. It is alive with bubbles and a tall fizzy head. Retention is good, as well as lace.

The aroma is certainly wheat. Yeast, and phenolic notes are present but subtle. The warmth of and strength of the wheat is good, and still very clean. The hop profile seems on the Noble side of things, none too strong however.

The flavor has a definite wheat edge to it, and a good one at that. Only the slightest hint of lemon, earthiness, and a dash of spicy clove surface, but add that extra dimension to keep my mouth interested.

It has a good smooth medium body and a feel that very carbonated and sharp, perhaps a bit too alive. However once it settles down, a nice coating feeling soothes the pallet and prepares it for another drink.

This is a thirst quencher with very good flavor. Nothing extreme, but certainly a solid wheat beer.

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Old Chico Crystal Wheat from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.