Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Nelson - Alpine Beer Company

Not Rated.
NelsonNelson

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

781 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 781
Hads: 3,771
Avg: 4.38
pDev: 19.41%
Wants: 1,377
Gots: 572 | FT: 23
Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States | website

Style | ABV
American IPA | 7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: OStrungT on 08-11-2006

A Golden Rye IPA - An outstanding hop from New Zealand, Nelson Sauvin, is generously used throughout the brewing and dry-hopping of this unique beer. European rye is added for a smooth, malty addition to flavor. 1.065 OG 7% AB
View: Beers (48) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 781 | Hads: 3,771
Reviews by CSO:
Photo of CSO
4.25/5  rDev -3%

More User Reviews:
Photo of TheIPAHunter
4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I'm having a Nicholas Cage moment in Leaving Las Vegas. While I'm not on a bender destined to succumb myself in alcohol poisoning, each sip of this magnificent beer has me calling out for a nurse. I'm worried my neighbors may think I've gone mad. I don't even know where to begin, it's so unbelievable. First off, the pour on Nelson is beyond reproach; only rivaled by Heady Topper. Brilliant orange, super cloudy, spotty lacing. Very excellent head retention. The nose has hints of white wine from the use of Nelson Sauvin hops, and is backed by tons of citrus. Taste follows with grapefruit and pineapple. So freaking balanced I can barely stand it, as if that isn't an oxymoron in itself. The mouthfeel is creamy as ever, and I can't stop smacking my lips. I never thought I would enjoy a rye IPA so much. This is a world-class, must try beer, especially for people like me, who primarily drink IPAs. Those who have access to this on a regular basis should consider themselves extremely lucky. Hard to find a flaw. JUST WOW!

 1,027 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.44/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. Finally. Perhaps my longest standing want. I've heard its not as good as it was before Green Flash but I don't know if I ever would have had the chance to try it without them. It pours clearer than I was expecting. Probably more filtered. Well structured, white head. Lacing is thick. The aroma brings my favorite hop right to my receptors. Tropical fruit, earth and flora. Some Sauv Blanc notes. Some dankness. A bit of sweetness too. Smells very nice. Love Nelson hops! The flavor starts off with a pronounced, coercive citrus flavor. A combination of several high-acid citrus fruits. Then the more terroir-driven hop flavors come out. Really vibrant hoppiness. Pot and earth and herb as well. Really damn tasty. Rye malt acts as a unique prop for the Nelson deliciousness. Rye tang combines with the unique hop zest. Its medium bodied and quite bitter. Still very drinkable. A morning juice substitute in a perfect world. Whether its different than it used to be or not, this is still an excellent beer. Finally got to scratch this one off the list; grateful.

 1,071 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Par is whatever I say it is. I've got one hole that's a par 23 and yesterday I damn near birdied the sucker."

--Willie Nelson

Sun-splashed tangerine with bumblebee yellow trim. The pour produced two fingers of cue ball colored foam that has all sorts of interesting topography. The head is firm and bubbly and rocky and pitting and sticky. In addition, thick sheets and creamy chunks of lace are beginning to decorate the glass in wonderful fashion.

The nose is a big blast of Nelson Sauvin hoppiness that any lupulin lover should... well... love. NS smells citrusy and grassy-musky and Chardonnay grape-like. Sort of a cross between Columbus and Saaz... plus white grapes. Love it.

Love the flavor too. This is a fresh bomber and the hops are amazingly green and bright. In fact, this offering tastes like a recently bottled wet hop IPA. Nelson Sauvin is not as delicious as Cascade, Centennial, Columbus, Chinook, Simcoe and Amarillo, but it's distinctive and different and is doing a great job carrying this brew all by its lonesome.

The contributon from spicy rye malt isn't so prominent that it steals the hops' thunder and lightning. It succeeds in adding yet another dimension that any lover of rye-malted IPAs should... well... wait, I used that one already. Anyway, it's an amazing combination of flavors that I recommend highly.

The body/mouthfeel is merely good, something that was also true of Duet. A little more full creaminess would have put it right up there with the rest of the scores. This sucker is built for speed, though, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Alpine brews some hella good American IPAs. Duet was stunning and Nelson is as well. This is one of those times when I fantasize about living in Southern California and having access to beer like this on a daily basis.

 1,807 characters

Photo of HereforBeer
3.5/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on draft in Chicago shortly after they entered the market. I thought it was OK, but very unbalanced. I was pretty dissapointed after seeing a really high BA score. I hope I just had a bad batch.

 205 characters

Photo of StoutHunter
3.79/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Short Review. I've been wanting to try something from Alpine for a little while now and it seems like their beers just started showing up on tap. This is pretty nice, but it's not as good as I was expecting and it had some green onion hop aspects that held it back in the end, but i did like the fruity aspects in the hop profile and the mouthfeel was pretty good. I would like to try a super fresh bottle of this. It's pretty nice, but I don't think it's a stand out for the style.

 486 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.46/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Chill hazed yellow with a tall white head.

Smell is a mountain of hops. Smells primarily of grapefruit and pith. Smell of medicine, lots of Phenol.

Starts out strongly hopped with a melon after taste. Very strong Hops.Tastes of wood and strong tea.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Tastes OK, Don't see the charm of this one.

 316 characters

Photo of wdberkley
3.63/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm hoping I just got a bad bottle. It looked gorgeous in the glass, smelled like I was in for an awesome hop bomb, and then I tasted it and it was nothing but burnt malt. No citrus, no hops. I was totally let down. Will seek out again and revise my review if the second go around is better. (should be noted it was in a green flash bottle)

 341 characters

Photo of jmasher85
3.63/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

I would classify this beer in the category of "great American IPAs that I don't really love." While Green Flash's and Lagunitas' IPAs were the beers that turned me on to the style with their complex, juicy, yet gentle flavors, this one is more in the other direction. A hint of fruity flavors with a lot of bitter grapefruit basically drowning them all out, I'm not really sold on the Nelson Sauvin hop as an aromatic. Not a ton going on here, just a lot of bitter, rich hoppy resin.

Now the texture is a whole 'nother thing. Tons of foam, but it's thick and gritty like sea foam, not smooth and velvety like nitro head. Lots of resin and hop oils give a great, sticky texture that sticks around for a while into the dry, bitter finish. But overall, not a beer I need to go back for when I've found so many others I like. Oh well. Sorry to bring down the ratings, boys.

 880 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.33/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Hazy gold color. Moderate bar poured head, which leaves streaks and spots on the glass.

Strong, nearly harsh, prickly grapefruit to the nose.

Equally extreme on the tongue...think sucking a hop pellet. The bitterness completely overwhelms the palate creating a dry, biting swallow and long, peppery aftertaste. The body is neutral with a corresponding carbonation level.

Imagine a horror film that features 90 minutes of violence in a 92 minute film. This a bit like that. If you are into this sort of thing, you'll love it. Otherwise, try this to get a sense of a purely hoppy, extreme beer.

 599 characters

Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a hazy golden orange with a two-finger white head. Tons of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is orange, grapefruit, and floral hops.

T - The taste is strong piney hops and a white pepper spiciness. There are some good citrus flavors - grapefruit and orange peel. The finish has some light cattiness and a bitter hop bite.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel with a crisp dry finish.

O - Another excellent IPA from Alpine. Definetly recommended for hop heads.

 486 characters

Photo of beergrrrl2
3.41/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

I had this new Alpine Nelson that was contract brewed at Greenflash on tap. Nelson was probably my favorite beer and I've written beergasm reviews of it but this new collaboration needs to be tweaked. The beer was exceptionally cloudy with a chewy mouthfeel. It lost it 'brightness' and extraordinary deliciousness. While the Nelson hops were there, if I had this beer for the first time, I wouldn't order it again :( I hope they fix it.

 437 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deliciously rounded and profoundly unique with malt flavors of caramel and butterscotch balanced with citrus and winy notes- Nelson delivers the familiar wash of IPA flavors, but with a unique twist here and there to create intrigue and identity.

Pouring a firm orange camel color, the beer carries the standard hoppy hazy that allows only a mild glow to penetrate. Very well headed with a creamy egg shell white foam cap, the beer's froth retains remarkably and laces the glass with left over traces of foam. It's a sturdy looking beer.

Rich and zesty aromas seem to alternate from malty caramel in one whiff, but orange marmalade the next. Notes of herbs, grapes, citrus, and tropical fruits continue to emphasize the fruity-hop dominance of the ale.

Flavors are full of caramel, butterscotch, honey, and crisp grain as the barley makes a moderate impact on flavor. But what makes it's mark is the hops. Starting citrusy with the taste of grapefruit, freshly zested oranges, and a light mango flavor; the beer also weaves in the slightly woody flavors of white wine, juniper-gin, and sassafras for a truly unique counterpart to the ordinary citrusy-resiny hops. But the resin quality comes into play in finish with a decidedly bitter finish of drying hops, alcohol warmth, and light mint.

Medium bodied, the beer's early creaminess is quickly sheds, in favor of fleeting caramel malts, high hop bitterness, mild grassy astringency, and sappy closure. Only a linger of grapefruit bitterness reminds me of how dry the beer is and encourages a quick visit to the glass, much sooner than it should.

Although the beer has a lot of classic and intelligent characteristics that set it apart, the mild buttery taste gives the hoppy ale a rounded and rich taste while the winy hops give extra acidity with a somewhat twiggy taste. Likely considered flaws to some, the moderate tones of these properties give the beer more intrigue and seduction than they do deterrents.

 1,967 characters

Photo of Hopped_head
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Sooooo fucking good. Robust citrusy, grapefruit nose and taste. A beautiful warm cup of pee look when poured in a glass. A mildly foreboding Sauvignon acidity though it's very well complimented by the huge citrus flavor. I highly recommend this beer.

 250 characters

Photo of Kendo
3.85/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured from the (Green Flash) bomber into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is clear golden yellow with a half-finger white head on top. Good lacing.

S: Odd nose. I get cat pee and white wine, with a touch of rye. It doesn't really seem to all come together, however, and frankly, it's not all that pleasant.

T: Lots of tropical fruity hops, along with that cat pee and white wine sensation again. Spicy rye noted towards the back end. Lingering lemony bitterness competing with the white wine taste and a touch of pine finishes it off. Heat from the 7% ABV is felt in the belly but not noted on the palate.

M: Medium in heft, with a slight oiliness to the feel. Carbonation is muted.

O: Not really impressed with this one - I think the hop profile just isn't in my "wheelhouse" (I tend towards the C-hops and what I guess are now the "traditional" American Pale Ales' and IPAs' flavor profiles.) Disappointed given the reputation of this one - and my excitement over finally getting to try it now that Green Flash is distributing the Alpine beers. Ah well, so it goes.

 1,087 characters

Photo of Stevedore
4.51/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, undated (but Brian assures me this was just picked up from the brewery several days prior) poured into a FFF teku glass today, 6/16/2013. Thanks a lot to Brian for hooking me up with this beer.

Aroma: Intense, aromatic pine, orange and tangerine nose that I can smell as soon as I open up the bottle. Simply wafts out and slams my nose with piney and citrus goodness. There's a sharp spiciness that I would attribute to the rye. Delicious smelling beer. (4.75)

Colour: Nothing special, just a dark yellow-orange body with a nice fluffy 1cm white head that dissipates into a thick collar and very thin film on the beer. For the most part it's a non-descript IPA, could be any IPA for all I know. The body's quite cloudy. The lacing on this beer is quite nice though! (4)

Flavour: Nice. Lots of sharp spiciness reminding me of rye along with a good dollop of pine cone bitterness and tangerine sweetness. Very interesting and a bit different than most of the other West Coast IPA's I've had. Very tasty. (4.5)

Mouthfeel: Crisp, medium (on the thin side) bodied beer that is very well carbonated. Aftertaste is mostly spicy rye and pine bitterness; it finishes cleanly in a mellow way that doesn't singe my palate. I'm really digging the feel of the rye spiciness and how cleanly and smoothly it finishes up. (4.25)

Overall: Delicious Golden Rye IPA, I don't recall having many beers in this particular style but I am really enjoying the rye contribution to the high hoppiness quotient. Alpine makes some awesome IPAs and I'm glad to have had the chance to drink this beer! (4.5)

 1,594 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.22/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

The Alpine hype train finally hit Bellingham. Been looking forward for trying these SoCal legends for a long time. This one didn't push my buttons. Just a solid, good, enjoyable IPA, nothing less, nothing more.

 210 characters

Photo of ChrisMon02
3.17/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nelson pours a really nice golden color with a fluffy head. Head reduces quickly but holds on for dear life leaving an eighth of an inch of smallish bubbles on top.

Smell is...green onions and dandelion. Oh no...

Taste is...onion and dandelion.

Mouthfeel is thin but a bit better than Duet.

I am utterly confused by my first experience with Alpine. Both Duet and Nelson have been, well...just ok. Maybe I was expecting too much but there are so many others I prefer it puzzles me. Really glad I got to try them but I wouldn't go out of my way to have then again.

 566 characters

Photo of TheFunkyBuddhaAdvocate
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Epic west coast ipa that I had the pleasure of enjoying 8 days fresh out of a bomber.
Amazing Pine notes and amazingly drinkable although I prefer generally more bitter ipas this is Amazing

 190 characters

Photo of oberon
4.06/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed very light golden with a full one finger white head atop.Big tropical fruits in the nose along with a bit of sweet onion wich is more prevalent on the pale,very fruit forward.That sweet onion I talked about comes into play upfront on the palate along with a bit of grass,some sweet caramel/biscuit malts as well.A very good beer but the sweet onion flavors seem to really take over the beer after awhile,again it's very good.

 439 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - This is actually brown in color which suggests a monster malt base to this AIPA. The head is huge and yeasty with great retention and left some wonderful lacing.

Smell - The heavy hop aroma is huge here. I can't recall ever having the namesake Nelson Sauvin hops but they remind me of big PacNW hops. The malt here though is also big and provides a strong balance. It is not overly sweet but full of caramel.

Taste - The big hops and malt come out exactly the same at the taste. This beer is perfectly balanced with monster, PacNW style pine and herbal hops and big unsweetened caramel malts.

Mouthfeel - This is a solid medium-bodied with a good bitter bite throughout.

Drinkability - This is a big beer that begs to be sipped. It goes down well enough but will be too big for the casual drinker. It feels like a DIPA in every way except in ABV.

 863 characters

Photo of tectactoe
4.68/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Mike for splitting this with me - one that I've been dying to try. Nelson pours a murky golden and somewhat orange-ish color. Super hazy and amazingly unfiltered, it looks something like lighter-toned apple cider. Surprisingly little head for an IPA, and it looks a bit thick during the pour, but the yeasty haze is strangely compelling.

Alpine Nelson smells like the West Coast; wall-to-wall tropical fruits that immediately pummel your nostrils as the beer nears your face. Pineapple, mango, and a very large helping of oranges and/or tangerines. It almost has a "juice" vibe too it, and even begins to draw some similarities to Pliny the Elder.

The Nelson hops have a very nice, bursting wet and weedy aroma to them. Fresh, vibrant, and bright, exploding with savory leafiness and a mild twinge of bitterness alongside their wonderful tropical fruit inclusions. Not much malt (or rye, for that matter) in the aroma. This one is clearly all about the hops.

The flavor is just as "West Coast" as the aroma; again, just bursting through with a wonderful fruit profile. More pineapples and a gushing display of tangerines. The leafy side of the hops are more amplified on the palate, coming to life with a nice pungency; weedy, wet, grassy, with a beautiful sustaining bitterness.

Some slight onion-y flavors get tossed about; typically not a flavor I'm fond of in my beer, but it's light enough here to provide another layer of complexity rather than get in the way or distract. I finally get some rye in the finish, adding a nice dryness and the lightest touch of spice in the finale. Not as heavy on the palate as it appeared; slick, oily, and lightly carbonated.

Wow, this stuff went down like nothing. It was like drinking juice with some hops mixed in. Beautiful display of the Nelson hop and what it's capable of. Huge tropical fruit aromas and flavors make this sucker incredibly easy to drink. This is something you could crush just drinking outside on a hot day. Another staple in the already larger-than-life portfolio of West Coast IPAs.

 2,068 characters

Photo of t2grogan
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of LindaLaneIPA
5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Nelson from Alpine Beer Company
97 out of 100 based on 781 ratings.