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

785 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 785
Hads: 3,785
Avg: 4.38
pDev: 19.18%
Wants: 1,372
Gots: 575 | 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
Reviews: 785 | Hads: 3,785
Photo of Klym
4.59/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had had Nelson and Duet back when I was first getting into craft beer. I remembered liking both but thinking I liked duet a little more, and since that time that was about all I could remember about Nelson: that I liked duet slightly more. Having Nelson again has been a real treat, and I realize that you might not be able to compare the two as both are wonderful beers with quite distinct characters.

A: Such a crisp clear gold, only a little darker and hazier than your beer-commercial lager. A few bubbles spritzing up out of the body of the beer with a medium head sitting on top.

S: I sometimes forget to close my eyes when I smell a beer but this one really makes me close them. Something about the smell is enchanting in the way that say trees or fresh grass is. Like two vines of piney hoppiness and citrus juice and rhine are braided together. Smell is very uniform but brings to mind many things. Tons of forest and tons of orchard in this one.

T: The taste starts off a little dull when it hits the tongue, intensifies, peaks, then backs down into a simmering tingle. Basically the taste is the same character as the tongue with a touch of grain and bread, and with maybe more pine in the peaking bite and more juicy citrus as the taste backs down, breaking apart the alliance of the tastes more than one would suspect in the nose. The taste is so crisp and fresh while simultaneously being relaxed and smooth. Like a classic alpine IPA, this beer is refreshing and invigorating in such a natural and inspired way. Both Duet and Nelson make me actually *feel* good in a way that I haven't really encountered in other beers.

M: Almost all of the truly great IPAs I've had always confounded me when it came time to speak of their mouthfeel and taste separately, as they're always in so much harmony. The carbonation is lively and does its thing without reminding you that its there, and the body of this beer is a bizarrely light feeling upper medium. Runs in the mouth with an oily slickness and the bite hits all parts of the mouth but peaks and lingers on the roof of the mouth. Such a fascinating mouthfeel that one could spend many bottles dissecting.

O: There's just no excuse for not trying this beer if you like IPAs. I've been somewhat spoiled and had the chance to try quite a few at this point, and some of the hailed greats, but Nelson easily takes its position among the best of the best. Every time I try to criticize this beer I feel the heaviness of contriving faults. Get it, try it, and then get some more.

 2,543 characters

Photo of t420o
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to schmoopsbeer for this one

A- Pour produces a half finger head that is white/near off white in color. Though you can see the active bubbles in the beer, it did not produce much of a head with a semi-aggresive pour. The beer is light golden/ Burnt orange in color.

S- Well just like the description on the bottle says I smell a lot of grapefruit. That is accompanied by orange, and like I've seen on some other reviews a garlicky/musty type scent. Its not garlic but something similar to it I am smelling just cannot put my finger on it. Strangely enough this is not off putting at all and seems to fir right in.

T- Grapefruit, dry white wine taste, herbal flavor, and some tangerine. Some tropical fruit hints also. It is really hard toput a finger on just what I am tasting in this one but its somewhat similar to a white wine but with a richer, buttery-herbacious flavor that accompanies it. The Nelson Sauvin hops are very interesting and I enjoy them a lot. Slightly dry on the backend. Cannot feel a hint of alcohol. Excellent

M- Nice carbonation level. Nice density. Goes down super smooth.

O- An excellent and interesting beer that I highly recommend. Very drinkable

 1,193 characters

Photo of oggg
4.52/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at Liars Club

This brew is a terribly hazy deep yellow hue with a white wispy head. The aroma of peaches, lychee, flowers is unmistakable. On the tongue it is juicy, with loads of hop flavor -- the intensity of which almost rivals a spicy saison! The bitterness level is mild to moderate -- it won't twist your tongue like Wipeout IPA for example. The rye is barely spicy, very mild, but contributes a lot to the middle. Smooth and ridiculously thirst quenching. The abv tastes like 3%! Light to medium bodied.

Overall: oh gawd, I must learn to brew this... a brilliant (rye) APA, and another brilliant beer for Alpine

 632 characters

Photo of hu5om
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

thanks again to enelson for the nelson. perfect.
split with newk340
a- orange golden amber, white fluffy foam subsides to a white ring that leaves excellent lacing
s- orange citrus, bitter, white grapes, tropical fruit, nectarine?, very strong, with a rye spiciness
t- crazy, rye spicy, whie wine smoothness, very bready rye spice, light citrus. fairly piney also. mind=blown
m-amazingly smooth. i'm so overcome by the taste, that mouthfeel is a bit under the radar. very dry finish, champagne like.
d-i'm blown away. these hops need to be utilized more often. this was friggin great. up there with pte as a close second best ipa i've ever had. excellent. screw high life, this is the champagne of beers.

 704 characters

Photo of LADaveBN
4.15/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bomber drink by 3/21/16. Pours pale and a bit hazy with a 1/2 finger head. Thin lacing down the sides. Nose is spicy and citrusy. Taste is like drinking grapefruit juice. There's also some smokiness on the back of the tongue, which is interesting. Finish is quite dry. The bitterness lingers. Feel is relatively light. Overall, a pretty good citrus forward IPA. However, I'd like to have a little more malt to balance the bitterness.

 437 characters

Photo of ptykozoon
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Great foamage/lacing. Light yellow.

Outstanding smell, peaches, bitter light hops.

PEACHES, orange, bread, hops are mellow and smooth.

Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth. Never had an IPA like this. Light carbonation. Bitter/dry.

Great little IPA, taste is very fruit forward. My first beer from Alpine, I can see why they're so highly regarded.

 346 characters

Photo of mschantz
4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at Craft and Commerce in SD. Pours a bright, yet hazy, straw color with 1/2 inch of fine bubbled head that stood up well into the beer. Nose is dominated by slightly tart citrus notes and pine with biscuity malt backing. The taste is more malt than the nose would lead one to believe but the balance was beautiful as the tart citrus flavor was wonderful. Creamy mouth feel. Love this beer - the hype is well deserved.

 436 characters

Photo of hawks10
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into my Southern Tier tulip...

Pours a golden straw yellow, lighter hue than expected, somewhat hazy. Two fingers of fluffy bright white head forms and leaves some nice chunks of lacing at the top of the glass...

Beautiful floral hop aroma, piny and resinous. Sweet and citric, tropical fruits, mango, pineapple with some sour green apple as well. Little to no malt presence, just a wonderfully sweet and earthy hop presence...

Earthy bitterness at first gives way to a load of sweet and fruity hops. Citrus peel and even some grape? A sweeter malty presence shows up adding some nice balance and depth...uniquely sweet IPA, very tasty and complex...

Medium bodied and somewhat chewy, sticky hop resin, oily and somewhat slick. Good carbonation gives a nice tingle with a bit of alcohol warmth...

Really enjoyed this beer, tasted it along with Pliny and Sculpin, and this one was my top of the three. Definitely would like to have this one again in the future...

 987 characters

Photo of lordofstarside
4.55/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes I texted myself, on tap earlier today at Mellow Fellow in King's Beach

Pours a hazy yellow gold- a lot more on the yellow than gold side, almost blonde looking. No visibility, a finger of foam that receded pretty quickly, not bad lacing or anything, very mild carbonation

Smell has a lot of tropical and citrus. Strong grapefruit and pine apple backed up with a very catty pine scent, finishes with a mild bready malt tying it all together with a touch of alcohol

Taste is with the nose- a ton of fruit, a nice mix of grapefruit and other mild citrus notes meeting pineapple and other tropical notes. Same pine and litterbox scent from the smell translates in the best way, finishing with a mild bready malt and alcohol. Taste follows the smell a lot better than most beers

Feel falls on the lighter side. Dry finish, high bitterness, alcohol concealed well. Dangerously sippable

Overall a hands down incredible IPA. Well worth the hype, definitely a top tier beer. I can't get enough of it. Perfect after a day at the lake

 1,048 characters

Photo of Totalpackage411
4.93/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very devolving beer appearance wise. very light in color almost like a blonde but the taste packs a delicious bite of hopps. One of the best IPA's I've had. Super refreshing!

 175 characters

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hair6a11 hooked it up. Huge score, really appreciate this one. Bomber poured into snifter.

Appearance: Copper/burnt orange. Frothy stubborn finger n a half head. Lacing is noteworthy. Very impressive.

Nose: Dry, citric, and sweet. Reminds me of an Jimmy Russell Old Fashion. Wet hop notes.

Taste: The rye is fantastic. It gives great support to the bitter hop.
Mouth: Chalk rye dryness. Really great. Carbonation was spot on and as the beer warmed up brought some great chew.

Drink and overall: Great beer. It really is. Can't argue there. Good hop character, complex body. Awesome.

 590 characters

Photo of gregshead
3.44/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Light, light yellow color. Did a double take and almost asked the bartender if they handed me the correct beer.

S - Citrus and pine hops domintate the smell

T - Pine and Citrus/Orange hops dominate the taste. If their is malt/rye taste, it didn't show up for me.

M - Very light and carbonated mouthfeel. If I didn't have taste buds, I'd swear this beer was a wheat or hefeweizen by feel and appearance.

D - Overall, an ok IPA. I wasn't awed but I wasn't upset either. I would drink again but I would take other IPAs before it.

 534 characters

Photo of mookihouse
4.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Light golden hazy yellow with a thin head that lasts till the last sip.

Smell is incredible.  I can't recall another IPA with such alluring floral and tropical fruit smells.

Taste of pineapple, citrus, a little fresh cut grass.  Hop is there but no lasting bitter after taste.

Had this many times both on-tap and from bottles.  Bottle in this review is about 30-days old but pretty much as good as fresh.

I prefer Nelson over Pliny most days.

 449 characters

Photo of cjacobsen
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz Bomber poured into a snifter. Thanks to LieutenantSour for hooking me up with this one.

(A) Pours a clean, golden, almost light copper color. Some burnt orange hues around the edges of the glass. Not much of a head as it diminishes extremely quickly. Leaves lacing.

(S) Pine, grapefruit, hops, and honey all greet the nose immediately. Light malts, sugars, and some other citrus notes such as orange and lemon peel follow.

(T) Different. It's a great mix of a golden ale and an IPA. The hops aren't as in your face as they are in the nose. There is a lot more of the sweet, light caramel malts at first, followed by some honey, and then you get the hops more in the middle of the taste.

(M) Kind of has a bit of a grain to it, but finishes smooth and crisp. The bittering lingers for a bit. A solid medium body.

(O) Solid golden IPA. Has a good amount of flavor that is well balanced in sweetness and bitterness. Has a cooling crispness about it that is quite refreshing. It's not like a lot of IPAs that I've had in the past few months.

 1,048 characters

Photo of berkey
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Very hazy orange amber in color topped by a fairly sturdy slighty off white head.

Aroma has a nice spicy character to it but I'm not sure if it's coming from the malted rye or from the hop profile since I'm not familiar with the Nelson Sauvin hops. Also some great floral and pine notes here along with a dry pungent bitterness.

Still spicy on the palate, I'm sure now it's coming from the rye more than from the hops. Quite a bit fruitier in flavor than what I got from the aroma with citrus and a healthy dose of tropical fruit which is rounded out with a mouth drying bitter hop aftertaste.

Delicate but active carbonation and pleasant dry finish contribute to an excellent feel.

Another great hoppy ale from Alpine. The rye adds a nice element to it as does the unique choice in hops. Not a mouth blistering hop bomb but definitely complex and very enjoyable.

 910 characters

Photo of jancona
4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed on tap at 2SP Newark, DE - pours a cloudy golden orange with white foam - minimal lacing. First taste was papaya and grapefruit - very juicy and delicious. As it warmed the malt backbone increased and masked the fruit a bit. Overall a nice brew.

 253 characters

Photo of natelocc787
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2 of these scores where close to achieving a half point increase but I couldn't quite do it. While I loved this beer it was lacking that "I deserve to be considered with the greats" factor. The rye is a great addition to this and really shows itself adding another dimension to an already good example. A well crafted IPA with rye, done just right-what's not to like? Bright, vibrant orange citrus fruits with a bitter backing in the nose and more in the taste blended with rye. I like this nelson hop variety. Mouthfeel was not crisp or creamy but somewhere in between. Search out all Alpine IPA's there's a reason 3 of them (including this one) are ranked in the top 100.

 673 characters

Photo of CurtFromHershey
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy copper gold. Attractive beer, but minimal head and lacing.

Smell is unlike any other beer I've had, likely the Nelson hops. Somewhat floral, a bit spicy, and something else I can't put my finger on.

Tastes follows the nose closely but slightly muted.

Mouthfeel is slick with tight carbonation.

Overall a fantastic beer I hope to get to enjoy again in the future.

 379 characters

Photo of gameface23
4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Hazy, muddled orange color with excellent lacing.

S: Blackberries, black currants, a muted spiciness from the rye (cinnamon?), grapefruit.

T: The bready rye flavor really compliments the hops. It's spicy and has great hop flavor, but it isn't bruisingly bitter.

M: Fuller-bodied due to the rye, but still finishes clean. It's a great balance between substance and drinkability.

D: A very nice offering from Alpine.

 423 characters

Photo of Xul
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a translucent goldenrod, topped by a one finger white head. Moderate lacing remains in the head's wake.

S: A melange of tropical aromas - pineapple, papaya, some mango, and grapefruit. Floral hops contribute quite a bit, along with hints of rye and white grapes.

T: The floral hops make themselves known right away, followed by a blend of the tropical and citrusy hop characters and the spiciness of the rye. The grapefruit and rye play off each other very well, leaving an aftertaste that's a blend of the two.

M: Extremely smooth with moderate carbonation. Could be a touch more carbonated.

D: Very easy drinking and the ABV doesn't make itself known at all. I've knocked back a few pints of this on a Friday afternoon on more than one occasion.

 760 characters

Photo of emyers
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1 pint 6 fl oz bottle poured into Founders snifter. Best by date March 21, 2016

Pours cloudy pale gold color with a half-inch white head. Slight lacing.

Smell is bursting with pungent, juicy grapefruit hops. One of the best pure grapefruit hop aromas I've experienced. A touch of the rye spiciness comes through in the nose.

Taste is practically identical to the nose - huge grapefruit citrus flavors along with some pine and a nice peppery character from the rye, which balances the hops perfectly without getting in their way at all.

Mouthfeel is bone dry, medium-high carbonation with an extra lingering bite from the rye malt.

Everything you want in a classic west coast IPA grapefruit-bomb with an added dimension of rye. One of the best IPAs I've had the pleasure of drinking.

 789 characters

Photo of TheJollyHop
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

White grapes, freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, honeydew melon, apples, and perfume scents bellow from a clear, golden amber body. A fruity and vibrant aroma if I do say so myself with faint peppery bread notes.

Starts grape-like and heads to lemon and grapefruit citrus with melon, finally fading to grass. Hop flavors truly shine. Bitterness builds early but remains in balance. Finishes a medium in length melon sweet giving way to dryness with a distinctive bitter finish that is more pepper and earth than wood; alcohol heat is noticeable.

Mouthfeel is just great with high carbonation, pleasant creaminess from the medium body, and some faint tongue drying. Very sippable and the flavors just all work well together giving a refreshingly crisp, fruity quality with a pinch of mineral flavor and salt.

 809 characters

Photo of ryanhooks81
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

delicious, but im not sure if im drinking the nelson of alpine lore, or the green flash version. either way, its pretty good. hazy orange in color. huge citrus nose. great flavor, nice backbone. mouthfeel really stands out for me. medium bodied with great carb. very nice.

 272 characters

Photo of aval89
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Beverages4Less in Santee, CA.

A: pours a beautiful golden color with a clear body.. 2 fingers of white head with lots of tiny bubbles.. lots of carbonation streaming up from the bottom..

S: lemony-pine freshness!! Pretty danky smell! Also getting a doughy bread smell with a mild funk.. touch of peach is also in there..

T: doughy breadiness upfront with that mild funk again.. lemony pines come through with some citrus & overall fruitiness.. spice does come through on the finish with a mild hop bitterness.. the rye does linger a bit on the palate.

Mf: its actually quite creamy & soft. Pairs excellent with the medium body..

O: I love this brew. Drinks very good & is a great change of pace for west coast IPAs.

 735 characters

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

Growler poured into my delirium tulip glass. 2/14/2012

Appearance: Cloudy golden yellow/orange color with a fingers width of head retention. Good sticky lacing on the glass.

Smell: The aromas are ultra crisp, clean and delicious. As soon as I opened the growler you could smell this one.Tons of grapefruit, citrus, and slight hint of rye, but really the grapefruit aromas dominate this one.

Taste: Very juicy hop flavors, citrus (grapefruit) and pine dominate. Lots of fresh wet hop resinous flavors. Lots of fruit, tangerine, little orange and definitely grapefruit. A hint of sweet hop flavor. A touch of a spicy addition coming from the rye and hops. The funky/musty wet hop is different but fantastic. Very slight sweetness coming from the malts.

Mouthfeel: Nice light-medium feel that goes just over medium as it warms. Medium-high carbonation level that slowly fades as it sits a bit.

Overall: Another fantastic IPA coming from Alpine. Definitely in my category of go to beers. The rye adds a nice spicyness and the Nelson hops add a citrus/lemony bite. Very crisp and refreshing and recommended to all.

 1,115 characters

Nelson from Alpine Beer Company
97 out of 100 based on 785 ratings.