Nelson - Alpine Beer Company

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NelsonNelson

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

636 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 636
Hads: 3,076
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.7%
Wants: 1,412
Gots: 380 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.10% 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
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 636 | Hads: 3,076
Photo of justintcoons
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

10 oz pour on-tap into a stemmed tulip.

Appearance
Golden with 2 fingers of white head. Good clarity with light carbonation.

Nose
Rye, pine, white grape, pineapple, and caramel.

Taste
An assertive rye spice immediately comes through. Papaya, pineapple, white grape, and grapefruit zest. Exceedingly smooth malt backbone of caramel covered bread. Finishes piney with touches of onion.

Mouthfeel
Medium bodied, smooth, and juicy as Hell with a medium-low bitterness.

Overall
Exceptionally smooth, juicy, and spicy. The Nelson hops work great with the rye spice. Excellent IPA! (579 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
3.79/5  rDev -13.3%
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 Moose90
4.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served On-Tap

A — Pours a really pale and clear yellow with a thin white head on it, very light and not very appealing. Minimal lacing.

S — Smells of fresh pine and citrus, very earthy and herbaceous, like a pine cone or pine needles. Rye spice.

T — Tastes like the forest in the best possible way, big fresh pine notes, like chewing on a pine needle, very crisp and clean.

M — LIght to medium bodied, adequate carbonation, very refreshing.

O — Very nice IPA from Alpine again, very unique piney hop note on this one. (533 characters)

Photo of nhindian
3.23/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Contrary to everything I've read about this beer previously, my glass does not contain a hazy, orange-juice-esque beer. In fact, it is pretty clear and light, with slow trickles of carbonation filling the glass. This isn't to say that it isn't nice looking, but sort of unexpected since the appearance is usually one of the defining characteristics of Nelson. A bone white head sits atop the liquid and lasts throughout the glass.

Aroma - The nose is fresh with a hint of grape tartness, like green grapes or grape must. A big burst of grapefruit and papaya follow, but is balanced with a sharp bite of rye.

Taste - I'm taken aback by just how assertive the rye is on the palate, so much so that it starts to butt up against the hops. I was expecting this to be a hop bomb, but it is much more balanced, and at times, unfortunately so. Because of this, no one flavor rises to the top and the rest of the ingredients battle for supremacy, leading to a muddled, confusing drink. In parts, I enjoy each component, but together it doesn't really mesh for me.

Mouthfeel - If there's one aspect of this beer I dig, it's the mouthfeel. It is dry and crisp, with a mellow, creamy body that garners an excellent finish.

Closing Arguments - I came into this beer with really high expectations, and frankly it didn't meet them at all. I wanted the Nelson Sauvin hops to shine, but instead they were overshadowed by the rye. I'm not sure of the age of this - the tap takeover I got this growler at was pushed back from its original schedule - but I can't imagine it could be that old. Thankfully Alpine will be seen more in Pittsburgh, so I will give this a try at least once more to compare and contrast. (1,711 characters)

Photo of ZachDow7
4.31/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at HopCat East Lansing....tapped 2 days prior for an Alpine Dinner, was very solid...not as fruity as I was expecting but enjoyed it none the less.....lived up to its expectation....other than the 9 dollar per 12oz pour lol (234 characters)

Photo of SomethingClever
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into Speigelau glass

A: Soft light orange small soap head medium haziness

S: very melony, nice grapefruit rind this beer smells bitter

T: very nice melon very juicy beer with some nice underlying bitterness

M: medium body

O: This beer is delightful great juicy melon and grapefruit rind I am a huge fan of Nelson hops and this beer is great (366 characters)

Photo of beertunes
3.22/5  rDev -26.3%
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 chrisjws
4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Burnt orange, cloudy, two fingers of white head.
S: Spicy, floral, citrus, orange peel, grapefruit, some funkiness
T: Some bitterness upfront, chased by orange, grapefruit and spice from the rye.
M: Medium body, medium carbonation. Goes down very smooth and finishes dry.
O: Probably my favorite rye IPA. I love Nelson hops, I love rye and this is perfection in both. (371 characters)

Photo of ajramirez1
4.66/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Pint Defiance in Tacoma WA. Impressed they got this stuff in the area.

Beer is damn tasty. A lighter color than I would imagine but with Rye IPA it fits. Solid taste. Not too happy but well balanced.

Stoked to have tried this locally. Attempted and failed at the brewery in San Diego. Small place that has awesome brews. (336 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Love me some Nelson! And it's cool to see it with rye, in this instance mellow, but an often rather harsh malt. So much hype, rad to finally have one at back country in boulder. Pour is a really light pale golden color with an opaque orange lowlight and a lasting inch of airy white bubbles. Smells like Nelson alright, although somewhat less pungent and fresh than anticipated, and especially mellow for a top 250 IPA. The flavor is more dynamic than the nose, but also underwhelming. As good as it is, and it is real good, I wanted more from the hops. The rye is a real nice twist and can be both tasted and felt, but this lends credence to my theory that it's near impossible to make a bad beer with this hop. It just doesn't pip pineapple like others, and with such a no bull name, I thought this would be the loudest Nelson statement of all time, and it's not. It's freakishly dry though, so hops and rye do stand out, and there isn't much of a yeast profile happening at all. Carbonation is really lively, and I don't mean to belittle this because it is amazing, and a real nice use of one of my favorite hops, but it just doesn't stand out far enough from the heard to be labeled one if the best IPAs ever, at least in my opinion. (1,237 characters)

Photo of TheIPAHunter
4.69/5  rDev +7.3%
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 KVNBGRY
4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

AP: Deep straw, fairly lively carbonation, big bubbled, continuous 1/8" white head. Sticky lace, very slight haze.

Ar: Light funk. Papaya? fruity, citrusy, pithy. The label tells of grapefruit aromas, I do not get that.

T: Dry wine? more citrus fruit. Hops are the star of the show. Malt is almost nonexistent. There's a touch of fleshy fruit also. I have no clue what gooseberries are supposed to taste like, but nelson hops are supposed to taste like them. This may be the flavor I'm getting

M: Dry, bitter, resinous. This is how I want my IPAs to feel.

O: A touch lighter in color than I expected. I finally got to try this sober, by myself, and not during a bottle share. I feel like my expectations of this were higher because every time I've had it, it has been in 2-4oz increments, after already wrecking my palate. I can't wait to get out to California and visit the brewery. (888 characters)

Photo of Rutager
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another one of my biggest and oldest wants from the man, Joseph. Cheers buddy!!! So stoked to finally try this.

Pours a hazy gold, half a finger of white head. Green onion and garlic, spicy rye, lemons and other citrus.

Spicy, sweet and citrusy. Interesting combo and and a nice light sweet(ish) malt base. Nice medium bitterness in the finish. (346 characters)

Photo of hopsputin
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A: hazy yellow. Poured on tap. Not much head

S: oniony garlic, pineapple, dank mango

T: sharp pineapple, mango, oniony garlic hops. Super juicy. Some strawberries. Very nice bitterness. Juicy again

M: medium. Perfect carbonation

O: worthy of the praise. Extremely well balanced ipa. (287 characters)

Photo of Ready4aHeady
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Ahhh the hazy color I love (just say no to clear beers!).... crisp hoppy goodness, a little pine and citrus, just enough malt to balance, mild bitter finish... love it... toss up between double citra and this for my left coast favorite! (236 characters)

Photo of gcamparone
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter. Acquired as an extra in a trade with Rishi, thank you sir!

Pours a dark amber, cloudy opaque body with a nice two finger off white fluffy head that sticks around for a while, leaving sticky lacing and chunky retention.

Aromas are interesting for a IPA.. I get some diacety and butterscotch, pine and sweet tropical fruit, mango and pineapple.

Very delicious and balanced, piney/tropical hops sitting on a pale malt backbone.. very little astringency/bitterness on the finish, super smooth with medium carbonation and body.

Overall I enjoyed Nelson's drinkibility and smooth balanced character. The hops don't blow you away with flavor such as other juicy hop-bombs, but work well with the malt backbone and aren't cloying at all. Would drink again. (798 characters)

Photo of crob3888
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: pours a beautiful yellow orange. White fluffy head and tons of lacing.
Smell: the aroma is bursting with grapefruit and tropical fruits. A sweet bready malt is present on the nose.
Taste: follows the nose. Bursting with layers upon layers of tropical fruits, grapefruit, lemongrass, lemon pith, grapefruit rind, and the rye malt balances it all out. Sweet bready character. A spiciness is present too, leaving a lingering bitter character that is more crisp and dry. Maybe the juiciest and most flavorful ipa I've had. Comparable to fresh Pliny (which is a DIPA but the depth of flavor is second to none).
Feel: juicy, creamy, delicious mouthfeel. Slightly dry.
Overall: I was skeptical of the hype. I was convinced it was just hype. But the beer is actually stellar. (780 characters)

Photo of jooler
4.83/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

the look is a hazy yellow unfiltered look. initial smell is very fruity and citrusy. Initial taste is very sweet and a hint of spicy. the taste is kind f like second fiddle but with a more sweeter mouthfeel. (207 characters)

Photo of Dynobolt
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had it for the first time on draft at my buddies place (Strangers in El Centro) did indeed taste different from the Nelson 's of Alpine. Still an easy citrusy drink to have very good. Hopefully green flash can close the gap and make it a world class beer. (258 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a cloudy orange body with one finger head and lace patches on top of an aroma that is both citric and grapefruit hop infused along with some spices and possible touch of citric acidity and sourness (I assume the Nelson). Medium bodied, rather a more grape/tropical fruit like sweetness but balanced with both dry hoppiness and dry, bold malts (I assume this is the rye). A really enjoyable IPA that doesn't fit the norm and has a little bit of everything. (465 characters)

Photo of TheBrewo
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

We pop a bomber, pouring into our Great Lakes pints. It glows a buffy, wheaty shade of yellow, and holds a reasonable one and a half finger tall head of tight, soapy white foam. This retains well, descending softly into peaked sheets of lacing around our glasses. A definite haze reduces clarity, but no sediment is noted. Carbonation appears to be sharp and active. The aroma is delicious, even when ice cold. Warmth really allows it to blossom, giving bright Nelson Sauvin earthy, citric, and nectary fruity zestiness, white wine grapey vine and sugars, daisy blossoms, earthen mineral and metallic grit of toasty rye grain, dry cornflakes, vanilla bean coolness, sweaty pale malts, sunscreen and aloe chemical bite, peach and kiwi fruitiness, sweet bubblegum esters, ethanol airs, soft but sweet plastics, leafy basil resins, lavender wax, and dehydrated strawberry and raspberry leather. As with the aroma, you really get a nice tour of the showcased ingredients: rye and Nelson Sauvin hops. Notes include bitter grapefruity oiliness and nectary fruity sweetness of said hops, lemon zest and rind, mustard seeds, jasmine extract, creamy and buttery pale maltiness, toasty rye grain grit, concrete dust and clayed minerals, raw salted popcorn kernels, white pepper spice, hollow pine wash, musty daffodil florals, and mildly fusel booze. The body is medium to a bit full and chalky for the style, but so, so soft and gluggable. Carbonation is the same, contributing nicely to a foaminess and frothy creaminess that coats the mouth. Slurp and smack are what you would expect follow such a description; they are excellent. The mouth is eventually left pulled a bit tightly of puck, but only at the extreme back of the tongue and palate. The abv is appropriate, and drinkability is phenomenal.

Overall, what makes this beer special is how well everything comes together. That’s the thing with a lot of these high-profile brews; it isn’t necessarily one thing that stands out about it, but rather it is just how incredibly well the thing stands as a whole and from a distance. The balance is amazing, with the fruitiness of the Nelsons bonding with the extended, lingering bitterness of the rye grain inclusions. Again, nothing really stands out here, except for everything all at once…if that makes sense. If we had to point out something surprising or particularly exciting about Nelson, it would have to be his feel. It is soft, full, creamy, froth, and slurpy, pulling the mouth in every conceivable direction you would want it to. What a happy experience this has been, making us desperately hope that the rumors about Alpine expanding to our local market are indeed true. (2,702 characters)

Photo of Moses_Malone
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft. Corroborating those who have complained about the kegs brewed at Green Flash not being spectacular. The nose was weak, was not overwhelmed by the taste (muted citrus IPA). This was one of the weaker showings of Nelson hops I've ever had. 3.5 - above average, not special. (285 characters)

Photo of humuloner22
4.66/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Received this one on a trade. Just in time to try to drink on a cold snowy night. I don't know why but I felt this strong compulsion to put on Pet Sounds, by the Beach Boys. Hmmm...

Appearance: Light golden straw yellow. Hazy in color reminds me a lot of another beer I have had. Can't recall.

Aroma: Very fruity, Fruity Pebbles aroma. Reminds me a lot of several beers I have had recently, this one reminds me a lot of Pseudosue. I don't know if Nelson Sauvin hops are a dominant hop in Psue or not, but the fruity vinous notes are definitely there. This is not your typical resinous, dank, earthy hop forward IPA that you are used to from CA. I think that is a good distraction.

Taste: Very light and delicate but does have a bitterness to it you would not expect. Almost like a light grapefruit or perhaps some other fruit note in there. This beer really does remind me of a lighter version of Psue in the taste. I kind of like the taste notes but with the less dominant sweet thick mouthfeel. I like how this one is more crisp and clean.

Overall: Very well made beer I am glad I got to try this one. It reminds me a lot in taste and aroma of several others but the clean lighter mouthfeel is what kicks it off for me! (1,227 characters)

Photo of SierraFlight
3.52/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

On tap at Simzy’s LB poured into footed stange. Hazy golden body with a thin white head that settles to a thin ring. Lace rings. Aroma is piney, with grape skin, herbs, rye spice, citrus, and grass. Taste is initially dank and musty with moderate bitterness featuring the same flavors as the nose. Some malt and tropical fruit sweetness comes through. Rye spiciness hits on the swallow. Medium body, thin texture, moderate carbonation, and a dry bitter finish. (462 characters)

Photo of hikanteki
2.46/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours fine, with a clear dull-yellow color, smells fine, with subtle citrus and grass notes. But where’s the taste? I’ve had this a couple different times to make sure that I wasn’t getting a bad batch...and it’s been the same. It’s very bland, and despite that, is somehow difficult and rough to drink with an uneven mouthfeel. The rye in this beer is not its friend.

One of the very few times BA has led me astray. (427 characters)

Nelson from Alpine Beer Company
97 out of 100 based on 636 ratings.