Nelson - Alpine Beer Company

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NelsonNelson

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BA SCORE
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world-class

635 Reviews
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Reviews: 635
Hads: 3,068
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.7%
Wants: 1,414
Gots: 379 | 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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Reviews: 635 | Hads: 3,068
Photo of Gobzilla
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a peach color with a finger head that left good frothy lacing on the glass.

S: nice floral sweet piney hops are more noticable at first whiff with cirtus grapefruit, caramel, and good malt character. I also got some tangerine notes.

T: the piney hop are not as potent as the nose but still dominate the taste which also had a decent balance between the malts. The citrus grapefruit helps intensify the bitterness that had caramel accents.

M: medium body with a good amount of carbonation that had a sweet bitter and crisp finish.

D: probably one of the most drinkable IPA offerings from alpine. I always enjoy their brews especially their IPA's. I'm definitely glad I have acceess to them on a daily. (714 characters)

Photo of airohead2001
2.42/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Part of a blind tasting that included Nelson, Duet, and Pure Hoppiness. Nelson was my least favorite and Pure Hoppiness was my favorite.

A - Nelson is a nice looking IPA - hazy brown, one finger head with excellent retention, and some nice lacing.

S - Not a whole lot of smell here. Just some mellow pine. No citrus or malts. Not as painfully piney as Duet, but also a whole lot less exciting.

T - Similar to the smell. In my opinion, this one is pretty weak and bland. The hop profile is very mild. Some malts show up in the finish, but without a piney or citrus hop kick, this one is clearly lacking.

M - Similar to Duet, the mouthfeel is so-so. Pretty thin.

D - I guess this beer is drinkable because it is so thin. But really, it just lacks so much flavor that I can't see myself wanting much more.

After having such high expectations for Alpine, I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed by this beer and Duet. Luckily, Pure Hoppiness was outstanding. (972 characters)

Photo of Damian
4.17/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a 22 fl. oz bottle
Served in a pint glass
Acquired in a trade with stawn

The crystal clear, light amber body was topped by a frothy, bright white, two-finger head which faded to a lasting film. Thick streaks of lacing stuck along the sides of the glass.

Tons of hops in the aroma. Fruity and citrusy with strong notes of sweet ruby red grapefruit and tropical fruits. Some earthiness came through as well. A bit of spicy rye appeared as the beer warmed. Overall, rather intriguing.

The taste was impressive. Hoppy right off the bat. Crisp and citrusy. Tart and spicy rye notes appeared up front and intensified in the center. At this point, the hops became more earthy and herbal. The finish was piney, pithy and dry yet surprisingly balanced.

The mouthfeel was silky smooth and creamy. However, likes it's brethren Duet, this IPA could have a bit more heft.

Drinkability was notable. While super hoppy, this beer was surprisingly balanced. Furthermore, the alcohol was well buried.

I was skeptical as to how the addition of rye would work in a West Coast-style IPA but I was very satisfied with the results. The folks at Alpine really know how to make their hops sing. (1,188 characters)

Photo of kels
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to pwoods for sharing with me!

Pours the color of light caramel-honey with a muddy consistency and a 2-finger sticky white head that fades to a thick, bubbly, well-retained skim leaving sticky rings of lacing behind.

Aroma is full of dry, earthy and citrusy hops. Alcohol is lightly noted, along with dry, crisp malts.

Taste is full of juicy and bittersweet citrusy flavors. Very wet and full-feeling. Good malt foundation provides a satisfying profile that is kept light and bright by the hops. Great tongue-coating stickiness promotes a long-standing aftertaste.

Drinkability is really high. While the alcohol was notable in the nose, it barely reaches the taste. It is an IPA that could please anyone - juicy yet sticky, sweet yet earthy, bitter yet bready. (774 characters)

Photo of kirok1999
3.68/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice clear amber with a rising white head that fades pretty quickly and leaves a nice ring of lace with each sip.
Smells of some nice citrusy, grassy hops. There's a nice, sweet malt backbone to support the hops. Nothing is overpowering or overwhelming, just a nice sipping IPA.
Feels rich and creamy and leaves a lingering sweet residue. Well done for an American IPA. (370 characters)

Photo of ryno09
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden color with an egg shell white head that leaves nice lacing. The Kiwi hops give a huge grapefruit and peach aroma with a bit of biscuity malt in the background.

The hops hit you first with a pleasant peach and grapefruit bitterness. Then the malt really takes over mid tongue and dominates the rest of the way leaving a dry finish. The rye malt gets you towards the back of tongue giving a bit of cracker like taste.

It's a very drinkable beer with the hops up front and then the malts coming in and taking over. None of the 7% is tasted. The rye malt adds a different dimension to the beer that you don't get in a regular IPA. (649 characters)

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

A big thanks to beersinner for trading me this fresh growler! Poured into a solo cup on a fishing trip! I know it's not ideal, but it worked!!!

A- Dark copper in color. two fingers worth of a off white head. Obviously I cant advise on lacing in my solo cup, but everything else about this brew was spot on.

A- Piney hops up front with loads of citrus.

T- Bitter hops start the show. There is a lot of tangerine flavor. Some grapefruit but it's not as vibrant as the tangerine. The spice from the rye is distinct in flavor. There is a tad bit of sweetness that emerges towards the end, however the bitterness and the spice from the rye are in control.

M- Medium bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation. Im guessing the growler was counter pressure filled because this thing didn't seem to lose a bit of fizz while in transit. It finishes dry with a lingering bitterness and spice from the rye.

D- A really crisp refreshing beer. Like I mentioned above, I drank this while on a fishing trip in 95 degree weather. The heat index was 110. It really hit the spot! I was a little disappointed that the 2 other peeps I was splitting it with enjoyed it as much as I did LOL!!! (1,178 characters)

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

Had at Downtown Johnny Brown's in San Diego. Pours a crystal gold with a half finger head that dissipates, but leaves some lacing. Nice is very clear with just the hops present, very nice pine as the main aroma. Taste is also very clean, with pine and grassy hops up front. Mouthfeel is pretty light and crisp, perfect level of carbonation. Finishes very dry. A really nice IPA, with the memorable quality the clean taste and crisp mouthfeel. (442 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another great Alpine thanks to imperialbeachbrw.

A: A nice fluffy 1.5 finger head rises up and fades semi slowly over teh slightly heazy darker orange reddish brown and golden copper colored beer.

N: I could smell it literally from 3 feet away as I poured it, set it on the table next to me and sat back. Loaded with pine and citrus hops, tons of fresh musty wet hop resinous aromas. Lots of tropical fruit hops aromas, tangerine, some grapefruit, a slight aged hop sweet nougat aroma but still mostly fresh aroma. Almost no malt too.

T: Again bombards with hops. Very juicy hop flavors, citrus and pine dominate. Lots of fresh wet hop resinous piny flavors too. Lots more fruit too, tangerine again, little orange and grapefruit, juicy too. A slight fluffy sweet hop flavor too. A touch of a spicy hop addition too that accentuates the heavy bitterness. The musty wet hop is great. Very slight malt, and some sweetness too.

M: Medium body with decent but a little lower carbonation.

F: Still very bitter, with a slight sweet finish. Lots of juicy hops linger too, lots of musty resinous wet hops too, slightly astringent, looong bitterness, but tolerable. More citrus and pine, earthy and slightly chewy hops. Later burps bring back the tangerine and grapefruit flavors too. A slight grassy and even spicy hop comes through about a minute after the swallow. Very tasty beer., and you are right James, this was better than Pure Hoppiness. (1,444 characters)

Photo of ocelot2500
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden color tinged with orange and a tight white head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Smells of big hops characterized by pine and grapefruit.

Tastes of a good dose of malt cut by hops. Malt has mostly caramel notes and a bit of spice from the rye. Hops have grapefruit, pine, and pineapple notes. Plenty of fruit notes add to the sweetness. A solid amount of bitterness as well.

Mouthfeel is medium in body and has a creamy amount of carbonation. (464 characters)

Photo of Stigs
4.12/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

split 22oz bomber, served in pint glasses

A - light gold in color, hazy. light and fluff yet ample head...spotty lacing.

S - insanely citrus. almost like Tang. freshly squeezed oranges, grapefruit, lemon rind, pineapple. a little bitter but very sweet and floral. great sniffer.

T - huge rush of grapefruity sweetness and bitterness, quite juicy. grassy in the middle with some floral notes, light buttery caramel malt throughout. lightly soapy at the finish.

M - medium bodied, very oily and slick. carbonation is ample and lively.

D - very nice, and unique, IPA. easily the strongest citrus notes (especially in the nose) I've ever come across, great aromatics. (668 characters)

Photo of rallison
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One excellent IPA. Tons of tropical fruit juiciness on the nose followed by the same tropical fruit and grapefruit hops in the taste. Very juicy and very clean with minimal malt presence to showcase the hops.

Bitterness is crisp at the end and the carbonation is just right in enhancing the crispness.

Beautiful. I'd love to see some more IPAs made with Nelson hops. (370 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.68/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As I sit in this 90 degree apartment, I'm thankful for traders like womencantsail who send me boxes of hoppy goodness. Thank you, Andy.

In my Duvel tulip, this beer is _perfect_. Light orange with a dense white head with excellent retention, there's also a ton of lace. This is what an IPA is supposed to look like. It smells absolutely off the chain as well. Clearly Alpine, this has plenty of pine and citrus hop character, but the underlying rye spiciness is a wonderful twist. Ripe tangerines, oranges, a little grapefruit, pine needles and a little grape are all present. I've heard comparisons of the Nelson Sauvin hop to a grape and that is one that works, and beautifully with the rye character. Malt character is non-existent.

The palate opens with a beautiful, suffuse hop character with light bitterness and massive flavor. A veritable fruit basket, there's plenty of citrus and some tropical fruit (pineapple) with a light to moderate grape-character. While there is no sweetness, a light rye character is present, and works very well with the hop character. Drying on the finish, there's a lingering moderate, clean bitterness with a palate coaxing fruit character. Light in body with moderate carbonation, this is perfect for an IPA. Beautiful stuff. (1,266 characters)

Photo of jminsc76
4.74/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a white head atop a kind of golden, yellow-ish body. Some floaties in there, with slight lacing around the rim.

The aromas are fruity and pleasant, with oranges as primary but also some of that rustic rye in there as well. Wow, it smells really good. Less about hanging out in a pine forest and more about hanging out in an orange and lemon grove with pine hanging out every third or fourth tree.

The flavors are an outstanding balance of hops, fruit, and malts. It's so fresh and complex, every sip is an absolute delight. Tons of oranges, some grapefruit, and the European maltiness adding a nice balance. It just teems up and down the palate spectrum so well, it's like my palate is being tickled by flavor fairy's. Oh, even tastes of creamy vanilla make their way on the palate.

The mouthfeel is light and slightly velvety, with just the right touch of thickness.

Overall, this, next to Ballast Point's Sculpin, is what it's all about with a West-Coast IPA. The fruity complexity with the right amount of rye and malts creates a balance unlike any of the IPAs I have had recently. Alpine, you have created a masterpiece. (1,137 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a green tea tinged amber with modest head; some lace

Smell: Clear out the nostrils with these hops (pithy, grassy, pungent kaffir lime, basil); just lovin' the Nelson Sauvin

Taste: Opens crisp and clean with a quick dive in the hoppy direction; all of the complexities of the Nelson Sauvin (grapefruit, pineapple, vinous Sauvignon Blanc, basil, kaffir lime, tropical fruit) jump into the fray, along with the spicy rye elements as well; after the swallow, the beer finishes clean, fruity and bitter

Mouthfeel: Medium body with crisp carbonation

Drinkability: I have been looking forward to trying this one for a while - just a supurb beer (660 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.77/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle, says it is 7.0%abv.

I flipped over Alpine's Duet so I'm anxious to give this one a go. Purchased from South Bay Drugs & Liquors and shipped quickly to me by Joey. Thanks you, sir!

A hazy light golden colour, I get a 1 finger head of foam with some good lacing. It doesn't look spectacular though I *do* like brews with a bit of haze in them, for the most part.

The smell nearly knocked me on my arse with the huge grapefruit hoppiness.(a good thing;) I get some tropical fruitiness as well and some serious spice eminating from the use of rye. I don't think I smell any real malt character other than a really really faint sweet note. No probs.

The taste is big grapefruit and the spicy rye flavours up front and in my mouth. Ha, betchya thought I was going to say face. lol.

The bitterness is very big but there's *something* there to hold it back enough for me say it isn't over the top. I guess the rye mixed in with some fruity tones and a mild malt sweetness is doing *that* job and they deserve a damn raise. Especially the rye. The more I sip, the more flavourful it gets and the finish, though bitter, may be the highlight of the session. Me hearts this brew. I'll go ahead and say it...Nelson Sauvin hops from NZ rule!

Medium bodied, carbo is just a tad below medium, I'm thinking this has a great, smooth feel to it.

Drinkability? A pretty average abv for the style these days is a major plus. Easily, one of the best and most drinkable American IPAs on the planet. Super thumbs up! (1,513 characters)

Photo of Metalmonk
4.46/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color is pure yellow-gold, lacking the orange hues of other IPAs. Head is bone-white and not huge but looks healthy.

If you've ever visited California and taken in the many local IPAs while there, this nose will take you right back there. Nelson is west coast IPA incarnate, and I'm just talking about the aroma: fresh pine needles and citrus rind pair up to wallop the nostrils something fierce. With the freshness of a dryer sheet and the hops sizzling off this thing in waves, there's nothing not to like about the aroma here.

There's a spiciness to the flavor that points to the rye used; it's an earthy and very bright graininess, electrified by the Nelson Sauvin hops that give it even more vividness. This thing just explodes with flavor, neither too astringent nor too salty as some jacked-up IPAs can be. Bitter, vinous, earthy, bright, spicy and fruity, all in equal measure.

Texturally Nelson is on the lighter side of the style, buoyant and airy, yet having that kind of roundness that's also just shy of creamy. The dryness helps bring the bitterness in sharper focus.

A pretty intense flavor...maybe not as comforting as a chewier, more candy-like double IPA, and even somehow lacking that "daily IPA" utility of other, less demanding IPAs, the drinkability is maybe only a mere "4," but that's not to say this isn't excellent...because it is. (1,366 characters)

Photo of Schmaltzy
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Sid and Best Damn Beer Shop.

A- Color is a nice light gold/yellow color around one finger of light head that receeds to some decent lacing on the glass.

S- Nice floral hoppy smells with tons of grapefruit and mango hops, smells very crisp and inviting.

T- Floral hops with tons of tropical flavors slight lemon/grapefruit flavors, finish is nice with a slight dry spiciness from the rye.

M- Nice light to medium body with good carbonation, really good mouthfeel and taste for a 7% IPA nice dry spicy finish.

D- Very easy to drink this beer, session beer as Sid stated. Tons of flavors and smells with the New Zealand hops and the rye lends a nice mild spiciness to the finish. Recommneded. (701 characters)

Photo of msubulldog25
4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bottle, poured to a pint glass. I've had a couple other beers in the past year brewed mostly/entirely with this distinctive hop varietal (Nelson Sauvin); the results were usually quite good. Thanks very much to Ryan (rmjavanut) for bringing a bottle to Portland.

"Drink Alpine Ale or Go to Bed!"
"Ha Ha!" Nelson Muntz (The Simpsons)

A: Good looking beer here - a solid golden with the mildest of hanging fogs and a bounty of racing bubble streams. Head starts strong, reaching maybe a finger of thick cream; sadly, it's short-lived, dropping to a pock-marked film within a couple minutes.

S: There's no denying that these hops pack a bountiful, sweet aroma - lemon verbena, honeysuckle and fruit blossoms, orange and grapefruit rinds. Just keeps wafting from the glass. Strength and 'sniff-ability' are both very high.

T: Sweet fruits, all citrus: lemon sorbet, pink grapefruit. Grassy greens, big and herbal. Latent caramel with a thick dusting of spices and a peppery/dry finish (the rye, I presume). Complexity is wondrous, flavors are divine.

M: Extremely creamy, thicker-feeling without seeming syrupy whatsoever. Smoother than smooth, should be illegal. The vaguest warmth (at just above 7% one might expect more)

D: Alpine BC once again works its magic with a superb IPA that captures my taste buds in a way few brewers have (and this coming from someone not overly thrilled with IPAs/hoppier beer styles). Good lord this is GOOD. Nelson ay have climbed ahead of Ballast Point's Sculpin as my new favorite... (1,529 characters)

Photo of oregonskibum
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Color is a bright, light golden yellow. Pours with compact, bright white one-inch head. Substantial lacing as the head slowly disippates.

S: Hops smells are apparent even when pouring into the glass. Floral and tropical (mango) hops really dominate the smell. Smells clean and refreshing.

T: Like the smell, the hops really show up nicely. Tropical fruits (mango, pineapple, maybe apricot) with some floral and citrus notes. Mid taste, the rye flavors starts to show itself, although it's fairly mild. Just some slight spiciness and grain biscuity flavors. Finish is just a little bitter, but not in a bad way. The fruity hops help pull this beer through to the finish.

M: Medium body with good carbonation. Finish is dry.

D: Excellent. This is a very nice, easy drinking beer. The hops are big, but not aggressive or in your face. The rye is perfectly balanced and gives the beer a little body and spiciness without making it too big. Will definitely track this one down again. (1,032 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Downtown Johnny Brown's in San Diego.

Pours a clear copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of a mild combination of pale and caramel malts with loads of hops. The hops are slightly leafy with good amounts of citrus and hints of scuppernongs.

Tastes good. Malt flavors that lean more toward pale than caramel kick things off and are overtaken shortly by citrus and leafy hops. Midway through the sip the hop flavors mellow out a bit and turn more toward pine and American grape flavors. Very light hints of spicy rye flavors make a brief appearance before yielding to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass without a problem and could easily have another.

Overall I enjoyed this beer and the way it showcases the unique Nelson Sauvin hop however it's in the middle of the pack of superb Alpine IPA/DIPA's. Still, very well worth a shot, even more so if you specifically like the hop. (1,083 characters)

Photo of DovaliHops
4.72/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Snow white head with a caramel-orangish color. The nose on this beer is GREAT! Smells like an amazing west coast ipa, with maybe a hint more maltiness than usual. Sweet malts and florally citrus hops.Taste time! Wow, this is one smooth ipa. The hops are very well balanced making this beer not overwhelmingly bitter. Somewhat of a melon-honey like taste to it. Amazing taste! I would definitely drink this beer again. Unfortunately for me it's not available to buy here. Sad face. (480 characters)

Photo of ChadQuest
4.02/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bone white head over a slightly hazy sunburst color body.
This beer smells great, very tropical and fruity, with the typical citrus present but not talking a front seat. Tropical is a major aspect of IPAs i search out, and these Nelson Sauvin hops have delievered. Taste is not as bitter as i was expecting which is a welcome change from a cali brewery and i am digging this, in fact dare i say with the rye aspect of this being involved there is a certain balance? However i would appreciate more dryness on the finish and more specifically and importantly more carbination, i think it is lacking a bit there, and would allow the great hop profile to pop out a bit more. Solid IPA i really am enjoying. (703 characters)

Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.87/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a growler of this at Alpine Brewery in Alpine, CA. and poured it into a pint glass.

A: Classic West Coast IPA appearance - clean and golden with a solid head that lasts, leaving lacing in my glass from start to finish.

S: Big Nelson hop smell that is strong and unique - sweet and floral, very herbal and earthy with hints of carmel and vanilla.

T: Big time hop up front - pink grapefruit, resinous pine, fresh cut grass, herbal, earthy with a sweet malt finish that balances the overall flavor perfectly.

M: Good bitter bight up front, milky viscosity with a mellow carbonation that lends to the overall creaminess perfetly. Extremely smooth and damn near perfect.

D: Too easy - we split 3 growlers between four of us and finished them all, wishing we had just one more to cap our night.

I'm born and raised in San Diego and grew up drinking IPA's - this is hands down my favorite IPA from the area. There'a a few others that give it a run for its money, but Nelson is consistently victorious (even in the bottle). (1,033 characters)

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

I appreciate the understated bitterness of this IPA and it was reminicent of the Mikkeller, anlthough yes I did not do a vertical at this time. Pleasant appearance and aroma, like a white wine and fruity. I believe I enjoyed this attribute more so in the Mikkeller. I liked the rye edge. Very drinkable.Bomber courtesy of AugustGarage.
Had it a second time and just as amazing. (377 characters)

Nelson from Alpine Beer Company
97 out of 100 based on 635 ratings.