Nelson Sauvin Single Hop IPA | Mikkeller ApS

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Nelson Sauvin Single Hop IPANelson Sauvin Single Hop IPA

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed at De Proef Brouwerij, Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium.

Ingredients: Water, malts (pilsner, cara-crystal and munich), hops (nelson sauvin) and yeast.

Added by ClockworkOrange on 03-14-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 179 | Ratings: 251
Photo of kojevergas
2.72/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

11.2 fl oz brown glass bottle with no-frills purple label and standard white pressure cap acquired in a trade with Duff27 (thanks, buddy!) and served into a Uinta pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; Mikkel is my favourite brewer but this series is mostly an experimental educational type of thing, not an attempt to brew great beer. The cap reads "5561010." Not sure what that means. Imported by the Shelton Bastards. 6.9% ABV confirmed.

Served cold, straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours an impressive head; the glass is 80% foam. The head is beige in colour with nice thickness, decent cream, and very good retention (~9 minutes). Body colour is a hazy translucent nontransparent caramel-copper. No yeast particles are visible. Fairly vibrant. No bubble show. Light thin even lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Sm: Heavy caramel. Biscuit malts. Floral hop notes; lightly soapy. Caramel is dominant. It's more malty than hoppy. Some bubblegum. Candylike. Not nectary or citrusy; I expected more from Nelson Sauvin. A moderate strength aroma. No yeast or alcohol is detectable. Not great for an IPA, but passable and different. The hop character could definitely be better.

T: Heavy caramel malts. Floral hops. Noticeable hop bitterness - the cardinal sin of an IPA. Light hints of bubblegum. Vague tropical hop notes. It's not all that well balanced, but it's decent for what it is. If this is showcasing the nelson sauvin hop, I guess I'm none too impressed. Built badly for an IPA, but as an educational experiment it accomplishes its aims.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Decent thickness. Undercarbonated. Suits the flavour profile decently. It's passable.

Dr: Drinkable but underwhelming. I appreciate what Mikkel's doing, but this isn't great. I wouldn't get it again. Apparently Nelson Sauvin isn't my favourite hop. Hides its ABV well. Forgettable and pricey (thanks to the Shelton Bastards).

High C-

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Photo of hophead247
2.74/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a rather cloudy orange with two finger's of head which dissipated down to a nice thin lacing. Aroma has some strong citrus, but also that apple scent a beer gets when It's past it's prime. Taste has a strong upfront taste of citrus, grapefruit, and apple. After tasting it for a bit the sweet malts come through along with a vinegar flavor in the aftertaste. Bottle cap said 10/03/11, so I take it that's the best by date...meaning this beer is well past it's prime...

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Photo of KCHopHead
2.91/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Some good things, some bad things about this beer. This beer seemed very skunky. Do they sell Belgian beers made in America to people in Belgium? At first I thought, should I really review a skunky beer? Maybe I should give it another shot, but it is hard to get and I've got to assume that by now anywhere I get it could have the chance of being skunky.

Appearance was great with a huge bubbly head, great color, active carbonation. Smell was very spicy with grapefruit. Taste had a skunk that worked it's way up the back of the nose. Had some grapefruit taste with a decent balance. It was well overcarbonated for the style.

Sorry to disagree with the majority but I thought it was a poor attempt at an American IPA.

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Photo of thecarster1
2.93/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a- bottle poured into a tulip, three plus fingers that are very slow to fade, hazy chesnut coloring.

s- winy, lots of white wine, sweet malts, estery. i knew the nelson sauvin hop was supposed to be vinous, but damn.

t- very interesting, so much like wine, the hops are nicely bittered. very much like a glass of beered up white wine.

m- medium body, prickly.

d- not what i was expecting at all, hops are amazing in what they can make a beer taste like. when i want an ipa though, i don't reach for this, i want piny, citric hops.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
2.99/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Very nice pour. It's a nice red/brown with a huge head, great lacing. The smell is a little off, more malts than hops. Actually smells a little old (in the bad way).
The place I bought it is well known for their correct storage of beer, so I will have to say that this isn't that great taste wise. I taste sweet malts but the hop bitterness is way lost in the background. It isn't past it's freshness date either.
Mouth is good, like most of Mikkeller's single hop series.
I loved their Simco and Warrior single hop IPA but this one is a miss for me. Just doesn't make the cut. I do want to thank Mikkeller for rocking out this series of single hop brews. It's a great way to learn more about hops.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
3.21/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a perfect pint

A- pours a very cloudy orangeish amber with an INSANE four finger white head that is super puffy and actually pops above the glass...and stays there. Wow, insane. Lacing is OK, a little spotty at places. But man, the size of that head...

S- smells just like the simcoe one...a lot of grassy citrus. It's not a bad smell, but it's really weak

T- very grassy, with a slightly citric finish. The taste is pretty weak, I'd assume from the age of the bottle. It says it was bottled in March, but has been refrigerated since May

M- like all of the Mikkeller single hops I've tried, it's real thick. Almost to the point of being syrupy

O- not a huge fan. I've now tried all ten of the original single hop series, and this one falls somewhere in the did nothing to stand out from the pack

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Photo of Trilogy31
3.25/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: nice burnished copper. Pours a full three fingers of head in my duvel tulip.

S: very sauvignon blanc like. Citrus, mineral, hints of gooseberry and elderflower.

T: Would have preferred a little less caramel so the hops could shine through. A bit muted in taste due to the sweetness but picked up some lychee and citrus notes.

M: pleasant with a nice finish - the hops leave a lingering bitterness. Though i perceived a decent amount of sweetness, i did not find it to be cloying.

D: nice to try but not a favorite and not at its price.

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Photo of david18
3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had many of these beers, both in bottles and on draft, and in general i'm very impressed with them. I was at Rattle n Hum this weekend and had a twelve ounce draft of this. It was not my favorite among the single hop selections but quite good none the less. Very good color, ok aroma. A little light on the flavor buy a very good beer none the less.

I liked it and will have again.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a hazy caramel amber color with a huge, very dense, light tan oily head that took its sweet time slowly receding into a thick film with a raised column of dense head in the middle of the beer. Epic lacing was left as well. This is one good looking beer.
S: Smell falls pretty flat. Not picking up much of anything. I'm no expert on nelson hops, but they smell pretty mild. Hints of citrus hop and a subtle sweetness.
T: Notes of mild citrus flavors including lemon, with white wine like qualities. Mild flavors overall. Maybe a hint of toffee from the malt. Aftertaste is tingly and lightly bitter. Good flavors overall.
M: Medium body, light and refreshing mouthfeel with even carbonation.
D: My knowledge of nelson hops begins and ends with Alpine's Nelson, but this beer tastes nothing like that west coast hop bomb. I like this beer though. It's light and very drinkable, and the hops and wine-like flavors work very well. I definitely respect Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and his brewing abilities.

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.41/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 10/14/11
*12oz bottle to pint glass

A: Pours a darkened hazy amber color with a two finger khaki foam whip and some intermittent lacing. Light carbonation evident.

S: Smells of sweet bready malts with a little spice and fruit. Not really anything indicative to the use of Nelson hops that I would expect. No signature wine grape aromas or simply they are too muted by the malt forwardness here.

T: Pretty pungent and slightly catty with hops. A big caramelized malt base. Bready cracker influence. Some nice tropical fruit notes like passion fruit and I can pick out hints of grapevine through all the sugars. Finish is slightly sweet.

M: Nice light creamy texture overall with decent carbonation. Lower to mid body range. Sticky sleek mouthcoat.

D: Overall a decent brew but not really a showcase of Nelson Hops. Didn’t pick up much at all in the aromas and taste seems a bit muddled with way too much caramels going on to really display those signature hop flavors.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.42/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My first Mikkeller - will it live up to the hype?

Pours a gold / copper colour with a pillowy two finger head. Looks wonderful. So good so far...

Sensational powerful aromas of pineapple and citrus - a sign of greatness to come?


Standard hop-driven one-dimensional taste. No pineapple, nothing from the nose in the taste. Some other citrus, some hops, quite dry..

Full bodied in the mouth and carbonation is right.

Begs the question, tho - at $11 a bottle in Aus, is it worth 2-3 other beers???

In a word - !

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Photo of nhindian
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a Mikkeller wine glass.

A - Pours a rustic brown, very cloudy and opaque. A huge, 3-fingered head explodes quickly, filling every inch of the glass where the liquid doesn't cover. The retention lasts for a long time, and the head itself is rocky and thick. The lacing is pretty nice as well, with foam clinging all around the glass.

S - The aroma is full of tropical fruits in the form of pineapple and mango, which a healthy dose of grape too. There is much more malt than I was anticipating, as the caramel comes in to complement the fruits. In addition, I am getting some hop herbs and spice as well.

T - I am a little disappointed with the flavor from the initial taste. I am not really getting the wonderful fruits that were so present in the nose, but rather I am left with a lot of malt sweetness coupled with hop bitterness. As it sits on the mouth, the flavors do develop a bit, but it's too little too late as they are only fleeting traces of what they could be. Grassy, with remnants of tropical fruits.

M - Mouthfeel is light-bodied with moderate carbonation. This doesn't leave much of an impression on the palate as it is somewhat thin and unassuming. A dry, resinous finish leaves a clean feeling, however, which makes drinking this easy.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate. I think this is a great concept to really pick apart the nuances of different hops, but when the malt presence is as high as it is without a stronger hop flavor, it just seems like an opportunity gone by the way-side. It'd be interesting to try these all side-by-side, but I have only seen a select few of these.

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Photo of danieelol
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance is a nice orange with great head and lacing.

Smell is grape and citrus, big English IPA-style malt character though. Remind me a bit of old-ish Lucky 13.alt. Baked bread, doughiness.

Taste is more grape and leaves, Ribena-esque. More English malt-funk.

Mouthfeel is nicely carbed but not too bitter.

Overall hard to judge this beer. It's enjoyable but not too IPA-like. I suspect it's quite old but the BB is 28/09/13 so it's hard to be sympathetic. Still enjoyable and interesting.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Cadmium orange color with a foamy buff colored head that occupied the general majority of the glass upon the pour similar to their tomahawk style. Head retention was very good leaving a shellacking on the glass for a lacing that stuck well.

S: Strange hop aroma meets you upfront, a mixture of wet onion grass, oranges and a touch of minced garlic. Leafy green tomato leafs with hints of musky sage rounds things out in an otherwise strange experience that is hard to put your finger, or nose on. Props for a different approach and hop usage.

T: Thin at the start, toasted watery grains with a bitterness of lemon juice and warm piney flavors. Stalky stems with some sweet maple syrup and French toast breadiness arrives in the middle. On the swallow finds some lemon juice with some herbaceous notes and a moderate bitterness on the fade.

M: Light bodied, feels a bit watery at times, no wheres near the malt support of their tomahawk. Some toasted memories and warmth with a fading flowery bitterness on the trail.

D: Woundn't invest in a six pack here. A quite strange aromatic appeal worthy of sniffing for ones self, but the flavor is slightly better then average and seems best suited left at a single serving.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bright introduction to the fairly unknown Nelson Sauvin hops. Fruity and tawny, the beer takes a distinct wine-like or boozy turn.

Like all other Mikkeller Single Hop Series beer, the beer takes on a deep copper color with greater than normal haze. Great formation and retainage of off white foam and good lacing. A good but hazy look even for an IPA.

Fruity/citrus aromas emmit from the hops, but with a quick and sturdy rebuttal from the biscuity and caramelized malts. The beer takes a distinct wine-like tawny aroma, similar to gin or other fruit-forward alcohols.

Flavors of the malt hit first but with the white grape, juniper, under-rippended berry notion following closely behind. Bitterness seems sharp and seems to amplify the bitterness of the alcohol is quite a boozy fashion. Interestingly, the beer seems to have a more estery fruitiness because of the hops used. Finishes with a cool/minty tawny-tanic flavor.

Creamy and medium fullness early but the alcohols and hop bitterness seems to thin the beer without the classic dry-maltiness and smooth hop bitterness that I've seen in previous Single Hop Mikkellers.

This may be my least favorite beer in the series. Not saying that this hop doesn't work but I think it would pair well with Amarillo or Saaz hops for more roundness in flavor/aroma and for smoother bitterness.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a golden orange color with a generous amount of head. The lacing is pretty sticky so it holds pretty well to the glass. The smell of the beer is hoppy, it's also got a good aroma of malts in there too. The taste of the beer reminded me of a Belgian IPA, it's was earthy but still had a very lively taste. Interesting flavor for sure. The mouthfeel was pretty good. Overall I thought that this one was interesting. All of these are worth trying.

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Photo of popery
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As with the Cascade version, I find this to be an interesting exercise in brewing, but it isn't a particularly great IPA in its own right. I appreciate the opportunity to taste the Nelson Sauvin hop in its own right. This beer looks just fine. It's a darkened amber with an off-white head. It appears essentially the same as the Cascade version. I imagine Mikkeller uses very similar grain bills for the Single Hop IPA series. The malt imparts a simple caramel sweetness. The hops smell and taste like a combination of grapefruit and sweet, pungent floral tones. It's not a variety that I've ever tried alone before, so it's an enjoyable learning experience. That said, it also doesn't work terribly well entirely on its own. Something is missing without a more varied hop flavor.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 1/1/2010. Bottle. Pours a cloudy dirty orange with a super thick off-white head. Aroma of light sweet fruits and caramel malt. Flavor of sweet caramel malt (with some odd salty vegetal notes too) and a touch of light citrusy hops in the finish. Overall a decent IPA but not one of my favorites of the single hop series.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.57/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle, best by 02/23/2011, served into a tulip glass

Pours a murky, hazy, copper sort of brown. Eggshell white foam crests up to two and a half fingers. Soapy lacing spindles down the sides of glass. The head makes the appearance work.

The Nelson Sauvin hops lend a vinous, dry sort of fruit character. Red grapes with a spritz of California grapefruit. There is some sourness coming from somewhere, like some sour grain mixed with perfume.

The lupulin character presents itself on the tongue as grapefruit and distant pineapple. It isn't as drying as the nose suggests it will be. The malt is biscuity and increasingly doughy as the beer warms. This beer, while solid, is not as vibrant as I would like.

The mouthfeel is hard to gauge at first. It seems like it is on the lighter end of medium bodied but the carbonation is pretty overactive for the first ten minutes after pouring. Once the prickly sensation dies down the carbonation level is pretty darn low. Weird. The drinkability is OK. This doesn't taste good enough to drink a lot of and it doesn't hold up to sipping for a longer than a half hour but aside from that it is solid.

This is the second beer that I've had (along with Alpine's Nelson) that has featured the Nelson Sauvin hop and I have been blown away by neither one. It is a hop that seems to bring good flavors to the table but not at the levels of intensity or clarity to really let the beer shine. This is a pretty solid IPA; one that, like the other Mikkeller Single Hop IPAs, is valuable more for its educational properties than anything else.

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Photo of PhxHorn
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This one pours a medium yellow with a one inch white head. Smells lightly of citrus. Tastes mildly of citrus, but no flavor in particular stands out. Unremarkable is the word that keeps coming to mind. No oxidation flavor, but other than that it tastes like an IPA that's been sitting around for awhile. Carbonation is a bit light. Nothing special about this one.

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Photo of ZAP
3.59/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Big snowcone like frothy off white head...excessive for my liking.

S-I get a lot of pine along with a strong tobacco/weed element. Very pungent

T-Hops exude a similar impression on the taste....a lot of cannibus and tobacco along with the piney notes...malt seems sweeter with a slight caramel flavor.

M-Pretty hop forward....body is a solid medium..I don't like the charged up texture.

D-This is interesting to try but it doesn't really do a whole lot for me. I'd reach for a lot of IPA's before this one but it is unique.
Thanks to BigHuge for acquiring this hard to find IPA for me.

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Photo of brdc
3.61/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Interesting idea, with the same base beer and a single, different hop which allows you to "study" the differences between each hop variety. I just wish they had added some information about the "base beer".

We are trying four on the same night, now moving to Nelson Sauvin and Nuggett.
I cannot say I understand why chosing Nelson Sauvin, which I had to make some research to find out it is a particular variety from New Zealand I had never heard of before.
Both pour a nice, dark golden, Nelson Sauvin hazier.
Very nice, fluffy and long lasting off white head, with very good and long lasting chunky lacing. Very nice presentation.
Toasted, caramel malts form the base for an aroma that is grossly and overpoweringly dominated by grapefruits, along with an unusual bale field smell. It is at times unidimensional.
The aroma on the Nuggett is much more delicate, complex and actually more pleasant, but I do not like grapefruits.
The flavor follows suit; light caramel cookie base, still with a predominantly hoppy taste,
heavily bitter and grapefruity here.
Both are medium bodied.

A very interesting experiment, in a very good beer. I would say I prefer Nuggett very close to Warrior, then Cascade and Sauvin. As far as hops goes in my particular palate, Cascade and Sauvin go a bit too bitter and citrusy, with way too mucvh grapefruit on the Sauvin. Still a fun experiment that I recommend to all beer lovers.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.64/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A - Slightly unfiltered, deep orange. Huge foamy dirty white head that leaves lots of lacing all the way down the glass.

S - A little light on the hop aroma but the malt and starchy sugar does come through quite well. Hops are spicy/herbal.

T - At first there is a very nice balance between the hops and the malty backbone. Hops taste of sap and citric acid and quite bittering. Never had a nelson sauvin hopped beer before but they seem to be very versatile.

M/D - Body is a little watery for my liking but the carbonation is spot on. Moderately sticky on the plate after each swig and the pine flavor lasts in the aftetaste. Drinkability is good with this one since the hops have a nice flavor to them.

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Photo of loren01
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a bubbly copper color, nice head with good lace down the glass
S: Tangerine, orange scents very evident
T: Caramelly flavors up front with a spicy/citrus hop burst
M: Medium bodied beer, crisp mouthfeel
D: Tasty brew, not my favorite in the series but very good.

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Photo of jsh420
3.66/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

cap dated 23/12/11

pours hazy copper orange with a big chunky 2+ finger head that left lacing all over the glass

smells of very fruity hops - dont pick up any malt but this is an ipa brewed to showcase the hop used

taste is nice - reminds me of many fresh hopped harvest brews (SN and founders) the hops shine very juicy but there is just enough malt to cut the bitterness

mouthfeel - medium body with way too much carbonation

drinkability is so so - while i enjoy the single hop series the price kills any repeat buys

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Nelson Sauvin Single Hop IPA from Mikkeller ApS
4.01 out of 5 based on 251 ratings.
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