Blindfold Black IPA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Blindfold Black IPABlindfold Black IPA
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American Black Ale
3.83 | pDev: 10.18%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Blindfold Black IPABlindfold Black IPA
Notes: Blindfold blankets us in darkness yet maintains a surprisingly light body and bold, hoppy character. This black IPA emerged from our Beer Camp program and builds on Sierra Nevada’s legendary love of hops with roasted malts for depth and complexity. Like its namesake, Blindfold is a bit disorienting—the color of a stout and the intense, hop-forward flavors of a classic American IPA.
Reviews: 233 | Ratings: 1,421 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

They put this in one of those mixed variety 12 packs back when black ipa was all the rage (just not from a sales standpoint or longevity of trend). Pours black, but not imperial stout viscous black, just a normal, kind of close to a porter black. Brown head 1/2". Aroma is bitter hops and black roasted malt that is more dry and acrid than lush and choclatey.

Taste is another Chinook, Cascade hopped bitterness of the grapefruit and tree variety. Malt base is dehusked black patent it would seem. Carbonation is slightly up there but understandable given style and bitterness. Its like their porter, but without as much 2 row malt it seems.

So this beer basically does what it should per style. Its hoppy, bitter, but with a dark exterior/interior, but without the weighty heft of a porter or stout. Its fine one at a time, but unlike SNPA, I couldn't see drinking more than one of these in a setting, despite it being well made and doing everything above average.

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Photo of rapayn01
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Yes, I liked it very much! This long-time IPA drinker is discovering that roasty IPAs are also quite tasty. I like hoppy porter too, which the style suggests. You taste the alcohol at first, so it isn't perfect.

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rapayn01 from Kentucky, Mar 29, 2018
Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance was black in color with a two finger white to off white foamy head that died at a decent pace leaving some nice foamy yet bubbly looking lacing. The smell was roasty with some nice chocolates and coffee pervading through in a moderately smooth yet strong sense. The taste was roasty, bitter and sweet that tries to combine but shows these aspects at separate times in the beer. There is an ever so light aftertaste and its somewhat bitter dry and smooth. The finish is quick and dry. On the palate, it sits about a medium on the body with a somewhat smooth carbonation running about it. This one seems to want to have a sessionable quality to it, but I’m not quite seeing it as I seem to want to sip it more. Overall, pretty good black IPA that I could come back to.

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Photo of Benjolovesbeer
5/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great in a tulip. Looks like a stout or a porter with it's blackness but tastes like an IPA, if only you could buy it in a sixer, at least I never seen it in a sixer.

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Photo of q33jeff
2.65/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Appearance, big white head over dark black beer. Very nice looking pour.
Aroma: woody, oak,pine.
Taste: tar, formaldehyde, grains, veggie, . Bite at the end. Thought it would soften throughout,but it has not. Feel: medium carbonation, well below par.

This is the worst of the Sierra Nevada ipa’s so far, even though i am a fan of black ipa’s in general.

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q33jeff from New Jersey, Oct 24, 2016
Photo of stevoj
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Part of a SN mixed 12-pack. light aroma gives way to much bolder taste. lots of sharp roasty bitterness. black body with nice creamy beige head, lots of sticky lacing.

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stevoj from Idaho, Jun 02, 2016
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Tasted in a Spiegelau IPA glass from a 12 fl oz bottle on March 25, 2016. Light in body with a bold, hoppy character. Roasted malts for depth and complexity. Has an intense, hop-forward flavor.

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Photo of Libeertarian
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very dark with wine hues in the light. Tannish brown chunky foamy head that retains and laces very well. Aromatically it's pine, perfume, pepper, paint, dankness, roastiness, alcohol. Palate-wise, it's molasses-like roastiness, light smoke, strong black coffee, tobacco, tartness, cereal, coniferous sap, leather, vegetal and soapy bitterness, strong peppercorn in both finish and retro-olfaction. Hops in this are amazing. Medium-bodied, somewhat viscuous and chewy, with fine gentle prickles. Quite astringent with lingering bitter, smokey, and even meaty aftereffects.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A : A coffee black body with dark chocolate accents when held up to the light. The head is beige, enormous @ 3 fingers, and leaves generous lacing in flecks and spots as it recedes.

S : Maybe I should have poured this in a snifter because i'm not nosing much at all here. Some charred and roasted malts, coffee, with some faint grassy hop behind it. The volume is weak and takes a lot of effort to get a sample.

T : Lots of hop action right out front with pine and oils, and then it takes on a dark twist with fresh road tar (that taste in your mouth you get when you're smelling it as you drive by), toffee, molasses, and finally a pinch of ground coffee. The coffee and roasted flavors remain resting on the tongue at the finish. This is definitely more hop heavy than "black".

F : The carbonation is intense and electric, and behind it is a sappy dry body that when paired with the coffee and molasses develops a tarry and sticky finish.

O : It's solid but way too in-your-face. It's totally on par for what a black IPA should be, but I personally prefer Zipline's offering.

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The-Adjunct-Hippie from South Dakota, Aug 24, 2015
Photo of VABA
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a very dark color color with a nice head and lacing
A-Aroma has malt, hops and chocolate hints
T-The taste follows the nose with a malt, hop and chocolate flavor flavor
M-A medium bodied well carbonated beer
O-A very well done Black Ale

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VABA from Virginia, Aug 15, 2015
Photo of chicksdiggit
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured center from 12oz bottle into a snifter. Dark brown with 2 and a half fingers of pale mocha colored head of fine to moderate sized bubbles. Thick retention and thick soapy lacing. Carbonation is contained to the center of the glass.

S: green vegetal hop aroma up front with some dank notes.

T: green vegetal notes up front and that's about the story. Lime citrus hop finish.

F: Zippy tongue but light and easy to drink.

O: Hoppier than bitter which I always appreciate. Still, not my favorite style of brew.

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chicksdiggit from Minnesota, Aug 07, 2015
Photo of brewskifan55
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a smifter. Thanks, Alan.

A: Opaque dark brown with a tan one finger head that lingered.

S: An interesting mix here. Piney hops over dark chocolate and biscuity malts. Some coffee and nuttiness, too.

T: The mix continues. Pine dances lightly over chocolate-y malts with a nuttiness in the background. Not bad, but not an over the top Black IPA.

M: Medium with medium, dry carbonation.

O: Decent, sippable, but not outstanding. Glad I got to try it.

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brewskifan55 from Mississippi, Aug 03, 2015
Photo of ParnellJoseph1138
3.59/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-Dark brown malt that almost opaque in the glass. A thin head and mild carbonation.
S-The deep dark rich barley and other malts are apparent, slight alcohol note and very soft hop aroma.
T-The dark malt provides a medium body; biscuit character, coffee flavors and a slight nut taste. Hop character comes up short and it tastes more like a light porter.
M-Smooth and creamy, fairly dry and mildly bitter.
O-Hop presence is so mild that it's hard to consider this an actual Black IPA, but it does not mean it is an enjoyable drinking experience. It should be reformulated so there more actual hop character in this beer.

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Photo of blackcompg
3.54/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - A slightly rough pour gave me 2 fingers of light rocky mocha colored foam with a few larger bubbles, body appears to be a burnt sienna brown but shows a very deep dark almost translucent garnet when held to the light, slight carb in the body,

Smell - roasted malt, dark chocolate, molasses, ripe ruby red grapefruit, whiff of black licorice.

Taste - Roasted malts right off the bat, also notes of barely sweetened black coffee and bakers chocolate, the hops fight to the surface and appear more as sharp herbal notes and some brown grass, longer into the finish I get a bit of citrus pith but then astringent black coffee, dried basil and a hint of licorice dominate the finish. Oh, and there's some dried cracked peach pit in there too.

Mouthfeel - Weight is nearly medium, carb is medium and smooth at first but then provides a little scrub with some edges at the sides and back of the tongue. There is some dryness, bitterness and astringency at the end that may cause you to hesitate just a bit between sips.

Overall - This is a good black ipa. I've had worse, but I've had much better. I prefer my black ipa's to be stronger/imperial, i/e Dubhe, Self Righteous and Dark Penance. I'm glad I tried this in the ipa sampler from SN, but I would not seek this one out on it's own.

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blackcompg from Illinois, Jul 13, 2015
Photo of Nugganooch
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into my SN balloon glass
Notes taken from 01/29/2015

A: Pours a dark brown coffee color with some reddish hues to it. Especially as the body thins out towards the edges. Not quite into the black but plenty dark with some impermeability to the light. Heady with some dark khaki suds layered over top. Mildly sticky as only a few dots and streaks get left behind.

S: Smells real piney at first with some soft citrus and herbal undertones. A drift of mild roast character moves forth from there evoking a bit of coffee and nutty chocolates. Not super aromatic but some good hop notes there and with a clean balance to it overall.

T: Taste confirms the nose as a flourish of piney hops develops up front along with a few citrus and herb notes laced in between. Builds up to that roasty malt coffee presence and a hint of mild chocolate mixed in there. Some light brown sugar sweetness. Not all that dark our ashy if you will which is nice. Avoids becoming to acrid which many of these hoppy black ales do. There is a mild amount of actual hop bitterness to this which attributes to the overall balance. Smooth and clean with the alcohol totally masked throughout.

M: Moderate filling body. Nice even level of carb keeps things lighter on the palate. Touch of bitters with the accompanying linger. Dry at the finish and mostly clean overall.

D: Sierra Nevada confirms my beliefs. That they could deliver on the epitomic Cascadian Dark Ale. Both hoppy and roasty without one component mucking up the other. Not really any type of game changer but damn well-crafted and done in great balance. One of the better options in the category I would say.

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Nugganooch from California, Jul 09, 2015
Photo of delta490
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep brown, verging to black without light on it. The head is a light tan, with good retention and leaving nice big sticky lacing. The aroma is a little light, more roast malt than floral hops. The taste has a little more balance but still leans to the rich roasted malt than the hops. The body is lighter, as advertised, easy drinking and smooth. This is a tasty beer, but is really closer to a lighter, hopped porter than a Black IPA.
The bottle says packaged on 3/4/15, so I wonder if that is the problem.

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delta490 from Virginia, Jun 17, 2015
Photo of Zaktcc
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Given the style of beer, the color didn't come as much of a surprise. Pours a solid black color with a good two finger head. Great head retention.

S - A mix of aromas appeasing to the nose. Most dominate aroma is that of roasted malt. Hints of coffee grounds present as well.

T - On par with the scent. Fairly straightforward flavorings of roasted malt, vague hints of coffee

M - Medium bodied with mild carbonation. Very dry finish as to be expected. Great feel, though I am personally biased towards dryer beers.

O - Great beer from SN and a fan of the style. Taste was good but I feel as though something was missing which could've enhanced it more. Very enjoyable, dry beer,

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Zaktcc from Maryland, Jun 09, 2015
Photo of PatrickCT
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle into a tulip.

a: Brownish black body. Opaque. Slight ruby color around the bottom when held to the light. Deep beige two finger head, very light with nice sticky lacing.

s: Roasted malt. Hints of coffee and molasses and pumpernickel followed by floral and citrusy hops.

t: Thin roasted malt. Hints of chocolate and weak coffee. A citrus then dry, peppery hop finish.

mf: Surprisingly light and juicy once the beer warms yet with a slight caramel stickiness. Nice even finish with no after taste.

o: If Founder's Dark Penance is a weightlifter then Blindfold is a cross trainer. Malty and hoppy yet ballanced and drinkable. The style in general is a bit confusing for me. My eyes tell me one thing and my taste buds tell me something else as far as identifying it as a style. However I like the exercise of picking it apart and my enthusiasm for galaxy hops makes this go down easy.

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PatrickCT from Connecticut, Jun 09, 2015
Photo of Franziskaner
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black in color with no penetration to light. A massive inch thick frothy beige head rests on top. Light Brussels lacing. Aroma of faint piney hops and dark malt. The flavor is a nice pairing of piney hops and dark malt. The mouth is a bit thick and slightly sticky.

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Franziskaner from Missouri, Jun 06, 2015
Photo of ARoman
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a wide flute. The aroma is initially licorice and bakers chocolate, with undertones of sweet citrus Later in the drink, coffee gets added to the mix with a chalkiness, some caramel, and just a touch of wet cardboard. The beer is a rich, oily mahogany with a light brown, frothy dense head that leaves good lace, and has an abundant, but uneven retention. The taste is a medium high, balanced chocolate bittersweet. The texture is smooth with a creamy, foamy head. The medium-full body consists of chocolate brownie, background notes of sweet citrus, and chalk up front, and finishes with a swell of sweet citrus and caramel (in turns), that's quickly replaced by a clean chalk and spice character flavored with coffee and peanut butter. These notes mellow quickly leaving an aftertaste that's chalky, piney, and clean with hints of peanut butter. After a long time, the peanut butter disappears and is replaced by a light, pleasant grapefruit.

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ARoman from Illinois, May 16, 2015
Photo of dasenebler
3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz, packaged 2.24.15

Light tan head is very thick. Nice black body. Excellent lacing.

Slight citrus hop profile on the nose. Leans more towards the spice and pine. Dark malts.

Roasty, chalky malts. Bitter but not overwhelming. Hops have a bit of overripe fruit, but mainly carrying pine and spice. Woody. Very clean.

Very nice body, thick but dry. Medium carbonation.

Starts well but ends a bit lackluster. A good dark ale. IPA character somewhat intact. Very drinkable. Good stuff.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

-Spiegelau ipa glass.

A: Beautiful chocolate-coffee pour sits a deep midnight black in the vessel with an equally impressive bronze-tan foam capping of good holding length. Thick stratified foam rings lace the vessel on the way down while a lasting coverage sits atop.

S: Sweet caramel coffee at first, some pine and toasted apple skin upfront of moderate awareness. A trail of soft soot and ash on the finish. Aroma duration was rather short, tampering off after a promising dark start but did leave some earthy, bittering intentions.

T: Burnt chocolate and roasted bitterness, bittering earthy soot and dry hop flowers. Wet, spent coffee roast afer swallow, some burnt pine lingering about, with some flashes of burnt caramel and bakers chocolate. Nice earthy and roasty malt backing, lingering bitterness and heavy on the strength.

M: Warming bittering mouthful and roasted glow on the inner cheeks with a mineral feel of ash on the tongue. Chewy, oats body, softly carbonatted but shows some prickly presence around the tongues edges with a good weight and bittering afterfeel.

O: Overall shows a huge roasted and burnt bitterness for flavor, the hops seem to play a secondary role, some burnt pine in response, but really didn't strike me as an ipa showing. This would be a hard one to put down in multiples, very dark and roasty depth in nature and could be interpreted differently upon drinking style. Slow methodical sips reveals its heavy dark bittering and burnt nature, while more quicker sips off then tongue has a sweeter more chocolate like experience.

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beerthulhu from New Jersey, May 08, 2015
Photo of Myotus
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a fingers worth of off-white foam that reduces to a single line within a minute. Beer is black with a brown tint. A massive amount of bubbles began to rise after beer was poured then subsided to a few that still rose. Has mild aromas of roasted malts that are evenly matched in intensity by fruity hop aromas. Pine aromas can be found hiding around. Initial taste is a combination of pine and fruit flavors from hops resulting in a near-rye flavor. Roasted malts slowly enter the taste palate as the fruity and piney hops become distiguishable from each other abondoning the almost-rye flavor. Like most beers high in hops, it leaves the mouth very dry. Carbonation is mild. Overall, an above average American Black Ale. NOTE: The bitterness in this beer increases drastically as it warms up. Drink relatively quick to avoid unbearable levels of bitterness.

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Myotus from Texas, May 05, 2015
Photo of Jeffrey-Pulver
4.71/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a very dark almost black color. Smells of hops, coffee, and hints of chocolate. Taste is fantastic, malts, coffee, dark chocolate, and hops. Overall fantastic. Like a stronger Guinness with hops.

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Photo of Tavverin
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ill be honest, its more my wife's kinda beer than mine, but I like all beers anyway. And shell help me with this one so it'll be ok.

Look. retains head, though not more than is fine. leaves pretty trace bubbles. lightens the imagination. color is dark dark brown to black

Smell. smells nice. like beer I guess. Nutty .

Taste. There were strong tones of nuts, and hops. maybe citrus?

feel. feels soft. fuzzy. microsudsy? very full bodied. Lovely.


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Tavverin from Washington, Apr 10, 2015
Blindfold Black IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 1421 ratings