Sierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

very good
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Sierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPASierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPA

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by DaltonC on 02-23-2014

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Reviews: 225 | Ratings: 1,410
Photo of NCMatt
1.94/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

I didn't really know what to expect from a "Black IPA". I've had a few different black beers before, and i've had many different IPA's. Never together, and now I know why. Best way I can describe this is burnt citrus. Unappetizing for me. Literally one of the only beers I've not been able to finish and found it's way down the drain. I'm glad it was just part of the 4-way IPA variety pack I bought and not a 6 pack of just this!

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Photo of Acforster2
2.56/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

I did not like this beer. It looks good and smells alright. But tasted mildly bitter, malty and ashy. I am a big fan of Sierra Nevada. Maybe black ales are not for me.

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Photo of travolta
2.58/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Appearance: Jet black, but a beautiful ruby when held up to the light. A thickish tan/brown head that has very good retention and lacing.

Nose: Some molasses and coffee,

Taste: Very crisply carbonated, tastes like a stout. Bitter and metallic. Very crisp.

Notes: This is more of a bad stout than it is a BIPA

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Photo of q33jeff
2.65/5  rDev -31.2%
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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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.74/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark ruby red color. The head is about, um, 352 fingers high, and has a khaki shade. The texture is rather soapy, and the retention is rather inconsistent (usually the sign of a well-hopped beer). Some streaks of lacing are left behind.

S: There are some nice hops here - primarily herbaceous and piny in that typical SN fashion - but similar to the Snow Wit I had before this, its hop profile is rather restrained. But that's okay, the rest of the aroma is restrained as well. Wait...anyways, I'm only getting touches of brown sugar, touches of dark fruit, touches of chocolate, and that's it. I'm really let down by the aroma's lacking oomph.

T: It follows the nose well. The predominant flavor is hop bitterness - not much flavor, just bitterness. I'm getting some light caramel, brown sugar, and MAYBE a few espresso notes around the middle and back end, but nothing impressive. All in all though, this one is too bland and too generically bitter.

M: At the very least, this beer's lightness on the palate is laudable. It's somewhat dry finishing, too, so there is a bit of danger to drinking this quick. If only it weren't so bland...

O: Totally disappointing. SN's standard porter is far more enjoyable. Thankfully, I have three more opportunities to give this another chance - this wasn't so horrible that I never want to drink it again. I'm just not that enthused by such a prospect. This is honestly my least favorite SN offering to date.

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Photo of BB1313
2.75/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Bottled on 2/14/14. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours black with a light fluffy khaki head that fades slowly and leaves great lacing and retention. The aromas are loaded with malts. The hop aromas are basically non-existent. Subtle hints of coffee. Ultimately, the nose is very weak. The flavors aren't overly impressive to me either. Lots of earthy hop bitterness with no hop flavor at all. Very grainy. Lots of grass. Slightly roasty. Some smoke. More cocoa malts. Hints of chocolate and coffee. Some pine needles in the mix. Finishes pretty dry. Mouthfeel is very nice. It's medium-bodied with active carbonation. It's pretty smooth and creamy. Easy to drink.

I'm not really feeling this one at all. It's just not an interesting take on the style to me. I'd love to see Sierra Nevada brew their Juniper Black Ale again..

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Photo of Beaver13
2.94/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours brown with a big creamy light tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is roasted chocolate malts and a little bandaid.

The flavor is acidic roasted bitter chocolate malts with some residual sweetness and sprucey hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, an OK black IPA with lots of bitterness but it's very acidic and not well balanced.

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Photo of gillagorilla
2.99/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter (013014C216:10)

A: Minimal head. Slightly tan head with ok lacing. It is pitch black.

S: Rye malts with an almost smokey or toasty scent to it. I get a bit of chocolate on the nose. Not really anything in the way of hops. It kind of smells like a porter.

T: You get light hops here but it is overcome by the roasted malts. It is almost like charcoal. I get just a light amount of sweet malt with only a smidgen of pine. Sticky aftertaste, that is a burnt flavor.

M: The mouthfeel here is decent, but still a bit odd. It is super light with like no bubbles or texture. It is almost oily.

O: Just a weird light beer with very little hop flavor. I wouldn't call this an IPA. The roast and malts just blanket everything. Not a fan. All of this is making me less excited to try Torpedo.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.99/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pry-off pressure cap acquired as part of a variety IPA 12 pack at an H-E-B grocery in April 2014 and served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Label is green and appealing. Reviewed live. Expectations are below average given the style (which is hard to brew in a balanced fashion) and the brewery (which tends to disappoint). 6.8% ABV per the label. Bottled 02/14/14. Identifies itself as a Black IPA, so I'm reviewing it as such.

Served at fridge temp. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a two finger wide head of pale khaki colour. Has decent thickness and nice creaminess, but isn't real frothy or full. Still, it's got a nice fluffy consistency and appears soft and inviting, plus it retains pretty well for its ABV - about 4 minutes. Spotty inconsistent lacing sticks to the sides of the tulip as the head recedes.

Body colour is a predictable opaque solid black. Dark, but not quite a jet black. Appears adequately carbonated. I don't see any yeast particles or hop sediment, so I guess you could call it clean.

Overall, it looks like any other Black IPA. Far from unique or special, but there's nothing clearly wrong with it.

Sm: Floral, piney, and light resinous hop character is prominent here. Sadly though, as with most Black IPAs, the hop notes seem to battle the dark malts/roasted barley, betraying the beer's lack of balance - at least in the aroma. The malts and hops never feel like they're working in tandem, but rather aggressively play against each other. The roast is a bit too restrained for my tastes (or my smells...?) and the cream here feels out of place. I pick up on some light bready malts, a kiss of fennel/anise, just a biteen of burnt sugars, and even a hint of lactose sugar. In some ways, it smells like a milk stout, only with an intrusive unwelcome hop presence.

Overall, it's an inoffensive aroma of mild strength. I can't say I'm expecting anything great.

No yeast character or alcohol is noticeable in the aroma.

Mf: The creamy, smooth (almost silky), and wet texture works well here, lending it a soft comforting (yet unrefreshing) feel on the palate, which is complemented nicely by its medium body and moderate thickness. It's not too filling or heavy, and has a nice presence overall. A bit overcarbonated, but it's forgivable.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, or harsh.

Outside of style conventions, the texture is working for me, and is well executed.

Unfortunately, the texture - while good on its own - doesn't really suit this beer's flavour profile in particular, mostly because the flavours aren't great.

T: Just as in the aroma, the hop notes (pine/evergreen, light resinous, and floral notes) just don't play well with the malts (dark malts, roasted barley, a dab of caramalt, maybe some chocolate malt). It's a fundamentally imbalanced brew, and as such never feels gestalt or even particularly cohesive. As with most Black IPAs, I find myself wanting the intrusive hop notes gone; the "dark side" of the flavour profile is pretty enjoyable.

Depth, duration, and intensity of flavour are average. It's not a complex brew, but it might be a complicated one - there's a lot going on here, but the many notes don't feel well layered or integrated into a cohesive whole. Lacks subtlety, intricacy, and nuance. Poor amplitude.

I do like it in a general sense, but the absence of balance makes it hard to love.

Dr: It's a drinkable but forgettable Black IPA. I wouldn't get it again, but to Sierra Nevada's credit it's not as imbalanced as many Black IPAs I've tried. I wouldn't mind seeing it in a variety box in the future, but I'd never order it at a bar or anything. You could do worse for this price point, but Sierra Nevada continues to underwhelm. This will have its fans, but the discerning drinker can safely skip this offering. Finally, the emphasis on piney hop character doesn't really cater to my personal tastes, which is what holds this beer back from getting a C+. I'd probably even say this might be worth aging for a year if only to tone back those pesky hop notes.

Bottom Line: On the high side of average for the style, but still an underwhelming effort.

High C

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Photo of Zorro
3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear black colored beer with a medium sized dark tan colored head.

Smells mostly of patent malt. Some grapefruit hop but not much. Not a very aromatic beer at all.

Starts out metallic and a little sweet with no strong flavor except bitterness. Little bit of roasted grain. Slight chocolate. Mild bitterness.

Reads the bottle 70 IBUs? I'm not tasting it. Drinks like a basic porter.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall 70 IBUs? Bottle was "PKGD 01/15/15 15:52" so it's not old. This is more like "Sort of hoppy porter."

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Photo of JRed
3.07/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark cola with fluffy light coffee head. Aroma of light coffee, cola, vegetation, roast. Tastes of roast, vegetation, cola, dark chocolate, bitterness and grass. High carbonation with medium body. Balance between roast and hop bitterness is played with quite well but nothing stands out as really good about this beer.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.16/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle from the new 4 way IPA variety mixer. Dark black color, huge head typical of Sierra Nevada beers. They always seem to get the carbonation down. Aroma is bitter coffee, roasted malts, sort of boring. Flavor is mostly bitter roasted malts, not much citrus, not much hop flavor outside the bitterness. Honestly the whole Black IPA gimmick is tiresome, these are just hopped up porters and black ales. They don't taste like IPA's.

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Photo of hoppygram
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one makes me question the difference between a black ipa and a stout. I am still learning. It seems more like a stout to me. I like it as a stout, but not as an IPA.

Aroma - hops aroma is minimal

Taste - coffee, some pine

Mouthfeel - good, full

Overall - I like it, but will drink it as a stout, not an ipa

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Photo of hophugger
3.22/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Very deep chocolate/black color. Nice tan head and great lacing all over the glass. Aroma is relatively light with some malt and light citrus. Taste is hop forward with some malt sweetness and a nice roasted coffee bitterness that lingers for a while. Overall, feels good, tastes good and is pretty well balanced.........

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Photo of watermelon
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle poured into my Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

A: Very dark brown body with a fluffy tan head.

S: Hoppy and and roasted scents.

T: bitterness of hops and roasted chocolate.

M: Bit thinner then I feel it should be. Also more on the malty side vs. astringent side.

O: Its no bad, I tried it once and once was enough. I wouldn't really recommend it.

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Photo of chucksaysblah
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I didn't really notice a overpowering nose to this beer. The taste is very satisfying. Starts with a good hop hit with quite a bit of floral notes. The coffee flavor as a finish is a little bitter but that is OK. Thin head good cling to the glass. Good overall everyday beer in my opinion.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPA has a thick, cream-colored head, a very dark-brown, yet, not hazy, appearance, and a thin curtain of lace left behind. The aroma is of pineapple, sweetness, and a little bit of "blackened" malt. Taste is the same thing, and one will notice a remarkably low bitterness for an ale listed at 70 IBU. Mouthfeel is medium and slick, and Sierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPA finishes semi-dry and very easily drinkable.


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Photo of Phocion
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle with a packaged date of 12/03/14. Pours into my glass a dark, deep brown with about an inch of khaki, rocky head. Good retention and solid rings of lacing as the beer falls.

Dark, roasted malts dominate the aroma. Medium-roast coffee and dark chocolates are powerful, with a hint of roasted nuttiness. Hops are surprisingly mellow, with just a light indistinguishable citrus zest as well as piney aroma in the very back.

The hoppiness is much more noticeable than in the nose. Dark roasted malts combine with a piney and fruity flavor. Between the dark malts and the hoppy bitterness, a decent level of astringency is created. Dark chocolate and a drying charcoal flavor. Very dry, bitter finish.

Medium-bodied and moderately carbonated. Very smooth and creamy but with a harsh finish.

Black IPAs are very hit-or-miss with me, and this one is a miss. The weakest of the 4-Way IPA pack, in my opinion. Very harsh bitterness but relatively little hop flavor. Big roasted malts overpower. I'm rarely disappointed with Sierra Nevada, but it's happening now.

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Photo of E-McFarden
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours like a lumberjack's coffee with champion grade lacing. Roasted malts and earthy aroma hops come through the nose and the palate strong. Heavy creamy mouthfeel, not bad

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Photo of n2185
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours black with two fingers of light tan head that fades into a nice cap with good lacing.

S: Roasted malts with semi-sweet chocolate dominate followed by some more subtle notes of resinous pine and char.

T: Roasted malts and bitter chocolate dominate here with burnt char and bitter pine flavors. The finish is roasted and quite bitter.

M: Medium body with slightly creamy-feeling carbonation, this beer has a nicely drinkable feel.

O: A solid beer, overall, though quite bitter. I'd like a bit more depth and less bitterness.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 020 14 at 45 degrees into imperial pint
Aroma of roasted malt with slight hoppiness
Head large (7 cm), light brown, creamy with rocks, slowly diminishing until it eventually becomes a 2 mm layer
Lacing short chains and islands of small to medium bubbles
Body dark brown, opaque
Flavor of burnt malt, bitter, no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, soft carbonation

An escapee from beer camp, this not particularly flavorful offering just doesn’t taste very good. The flavor and texture is of an over-roasted weak stout. Albeit the age may have reduced the hoppiness and allowed the over roasted malt to predominate, this attractive beer is dragged down by its flavor.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with coded bottled on date 02/20/2014 printed on the bottleneck. Another new beer to me from Sierra Nevada, acquired as part of the mixed IPA 4 pack.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a dark mahogany brown, nearly opaque black in the glass. Three plus big billowy fingers of fluffy tan head. The head has good retention and is nice and root beer float like. Nice thin rings of lacing. Looks very nice.

S - Nose doesn't have much to offer in my opinion. Some roasty chocolate malt character, paired with some herbal piney / grapefruit hoppiness. Bready & earthy.

T - Taste follows the nose - light earthy bitterness, dirty herbal piney / grapefruit hop presence, and some dark roasty chocolate malt / coffee bitterness.

M - Smooth and creamy. Medium bodied with good carbonation and nice drinkability.

Overall, it's okay, but it's nothing great, and it doesn't stand out to me as an exceptional black IPA, really. It's drinkable and flavorful enough, and I would have it again, but it isn't something I would seek out.

Sierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPA ---3.5/5

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle picked up tonight at Brewer's Haven... Pours with a 2 finger dark tan head... great lacing... the brew is black as any porter.

Nose shows dark chocolate... dry roasty malt... piney/pithy citrus hoppiness.

Dry roasted malt... a bit ashy IMO... sorta astringent and doesn't exactly jive with the big "C" hops.

Body and carbonation are about expected... Okay, but not in my top tier of Black IPA's.


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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Near black, but truly a dark rich brown. Head is a light tan and drops to a small cap in short order. The typical sheets and swirls of lacing one can expect from Sierra Nevada. Ok head retention.

Smell: Roasted malts at the forefront quickly tempered by pine needle, a touch of grass and earth, and some citrus. Cocoa powder and a bit of dark chocolate with some caramelized malt sweetness. Pine jumps up a bit as it warms. Chocolate bars fused with some citrus rind. Very slightly burnt with some old coffee lingering in the back. Nicely balanced approach...surprise.

Taste: Grapefruit zest and oil coupled with some bitter pine needle. Solidly, but not assertively, roasted. Some mild burnt elements add some caramelized sweetness with a backing touch of almost char. Cocoa powder with some sweeter semi-dark chocolate. Slight bitterness runs through it all. Some nice solid roasted malts. A bit more grapefruit as it warms. Slightly earthy as well. Hops dominate a bit more than the nose would indicate, but not by much.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a moderate carbonation. Slightly slick on the initial sip, but cleans up quickly and finishes on point.

Overall: Peeking around the edges.

It's Sierra Nevada doing a take on a black IPA...errr....american black ale... It's good and worth drinking if nothing else.

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Photo of SteveB24
3.49/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance was a smooth, brown/ black with a finger of white head, smell was alchohal, coffee, and piney hops. mouthfeel was medium and slightly crisp. taste was strong coffee and other deep malt flavors followed by a wave of hoppy bitterness. was overall an interesting experiance but the combination of flavors didnt work so well for me.

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Sierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.85 out of 5 based on 1,410 ratings.
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