Sierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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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: 1,408
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 1/21/14.

Pours an almost opaque super dark crimson-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. A foamy lattice of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, coffee bean, and slight citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and slight citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and slightly medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a nice mixture of roast and hop qualities all around.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

such a good beer, awesome black ipa here, the best of both worlds. we sometimes dont give sierra nevada enough credit, yeah, they are huge, but this latest four way ipa box is evidence that they are among the best in the world, especially when it comes to hops. this beer is coffee black, and has some of that similar earthy bitterness on the front end. its light and airy wispy tan head is similar to its feel, also very delicate and fluffy, nice on the tongue, and subtle or a beer in this style. hops are citric and not bitter, that comes from the grain, a fun complex for this seemingly sessionable yet nearly 7% abv brew. its the perfect accompaniment to rare fillet mignon oscar, with fresh crab hollandaise sauce and wild mushrooms. i put the mushies in brandy and rosemary, and with this beer, its just unfairly tasty. a food driven beer for sure, and it could be a great compliment to a number of cool dishes, has me inspired, but tonight it was first fiddle, and this box of ipa is absolutely sensational.

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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 jlindros
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not usually a fan of black IPAs, but SN seems to do all styles fairly well, so hopefully this one is a bit better than the norm.

Pours a darker colored creamy but fizzy almost 1 finger head that fades at a slower pace, nice foamy lacing, super dark molasses brown almost pitch black colored beer.

Nose brings nice hops, floral grassy, spicy, mild citrus rind, nice mix of those hops, blending with a decent dark malt, little dark chocolate and roast, mild coffee roast, with the floral grassy hops really coming through again.

Taste brings more creamy dark malts, little roast and coffee like notes, hint of creamy cocoa but not a lot, nice dark roasty malt really starting to come through, mild acrid touch. Then hops, grassy and earthy at first, the spicy and piney, with a touch of floral hop note, and quite bitter. The hops turn earthy with a little forest floor piney sap like note, a touch of orange peel citrus and hint of dark chocolate which adds a nice chocolate orange peel thing. Finish is very bitter, drier but quite sticky, more earthy forest floor and pine hops, spicy hops too, and a touch of roast and dark bitter roasty malts. Later the hops get a bit of a spearamint like note and herbal minty tea.

Mouth is med to abit heavier bod, slight creamy, nice carb.

Overall not bad, nice dark malt profile with a bit of roast and even slight dark chocolate, but the hops just didn't do it for me, the earthy pine and forest floor aren't too bad except they start to clash with the dark malts IMO, and the mild orange is also meh. I do like that little minty herbal tea note late on the finish, and the grassy and spicy hop notes would have been a nice touch if they earthy piney citrus rind hops didn't overpower it. Again just continues that this is one of my least fav styles.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 1/30/2014. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 2 finger dense light tan head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange peel, lemon zest, coffee, roasted malt, light char, toast, floral, grass, pine, and floral/roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance of citrus/pine hop and dark roasted malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, orange peel, lemon zest, coffee, roasted malt, cocoa, light char, toast, pine, floral, grass, and floral/roasted earthiness. Good amount of pine/roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, orange/lemon zest, coffee, roast, cocoa, light char, toast, pine, floral, grass, and floral/roast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance of citrus/pine hops and dark roasted malt flavors; with a very crisp malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, moderately sticky, and slightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice black IPA. All around good balance of citrus/pine hops and dark roasted malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a large beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, floral hops, citrus and chocolate.

T: The taste starts out with a harsh hops bitterness followed by the bitter-sweet flavor of dark chocolate. The malt character is hearty and brings some balance. There are also faint background flavors of citrus and coffee. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, there are definitely a lot of other beers in the style that I would pick first.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I purchased this in a four-way IPA mix case. Poured chilled in an IPA glass.

The color is practicallyblack -stout-like look with thick rocky tan head clarity is translucent and lace clings with fine bead. The smell has yeast ester with slight dried fruit and moderate pine-like hop aroma with faint berry and light toasted malt odor. The feel is good but has more dark malt bitterness than hops up front...the carbonation level is good with medium bitterness in generearal and semi-dry finish with low alcohol in the feel.

The taste is malty up front with a woody and toasted taste with some peppery hops entering mid palate with a more bitter flavor increasing toward the end. The malt is bitter with deep roast in the taste almost charcoal like burnt with some interesting caramel accents but hops linger in the flavor after the swallow with some pine and herbal accents. Overall this is a decent beer, not my favorite example of the style but well brewed and worth trying.

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Photo of russpowell
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crimson hued mahogany with a thumb of tan head. Stellar head retention & lacing

S: Roastyness, a little bit of orange peel

T: Roasty, a bit of pine , grapefruit & charred grain up front. More pineyness & roastyness, plus a touch of minty & grapefruitty hops as this warms, a bit of astringency & chocolate. Finishes slightly chocolately with charred grain & pine, slightly dry

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, nicely balanced

My favorite of the 4 in this twelve pack, great example the style done right

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Photo of smcolw
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large, lumpy head with plenty of chunky lace on the glass. Near black color where no light shines through except through the edges.

Dry, unsweetened cocoa aroma, reminds me of a porter but with a little hop bite.

The flavor is far more hoppy with a black pepper. There's still a distinct dark chocolate flavor with a bit of burnt black patent malt. Neutral body with a mildly diminished carbonation level. Long hoppy/burnt toast aftertaste.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours almost pitch black, there are ruby highlights at the edges when held toward the light, light tan head looks kind of like a dry Irish stout in the glass. Nice full thicket of head with chunky textures. Aroma dark roasted malts, earthy almost mint like herbal hop qualities. It also has a nuttiness that's complementing the dark roasted malt character with some generic ale fruitiness that may be characteristic of the hops as well. Flavor I'm getting more of that nutty character with the bitterness of the hops call me crazy but I'm experiencing something that almost comes off like peanut butter for a minute...maybe I've drank too much DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus lately, but that's what I'm getting even though I know that's not intended I think it's some interaction between the roasted malts and the hop character here. Caramelized roasted malts, dark chocolate edges more like drinking a very hoppy porter with a bit more malt expression than your average dry dark roasted malt finish, the bitterness here is definitely from the hop varieties used. A very good sipping beer complex herbal/fruity/citrus hop edge wrapped in dark nutty caramelized malts that border on complex iced coffee flavors. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied great textures on the palate, a tad oily but flowing carbonation clears that off the palate quite nicely dry herbal/dark roasted malt finish. Overall, a very good version of the style, it's hard to come by a good Black IPA, I hope this sampler remains available for awhile...I could picture myself needing more of this.

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Photo of stakem
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks Slatetank for gifting me with this. Standard 12oz bottle into a tulip. The brew appears dark brown with clarity when held to the light. Some brown head rests atop, fading leaving patchy lace on the glass.

The smell is piney with some roasted chocolate and coffee appeal before a slight tingle of hops gets noticed. The taste includes notes of coffee, chocolate and roasty earth with piney hops. A slight mineral feel lingers with citrus hoppiness.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. A pretty standard black ipa that I really enjoyed for its lack of over the top hop influence though, it was still present and accounted for. I would drink this again.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a good, well-balanced black ipa. Nice hopped tones I a kind of oily base. Nothing screaming too loudly. But nothing bland by any means. Just a well done version of the style. I could go for numerous of these in a sitting. Hopefully SN keeps this around for a while.

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Photo of jwc215
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a thin lasting tan head that leaves lacing.

The smell is of citrus, pine, anise, roasted coffee and a hint of chocolate/toffee.

The taste is of citrus and pine - roast enhances bitterness without clashing. Dark chocolate and coffee balance and round out the hop accentuated brew. Finishes with a bitter dryness, yet a lingering dark malt sweetness that complements it.

As usual, S.N. hits the carbonation on the head making for a smooth, fitting, medium body. A pleasant aftertaste lingers.

Overall, it's a well-made delicious brew. Nice blend of malt and hops. An excellent example of a hop-forward black ale!

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Photo of smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Spiegelau IPA glass.

Deep mahogany brown, with some red deep edges. Nice coffee brown and light espresso color, with a lot of swiss cheese retention. Three fingers tall, and spotty lacing.

Nice sense of muted soft grapefruit, and roast coffee. Good hint of malt sweetness and a little bit of roast coffee and some nutty almost brown ale character sensing going for it.

Palate fills with a nice juicy hop quenchable fruit character. Juiced orange and grapefruit with some mellow roasted malts. Hints towards dark chocolate but gets a bit hotter and coffee like with some acidity. Good oily coating, with a little zest and bite and not overly thick, just really getting that feel right.

Overall just a solid black IPA from these guys, and a classic solid Sierra Nevada beer.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

I like the Blindfold.....its not as bold as the Stone SSRA but its an lighter version. It pours a dark opaque with think ecru head that is leaving a nice lacing. The scent carries pine and some citrus like hops. The taste carries IPA flare with coffee/roast/peat base. The mouthfeel is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall....solid.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPA. Alc 6.8% by Vol.

Dark brown, nearly black, shining crimson highlights at the edges, large, lightly tanned head, slowly slipping.

Aroma: Caramel and cocoa tones start it off, with citric hop notes bursting through. A deft blend of malt and hops.

Taste: Starts off, again, creamy, malty and chocolatey, then a sharp turn on the palate into hop country. The two sides keep up with each other, a tasty tango in the mouth. Hop bitterness hangs on just a bit in the finish, and it's stay is a happy one. Medium bodied, and moderate in every way. Here's one of the "black IPAs" (is safe to not call them Cascadian Darks, right? No Portlandites around me?) that I don't mind, and in fact, can enjoy. The clash between the two elements is not as large and loud as in the others that turned me off, and possibly away from the style entirely.

What do they tell us on the bottleneck label? "Blinfold 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 malt for depth and complexity, Like it's namesake, Blindfold is a bit disorienting--the color of a stout and the intense, hop-forward flavors of a classic American IPA."

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a dark, brown-highlighted, blackish coloring with a thin, sparse, filmy, off-white surface coat of head. Aromas of roasted coffee in the backbone, with tangy citrus notes and hints of resin. Flavors are very well balanced, with a blast of bitter and roasted coffee traveling across the palate neck and neck with the tangy and tart citrus notes. Resinous and piney characteristics add depth to the flavors, too. The beer is light and slightly effervesced in mouth, bringing a quick end to the roasted and bitter coffee aftertaste. The finish is fairly quick, as well, and a little on the frothed/effervesced side, and a slight resinous and coffee linger. Interesting brew.

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Photo of stevoj
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
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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Photo of Gavage
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a black color with a huge 3" head that lasts a long time. Thick lace paints the glass.

Smell: woody bitterness, some pine, and a bit of citrus is mild on the nose.

Taste: roasted malt with earthy / woody tones, grapefruit, a hint of pine, and some mild chocolate flavors are wrapped in a moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp to start, less crisp at the finish. Long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: an enjoyable black IPA that was refreshing and satisfying.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a very dark mahogany brown with only slight light transmission. Two finger tan head that dissipates slowly to a thin film, leaving lots of lacing. Aroma of toasted malt, piney hops, root herbs, slightly vegetal. Flavor follows with toasted malt, piney and grassy hops, mildly earthy, hints of citrus and coffee. Finishes with slightly charred toastiness and grassy hop bitterness. Medium bodied. A nicely made Cascadian black ale with well balanced roast and hops. Nice flavor progression from hops to coffee roast and malt in the finish.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown color with a puffy off white head and lace. Aroma is herbal upfront and sweet and malty on the back end. Kinda has an aroma like stepping into a pine forest.

In the taste, malty and roasted with a crisp piney hop bite with some herb and citrus flavor. A nice balance between bitter and sweet, this would probably be considered by most to be a hoppy brew. There are certainly more aggressive black IpAs out there in terms of hop bitterness.

Medium bodied with a medium-high level of carbonation. Small hop bite, finishes clean. Overall, this is a good entry level black ipa, which is as accessible as it is hop forward.

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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 flagmantho
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich, dark brown hue, appearing nearly black but for red highlights when held up to the light. There appears to be no haze, and the head poured three fingers of creamy tan foam. I think it's quite the presentation!

Smell: overall aroma is of moderate intensity; the malty character of chocolate, caramel and toffee comes up first, followed by a mellow, earthy hop character. Not at all bad; the mix works well.

Taste: flavor is along much the same lines as the aroma. Starts off with a chocolatey malt character, filled out with a bit of brown ale. Hops are earthy and bitterness is moderate. Middle-of-the-road, but well-crafted.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a surprisingly good and well-integrated carbonation; there's a satisfying creaminess here!

Overall: this is one of the more quaffable American Black Ales out there, I would say. I feel like it's been brewed for drinkability, rather than extremity, as so many beers of the style seem to be. I rather like it.

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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 puboflyons
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on July 11, 2014.

It has a dark brown pour that appears black unless you hold it to the light. Full foamy tan head that lingers and leaves lacing.

The aroma brings out a barley and dark malt character with maybe a touch of black licorice. More malts than hops greet my nose but there are some earthy hops in there.

Medium body.

The flavor of the beer tends to be slightly sweet but also full of roasted dark malts and slightly more biting bitterness that the aroma might indicate. A better than average black IPA.

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Sierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.85 out of 5 based on 1,408 ratings.
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