Yvan The Great: Belgian-Style Blonde (Beer Camp Across America)
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Yvan The Great: Belgian-Style Blonde (Beer Camp Across America)Yvan The Great: Belgian-Style Blonde (Beer Camp Across America)
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Belgian Blonde Ale
3.76 | pDev: 11.17%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Yvan The Great: Belgian-Style Blonde (Beer Camp Across America)Yvan The Great: Belgian-Style Blonde (Beer Camp Across America)
Notes: As longtime friends, Russian River brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo and our own Brian Grossman are no strangers to brewing experiments. While looking for inspiration for this collaboration, Vinnie and Brian decided to honor the creations of legendary Belgian brewer Yvan De Baets with their own hop-forward American-Belgian mash-up.

From complex Belgian-inspired styles to American wild ales and hoppy Double IPA’s, Russian River always pushes boundaries while respecting technique and quality. Co-owners Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo are longtime friends of Sierra Nevada and they always have a six-pack of Pale Ale in their fridge at home.
Reviews: 176 | Ratings: 1,304 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.42/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

You get two of the most well known names in the American hop revolution together for a collaboration brew and they throw you a curve ball. Kind of. This one pours a vibrant yellow with lots of clarity and a full on 7/8" white head. Pretty damn impressive appearance. Aroma kicks down a hefty Belgian yeast imparting some citrus and astringency.

Taste is decidedly yeasty as well. Many writers speak of the excessive hoppiness for style but I really didn't think much of it, just seemed in accordance with my expectations. Heavily carbonated. Minor amounts of clove, grapefruit, apple and pear from the yeast.

Its actually pretty straight forward. Lots of hops in a pungently phenolic yeasty beer.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from (very long-standing) notes. Consumed in late 2014. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Fat Head's pint glass.

A: Mildly hazy, straw-colored pour. A good amount of visible carbonation leads to a finger's worth of white head that fades fairly quickly.

S: Pilsner malts. Belgian yeast esters - pear and fleshy fruit with milder banana.

T: Pilsner malts up front. Yeasty - pears, apples, cloves and bananas. Some hop bitterness near the end - not huge but more than expected - resin, grassy and citrus pith.

M: A light body with a good amount of carbonation sensation. Minimal alcohol presence.

O: I though this was strangely hoppy for a Belgian blonde ale. But not overall a bad beer.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.07/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled 6/2/14; drank 7/14/14 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Clear urine color; champagne bubbles throughout.

HUGE white head; minimal lace.

Banana, clove, mild orange citrus & mild black pepper nose.

Medium thin mouthfeel.

Banana & mild orange citrus meld nicely up front; black pepper on the finish, faint at first but it gains strength as this warms. A nice session Belgian, not amazing but I'd have another.

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Photo of stakem
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into tulip appears pale golden yellow with a white cap. Aroma of cloves, pear, banana, apple and cracked black pepper. Tastes plenty of clove, peppercorns, herbal bitterness, apple and pear skins. Dry bready grain is faint in the aftertaste along with additional fruitiness. Medium in body with modest carbonation. This is interesting and enjoyable but im not sold on overly hoppy beers in conjunction with phenolic belgian yeast strains.

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Photo of TheSSG
3.74/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice, soapy white head. Yeasty, citrus aroma. Hazy, straw color. Starts with a bright citrus hoppiness and a medium bitterness. Builds into a yeasty maltiness.

This is pretty nice. Tons of citrus in the nose and in the flavor profile. A touch too bitter for my tastes, though.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.89/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

SN/Russian River Yvan the Great Belgian-style Blonde. 6.3% ABV. 50 IBU. #10 for me in the sample pack.

Hazy, bright golden appearance, chalk white head, slim and soon gone.

Beautiful citrus and floral aromatics. Lightly spicy. Very likable.

Taste: Snappy delivery on the palate, brisk hoppiness and tangible spice and citrus notes. Belgian yeast is at work in the flavor, too. Medium-bodied, spicy finish. Tastes every bit like a Belgian blonde should and then some. Wish I had more than 12 ounces of this one.

Time to read the label: "This hoppy Blonde Ale blends the dry, complex yeast character of Belgian farmhouse ales with the bright citrus-like profile of American hops." And, as usual, there's more on the back: "As longtime friends, Russian River brewmaster Vinne Cilurzo and our own Brian Grossman are no strangers to brewing experiments. For this collaboration, they honored their friend and renowned Belgian brewer Yvan De Baets. This Belgian-American mash-up harmoniously blends Yvan's penchant for yeast with Vinnie and Brian's affinity for hops."

Might be my favorite so far….haven't ranked them yet. We'll see. Two to go!

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Photo of Mitchster
4.43/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewed with Two-row Pale, Golden Promise, Acidulated malt.
Bittered with Brewer's Gold, Finished with Celeia, Strisselspalt
6.3% ABV, OG=13P, FG=1.4, 50 IBU's

Pours out to a slighty hazy very pale straw gold, forming a large poofy bone white head with superior retention anbd beautiful lacing, thanks in part to it's brisk carbonation, ~3.0 carbs or so. The nose is very clean, ripe with belgian yeast esters of tropical fruit and green bananas. The mouthfeel is light and crisp with a mild tartness and a bone dry finish. The taste is also very clean with delicate pale malt and a pleasant but lightly firm bitterness with a white pepper flourish in the aftertaste.

Exceptionally brewed, wonderful beer. I would drink this quite a bit if it were available in my area. Definitely worth trying.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"As longtime friends, Russian River brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo and our own Brian Grossman are no strangers to brewing experiments. For this collaboration, they honored their friend and renowned Belgian brewer Yvan De Baets. This Belgian-American mash-up harmoniously blends Yvan's penchant for yeast with Vinnie and Brian's affinity for hops." Brewed in the style of a Belgian Pale Ale, packaged in single 12 oz. bottles as part of the Beer Camp Across America 2015 Variety pack and on limited draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a Sierra Nevada tulip glass. Served above 54 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp, frothy head of an off-white color over a medium hazy straw yellow body with ample lively carbonation. Retention is above average and lacing is light and spotty. 3.25

(Smell) Aromas of malted wheat, cracker malts with a soft biscuit malt subtle sweetness. Hop notes are subtle, generating a delicate floral and fruity character. The hops are accented by a fruity yeast profile that generates gentle notes of summer fruit, pineapple juice and light coriander spice with a soft tartness and mild funk. Potency is medium. 3.75

(Taste) The malt profile follows many of the same characteristics of the aroma, although the malt profile isn't quite as balanced nor refined as the aroma suggests, with a reserved sweetness and some soft graininess creeping in. Hop notes of lemon, grass, and tropical fruit generate a mild bitterness, and the yeast profile is increasingly dry and chalky with a moderate cleanliness and accented notes of coriander and white pepper amongst a soft fruitiness. The beer finishes softly grainy with an emphasis on cereal wheat funk and punctuated earthy spice with a marked dryness. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) The texture is silky, lightly chewy and very dry. Carbonation is high, generating a moderate frothiness and a brisk, lively crisp finish. The body is medium for the style, medium overall. Balance is slightly acidic and dry over sweet. Alcohol presence is mild and there are no notable off characters. 3.5

(Overall) Yvan The Great is another Beer Camp entry that I'm not terribly impressed with, as the aroma was better rounded and balanced than the flavor came to be. Enjoyable hop profile that compliments the style well, overshadowed by a flavorful and potent yeast strain that dries out the beer thoroughly. At points coming off fairly saison-like, in other places with the lightness and flavor of a Witbier, I feel comfortable leaving it in the Belgian Pale Ale category although it is decidedly multifaceted. Enjoyable, but not exceptional. 3.5

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.'s
Yvan The Great (With Russian River Brewing Co.)

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Photo of woodychandler
3.59/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had picked up most of this series as singles at The Friendly Greek and then put them in my reefer awaiting review. The backlog at Chez Woody is phenomenal and so I am now getting around to them.

From the bottle: "This Hoppy Blonde Ale blends the dry, complex yeast character of Belgian farmhouse ales with the bright, citrus-like profile of American-grown hops."; "Brewed in Collaboration with Russian River Brewing Co."; "As longtime friends, Russian River brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo and our own Brian Grossman are no strangers to brewing experiments. For this collaboration, they honored their friend and renowned Belgian brewer Yvan De Baets. This Belgian-American mash-up harmoniously blends Yvan's penchant for yeast with Vinnie and Brian's affinity for hops. "; "We brew in Chico, CA, and Mills River, NC, to bring you the finest quality beer."

"A penchant for yeast," eh? There was such a pile of lees atop the kick that I was unsure as to how to proceed following the Pop!ping of the cap. Gentle? Mais oui! Certainment! But even at that, how could I avoid rousing the lees? Cue Cicerone (tm) CBS # 739! I began at a tremendous angle to the glass and poured until I saw the first bit of lees pull loose from the punt, at which time, I stopped the pour and let it settle back in the bottle. I used the bartender's trick to create a brief finger of fizzy, bone-white head that quickly reduced back to wisps. Color was pure Gold (SRM = 5) with NE-quality clarity and my trio of gelt fiends, Midas, Croesus and Mammon appeared, fighting once again over who would get the first sip. I am deeply indebted to them, but I was not going to wait the outcome of their latest squabble. Nose had a Juicyfruit chewing gum odor, no doubt of the yeast. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was tart, like the lemon zestiness of the hops was in counterbalance with the sweet fruitiness of the yeast's esters. This was an experiment which needs tweaking, IMHO. Warming, I was getting black pepper and a mild funkiness, but the hops must have faded in the interim. Oh well. Finish was dry, tart and refreshing, but not really my cuppa tea. The final pour looked like murky lemonade. Nose was VERY funky! Taste was the melange as described earlier, but now more pronounced! Wow.

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Photo of MajorMartn
4.29/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Available on draft at the gas station down the street from my house. A strong, well textured beer that, to me, is almost perfectly balanced. Especially considering its potency. A must try for most beer advocates.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.57/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 1/6/15, with apologies for apparently abandoning most of the Beer Camp beers in the back of my fridge

A: Hazy yellow with some honey and golden tones - pours with a medium, white head that quickly fades to a wispy cap, leaves some spots of lacing

S: Very yeasty with an assortment of fruit - decidedly Belgian with some ripe Belgian yeast - yeasty funk, clove, pepper, coriander, light phenols, bubblegum, and some big fruity esters - banana and green apple - hoppy, too, with some citrus - earthy and spicy with some pale malts, bread, and bread dough

T: Yeasty and bready - Belgian yeast, Belgian yeast funk, clove, pepper, bubblegum, underripe banana, green apple, and maybe some grapes - citrus (mostly lemon) from the hops rounds out the fruitiness - very chewy malt profile with some pale malts, undercooked bread, and bread dough - it's like fruity bread

M: Medium body, very smooth, adequate carbonation, clean finish

O: Yvan the Bread

Maybe I haven't had many beers with Belgian yeast strains lately, or maybe this became more potent with time. Regardless, this is basically bread splashed with fruits and vials of Belgian yeast. Interesting.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straw yellow body with a mild haze and a half inch of white head. Aromas of lemon, Belgian yeast, grain, Saaz hops? Initial flavor of lemon tartness quickly followed by sweet candies (lemonheads). Also notable is floral character with a healthy dose of Belgian yeast. Mild tartness in the finish with a nice helping of hops. Tasty.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a tulip
A: Hazy pale yellow with a two-finger head
S: Some wheat and Belgian yeast/herbs/spice but overall not too much complexity
T: Matches the smell adding a distinct freshly cracked pepper note
M: Fairly light-bodied, crisp and spicy
O: Solid, maybe should have drank it a bit younger, though overall nothing memorable

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Photo of KTCamm
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

10/28...BCAA 2/12...pours hazy yellow, translucent, foam dissolves. Straw yeast nose. Slight citrus too. Opens tart, shifts into a hop bitter buzzed body. Tartness holds, but the bitter keeps poking through. Right on the edge of coming undone, slightly disjointed.

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Photo of ClePaul
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look 8/10
Smell 18/20
Taste 35/40
Feel 8/10
Drinkability 17/20

Overall 86/100

An ok Belgian blonde, it really doesn't stand out much to me. I will say it's refreshing and enjoyable. Just not real great spice or hop profile for it to stand on its own. Just another average Beer Camp collab~

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Photo of timontheroad
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my last Beer Camp pack beers. Pours hazy, straw colored. Two inches of billowy white head that quickly faded to about a half inch. Nice lacing. The smell is grassy, with a little bit of yeasty funk. The taste is of coriander, a slight note of cloves and some nice Belgian funky flavor. Mouthfeel is pretty light, but it stays quite nicely on the palate, and finishes somewhat dry. This is one of my favorite beers out of the beer camp pack. Too bad it's a one-off beer. Nicely done!

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz.bottle
Glass: Modern Times pint glass
From: Albertsons in Alpine, Calif.
Price: $25.99 for the variety Beer Camp Across America 12-pack
Purchased: Oct. 17, 2014
Consumed: Oct. 26, 2014
Misc.: Collaboration with Russian River Brewing Company; Packaged May 24, 2014 at 2:09 p.m.

Poured a golden, pale, clear color with five fingers of khaki white rocky head. Lots of streams of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. Uneven, spiderweb foamy lacing on the sides of the glass. Great retention on the top all the way down. (Sight - 4.25)

Initial thought after the first whiff was a hoppy spicy saison. Got wet foamy hops, hay, grassy notes, sourdough bread, honey, caramel, spicy Belgian cloves, green grapes, yeast and green apple. (Smell - 3.75)

Tasted pretty close to the nose. Got grassy hops, hay, sourdough bread, cereal (Corn Pops or Kix), cloves, Belgian spices (not as potent as smell), cornbread, green grapes, green apple, light Citra hops, caramel and honey. (Taste - 3.75)

Light body. Oily-to-creamy texture. Lively carbonation. Long, spicy Belgian finish. (Feel - 3.75)

I really liked this beer. Spicy saison is what I keep coming up with. Good beer for the style. (Overall - 3.75)

3.78 | 85 | B+

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Photo of Spikester
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Pale gold with one finger of white head.
Smell is Belgian type yeast with a touch of herbal hops.
Taste is yeasty pale malt and a good amount of hop bitterness in the finish.
Mouthfeel is well carbonated and finishes very dry.
Overall a very fine beer from two of my favorite brewers.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%

Pours hazy bright yellow. The 1/4 inch white head fades to a thin cap on top and leaves faint spotty lace.

The smell somewhat subdued and consists of grainy malt and a pleasant mixture of tropical fruit and faint banana.

The taste is of grainy malt, tropical fruit and hop bitterness.

The texture is light bodied with high carbonation.

A refreshing Belgian blonde with nice balance between tropical fruit sweetness and hop bitterness.

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Photo of RyanK252
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada pint glass

A: Pours slightly hazy straw yellow with a white head.

S: Floral hops, a little banana and tangerine, and a touch of malt sweetness.

T: Light floral and citrus hops, some lemon and orange zest, Belgian yeast funk with a little banana, with nice malt sweetness.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: I'm not usually a fan of the Belgian style stuff, but this is pretty good.

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Photo of BWED
3.66/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip

A- Golden, blonde (go figure). Clear. Fairly delicate white head. Hangs at a finger.

S- Belgian esters and spice. A slight aroma of hop character, citrus and pine. Malt diluted by yeast, but slightly bready.

T- Very calm spicy Belgian flavor. With a bit of dry citrus.

M- Medium light body. Spice and dry citrus. Dry finish. Fairly delicate lacing.

O- Decent qualities, but I think this one is just a little too hoppy for this style.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a golden straw yellow with great clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Grassy, citrus, floral, herbal, Belgian yeast, green apple, pilsner malts, pale malts, and spiciness. Definitely get some white pepper, rosemary, and chamomile.

Taste: Same as above with mild tingly bitterness in the rear.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, dry, tingly bitterness, medium to high carbonation, and light to medium bodied.

Overall: A very enjoyable BPA. Need these guys to make more of these in the future.

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Photo of CHickman
3.74/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours cloudy bright yellow color with a foamy 1-2 finger snow white head that was full of bubbles and faded slowly, leaving good spotty foamy lacing.

Smells of yeast, lemon, herbs, roasted grains, honey, floral hops, a mix of spices and some mild funk; it has a nice semi-complex nose, but none of the spices really jump out and the lemon zest and yeast smell the strongest.

Tastes like it smells, with yeast, lemon, wheat bread, herbs, roasted grains, sweet malt, honey, floral hops, spices like pepper, coriander and a dash of green tea leaf, chamomile or dried flowers; like the nose there is some mild funk, but the grainy and floral hop notes seem strongest with some pine notes and biscuit that almost seems sweet.

Mouthfeel is light and crisp, with real mellow carbonation, a slightly bitter, funky bready finish that trails off almost clean yet leaves a lingering grainy sweetness residue. This was good, but I expected more from this collaboration of Northern California legends. If this was a regular rotation beer I would definitely have it again since it was tasty.

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Photo of Mikus
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was anxiously awaiting a try of this, Russian River is like a unicorn in Western PA. Poured a nice, translucent golden color into the snifter, with little head. Big yeasty notes on the nose, a bit of nutmeg/allspice, and some citrus (as the brew warmed up). Hops were very faded (it was bottled almost 4 months ago, so I was expecting this), however with a little time, some grapefruit/citrus came through. Good, clean flavors though. Great mouthfeel. This was very good, even with my arriving to the party late... though I would say that the Allagash collaboration edged it out by a good deal! Still very happy with Beer Camp!

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%

Has a big fruit nose dominated by orange over light biscuit with hints of peach and light banana. It pours peachy gold with a light haze under a 1” finely bubbled foam cap that quickly dissipates. A rich, creamy fruity attack features large pitted fruits, orange and a suggestion of tropical fruit but no banana. There is some spice in the background – maybe oregano. A very effervescent beer with a medium light body, Yonder Bock finishes sparkly clean and refreshing. While the beer is hop forward, providing an assertive bitterness on the finish, it in no way interferes with the Belgian yeast flavors and the hop flavors are refined enough to sneak by those who dislike hops.

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Yvan The Great: Belgian-Style Blonde (Beer Camp Across America) from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 1304 ratings