Experimental Hop Session IPA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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American IPA
3.56 | pDev: 11.24%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Light and crisp
Light-bodied IPAs are the perfect beers to showcase new and unique hops, and this beer doesn’t shy away from bold hop flavor. This beer features two new hops, 09326 and HBC 520, which add notes of bright lemon, coconut and fresh-cut herbs in this light, snappy session IPA.
Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 104 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of arizcards
3.62/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single from the Kings Beer & Wine cooler 5-25-18 for $1.89. Canned on 1-30-18, cold stored since purchase.

Beer poured golden orange with a nice soap bubble head that has some serious hang time.

Nose is lemony with some grapefruit.

Taste has some hints of a bready malt backbone that is quickly overwhelmed by lemon tinged hops and grapefruit pith. Finish is very unbalanced beyond what i look for in the style.

Mouthfeel is light bodied and fairly refreshing.

Overall not a bad beer. It is just too unbalanced for my buds.

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Photo of Mandpasbury
3.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this in a 12 pack of experimental hop beers from Sierra Nevada. I really liked the Experimental Hop IPA. This Experimental Hop Session IPA is okay. It is not as good as I was expecting it to be. It is a bit lighter on the palate than most Session IPA's and the overall flavor with a bit muted. There is enough hop bitterness and Piney flavor, along with some lemony overtones, to keep me from disliking it, but I really was expecting something closer to the Founder's or Terrapin Session IPA's, somerhing a bit more punchy. Overall, it is something I would drink again but it is certainly not as good as the Founder's or Terrapin Session IPA's.

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Photo of monkist
4.31/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is the first beer I am having from Sierra's Experimental box. Choose the Session IPA for Sunday night, for a light closer of the week.
Now what we have here might have experimental Oregon hops but I have a feeling Sierra is trying out untrodden recipes or at least these are not their staple beers. This Session too, while looking and smelling like a nice Session, it is a bit less punchy as your every day Session would be. It feels like it is a single hop or it is a bit more watery than it should be. I am fond of Sierra and this beer was also very well made but I feel that it is a far cry from classic Sessions like Founders' All Day. Let's see if Sierra can make a regular out of it!

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.72/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearnce- The beer pours a lightly hazed golden color with a two finger head of white foam. The head fades rather fast but leaves a persistent foam head on the top of the brew that very slowly is lost to leave a good sum of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.
Smell - The aroma of the brew is stongest of a bready and cracker smell mixed with some lighter smells of orange citrus and a bit of herb and grass.
Taste- The taste begins with a cracker taste that has a light citrus taste mixed within. As the taste advanses some more grainy flavors as well as some herbal and floral hop come to the tongue. In the end a little bit of dough and a hint of lemon come to the taste and leave one with a somewhat more crisp and light taste to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel - The body of the beer is very light with a carbonation level that is rather normal. Overall the mix of carbonation and thickness make for an easy drinking brew.
Overall - A rather easy drinking brew with a more bready/cracker taste that has a moderate hop hit. For the lower abv. this is pretty damn good.

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Photo of IronLover
3.82/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Golden yellow in color with a light haze that slowly clears leaving perfect clarity. Poured with a voluminous, soapy, bright white foam with good retention as the carbonation never stopped racing from the bottom of the glass to the top. Fresh, earthy and over-ripe citrus hop aromas with sweet malty and bready aromas beneath. Medium light bodied with aggressive, yet soft, carbonation with a light creamy smoothness. Minty and herbal hop aromas slowly emerge with light maltiness. Subdued, medium, piney hop bitterness through the middle followed light citrus flavors. Mint and herbal flavors return along with light malt notes toward the end. Finished with earthy and minty hop and malt flavors followed by mellow hop bitterness that slowly fades. Nicely balanced with solid malt character, although light, with pleasant hop character. Hop character is fresh with nice complexity. Hop aroma was similar to sinking your nose into a newly opened hop pellet packet. I’m not a fan of session IPAs and this by far one of the best I’ve had. Light, fresh, tasty, great appearance and easy drinking.

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Photo of Billolick
3.79/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can ...pkgd 013018 on the bottom

Lighter near golden pour and lightly hazed. Leaves ample fine and wispy lacing.

A bit of resiny hops on the nose

Light and lime infused, with more hop resins coming to mind. Decent little brew....worth a try, but nothing overly special going on here.

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Photo of dcall384
1.65/5  rDev -53.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This beer was just not good. It tasted like when you throw up in your mouth. There was just a lot of off flavor in it i didn't care for. i actually poured it out, which is rare for me. I love sierra nevada beer, but this was a miss for me.

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Photo of hreb
3.14/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz can packaged 011018 and served in a can glass. Like the other IPAs in this 12 pack, this is surprisingly hazy for SN, and pale yellow in color, with moderate white foam. Mild aroma -- very mild even -- of fresh cut grass. Sharp carbonation and astringency make for not the most "session" IPA for my palate, but it is quite light bodied and pretty low ABV. I do get a distinct lemon flavor from these hops, perhaps like bitter lemon soda. I think the format of this beer lends itself best to showcasing the subtle complexities of the hops used here. But a. I don't think the lemon flavor is all that, and b. the end result is definitely not what I want out of session IPA. Drinkable, but so far this is definitely the low light of the box.

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Photo of zeff80
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can. Poured out a clear, golden yellow with a fizzy, white head of foam. It smelled of citrus and lightly toasted bread. Sweet caramel and orange flavor. Very light bitterness.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.77/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Clean straw golden, with a huge head of white foam and intensely lovely lacing.

Aroma: Brisk fruity citrus and floral. Very bright and lovely.

Taste: Clean and bitter grapefruit and floral hops, in a light body. A decent session IPA.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
3.98/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

look - great light yellow/golden color with a big sticky lasting white head
smell - herbal, lemon and dried coconuts
taste - very different, herbal lemon
feel - medium body with a crisp but light carbonation that has a lasting tingle
overall - very different but enjoyable

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Photo of GrandpaGeorge
3.1/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased the 12 can (3x each) sample pack of the Experimental Hop Series. This was my least favorite of the four, but it was pretty good for what it was. The color was a bit off-putting, a somewhat pale yellow-green in the glass with an off-white head to match. The smell was grassy--perhaps lemon grass--with a flavor profile that was too subtle to really be called "tasty." It wasn't bad, but I'd definitely opt for one of the other varieties in the collection, given the choice. That said, who can go wrong with experiments that involve beer? ;)

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Photo of woodychandler
3.54/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Happy Hoppy New Easter April Beer Fools' Sunday (Week 684)! Between hops & wanting to make a fool out of myself, this seems like the perfect way to spend the day. I am off tomorrow as part of an amended Spring Break (Good Friday & tomorrow, but not Maundy Thursday), so I feel like I have been given an imbiber's green light. Even better is the opportunity to further The CANQuest (tm), which has now become an impossibility - new & limited-release CANs hit the market EVERY day (or so it seems). I am not giving up, but CANversely, I know that I am missing out. C'est la guerre & I do not suffer from FOMO, mofos, since I have more than enough to keep me satiated for a LONG time. Onward!

From the CAN: "Family Owned, Operated & Argued Over"; "Experimental hops offer exciting new flavors"; "Please recycle".

I CAN't justify it, but I performed my first CRack! & inverted Glug in a while with this one. Boredom? Curiosity? Who CAN say? It quickly formed just under two fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, bone-white head with good retention, leaving nice lacing in its wake. Color was an oh-so-slightly-hazy Yellow-Gold (SRM = 4 - 5). Nose had a pronounced lemony quality underlain by a biscuity maltiness & a light herbal tea-like smell. Hmm. Mouthfeel was on the thin side, not watery, but not far removed from it, either. The taste was lemony & biscuity, but I did not get the tea/herbal quality that I perceived on the nose. That is one of my bugaboos with Session AIPAs being lumped in with all other AIPAs - they rarely match nose to taste & leave me unfulfilled as a result. Also, I was not tasting a lot of difference between this one and the earlier Experimental Hop Pilsner, which was baffling. Same hops in each? Hmm. Finish was semi-dry, but not really what I would characterize as within style guidelines. I did not get much bitterness & the hops just were not doing it for me in this brew.

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Photo of Beaver13
2.24/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz can. Pours slightly hazy straw yellow with a big rocky white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet perfumey bready malts with a little fruit and some stinky resiny hops.

The flavor is sweet bready malts with some metallic resiny onion hops and a little fruit. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty watery.

Overall, not that good.

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Photo of teromous
3.05/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From the bottom of the can: "PKGD 010518C15:13"

Appearance: The body is a light gold color with a light bit of haze. There isn't much of a head; it has this short white film that barely covers the surface. Surprisingly the thin layer of what might be considered a head actually has decent retention. It leave some spotty lacing where it manages to meet the edge of the glass.

Aroma: It has an aroma of garlic, onions, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. In short it has a very savory aroma.

Taste: It has a short spark of flavor which tastes like mango. There is a bit of a fresh grain flavor that is a flash in a pan. Most of the flavor pops up within the first few seconds of sipping the beer and then sharply falls off leaving just a bitter feeling mixed with carbonation and the cold temperature of the beer. Bearing in mind this is not a traditional IPA but rather a Session IPA, it feels about average.

Mouthfeel: It has pretty good bitterness which does a good job of making up for the lack of flavor.

Overall: It is a pretty lackluster beer overall. It floats in that realm of "average even for a Session IPA." The beer just leaves you wanting more aroma, more flavor, more everything in general. I would probably drink one at a gathering and then move on to something else.

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Photo of Beejay
3.64/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: A pale yellow in color with a slightly off white head.

S: Grapefruit, lemon, and a touch of pine.

T: Light with grapefruit and a bit of a fruit/berry flavor in the finish. A touch on the watery side, but the hops are nice.

M: Light in body with fairly aggressive carbonation.

O: Overall pretty good, a touch watery, but drinkable. A little boring, but refreshing, and I can see these being a pretty good session brew.

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Photo of NickSMpls
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Light golden pour, faintly hazy, compact head. Faintly floral aroma. The beer has definitely been brewed as a session beer; no mistaking it for a hop-bomb of a NWIPA. That said, it's not going to be mistaken by anyone as an AAL. Hop-forward, not much of malt, no sweetness. We get a hint of astringency on the aftertaste. Well made. Probably would be better on a hot summer afternoon, sitting on yhe porch in the shade.

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Photo of Apellonious
3.61/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can poured into an IPA glass, a clear golden orange with a three finger fluffy white head that retains for a good portion of the glass. The aroma is an initial blast of dank that seems to turn into nothing, until it is replaced by a lemony pine smell. The taste is as described (lemon, herbs), though I don't pick up much coconut, over a light break/cracker taste. The mouthfeel is light and in line with the style, carbonation is medium low. Overall, for those that like a light lemony session IPA this may do the trick. It's definitely drinkable, but to me, better suited for the hot summer months.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.77/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this on 2018-03-03 in Bolingbrook, IL from a 12oz canned on 2018-01-05.

A - Pretty clear straw yellow with a 1.5-finger head and moderate lace.

S - Grapefruit, mango, pine, perfumy floral

T - GLemon-lime, pineapple, pine and light coconut, cracker, herbal spice. Mildly bitter.

M - Light body and medium carbonation. Dry

O - A well done Session IPA that isn't too bitter but could use a bit more malt for my tastes, but I'd have it again.

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Photo of Spikester
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Barely hazed pale gold with three fingers of bone color head. Curtain of fine bubble lace forms as head slowly descends.
Smell is dank resinous hops with a touch of sweet malt.
Taste is dank bitter hops with a slight malt backbone.
Mouthfeel is thin with good carbonation. The finish is dry and medium bitter.
Overall a nice session IPA.

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Photo of Squire
4/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Light clear gold color with white cap.

Aroma of light citrus, spicy, resinous hops with a touch of coconut resting on a solid malt foundation.

Taste on entry is both malt and hop forward in about equal proportion. The spicy, citrusy, piney hops sing in unison with rich malt carrying the base parts. It presents and continues as an harmonious whole with everything working well together in a beautiful blend of concordant parts. The malt presence is particularly noted because that's often lacking in some Session IPAs. A Session IPA that comes across as a ramped up Pale Ale, this one's a real beauty backed by genuine talent.

Medium texture with balancing carbonation.

This is a cuddly little teddy bear of a beer. Very friendly, very approachable, very enjoyable. Much better in all categories than any other Session IPA I've had.

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Photo of Suds
3.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This brew is yellow-gold in color, mostly clear, with just a hint of haze. The head is tall, white, and clingy. The aroma is a bit earthy, with some floral hop notes. There is a little citrus, some peel and pith. The hop bitterness is intense and sharp. Malt is distant. The body is firm and it has a lingering bitter hop finish.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this on Monday, took the dog out to the river on my afternoon off, smoked a j, had this road soda going for me. Pours a light straw yellow kind of pour but still with 1/2" of white head and lots of clarity. Aroma was different, had a lemon lime kind of Neo-Mexicanus hop impact. Was legit wondering if I could tell a cop that it was a can of Sierra Mist if confronted.

Taste is similar, much like the pilsner one, this does seem like a hop more geared to lighter malt profiles like these. I got absolutely no coconut from the beer, I dunno who thought this experimental hop leaves those notes, but it was absolutely void of any such nonsense. I think its a good fit for a session beer. I've had 2 of the 4 in the variety pack, and I would definitely give a 6pack a chance should they go in that direction, I hope they do.

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Photo of CTHomer
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: crystal clear; pale gold in color; 1+ finger ivory head that receded to a thin cap; very nice lacing;

S: dank, herbal;

T: not especially flavorful; there's lemon and grass; mild bitterness on the finish;

M: light to medium bodied; moderate carbonation; lightly dry finish;

O: not a big fan of the flavor;

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Photo of kojevergas
2.9/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Initial impression from a can:


02/23/18 2nd impression:

Floral and grassy, hinting towards lime-like dry citrus. Somewhat refreshing with a fairly soft body and a smooth wet mouthfeel. Crisply carbonated. 2-row lends this its light/pale malt backbone.

Lacks hop pungency, depth of flavour, complexity, and hop flavour. I can't say I don't like it, but it leaves a lot to be desired and the hop profile is underwhelming. Frankly, I'd prefer Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale - which has more hop flavour and pungency and isn't posturing under this "session IPA" marketing gimmickry. Let's call a spade a spade; this is a pale ale - and barely an average one at that.


06/28/18 impression from a can included in the Southern Hemisphere hop pack:

Yogurt, guava, coconut...and I'd almost bet on milk sugar given the sweetness in play here.


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Experimental Hop Session IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 104 ratings