30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

661 Reviews
30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by bigbelcher on 03-13-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 661 | Ratings: 995
Photo of SkeeterBoganski
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 750ml cork and cage...poured in to a snifter.

A - deep black with some brown head finish; significant lacing, retention

S - dark chocolate; dark coffee; fig or raisin; toasted malt

T - very chocolaty; roasted coffee; slightly sweet in the vein of the aforementioned fruits; a bit of vanilla and caramel; the coffee keeps coming through; maybe burnt cocoa

M - pleasant carbonation; sticky and kind of dank; plenty of richness; smooth; a little alcohol burn on the backend

O - this was a real pleasant surprise...at $9.99, I bought three and glad I did; this is a really tasty stout that doesn't try too hard; it's got some bourbon-flavored stout balance with the right amount of hoppy goodness. Good stuff.

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Photo of Beerandboards
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

From a 750ml cork and cage

A - Very dark black. Pour down the middle produces a good amount of light brown head that retains for a long time. Lacing down the glass. Pretty good looking glass of beer.

S - Baker's chocolate, some dark fruit dates figs type smell, toasty malts, getting some baked goods, graham cracker type notes

T - Really hits all my personal favorite points. The beer is ~2.5yrs old, I never had the opportunity to have it fresh, but right now its drinking very very nice. Leads with a light, almost milk chocolate taste, there is some bitterness that starts in mid way with the malty and roast notes coming in, definitely a sort of graham cracker type flavor in there. Finish is bitter bakers chocolate that lingers for quite a while.

M - I only wish it were a little thicker. Being new to aged beers, I dont know if this is to be expected, but, either way, its a very minor complaint. Viscous, coating mouth feel. Silky smooth.

O - This one is very very good. Definitely got me obsessed with aging stouts. Like I said above, I'm new to this game, but I dont know that this one is going to get much better. My only regret is that I dont know what it was like fresh. The guys at SN are absolute pros and this is an absolute home run. If you run across one, consider yourself lucky and drink it now. Awesome beer.

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Photo of PDXHops
4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I would have sworn I'd reviewed this stuff fresh. Oh, well... 750 ml cork-and-cage bottle poured into an Olde Hickory glass. Sizeable tan head with incredibly tenacious retention. Plentiful soapy lacing as well. Dark and lovely down below.

Smells of berries, figs, roasted and burnt malts with hints of smoke and soap. I caught myself kinda wondering if this stuff was gonna be a bit on the awkward side, but one sip made me a believer. (And of course now I'm kicking myself for not grabbing more while I had a chance; I've only got one bottle left after this one.) There's a smoke-and-leather thing going on here that reminds me a lot of HOTD Adam, which happens to be my favorite beer. Add a lush, velvety feel and you've got a winner on your hands. Great balance of roast/burnt malts, bitter chocolate, moderate sweetness and dark fruits with the smoky/leathery combo tying it altogether. Pleasantly warming. Interestingly, I recall having an impression of this stuff fresh as something along the lines of "nice big roasty stout, pretty straightforward", but it's cellared into something quite interesting. Very nice indeed.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle pours a rich black color with a tight-bubbled, light brown head. Pretty decent retention and lacing, especially considering the age.

Roasty malts mingle with dark fruit galore, some tootsie rolls and...what IS that? Damn...A-HAA, smells exactly like a Fig Newton!

Taste is really mellow and the Fig Newton influence carries into the taste along with some black licorice and brown sugar. The malts are a nice blend of roast and dark chocolate. It still has a minty hop presence that has lessened tremendously, I prefer it like this as opposed to fresh, I thought it was too bitter when released. I cant get over how smooth the beer drinks at this point, I also cant believe this is already 2 and a half years old. Excellent beer and I am glad I put these away for awhile, much better now than fresh for my palate anyways. I only have one more of these <sad face>.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

cork pop pours dark thick chocolate with cocoa head. light retention. some nice body.

sweet vanilla, hints of bourbon, light sweet roasted malt, and booze.

very vanilla forward with a subtle bourbon (even though it's not BA), char roasted malt and sweet fruit in the back. light molasses and licorice.

for a 9.2% stout, thick chewy body, mild to moderare carbonation.

for 2.5 years old, and 9.2%, this has aged magnificently.

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Photo of warnerry
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Big pop as the cork comes off.

A - Pours pretty much pitch black with almost two fingers of creamy brown head. Head has excellent retention and maintains a thin cap throughout.

S - Even after two and a half years, there are still some piney hops in the aroma, along with some milk chocolate and quite a bit of cocoa. Prominent roasted malts with just a touch of char.

T - Nice chocolate malt taste, with a lot of milk chocolate to go with the cocoa taste, complimented by some faint pine and grapefruit hops. Surprised the hops have held on this long. I did have this fresh a couple of times, and I don't remember it being exceptionally hoppy, so surprising that the hops have lingered this long. Also some vanilla and coffee, but chocolate is clearly stealing the show here.

M - Medium/full mouthfeel, but definitely not heavy. Mostly dry.

O - This has been a very enjoyable stout throughout the first two and a half years after bottling. At this point, it is very easy drinking, with a little hop bitterness to compliment the malty base. Not sure how much longer this will hang on, but it is drinking very well right now.

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Photo of davey101
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into DFH signature glass at room temperature. Julian date puts it at February 22, 2010. Nearly two and a half years old. These nitrogenated SN bottles still freak me out whenever I open them, massive champagne style pop.

A - Pours a pitch black body with a massive fluffy three finger high light mocha head. Settles down to a thin cap with edging. Great lacing and retention.

S - Despite its age, the hops are still present. Piney and light grapefruit work off of some roasty and charred malts along with milk chocolate and coffee beans. Excellent aroma.

T - Starts off with some fading piney hops mixed with milk chocolate. Light layers of cocoa powder, sweet vanilla, liquorice, roasted malts, and some coffee. The finish is slightly bitter and charred. Its complex and interesting, yet at the same time simple and approachable.

M - Medium to light bodied. Probably a touch thin for the style, but it carries the flavors well. Ample carbonation which helps.

O - A delicious stout that has held up very well over the last two years. Its not barrel aged or over the top, just a very simple and tasty stout which is starting to lose the hop bite that SN is so well known for.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 25oz high-shouldered brown bottle, corked and caged, with classy label. Cage says 2010; didn't know I'd had it that long. Split with my wife into two Chimay chalices.

Appearance: This pours a pitch black hue, capped with a substantial, thick mocha cap with really nice retention.

Smell: Dark and rich, with a bit of chocolate, lots of dark fruit and molasses, and just a hint of booze. Robust and pleasant, though I'd like a bit more roast.

Taste: Big, bold mix of roast (that I was missing in the aroma), fruity/earthy hops, and a bit of booze. This isn't hot, but it's fair to say that it tastes like 9.2% abv. Lots of dry chocolate malt, a bit of burnt malt, and some dark fruit.

Mouthfeel: Rich and full, quite nice.

Conclusion: After two plus years in the bottle, in admittely not perfect storage conditions, this is quite nice. I generally prefer English-style RISs to their American Double/Imperial couterparts, with a few exceptions. This is one of them. At around $10-12 for the 25oz bottle, this is one that I'd pick up again if it were ever available. Nicely done!


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Photo of MatthewWilde
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sample: 1 bottle 2010

A: Pitch black, pours a strong dark brown head, moderate internal carbonation, not translucent

S: Strong fragrance, heavy espresso, roasted malt, apparent elements of chocolate and even chicory, touch of alcohol

T: Heavy flavor, similar to the nose, strong roasted malt, cocoa powder coffee bean, bit of an alcohol taste but no burn, aging has definitely helped this along

M: Incredibly smooth and quite drinkable even given its style and abv, only slightly drying on the palate, moderate espresso afetrtaste

O: A complex and very powerful stout, definitely worth a try, could certainly be aged for five or more years

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Photo of bishopdc0
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Popped this bottle for my sisters annuversery.

Shared with multiple people. I poured into my cantillion tulip.

the beer is dark black with a huge tan head. the head clings to the glass leaving thick laces up the side.

The nose is wonderful spicy chocolate creamy if it didnt taste so good i would just keep smelling.

The taste is well wonderful. Pulled this from my cellar at 55 degrees. Temp is perfect. Starts spiced from hops and the creamy chocolate comes in. At no point did i think this beer was too sweet and it is far from a dessert beer. The chocolate malts dry the tongue and leave a lingering bitter that is smooth and never harsh. very nice.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle served into a globe glass

Pours a deep cola-brown color. It's pretty near black, with some brown-red tinges to the very edges of the body. Nearly a full finger of lion's pelt colored head.

The aroma is quite earthy at this point in the beer's aging process. Silt and sand and button mushrooms. Lots of black malts, but not really any roast to speak of. There's a bit of a vinous quality to the nose: dark cherries, mostly. Lots of top notes to the nose, but not much depth.

The flavor of the beer is quite a bit better than the nose. Black malts like dark chocolate ganache all over the place. Heavy anise flavor, too. Some coffee and some remnants of green hop flavors. The dark cherries from the nose make an appearance towards the midpalate, and the beer finishes flush with dark red fruit and coffee roast.

The beer has a pleasing, sweet slickness in the mouth. The body feels a bit light at first, but it is pretty solidly on the heavy side of medium-bodied. It's probably thinned out from aging.

Overall, this is a good imperial stout. Not great, but well-executed, tasty, and not samey tasting like a lot of impy stouts can be.

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Photo of mintjellie
4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with two fingers of dense tan head. The head is lacy and very retentive - this is a damned near perfect looking beer. There's a notable vinous note to it's aroma that reminds a little of port wine, and it goes well with the roastier chocolate/coffee notes and more delicate fig and brown sugar tones.

Bittersweet up front with a pleasant coffee flavour that doesn't come across as heavily roasted, with fruitier undertones of raisin and dried cherry. Char only really shows in the finish. Medium to full-bodied and finely carbonated - feels smooth and velvety in the mouth, but a bit more weight wouldn't harm it.

This is a delicious stout with a very pleasant estery flavours and relatively light roast flavours for the style. It's flavourful and very approachable. I also wonder if aging had something to contribute to that wine-like quality the aroma has.

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Photo of tewaris
3.11/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sierra Nevada's 30th anniversary Imperial Stout. ~2 years old at this point. C&C 750 poured into a snifter.

Dark but not black hole dark; good dark brown head with good retention. Aroma has plenty of sweetness, dark fruit, roast and anise. Tastes sub par with medicinal notes; some roast is present. Medium body, medium carbonation. Overall just an Imperial Stout with nothing too compelling about it.

4.5, 3.5, 2.5, 4, 3

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Photo of Steasy66
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber into snifter
A- Nearly jet back, very thin dark head
S- Anise, wood, roast
T- Big anise flavor, lacking in malt/roast
M- Really thin for an IS, low carbonation
O- I didn't mind this beer. Its not much of an IS, but I really liked the strong anise flavor/aroma. If you don't like anise, there isn't much here for you.

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Photo of abrand
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cage and corked bottle poured into snifter.

Pours jet black with no visibility and a 2 finger tan head that fades quickly. Smells of roasted malts and chocolate. Some sweetness but dominated with roast. Nice smelling beer. Taste is spot on and very smooth for the big abv. Lots of roasted coffee and sweet sugars. Very thick on the tongue. Overall this is great. A very good collaboration.

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Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Perfectly opaque black with a tan and thickly creamy head. Beautifully long-lasting lacing.

Dark French-roast coffee, sweet toffee candies, vanilla, and a sweetly alcoholic background with tons of delicious roasty notes.

Initial roasted barley bitterness with sweet toffee and a subtle vanilla background. There is a bit of alcoholic sharpness on the tongue, but strangely enough, no burn.

Full-bodied and viscous, with a lasting sensation of a rich essential oil coating on the tongue.

Forgive this terrible review — I'd just written a well thought-out and thorough bit about this amazing beer, but have somehow managed to convince Firefox that I wanted to go back a page.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review from 7/2011 notes. One year old properly cellared bottle. Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a very deep brown, appearing black. massive thick light brown head and lacing. Aroma of smoky and roasted malts, vanilla, coffee. Very smoky malts with molasses, roasted malt and vanilla, a malt and strong coffee finish. Smooth and now more balanced than the original fresh review last year. The hops have faded, and the coffee finish is more predominant. A very tasty imperial stout that has aged well. Review from 7/2011 notes.

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Photo of Merkur
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours a dark black with a good amount of brown head. About two fingers worth.

Beer smells very strongly of dark chocolate and roasted coffee.

Beer tastes very strong of the same elements in the nose. Fairly malty with a very strong boozy aftertaste during the first sip. The booziness seems to go away as you sip it and the flavors open up as it warms.

Beer is the right mouthfeel. Not too thin and not too thick.

Very enjoyable imperial stout.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black glass holds a dirty halo with spotty coverage.

Smell: Dark, rich roasted barley, vinous red wine, mild oak barrel tobacco. Grown up, somewhat sophisticated.

Taste: Stout, meet Barleywine. Double Imperial? Triple Imperial! They didn't skimp on the malt bill, this has serious depth with a full almost overpowering flavor. I've aged mine out, and I think I note the beginnings of some souring which I don't care for, but are just a side note in a very complete taste.

Mouthfeel: Little oily, a loud report when the cork gave way showed off a full, but far from fizzy carbonation.

Overall: A celebration beer, and a well earned celebration. Cheers to Sierra Nevada, looking forward to XL and beyond. Cheers to Anchor and Fritz Maytag!

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Photo of TheHoppiest
4.82/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a goblet. Was gifted this by a good friend and am quite eager to see how it stacks up against their 30th Anniversary Black Barleywine.

Pours a very, very dark brown, almost black, with a 3/4" tan head comprised of very tight tiny bubbles that oh-so-slowly reduces to a creamy looking lid with mild lacing down the sides.

Baker's chocolate, dark coffee, alcohol, and molasses first greet the nose. Hints of vanilla, dark fruit (cherry?) and figs are present as well. Smells quite rich, like a sweet dessert.

Tastes very nice, with dark roasted coffee, chocolate nibs, dark cherry, a malty middle, and creamy vanilla. There's a bitter chocolate taste that gives way to a hop bitterness as it finishes, with alcohol vapors wafting up the nose and down the throat.

Very thick in the mouthfeel, creamy up front, with a dry boozy finish that borders on chalky but never crosses it.

An excellent stiout that I'm sure has benefited from the aging it already has undergone. I have one more in the basement that I may give another year or two to see how it does. Thank you Jason for this awesome brew, Cheers!

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An enormous, glistening, chestnut head forms a dense mousse over a dark, black beer. The head seems to be in it for the duration, depositing big patches of lace and syrupy film on the tulip glass.

Molasses, fresh wheat bread and chocolate nibs play well with deep roasted malt and coffee beans. After some contemplation, sweet orange citrus plays a counter-balance.

Elements of the aroma are enhanced by a rich, full roasted malt. An initial, quick, bold finish is replaced by a subtle balance between sweet and bitter flavors. There are lots of underlying nuances to be explored in this Anniversary Ale.

A full body with velvety, smooth texture and soft carbonation, this one ultimately turns dry with a lightly warming alcohol. A great experience.

Best for sipping but tempts one as a thirst quencher. I was just as happy to finish the bomber with dinner.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

definitely an elite stout that has benefited from some time in the cellar. same as all of this series. pours a rich milk chocolatey color with a small tan head. heavy nose of alcohol, chocolate, and coffee beans fresh ground. flavor is very roasty, evolving into a nice semisweet chocolate tone with a mild bitter coffee/dry hopped type finish. mouthfeel is nice, just right for this beer. not super bubbly, but not syrupy and heavy like a lot of big stouts can be. this was a lovely bottle of beer, and one of the more well balanced big stouts ive had. bravo, this whole series was gold

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Photo of TCHopCraver
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review is from notes made on 3/27/11.

I poured 1/2 of the big bottle into a large snifter, resulting in a fluffy, 2-3 chocolate milk-colored head. The body is just about pitch-black with just a slight brownish tint around the edges. The lacing looks like a descending firework and is pretty sticky.

The smell contains a roasty character with dark chocolate undertones. It borders on a smoky, charred meat smell. Frankly, it makes me want some barbecued pork to go along with it. When swirled, the smell is more milk chocolate, with the roast and smoke more the background. Notes of vanilla and caramel are also present.

The taste presents a roasty twang upfront and on the sides of my palate. This is enhanced by a hop presence, although the bottle is close to a year old, so I'm not positive about that. The roasty twang then transitions to a fairly sweet milk chocolate and caramel flavor on my tongue. The finish is relatively dry, roasty, and hoppy.

The mouthfeel is just a hair short of awesome. There is quite the bite on my palate from the roasty/hoppy combination and the beer is fairly creamy, but it is just a tad light for the ideal of the style.

If this wasn't a one-timer, I would look for it again. I find it to be very tasty, and while it isn't upper echelon, it is very good. Quite easily quaffable.

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled at the 2010 Stout tasting in a Orval Chalice.

750ml limited release corked & caged bottle.

Pours an inky black with a small very brown head. It's got a strong malty nose.

Taste is really nice & smooth, easy drinking and has a slightly chalky finish but still quite mild and easy drinking.

1/22/2012 re-review

This is now two years old, curious to see how its aged. 750ml corked & caged bottle poured into an 8oz mini-nonic glass.

Pours a very dark black color with a small very creamy, fine chocolate milk colored head. Nose is a bit sweet, light roast coffee or dark chocolate, mellow and nice.

Taste is still very strong and sharp, the 9.2% abv is still there but fairly well balanced with dark slightly astringent maltiness, roast/burnt flavors come along with a surprisingly thin and light body, sharp carbonation. Finish is like dry dark chocolate.

This has held up well over the past couple years.

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. I think this is almost two years old now, but I can't remember when it came out.

Appearance: Typical beautiful SN look. Opaque black, thick medium brown head that leaves some nice lacing in my snifter.

Smell: Very roasty with leathery notes. Bitter espresso more than chocolate. Herbal, grassy hops notes are still there.

Taste: Big on the roasty bitterness, without being astringent. Espresso beans and woody, charcoalish roast. Some sweetness and chocolate in the background attempts to balance, but roast wins, by a long way. Almost too much roasty bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium with a soft creaminess. Very good.

Overall: I can't remeber what this was like fresh, but this is pretty damn good now. Definitely strong on the roast. A very assertive, tasty stout.

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30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.21 out of 5 based on 995 ratings.
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