Sleight Of Hand - Beer Camp #94 | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sleight Of Hand - Beer Camp #94Sleight Of Hand - Beer Camp #94

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

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Dark Belgian IPA. AKA - Sleight Of Hand

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-11-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 125 | Ratings: 511
Photo of mooseisloose
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This brew is part of an unexpected 12 pack that was happened upon in TW. SN is always way above the curve so this immediately went into the basket. Popping the top induces a great balance of halt and hops that rivals any prescribed imbibement. On the pour this brew,(sorry I already drank some) is a wickedly dark liquid with a tan head that is more structural than a honeycomb. Taste is without a doubt a thick and robust concoction, as the head locks into the SAPP and never retreats. This brew is way in the realm of an IPA,albeit a bit sweeter than most but the head is way more than incredible, is this some kind of new foam? Tasty none the less.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This years beer camps are good as before. I really loved the red ale. This black is good as well, but not to the same extreme.

It pours with beautiful head and lace. The aroma is strong. Pine and roast are both in the smell.

The taste goes a long way. It is a complex mix of too many things. Loads of fun trying to figure what all is going on - bitter, roast, pine, it's all over the place. The aftertaste lingers nice and bitter.

If I can find any more of this year's I will buy a couple, but mostly because of the red ale.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.87/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have no idea what is "Belgian style" about a Black IPA, but okay...

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with fun label art and branded pry-off pressure cap acquired as part of a Sierra Nevada beer camp variety 12-pack at Wheatsville Co-Op and served into an Independence Brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are average given the brewery. Reviewed as a Black IPA because it clearly identifies as such. 2013 vintage. 7.7% ABV confirmed per the label.

Nowhere does the label say "Sleight of Hand," but I believe this discrepancy on the site is due to the scheduling of the beer camp releases; Black IPA sounds more marketable than the less descript "Sleight of Hand."

Served cold, straight from me fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a four finger wide head of khaki-tan colour. Nice creaminess and thickness; decent frothiness. Head retention is good - about 7-8 minutes. Has a nice soft complexion. Decent consistent lacing clings to the sides of the glass when I tilt it.

Body colour is a predictable opaque black; not quite a jet black. No yeast particles are visible. Appears adequately carbonated.

Overall, it's pretty standard fare for the style, but the head retention is nice. Not unique or special. No obvious flaws are noticeable.

Sm: Dreadful caramel, molasses, and vinous malts. No real roasty presence. Dark malts, chocolate malts, a hint of stale cocoa dust. Cream. Floral hop character, pine needles, evergreen, and noticeable earthiness along with some fennel/anise. Pine is dominant. Unwelcome spearmint. It's a striking aroma, but I don't know that it's a good one; I fear the "Black" aspect of the beer is clashing with the IPA aspect. An inoffensive aroma of moderate strength.

No yeast character or alcohol is detectable.

T: Awful spearmint. Aggressive pine needles/evergreen. Earthy tree bark. Anise. Fennel. Licorice. Burnt caramel. Has some charred character. Plenty of bitterness - but more from the earthy anise than from the hops. Floral hop character is submissive to the pine. I'd love some roast, but no dice. Dark malts. Generic chocolate malts. I do like the slight cream on the finish.

Not much balance here. It has a loose cohesion, but the notes from either "side" of the Black IPA style frequently clash here. Not much subtlety either. Very limited complexity. Not a gestalt beer. Note layering is average.

Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

Mf: More smooth than coarse, more wet than dry. A biteen sticky. Chewy. Decent thickness and body. Complements the flavour profile decently. A biteen overcarbonated. Nice presence on the palate for what it is. Doesn't feel custom-tailored to the flavour profile, but it suits it in a very general sense.

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

Dr: A drinkable Black IPA that falls prey to the key mistake of the style - a lack of balance. This needs some work to warrant a second purchase; I wouldn't get it again. I'm not a huge fan, but it's passable. More pedestrian work from Sierra Nevada. Not recommended, but it'll draw its fans. If you're not big on anise/fennel/licorice, I'd caution against trying this one. Hides its ABV okay.


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Photo of CSFerrier
4.37/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first actual beer review, I've done several ratings but no actual reviews.

The Black IPA is deliciously thick and smoky. It's not overly hopped and it's smoky flavoring adds a smooth and bonus extra to this IPA.

The head is thick and long lasting on the glass.

The named does it justice, even when held to the lite window its as black as an anomaly. It really is a gorgeous beer in a sniffer.

Overall, I wish this wasn't limited.

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Photo of ocelot2500
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ebony color with a big, tan head that leaves bug chunks of lacing.

Smells of yeasty notes along with a bit roasted notes.

Tastes of bigger roasted notes with some yeast and hop support. Leads off with a wave of roasted notes with tobacco, burnt coffee, molasses, and roasted bitterness. This then gives way to a bit of dark fruits along with some clove and banana like flavors. An earthy bitterness arrives next and sticks around along with a bit of pine. This combined with the roasted bitterness linger through the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, I like this, but the roasted notes are deep and burnt, which may not be for everyone.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: A thick, viscose dark cola pour yields a monstrous 3+ inch dark khaki, dense foam head. The coloring is midnight black in the vessel with a moderatedly paced rise of effervesce creeping up along the glass walls. The head decays to a soapy appearence, with large cavenous voids and pockets along the sides of the glass . Head potential is lasting with tons of soapy foam deposits sticking well behind of generous coverage.

S: The nose yields a quick flash of sweet, rich chocolate, soil and tree bark earthiness, dried cola all of moderate strength.

T: The flavor was rich with a hearthy roastiness, softly charred nature, dark, moderately bitter with some doughy yeastiness. Bittering earthiness, cola, dried dark fruit of dates, earthy smoked vegetative and tobacco, with some lightly smoked pine wood. Bittering anise on the finish, burnt pine needles, with some lemony-caraway spicing and a light background of fruitiness.

M: Mouthful was doughy, chewy, full bodied with a great viscosity that was lightly carbonated. Bittering warmth on the inner cheeks.

O: Overall some good doughy yeast quality meets an earthy bitterness and roasty appeal to give this a woodsy, old camp feel. Smooth drinking, dark, roasty flavor that has its moments.

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Photo of MacQ32
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

A - Pours a deep, dark, near black with a tint of mahogany with a full 2 fingers of light chocolate colored head. Retention and lacing are both fantastic.

S - Sweet chocolate malts, earthy hops, and tons of banana/clove/ belgian yeasty type aromas.

T - Nice dry earthy and grapefruit like hops and roasty malts initially, a very candied sugar type flavor kicks in with clove flavors which are followed by a dry earthy/resinous hoppyness at the finish which lingers through the aftertaste. The finish is pretty impressive IMO. Big belgian nose, minimally belgian taste.

M - Wow, incredibly smooth. The bitterness gives the illusion of carbonation but its incredibly smooth on my tongue. Medium bodied, almost an easy enough of a drinker to call an easy drinker. Really impressed here.

O - Wow - I'm totally surprised by how much im enjoying this. Balance and transition of flavors could be a little better but otherwise this is a fantastic beer.

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Photo of srhoadsy
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served chilled into a fluted tulip.

Pours dark black with half an inch of dark tan head that quickly recedes leaving light surface layer and lacing.

Aromas of pine and grapefruit with a hint of coffee.

Strong flavors from the dark malts; coffee, bittersweet chocolate and a hint of smoke. Hops follow through with grapefruit and pine.

Medium bodied with a fairly dry finish. Moderate carbonation and a lingering aftertaste.

This is an interesting one. I enjoyed it very much, but if the hops were a little more subdued, I would almost classify it as a Baltic porter from the influence of the roasted malts. Would like to try again.

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Photo of Mojo
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle -> World Market tulip glass

A - obsidian black pour with generous overflowing khaki colored head, great retention, and great lacing.

S - pine, grass, and bread are the dominant notes

T - roasted malt with caramel notes with a finish that is a combination of cola, chickory, and black licorice.

M - thick and chewy, load of carbonation, some aftertaste.

O - This may be the best of this years beer camp.

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Photo of ElijahRivera
3.49/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass and consumed on October 1st, 2013.

A- As black and opaque as any beer I've ever seen. Huge showy, creamy, tan head that actually glistens in the relatively low light. Had a lot of staying power at first, but died down to about one finger after several minutes leaving a very tight lacing pattern. There are some visible carbonation bubbles clinging to the bottom of the glass, but no rising carbonation is visible. Really impressed by the appearance of this beer.

S- Very yeasty aromas that commonly go along with a lot of Belgian styles. Dark stone fruit and burnt candy sugar accompany a modest floral hop aroma. Also, a slight roasted barley aroma.

T- The dark, bitter roasted barley is a lot more pronounced in the flavor. The hops come through, but not as much as the the bittersweet malts. There is also a strange flavor that I can't identify, and I am leaning toward not liking it. I think it is the way the Belgian style yeast is manifesting itself in the flavor. According to the bottle, it is probably the interaction between the hops and the yeast flavors. Somehow, for me, it works better in the aroma than on the palate. I appreciate the balance in the beer as no single flavor dominates another. They all are mostly melded together except for the prominent dry fruity finish. It is possible this would have tasted better a bit fresher. There is no freshness date on the bottle, however, it can only be a few months old at most, because it is a summer release. There is also a bit of a coffee flavor in the retro-olfaction.

M- Mid bodied with low soft carbonation. Leaves a slightly bitter and almost medicinal and astringent sensation in the aftertaste.

O- As I drank and the beer warmed, I warmed up to the beer a bit. But something about it still seemed off and unappealing. Not horrible by a long shot, and still better than what I would categorize as an average beer. However, if I were able to purchase this beer again, I probably wouldn't. Also, I paid about $26 for the 12 beer camp 12 pack. At that price, I'd have to say it wasn't worth the money. I can get variety packs that I enjoy more for less dough than that.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.99/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Beer Camp! Here we go...

Pours a soft black with a firm holding of tan foam. Laces like a motherf***er. Has that jiggly creamy consistency when you shake the glass. Prime.

Creamy/buttery esters that cross orange-y sweet, apricot jam, and honey with perculator coffee, dark roasty grain, and earthy hops. IPA takes a backseat in the nose for its most memorable ingredient. Smells like a Belgian stout, and a good one.

Hops. Check. They're minty, floral, and bittersweet. Pairs well with a happy Belgo yeast strain. Notes of earthy malt roast, cocoa, almond, and char. Belgian in aroma, but in flavor, it just adds a softly sweet nuttiness. Very good.

Supple feel that doesn't sacrifice carb for creaminess. Works well. Satisfying. Not to say the booze doesn't offer a slight sting.

Pretty good. Some 'wow' factor involved for a Black IPA. Much appreciated.

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Photo of corby112
2.44/5  rDev -36%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pouts a dark chocolate brown color that appears black in the glass with faint mahogany edges and a one finger beige head quickly settles into a thin ring. Minimal spotty lacing left behind.

Earthy, slightly chalky aroma with roasted dark malt notes and ester-y dark fruit notes. Most of the hoppy/IPA characteristics are muted with subtle resinous pine and grass. The tropical fruit notes mentioned on the label are nowhere to be found in the nose. Feels more like a roasted dry stout/Belgian strong dark ale hybrid. Toasted malts along with dark chocolate, coffee bean and oatmeal followed by plum, raisin and fig. Not offensive but disappointing for an IPA.

Medium bodied with a stronger hop presence than the nose hints at but it's still dominated by roasted dark malt and sweet dark fruit esters. Dry, earthy and bitter but the hop profile is one dimensional with grass and sticky pine needle flavor lingering throughout. Again, the tropical/citrus fruit sweetness is completely absent. The bitterness is complimented by roasted/acrid dark malts. Slightly smokey with burnt toast flavor along with bitter dark chocolate, stale coffee and oatmeal. Thankfully the Belgian yeast provides some much needed sweetness with hints of grape, fig and other dark berries. Still, it's not enough to overcome the overwhelming roast and one dimensional bitterness.

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

Appearance: Black. Tan, frothy head.
Smell: Alcoholic? Gas or oil!
Taste: Alcohol, some fruit in the aftertaste. Hoppy.
Mouthfeel: Thick and moderately carbonated.

This black IPA is black all the way through, even when held up against a light. I couldn't quite place the smell. It certainly smells like an Imperial. The taste is thick, alcoholic with some very light citrus fruit hitting the top back of the mouth. While I had trouble placing the particulars, I loved it. I would definitely get this again. Don't let my individual descriptions mislead you. The experience is excellent.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle served in a Sierra Nevada IPA glass

A - Very dark brown, almost opaque, with a 2 finger kahki head that moves slower than a sloth. Generous amounts of lacing coat over half of one side of the glass.

S - Fresh leafy green hops jump out with bready Belgian notes. Perfume-like roast character, floral hops show up,

T - Spicy green hops, roasted malts, anise, rye, sharp lemon citrus pushes against the roasted toffee malts creating a non-typical flavor profile. Toasted bread crust are acidic fruits, and notes of chocolate malts are showcased in the middle with a sweet center that is surrounded by spicy dryness. A a rush of leafy green and pine hops emerge toward the dry finish leaving a semi resinous feel on the palate.

M - Medium body, ample carbonation, flowy and lush feel,dry finish.

This is an interesting brew. Nice hop profile but the Belgian yeast didn't seem to influence all that much. Above average but nothing mind blowing here.

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Photo of Zorro
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From the current Beer Camp variety pack under an Alias.

Listed as "Beer Camp #94 Belgian-Style Black IPA."

Clear black colored beer with a small brown colored head.

Smells hoppy and deeply burnt. with a carrot scent. Scents of coffee and patent malt with the spicy scent of Belgian beer yeast. Some coriander and ginger with a slight sour edge. Strange aroma of parsley.

Starts out deeply roasted in flavor with slight chocolate. Slight bitter stout like edge to this but is very mildly flavored and smooth. Belgian beer yeast flavors are in here but the patent malt really hides them.

Mouthfeel is quite good.

Overall a tasty beer. The Patent malt elements are stronger than the Belgian parts.

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Photo of mactrail
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at California Kebab in Pacific Beach. Very dark in the nonic. Long-lasting foam with plenty of lacing down the tall glass. Spritzy on the tongue, and that lasts to the bottom of the pint.

Flavor is quite striking-- there is a malty sweetness but it has an intriguing nutty, even coconutty taste with a big, spicy quality. Dark roasted malt with a hint of mint. the caramel is substantial with some burnt sugar. A tasty sipping beer with more alcohol than is probably needs. On tap, this is one of the better dark IPAs I've had. I liked it a lot better than the bottle Beer Camp version, which I just had two days ago.

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Photo of MetricOcean
3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not as bitter as I expected, but little to no roasty notes which is a plus. A bit of warmth going down even at 7.7% only. The belgian yeast doesn't crowd out the other flavors in this beer but it does show up. Could be my palate tonight, but I'm not getting a whole lot of a hop profile. Soft bitterness, coffee or chocolate, and a subdued hint of clove make this an interesting beer style. Overall it is not very aggressive. Smooth and comfortable. 81/100

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Black with tan tint, monster 4+ inch, foamy head with tons of sticky lacing.

Smell - Floral hops and spices, lemon, banana, apple, raisin, plum, cherry . Belgium yeasts, Brown sugar and molasses.

Taste - Floral fruits and Belgium yeasts start this brew out. Hoppy with oranges, lemon and grapes. Honey and chocolate along with some smoked malts are present. Brown sugar/molasses sugars ad sweet bold flavors.

Mouthfeel - Hops, yeasts and spices coat the tongue. Palate gets malts, more fruits and spices along with some molasses. Aftertaste is smokey malts, hops and sugars.

Overall - Pretty good. Lots of flavor, nice mix of two styles and smooth. Great balance really lets both styles shine. A winner, one of the best of the beer camp releases so far.

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Photo of bennett_loves_good_beer
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Apperance: Poured into a new Belgium globe glass. Pours black with little light penetration and two fingers of a light tan thick and frothy head with a little bit sticking to the glass.

Aroma: Roasted malts, cloves and bananas. The belgian yeast dominates the aroma. Some fruity hops come through as well.

Taste: Bananas, cloves, bitter fruity hop finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied feel that is just a bit off. Just a little light and over carbonated.

Overall, the belgian yeast and the large addition of tropical fruity hops makes for a solid beer. It is pretty well balanced with the belgian flavors smoothly giving way to the hops. Definitely enjoyed this one. This style is definitely starting to grow on me.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.72/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours black, as expected, with a sustaining head and good lacing.
Smell isn't too strong, but a little sweet and smokey.

The taste starts off a little in the bitter side, with some minor cocoa notes. This is followed by some smokiness and a hint of sour raisin (is that a thing)?. Ends with a resin coating on the tongue and a little copper taste in the roof of the mouth.
There is a bit more carbonation than expected, as well.

Overall, I enjoyed this beer more than I expected for a black IPA, although the smoke combined with a bitter hop back kept it from being better rated. Up until the final tastes, I was into it, with the flavors being fairly well balanced.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours jet black with a light tan near 2 finger head. Good retention. Leaves a layer of suds across the surface that's thin in some spots, and clumped in others. Lacing is consistent around the glass, but is small and spotty. Good stick.

Smell - Aroma hits on caramel and chocolate, with latent roasted notes beneath. That funky belgian sourness is there, but hangs in the back.

Taste - Milk chocolate and caramel malt flavors are most noticeable, with a touch of roast that's not quite up to par hanging somewhere in the back. Green banana and funk from start to finish. Finishes much the same as it starts.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with low to moderate carbonation. Touches on chalky texture. Goes down easy enough.

Overall - There's something about that milk chocolate/caramel combination that doesn't do it for me if it isn't supported by a strong roast character. It's the same malt character I get from Rogue's Daddy's Little Helper and Moyan's Orange & Black Congrats Ale. It does not suit my palate. It doesn't work here for me, either.

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Photo of Crazy4LegMoose
3.99/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 7.26.2013

A: Opaque black ale with 1 fingers of fizzy golden brown head. Good dots of lacing left on the glass with good head retention.

S: Strong hop aroma with a tiny bit of Belgian yeast sweetness.

T: A little bit of chocolate malt, a good bitter hop flavor in the finish with a little Belgian sweetness mixed in. This beer has a lot going on. Good chocolate honey notes up front that mix into bitter piney hops. The Belgian sweetness accentuates the honey toastiness of this ale.

M: Medium to light bodied beer. Good carbonation that blends the flavors well.

O: Very interesting beer. Quite a mix of styles and flavors going on here. I like the bitterness of the hops mixed with the Belgian sweetness. The blend well with the chocolate malt making this a unique brew.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.06/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into SN hop glass.

A: Pours a cola brown color with a huge dark tan fluffy head that slowly faded into a thick pillowy film. Chunky lacing was left down the glass.
S: I get notes of citrus rind, floral hops, mild tropical fruits, mild roast.
T: Super hoppy with a solid bitterness. Lemon citrus, faint tangerine, fresh hop resin, and a balancing amount of roast, chocolate, and spice come through. The finish is full of spicy herbal hops and fruity yeast, and the aftertaste is roasted and bitter. Belgian yeast comes out more in the aftertaste as the beer warms.
M: Medium body, soft and smooth carbonation, bitter, slick and drying mouthfeel but not a desert.
O: A solid, well rounded, and balanced black ipa. Belgian yeast adds another dimension but not super noticeable. Drinkable but forgettable.

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Photo of JEdmund
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Looks like a stout with it’s tan foam head.

Smell really gives the Belgian flare as the yeast give more character than the American hops do.

Taste surprises by being more stout-like than IPA. Again, the Belgian yeast lend strong character, and this tastes less like a black IPA than I had anticipated. My first glass (on tap) left me underwhelmed, but my second time around (in bottle) had me appreciating it more. Again, though, the dark malt make this seem more like a hopped up stout with Belgian yeast. Semantics aside, I enjoyed it, particularly because I haven’t tasted anything like it in quite a while (Belgian Yeti).

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Photo of Murrhey
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz standard pressure-cap bottle into a pint glass in high elevation Kalispell, Mont. Reviewed live.

A- Thick, fluffy mocha head with long retention and black body. Looks great.

S- Tropical hops, brownies, chocolate and warm malts. Nice combination of roasty and hoppy.

T- Roasted malts. Chocolate. Tropical, bitter hops.

M- Roasty dry feel, medium bodied.

O- Not much to say about this beer. Or maybe there is and I'm just not trying.

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Sleight Of Hand - Beer Camp #94 from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.81 out of 5 based on 511 ratings.
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