Blindfold - Beer Camp #73 | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

very good
26 Reviews
no score
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Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BEERchitect on 03-04-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 150
Photo of stevoj
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Part of a SN mixed 12-pack. light aroma gives way to much bolder taste. lots of sharp roasty bitterness. black body with nice creamy beige head, lots of sticky lacing.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black in color with a minimal cream colored head. It let's a minimal amount of light through. The aroma is roasted barley quickly followed by hops. I get some roasted barley and the odd New Zealand hops hops in the flavor. The lingering bitterness slowly fades on your tongue. Excellent balance. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Not as hoppy as the typical black IPA, but something a bit different.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured no head on a black body.
The aroma is rich roasted malt with lemon. Very aromatic and nice.
The taste is smooth roasted malt with moderate lemon bitterness. Nice balance.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
Really good. Too bad it isn't a regular.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Malibu Sundownder Tasting Room in Westlake Village, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. A wispy lattice of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop and roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a nice balance between roasty and hop aspects.

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Photo of Brenden
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Whatever you call the style, "black" is the key, and black this beer is. It grows a very nice creamy but dense and even somewhat rocky tan head that makes it to over one finger tall and takes time to dissipate. It's got lots of stick to it, and manages a good amount of mostly patchy lace that branches out a bit too after dropping a nice ring at the top.
There's an interesting combination on the nose between a sweeter malt than is typical of the style, making the cocoa milkier than the usually bittersweet note, bitterness of pine and raw plant stem (woody), and bitter/citrus combo of grapefruit peel/zest.
The flavor allows the different components to develop nicely. It actually ends up being more of a hoppy porter/almost stout than anything. There's a good pine and grapefruit bitterness, but malts are a stronger component overall. Roast, chocolate and coffee grounds are major flavors. More bitterness, particularly grapefruit, does slide into a well-lingering finish.
There's good crispness through each sip, and it's also fairly smooth. The body is a steady medium. It ends up going dry through the middle, and more so in the finih, with just a touch of astringency coming out later.

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Photo of Founders_Fanatic
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer caught me off-guard by a bit. I had a 22 oz. draft at a local restaurant in MI. Interesting tastes/smells.

Appearance: Black, 1/2 finger head, carbonation visible, the beer appears watery. I appreciate more head in my beer, but this particular city always fills the beer to the brim leaving little head. I appreciate the smell, so quantity isn't always good in my opinion.

Smell: I instantly smelled mint and black licorice. The cough drops 'Fisherman Friend' came to my mind. I passed the beer to my friends to see if they smelled the same, and they smelled a different aroma. They smelled oregano and thyme (Italian seasoning mix, pasta sauce). I tried finding these scents in the aroma, but I didn't find them as strong as my friends found them. A spice smell is definitely present.

Taste: The Italian spice is much more present in the taste, which I enjoyed. The spice taste is definitely from the hops, and it is a earthy tasting hop. There is a sweeter black licorice along with mint taste in the beer. In the Netherlands you can find different types of black licorice, and this is similar to a typical Dutch candy. Once again I can compare it to the cough drops 'Fisherman Friend,' but the taste is not so impactful. In summary: black licorice, mint, oregano, and thyme...this is an earthy beer.

Body: The body was crisp and refreshing. Very drinkable.

Overall: In my opinion it's a solid beer, and I would buy it again. I don't have too much experience tasting black ipas, but this was quite enjoyable. I like earthy beers, and this beer had those attributes. Also, my friends did not find the beer as enjoyable as I did. They thought the oregano and thyme tastes were too strong. They strongly suggested this tasted like spaghetti sauce seasoning.

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

Poured on draft at The Mint Gastropub into a tulip glass.

A- black as night...very opaque, with great head retention and decent lacing around the glass.

S- aromas of hops and roasted malt. Quite biscuity.

T- hoppy, malty, a bit roasty...but crisp and refreshing

M- feels prickly on the tongue with a bitterness that is not too overwhelming. Quite bitter after swallowing but a pleasant bitterness...

O- a delicious beer. Does have interesting characteristics and an interesting flavor that contrasts its color, but it is well balanced and quite drinkable.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Great Lost Bear Portland.
Comes to the table a solid dark brown/black color with a decent sized tan head that dissipates slowly leaving a fair amount of sticky lace on the sides. Smells of pine resin and a hint of green onion backed up by a bit of caramel and coffee. The flavor is lightly roasty with a fair amount of malty sweetness. Earthy spicy resinous hop flavor does a great job providing balance. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a resinous, almost chalky mouthfeel. Great tasting beer, but strikes me as a bit more of a hoppy porter. I'd drink more of it given the chance.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Black Sheep, Dublin.

Classic Irish stout looks with craggy eggshell head that sheets.
Espresso and charcoal nose.
Ash, blackberry and pumpernickel up front, some roasty sweetness in there, then big orange rind hop hit.
Pine sap and kola finish and long tight minty linger.
Medium, very chewy, oily.

Big, sticky and bitter. Aroma hops are definitely downplayed (though I always wonder once the keg's been on a boat for a month or two.) Works more like a hoppy porter.

Heavy hitter, though not as hopped up as you'd expect from SN.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the Oak Cafe. Tried a sip of my buddy's, decided I wanted my own pint so I went back and got one the next day. As expected, pours a deep black color with only a slight shade of dark brown at the top. The light khaki-colored head sits pretty at a few millimeters and leaves some crazy-good lace, ALL the way down the glass. Very, very nice looking beer.

Aroma is full of some ashy and peppery hops, slightly piney on the nose, too. The malts bring in a reasonable amount of cocoa powder and faint coffee beans. The roast is relatively low, and I'd be willing to say the hops are actually quite a bit stronger (in the aroma) than the malts. As time goes on, some citrus notes become more and more prevalent; grapefruit being the biggest. Light wood and a little more cocoa-roast on the tail.

I take a sip and I'm not really sure what to think. Black IPAs are something that always confuse my senses, every single time. Upfront, you'd think this was a juicy IPA - the citric hops are strong and howling instantly; white grapefruit, tangerines, all encrusted in a coating of light pepper. The hop flavors are not far behind with a mild abrasion of herbal leaves and lightly resinous pine needles. Bitterness starts out mellow and peaks halfway through - nothing quite tongue scraping, though.

After the hops settle just a bit, the malts spring forward and suddenly it feels more like you're drinking a porter, albeit one that's slightly more hopped up than usual. The roasted malts peek their head out and prove to be much stronger than they seemed in the aroma. Cocoa powder, very light coffee beans, and mild woody flavors bring up the finish with a mild, lingering bitterness from the hops. Medium bodied, almost sticky but not quite - more of a slick and oily mouth feel, medium carbonation.

I never really know what to expect when I get a black IPA. Despite being a somewhat specific style, they seem very sensitive to small changes - a few tweaks and small differences in the malt or hop bill could be the difference between a great beer or a bad beer. In this case, it kind of falls somewhere in the middle. This is a good beer; not a great one, but far from a bad one. There are better black ales out there, sure, but this is still a decent choice and I would recommend it at least once to fans of this new style.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

LOOK: Pours an opaque dark brown, with an off white head. After each sip the glass gets coated in lace.

SMELL: Dark roast coffee, cocoa powder, and just a touch of flowery hops make up a pretty solid aroma.

TASTE: Roasted malts and piney/citrusy hops upfront. Strong bitterness, but balanced nicely with malts giving off a chocolate flavor. Reminds me of a hopped up porter. Fits nicely into the American Black Ale bracket, but also is a passable American porter with all of the roasted, coffee like flavors.

FEEL: Medium to full bodied, smooth and medium carbonation level.

OVERALL: A tasty dark American beer with lots of hops. The flavors are well integrated, this is a good beer.

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Photo of Ego
3.46/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

growldog fill thanks to the fine folks @ the copper mine pub

mostly black with some amber around the edges where light is trying to budge its way in, one full finger of off whiteish foam, great lacing on this one (perfect tidal blankets o bubbles caress the inner thighs of the glass as the brew shifts about from desk to mouth, columns of bubbles uniformly stream upwards as if anchored to specific points on the bottom of the black sea, the head sticks around for some chat and I am all ears

mild mannered hop with some roasted malt tone under shirt, slightly pine cone in family relations, everything is in place and sort of there, nothing bad, nothing making me take too much notice either, kind of good

taste etc...
definitely thicker than most PAs, smooth delivery with some prickly carbonation, dark roasty coffee notes that are soft and balanced out by bitters, and all this sort of sits around your mouth, the initial take is really fulfilling but then it definitely wants you to draw another sip, warming is apparent after a few sips, the hops sort of magnify after a bit making this not quite as balanced as I might like, good drinking and some good flavors .... with good balance

a good beer, pretty solid in all categories but nothing that made me think 'wow'. worth checking out if you see it though as it does kind of carve out its own niche

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Photo of oberon
3.71/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tulip glass at Jake's Billiards today,the color was pretty much opaque with a thinner but well sustained tan colored head.Chocolate and earthy notes in the nose,some sweetness from the alcohol crept in as well.Earthy and piney hops over top of bitter chcolate and a tinge of licorice,the alcohol sweetness is there but not overly big.Not real complex but there are some nice flavors going on.A nice find on tap here in G-boro.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at Final Gravity in Roseville, CA

Appearance - Pours a deep, near black ruby red hue, served to me with a light tan, half finger head. Fair retention, leaving a thin layer of microbubbles to coat the surface. Lacing is spotty with fair stick.

Smell - Strong coffee notes, moderate cocoa. Hop aroma is subdued, but hits on light grass and citrus character.

Taste - Follows the nose. Coffee and cocoa base, while the hops take a backseat. Cocoa notes own mid-taste and into the finish. Hops are there, but hard to distinguish; briefly touches on citrus, pine and a faint bit of grass.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with moderate carbonation. A touch of chalky grit. Goes down easy enough.

Overall - I was clamoring for a Black IPA with a solid roast malt base, but not at the sacrifice of a strong hop punch. Unfortunately that's the case here. Hops come across weak and nearly washed out. I have no idea the date of the keg, but if this was anywhere near fresh, then they need to go back to the drawing board with this one. It was a nice tasting beer, but nowhere close to where a black IPA should be. My search for the ideal Black IPA continues.

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Photo of emerge077
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft in a footed tulip glass.
Jet black body, long lasting khaki tinged foam that deposits sheets of dripping lace in the glass. Good head retention also. After a few sips the skim eventually breaks.

Smells like chocolate milk and pine needles.

Dry earthy hop bitterness, pine sap, dry roast malt, and dry pretzels. Vague notes of dry bakers chocolate. Smooth and clean, lingering bitterness in the dry finish. It's a good Black IPA, especially if your preference leans toward the dry and bitter end of the spectrum.

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Photo of barczar
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep brown black with garnet highlights and a quarter inch khaki head that leaves moderate lacing.

Roast malt and coffee grounds dominate the initial aroma, with resin and muted citrus kicking in. Dank, slightly skunky hops are evident.

Flavor is sweeter than anticipated at first, with roast malt and chocolate domination underpinnings of grapefruit and resin. Becomes fairly bitter and a tad charred at the finish.

Body is moderate and smooth, with moderate carbonation and a bit of a harsh, burnt finish.

Roast malt dominates in the end, but the citrus hops are well represented initially, and te early sweetness offers respite.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a shaker pint glass at Bigby's Pour House.

Gettin' a li'l bit kinky up in here... Anyway, this stuff pours a very dark black-sienna topped by a finger of pale khaki foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, grapefruit rind, light coffee, and very light pine resin. The taste brings in more of the same, with some extra pine and grapefruit, allowing the hops to take a slight edge over the malts on the tongue. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, a pretty nice black IPA, one that maintains a healthy balance throughout.

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Photo of tigg924
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Had on tap at New World Tavern Plymouth--served into a pint glass

Appearance: dark reddish-brown in color, clear, 1/4 inch head, medium carbonation

Smell: roasted malt, chocolate, and piney hops

Taste: piney hops, charred roasted malt, and light cream

Mouthfeel: medium-light body, low carbonation, sweet start that becomes bitter and dry

Overall: An above average piney American black ale. One to sit with for a bit. Not sure if I would rush out to get this again, but I would not pass it up either.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at 10th street live.

A black pour with a finger of head, excellent lacing. Smells of dark roasted grains, caramel,chocolate. The flavor is much like the smell but a lot more earthy bitter notes, dark chocolate, lots of roasted grains.
Very rich mouthfeel, creamy, medium bodies black ale with moderate carbonation.

Overall this is a very enjoyable beer but I was expecting lots of hops which weren't there.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

32oz growler. Pours black with a couple fingers of rich and foamy mocha head. This stays robust and frothy, slathering the sides of the glass with sticky lacing. The aroma smells floral, piney and a little dank, with fresh citrus flavors and a touch of leafy spice. An underlying mix of roast, chocolate and caramel all rise up, mixing in with the hop flavors to give the nose a rich smoky twang. The taste has a crisp green bitterness to that spreads leafy citrus and pine out across the tongue, leaving this bitter, spicy and resinous on the finish. A sticky and burnt mix of roast, chocolate and caramel malts stays on the sides of the profile, doing a good job of balancing the hops and even leaving a little char behind as well in the backend. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a silky smooth creaminess that also harbors a bit of crispness down the center of it where those hops lay. Alcohol is well hid. I love when these Beer Camp efforts randomly show up in our area and this was a nice one, being a Black IPA of rich depth (there is a clear separation here between malt and hops yet they still balance and complement each other nicely) and a super easy drinkability for a bigger IPA. I maybe have to go back for another growler of this…

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Photo of Tucquan
4.11/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this on 2013-03-15 in Lancaster, PA at The Fridge (from tasting notes)

A - Opaque brown-black with a 1-finger tan head that really sticks around and yields good lacing.

S - Brown bread, some chocolate, light citrus and hop floral.

T - Much like the smell but with more chocolate, roasted grain, light char and citrus zest bitterness with a good, lingering pine-bitterness with a dash of roasty malt sweetness for balance. It's a porter-like IPA flavor-wise.

M - Medium body and light-medium carbonation. Creamy at first but it dries.

O - One of the better black IPAs I've had. I'm typically not a big fan of this style but on this day, it hit the spot and I ordered a second glass.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A-Darker brown but light goes fully through. Thicker head. Good lacing too.

S-Lacks the hoppiness I desire. Would easily guess this to be a Porter. Sturdy roast and chocolate. Light pine hops.

T-Again, the hops are too dull. They are detectable but have no personality nor are they intense.

M-Medium bodied. Almost feels thin during some sips. Hints of booze.

O/D-Not hoppy enough. This beer needs more veggies.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.14/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

A: Poured a deep brown with a dirty white cap, fading leaving a dirty collar on the edge of the glass, some lacing present after a few moments and sips

S: Uggh. Faint pine needles, roastiness, and chocolate

T: Chocolate and roastinessupfront with a moderate hop bitterness which plays with the base malt bitterness, some pine needles in the background but this beer seems to be more about the malt base. Its somewhat creamy, Earthy at times.

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated, no major issues, plenty of roast n toast with cocoa covered pine needles

O: Not my favorite CDA but drinkable and not bad. Yes, I still call it a CDA!

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Photo of John_M
4.21/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Of all places, I had this on tap at the Apothecary Alehouse in Morgantown the other day (SN brought in a couple of kegs apparently, for a SN and DFH promotion event).

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is very attractive and impressive in this beer, as I get some skunky week, dark chocolate, licorise and dry citrus. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely in this beer, and there was some nice roasty bitterness in the finish that seemed to compliment the dark chocolate and licorise flavors. Mouthfeel was medium bodied at most, and the beer was just a tad on the thin side. However, I thought that went well with the style, and as it turns out, drinkability was quite good (went for a second pint in fact).

Very glad I got to try this one. I missed the promotion on Tuesday (was at AA on a Friday), but fortunately the Alehouse got a second keg (Grace, the co-owner, noted that the first keg kicked very quickly, and that they were already almost out of the second keg), so was not sure I'd get the chance.

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Photo of flexabull
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler shared by a friend.

Pours a deep and dark black color with a nice tan colored head.

Aromas are a bit muted, but pleasant. Light cocoa and chocolate, with hints of pine.

Taste is like the aroma, but bumped up a bit. Really earthy up front, nutty, with some dark toasted malts. There is a background of sweetness, slightly creamy, with some milk chocolate and cocoa notes. Finish is dry, with a pine resin and earthy hop bite. Almost tastes more like a hoppy porter instead of a Black IPA.

Mouthfeel is smooth, soft, and a touch light. Good for the style.

Overall, a solid and interesting beer. Not quite what I expected, the hoppiness is a bit restrained, and more balanced and subtle. Nice brew, drinkable and enjoyable.

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Blindfold - Beer Camp #73 from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.78 out of 5 based on 150 ratings.
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