DevESTATEtion | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mverity on 09-07-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 121 | Ratings: 572
Photo of WoodBrew
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The bottle I just cranked was from 2013. The color was a dark ruby amber with frothy white head that left some lace. The scent carried floral and citrus notes. The taste was mostly roast and earth with good pine and citrus back drop. The mouthfeel was medium in body with good carbonation. Overall it was good...but not the best BIPA ive had.

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Photo of Sinfull
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Brown chestnut color, nice off-white head with good lacing. Aroma of caramel and hop. Caramel , tropical fruits and hoppy bitterness in taste. Full body , low carbonation. Strong bitterness in very long aftertaste

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%

$ 10.99/bomber at Vintage Estates in Boardman, OH
Undated 2013 vintage bomber at 40 degrees into standard pint glass
Aroma of hops and roasted malt
Head large (6 cm), light brown, frothy, slowly diminishing to 3 mm layer
Lacing good – complete rings of various size bubbles
Body dark reddish brown, clear
Flavor of roasted malt and earthy hops – seems well balanced; no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, creamy, lively carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 3.75, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4, Overall 4. Final weighted score: 4.0625
Surprisingly good IPA, probably one of the better black IPAs.

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Photo of ENogueira
4/5  rDev +2.8%

750 ml bottle dated 2013 poured in a chalice glass. The bottle was wax sealed with a thick plastic coating. The beer pours nearly jet black with a thin head that clings heavily to the glass. The smell is of roasted malt. The taste is heavy, with toffee and cocoa notes that dominate the palette. The aftertaste is earthy and bitter, like a stout. The bottle says there are citrus notes but I was hard-pressed to find them, although there were slight traces. It's not what I look for in a dark ale anyway. Overall, excellent brew that goes well with a grilled steak.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Farming's never easy, but Mother Nature got the best of us this year and we lost our entire estate barley harvest to strong winds and California drought. Luckily, our homegrown hops are as good as ever, so we're honoring the memory of the barley that wasn't by bringing you this new black IPA. It's a shame when good barley goes bad, but instead of crying in our beer - or lack thereof- we decided to do one better and make something new. Featuring organic malts and our estate-grown wet hops, this black IPA is the evil twin of our legendary Estate Ale. Black in color with a mild roast flavor and moderate body, this beer has a bold citrusy and earthy hop flavor and aroma from the use of our own wet hops. We'd never let one bad harvest get in the way of a great beer, so join us in a toast to the memory of our devastating season." Brewed in the style of a Black IPA. Released fall 2013 as a one time release. Available in 22 oz. black waxed bottles and on limited draft.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a Sierra Nevada tulip glass. Served above 58º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a creamy frothed mocha-white head over a deep mahogany brown body. Carbonation is relaxed and plentiful. Retention is excellent, lacing is lumpy and streaked. 4.75

(Smell) Roasted malts up front this time- Light roasted barley malts and biscuity caramel malts combine with robust fruity yeast notes, licorice, raisin, cocoa and molasses for a fairly malt-forward beer in the aroma. Hops are secondary, with hints of herbal, fruity and mellow citrus generating some balance in favor of the style. The roast and sweetness is a bit more noticeable than expected, especially for the style. 3.75

(Taste) The malts and hops merge better in the flavor. Nice roasted barley malt up front with some fruity complexity paired with a modest herbal and fruity hop, finishes lightly dry with lingering chocolate, roast and stickiness. The balance is still in favor of the malts, although the hop bitterness is a bit more predictable this time. 4

(Mouthfeel) Texture is roasty, chewy, lightly sticky. Carbonation generates a subtle creaminess for a fluffy, smooth mouthfeel. The body is medium for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is very slightly sweet over bitter, and drinkability is very high. Alcohol presence is low and there are no off characters to mention. 4

(Overall) Black IPA perhaps in name only, this has much more porter-like flavors and aromas going for it than a black IPA usually would. Recommended for those in favor of a maltier black IPA or or perhaps a less aggressively hopped one, either way I found it a pleasant surprise because not too many black IPAs are as graciously balanced as this one, and it manages to be as enjoyable, if not more so due to it's originality in that regard. Sierra Nevada have done a fine job with this beer. 4

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company's
DevESTATEtion Black IPA [ALMOST Homegrown Ale]

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Photo of lochef81
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Cellar aged for 18 months.

This black ipa poured a handsome near black color allowing only a little light in around the edges. The head was ivory and ample with good retention and beautiful lacing. The nose was shockingly hoppy given the amount of age on the bottle. Notes of pine and herbacious hops are most prevalent. it is pretty typical of the sierra nevada hops bouquet. There is some roasty qualities of coffee and dark chocolate but they are not as prevalent as I would have expected. The flavor follows the nose to a T with a hoppy bute on the start giving way to a rich roasty flavor on the finish. The mouthfeel is creamy n smooth but still has the sticky ipa resinous quality. This is well made. Would love to see it brewed again.

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Photo of jimmah120
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

1 PT, 9.4 FL. OZ, aka 25.4oz bottle, with dark purple wax

Dark brown/ruby with a big soapy head. Smell is dark fruits, grassy hops, really sweet and not unlike a good red wine. More savory malt comes out as it warms. Taste has a chocolate malt backing with some apricot and dried tart fruit.

Better than most black ipa's.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of Sierra Nevada's DevESTATEtion last month for $9.49 at Cork N Ale. I had a bottle of the last Estate Homegrown Wet Hop Ale and I thought it was pretty good and I planned on trying the newest release, then I heard about the problems they had with their crops and how it would be a Black IPA instead, I'm still interested to see how this one turns out, so lets see how it goes. 2013 Vintage. Poured from a brown 750ml waxed bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, it looks a little similar to the last one and I think it's a little eye catching. It poured a decent brown color that took on light brown hue when held to the light with two fingers worth of creamy light tan head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and it left some nice rings of sticky and patchy lacing behind. I thought this was a nice looking beer, the head and lacing were nice, but I wish the color was a little darker.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness followed by the hops being the first to show up and they impart some herbal, piney and earthy hops with a slightly lighter citrus rind hop aroma with some grapefruit aromas coming through and neither aspect seems to stick out the most. Up next comes the malts which impart some roasted malts, caramel, sweet malts and light chocolate like aromas with a slight creamy aroma coming through towards the end. I thought this beer had a nice aroma, there was some good balance between the hops and the malts.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the hops still being the first to show up and they are little lighter then they were in the aroma, but they impart the same hoppy aspects with neither aspect seeming to stick out the most. Up next comes the malts which impart the same aspects that they did in the aroma but this time the chocolate comes through more and along with the roast malts they stick out the most. On the finish there's a higher amount of medium bitterness with a earthy/herbal hop, roasted malt and light chocolate like aftertaste. This was a nice tasting beer, but I wish the hops flavors were bolder and the malts could be a little bolder also.

M- Fairly smooth, a little creamy, fairly crisp, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. This beer had a nice mouthfeel that worked well with it.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and i think it's a slightly above average example of a Black IPA, it's got most of the aspects that I expect from the style, but most of them seem to be on the lighter side for the style and i find myself wishing this was a bolder and more robust beer. This beer had nice drinkability, it was fairly smooth, a little creamy, fairly crisp, not too filling and the taste did a decent job at holding my attention, I think one glass is enough for me, but I don't think I would have a problem drinking a full bottle since the bitterness isn't too high, but any more than that and I'm sure I would get bored with it. What I like the most about this beer was the nothing, there wasn't a single aspect of this beer that I like more than the others, they were all equal. What I like the least about this beer was that it left me wanting more and I wish the hops and the malts were both a little more flavorful. I don't think I would buy this beer again, but it if their crops gets ruined again there's a decent chance I'll give the Black IPA version another try, and I would say it's worth a try, but I wouldn't recommend it as a great Black IPA. All in all I thought this was solid, but I was expecting more, I had their Estate Grown Wet Hopped Ale when it was a year old it and it was still pretty good, so I was expecting good things from this one, but in the ever growing style of Black IPA's this one seems to be forgettable. It's not my favorite Black IPA or Sierra Nevada beer and I prefer the normal version of this beer. I appreciate the effort on this one, it sucks to have your hard work ruined by some bad luck, thanks for still putting out a beer out, but this one wasn't as good as I had hoped.

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Photo of NicMurray
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Found this at my local co-op and gave it a try.
It was the 22oz wax covered bottle.
I liked that it was organic, and it was a Black IPA. (kinda)
It poured very smooth and had a more brownish caramel color, with
malty scents. It goes down smooth and doesn't have a harsh after taste.
I find that with the dark IPA's drinking them not super chilled suits my pallet
better than a getting it cold cold.
As for comparison there are definitely better black IPA's out there.
Probably would not buy again.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, no apparent bottled on date, but 2013 vintage printed on the back label. I know this beer is starting to get up there in age for a black IPA, but the local beer store just got bottles of this in recently, so I figured I would try it out. "Certified organic by Oregon Tilth".

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Well, for a black IPA, this beer isn't actually black at all. It pours a dark woodsy brown, with lots of red and ruby showing through when held to the light. Three to four big fluffy fingers of khaki foam for a head that sticks around for a good long while and leaves behind lots of scattered webbed lacing.

S - Smell is comprised of earthy / herbal hops, mild pine / grapefruit, cream, notes of cola, and some chocolate.

T - Taste follows the nose, and is classic of the style - earthy, herbal, piney hops, grapefruit, orange, roasted malt, chocolate, and lots of roasty coffee bean bitterness.

M - Feel is smooth and creamy, with lots of piney / grapefruit bitterness and dark coffee bean roastiness lingering on the palate. Sticky, dry, and bitter. Medium bodied with good carbonation.

Overall, a very nicely done take on the black IPA from Sierra Nevada, much more enjoyable than the Sierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPA which I had recently. I'm glad to say that this beer has aged gracefully over the past six months or so, and if it is still available to you, I'd recommend it.

Sierra Nevada DevESTATEtion Black IPA ---4/5.

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Photo of CHickman
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

25 oz bottle that was wax sealed, poured into a snifter: pours pitch black color that looks dark brown when held up to light with a huge foamy 2 finger dark tan head that was full of microscopically small bubbles and faded very slowly, leaving excellent foamy lacing coating the sides and rings as it went down – standard good looks from Sierra Nevada.

Smells like roasted malt and burnt grains up front, with charcoal, molasses, cocoa, ground coffee, herbs and faint piney hops; this smells more like a porter or smoked beer than an IPA and the lack of hop presence is surprising for Sierra Nevada.

Tastes much like the nose, but a lot more bitter with more noticeable hops. Now, the hops show up more in the flavor, but this is still a malt dominated brew with lots of roasted notes and a mix of roasted malt, cocoa, wet coffee grinds, burnt grains, charcoal, molasses, dark chocolate, herbs, piney hops, light grapefruit, oaky notes, peat moss, anise, pepper and other spices like cumin or cinnamon. If fresh hops were added then they were wasted as they don’t add any value to this mix; IPA by label, like the nose this is more like a porter or smoked beer than an IPA and the chocolate roasted malts seem to be the strongest part of the aroma and flavor. Very earthy and a lot of smoky flavor which just added to the bitterness.

Mouthfeel is think and on the heavy side with average carbonation and a lot of roasted and smoky malt flavors that trail off bitter and more like charcoal that hops.

Overall it was OK but way too unbalanced for a Sierra Nevada IPA, if we can indeed call it an IPA. Seems like an IPA formula may have been used at the start, but this burnt grain/charred wood malt bomb is far from the fresh hop Estate IPA’s they produce. This is a decent beer, but not smooth, not balanced and not what I was expecting. It would make for an average porter and above average smoke beer, but as a black IPA it fell short, especially from this legend of a brewer. Glad they tried this experiment, but not sure I’d buy another bottle.

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Photo of Kendo
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the large bottle into a Duvel tulip. Body is black with a 2-finger khaki-colored head, which leaves behind good lacing.

S: Roasted malt with a slight bit of piney hops. Surprisingly not very strong on the nose.

T: Nice balance of roasted malt and bitter hops, with the nod going towards bitter hops. Some charcoal. Hops are of the earthy/piney variety.

M: A bit gritty in feel; otherwise medium in heft, carbonation is OK.

O: This beer jumps around a bit. Impresses in some ways but falls short in others.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a waxed 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark blackish brown with hints of ruby. Moderate amount of bubbles and a big three finger off white head that slowly fades into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: An earthy, juicy, and roasty hop forward aroma with good hints of pine, citrus, and chocolate. Upfront mix of earthy, floral, and herbal hops with good hints of wet grass and dank pine resin. Citrus hop hints of grapefruit, orange peel, lemon, and pineapple. Dark roasted malts with hints of chocolate, burnt toast, coffee, biscuit, grains, yeast, and cracker. A very solid oily aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, an oily, juicy, earthy, and roasty black ale taste with big notes of dank pine and dark chocolate. Big combo of earthy, floral, and herbal hops. Upfront notes of spicy pine resin and wet musty grass. Citrus notes of orange peel, grapefruit, lemon, and pineapple. Big dark roasted barley malt presence with notes of dark chocolate, toast, coffee, grains, biscuit, cracker, and yeast. Nicely oily and bitter. A pretty solid taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Oily, chewy, and pretty drying.

Overall: A very solid take on a Black Ale. Forward with the piney hops but the dark malt has a strong presence as well.

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Photo of mactrail
3.08/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown brew with a big beige foam in the tall Petrus goblet. Very attractive with an abundance of lacing, plus the appealing sudsy mouthful. A rather earthy and musty smell with a note of tea.

Medium body with a malty mouthfeel. Quite bitter right from the start. Hints of chocolate (bitter, natch) and a little cedar. Strong herbal tea and serious dankness. Dirty dreadlock bong water dankness.

I'm not entirely sure what's the point of this exercise. Guys who own hop farms shouldn't have to prove it. This is massively bitter and hard to get down. A beautiful but deadly brew. From the 22 oz bottle.

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Photo of JeffH
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A deviation from one of my favorite SN releases of the year, this black IPA brings the best of style forward. The deep roasted malts bring french roast coffee to the aroma and Sierra Nevada's expertise is shown with the hop notes. The palate is a great balance of toasted malt and hop bitterness. Notes of grapefruit and pine intermingle with unsweetened chocolate and coffee.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

24oz bottle poured into a large mug at fridge (~40 F) temp.

Pours dark brown, with a rich creamy tan head that fades moderately quickly. Not opaque, but barely translucent. Smell is spicy, and I get little else. After several whiffs, still nothing else. Maybe it'll open a bit after it starts to warm, but I'm a bit surprised.

Taste is initially "Hey, this is a porter!" and then "Wait, that's too much hops for a porter." That mostly sums it up. There's a lot of coffee and roast flavors, slight caramel or toffee sweetness. Some piney hop bitterness, but not lots. Surprisingly mild, actually, but tasty.

Mouthfeel is dryish, very slightly gritty, very medium. But nice.

Overall, I'd call this pretty good, but not good enough to warrant buying another 24oz bottle for $X.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 750 mL bottle into a Tamp Bay Brewing Company pint glass.

A: Pours a medium to dark brown, with a fair amount of haze but still quite translucent. Forms a half-finger of off-white head with poor retention, and moderate visible carbonation.

S: Brown toasted malts, some resin and vegetal hops. A touch of cardboard and oxidation as well, despite being fairly fresh and wax-sealed. Not a ton of aroma overall.

T: Brown toasted malts, a moderate amount of resinous, spice and a bit of melon hops. These then fade into a green coffee and/or roasted malt flavor with bitterness (likely a combination of hops and roasted malts) that lasts into the hang.

M: The body is a little thinner than ideal for the flavor profile, but not watery. Low carbonation sensation, and moderate alcohol presence.

O: This was an interesting mishmash of flavors, but I'm not sure that I'm a fan of the combination. I'm underwhelmed by this one. One to check off and move on.

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Photo of ADZA
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to a mate for this one and pours a dark brown hue with the creamiest three finger head and lacing everywhere,the smell is very earthy along with gherkins,pine and a touch dark spicy malts,the feel is medium bodied moderately carbonated and easy going and for a black IPA the tastes are a little subdued with tastes of earthy piney hops,dark malts and the finish is herbal hoppy bitter and overall yeah it's not bad and easy going compared to the big black hoppy IPAs out there cheers.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown body with red highlights which somehow crafts an illusion of transparency. Big billowing light beige head. Wonderful drippy lace.

Earthy aroma, with hints of coffee.

Quite a mix of tastes: coffee, chocolate, bread, juicy fruits,earthiness. A lot going on, could use more dominant themes.

Super creamy and slick mouthfeel.

A good beer, but not a Sierra Nevada classic.

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Photo of a0lbudman
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Clear dark brown with a cream colored head that did not fade and leaves a nice lace
S-piney hops, some malt, and roasted malt
T-hoppy with a pine resin taste. Has a citrus roasted taste in it with a slight malt flavor
M-low carbonation and full body
O-good black IPA with a good balance

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Photo of ClePaul
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Sierra Nevada DevESTATEtion

Look 8/10
Smell 15/20
Taste 38/40
Feel 9/10
Drinkability 17/20

Overall 86/100

Solid Black IPA, I'm totally guilty of comparing every Black IPA to 'sublimely Self Righteous' mostly because that's the first beer that really knocked my socks off. Never the less it kind I ruined the style for me... Nothing ever seems to be as full bodied and balanced. That said, this has a great feel, and is equally hoppy as it is roasty. I loved the bottle more than the beer though. If it's any consolation... It was one of my fave bottle/labels ever~

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Photo of mikem0487
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

No bottled on date.

A-This black IPA's appearance is not as dark as described. Almost a dark brown. Foamy, dense, beige head.

S-The nose of the beer is not overwhelming with aromas. Its very subtle. Dark chocolate, roasted malt and mild earthiness.

T-Where the smell was mostly about the malt the taste is a nice back and forth balance between the malt, yeast and hops. A nice subtle roastiness is throughout the palate with citrus notes coming in through the middle of the palate and finishing sweet with a nice quick and clean bitterness.

M-Medium mouthfeel, good carbonation and a sweet finish.

O-Has the mouthfeel of a porter with the hop bitterness of a ipa. My two favorite genre's of beer melded together beautifully in this beer. I could enjoy drinking this all night. Not to heavy like a stout and

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Photo of Hydrolock
3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

First Review so please be nice.

Let me start by stating overall this is an outstanding beer.

Upon opening the bottle you are greeted with a healthy dose of hops, malts and an almost chocolate aroma. It's color is a burnt caramel or a deep rich mahogany. the first sip is rather sweet with a hoppy note which leaves you reaching for your pint, indulging in that second and third sip you notice the bitterness of the "Estate-grown" hops is balanced well with the malts. The flavor is not aggressive but rather subtle for Sierra Nevada, far less bitter than their flagship IPA. The head leaves behind a ring of foam with each sip.

Comparable to Blue Point Toxic Sludge (personal #1 Black IPA), Peak Organic Hop Noir.

It is stated on the bottle that this season was "devestateting" to their barely harvest. I pray that every season is this "devestating" to gift us such an outstanding beer.

Keep it coming Sierra Nevada!

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Photo of beergoot
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clear, mahogany colored bodied capped with a dense, thick, tawny colored head. Prominent charred grain scent with a subtle, spicy hop background; some milk chocolate notes. Nice malt smoothness combined with a strongly building hop bitterness punch. Medium bodied; crisp and dry finish.

Every sip brings a new appreciation for this beer. Judged on the feel, one probably wouldn't expect much, and yet a richness of malt flavor and the pleasingly prickly hop bitterness blend well and create a very satisfying, smooth, and nearly rich taste experience. Yep, one of those brews that winds up being better than the sum of its parts. Not as heavy like porters or stouts, yet very close in delivering all the deep, rich dark ale flavors one would look for in this beer's more heavy-duty brothers.

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Photo of beer2day
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nice looking pour. Dark caramel in color with a fair amount of light leaking through. Two fingers of beige cream, with a light coat left by the end of the glass. Excellent lace all around the glass.

Nose is all about the caramel and dark chocolate malt. Any hope presence is quite muted in the face of the more dominant malt body.

Taste follows the nose with roast chocolate and toasted caramel. Enough pine and floral notes to be noticed, but again does not challenge the malts. Bitters are present in the finish, but more from the chocolate.

Feel is very smooth and creamy.

Overall, I've had better black IPAs - but this is a delicious beer in its own right.

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DevESTATEtion from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.89 out of 5 based on 572 ratings.
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