DevESTATEtion | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

very good
121 Reviews
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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 THFCBeerBQ
4.76/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 25 oz bottle at a local bottle shop, no date on bottle.

Poured semi-vigorously into a pint glass.

A- Not quite black in color but darn close. Poured an inch-and-a-half, light-tan velvety head. The foam on this beer is intoxicating with great lacing on the glass as the head slowly dissipates.

S- This beer has a roasty, toasty, malt smell. Balanced nicely with earthy hops that remind me of oats, fig, pine and burnt wood. Prompts images of a faint campfire in my mind. Some mild citrus smells in the nose as well.

T- Starts out with the earthy hops. Tastes of oats and fig kick things off. A solid malt profile balances the earthy flavors and gives this beer a nicely rounded body and hints of chocolate. The swallow releases hints of citrus hops. Maybe an orange or some lemon zest but I am not quite sure. The earthy components of this really are the centerpiece to the taste profile so it’s no surprise the citrus takes a back seat. After the swallow, tastes of roasted barley and a hint of coffee flavor.

M- Light to medium body, with an appropriate level of carbonation. Highly drinkable.

O- Another winner from Sierra Nevada. It has their trademark hop flavor but much more subdued and buried amongst unusual flavors for this brewery…A welcomed change. Hop heads probably won’t be too thrilled but I love it. It’s almost a combination of when “IPA’s” meet “Porters”.


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Photo of mverity
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


When the going gets bad, we make great beer.

It’s a shame when good barley goes bad. This spring, the combined effect of double digit sustained winds and concentrated rainfall created major stress on the normal course of our barley maturation — our crop went down for the count. 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 roasty 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.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.37/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a great beer. Pours pitch black with a huge head that forms like marshmallows or pillows above the beer. The smell is huge, roasted malts and smokiness. The taste is the same but with a sweet caramel and coffee flavor adding to the dark roast and smoke tastes. The beer is really smooth-drinking, has a good, creamy mouth and overall makes for a great beer. I'd buy a ton of these and stash them for future months and years.

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Photo of rangerred
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a pint glass out of a 750ml bottle. That wax seal is a real pain.

Pours pitch black with a nearly two finger tan head. Amazin head retention and really good lacing on top of that.

Aroma has a really nice coffee/chocolate thing going that is married perfectly with tropical fruit from the hops. I'm really amazed at how great the balance is between hops and malt.

The flavor is really amazing as well. Milk chocolate and dark roasted malt up front is complimented nicely by tropical fruit with a touch of pine. There is a really nice chocolate/coffee balance that is nearly perfect. The fruit and pine from the hops provides a moderate to high bitterness that works perfectly to balance out the malt. Medium mouthfeel with a light stickyness on the finish.

Overall, a very impressive Black IPA and one of the best I have had in the style. Sierra Nevada really knocked it out of the park with this one.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The bottle shape was typical Sierra Nevada, but the black wax dip treatment to the neck was not. The beer poured very deep reddish brown in color, with clear body, and large head with a craggy surface. The aroma was very roasty and nutty, exuding dates, coffee, almonds, and chocolate, along with some piney hops. The taste was pretty much an extension of the smell, with a lot of coffee, toffee, chocolate, and some nuts. The hops were clearly evident, and complimentary to the roasted malt. This, in my opinion, is black IPA done right, as neither element overpowered the other. Soft and creamy mouthfeel with a touch of astringency in the finish. I hate that the estate barley crop was destroyed, but this beer was worth sacrificing it to the elements.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle with a black wax covering. My official Thanksgiving day brew.

Very dark, nearly black with a light tan colored foamy cap and rather lively look.

The aroma is dominated by a pine, bitter tinged sweet fruit hop aroma. The dark malty scent of light coffee and dark wheat are subtle. Big, pine hop.

The flavor is much of the same, but a bit more well-rounded. The wet, fresh hop flavor brings big tangy, pine and grapefruit, very dry and earthy after the gulp goes down. A full but almost easy-drinking feel, fresh and rather big mouth feel but it sure goes down easy. The dark malt flavor's round out the hops with subtle coffee, dry dark wheat flavor's. Balance is good, not great, this one seems like some time in the cellar might meld these two drastic worlds of hops and malt together. The hop flavor also seems to bed a bit crazy, almost working against itself in the complexity department.

Overall, the flavor's are impressive, do they come together to work as a whole?? Not for my taste. But I have a hunch 12 months in the cellar might improve this.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a Dogfish Head old style IPA glass.

This is a real looker of an ale. Out of the bottle chestnut brown, but hits with dark walnut brown/black colors, and has this gorgeous ruby red hue to it. Head forms like nothing, 4 fingers tall clumpy retention, and island cap with a little bit of swiss cheese bubbles not totally but closely uniform. And absolutely gorgeous looking beer.

Nose is a bit of a one note wonder, but it's a good one. Large aromatic dark cocoa powder just bursting. Slight juicy fruits and grapefruit quality possibly hiding. Not very complicated, but it's a very enjoyable aroma.

Palate brings much of the same. However, the chocolate notes are toned down as dark roasted malts compliment but take a backseat to some wonderful juicy hop fruit character. Nice mellow grapefruit, complimenting roast to go with it hinting at drip bean coffee. The mouthfeel does bring a little bit of silky quality, and the dark chocolate comes with more sweetness as it warms.

This is a nice wonderful "diversion" from what Sierra Nevada had in mind, wonderful job.

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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 ColdOneKev
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Black with ruby highlights when held up to the overheads. Two plus fingers of fluffy white head, which fades very slowly and never quite goes away lending to wonderful thin lacing.

S - Hop spiciness, light roast, some dough. a little bit of pine.

T - Light roast up front, hops interrupt, then malt sweetness comes back to linger.

M- Light, medium carbonation.

O - SN never disappoints. This is an excellent Black Ale. More balanced than some other Black IPA's. Certainly not a hop bomb, very easy to drink.

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 1 PT., 9.4 FL. OZ. bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on day 267 (September 24) of 2013. 2013 DevESTATEtion Black IPA Almost Homegrown Ale.

Appearance: Pours a rich dark ruby with a thick toffee colored head. Very robust looking. This monster head is going nowhere and is present past the last sip - creamy and long lasting like a stout.

Smell: Citra, Citra, and more Citra! I love the aroma because I am a huge fan of this hop. Tropical fruits, slight citrus orange rind. If you can wade through the hop aroma, you can pick up a bit of coffee from the dark malts.

Taste: Less hoppy and more dark malt flavor than the nose suggests. I tend to think that the wet hops are less intense, yet somehow smoother and better tasting - which may lose their impact in a black ale. Strong coffee bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy, smooth and stout-like.

Overall: I drink this with the lament and heavy-heart that it is taking the place of this year's Estate Homegrown Ale, one of my all-time favorites. I am not a huge fan of dark ales (or roasted malts in general), but this does taste good. I like the fact that Sierra Nevada was able to salvage a semi-homegrown ale with an organic twist by using their homegrown hops. I look forward to next year's return of their traditional Estate Homegrown Ale!

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.24/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Has a nice deep russet copper brown color when held to light but in general looks a simple brown.
The head while pouring was quite tall dense and robust leaving simple lacing in it's wake.
The aroma was hoppy with some pine and citrus coming through. There was also a good roastedness that had a cocoa and chocolate aroma.
The taste was quite nice, Quite hoppy and not very bitter. A good roasted taste that had more of a cocoa type roast that your typical roasted barly. Both hops and malts well balanced and complimentory.
The roasted taste which was the best part i can only describe as like the chocolate ride at Hersheypark or a visit to Wilburs in Lititz Pa.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a bubbly patch of surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves a thick ring behind.

S- A lot of chocolate, some spice and a little coffee is coming from the nose making for a unique bouquet. There's also some hop fume and a tinge of booze.

T- Dark roasted malt flavor with some bitterness on the back end. Everything's balanced but accentuated if that makes sense. The roast hits hard, the hops hit hard but both work in harmony.

M- A bit on the thin side but has some hop oiliness to it. Medium carbonation and a mostly full body.

O- If the reason they went black for this edition of Estate is because their crop was decimated, then it was a blessing in disguise and I hope they never go back. Get it?

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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 JohnParadee
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful pour and appearance in tulip glass. Deep, dark hue and thick, tan head -- two inches at start, with long lasting lacing. Looks like a stout, but smells like an ale. I really like black IPAs (like 21st Amendment Back In Black), and this is a very good one. Although the nose is somewhat unrevealing of the ultimate character here, the initial taste immediately rectifies that shortcoming by showing the subtle coffee/caramel hints which make this BIPA uniquely intriguing. All in all, I like this BIPA enough to buy it again, notwithstanding that it doesn't provide the "full chubby" I was a hoping for.

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Photo of Murrhey
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a wax-sealed pressure cap bomber into a pint glass in high elevation Kalispell, Mont. Reviewed live.

A- Thick, frothy off-white head atop a black body.

S- Chocolaty aroma with some earthy hop character.

T- Chocolate, wonderful flavor. Rich and roasty.

M- Full bodied.

O- Wonderful beer, I like this quite a bit.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750mL black waxed bottle; poured into teku.
Pours a dark brown, brown/black in the glass, showing deep, clear garnet in the light. Huge fluffy off-white head that leaves tons of sticky lacing, even from a careful pour.
Smells of herbal and citrusey hops, over metallic dark roasted malts, with some breadiness as well.
Taste is first a big wave of hops; citrus, earthy herbal bitterness, and a hint of sweeter fruit. Following the hops is sweet, dark malt; dark bread, coffee, chocolate, and slight dark fruit slides through a clean, wet finish into a bittersweet aftertaste with lingering hints of citrus and roasty chocolate. I'm loving the malt profile on this one.
Mouthfeel is clean and wet, medium-bodied.
Overall, this is a good black IPA. It's not mind-blowing, but it's delicious and unique.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a two-fingers thick, creamy tan head into a snifter that left great lacing throughout. the body was dark brown with a reddish edge.
s - cocoa and earthy with a hint of piney hops.
t - earthy hops with some cocoa and a hint of spiciness.
m - medium and slick.
o - one of the better black IPAs i've had though it falls short of the other estate ales i've had. i guess cuz it wasn't 100% an estate!

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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 Pintofbrown
4.16/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Had in a snifter. This better be worth the trouble that was getting through the wax. Seriuosly, the wax job on this beer devastated my patience.

Truly outstanding looking beer, black body with only the slimmest of ruby highlights in the bottom of the glass, the head is incredible: it is a persistent two-finger's of mocha. Only after the first sip does the cratered and bubbly cap finally start to recede and leave sticky sheet lace behind.

The malt wins out JUST barely over the hops; the scents are more roasty, dark chocolatey, and a touch of coffee. The hops take a back seat to the malt and give notes of pine and mint to the bouquet.

Devestatetion, I can see the play on words without the need to capitalize, drinks more like a hopped up Narwhal than a black IPA. The malts remain more forward than the hops. The malt comprises some dark coffee roast, smokey char, and cocoa powder. While the hops present more in the swallow as piney with a hint of aspirin bitterness.

This black ale is a smooth drink, could it be heftier? Sure. Just a little watery, but still feels like a solid medium bodied beer.

Devestatetion is heavily malted for a black ipa. Plus, the malts are intense with char and smoke. It leaves the hops holding on for dear life, just barely poking through with some piney notes on the palate. Honestly, if you ever had Narwhal and wondered what that would taste like being a bit hoppier, I think you could get pretty close to answering your musings by picking up a bomber of this. All that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and will look for at least one more bottle.

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Photo of scotorum
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had beern looking forward to trying this, but an issue right off the bat was the heavy, rubbery wax coating over the top of the bottle, which practically demanded power tools to remove so the bottle could be uncapped. Looks very nice but is miserable to actually open.

Poured from the 22 oz. bottle into a Sierra Nevada IPA glass

a: Deep clear ruby topped by a two inch tall tan head which receded to patchy surface foam and extensive lacing.

s: Bright citrus and dark malt

t: Dark malt with hop balance, smoky and slight vegetal aftertaste later totally overshadoed by the smokiness.

m: medium, silky smooth.

o: A fine wet hop black ale with taste more on the porter-smoke side.

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Photo of Chaney
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Not sure why SN keeps waxing these styles.

Served in a DC Brau tulip. That's good karma already.

A: Poured a dark brown coming out of the bottle, but the collection was nothing short of pitch black.

S: Lots of char in there with some hops poking through. Sorta like a porter with grapefruit.

T: Tremendous flavor here. Seriously, this was so smooth it was ridiculous. It had the same fresh quality as greats like Tornado and Celebration, but a delicious, chocolatey porter covered and infused with it quite nicely.

M: No real bitterness left on the palate, lots of lacing left on the glass….. ridiculous, actually.

O: A+, world class beer here. I used to hate Black IPAs. Can't imagine why.

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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 superspak
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled 9/27/2013. Pours lightly hazy deep reddish brown color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of grapefruit, orange/lemon zest, chocolate, cocoa, toast, roasted malt, coffee, floral, grass, pine, and floral/roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop and roasted malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, orange/lemon zest, cocoa, chocolate, roasted malt, toast, coffee, floral, grass, pine, and floral/roasted earthiness. Fair amount of earthy pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, orange/lemon zest, cocoa, chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, toast, floral, pine, grass, and floral/roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance and complexity of hop and malt flavors; with a great hop/roasted malt balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a fairly creamy, moderately sticky, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Black IPA. All around great balance and complexity of roasted malt and hop flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Auraan
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a nice very dark brown with a reddish tint when held to light, with a three finger off-white head that receded slowly leaving thick lacing down the glass. Very nice, like a good, thick stout. Scents of roast malt, rich chocolate, fresh dark bread, some coconut, and faint hints of grass and peat moss. Pretty much no hop aroma, which is odd, the aroma is quite stout like actually, with a bit of coconut and the usual peat moss of a Black IPA. Flavor begins sweet with bready malt and some black coffee and roastiness, moving into more roast malt, staying modestly sweet throughout, with grapefruit and citrus pith hop flavors coming in the middle. Nice bitter pine resin hop finish and aftertaste, with a strong hit of roastiness on the finish and aftertaste as well. It's good, stout-like roastiness combines with West Coast style citrus heavy hops with a good hit of pine resin. It's balanced between the hops and the malt and between sweet and bitter. The balance is slightly in favor of the hops, with a fairly even balance between sweet and bitter. Very complex and quite nice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a slightly slick and oily feel with an oily finish. Very nice, quite true to form for a hop-forward beer. Overall this is a nice beer. It's balanced, but still abundant in both hop character and roast malt boldness. An enjoyable beer to drink, with a good overall character.

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

Highly drinkable. Lovely brew from Sierra Nevada. Nice well balance hops and toasted malts flavor. Chewy but not really oily. A luscious brew but not too cloying. I'm tempted to go get another one tonight. I got it in a 1 pint 9.4 fl. oz. bottle. Love the artwork on the cover and the dark brown glass.

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