DevESTATEtion | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

very good
572 Ratings
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 572 |  Reviews: 121
Photo of eulerthegrape
2.75/5  rDev -29.3%

Photo of corby112
2.9/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark chestnut brown color that appears nearly black in the glass, with dark mahogany edges and a frothy, two finger beige head that very slowly settles into a thick, lasting cap/ring. The retention is crazy, almost too good, taking forever to settle. The glass is left coated with rings and chunks of soapy lacing.

The dank, earthy hops and smokey roasted dark malts combine for a very odd, metallic-like aroma with a strong phenol/chemical character that is very unpleasant. Resinous pine sap, grass, dirt/soil and spruce tip followed by smoke, charcoal, roasted malt, coffee bean and oatmeal. There's a touch of caramel sweetness in the nose but the hop and malt combination makes it smell like phenolic bandaid. Everything seems to clash and scream, "Don't drink this"!

Thankfully this beer tastes a lot better than it smells. The solvent-like chemicals and phenols that I picked up in the nose are nowhere to be found. The hop and malt flavors are better integrated than I expected. The hop profile is still kind of one dimensional, however, with lots of dry, earthy bitterness. Resinous oil, sticky buds, grass, pine tree and spruce tip flavor give this beer overwhelming bitterness that's decently cut by the complex flavors of the malt bill. The malts are pretty robust and smokey but there's some underlying sweetness that balances things out. The smoked and charred malt compliment the hop bitterness with hints of charcoal, burnt toast, deeply roasted coffee bean and oatmeal. This is countered by bittersweet dark chocolate, toffee and slight caramel flavor. A bit harsh and nit the mist balanced beer but after the palate adjusts to the bitterness, this beer becomes decently drinkable.

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Photo of acurtis
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of mdaschaf
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of jdougherty
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of random846
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of PriorDoubleDark
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of mhaugo
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of audioserf
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of Kiniey01
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of mkdzimiera
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of Tigre
3/5  rDev -22.9%

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 kojevergas
3.11/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with interesting label art and waxed-over branded pressure cap acquired at me Whole Foods HQ and served into an Avery stem-snifter in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are average given the brewery. 2013 vintage. 6.70% ABV confirmed. Reviewed as a Black IPA because the label identifies it as such. "Organic." "Wet hop ale."

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 1.5 finger wide head of light khaki colour. Good creaminess. Nice thickness. Inconsistent spotty lacing/legs clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is good - about 5 minutes.

Body colour is a predictable opaque solid black. No yeast particles are visible.

Appears well-carbonated - possibly overcarbonated.

It looks as most black IPAs do, but it's not unique or special. There are no obvious flaws. Standard fare.

Sm: Caramel, dark malts, cream, chocolate malt, hints of milk chocolate, floral hops, cocoa, vague biscotti, and pale malts. Pine, spruce, and mint surface more and more as it warms. Maybe sage too? Something else in the mint family. Vague anise, but luckily no licorice. It doesn't deliver much diversity or depth in terms of hops, but the chocolate is quite appealing here. I don't know that I'd peg it as a Black IPA if I tried it blind. I love the cocoa and biscotti notes - wow.

A surprisingly appealing aroma of moderate strength.

No alcohol or yeast character is detectable.

T: Anise comes on heavier in the taste than it did in the aroma, and is joined unfavorably by mint, sage, evergreen, and prominent pine needle hop character. Too herbal. I'd like a different hop profile - citrus, nectar, oily, fruity, anything - pine is not ideal. Caramel. Has plenty of cocoa and chocolate malt. The cocoa is lovely on its own, but unfortunately - like with many black IPAs - the "dark" aspect of the beer clashes with the hoppy aspect, yielding an imbalanced flavour profile. Far from gestalt, but it does have a decent loose cohesion. I guess some roasted barley would be nice. Most of all, I just wish the hop presence was toned down - that this weren't trying to be a black IPA at all.

Sadly, the biscotti note I was so looking forward to is nowhere to be found here. It's too bitter as well, featuring the bitterness both from the hops and from the chocolate.

Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. It has a forced complexity, but no subtlety.

No yeast character or alcohol comes through.

Mf: Overcarbonated. Unrefreshing. Lightly oily. Chewy. Smooth and wet. Has a good body and presence on the palate; it's a shame the flavour profile isn't better. Good thickness. Suits the flavour profile well in a general sense, but the texture doesn't seem custom-tailored to the taste.

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

Dr: Huge ripoff for the (lack of) quality. This is the type of beer many people forget about when they claim that Sierra Nevada is the best value brewery in the country. Where's the roasty character they brag about on the label? I'd honestly recommend just setting this one down for a few years; maybe age will get rid of the lackluster hop character and let the well-executed cocoa powder and chocolate malt notes take over. Hell, if they don't want it to be aged, why are they waxing it? I wouldn't get this again, nor would I recommend it to friends. Not the strongest Black IPA I've had so far, but not the weakest either. Another mundane brew in an emerging young style. I appreciate the effort to scrap together something new due to a failed harvest, but who are we kidding? Drinkable but underwhelming.

I do have to concede it's above average for the style, but perhaps only because so many beers in the style are fundamental failures - especially with regard to balance.

Low C+

 3,959 characters

Photo of mentor
3.11/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dirty-tan two-fingered head over a brilliant brown liquid with ruby tinge. Smells dry roasty malt, cream, hop piney, and hop pithy. Tastes roast dry with mild malt sweet underneath. Iron, burnt grains, cedar wood. Hop flavor is pine, pith, and light resin. Hop bitter is clean hop oily and blends well with the bitter of the roast grains. Medium-light in the mouth with a very dry finish. Modest clean alcohol sting. Lingering dry roast finish is augmented by mild waxy hop bitter. A bit too dry for my liking. Dry stout meets American hops? Favors the dark grain flavors more than the hops. Gorgeous lacing and a thin layer of head hung around until the end.

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Photo of bobhits
3.14/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

From the bottle pours a medium tan colored beer that quickly forms a thick creamy tan head. Under the foam forms a deep amber bordering on black body. The body however is a touch thin based on the absurd bottle (they did their big 750 ml bottle with a wax cap....I swear I want the buck they wasted on the look of this back since i know I paid for it).

The aroma is pretty darn interesting. Citrus orange and grape fruit mixed with coffee and light bakers chocolate. I'm under selling it a bit with this description. The draw back is after the pour it becomes increasingly hard to smell surprisingly quickly.

The flavor is where this one drops off. This reminds me of a porter with a bit of hops and a really weak overall flavor. The beer lacks a decent malt back or enough hops. the end result is the chocolate and coffee porter notes poorly balanced with hops and a lack of a real finish. Ultimately the beer drinks like a 5% beer vs nearly 7% and it underwhelms.

Black IPAs sadly often do not reach high levels of carbonation in the mouth feel. this is a real problem as that's an important element of non imperial IPAs. Instead this takes on a fairly silky smooth body with only a slight ever so subtle hop bite at the end.

At 10 bucks a bottle, I admit it knowing I'd be disappointed I might still buy it to try. Bottom line this is the weakest hop forward beer I can recall from Sierra and putting it in this silly bottle and charging 10 bucks for it just makes it that much worse.

 1,494 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.17/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Big khaki head. Sugary legs. Deep brown body.

Smell - Nutty with some grassy hops. Smells like a hoppy brown.

Taste - Grassy and grapefruit hop. Lots of deep caramel malts. Some bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Well carbonated.

Overall - It's ok, but it's not a black ipa. Just a hefty brown ale.

 370 characters

Photo of gillagorilla
3.17/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a Burley Oak snifter

A: Dark, dark brown color with a minimal head and decent lacing.

S: Smells very dark with a fair amount of roast in there. It is very bready. I get no hops on the nose.

T: Tastes like a standard black ale, but is quite watery. Maybe they should have dried the hops off first. Roasty malts and quite dark tasting.

M: Quite prickly.

O: Kind of a let down just like their harvest/crops this year. I admire that they tried to save it with this release, but I don't think it worked. They should have kept this for draft-only or made it into a stout/porter. At least it was relatively cheap, but still. Eh, maybe next year SN.

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Photo of beergorrilla
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of blivingston1985
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of mcrago
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of malfunxion
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of Lare453
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

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