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 beagle75
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, dark brown color with over two fingers of light beige foam head that collapses to a large and persistent pad. Heavy diffuse lacing remains on the glass.

S: Dark, unctuous roast is coffee-like. Hops qualities are complimentary, adding some pine but not threatening the dominance of the malt.

T: Begins off-dry, with cakey roasted malt and hops flavors that tend toward dark citrus. Bitterness begins to build after acidity subsides into the middle. Hops-derived bitterness becomes astringent during the finish.

M: Thick viscosity, supple and slightly resinous on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: Overall very good, entirely expected from Sierra Nevada whose infrequent contributions to the black IPA style are consistently some of the best around. While not universally hops-forward, the bitterness of this beer does become unchained and distracting for what is otherwise a very well-executed dark ale.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage.

Pours a clear dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy lattice of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and slight char aromas. I am not getting any real hop aromas from this one. Taste is much the same with cocoa and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that reminds me much more of a hoppy stout or porter than a black IPA, especially with the aromas I am getting.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark brown, almost black, body with big head and had an aroma that mixed roasted barley and caramel malt along with some breadiness, hint of dark chocolate (I think) and a touch of hops. A good beer that has two major cornerstones (malts and hops) some will like more than others and one I'm glad I had but probably wouldn't go for again. There is a large chunk of roasted malts with a coffee edge in this beer, also possible chocolate or toffee overtones, along with a rather strong dry citric/piney hops base (these hops are not mere decoration or for a crisp finish). Medium bodied and has a dry finish, a hearty beer that will take some sips to polish off.

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Photo of Omnium
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber > PInt Glass

A - Black with two fingers of nice creamy marshmallow khaki color head, medium lacing.
S - Roasted malt, a little toffee, some fresh herbal and earthy scents, roasted barley being among them, pine, hop resin.
T - The roasted flavors come out more as it warms up, toasted caramel, somewhat floral hops.
M - Bitter and dry, a little creamy, but fades.
O - A decent black IPA, tastes fresh and very earthy, but still missing on some notes.

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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 puboflyons
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the 750 ml. bottle. Sampled on December 24, 2013.

The pour is dark amber with ruby red hues and a good supply of tan head that leaves a decent amount of lacing in its wake.

The aroma is mildly hopped but more focused on the medium dark malts and mild sweetness. Good grainy character. A bit of butter.

The body is medium with the slightest astringency happening. Hops can do that.

The taste has a decent caramel maltiness at first that is quickly offset by vague fruitiness and medium hop finish. It does finish well but the finish lingers. A decent Black IPA.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- pours a dark cola color with a dense, tan head. Sticky lacing and firm retention make for a really inviting beer.

S- Dark grain bill with caramel malts and a slight doughy aroma. Hops seem herbal and spicy. Pretty standard for the style.

T- Some roasted notes and slight chocolate blends well with a peppery spice and earthy, pine hops. Certainly a raw, sharp aspect to this one not unlike Wookey Jack. Some roasted additional character takes hold on the way down before finishing with a clean bitterness.

M- Silky and creamy really comes to mind here. Maybe the leading aspect imo. Mid body with firm but delicate carbonation.

O- A truly outstanding effort by a classy brewery to make a little something out of nothing. And for the most part, all was not lost as they were able to salvage the hops and make a black ipa worth trying. Would have preferred the hops not take as much of a back seat to the malt, but still wonderful ingenuity and creativity. Malty IPA or hopped up stout...either way...good stuff.

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Photo of DrJay
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clear, deep brown with a thick (1 inch) beige/tan cap. Tons of thick lacing, great head retention. Aromas of roasted malts and citrus pith, malty and fruity, but nicely restrained. Well balanced up front, a combination of malt, roast, hops, citrus, then lingering bitterness. Pretty much all citrus all the way. Mild warmth, medium bodied, moderate carbonation, decent texture. Not a lot of astringency from the dark malts. I thought this was a pretty tasty beer.

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Photo of aquazr1
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brownish black with a huge dirty white head that quickly dissipated. Leaves real lite lacing afterwards. The initial smell made me think porter and then the taste had expresso and chocolate elements. Not sure what to think of it. Decent beer though the wax needs to go.

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Photo of ac22rush
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark ruby with little to no head and no lacing.

Smells like smoke, chocolate, caramel.

First sip I say to myself this is a Cascadian Dark Ale? Could've fooled me honestly this tastes more like a stout with most of the flavor consisting of dark roasted malt and smoke. Slight hop bitterness comes in the middle but honestly in a blind taste test I would call this a stout.

I don't know if maybe I got a bad bottle or if My senses are off today but I am slightly disappointed this beer definitely does not live up to my expectations from Sierra Nevada. Cheers!

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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 pkalix
3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

black but almost able to see through with a dark ruby/brown tinge. some nice foam on top, tan, and a soapy residual on the sides.
smells almost floral, but aside from that there isn't any smell.
taste has some hop bitterness, almost an espresso-type of bitterness and a slight dark bitter chocolate flavor and slight espresso flavor.
feels thin on the tongue with some oiliness to it.
overall, it's okay. maybe not the best brew to drink on a chilly December evening after working all day (looking for something more full-er).

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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 BarryMFBurton
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


A: Pours a deep ruby, so dark you’d swear it’s black until you hold it up to the light. Above is a towering tan head of foam that drops to an inch of bubbly retention, leaving intricate lace everywhere as it settles.

S: Toasty, herbal aromas in a controlled nose: cocoa powder, roasted barley, cola, and a leafy hop note of sassafras and black tea. The mild nature of the nose, along with an additional metallic tinge, gives this a porter flair.

T: A wonderful black IPA palate, centered mainly on a tasty mix of hops and chocolate. Each drink starts with a soft sweetness on the front – earthy hazelnut, nougat, and coffee with cream – and goes down with a marked dryness: the back of the throat tightens with char, grapefruit, cinnamon, and pine bitters. Supplemental notes of peat, brownie batter, and burnt cherry wood linger around the back end, bringing the palate to a woody, dry finish.

M: Creamy: a moderate thickness with a carbonation that’s largely foam. As such, it’s soft and drinkable, but there’s also a prickly dryness of raw hops with each taste.

O: I definitely enjoyed this one, so either this style is growing on me or Sierra Nevada crafted something special with this Estate brew. I’m going with the latter: I know that these guys can make some great hoppy ales (even though I didn’t really like the Belgian black IPA in their Beer Camp earlier in the year). If this replaced Tumbler or Flipside, I wouldn’t complain…

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Photo of Cubatobaco
3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Although I am glad that Sierra Nevada gave us an estate beer this year, it just wasn't on part with other black ales out there. Displayed a deep brown, almost black in color with foamy 1 1/2" head. Nose of dark malts, dark fruits, and a load of hops. The Flavors of dark chocolate, wet hops, pine, wood, and grain. The mouthfeel was very pleasant and thought is was extremely balanced. If they made it again in the future I would not hesitate to buy it. I just think they rushed things and wanted to give us something in 2013.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a pint glass (after much difficulty getting through all of the unnecessary wax)
A: Dark brown with a slight red tint, two-finger head that slowly settles
S: Dark chocolate, roasted grains, nutty, dried herbs
T: Here the hops come through, unlike the nose. Initial citrus/pine quickly followed by dried herbs then bitter cocoa/coffee notes to finish
M: Medium-bodied, crisp
O: A solid beer from a producer that knows how to make a good IPA

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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 cjgiant
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I'm not sure what to expect from this beer, given the style. I expected more of a black IPA, but what I thought of it was tending more towards a stout. Overall, the beer was very solid, well balance, with a roasted malt beginning, but a decent but subdued back-end bite made it a very enjoyable beer.

Poured opaque brown (reddish held up directly to a yellowish light), with decent head retention. In this tasting I get nothing distinct from the nose. I probably can't explain this well, but the up front taste is a typical ale, nothing special taste. Shortly into the taste, the place where one would expect a bitter bite, there is a roasted malt, coffee/cigarette taste that take over to drive the taste. That taste lingers, and as the maltiness fades, a coffee-tinged bitterness lingers.

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Photo of GJ40
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Sampled from a 750ml bottle purchased at Triangle Wine in Morrisville, NC.

A - Brown with a moderate amount of light coming through and good clarity. A big beige head. Good lacing. Looks great!

S - Initially some roasted, bready and nutty notes. Then some grassy aromas join in.

T - Lots of malt complexity with hints of root beer. Moderate hop flavor and bitterness. I thought the malt was a little too prominent for a Black IPA.

M - Moderate but creamy consistency with a nice carbonation level.

O - A good, interesting beer but not all that much a Black IPA for me.

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Photo of Joshpu
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the bomber to a pint glass

A: Poured a clear dark reddish-brown with a two finger beige head.

S: Dark roasted malts, earthy and citrus hops.

T: Nice citrus and earthy hops, some dark roasted malt backbone. Bitter finish.

M: Light to medium bodied. Easily drinkable. Maybe slightly above average carbonation. Made my mouth water on the finish.

Overall a solid beer, I enjoyed this one. Not necessarily blowing my socks off, but still tasty for the style. I would recommend letting this warm for a while to truly appreciate it.

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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 IronLover
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initially appears to he completely black, but when held up to a steady light is dark brown in color with deep amber hues and very good clarity. Poured with a thick soapy beige foam with excellent staying power. Foam slowly reduced to a thick cap that left sheets of thick lacings on the glass. Roasted and lightly charred malt aromas, along with a touch of dark chocolate, that are nicely balanced by earthy citrus and pine hops. Medium bodied with a smooth creamy feel up front and sharp tangy bite in the back. Lightly burnt and roasted malt flavors up front with earthy hop flavors in tow. Bitterness ramps up through the middle to the end with a tangy pine hop bite. The hop bitterness slowly fades at the finish leaving with a bitter charred malt aftertaste. Not the smack in the face like Sublimely Self Righteous delivers, but a more delicate take on a black IPA. Never disappointed by SN.

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

Goddamn wax...

A: Not really black at all. More of a very dark, clear leather color. Two fingers porter colored head. Retention is stellar, as is lacing.

S: Roasted grain, some citric hops. Bit of pine. Smells like yet another Sierra Nevada beer.

T: Initial sweetness is met with rustic IPA notes. Shots of pine, lemon, grapefruit skin. Aftertaste is some roasted elements. A little smoky, with a non descript astrigency in the finish.

M: Thin, borderline watery. Lacking the body that both the roasted and hoppy presence demands.

O: Massive, massive dissapointment. Big lack of flavor considering the price.

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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 LI_PO12
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into Tulip

Appearance- Dark brown, light tan head, good lacing

Aroma- herbal, spicy, earthy, piney fresh hops, slight chocolate, and toasted bread, a bit of roast

Flavor- Pine much more here, almost leafy, grassy in a good way, roasted malts, caramel bready malts

Mouthfeel- medium, good carbonation

Overall- Very balanced Black IPA, I would prefer more hop punch, but that's nit picking, this is very good and worth a try. The wet hops seem to add an extra earthyness to this which is awesome.

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