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 stephenjmoore
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Pours a medium brown that settles into the glass as a dark cola color. Big, frothy cream-colored head that leaves behind some sticky lacing.

S- Roasty malt, herbal hop aromas, slight hints of char and chocolate.

T- The roastiness plays nicely off of the herbal/earthy hop flavors. Hints of pine and citrus sneak through too, but the herbal/earthiness dominates.

M- Very smooth and drinkable, medium bodied, medium carbonation, somewhat creamy.

O- A nice, unassuming black IPA. Not a hop bomb, not overpowering, just very solid and very enjoyable.

 554 characters

Photo of dheacck11
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Vigilante
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Lagerhouserules
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Shawner
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Braz
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of BigJYoungblood
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of laglocal
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%

Photo of ridgeline23
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Dools9
4/5  rDev +2.8%

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

Pours a reddish hued deep walnut brown witha large sticky off white head atop,wow it sticks like glue to the glass and glides down very slowly.Roasted and light earthy notes in the nose along with more mild chocolate and piney hops.Quite dry and earthy on the palate up front,very earthy in fact,light bitter chocolate provides scant sweetness,herbal and pine hops linger in the finish.A solid beer,one of the dryer ABA's I have had to date.

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Photo of kaelingirl
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of BeerBeast
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Samuel906
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very dark deep red, almost porter black with a thick, clingy white head. Smell is fairly benign, some piney hops and lots of roasted malts. Good but subtle. Taste is not very reminiscent of an IPA, but instead features lots of malts, bakers chocolate, coffee and cream. There is some hoppy bitterness as well, but not the full force citrus and pine explosion you may expect. Feel is light, medium carbonation, not sticky or heavy. Overall, a pretty mellow beer that has some really good flavors and not much wrong with it. Nothing astonishing or exciting here, but is an interesting bridge between the classic styles of porters and IPAs and finds a nice happy middle ground.

 682 characters

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a dark mahogany color with 2 fingers of head that slowly fades to a fingers worth that stays around forever and leaves great lacing

S: Roasted malts right up front with some dark chocolate and cocoa with a hint of sweetness. Nice pine and citrus notes from the hops as well. Very well balanced

T: Follows the nose. The roasted malts are first to hit with the dark chocolate and lightly sweet cocoa and caramel notes. Some surprising coffee notes come in as well. Hops follow suit, giving off some pine, citrus, and floral notes. Finishes lightly bitter, from both the hops and dark chocolate/coffee notes from the malts

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Lightly dry

O: What a recovery from SN, especially being able to release such a nice beer as this. On the good/great side of the black IPAs/ABAs/CDAs that I've had, and it's extremely easy to drink to boot. A little pricey when compared to other SN brews, but I guess that's understandable when your entire crop of barley gets destroyed. FWIW, I enjoyed this more than the regular Estate Ale, and I'm a fan of wet-hopped IPAs

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a Riedel tulip glass. Pours an opaque black with some nice red hues on the edges. Thick light brown head.

Smell is very subdued. I could get some toasty malts, but that was really it, and even those I could barely smell. To be fair, there was also chili cooking in the house, so that could have been blocking my smell receptors.

Taste is super malty. It's nice and toasty and chocolatey. The toasty malt is punctuated by minty, citrusy hops. The mintiness of the hops mixes really well with the alcohol. It's not boozy by any means, but the alcohol presence is notable. The citrusiness of the hops mixes well with the malts - coming across like a chocolate orange. Still, this beer seems to be way more about the malts than the hops, which is surprising for a fresh-hop. On one hand, I feel a little bad that that they used fresh hops on a malt-forward beer because there are starving children in China who would love to have a fresh-hopped IPA, or, heck, even a Pale Ale, but I guess Sierra Nevada has three hop-forward fresh-hop beers to their name, so this one is a pleasant and unexpected surprise.

Mouthfeel is pleasantly thick, in keeping with it being more malty than hoppy, but not quite viscous.

Overall it's a really great beer. It definitely wasn't what I was expecting, but all of the disparate elements in it worked together really well. If they ever decide to brew it again I will definitely buy it again.

 1,433 characters

Photo of braedon_peluso
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of mdaschaf
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of thomascj
4/5  rDev +2.8%

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 Spider889
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%

Photo of Bung
3.81/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. A really dark brown pour, frothy tan head that retains well.

Aroma, Some herbal hops, toasted malt and peat.

Taste, More bitter piney hop here, large roast bite. Toasted malt, very dark chocolate nearly unsweetened at all. Heavy anise, a tiny bit of coffee.

Light side of medium body. A bit resiney, easy to drink. Very good level of carbonation.

May not be the typical hop disaster most are looking for, but this is another typically well crafted by Sierra Nevada. Aroma is just very muddling for some reason. Worth trying and the price is reasonable by todays standards.

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Photo of n2185
3.64/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a clear, dark brown with copper highlights and three fingers of cream-colored head that fades into a thin cap with a solid sheet of lacing.

S: Roasted malts with sweet cocoa up front followed by earthy and piney hop aromas bringing up the finish.

T: Roasted malts here as well with bitter chocolate and coffee flavors followed by resinous pine hop flavors. The finish is moderately bitter with some char flavors.

M: Body is on the lighter side of moderate with medium carbonation, this beer avoids being too watery or oily feeling.

O: A solid beer, overall. I'd like a bit more complexity from the hops and maybe a bit less bitterness, but it's still enjoyable.

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