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

Appearance- Light pour into tulip glass, nice one finger tan head with lots of lacing and very black in color.
Aroma- Very roasty smell, slight coffee and chocolate with some hops.
Taste- Beer is labeled as a black IPA, reminds me more of a porter.
Mouthfeel- Medium body with good carbonation with a very earthy lasting finish.
Overall- Definately a must try, was expecting more hoppy taste from Sierra Nevada but was overall an enjoyable beer. I could not turn down the waxed top and Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-Black in the glass, clear deep ruby when pouring. One finger off white head that leaves great lacing.

S-Very roasty, some chocolate, dirt and other earthy hops.

T-Starts rather roasty with dark chocolate and slight coffee. Some dirt and earth. Nice bitterness to round it out.

M-Medium bodied, really nice carbonation, a tad velvetly, some hops as well.

O-Not as good as Estate, but a great idea to salvage the hop crop.

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Photo of sethmeister
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A very attractive beer. Pours mid brown but appears nearly black in the glass with tawny brown highlights and a big bubbly foamy ecru head. my shaker pint is curtained with fluffy sticky lace.

Great nose - wafts from the bottle and i get caramel, floral, and fruity notes before I even raise the glass.

Taste is bitter dark chocolate and cocoa with a touch of dark fruit - raisins and figs. Roasted stout-like flavors. Very nice malt bill here but the hops seem rather subdued. There are earthy and slightly spicy hop notes as well as a hint of citrus and a pleasing bitterness on the finish but this is a very balanced beer rather than a hop forward one

Nice creamy mouth feel and excellent drinkability.

Overall a very enjoyable ale from a brewery I am very fond of but to be honest I would have preferred more hop activity here.

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

750mL bottle. Pours a pitch black color with an inch of frothy light tan head. Lots of lacing. Not a big nose on this one. The aroma is roasted malts, citrus hops, charcoal and some earth. The taste is roasted malts, smoke, charcoal, and citrus and piney hops. Hints of bitter dark chocolate and black coffee. Bitter pine and citrus peel at the end. More roastiness at the finish. Medium bodied. Overall, a decent Black Ipa.

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

Poured from a 750 ml capped and waxed bottle into a Sierra Nevada branded IPA glass

Pours a dark maple syrup brown capped by a fluffy cream-colored two and a half finger head. Excellent retention and gobs of lacing coat the inside of the glass. Citrus notes and bittersweet chocolate on the nose. Opens with mixed citrus, hint of tangerine, mandarin orange, perhaps even a hint of lime that is muted by some earthiness midpalate. Finishes with bitter grapefruit rind, hints of roastiness, and bitter dark chocolate. Lighter side of medium bodied, some oiliness from the fresh hops combines with underlying creaminess for a slick, but sudsy and soapy mouthfeel. An excellent example of the style. Recommended.

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

a deep brown color coming out of the bottle, settled into a nice black pour with 2 full fingers of off white head which dissipated nice and slow and left a ton of creamy looking lacing behind. aromas of toasted grains, chocolate, dirt, coffee and decaying grass. thankfully the beer tastes a bit better than it smells but still has that funky herbal hop feel to it. lots of darkness flavors this beer, toasted grains, coffee, dark chocolate, and a hint of smoke. light to medium in body with a good amount of carbonation.. a bit of a thin feel, but creamy.. definitely could make this a nice winter session beer.

the more i drink this, the less weird the hops get and the tastier it becomes. although it is a pretty nice beer, i definitely remember liking estate ale way more.

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Photo of brentk56
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear mahogany, with an impressive three fingers of khaki foam; great retention and impressive lacing

Smell: Burnt bread, dark chocolate and piney hops

Taste: Very roasty, up front, with burnt bread and chocolate flavors; the hops jump in quickly, adding a piney element with citric undertones; the roastiness persists from start to finish and complements the bitter flavors in very assertive fashion

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: This beer charts a very aggressive course in both the roasty and bitter directions; not something I would want to drink a lot of, but a pretty good take on the style

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Photo of Justin_Neff
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark brown, somewhat translucent body. Appears light and thin. Light, khaki colored, fluffy head. The retention is amazing. Even after several minutes, a half-inch pillowtop still remains, with a ton of sticky lacing clinging to the glass.

S: Tons of chocolate.Vanilla. Caramel. Hop character very present.

T: Bitterness upfront. Chocolate. Very hop forward. Vanilla-like sweetness in the finish.

M: Creamy. Light body.

O: Not bad. Not much roast, which I expected for the style. Hop presence is nice. Solid, and I would drink again, but I was hoping for more.

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Photo of zookerman182
3.84/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is black but not jet black with a monster head that stays forever.
Aroma is coffee, a little bit of malt and some pine.
Taste is the same, mostly coffee and chocolate but with hops and bitterness.
Mouthfeel is bubbly and really carbonated. Flavor doesn't linger much at all.
The wax was a pain to remove but the beer was well done.
Not my favorite black ipa but it was a decent example.

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

Bottle from the Wegmans Dewitt NY for $10

Appearance - Brown colour with an average size beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, coffee, chocolate

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, coffee, and quite a bit of hops. There is also some chocolate and a bit of grapefruit.

Overall - I'd like a little more of a lip smacking fruit juiciness in this one. There are lots of hops to make up for that though. A good beer, but one and done for me at the price point. I'll just buy Stone SSR or the Firestone black ale for less money.

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Photo of 57md
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is dark brown in color with ruby edges. There was a finger of fluffy head that dissipated down to a thin layer but left nice lacing behind. The nose is a pleasant combination of citrus and hops. The flavor profile includes a nice malt backing with a splash of espresso bitterness. The upfront flavor was followed by a decently bitter hop finish.

As with all of SN's hoppy beers, this one is certainly above average. There are better black ales out there, but not many.

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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 barleywinefiend
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown with a nice dirty cream-colored head that fades into a thin cap with a little bit of lacing

S: Sordove of a letdown actually. I received lots of roasted malt and coffee but not much on the hop backing. I literally had to faceplant in order to get any pine or Earthiness to this beer.

T: Initially I receive a blend of cocoa and coffee, nice amount of roast a very tame pine and Earthiness appear bt it's just low rent. The finish has a lingering roasted and moderate bitterness with some cocoa on the end

M: The body was light-medium to medium but I thought it was pretty creamy initially.

O: Sordove disappointed on this. Not a bad beer but definitely a little weak on the hop presence, especially to carry such a name and black wax...

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

Pours a foamy black, with a good head, and lots of lacing.

One of the better versions of a kind of silly style here, this is definitely more black than IPA, with a nice nutty, roasty, and chocolatey backbone, with a heavy bitterness. Not much in the way of fruity hops for me. Pretty nice stuff.

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Photo of bpasquini
3.72/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: I really like the color to this beer, it pours a dark ruby color and is black when in the glass, leaves a thick bubbly looking head that has a tannish/white color, leaves some nice lacing around the glass as it slowly fades

S: I can smell roasted malts, some coffee, hints of some sweet malts, and a very slight pine hop presence, can't really detect anything else, but what you get is still pleasant, wish there was more hop presence in the nose

T: This beer pretty much follows the nose, initial flavor is the roasted malts with a strong coffee presence, then it is followed with some of the sweet malts to mingle with the coffee flavor, and ends with a slight piney and very light citrus flavor with some hop bitterness. Again wish there was more of a hop presence in this, the citrus from the hops would have really complimented this beer but it's still got a good taste to it

M:This beer has a very nice mouthfeel to it, very light, slightly oily, and finishes really well, very drinkable which is nice for this style of beer

O: Good beer, wouldn't go out of the way for it, but if a shop has it, it is worth a try
Great beer to try if you are wanting to try something new as well

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

Consumed 11/17/13

Appearance: Dark brown from a distance, more of a medium brown up close, with some copper tones - impressive level of clarity - pours with a big, fluffy, light tan head - fades to a borderline solid cap, leaves some really nice lacing

Smell: Lightly burnt, lightly roasty, with a nice dose of hops - refreshingly non-aggressive - a bit mild, actually - some nice dark chocolate and semisweet chocolate - roasty coffee - orange and grapefruit - big floral notes and mildly earthy - some big caramel notes in the malts

Taste: Mild yet very charming - roasty and lightly burnt, mixed with nearly equal amounts of sweeter caramel malts - lightly burnt biscuits - orange and grapefruit flesh, mild in intensity but intensely fresh tasting- not very bitter overall - low level of malty sweetness - very clean and very Sierra Nevada

Mouthfeel: Medium body, nicely carbonated, very clean, very smooth, very drinkable

Overall: I hope they expand this to CeleROASTEDtion (or maybe a catchier name)

This kind of tastes like Sierra Nevada blended a wet-hopped IPA with their stout. Which I guess is kind of what they did. This works oddly well. It's very flavorful without being a palate-destroying black IPA. I feel like this idea could go places. Until then, I guess I'll just blend Celebration and Sierra Nevada Stout when I feel like having this again.

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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.

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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 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 JG-90
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

DevESTATEtion Black IPA is a dark brown in color. Pours a large, light tan head with very good retention. Head becomes rocky as it slowly recedes and leaves heavy lacing. Smells of light malts, bread, piney and citric hops, not a ton of aroma but what is there is nice.

Taste starts with bread and roasty light malts, then moves on to grapefruit and tangerine, with a nice bready, citrusy, roasty malt finish. Not a ton of flavor, but it is pretty complex and very balanced. Mouthfeel is a bit on the light side and carbonation a bit on the high side, with a bit of creaminess.

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