Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale | Blue Mountain Brewery

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Full Nelson Virginia Pale AleFull Nelson Virginia Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Blue Mountain Brewery
Virginia, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
15 degrees Plato
60 IBUs

Added by Todd on 11-02-2007

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Reviews: 190 | Ratings: 595
Photo of Mbarnes304
4.85/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

That's a great beer. It's a little strange drinking a high hoped/60 ibus beer in a can.
The Review
The beer was clear, obviously filtered. The beer was copper in appearance and seemed to be moderately carbonated. This beer was  obviously brewed with cascade hopes the aroma was prevalent. The beer was very smooth for how highly hoped it is, and being 5.9 ALC/VOL.  This beer is a great beer, I would buy it. I don't like the fact that pale ale's are all over the place with IBUs, you never know what you are buying, but this beer tells you on the can. Great beer, I give it an A.   

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.77/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

APPEARANCE: Copper and transparent minus a touch of haze. A homogeneous, thick, white and fluffy head rests on top with a nice bit of retention.

SMELL: Pine and hops hit the nose immediately. A strong, traditional IPA smell. It smells rich and potent.

TASTE: Pine and caramel combine for a delicious sweetness at the front end. A well-balanced beer, the Full Nelson cedes its sweetness to the hops on the back end and allows them to close out the sip. An appetizingly bitter aftertaste leaves the palate wanting more. This is a downright delicious beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Lively and bubbly, but slightly mouth coating. For all the richness in nose and flavor, the Full Nelson is surprisingly light to drink.

OVERALL: When I arrived at the Blue Mountain Brewery this past fall I did not know what to expect, but I honestly did not expect a whole lot. I ended up being very impressed with the people, the food and most importantly, the beer there. The highlight for me, by far, was the Full Nelson. One of the better beers I ever tasted. After sampling the whole line up I had two pints of this and grabbed a sixer of cans on the way out. I knew it would keep very well, and two months later, this tastes just as good as it did on tap. If you find this stuff, pick it up. You'll be happy.

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Photo of WMEugene
4.71/5  rDev +23%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Growler purchased from Blue Mountain. My favorite "flagship" Virginia beer.

A - Pours a clear copper/amber color with a nice white head and excellent lacing. A very attractive beer.

S - Citrusy hops with floral notes as well. Faint malt smells as well.

T - Upfront citrus and floral hops. Very fresh tasting with just a tinge of bitterness. Some caramel and other malt flavors are present to provide just the right balance. Delicious.

M - Medium bodied, you can feel a little bit of the oil from the hops. A nice, hoppy finish and well carbonated.

O - Full Nelson is definitely in the running for the title of the definitive Virginia beer. An excellent Pale Ale that will put most ordinary East Coast IPAs to shame, it's a unique and delicious flagship beer. If only it was more widely distributed in the NoVA/DC area, this would be my base, go-to beer for all occasions. Well worth your time and effort.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.67/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Doughy, Munich-like maltiness up front. Orange and lemon zest American hop aromas provide the supporting balance. Has the hallmark characteristics of an APA. Firm American hops with a solid malt base. Very enjoyable.

Appearance: Hazy amber colored pour with an off-white head. Leaves sticky lacing on the glass and retains well.

Flavor: Very similar to the aroma. Nice bready Munich base followed quickly by a firm citrus hop punch. Finish is bitter, clean, and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with high carbonation. No alcohol heat or astringency noted.

Overall impression: A classic example of an APA. This is tough to beat. I really enjoyed the assertive hoppiness and the malty balance. Very well done!

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Photo of biglickbrewer
4.62/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Here we have a new "Virginia Pale Ale." This is not your half-hopped pale ale. "Full Nelson" is fully hopped!

Pouring a bright, clear, coppery amber, this ale starts off with a good sized head but lacks retention. Nonetheless, the aroma is rich with Cascade hops and sweet malt.

Up front, the sweet maltiness bathes the palate while the aromatic hops immediately flood the nose with citrus and floral notes. The significant hop aroma soon gives way to a hop bitterness that is a little more assertive than your typical APA. The bitterness lingers after the swallow while the sweetness from the firm malt backbone plays on the top of the tongue.

Comparing this APA to another Virginia pale ale, New River Pale Ale, New River can boast more hop flavor and aroma--at least in its original recipe--but brewer, Taylor Smack, has crafted a wonderful brother beer to NRPA with "Full Nelson."

Judging by the events at Old Dominion Brewing Co. lately (contract brewers of NRPA), we Virginians should be grateful for Taylor Smack's newborn APA; after December 31, 2007, it may be in a class by itself!

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Photo of nandemo1
4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear gold with a big frothy head, actually had to ease up on the pour to keep it in the glass. Very bubbly and lots of lacing.

Smells of woodsy hops and light citrus. Taste has a bold bitterness for an APA with a solid malt backbone. Very fresh hop flavor makes this a delicious brew.

Feel is light bodied but there is a resiny, oily feel that lingers.

A great brew from an up and coming brewery. Can't wait for their distribution to ramp up so it shows up beyond Charlottesville.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Right from the cask at Floyd's Fandango beer/wine fest, as advertised at their booth -- although they should have made a bigger deal of it, didn't seem like a ton of people knew. Thanks to the brewer (pretty sure the guy pouring this was the brewer himself) for his most generous servings!

Poured a slightly hazed peach-orange meets sunny golden color, and its super-white head left plenty of lace dots in its wake...although the head never totally went away.

Aroma is like sniffing a hop plug, just hugely fragrant and fresh...really nothing more to want. This was made with Columbus and Cascade hops, if memory serves...and they were bursting out of this aroma, big-time. Just enough malt backup to add some balance.

Flavor was as wonderful as the nose...a big, succulent, taste bud pleasing zing of citrus, pine and grassy/flowery hops...just a smidgen of a caramel/toffee malt base, almost English in character, although the super-fresh hops here can't be mistaken for anything but all-American.

A soft mouth, totally creamy, a wonderful glide over the tongue and down the throat. No surprise, considering how freshly-tapped this thing was.

I regret skipping over Blue Mountain beers in recent beer runs. Who knew? I'll be paying more attention to them from now on. Excellent.

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Photo of tchenery
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: CAN

A: 4.5 - I love seeing craft beer in a can and NO I didn't pour it in a glass.

S: Nice and hoppy and tinny.

T: Delicious. I think it's a bit smoother coming from the can, maybe a bit creamier. It definitely fills you up with hop goodness and is pretty bitter but in a good way.

M: Great silky mouthfeel, doesn't knock you out but makes you want another. Excellent 6 pack beer.

Couldn't be better. I'm just glad it's in a can. Now you can take your delicious Virginia craft beer to the pool, park, boat, wherever they say you can't have bottles.

I think having a beer in a can that you're used to having in a bottle gives it a bit more character, at least emotionally. It's a different experience.

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Photo of timtim
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i was absolutely taken aback by this beer. astonished. i have to owe it to the freshness, quality hops (i heard they were grown by the brewery??), and va mountain spring water. next to alpha king, this is my favorite pale ale i think. taste and smell well balanced with caramel and hop notes. smooth medium body. wonderfully drinkable. renews my faith in va...

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Photo of Greenlabel
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I recently received a bottle of this product in a full bottle swap but had never heard of it or the brewery before that time. I had not seen it available during recent trips to the Mid-Atlantic area but, if I do come aross it, I'd definitely purchase a 6-pack.

The beer poured an orangy color, decent head and very nice piney aroma. Quite hoppy but well within what might be expected of a Pale Ale. No unpleasant aftertaste. Definitely a model of what I would consider to be a session-type beer despite its 5.9% ABV.

One further comment - I was impressed that this small brewer had an easily noticed and non-coded "best by" date on the label. Kudos to them for that.

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Photo of blackie
4.41/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

my first of this particular commonwealth brewery

a: into a tyranena pint, a frothy khaki head nearly fills the glass, exhibits excellent retention throughout, and a heavy layer of lace marks my progress, the beer itself is a clear-filtered medium-dark amber in color

s: fresh (and locally grown) tropical fruit hops meld seamlessly with a clean pale and toasty toffee malt body, pretty generous hop aroma minus any sharp acidity, great start

m: very delicate carbonation around medium level

t: generously but far from absurdly hopped (though this could certainly pass for an ipa), mostly tropical fruit with light strokes of pine placed upon a great pale and toasty malt structure, dries quickly with a proportionately strong bitterness

d: sessionable, and probably the the first "i would buy a six-pack of this" local I've had since moving up...and i'll have the opportunity as they've recently expanded into this market

single from norm's, vienna, va with a best by date of 06/2009

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Photo of CliffBrake
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright light amber color with a good head that leaves solid streaks of lacing on the glass.

The aroma blends earthy hops and a malty cracker note. The taste with more crackery malts punctuated by earthy and floral hops, leading to a dry, spicy bitter finish.

Svelte body - just right for an APA - refreshing and light but very full flavored.

I think this is one of the tastiest, most balanced APA's I have tried. It shows the hops nicely, but not at the expense of the malty character. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice deep brownish-orange color. Full head that lingers around fairly well and leaves a little lacing on the wall of the glass. Aroma is a bit hoppy for a pale ale but good - pilsner and pine. Flavor is nicely balanced and refreshing - hop pop to start and then a nice fade to malts and a bit of pilsner on the end.

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Photo of bubbaoyster
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not a typical American Pale Ale.

More grain flavor in the middle followed by a nice hop finish. Very little sweet characteristics. Much more body than I'm used to with this style of beer, but well balanced with the hops at the end.

A nice beer - reasonable ABV makes it good to have a few of these. Great with food.

Blue Mountain is growing their own hops ( Cascades ) in Va. Makes for a very fresh hop flavor - highly drinkable! Can't wait to try more Blue Mountain beers!

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Photo of KeefD
4.36/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice solid orange color with a two finger head and sheets of lacing down the glass. Pretty much the perfectly ideal Pale Ale look. Nice grassy, floral, piney hoppy aroma, very reminiscent of Two Hearted actually, but with a few more varieties thrown in for good measure. Taste is also similar to Two Hearted but with a more malt and a little less alcohol. Bitter, biting yet smooth, nice dose of grapefruit rind with a solid pale malt backbone. Ample carbonation gives this a crisp and dry finish. This is a fantastic pale ale, IMO. A little more alcohol and touch more hops and this one's in IPA territory. Good stuff. Thanks go out to IBUnit63 for hooking me up with this as an extra!

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Photo of BZero007
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle in to my DFH Tulip/Pint Glass.

Pours a amber color with the outlines fading to a gold color. Head forms a easily with a great off white color aswell. Aroma was of a hoppy citrus powering threw with sweet floral background. The taste was exceptional and I was extremly happy to have this beer from VA. The taste is not like other IPA's which I give it allot of credit for. The Hopps are up front with a citrus flavor with a slight sweet malt background. It is a very hoppy beer but the bitterness is not over board like some IPA's. The beer is also surprisingly light and not filling. I feel this is a great beer to have during a hot day and for sessions. Will be keeping this beer in stock for sure.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 64oz growler (filled in-person at BMB) to nonic pint glass on 5/29/11
*From notes

A: Filtered golden sunset-amber. A careful pour yields a two finger white head and some serious lacing.

S: Extremely floral, though not juicy. Hearty and rich, with a good dose of barley.

T: Mellow and earthy. A muted bitterness adds a layer of nutty richness. The hop profile is complex, fresh and delicious.

M: Thick and rich. The carbonation is pitch perfect.

O: Blue Mountain's Full Nelson is unlike any other APA I've encountered. Because they grow their own hops, they are creating a beer that's entirely there own, and simply fantastic. The balance here demands respect, and I would go to great lengths to have this in my fridge 24/7.

This comes highly recommended, and without question this is worth seeking out. One of the best APA's in America.

Yet another masterpiece from the folks at Blue Mountain.

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Photo of brewdude1982
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a 12 oz can poured into a snifter.

It pours a dark orange and has good clarity. It smells amazingly malty with a little hops as well. It tastes really malty and then a great hop finish. The body is what I would call medium and has decent carbonation. I could drink this all day. I would recommend it if you are in va and can pick it up.

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Photo of drink_
4.34/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

From the land that the revolutionary war was fought on comes beer that delivers the best elements of a west coast pale ale and an english bitter/mild. Its got the hop character and more neutral yeast qualities of an american pale ale laid on top of a perfect balance of malt and bitterness like an english mild. Its not as dry as a west coast pale but not as caramel/crystal malty as a midwest pale. I get a little pale choclate malt and biscuit bready english malt. This is my standard go to beer.

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Photo of drtth
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. The Cascade hops used in this beer are grown on the Brewery's own hop farm. Freshness date 06/09.

Appearance: Pours a clear dark copper color with ¾" off white head that recedes and leaves behind a film of lacing on the glass and a thin layer of foam. Sipping leaves behind spotty lacing.

Smell: The aroma is of lots of caramel malt with floral and citrus hops (Cascade) in the background.

Taste: The initial taste is rich and malty with a strong grapefruit hop bitterness entering next. The interplay of malt and hop is balanced and well proportioned.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a light carbonation that provides a soft, silky mouth feel. The finish begins in malt sweetness with undertones of hop bitterness. The finish then tapers off to a long dry grapefruit conclusion.

Drinkability: This is very drinkable. I could drink a few this evening and I will be returning to this beer in the future. In some ways this strongly flavored APA resembles an IPA.

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Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark golden/amber color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a solid pale, bisquit, and carapils malt scent along with a pretty outstanding hop aroma as well. The taste is good also. It has a bitter hop flavor that blends well with the tastey malt bill. It has a complex array of malt flavors that make for a really balanced and well rounded palate. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good APA. It's malty as well as wonderfully bitter. Another fine beer from this oustanding brewery.

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Photo of jgreenearrow
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a copper brown color with a thin white head forming on the top of the pour. Some lacing is left on the sides of the glass.

S: The nose is dominated by floral hops. Some malt tones are present in the nose as well, accompanied by faint spice notes; coriander and clove.

T: Wow, this is where this beer shines. There is a definite hop presence to this beer, but it's not as dominant as the nose suggested. Sweet malts hit the tongue at the outset of the sip. Some hop bitterness enters in the middle, accompanied by the spices of clove and coriander. The hop bitterness carries through to the end of the sip finishing with a crisp hop bite.

M: This is a light to medium bodied beer. That is well carbonated and refreshing.

Overall, this is an excellent pale ale. Blue Mountain brews the beer with their own farm grown hops. The care and craftsmanship put into this beer is evident. This is easily the best Pale Ale that I've had.

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Photo of sholland119
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub, 2/3/10.

A-Pours a clear amber with a thin white head and some nice lacing.

S-Fresh grassy hops dominate the nose with a mild citrus behind, supported by a grainy malt backbone.

T-Excellent. Peppery and grassy hoppiness and a nice bready grainy malt flavor. This is more of a hop head's pale ale. Guilty as charged.

M-Medium bodied and a bit dry.

D-Really nice. Grabbed a six pack to go and would gladly have this one any time.


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Photo of Seanibus
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a beer that will make you do a double-take. It rocketed to my top 10 list on my first try.

The beer pours a beautiful copper color with moderate head. It dissipates quickly but leaves good lacing throughout the glass.

The aroma is slight but pleasant - grassy and sweet, like a fresh mowed field or a taste of buckwheat honey.

The flavor starts simple - sweet and grassy - but that initial taste is followed by a pungent hop bite that grabs the tongue and forces you to reevaluate that first impression. It's a complicated and delicious flavor with a surprisingly strong malt backbone considering the color. There are several layers of hop bitterness and flavor, so your whole mouth will be engaged throughout the sip.

The mouthfeel is strong, with a pleasant but challenging hop bite and a slight sting from the carbonation. It will keep your mouth busy the whole way down to your throat.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The CANQuest (TM) CANtinues its (seemingly) unstoppable march to # 400 with another gem. CAN you believe how many CANned beers are out there?

From the CAN: "Real Virginia Beer"; "Demand Fresh Beer: Check My Butt to Make Sure I'm Not Older Than I Look" (Note - No Stamp on bottom of CAN); "Mountain Water, Valley Hops. Drink the Good Stuff."; "Nelson County: Yeah, we've been called Virginia's Love Child and we're OK with that. Backwoods Botanical Experiments, Hillbilly Shine and Mountain Music ... not too bad livin' when you consider it. So put a little authentic Virginia Terroir in your mouth with a brew loaded with our farm-grown Cascade hops and deep-drawn Foothills water. Got a bite, y'all."; "Pack It In, Pack It Out."

Crack & Glug Time: Two fingers' worth of rocky light-tan head that seemed anxious to bubble away into some nice sticky lacing. Nose was at once piney and earthy, leading me to wonder if this may not have been wet-hopped. Color was a deep orangish-amber with NE-quality clarity. I am reasonably sure that this was not filtered, given the intensity of the nose. My mouth was beginning to water in anticipation. Mouthfeel was medium with a very pine-like intensity on the tongue. Geez louise, this was simply an APA to these folks?!? I have had less hoppy IPAs on this journey! The CAN did mention 60 IBUs, but I am not really a stats guy. Finish started out by retaining its intensity, but it slowly gave 'way to a sweet caramel-malt on the extreme finish. Cooler? Heck, yes, if I CAN get some more! This might be worth an exploratory trip into Virginia to see what these boys are up to.

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Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale from Blue Mountain Brewery
3.83 out of 5 based on 595 ratings.
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