Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale | Blue Mountain Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
190 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 190 | Ratings: 587
Photo of myatomicpolygon
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color- pours a reddish copper with a delicate off white finger of head with bubbles of many different sizes…
Aroma- has a sturdy bready malt character with traces of caramel malts that are well balanced with mild touches of citrus and herb from the cascade hops…inviting yet subdued.
Taste- malty caramel on the front end…with a bitter finish with essence of herbs and citrus…
Mouthfeel- dry crisp refreshing…perfect for the style
Drinkability- very easy to drink…good session beer. 15 plato 60 IBU 5.9%
Overall- B. this is one to throw in the fridge for every day drinking and as an East Coast substitute for Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. Good for those just starting out with the hops…or for those moments when your craving a solid beer that does not break the bank…and it’s available in cans too.

 815 characters

Photo of chilly460
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear medium orange color with one finger of tightly bubbled off-white head. Average retention but quite a bit of lacing.

S: Grassy and citrusy hops. Some hints of orange and mango. Lighter malts with some toffee.

T: Very hop forward beer, lots of grassy hops intertwined with sweeter citrus type. Solid sweet malt backbone.

M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation.

O: Nice tasty beer for sure, although I really think it goes beyond Pale Ale and well into IPA territory for sure.

 500 characters

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.

 493 characters

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.

 909 characters

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light orange/amber colored, clear with lots of small rising bubbles, an ok head and decent lace.

Crisp floral hops, a touch of malts, and some nice citrus notes make up the aroma.

Taste is nice, fresh and crisply hopped, a good balancing malt base, some nice fruity grapefruit and lemons, a little bit of earthiness. Very nice!

Body is medium carbonation, overall light to drink, and crispy and thirst quenching.

This is a very fine pale ale. I could easily drink these all the time.

 491 characters

Photo of dragonWhale
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

brought back 6 of these from the land down south thanks to a dear friend.
brilliant clear fiery red with a pungent and promiscuous just off white head. The pine lunges forth followed by a little grapefruit and bready malt.
Virginia pale ale? More like PNW ipa..hoppy with crisp bitterness up front and a big malty breastbone to support the final ride of pine and grapefruit coming through. Bitterness hangs on throughout, cutting through the malt and bringing forth the hop flavors. not especially "bright" but I can still dig on the balance of all that's going on here. Very solid, very delicious.

 599 characters

Photo of engagechad
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a growler from the brewery. Served in a stein at home

Pours great with a fat head, smells okay. Citrus is there but there is a little solvent, very faint over all. Taste is just okay, kind of solventy with some bad burn on the back.

Overall this is an okay pale ale - not what I was expecting and a little disappointing.

 333 characters

Photo of drewsil111
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Amber colored with a smooth head. Seemed highly carbonated

Smell: I never really enjoy the smell of pale Ales, so I'm biased here.

Taste: Has a very fresh taste with earthy undertones. The hops stay with you for quite a while after the initial taste. Also has a hint of citrus intially.

Mouthfeel: Very drinkable and smooth beer. Again, the carbonation seemed to tingle the tongue more than usual.

Overall: Very solid choice from Blue Mountain. Worth a taste before you buy.

 490 characters

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.

 980 characters

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.

 905 characters

Photo of BeerMarshall
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Blue Mountain

A: Coppery to amber
S: piney hop aroma
T: dominated by cascade hops with just enough maltiness to perceive and balance.
M: Good body and balance.
O: Great pale ale. I was very impressed, and I would definitely drink again in the future.

 263 characters

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

Deep copper with a white, two-finger head. Excellent lacing.

Pine and citrus aromas. Solid melted caramel malt aroma too. Hops aren't huge in the smell.

Nicely sweet with a bitter twang. Hops are evenly balanced with sweet malts. Hops have pine and juicy grapefruit. Subtle hops but they provide a very juicy mix with the malts. Aftertaste is dry from the malts not the hops.

 378 characters

Photo of Munkaboo
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can picked up from a brewery, probably less than a week old.

Appearance: Dark orange / amber... looks like an IPA for sure

Smell: This is definitely the beer's weakest spot... smells very malty, which isnt a bad thing, but not something I'd expect given the taste... slight hop aroma, but mostly caramel/bready malt

Taste: Here's where it shines. Malty caramel/bread hits you, then the hops take on center stage. Oily/resiny hops with citrus and earth... damn this is freeeeshhh. Hops linger on after. Always a good sign when you burp and taste the hops! That's the sign of a damn good pale ale / fresh hop ale.

Mouthfeel: I for one like the oily/resiny mouthfeel. Easy drinker. Killed a 6er of this at Foxfield last year, so it's very drinkable.

Overall: One of my favorite APA's... it's almost an IPA-Lite.

 813 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On cask at Rustico - Alexandria. Served in a pint glass.

Pour brings a reddish-hued copper-colored brew with a very slight white head. Given that it's a full glass, I drank it down a bit and swirled. Not much head creation--just a few bubbles that didn't last for all that long. The nose was a bit plain with some moderate floral and herbal hops and a bit of bready malt beneath. The taste was interesting with a rather potent front-end bitterness without any real hop flavor or bitterness in the finish, though it was fairly dry. Feel consisted of a medium body with moderate levels of carbonation. Not a bad beer, but nothing too special about it.

 650 characters

Photo of DIM
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a clear, shining golden copper color. It was served to me with a nice, firm, sticky cap.

s: Barely discernible pale malt and plenty of citrus rind with hints of pine.

t: Mirrors the smell basically. This was dominated by very bitter but still flavorful citrusy hops. The malt backbone was faintly caramel like pale malt. Drinks almost like an IPA.

m: Sticky and aggressively carbonated.

d: Very flavorful and fun to drink. It went very well with our pizza.

 472 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 1/5/2010. Can. Pours a clear orange with a thick white head. Aroma of hop oils, citrus, and grassy hops. Plus a touch of light tropical fruits. Flavor of plenty of hop oils and citrus hops with some caramel malt and light fruits. Super easy drinking. Great simple IPA.

 280 characters

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.

 1,283 characters

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.

 1,617 characters

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.   

 589 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a three finger thick, pale tan colored head that has some staying power. The beer is a nicely red tinged copper-amber hue that shows a brilliantly clear, bright copper color when held up to the light. The aroma smells of grapefruit zest scented with pine oil, sweet caramelized malt, toasted grain and a caramelized biscuit malt character. The hop and malt aromatics are fairly balanced here, though the hop citrus is definitely playing the leading role.

A nice biting hop character up front is thick with grapefruit and lychee, while the finish gets herbal, with pine notes along for the ride and a biting, rough'ish bitterness that lingers on in the long finish. This has a medium-light body to it that is thickened by crystal malt character; this is not overly heavy though and is certainly a quaffable beer. The hop character is a bit more aggressive in the flavor than it was in the aroma. A touch of cracker like grain and pale-toasted malt character adds some light spicing towards the finish of each sip

This is a nicely hoppy pale ale, it has a bit more crystal malt character than I might prefer, but that is perfectly in line with many American versions of the style. This will certainly help those in need of a hop fix and I always enjoy tasty beer coming from a can.

 1,328 characters

Photo of Onenote81
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another great bottle received from CrellMoset recently. Thanks! I'm really enjoying this brewery.

12oz bottle poured into a conical pint. Dark amber/orange hues capped off by a small creamy beige head. Fair retention; lots of sticky lace left in the wake. I'm getting a sharp smack of pine in the nose right away. Nice! Either I'm getting used to it, or it fades nicely into an earthy floral scent. I like the smell of this one.

The body is par for the style. Moderate carbonation. Not too light, but not overly filling. Good beer for lunch. This is definitely on the more bitter side of APAs. IBUs clock in at 60. I think the hops are blended very well with a touch of sweet caramel malts. Balance leans ever-so-slightly in the bitter hops favor, but that's not a bad thing. I like the bitter side of this beer. Well done, Blue Mountain! And thanks again, Chris!

 867 characters

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

Pour - deep golden to auburn in appearance with plenty of bubbling action and a half inch of wispy, white head.

Aroma - very citrusy, lemons and oranges, a little spicy, a little sweet and definitely a good deal of malt balancing things out. The aroma just sucks you into the glass.

Taste - orange peel, lemon zest, earthy, spicy, tangy and a little dry in the finish. Plenty of flavor and definitely some terroir, as they say, from those cascade hops growing in the mountains of Virginia.

Overall - a gorgeous brew from a gorgeous brewery. Love the local element and all the flavor that is packed into this beer. Definitely worth the trip to the brewery to pick some cans up from the source!

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. I'd love to go back to this brewery and try some more of their beers on tap and time my visit for when they are harvesting all those hops!

 878 characters

Photo of m1ked
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a six pack (cans!) after visiting this nice, tucked away brewery. Was visiting the area for a wedding and lucked into this brewery!

A- Pours a crystal clear brassy copper with an impressive 1.5" off white cap that remained for quite some time, until it was replaced with a thick lacing on the edges.

S- Straight pine up in the nostrils, with a touch of old wet rag that I sometimes get with some IPA's. It does not dominate, just a tiny whiff.

T- Now the piney hops get you right up front, but they are quickly followed by a nice caramelly biscuit that seems to give it an unbalanced balance.

M- Medium bodies with a good crispness from the diligent fine carbonation- maybe a tad under carbonation, but that could be from my transportation.

D- I love opening up new doors...especially to breweries! Virginia is for lovers...beer lovers! I had several offerings from this brewery and enjoyed many of their beers, and really enjoyed a few. This Full Nelson was the only offering in cans so I grabbed it. If I saw it at my local bar I would surely order this easy drinking & tasty IPA, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a (not over the top) IPA coming in at 60 IBU's with good flavor.

 1,206 characters

Photo of dball
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hands down the best bottled beer out of Charlottesville. I've also enjoyed it on draft as well. This pale is true to it's name. It has a good hoppy flavor, flowery smell, nice dark golden color, and a great mouthfeel. It has a little higher price tag in the store than I'd like to see but it also never disappoints and you can get it at the brewery for $9. Very solid pale.

 373 characters

Photo of andrewinski1
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass. Bottle says to enjoy by November 2010. I'm on it!

Nice copper color, very little head.

Smells bready with a hint of citrus. Not the most complex but nice.

Taste is nice balance of first citrusy (grapefruity) hops and slightly sweet malt.

This is very refreshing and relatively easy to drink. Wouldn't mind having this one again.

 358 characters

Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale from Blue Mountain Brewery
3.83 out of 5 based on 587 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!