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Nelson | Alpine Beer Company

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Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A Golden Rye IPA - An outstanding hop from New Zealand, Nelson Sauvin, is generously used throughout the brewing and dry-hopping of this unique beer. European rye is added for a smooth, malty addition to flavor. 1.065 OG 7% AB

Added by OStrungT on 08-11-2006

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Reviews: 820 | Ratings: 4,018
Photo of tewaris
4.06/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

45 IBUs
OG 1.065
22 oz. with no dates into a Bell's tulip. Thanks BulbMan!

Lighter and brighter looking than I expected, Nelson poured without any "redness" I typically, and erroneously, associate with rye beers. A clear hay golden hue, with a beautiful cream white head; excellent retention and lacing. Tropical fruit (esp. pineapple) is jumping out as I pour and I know that this is going to be a hoppy delight even before a sip. However, strong notes of sourdough bread make it clear that it's more than your regular IPA. Off to taste!

Fruity, spicy, mellow and bitter --- almost a contradiction, but very successful. And firmly bitter, no joke! Like other Alpine IPA's (have had Pure & Exponential till now), but with a twist. Creamier but still plenty crisp, Nelson smells and tastes of awesomeness. Eventually, rye seems to dominate this beer and not in an unpleasant manner. The mouthfeel is creamier, but still a little thin. Overall though, Nelson delivers exactly what it promises and is a major success!

Scores: Appearance 5/5; Aroma 4/5; Taste 4/5; Mouthfeel 4/5; Overall 4/5

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Photo of jpro
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber into Duvel glass... Pours a hazy, lemon gold, with a fluffy, white head of thick foam. Dabs of retention leave some webs and splotches of lace. Aroma is of citrus zest, white pepper and leather. Thin, bready malt is followed by a rye zing and orange / grapefruit rind on the finish. Mouthfeel is medium; carbonation is medium with a touch of creaminess... Finish is dry. Overall, the unique look of this beer, plus the combo of rye and a unique hop variety deliver a very enjoyable spin on a west coast IPA.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.2/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber courtsey of MASPuros...thanks Mike!

A: Poured a golden hazy color with a small white head that fades to nothing and leaves a small amount of lacing.

S: Nose is all piney hops with a small amount of tropical fruit in the background. There is a small rye component to the nose but it's barely detectable although it does show up a bit more as it warms. It also get more fruity as it warms and I get a big passion fruit aroma.

T: Taste is all pine bitterness like the nose with a small fruity flavor on the finish. The rye adds a spicey kick towards the end of the finish as well. The fruity sweet flavors get more pronounced as you let the beer warm. I can actually taste the passion fruit that has been mentioned now that it has warmed and the bitterness is all but gone. Very interesting flavors and a big change from right out of the fridge to about an hour later.

M: Feel is par for the style. Creamy and the carbonation is just right.

D: I would have this again but I'm not sure if I'll search for it too hard. The 7% isn't bad and could make me want a few bombers in one sitting.

This is good but I may be tempted to reach for other offerings before this one again. If you like rye in your beer this is one to try though. Let it warm and you will be greeted with a very different beer from when it's cold.

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Photo of wcu80
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Straight up mango bomb. Nearly perfect use of the Nelson Sauvin hop. I usually find that an IPA is best on the first sip; every subsequent sip is less tasty. That's not this case with this beer. Each sip is just as good as the last. I was sad when the bottle was empty.

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Photo of vacax
4.26/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nelson pours out a unique shade or dark golden that has an almost green look to it. The light tannish head is not enormous, but there is good retention and a gorgeous ring of microbubbles that clings along the edges of the glass. The aroma is a mix of grassy and floral hops that combines with the spicy rye to form an almost funky paper mill scent. I find the nose a bit peculiar, and actually not completely appetizing.

Whie I find the nose a bit esoteric, the flavor is what matters and it is flat out tasty. The front end of the brew has loads of flora, followed up by some grapefruit balanced by a spicy finish. Alpine has the knack to showcase hops in an enormous way without the bitterness that I typically expect. Not that there is anything wrong with bitter beer, but this is an exceptionally crafted brew. The feel is medium with spot on carbonation, well carbonated, but not prickly and bordering on smooth. Sticky with a pleasant floral, grassy quality.

Very tasty beer from one of the top pale ale producers in the country.

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Photo of SteveB24
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look- Bright, clear copper color, pours two fingers of sticky white head that retains very well.
Smell-lots of oranges, a floral, spicy quality from the rye that's very reminiscent of pink peppercorns.
Taste-orange juice&zest upfront, green and pink peppercorns, biscuity malt backing it all up. Beautiful
Feel-light yet creamy. Well carbonated. Not overly wet.
Overall-unique, well balanced, delicous. Not all IPA's stand out, this one does. Superb

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Photo of timtim
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

deep amber, almost bronze/brass, with a slight haze. white head that leaves a bit of lace. nose is nelson for sure... fruits like grape, pear and melon mix with grapefruit, citrus and grass while playing with sweet, spicy rye and blending with a slight caramelly undertone. taste follows suit while evoking memory of "dank". not cellar dank... cali dank. hate to be cliche, but the juicy goodness in here is really reminding me of mj. the taste is well-balanced, and flavors pop out and shine for a second, then go back and blend while something else pops up. not muddy, just full of nelson. at times i'm also definitely reminded of why this hop is called nelson sauvin. lovely. medium body with no bad aftertastes. gripping bitterness that opens up the palate to the rye and other sharp flavors that are toying with the juicy, fatty flavors of fruit. overall, another very fine beer from alpine with a very, very fine name!

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Photo of jayhawk73
4.97/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Major props to Huhzubendah for sharing this- Thanks Matt!

Review from notes:

Pours a beautiful light, clear, gold color w/ a one finger white head. Very clean and clear in appearance. Some of the best lacing I've seen on any beer.. period... I got grapefruit, citrus, pine, hops and pineapple on this one. Very balanced all around, and one of the nicest IPA's I've had the pleasure of trying. Taste is out of this world, w/ rye, floral tastes, and malt being added to the nose profile. Super smooth and balanced. Feel is super smooth and satisfying- w/ a hops/rye aftertaste. Overall, this is one of the best IPA's I've ever tried. I'd drive hours to get this if I could- Highly recommended! Cheers.

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Photo of nhindian
3.23/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Contrary to everything I've read about this beer previously, my glass does not contain a hazy, orange-juice-esque beer. In fact, it is pretty clear and light, with slow trickles of carbonation filling the glass. This isn't to say that it isn't nice looking, but sort of unexpected since the appearance is usually one of the defining characteristics of Nelson. A bone white head sits atop the liquid and lasts throughout the glass.

Aroma - The nose is fresh with a hint of grape tartness, like green grapes or grape must. A big burst of grapefruit and papaya follow, but is balanced with a sharp bite of rye.

Taste - I'm taken aback by just how assertive the rye is on the palate, so much so that it starts to butt up against the hops. I was expecting this to be a hop bomb, but it is much more balanced, and at times, unfortunately so. Because of this, no one flavor rises to the top and the rest of the ingredients battle for supremacy, leading to a muddled, confusing drink. In parts, I enjoy each component, but together it doesn't really mesh for me.

Mouthfeel - If there's one aspect of this beer I dig, it's the mouthfeel. It is dry and crisp, with a mellow, creamy body that garners an excellent finish.

Closing Arguments - I came into this beer with really high expectations, and frankly it didn't meet them at all. I wanted the Nelson Sauvin hops to shine, but instead they were overshadowed by the rye. I'm not sure of the age of this - the tap takeover I got this growler at was pushed back from its original schedule - but I can't imagine it could be that old. Thankfully Alpine will be seen more in Pittsburgh, so I will give this a try at least once more to compare and contrast.

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Photo of -Rick
4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: an orange brown color, a nice white head. Not seeing the turbid look many said to expect
S: lots of grapefruit in this. some sweet fruits, mango, a nice bit of malty, and hints of orange peel
T: grapefruit, white wine, sweet mango, and a bit of malt on the back end.
F: nice carbonation, a bit of a tart mouth feel in there
O: this was a real good beer. My bottle was a GF version, my guess is that the real deal could have been a little better.

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Photo of zhanson88
4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a somewhat hazy straw color, with about 1/2" of white head that has decent retention and lacing. Not a bad looking beer, but it does not have quite the clarity that I have seen in other Alpine IPAs.

Smell: Light pale malt scents are evident, but that is quickly overshadowed by pungent tropical fruit dankness. Very nice.

Taste: Mirrors the smell. Nice, light malt backbone which adds a bit of sweetness but not too much. Then comes the hop flavors. Tropical fruit flavors shine, namely pineapple and mango. Very little bitterness, almost exclusively tropical fruit and dankness.

Mouthfeel/Overall: The beer has a light body with moderate carbonation, which is about right. Overall, the Nelson hops really shine in this beer. I love tropical fruit notes and limited bitterness in my IPAs, so I was a fan.

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Photo of errantnight
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well this is a beer that enters immediately into the realm of regular favorites... I've loved it on tap, on cask... only Duet and fresh Pure Hoppiness have surpassed it from that maestro of the hops over there...

Pours a ruddy hazy pale straw with a kiss of orange. Head is creamy and rich, with beautiful organic lacing, if not overly abundant.

Aroma is a rustic, earthy, funky grapefruit blast... blistering and raw, but somehow skirting the boundary without falling too far into that musty, onion-y sent that some beers with similar profiles can succomb to.

On the palate it is a ridiculous solid combination of mid palate sweetness and a moderately clean bitterness, a hint of a ragged, pine-y, resin-y bite just at the end. If there's a criticism to be laid, it's that the sweetness comes through a bit too much like a very pale caramel and clings to the tongue a bit, malt flavors are completely swallowed up, with the exception of a bit of spiciness from the rye that underscores the resiny grapefruit-y blast of hops. This is all hops. And a bit of rye. It's awesome.

Mouthfeel is night perfect, with the high bitterness they've gone with a really delicate bubble that presents just enough head and carbonation to properly highlight the best attributes of the beer.

Dangerously drinkable, as the best of them are. Man, if Duet ever hits our shores as well that's THREE new IPAs I want in my fridge ALL THE TIME, and there's already Stone's two and Union Jack and Alesmith... damn you, delicious, fresh, local(ish) IPAs, ruining me for the day I must leave SoCal!

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber with best by date exactly 60 days into the future. Not sure when this was born, but seems relatively fresh. Cloudy, golden hue with foamy, white head. Looks to be well carbonated.

Smells piney, with strong citrus notes. Grapefruit mostly. Mouthfeel is rather chewy and finishes dry. Clean finish, but not quite crispy. Flavors are bold grapefruit with some pine undertones. Really refreshing and clean ipa. No signs of the alcohol, just a lot of citrus and medium bitterness that grows to the finish.

Overall and excellent, easy drinking ipa. I haven't had a lot of the Alpine beers, but I'll be seeking them out.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.87/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My second time having this beer. This being the first time I am sober enough to review it and remember the characteristics.

Pours a golden yellow color with a very nice head and lacing.

Aroma is amazing. Tons of hop aroma that includes all sorts of fruits and citrus and even a little pine. I need to find me some of these Nelson hops for my homebrew.

Taste is so unique and amazing. The rye lends this different sort of flavor I can't really explain. I can see drinking this with some awesome Italian food.

Mouthfeel is good but I think it could use a little more carbonation.

Overall an excellent beer and I will drink this as often as I can find it. I only live 1 hour away from the brewery and it's hard for me to find.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

While Raul was sippin' hard on a Blind Pig, he became acquaintances with tha homie sittin' next to him at da bar. It wuz tight like - homeboy is in to da syrup (like Raul), and because he was so nice (and into karma n shit) he ended up giving Raul a bottle of this out of the back of his truck. (Ima get you back, dawg!)

Anyway, dis thing done blow Raul's mind! It got some hype, but unlike Halle Berry's nudie scene in dat dumb dumb movie, Nelson at least lives up to it! It wasn't like any other IPA Raul has ever had before; when I drank tha thang, I knew it was an IPA, but at the same time, holy hell was it different! The finish was all silky like; kinda like this Persian girl that Raul dated in high school.

Anyway, get dis thang. It dat good.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle best by March 21 poured into an IPA glass.

A - Hazy golden orange with a fluffy two finger head that retains and maintains nicely.

S - Strong grapefruit. Pine.

T - Rye, grapefruit, A little bit of zing. As it warms it rounds out somewhat. Bitter finish.

M - Carbonation is medium low, fairly creamy for a beer this bitter.

O - First time seeing/trying this. Pretty tasty for what it is, which is a straight grapefruit/rye/ bitter bomb.

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Photo of soze47
4.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes on my trip to Alpine in late May, 2011. 4.5 oz. pour as part of a flight.

One of the most unique beers I've had in recent memory. The rye and NZ hops lend some really cool flavors to this brew. Not a standard IPA by any stretch. The golden body is well carbonated and it dances in your mouth, which is great since the flavors are so complex.

The NZ hops give a white wine quality to the flavor and nose, with the rye giving a nice tangy bitterness. These flavors blend and melt well into the more traditional flowery notes from the other hops. Combined, I get some great spice notes. Clove?

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Photo of phingdong
4.05/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Sebowski for the bottle.

Pours a clear golden hue with a nice sticky white 2 finger head. Leaves nice sticky lacing as it recedes.

Familiar tropical hop aroma with some pine and some funk in there as well. Smell of rye also comes through.

Nice thick and creamy mouthfeel that coats the entire palate. Taste mirrors the smell. Nice tropical hoppy fruit with a dank funk coming through nicely in the background. Very tasty beer. Maybe just a touch muted in aroma/taste compared to the best in this class.

My first beer from Alpine. I look forward to trying the rest of their lineup.

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Photo of rapayn01
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on draft at a local (excellent) bar. The rye flavor was pretty good, but not outstanding. Ideally, a rye IPA is an excellent IPA with a just more kick. This tasted like a pretty good IPA with some rye.

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Photo of spacecake9
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a clear golden straw color with a small white head that settles quickly.
S - Aroma is all citrus.
T - Citrus, bitter grapefruit upfront, malty with more bitterness on finish.
M - Medium mouth feel, medium carbonation.
O - My 3rd Alpine beer in the last week. Very good, and a little different from most IPA's.

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Photo of Lingenbrau
4.74/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

GF or not, it is still outstanding. It's been a while since I've had a "real" Nelson, but i would never complain about this being in my fridge. Cheers!

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Photo of Meyers1023
4.76/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured a yellow/orangish color with one finger of foamy white head. Smell is citrus and pine all over leaving you to believe this will be a hop bomb. The taste is not as bitter as you'd think from the smell. You definitely get citrus, probably grapefruit, and a piney flavor followed by a little bitterness. All of this is smoothed out by the European malt like the label says. The mouthfeel is exactly what you'd want from an IPA, good carbonation with a slight creaminess. I love finding Alpine beers out here in Missouri, hopefully the trend continues.

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Photo of willjschmidt
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a pint glass.

A: Pours an orangish golden color.

S: Lots of grapefruit.

T: An entirely unique IPA. The malt base is light but with a slight twinge of spicy rye. The hops are very interesting. Lots of grapefruit but not like any of the traditional American hops. There is also a very unique white wine flavor.

M: Medium bodied.

D: A great IPA. Not the standard that we are used to. Shows the range of the style and the creativeness of American brewers by slightly tweaking the ingredients.

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Photo of KnowYourCraft
4.89/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours very yellow with a slight golden hue to it, was quite surprised with the color of this IPA, it looks more like a blonde ale, but it still looks good.

S: Tropical fruits, spice, pine, bitterness, and a hint of pineapple and sweet malts, absolutely amazing smell to this beer!

T: Blown away in this category! In the beginning you get a wonderful blend of spice and pine, which transitions to an amazing blend of spice and tropical fruits, and then finishes with spice, tropical fruits, pine, pineapple, and some bitterness. Every flavor in this beer is so perfectly balanced and you get so much of every flavor, and this beer tastes truly incredible!

M: Perfect execution here, crisp, light refreshing, leaves your mouth a little dry which leaves you craving it more and more!

O: This is an incredible beer, easily hits number 2 on my top IPA’s list! You have to try this beer!

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Photo of Neffbeer
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a tulip

A: It pours a beautiful golden color with pretty good clarity for such a hop monster. Rocky two finger white head that hangs around for a bit and leaves some spotted lacing behind.

S: Big time aroma from all of the hops, orange, grapefruit, pineapple, and funky pine. The malt is very light with a hint of toast and spicy rye.

T: This one is super fresh, the citrus and tropical hop flavors dominate the palate with some funky pine cones on the backside. The malt is very light and understated, a hint of the rye. This is a perfect vehicle for a the lupulin fireworks. Nice dry, slightly salty finish.

M: Medium bodied and lush carbonation.

O: This is up there as one of the best IPA's I have had to date. An excellent example of the American style with a slight twist, seek this one out.

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Nelson from Alpine Beer Company
4.38 out of 5 based on 4,018 ratings.
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