Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Nelson | Alpine Beer Company

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
NelsonNelson
BA SCORE
4.44/5
Outstanding
4,101 Ratings
NelsonNelson
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States
alpinebeerco.com

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#187
Reviews:
826
Ratings:
4,101
pDev:
8.56%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
1,360
Gots:
661
Trade:
17
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,101 |  Reviews: 826
Photo of MasterSki
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Dave (d0b) for sharing this, and to JesseTheHutt for sending these growlers all the way to Chicago! Served in a pint glass.

A - Two fingers of off-white foam with solid retention and great rings of lacing. Hazed light golden orange color. I'd expect something a little darker from a 7% rye IPA, but otherwise it's pretty good looking stuff.

S - Dank, hoppy, with some tropical notes (but no citrus), and hint of cat pee. I'm glad they just fixed the listing, because this is not an APA. There is a decent amount of toffee malt presence and a very understated hint of rye.

T - More bready malt than toffee, with a rye flavor that slowly builds as the brew warms up. The hop notes are a little less complex with some nice floral and tropical flavors - however the added complexity from the rye balances this out. The aftertaste is pretty clean, with only mild bitterness.

M - This is my main sticking point with some of these Alpine brews - they're very thin. If this had really been an APA I wouldn't have minded so much (although, then the flavor would have been totally out of place), but for a 7% IPA to be a little watery is a little disappointing. Otherwise it's very smooth, soft, and refreshing, with mild carbonation and a fairly clean finish that has only a touch of residual hop resins.

D - The rye flavor builds up bit over a couple of pints, but otherwise this is nearly as drinkable as the incredible Duet. The light carbonation, terrific flavor, and lack of overwhelming bitterness makes this eminently session-worthy.

Alpine is slowly wresting away the IPA title from the other west coast breweries - it'll be interesting to see how Russian River, Ballast Point, and Alesmith respond.

 1,718 characters

Photo of rhinos00
4.69/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to JessetheHut for sending this growler my way. Split two ways with BA pecorasc.

A- Looked like dehydrated urine (in a good way). Bright yellow and clear. Left a white fluffy head that was at least two fingers width thick.

S- Sweet Lord baby Jesus! This was so freakin' ridiculous. The nelson sauvin hops gave off huge grape notes that were wonderfully combined with the rye. Honestly this was one of the best smelling beers I have ever come across. There needs to be more beer made with these New Zealand hops.

T- Upfront there was a nice balance between the citrus from the hops and the bitterness from the rye. My only knock on this beers was that the rye seemed to be a tad bit overpowering. The beer finished with a nice spicy flavor. Well done.

M- Nothing to complain about here. Smooth and crisp, very clean.

D- Doesn't get much more drinkable than this. I think the growler was gone in less than 45 minutes between two of us. Great simple flavor with a wonderful feel.

Overall, I would be in huge trouble if I could drink this on a daily basis. My only negative was that I wish there was more hop flavor in this beer. Still, wonderfully crafted and a true delight to drink.

 1,200 characters

Photo of Overlord
4/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Jesse!

Pours a grainy orange/gold with a big white foam head, despite being a growler pour. Smells like some citrus, but mostly an interesting bready yeastiness I can't put a name to. I see other reviewers calling it "rye," fair enough. Maybe that's it.

Not the most explosive flavor I've seen out of Alpine brewing, but pretty smooth and drinkable. Some notes of grass, pineapple, and a little bit of what I consider the predominant west coast IPA hop flavors: pine and grapefruit. A bit muted, and definitely more of a pale ale than an IPA.

Drinkable, nice juicy mouthfeel.

 586 characters

Photo of surfer4life
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on tap at Toronado SD

A - Pours a light copper with a decent white fluffy head, much lacing.

S - Smells like I'm walking through rows of hops, not pungnet though. Delightful. I can tell this has amazing balance because the malt is complimenting the hops so well. In for a treat here.

T - WOW! What an amazing beer, this is unlike any IPA I have ever had. Nice malty sweetness complimenting the very unique hop flavor. I get a lot of citrus, but not as much of the lemon/grapefruit zest I am used to, this is way less aggresive.

M - Medium bodied with perfect carbonation level. The creaminess is heaven to the pallet.

D - This is extremely drinkable, so smooth and well rounded and at 7%, it's ok to have more than one. Great beer.

 747 characters

Photo of SweetNessa34
4.74/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

[SOURCE]: On-Tap at BluePalmsBrewHouse. Served on the day of arrival (4/9/09) shortly after tapping

[SERVING TYPE]: Pint Glass

[SMELL]: Amazing "nose" - packed full with a potent bouquet of fresh, lightly fruity hops combined with a crisp Rye aroma- jumps out at you from this super pale white/gold ale.

[APPEARANCE]: Super pale white/gold ale + light white, fluffy head

[TASTE]: Bold, dynamic combination of assertive flavors is almost startling in comparison to the super pale, light appearance. Clean, crisp Rye intermingles with a heavy dose of super fresh, slightly fruity hops and is balanced by a very minimal malt back - for an incredibly light, fresh and flavorful overall

[DRINKABILITY]: Intense combination of hops and rye flavors are very well balanced with minimal malt back. Thus, the overall result is a very drinkable beer that is light, fresh and jam packed with flavor + aroma.

[OVERALL]: very drinkable, extremely fresh-flavored RIPA (especially when poured shortly after tapping)

 1,008 characters

Photo of RunDWP
4.32/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perhaps the ultimate Southern California IPA. Had on tap at Downtown Johnny Brown's in San Diego. Poured a light yellow color, almost the color of a lager, but plenty of lacing and sheeting action on the glass. Strong piney and floral aroma. A decent amount of malt, with a little detectable sweetness, but all the piney and slightly floral hop goodness was definately center stage. Excellent crispness to the hop bitterness. Just a joy to drink and right level of carbonation.

 477 characters

Photo of jbmorch
4.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is made with 100% Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand. The hops variety was named for the gooseberry-like flavor it imparts to beer, which is similar to the taste notes of a sauvingon blanc wine. I'll have to take their word for it, since I don't think I've ever had gooseberries before. I don't even know what they look like.

There is definitely a fruity accent to this beer, but not the sweet, cloying taste that usually makes it hard to even finish a beer normally described as fruity. Pat at Alpine is a master of developing recipes that are balanced and "clean," leaving no lingering malty syrupy flavor on the back of the tongue after swallowing.

Nelson is clean, slightly fruity, though the nose doesn't give away much hint of the flavor to come. The aroma/bitter balance is perfect, and for a near-stong ale it is incredibly drinkable; there is no flavor fatigue at all.

 891 characters

Photo of hopdog
4.42/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler acquired in trade with WeeHeavySD.

Poured a medium and slightly hazy golden color with a larger sized white head. Aromas of citrus, pine, tropical fruits, and rye. Tastes of citrus, pine, the same tropical fruitiness, rye, and toasty.

Notes from and tasted on: 3/14/09

 279 characters

Photo of largadeer
5/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: A vigorous pour from the growler produces two fingers of head that clings to the glass impressively. Hazy, bright and golden, this could be mistaken for a hefeweizen.

Smell: Huge juicy tropical fruit and white grape with a kick of spicy, earthy rye. Nelson hops have a very perfumy, fruity, floral character that helps set this beer apart from Alpine's other heavily-hopped pales; combine that with a twang of rye and you've got a beer that's unlike anything else out there.

Taste & mouthfeel: Spicy, earthy and zesty, like rye bread with orange marmalade. Floral, fruity hops blends beautifully with the rye. Malty sweetness is minimal, but this is loaded with flavor. Finishes dry and earthy with mild bitterness. It's hard to break new ground with IPAs these days with it being such a saturated style, but Alpine has managed just that.

Overall: World class, probably my all-time favorite IPA.

 910 characters

Photo of HalfFull
4.24/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into a pint glass, from notes last month. Shows a rather clear medium golden color with a half inch of nearly white head. Bumpy head leaves lots of lacing initially, reducing through the glass.

Very hoppy on the nose with notable rye scents mixed in. Hops are of fresh pine and citrus and unusually well balanced. Taste follows with light citrus and rye, moderate on the malts. Light and flavorful. Feel is a touch chewy but not in a rich malt sense, as there is a coarseness from the rye that accompanies the finish. Just the right amount of bitterness concludes.

Note: Called an IPA by the brewery(golden rye IPA) and tastes as such. Very nice hop flavor, would like to see more of this Nelson Sauvin hop.

 731 characters

Photo of MiScusi
4.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

5/9/09
Pint had at O'Brien's. Flavor was amazing and it was what I thought was missing in the growlers I purchased back in December. Grapefruit was bursting out of this beer like crazy. Light Grape-like flavor as described for the Nelson Sauvin hop was there as well. Just an amazingly tasty beer, which had been lacking for one reason or another in my growlers from the batch in December.
___

Growler filled 2 days ago.

A- Very light, gold, almost yellowish. Head builds up doesn't stick around that long. Just love the very light color of this. You could easily think this is a pils.

S- Big grapefruit. Also some of that juicy catty type flavor like you get in Gumballhead. The Pacific Brew News guys nailed that one... it is very much like Amarillo hops.

T- Hard to say what hop flavor I'm getting... maybe a tad fruity, a bit green. Hops taste really fresh. Nice bitterness the whole way and finishes pretty clean with only a small, soft lingering bitterness. I wish I could detect where the rye comes in here, probably cause the of lack of rye in my diet.

M- This serving is actually quite creamy- for an IPA, as light as the body is it must be the 7% alcohol slicking it up a little.

D- Really good. Doesn't leave a harsh bitterness like so many beers, which I do love, but this is very nice having a fairly clean hoppy finish.
4.5/4/4/4/4 = 4.1

 1,357 characters

Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at O'brien's the other night.

The beer pours a light peach color with OK head retention, but very good sticky lacing. On the nose the beer is very citrusy and spicey. In fact, there's almost a speeramint aspect to the aroma that is intriguing. The flavors on the palate generaly replicate the nose, though there's not as much spice. In fact, the beer has a fairly light mouthfeel and is almost a bit watery. On the other hand, this beer is very drinkable, and it's really difficult for me to believe the abv. is over 7%.

I thought this a nice beer, but really nothing all that special. If I lived in the San Diego area, I doubt I would ever order this again, as there are just too many other delectable options to choose from around here.

 748 characters

Photo of magictrokini
4.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear gold with a medium white head. Pine, resin bomb in the nose with grass and grapefruit. More resin and pine in the flavor, with the citrus taking a back seat. Sharp rye taste in the back with minerals and a vinuous bite. I see this is listed as an APA here, even though the company calls it and IPA. Either way, it is an excellent beer.

 341 characters

Photo of damjadi
5/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Carcking open this beer was like coming upon an oasis in the hops desert!

Beautiful clear golden beer! Slight head (wish for a little more).

Smells of a citrus pine forrest! Wonderful bouquet. A bit offputting, worrying that the smell (like coffee) would not be borne out by the actual beer.

Taste: Hoppy heaven. The hop rolls across your tongue, great hop front and amazing finish! Balances the floral hop on a subtle malt backdrop.

Mouthfeel: Rich, smooth and creamy. A tongue bath of exctasy.

Drinkability: Please Sir, May I have Another?

 546 characters

Photo of m1ked
4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A growler full of this love was given to me for Valentine's Day along with a growler of BP Victory at Sea....man am I lucky or what!?!

A- pours a clear golden yellow with a half inch foamy white head. Plenty of bubbles and streamers.

S- Like a hop soaked piece of rye bread.

T- Wow! Rye forward closely followed by a rye-hoppy punch. More of the floral than citrus hops. Think of hops sandwiched between some rye bread.

M- Smooth, crisp, great carbonation.

D- I f you like rye, and I do, this is an awesome beer. Think brewery meets jewish deli.

 550 characters

Photo of Stoneman78
3.55/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On draft at O'Brien's
A- Clear golden orange hue, minimal head that congregates to a cluster of foam in the center, sticky lacing
S- HUGE rye malts and bread malts, subtle citrus and grass hops
T- Taste is dominated by rye malts to an overwhelming extent (almost like eating a jewish deli sandwich), opens up to some grass and pine hops, finishes with a rye bread aftertaste
M- Medium-bodied, oily texture, highly carbonated
D- This is the most rye-heavy beer I've ever tasted, definitely an acquired taste that loses points for me personally (not a big fan of rye bread), the dominating rye appears off-balance and limits overall drinkability

 643 characters

Photo of sfoley333
4.55/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap at Pizza Port (12-8-07). Poured into a pint glass a golden color with an egg shell white thick foam head. Smell is of rye bread mixed with slight citrus overtone. Taste is oh my god good...light malt mixed with dank pot pine taste all blended up with a mixture of pineapple and rye. Mouthfeel is light with smooth carbonation level. Drinkability is high with my first pint gone in 60 seconds, dont taste the alcohol and I could drink this beer everyday for years. The best APA I have tried but I really think it is almost more of an IPA mixed with APA mixed with the color and body of a hefe. Great job alpine now lets put it into bottles.

 655 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a translucent golden body with a small, white head.

Smell: I must admit, I enjoyed the aroma far more than I have enjoyed anything else that is, or has ever been, placed in front of my nose. Very aromatic aroma of juicy oranges and pinapples, freshly cut grass, and what reminds me of either minced garlic or shallots.

Taste: Light, fleeting malt flavor and sweetness upfront before a bright burst of juicy hop flavors, zesty orange rind and pineapple rings. Full notes of white grapes and garlic (or is it shallots). Hint of damp grass. All in all, there's only a very reasonable amount of bitterness. Finishes decidedly crisp.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It's really great smelling stuff! I had to be restrained from pouring out the growler onto myself so I could continue to smell this beer for days and days to come.

 875 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.1/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have been waiting to sample a beer made with Nelson Savin since they first hit the market. Lightly hazy, it even has some floaties from the growler, the beer is a light, copper color and it is topped by a ring of wispy, light tan colored froth. The aroma is quite distinct, certainly hoppy, but not as I have ever smelled before. It is quite herbal, with a note reminiscent of garlic chives, some musky hemp notes, and an almost woody grass-like note that can be quite pronounced at times. There is a fruitiness from the hops too, and with all of the herbal focus, it is not too far of a stretch to say this is like Sauvignon Blanc. It even has a touch of cattiness to it as well as notes of unripe grapes, lime and even some grapefruit if you really dig for it.

Very weird flavors here; certainly quite distinct in its hop character. The hops contribute a definite catty note to the flavor that almost leans towards cat litter (though not nearly as bad as that sounds). Strongly herbal hop notes contribute flavors of pine tar, woody-rosemary, oil-laden hemp seed notes, basil and something that is quite, distinctly, reminiscent of a herbaceous flavor that I just can't quite put my finger on, but is so apparent that I can't figure out why I can't put a name to it. The beer is fairly light on the palate, and definitely is perceived as being quite dry. While the herbal notes seem to dominate, there are significant fruit-like flavors contributed by the hops as well; flavors of slightly acidic, under-ripe, green grapes, kefir lime leaf, star-fruit, and a tart citrus character mix in, and somewhat mitigate the herbal notes. As to the malt notes, well this is definitely an IPA, and they only play a supporting role here; just barely noticeable under all of the hop influence. The bitterness is not over the top here; it is at a nice, contributing level though and helps to clean up the finish.

This is certainly a fascinating hop, it is quite different from any other hop variety that I have direct experience with. Very interesting, and very tasty, I definitely could do with more of this beer. I have a feeling though that these flavors would get old if I encountered them at such levels on a more regular basis. The hop character (both the aroma & flavor) is so musky; it is makes me think of the essential oils of a mix of herbs. I am not sure if it quite works in the IPA format, but could definitely see using it in some of the lighter colored Belgian-styled beers. Definitely well worth it though, and I am still quite exited to use this hop in my own brewing.

 2,578 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.92/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Looks like cheap airplane orange juice...cloudy, sort of yellowish. The head even looks a bit like pulp, chunky and webby.

S: Over the top smells of rye. Also some orange and grapefruit

T: Packs punches of specific flavors. Begins with massive grapefrut notes then moves towards some sour crab apple mixed with rye. From there the flavors meld towards dried hay. Finishes with lemon rind bitterness.

M: Medium body, mouthfeel is sort of hard.

D: Interesting brew. Definately original and worth checking out.

 523 characters

Photo of oggg
4.52/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at Liars Club

This brew is a terribly hazy deep yellow hue with a white wispy head. The aroma of peaches, lychee, flowers is unmistakable. On the tongue it is juicy, with loads of hop flavor -- the intensity of which almost rivals a spicy saison! The bitterness level is mild to moderate -- it won't twist your tongue like Wipeout IPA for example. The rye is barely spicy, very mild, but contributes a lot to the middle. Smooth and ridiculously thirst quenching. The abv tastes like 3%! Light to medium bodied.

Overall: oh gawd, I must learn to brew this... a brilliant (rye) APA, and another brilliant beer for Alpine

 632 characters

Photo of scottoale
4.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nelson Rye IPA on-tap and cask conditioned at O'Brien's today...This is an IPA, definetely not an APA as listed, but what the heck...who really cares?

Served in a pint glass, a very yellow-straw gold with a 1/2" white foamy head and some very sticky resinous lace...looks like liquid gold! Very cloudy, much like a wheat, but it's rye.

The smell is delightful, grapefruit orchard and a pine forest mixed into one. Very aeromatic and refreshing essence...just makes you want to taste it!

The taste mimmics the smell, full-blown grapefruit that turns into a pine wallop, a classic IPA flavor with character and a unique balance that finishes clean and crisp.

The alcohol is very well masked in this medium bodied ale of bliss. Too easy to drink as well as a hot weather pleaser. You don't want to miss this one...another winner from Alpine!

 850 characters

Photo of Bartzilla
4.36/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the brewery and filled up the growler. Excellent beer. Very fruity, but in a grapefruit kind of way. Looks like orange juice. So clean, refreshing, and goes down easy. I could pound this stuff all day long. One of these days, I will.

I always look forward to new beers from Alpine as it seems they can do no wrong. The sleeper beer hit of San Diego. Great job.

 375 characters

Photo of rayjay
4.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Bistro's IPA fest last saturday. All New Zealand hops, not sure of the variety used.

Very unqiue. Bright yellow and hazy, almost like a hefe; reminds me of sunsine in a glass. Unfiltered with a capitol "U." I love it because it's a totally different color than any other of the 50 IPA's here today.

Taste/smell is awesome. The hoppiest beer I had that day, but let me explain: not bitter hoppy, rather they captured the essence of the hops more than any other beer I've had. Really really citrusy, with lots of grapefruit, but also lemon zest and kiwis (sorry!) with some pine (more like fir) and white pepper too. 65 IBU's and really smooth, with a relaxing, enjoyable bitterness that shares the aftertaste with the pungent fruits which hit you in the sinuses. Not british tasting hops, not over-the-top bitter US hops, but a totally different vibe that I'm having trouble describing.

Body is almost like a wit beer. Very pale rye must have been used for this to turn out so bright colored and smooth. For contrast, BR's Hop Rod Rye is dark red/brown and has a heavy malt body.

A great drink that really stands out, both for the grains and the hops used. Good luck finding this one, but do not pass it up!

 1,232 characters

Photo of stoner420
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap

Straw yellow, cloudy, with a white foamy head, medium carbonation

Smells of hops, pine, citrus, grass, faintly of rye and grain

Tastes great, lots of hop tastes, but balanced really well by the rye and malt, finishes a little bitter.

Mouthfeel is good too, not too heavy, not too watery, very drinkable hard to drink just one, so many interesting flavors happening.

 384 characters

Nelson from Alpine Beer Company
Beer rating: 4.44 out of 5 with 4,101 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.