Nelson | Alpine Beer Company

824 Reviews
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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: 824 | Ratings: 4,064
Photo of jmarsh123
3.92/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark straw with a white creamy head. Lots of lacing the whole way down the glass.

Smells strongly of tropical fruits mostly pineapple, same as most beers with Nelson hops I've had.

Taste is about like the smell with loads of tropical fruits hitting you at first. Finishes with a slightly spicy finish due to the rye with medium hop bitterness throughout. Good flavor but seemed to be lacking something I can't quite put my finger on.

Carbonation and body are both about average for the style.

By far the best of the (albeit limited) beers I've had with this hop. Everything from Alpine is solid.

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Photo of Klym
4.59/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had had Nelson and Duet back when I was first getting into craft beer. I remembered liking both but thinking I liked duet a little more, and since that time that was about all I could remember about Nelson: that I liked duet slightly more. Having Nelson again has been a real treat, and I realize that you might not be able to compare the two as both are wonderful beers with quite distinct characters.

A: Such a crisp clear gold, only a little darker and hazier than your beer-commercial lager. A few bubbles spritzing up out of the body of the beer with a medium head sitting on top.

S: I sometimes forget to close my eyes when I smell a beer but this one really makes me close them. Something about the smell is enchanting in the way that say trees or fresh grass is. Like two vines of piney hoppiness and citrus juice and rhine are braided together. Smell is very uniform but brings to mind many things. Tons of forest and tons of orchard in this one.

T: The taste starts off a little dull when it hits the tongue, intensifies, peaks, then backs down into a simmering tingle. Basically the taste is the same character as the tongue with a touch of grain and bread, and with maybe more pine in the peaking bite and more juicy citrus as the taste backs down, breaking apart the alliance of the tastes more than one would suspect in the nose. The taste is so crisp and fresh while simultaneously being relaxed and smooth. Like a classic alpine IPA, this beer is refreshing and invigorating in such a natural and inspired way. Both Duet and Nelson make me actually *feel* good in a way that I haven't really encountered in other beers.

M: Almost all of the truly great IPAs I've had always confounded me when it came time to speak of their mouthfeel and taste separately, as they're always in so much harmony. The carbonation is lively and does its thing without reminding you that its there, and the body of this beer is a bizarrely light feeling upper medium. Runs in the mouth with an oily slickness and the bite hits all parts of the mouth but peaks and lingers on the roof of the mouth. Such a fascinating mouthfeel that one could spend many bottles dissecting.

O: There's just no excuse for not trying this beer if you like IPAs. I've been somewhat spoiled and had the chance to try quite a few at this point, and some of the hailed greats, but Nelson easily takes its position among the best of the best. Every time I try to criticize this beer I feel the heaviness of contriving faults. Get it, try it, and then get some more.

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Photo of Cavery
4.52/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml couple weeks old fresh offering, shared with Klym.

poured into stone Nonic.

A: Light golden body that is almost lager like in it's appearance. A very light colored body wears a 2 1/2 finger hat of soapy foam. Lacing graces the class with wedding dress lacing. Mountains of lacing. Really quite a unique color for any IPA, but maybe not so much for a rye beer.

S: Blood oranges with some grapefruit zing and pineapple malt sweetness. A really deep metallic smell that I can only describe as "copper" like. This is really a very generous nose, there's so much spritzing and zesting that you can practically feel the citrus pores bursting as you hover your nose over the foam. Really just so vibrant, if this nose was an amp it would be at 11.

T: Very green up front with piney resins and nutty peanut oils. Just an amazingly subtle citrus note that is really like a light taste of pomello/grapefruit/blood orange. an amazingly soft hop linger is the pillow that catches your taste buds. Some mandarin and tangerine flesh adds some juiciness to an eventually rind centric finish. Hops really roll on the tongue throughout all flavors. Bright cereal grains are enjoyed in all their golden glory throughout.

M: A mouth with a highly refreshing micro-bubble sizzle. This sizzle is like boiling cooking oils on the tongue. This really adds to the sensation of spritzing citrus skins. Really quite an incredible treat of a mouth, this really allows fresh ingredients to shine. Top tier in the mouth, with a velvet pillow to soften the blows of flavor.

O: I have had this beer before out of a bottle, but this time it really just seemed so fantastic. I think the last time I had it might have been dampened by the fact that I had just been amazed by a first tasting of Duet. This beer is a stand alone juggernaut; a sensational rye IPA flavor experience. I dare you to name a better Rye IPA; as I can't. The freshness exemplified by all the different elements of this beer are just sensational. This is a theme park for the mouth; I am born anew.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.44/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Urbancaver for sharing.
From notes

A - clear golden yellow body, with a medium white head.

S - sweet (tropical fruits) and citrusy hops. It's great!

T - tropical fruit, mild citrus bitterness

M - a little bit flat, dry, medium-bodied.

O (D) - very nice IPA, would love to try this again.

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

Huge thanks to thome50 for including this in our trade - this is one of my all-time favorites, but I've never actually reviewed it.

A: Pours a slightly hazy light golden color with a thin white head.

S: The aroma of this beer never ceases to blow me away. It's an incredible, big dank fresh hop smell with some citrus notes in there as well. It truly makes my mouth water smelling this beer.

T: To me, this beer pretty much typifies what I think of when I hear the words "west coast IPA." It's got a huge citrus hop flavor, light on the malt, a little bit sweet and bitter in the finish. The rye flavor is present, but definitely subdued, I feel like it plays more of a role in the mouthfeel than the flavor itself. All in all, the flavor is flat-out amazing.

M: Perhaps the only part of this beer that isn't incredible, the beer feels a little bit thin, but it doesn't really hinder the drinking experience too much. It's got a very dry finish as well, probably due to the rye.

O: It honestly doesn't get much better than this for an IPA, and I wish I lived in San Diego so I could have this on a regular basis. Instead I'll have to be satisfied with enjoying it when I can. This beer is awesome.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.61/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at O'Briens. Pint glass.

Pours a light straw gold, not much head or lacing to speak of. Smell has a nice citrus (grapefruit mostly) and pine balance, spice, a lot of honey and malt, kind of grainy. Really interesting and unique smelling. Tastes similar, with grapefruit and spice/grain up front, pine, and again kind of a honey and malt sweetness. Not as much of a hop bomb as I was expecting. Medium-full body and medium level of carbonation, kind of grainy mouthfeel. Overall, a super interesting and well crafted IPA.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet

A- pours a slightly hazy orange with a half finger white head that fades pretty quickly. Would like more head, but I really like the color of it

S- I have the glass sitting a foot away fro me, and the aroma just comes and attacks my nose with a huge burst of grapefruit and orange. It smells absolutely divine

T- starts off slightly bitter, and the finish is slightly sweet, with grapefruit prominent throughout. Taste is actually a little bit more subdued than I'd expect

M- it's actually perfect. Not syrupy, not watery...about standard for the course, but that's a good thing

O- this is a good one. Real easy drinking for my first Alpine beer

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Photo of Gtreid
4.02/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber thanks to Mikesgroove. No bottle date, so no way to tell how fresh this is. Poured into my CCB tulip.

A: Cloudy light copper color. The pour drops a two finger head that retains well and leaves nice lace.

A: Sweet floral and citrus hops right away. I do get a malty sweetness as well. Notes of grapefruit, pineapple, and some spicy herbal qualities.

T: Strong hop profile with notes of citrus and pine sap. A touch maltier than what I was expecting from a West coast ipa. This leads me to beleive this may be a touch past it's prime. but nonetheless, a fine tasting brew. It finishes bitter and dry.

M: Medium body. A touch light on the carbonation, means, this is just a bit too thick on the palate.

O: Really nice nose, pretty nice flavor, below average on the mouthfeel. But all in all not bad. I would really like to try this super fresh, as I think it would be supurb. But, have to rate what's in front of me. Skal.

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Photo of Allpe45
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz, no freshness date
purchased at the brewery less than 2 weeks ago
poured into a nonic

Appears bright golden orange, great clarity, easy to see the carbonation. Short fluffy yellowish white head, about 1 finger, good retention and a thick layer of sticky lacing.

Smells like fresh grapefruit, citrus rind, pine and a hint of what must be rye.

Tastes incredibly balanced. Grapefruit up front, malt and rye sweetness followed by a tropical and piney hop finish. Full of hop flavor, moderate bitterness.

Smooth. Medium bodied, low carbonation that is slightly active in the mouth. Lingering bitterness that makes me want to take sips faster.

I should have bought more.

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Photo of marqoid
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Light golden with a small off white head
S: Wow, grapefruit.
T: Lots of grapefruit, a tiny background of sweet grainy malts, I do not detect anything distinct from the rye
M: Incredibly smooth with little hop astringency, but plenty of hop character.
O: This is now one of my favorite IPAs, this is an IPA for a non IPA fan.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5


Alpine Beer Company
Alpine, CA

A clear goldenrod and yellow. Fluffy and light off-white head. Sticky and consistent lacing down the glass. Gorgeous!

A relatively sweet aroma. Hoppy and bright, citrus and grapefruit, extremely floral, and as this beer warms, it smells more and more of pungent, dank marijuana and grapefruit. Not a bad thing.

Sweet and bright IPA, yet bitter enough for balance. Tastes incredibly fresh and vibrant--floral. Relatively bitter, yet there's also a grape-like sweetness and a decent cracker malt backbone as well. Balanced and delicious. Grapefruit. Rose. Marijuana. This is perfect.

Medium bodied. A pleasure to drink. Slightly creamy even. Unique.

A uniquely perfect IPA.

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Photo of Gambac
4.22/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Best Damn Beer Shop in San Diego, poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint

Not much head, kind of surprising. Beer was a nice golden color, and had a decent amount of lacing from said minimal head.

Lots of citrus in the smell. Got a little grapefruit among the smell, always nice for an IPA

Taste had a lot of grapefruit, but also some pine and a little other fruits - thinking oranges. Minimal pine resin, something I definitely enjoy. Catch a little bit of rye right at the end, seems to fit with the brewer's intent

Good amount of body, decent amount of carbonation. Still, incredibly smooth and easy to drink

My first experience with Alpine, and happy to be introduced. Have heard of the quality beers they produce, and this golden IPA did not disappoint. Can't wait to head back down to SoCal and try a few more!

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Photo of scotvega18
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a southern tier tulip

A - as advertised a golden hazy body with a thin amount of eggshell white head. A pretty nice looking golden IPA. the hop haze and lacing are great as well.

S - Nice floral hop and rye off the nose. A subtle but nice smelling beer. The sweetness im smelling, although i expected it from the malt or rye, believe is coming from some rather citric hops. Really makes me look forward to having a sip...

T - The first taste is all citrus. And boy is it abundant. Take the freshest and sweetest mango youve ever had and double it. It follows up with some mild bitterness and finishes with that floral hop component again. Just an experience ever sip.

M - If BA hadnt told me this was 7 percent, i would never have guessed, the carbonation is nice and subtle.

Notes - What a surprise of a beer. This beer was a shock right off the bat and continued to please till the very last drop. I cant imagine how good this would be on tap but out of the bottle this was an experience.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 06/11/11 notes. Big big thanks to Nugganooch
for sending me two fresh bombers of this one; thanks Dane! This has been a Want of mine for years that I just never got around to trading for. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a somewhat transparent golden color with a slight orange tint, one finger of fluffy white head and moderate carbonation evident. Head lasts for three minutes of so and leaves light lacing on the glass. Looks great.

s - Smells of fresh citrus hops, fruity malts, tropical fruits, light pine hops, oranges. Smells very fresh and fruity; I'm loving the smell.

t - Tastes of citrus hops with a light bit of bitterness, oranges and tangerines, fruity malts, and light pine hops. Very nice taste, but not quite as great as the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and very easy to drink.

o - Overall a fantastic IPA; another winner from Alpine. Really liking this one, and very glad I have another bottle of it. Well worth the wait.

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Photo of AndyGz
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, do I have a new favorite IPA?

Very light in appearance, it almost glows.
Clear Citrus and Mango notes predominate the nose.
Hop notes sweeter than I've ever experienced in anything this light. Delicate, frothy, small bubble carbonation.
Light, crisp, refreshing.

I LOVE this IPA.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.68/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours a clear light copper color with a coastered white head. Nice fruit aroma mostly dominated by grapefruit. Medium mouhfeel. Nice malty backbone with a hoppy forward grapefruit rind notes. Bittenrss lingers. Nicely drinking. No alcohol notes found.

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Photo of LSUPT
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to DeathVader, 22oz bomber to Stone IPA glass.
Pours a deep straw yellow with a great 3-inch white head. Leaves tons of thick lacing that dissipates gradually over the course of the drink but I prefer a bit darker IPA with better clarity.

Smell is amazing, not strong, but the grapefruit, pineapple and orange scents are divine.

White wine characteristics are noticeable, juicy, juicy hops, some pine, lots of grapefruit, similar to Sculpin but with, in my opinion, a greater complexity of flavor and Nelson Sauvin hop bitterness is really great.

Carbonation is pretty low, and the almost creamy mouthfeel is a bit weird for me for an IPA.

Overall, this is a very good IPA with the mouthfeel the only drawback for me, but I would love to be able to drink this beer more often.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.64/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Oh Nelson how I've longed for thee. Last time we met was not soon enough.

A: Pours a hazy and sort of dull golden straw pale hue that clears up around the edges. Its incredibly light in body visually...almost like a 2nd runnings brew. First pour just had a fizzy little head but the next produced a much more pronounced fluffy white foam with just grips of lace down the glass.

S: Grapefruit nose with some soft pines. A sort of tart and fruity yeast ester and a definite champagnesque aroma. Like that of white wine grapes. Very perfumey and floral aromatics.

T: Taste follows suit to the aroma. Big grapefruit and pine hop bursts up front with that signature Nelson white wine grape nuance. Slightly sweet with some caramel malts and the rye is there but it's very subtle for me. Really seems to give a nice dry component that catapults the hop flavors. So light a brew and insanely hopped. Subtle notes of passion fruit even. Finishes dry, crisp and so refreshing. More please!

M: Very light in body with a slight sticky sleekness to the tongue and a definite hop bitterness that puckers out the cheeks.

D: Amazingliy light in body with a refreshingly dry crisp hoppy punch. If you seek that hop zing that just hits you in the mouth Nelson will deliver.

Definitely one of my fav IPA's at the moment. I find myself just wanting more and more Nelson and apparently I am not alone. Different from all the rest and a great high water marker for what this hop can do. Had some Nelson on cask at the PP Real Ale Fest and it was hands down one of the top selections of the day!


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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 Azurescens
4.13/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle with no bottled on or freshness date poured into Hair of the Dog tulip, reviewed on 6/6/11.

A: Pours a fairly clear golden color with light orange hues, fluffy off-white head with great retention that leaves plenty of lacing around glass.

S: The aroma is dominated by fruity citrus hops, grapefruit in particular with spicy rye and some sweet malt hiding behind all the hops.

T: Some hop bitterness up front which fades into spicyness from the rye and citrus hops that aren't as powerful as in the aroma, letting more of the sweet malt flavors come through.

M: Really smooth and clean feel, sticky hop resins and a slightly thinner body than I was expecting.

O: Delicious IPA, not world class but great none the less, quite refreshing and drinkability is high. Well balanced, plenty of hops but not so hoppy that the malt flavors are completely hidden.

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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 rmalinowski4
3.09/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Mikasa tulip from a 22oz bomber.

Pours a clear straw color with two fingers of fluffy white head that sticks around for awhile and leaves tons of lacing. Very aggressive pour. You can see lots of tiny bubbles dancing up the glass to the nice crown that seems to be sticking around.

Smell is citrus, tangerine and pineapple, with some earthy pine in the background. The smell is somewhat faint and you really have to work to pick up the different components. Smells nice but should be stronger.

The smell is the opposite of the taste, lots of earthy pine upfront with some faint citrus grapefruit and pineapple in the background. The finish is of more bitter pine and earthiness. Was hoping for more citrus, but still not bad. I just expected a different flavor from the nose.

The mouthfeel is thin but not watery, and the carbonation is lively. It is easy to drink and pretty refreshing.

Overall this is not a bad beer, but it not great either. Expected more citrus than what was delivered. I would drink it again and reccommend that others try it as well. Slightly above average.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.23/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A very proper looking IPA. Nice white puffy head which leaves a trail of tight belgian lace behind it. Hazy and opaque but a nice golden orange color. Such a fruity aroma, big grapefruit and citrus fruit. Sticky and hoppy, could pop a bit more. The flavor is clean and pure west coast IPA. Big fruit notes, grapefruit, melon, citrus, really great. I'm missing a little complexity from multiple strains of hops, I think? The rye is a nice touch, faintly spicy. But where the rye shines is helping create a dry clean finish. Nice, alot of IPAs have a bit of a cloying finish from the hops, but not this one! An IPA of the highest order.

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Photo of TIMMYJ21
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a trade ,now getting to drink and to the review, being poured in to a surly imperial pint glass

A-pours a hazy light golden orange and a wonderful creamy white head.tons of lace down the side of the glass

S- tropical fruit, notes of a musk rye up front with tons of tangerines and oranges

T-spicy rye, musky earthy malts, tons of nice tangerines, grapefruit and oranges. hops were done right in this one .

M- syrupy than the duet i just had recently with the same high carbonation feel to it and awesome crisp clean finish to it.

O-Amazing IPA one of my favorites , the tangerines and tropical fruit are super enjoyable. the bitterness is light and the flavors go together very well.

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Photo of turfy
4.52/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into the trusty Duvel tulip

A - A golden orange color with a fluffy, off - white one finger head. Admirable lacing throughout

S - Top notch. Sweet grapefruit aroma that lasted throughout the drink. Touch of honey. No fading on this one!

T - Smooth, sweet grapefruit taste with a great balance of bitterness. Perhaps a trace of apricot . A true winner.

M - Just about perfect. Enough body to separate it from the pretenders but not cloying or heavy in any way.

O - Another winner from Alpine, which I believe is now my fave brewery. If you are looking to enjoy high quality IPA's and DIPA's, this is the brewery to try.

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Nelson from Alpine Beer Company
4.38 out of 5 based on 4,064 ratings.
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