Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2013 Belgian-Style Black IPA: Beer Camp #94

This year's Sierra Nevada Beer Camp series had only three beers in it. 2013 Belgian-Style Black IPA is the final one for me after the Imperial Red Ale and IPA. Three IPAs in the same box was a little disappointing for me I must say, even if they are quite distinct within the general category. The label is very cool; there, I said it again. On the back label, you are told to expect a unique hop profile due to the addition of Sorachi Ace and Nelson Sauvin varieties. 7.7% alcohol.

Huge head. Yeah, I even lost a little over the edge so be careful. And that head takes forever to recede. Big roasty aroma, smokey with chocolate and a fruity, hoppy hint.

Wow! You can really taste the interesting hoppy profile. The story was not just a pretending, wishful thinking little blurb of what the brewer wished and dreamed would happen! Sorachi Ace and Nelson Sauvin are two of my favorite varieties. Though they are not used very often and I don't have a lot of experience with them, Brooklyn's Sorachi Ace and Widmer Brother's Nelson Imperial IPA really are amazing beers that highlight what the two varieties can do!

From the start, you will taste a lot of tropical fruit and bright, sharp lemon flavors. And it is really interesting the way those profiles work with an equally distinct, heavy-duty roasted, smoky, even-burnt malt. There is also some coffee and a slight hazelnuttiness (could be me thinking about the morning coffee). 

Now I am really not generally a Black IPA fan at all. All that burnt malt bitterness to me just kills a beautiful IPA. And this beer had that profile! I honestly say that I didn't find any Belgian influence in this, so whatever. But the promised fruity, hoppy character really worked well together with that malty backbone. Very unique and interesting, nice flavors, enjoyable. 

I really liked the Imperial Red Ale too, so this year there's a toss-up between those two for the winner.

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