Sierra Nevada Beer Camp 2013 Review #1 – Belgian Black IPA

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IPA, Belgian Black IPA, & Imperial Red Ale
IPA, Belgian Style Black IPA, & Imperial Red Ale

Camp is over folks,  Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp 2013 that is.  But this is, as a matter of fact, nothing to truly be sad about.  No, now is the time to be overjoyed, as the fruits of their toiling are now available to us.

While we have known for a little while what would be part of this year’s sampler, now we can finally taste what this week-long gathering of a lucky few beer fanatics (and lucky they are,  they even got golden tickets) dreamed up.

Lets take a look at the choices for this year.  IPA, Belgian style Black IPA, and Imperial Red Ale (perhaps a shout out to all of our Redditor friends who were clamoring for a Red Wedding ale? )

Choices, choices,  what will I try first.  Normally such a question would cause at least a few moments pondering, but this one was simple.  I have to go with the BBIPA, not even a question in this case.

An interesting choice none the less though, as this turns the Belgian IPA and Black IPA concepts on their head. Pouring out the bottle, it was black with a thin khaki head. Hard to place the nose on this one.  You can definitely pick up on the Belgian yeast, but beyond that I wasn’t getting much of a hint of the IPA in there.

Tasting turned out to be equally interesting.  The yeast and alcohol presence were there like you would expect from a triple or a quad but having the flavor profile more akin to a Black IPA.  Not sweet, but not bitter, very well-balanced.   A Belgian for all of those, (and I have a few friends who fall into this group) who don’t like the flavor profile of an Abby Ale.  A gateway into two different styles, equally accessible from whichever side of the fence you are starting out on.  Mouth feel while not chewy, was much more substantial than say Belgian style stouts.

In fact it took a few hours of thinking about it to even figure out where I stood on this one. It didn’t play out like a hopped up Belgian Pale ale,  or a IPA made with a different yeast strand.   This was different – unique, and extremely original.  I can not wait to see what the other two brews have in store!


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