Jan 9, 2014

Sierra Nevada DevESTATEtion Black IPA

Let’s start this review of Sierra Nevada DevESTATEtion Black IPA with the company’s own words on how this tasty brew came about:

This spring, the combined effect of double digit sustained winds and concentrated rainfall created major stress on the normal course of our barley maturation — our crop went down for the count. Instead of crying in our beer — or lack thereof — we decided to do one better and make something new. Featuring organic malts and our estate-grown wet hops, this black IPA is the evil twin of our legendary Estate Ale.

I’ve had the brewery’s Estate Ale and it’s darn tasty. DevESTATEtion Black IPA is not quite as tasty and, as a result, I wouldn’t necessarily call it an evil twin. It’s more like a distant cousin — the black sheep of the family if you will. DevESTATEtion is also very much unlike any other black IPA that I’ve encountered thus far.


The beer pours cola brown in color with a crown of tan foam that dropped slowly and left behind excellent lacing.

Sierra Nevada DevESTATEtion Black IPA photo


Coffee, roast malt, grain and caramel lead the way as herbal, grassy hops joing in for an intriguing nose.


This is where things get weird and interesting. I know that it’s the malt bill that’s driving the roasty base of this beer, but the slightly more assertive herbal hop character pushes this beer in a different direction. Hints of chocolate and coffee combine with pine, grass and the herbal notes mentioned before. It’s not an overly “hoppy” brew, but it does have a lingering bitterness that fades softly in the finish.


I’ve had this beer a couple of times since first cracking this particular bottle open and, while the impression isn’t quite as drastic as that first time, DevESTATEtion Black IPA still proves to be a unique take on the style. Leave it up to Sierra Nevada to take a poor harvest and craft something so damn tasty. As of today, this is probably my favorite black IPA.

Rating: 4/5

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