The second day of my beer journey saw me driving almost all the way across the beautiful state of California (from Reno, Nevada to Chico, California). So it was no surprise that by the time I made it to Sierra Nevada I was hankerin’ for a beer. More specifically for a beer with some hops! Being that I don’t get up that way very often I wanted to try something that I hadn’t had before and probably wouldn’t get access to again. I scanned the back page of their beer menu and saw a Black IPA that caught my eye. It was part of their Beer Camp series, so I knew that this might be my only chance. With the sun setting I made my first beer order.
Based off an award winning homebrew recipe by Ray Francisco, this hoppy dark session ale is a real winner. Brewed with an English yeast strain, Clean Sweep is packed with roasty malt characters from the use of six different malts and loaded with piney, citrus and sweet, earthy aromas from Cascade and Styrian Golding hops. Full of flavored but easy drinking this beer will keep you coming back for more.
The beer basically poured black in color. This wasn’t surprising in the least. A hearty inch of cream-colored foam floats atop, leaving behind thick lacing as it goes.
Nose is a blend of chocolate and roasted malts. Hops appear in the form of a touch of grass and a touch of orange, but neither is really all that noticeable.
Being that the hops were so mellow in the nose I was surprised that the taste starts off with hops. The hops don’t really taste piney, or grassy, etc, they just taste like hops. The roasted malts come through next, allowing the chocolate to pop in for a second, before the malts come back. Hints of orange appear towards the end that are slight, but are present enough to bring up memories of chocolate-covered oranges.
Mouthfeel is medium to thick. No stickiness to speak of, but there is that liquid “whitewashing” that occurs with stouts and the like. This beer drinks like a stout with a wheat beer’s ABV.
Clean Sweep is one to throw off the beer geeks. It looks like a stout, smells like a porter, tastes like a black IPA, and has the ABV of a session ale. I can’t quite put my finger on this beer, but I can tell you it’s good.
Overall: 7.5 out of 10
As a BLACK IPA: 6.5 out of 10
FOR FANS OF: Alaskan BLACK IPA, Smuttynose NOONAN BLACK IPA, Sierra Nevada BLINDFOLD BLACK IPA