Beer Camp: Belgian Style Black IPA (Sierra Nevada Brewing Company)

This beer was chosen when I read the description and said “What is this??”.

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp 2013 smallBEER CAMP: BELGIAN STYLE BLACK IPA is a Belgian IPA with a 7.7% ABV and 52 IBUs.

Belgian Style Black IPAThis beguiling black IPA takes a tropical detour with a dose of new world hops, featuring lemony Sorachi Ace and fruity Nelson Sauvin varieties. A Belgian yeast works with the exotic hop profile, emphasizing its complex and fruity flavors.

Belgian Style Black IPA pours a deep brown/black with no highlights. Very opaque. Head is 1/2 inch of massive foam. The head was so large that is literally rises up in the middle. Looks very much like a dry Irish stout. Lacing damn near paints the side of the glass.

The nose here is weird. So weird in fact, that after a swirl and sniff I literally said “whoa”. Milk chocolate, clove, roasted malts, guava, grapefruit, and cigar were all detectable. I kept coming back to the nose in hopes of finding new and interesting smells.

The taste is just as much of a smorgasbord as the nose was. Let’s see if I can delineate between these flavors…chocolate, pepper, cherry, guava, and roasted malts were the most obvious. Flavors such as banana and cigar would show up in some sips, but not in others. As it warmed the flavors started to meld together much better. I would call this flavor combination “tropical roasted malt fruits with a touch of clove” (this may be the worst name ever). This blended flavor was way better than the initial “everyone fighting for position” experience I encountered when it was cold. This blending made it much more palatable and enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is medium and creamy. It goes down easy, leaving just a little coating behind.

This was a very hard beer to put my finger on. There were so many things going on that I couldn’t really get into it. That’s not to say it isn’t a good beer, it is, but it has a major identity crisis. It wants to show off all its sides (Belgian, dark, hoppy, fruity) and instead it turns into a mishmash of flavors.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10

As a BELGIAN IPA: 6.5 out of 10

FOR FANS OF: Sierra Nevada SLEIGHT OF HAND, Phillips PUZZLER BELGIAN BLACK IPA, Stone/Brewdog BASHAH

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