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Day #80 – Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

March 22, 2011

Day number 80 and today I am reviewing an all time classic!

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada is the 2nd largest craft brewery in America, just behind Boston Beer.  Their pale ale is highly regarded and is known by homebrewers everywhere.  Why is this?  Due to the fact that it is bottle conditioned.  This means that just prior to bottling, a small amount of fermentables are added to the beer, which the yeast continues to ferment in the bottle.  This leaves a light layer of yeast on the bottom of the bottle which is easily cultivated for use in another batch of beer.  Because of this, homebrewers can easily save this yeast and create a pale ale of their own.  Unfortunately I do not have a glass for this beer, which blows my mind!  I need to work on that.

Something to keep in mind while pouring a beer that is bottle conditioned; it has a light layer of yeast at the bottom that will change the flavor of the beer is drank along with it.  Sometimes that can be a good thing, sometimes not.  Yeast add a very bready, often fruity flavor which might not pair well with the beer.  When pouring a beer that is bottle conditioned, pour it very slowly while leaving the last quarter inch of beer in the bottle.  This should keep most of the yeast in the bottle and out of the beer.

This beer pours a fairly clear copper orange color with a slight bit of haziness in it.  There is a nice white head that is held at the top of the beer.  Quite nice.

The aroma is very hoppy.  Lots of pine esters and citrus fruit.  It has a fairly aggressive aroma, which to those not accustomed to how a good pale ale should taste like might find adverse.  I for one like it.

The flavor is also very hoppy and fairly aggressive.  Lots of pine notes and tree sap, with pine needles and OOOO grapefruit!  Lovely, that came out of nowhere!  Fruity finish with a big bitterness that lingers on from the hops.  Wow my opinion has changed quite a bit on this beer from the early days of struggling through a bottle.  This is an excellent example of an American Pale Ale, and if you like the taste of hops in the least you will enjoy this!

Cheers!

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