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Sierra Nevada Estate Ale 2009

As this beer has sat in my fridge for far too long I suppose it’s damn time I consume it. A large variety of beers are fine to age but for many lower alcohol beers and particularly hoppy beers it is not the best approach. Sierra Nevada is already releasing their Estate 2010 as I write this post so I am sure this bottle will not have nearly as brilliant hop characters as it likely had initially. Oh well, it’s my fault for procrastinating. This exciting brew is the first release of Sierra Nevada’s Estate Ale, part of their Harvest Series. Consisting of only hops and barley grown on Sierra Nevada’s own estate in Chico, CA. Pours a very translucent bright amber hue that quickly creates over three fingers of off white head that leave a decent amount of lacing after settling a few minutes later. Smells nicely of grassy hops which play nicely with sweet malt and modest citrus esters. Tastes of rich, smooth, sweet malts, a decent amount of citrus, lemon, orange, grapefruit, modest bitterness and some gentle grassy & earthy esters. Body is medium and mouthfeel is wonderfully smooth and tight. The beautiful mouthfeel likely has something to do with the age of this brew. I am quite impressed by the delightful melding of hops and  malts present in this brew and equally impressed by the robustness of the hop esters still present after roughly a year of aging. Overall enjoyable bitterness is complimented with rich malts and delightful hop notes creating a very well rounded ale.  When I first saw this 24 oz bottle on the shelves of The Four Firkins I was amazed by its price tag of around $13 if memory serves me correctly and almost didn’t end up purchasing it. After consuming it I’m glad I did because I believe it will be appreciated by any fan of IPAs or Pale Ales. At 6.7% ABV this is one drinkable but very flavorful Ale. If this years edition of Estate Ale is anywhere near as well balanced I would highly recommend picking up a bottle, I probably will. While it is always fun to be surprised by an aging experiment I wouldn’t highly recommend aging (m)any India Pale Ales. If you can find an old bottle give it a shot and ride your bike.

Sierra Nevada Estate Ale 2009

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