Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPA

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1077) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 5, 2014
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It came as part of a mix pack for $15.99 ($1.33 per bottle or $0.11 per ounce).

Appearance: Jet black body with purple/indigo highlights. Pours to a large, tan, frothy head which laces and retains wonderfully.

Smell: Combination of pine and citrusy hops and a touch of roasted malt. Surprisingly light overall, though.

Taste: Sierra Nevada is a legendary West Coast brewery that makes classic West Coast styles. It’s no surprise, then, that their black IPA – “Blindfold” – would have a distinct West Coast feel to it. Going by the description on the brewery’s website, as well as the finished product itself, it seems that this beer is essentially just a standard IPA with some roasted malt thrown in. Cynics might argue that’s what ALL black IPAs are, but I’ve noticed a lot of sub-styles within the genre. This isn’t bad at all, it’s just far from great.

The hops are the first thing I noticed here; a combination of light pine and light citrus flavors. It’s quite bitter right away, though this isn’t surprising considering the beer is 70 IBUs. A distinct dry bitterness is present from beginning to end and it lingers on the tongue as well. The second half of the palette is the best part, when the roasted malt arrives. In the vein of Guinness or a similar mild stout, the roastiness is noticeable, but not intensely robust. Perhaps minor notes of coffee and chocolate, which are a nice complement to the hops, but a little too light and thus unbalanced. Overall, the palette is tasty and appealing, but I bet more could be done here.

Drinkability: Whether or not you enjoy the taste to Sierra Nevada Blindfold Black IPA, one thing’s for sure – you won’t have any trouble drinking it. The mouthfeel is on the thinner/calmer side, giving it a comfortable presence and smooth texture. There is a lingering dry bitterness, but it’s at least tolerable. At 6.8% ABV, the beer is a tad inefficient, but robust enough to pair with a hearty meal. 
Grade: 7/10

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