Sierra Nevada Estate Brewers Harvest Ale

24 oz bottle from Total Wine, Perimeter, Atlanta, GA, USA. $9.99 for the privilege! Second time I’ve had this.
Pour is a surprisingly red body with a nice high, white rocky head that produces some really nice lace in the glass. Apart from the fact that the body has a rather odd color for an IPA (which may bother some), it looks pretty good.
Nose gives a pretty large dose of resinous, west coast hops with sinus clearing properties. The nose seems really “green” and fresh, like a wet-hopped beer.
Tastes reflect the nose but the hops seem a little more citrusy than the nose suggested. Some aggressive grapefruit that doesn’t let up much. It’s really quite dry and the finish is really quite puckeringly bitter. Lingering coinage metal on the tongue after swallowing. The beer does NOT let up in terms of dry bitterness, and although I didn’t feel it up front, by the end of the 24 oz it really begins to feel a touch unbalanced.
Here’s the deal with this beer;
I think that the “estate” idea a REALLY interesting one and in theory I’m in support of it, BUT there are two significant problems;
(i) This beer that ends up in the glass here is simply NOT that different from umpteen other SN offerings. Take the Anniversary beers, the IPA, the SNPA, Celebration, ESB, Torpedo, the Hop Harvest, Southern Hemi etc. etc., we have LOADS of pretty good (with the exception of the ESB), hop based, IPA style clones that simply DON’T make sufficient distinctions between themselves to make any of them stand out. Ultimately this is just ANOTHER hop-based, SN beer that is not *bad* as such but seems SO run-of-the-mill. In that respect, at least on the first bottling, this experiment/project is a failure. NOW, IF this leads to bigger, better and greater things in the future then I may change my mind but for now the effort (and the extra cost) was simply not worth it! Having said all of that, I would REALLY love the estate idea to take off.
(ii) When you consider my comments in (i) above, AND you realize that this beer costs the equivalent of over $30 per sixer, it makes the whole situation INSANE! I’m NOT debating that the costs involved in producing this beer are higher, but rather I am saying that those extra costs (ultimately passed on to the consumer) are simply TOTALLY unjustified when you consider the product that ends up in the glass. There are countless other beers that will give you the same (or better) experience (some of them by SN themselves!), for less than one-third of the cost. It just doesn’t add up – not even close. Maybe one day, but not now.
If I were scoring this in relation to the extra effort relating to what’s in the glass, OR the value for money, then it’s a CLEAR, F!
In summary I WANT the estate concept to work but if it is going to it will have to produce beers that are much more distinct than this one is. This is not a bad beer, but at an equivalent of $30 a sixer it is a total failure. We’ll see…

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09/27/2009
Format:
bottle
ABV: 6.7 %
Appearance: 4
Taste: 3
Mouthfeel: 3.5
Smell: 3.5
Overall: 3.5
Total: 3.3
Series Name:
Year:

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