Sierra Nevada Harvest: Single Hop IPA – Yakima #291

Sierra Nevada Harvest: Yakima 291 Single Hop IPA

Brewed by: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Beer Classification and Specs

  • Style: IPA
  • Variation: American, Single Hop
  • Limited: Feb – April
  • ABV: 6.5%
  • IBU: 55

Notes: First of five in 2014 “Harvest Series.”

Brewer’s Notes and Ingredients

Whole-cone hops, the whole time—our philosophy since the beginning. We use hops in their purest form, and we’re fortunate to get first crack at some of the rare and exciting varietals new to brew kettles. This single-hop IPA showcases newly developed hop 291’s fruity, berry-like aromas, complex floral character and hints of pepper.

Hops: 291 Experimental Hop (AKA Yakima #291)

Malts: Two-row Pale, Caramel

Additional: Ale yeast

More Single Hop IPA w/ Yakima #291 Images

First Impressions

Artwork: Deviates from previous years’ Harvest series template. A large hop covers most of the label, with “Harvest” in bold text and “Single Hop IPA” underneath.

Color: Just like Apple cider – orange hue, with some cloudiness. And very bubbly.

Aroma: Damp earth with mild citrus overtones.

The Tasting

Arrived in: 24 oz. Bottle

Served in: Official Sierra Nevada IPA glasses

In the past, Sierra Nevada’s Harvest series was comprised of a spring “Southern”, and fall “Northern” release. The freshest hops were harvested in each hemisphere and used for a limited run. Southern Hemisphere was brewed with fresh hops, and wet hops for Northern.

This year, Sierra decided to more than double their Harvest series, rolling out 3 additional entries: Single Hop, Wild Hop, and another Single Hop.

Sierra Nevada Harvest: Single Hop IPA – 291 Varietal is the first entry into the 2014 Harvest series, and implements a newly created designer hop. #291 varietal, aka 291, or Yakima 291, named after the area in Washington state where they were grown. Wonder if 291 hop is proprietary to Sierra Nevada, or they had a hand in its breeding?

The carbonation in this beer was off the charts – like a shaken up apple cider. It foamed so violently we had to wait until halfway through the beer to get any aroma at all, through the thick foamy topper.

Yakima 291 featured a transitional mouthfeel. At first the fluffy head created a buttery effect as you sipped through it, followed by light and crispy from its extreme effervescence.

Where the beer disappointed a bit was in the hop intensity department. Its damp, earthy start was unique, but a surprisingly washed out level of hops for an India Pale Ale. A better way to explain it might be the hop flavor was not lasting.

Just when you thought that characteristic IPA hoppy flavor was about to shine through, it really didn’t. You got a nibble of hops in the initial flavor stage, but it never really intensified beyond that teaser. But after all, it was a single hop…

Another distinctive quality of this beer was subtle berry that took over in the finish. Not a heavy handed fruit beer style dose, but a nice hint of blueberry or blackberry.

Final Score: 3/5

3 Stars

Sierra Nevada Harvest: Single Hop IPA – Yakima 291 Hops was just as experimental to drink, and the designer hop strain it was brewed with. Initial crispness, followed by earthy and wet, not bitter and hoppy. The mouthfeel was excellent, with a touch of berry — just not big on hops.

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