Floral IPA – 2012 IPA Beer Camp #53 (Sierra Nevada Brewing Company)

Style: English/Herbal India Pale Ale (IPA)

5.9% ABV

See Review of Oatmeal Stout for my review of the Beer Camp labels.

To start off this review, I will quote the back of the bottle so as to enlighten the unenlightened as to why the Floral IPA got its name, and what makes it different from the average IPA.  The back of the bottle reads: “This unique take on the traditional IPA style pairs the bold and intense aromas of whole-cone hop “flowers” with aromatic natural rose hips and petals for complex aromas and unexpected flavors.” This beer has roses in it.  Enough said.


The beer pours a murky golden-transitioning-into-brown with a nice big fluffy white head that stick around and leaves gobs of sticky lacing patching up the sides of the glass like milk foam in a latte.  The body of the beer is very murky and pretty much opaque, only allowing enough light through to establish its “muddy water” color.  The beer smells nicely hoppy with a solid malt body to it.  The hops are reminiscent of grapefruit, mango, and citrus with slight pine notes, while the malt is light and caramelly.  The real oddity of this smell is of course the vegetal spice that comes (presumably) from the rose hips and petals that were added to the brew, and they add a great little kick that borders on onion but never really passes into that zone, giving the beer a nice savory tinge.  The beer tastes solidly like an English IPA, with some slight slipping towards an American Pale Ale.  The flavors are rich with bitter grapefruit, though the bitter stands out more than the fruit, and the rose characters play subtly but interestingly with the tongue, giving hints of vegetal and lavender flavors, alongside other different herbal notes that I cannot place.  The malt body of the beer tastes bready and sweet, but like a good APA or IPA, that malt is side seat to the hops.  The beer begins as light citrus, moving through grapefruit into the savory middle flavoring coming from the herbal rose petals and the light malt, before the beer finishes with a bitter grapefruit with only bits and pieces of the herbal rose petals periodically touching the tongue.  Mouthfeel is clean, medium bodied bordering on thin, and slightly effervescent, leaving the tongue slightly dry and the mouth very bitter.  Overall, I’m not really sure to say about this beer.  It is a nice bitter sipper that feels more like a hop-forward APA to me than an English IPA.  It does have the good bitter resonance of an IPA, but the bitterness and flavoring remind me more of an APA.  This is a very drinkable brew, and would be lovely to knock back in the late summer, and the rose petals do work in weird ways to provide herbal notes throughout the taste, but really it was not that enticing to me.  A cool experiment with some nice tastes, but I probably won’t revisit this beer.


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