Review: Harvest Single Hop IPA - 291 Varietal, Sierra Nevada

Harvest Single Hop IPA - 291 Varietal
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. — Chico, CA

  • Style:  IPA
  • Bitterness:  55 IBU
  • ABV:  6.5%
  • Malts:  2-Row Pale, Caramel
  • Hops:  291 Experimental (bittering & finishing)
  • Sampled:  24 oz. bottle (provided by brewery)

Description:  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. This intriguing varietal kicks off our five-bottle Harvest series which features single hop, fresh hop, wet hop, and wild hop beers. — Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  Most IPAs tend to use a blend of hop varieties to achieve a desired flavor profile. Recently, I've noticed some breweries releasing single-hop beers. As the name implies, only one hop variety is used in these beers (for both bittering and flavor). Single hop beers allow you to understand and experience the aromas and taste of a particular variety. As part of its 2014 Harvest Series, Sierra Nevada is releasing this single hop beer which showcases Yakima #291, an experimental varietal that features flavor of black pepper and blueberry! 

The tasting:  Golden in color, slightly hazy, with an off-white head that dissipates very slowly, leaving lots of sticky lacing on the glass. The aroma is full of black pepper, along with herbal and grassy notes. If I was tasting this blind, the spicy notes would have led me to believe it was brewed with a Belgian yeast strain.  Taste starts with grapefruit and piney hop bitterness. In the middle, spicy pepper notes emerge alongside a light biscuit malt backbone. Hop bitterness is moderate throughout and a touch of alcohol is noticeable in the middle. It's light to medium bodied, has a slightly resinous mouth feel, and finishes with long lingering grassy hop bitterness.    

3 star.  Good.  I would drink this again if it was given to me. I’m glad that Sierra Nevada is releasing some limited-edition beers using experimental hops. I’m always amazed by the wide range of flavors that hops produce and it’s fun to experience them for the first time. While Yakima #291 has plenty of pepper and spice, I didn't taste the floral and blueberry flavors that was hoping to experience. Overall, I enjoyed the beer. I just wish some of the signature flavors from Yakima #291 were noticeable

Have you tasted this beer?  What do you think of Yakima #291?

Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook


  1. I loved this beer! I thought the hop flavors were dee-licious!

  2. Were you able to taste the blueberry and floral notes?

  3. Saw it in a bomber at at a Seattle Area Costco and am regretting not putting in my cart.


Thoughts? Tell me what you think.