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Nickel Brook Headstock IPA - Better Bitters Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Nickel Brook Headstock IPANickel Brook Headstock IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

170 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 170
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 10.5%
Wants: 5
Gots: 21 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Better Bitters Brewing Co. visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Sammy on 08-05-2011

A boldly hopped, full bodied American style IPA. Headstock IPA is brewed primarily with nugget hops, which gives rise to a distinct hop flavor, bitterness and aroma. It also uses blend of classic European and North American malts to enhance the body and full flavour. No additives. No Preservatives. Naturally carbonated for a smooth, crisp finish.

80 IBU
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 170 | Reviews: 65
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Normally cans with shrink-wrapped labels on them look pretty silly. This one is the exception in that it uses a matte-style wrap, which I think looks really good.

Flavor is more on the pine tone with a thick profile. I thought to myself that it tasted unfiltered and turned the can just a smidge to see the word "unfiltered." Very robust and earthy. Some filtering could probably do it some justice, but what is here provides a good beer to go with food.

Photo of Batheinfire
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours cloudy orange with almost 2 fingers of white head.
Intense tropical/ citrus fruit smell
Slightly sweet with a nice crisp hoppyness. A top notch IPA.

Photo of Beccy
3.47/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm glad they changed their branding, I would have never picked up this multicoloured mess before they changed it to the sleek and stylish handcrafted chalky look. I judge beers and books by their ability to hire a decent designer.

A bit cloudy with an ok head, smells like tropical fruit, tastes like a bitter grapefruit (in a nice way?), needs a bit more fizz. Good beer, stronger than it tastes, a little hoppy for me though.

Photo of Logan12321
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours into a darker yellow, not very clear. Head forms to about 1"-1 1/2" stays around for a couples minutes.

Wonderful aroma, mangos is the one scent that really sticks out the most for me here, little bit of oranges as well.

The same tastes appear that appeared in the aroma for the start, smooth going down but with a bit of a bitter finish.

Refreshing and the bitterness gives it a bit of a bite at the end, overall nice beer to relax, could see myself purchasing for a outdoor event in the summer, has that kind of summer feel to it.

Photo of Dna_Infinity
3.89/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Can to Glass

Appearance - Poured a hazy orange with a nice two finger white head

Smell - Lots of tropical fruits, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, orange. Great smelling

Taste - Tropical fruits come through, a lot more bitterness then I expected

Overall - A well made hoppy IPA

Photo of kevinlater
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

473ml can into nonic pint. canned june 16, 2014. enjoyed on july 6, 2014 with slices of chipotle-gouda and jalapeno-havarti cheeses

a: a somewhat opaque orangey tangerine colour. 3 fingers of off-white head that dies out slowly. nice lacing too

s: great hop presence here. citrusy, grapefruit, orange, pine, caramel, slight tropical fruit notes

t: did i just bite into a grapefruit? orange, melon, and lemon follow as well. the taste gets piney mid-palate, with good malty flavours balancing out the grapefruit bitterness. doesn't feel like 80 IBU as indicated on the can, but it still gives a prominent drying feeling

m: medium body, medium carbonation.

o: tasty stuff that will definitely satisfy hopheads. definitely gonna have this again in the future. try it out!

Photo of beerluvr
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Poured a cloudy darkish orange into a Duvel tulip, substantial eggshell-colored head leaves a nice collar as it slowly settles.
S: Bracing nose of fresh Nugget hops and firm maltiness as an afterthought...but that nose is all about those hops!
T: Sweet candy-fruity yeasty maltiness then POW!...hops all up in your face, flowery and quite bitter, very well balanced but in the end the hop takes precedent.
M: Firm malt base, sweet yet non-cloying makes for great mouthfeel before the hoppiness takes the stage.
O: Fantastic take on an American-style aggressively hopped IPA. One of my faves up here in Ottawa and a great bargain at $2.85 (Canadian) for a tall boy can. Great find for this hop head...gotta keep my eyes open for some other offerings by this outfit. Recommended without hesitation.

Photo of DaveBar
3.99/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Purchased at the LCBO for just under $3 for a ml can. Served at 8deg C in a draught glass.

A- Very good! Unfiltered. Opened well for an IPA. Not much head as expected

S- Pretty good. Citrus, honey.

T- Nice. Not too hop forward but blended well. Mild malt and citrus hues match well

M- Excellent! Enjoyed the creamy dry slightly bitter texture

O- Pretty good for a Canadian IPA. Will buy again

Food Pairing

This nice little IPA paired very well with... sushi. I rolled a very nice spicy tuna roll and a spicy salmon roll and all was delicious!

Photo of ssmack
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Golden yellow colour with 1 inch fine white head. Tons of suspended debris that settled to the bottom.

A strong citrus aroma. Grapefruit and pine along with a floral spicy smell.

The taste is built on a sweet malt base. Largely grapefruit. Sharp bitterness.

A medium feel with a bite. Slightly oily.

An excellent AIPA but it should be labelled as unfiltered.

Photo of MylesMac
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Clean, clear and lighter in color than I was expecting - maybe close to a 10 SRM. About a half inch of solid head that lasted for at least 10 minutes. Some lacing.

Smell: Pineapple, lemon, fresh pine needles maybe some bubble-gum. Very refreshing.

Taste: Piney hops from start to finish. Also get some citrus in the beginning that fades into bread flavors and perhaps a touch of caramel. Bitterness lasts long into the finish, very nice.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, low carbonation, slightly creamy - good stuff.

Overall: Very happy with this beer. Plenty to offer in the aroma and flavors department. Would definitely do this one again.

Photo of ppoitras
4.11/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

473ml can purchased as a single from the LCBO booth at the Toronto Royal Winter Fair.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" light beige head over the cloudy golden copper brew. Head holds on nicely, with lasting lace. Aroma is juicy citrus.

Taste starts sweet, jiucy citrus from nose in the middle, moderately bitter close coupled with even more citrus. Mouthfeel is way smooth, and drinkability is excellent. Liking this one.

Photo of ludachris
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Its lush amber body carries a haze to it that makes me think this hasn’t been filtered. I’m quite fond of this trend in commercially available Ontario crafted IPA’s which are putting an emphasis on “all natural” beers. A finger and a half of creamy off-white head retains nicely before it gradually recedes to a frothy cap. Splashes of lace are painted across the glass.

Smelling from the glass right after the pour, you really get that fresh nugget hop essence. Resinous, piney, and candied lemons ooze out of the glass. This intense hop aroma however loses some of its potency rather quickly, giving way to a dessert-like bready malt character. Caramel comes to mind. The nose is both fresh and clean, and that is something I can appreciate.

A crisp piney hop kick streaks down the back of the palate with a hop leaf herbaceousness trailing behind it. The notes of pine are so fresh that it’s easy to mistake them for mint. Judging by the level of bitterness, I wouldn’t clock this in at the 80 IBU’s that is stated on the can, but this was in the unrefrigerated section at the LCBO and that may explain why this is. The malt character merely outlines the rest of the beer and rightfully so. It does manage to leave a pleasant soft sweetness in the finish.

Where this stands out most is in the feel. Its medium body possesses that creamy feel I love in IPA’s. This is perfectly balanced, crisp, and smooth. An IPA that is suitable for sessioning, although the 7% ABV would make you want to be a bit careful.

For an IPA in general, this sits comfortably at a 3.5 for me. It’s well balanced and smooth and possesses enough of a hoppy kick to satisfy a hop head like me. With that being said, it’s very straightforward and lacks a factor that sets this IPA apart from others. For an Ontario crafted IPA however, I would have given this a higher overall score. This is a testament to how far the Ontario craft beer industry has come in terms of products that are available commercially. A few years ago, a 7% unfiltered, naturally carbonated IPA that clocks in at 80 IBU’s would almost be considered a white whale on the shelves of the LCBO. And now, it sits there with Amsterdam’s Boneshaker, Lake of Bays 10 Point, and Railway City’s Dead Elephant. I love where the craft beer industry is now and I can’t wait to see how it evolves in the future.

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

473 ml can from LCBO for $2.75 CDN into a pint glass

Appearance - Golden dark orange orange color. 1.5 fingers if head leave a creamy white cap that is slow to disappear, Tons of sediment is readily visible in the glass which may detract from the appeal for some.

Smell – Hops! Piney scents as well as some earthy flavors.

Taste- Quite hoppy with the earthy elements and a piney citrus fueled aftertaste. Maybe a touch of lime thrown in.

Mouthfeel- Balanced as the hops are quite strong enjoyable for someone who likes this but not so overbearing that complete balance is broken. Nice creaminess as well that may be unexpected.

Overall – Quite a delicious beer, one that the hopheads will like, plus it has good ABV and other than the appearance has a refined plate that is creamy and decadent. A favorite in the IPA class.

EDIT - Just had this beer again and was the same as before except for the fact that it was crystal clear and had no chunks of sediment floating around. Much improved appearance in my mind has meant a bit of an adjustment in scoring.

Photo of pokerman
2.38/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

The smell was good from the late hops however I believe it's overpriced for what it is.

The can is embarassing to have at your table, look like fruitopia.

Malt balance was fine.

Way too much yeast in suspension, look like a mistake even for unfiltered and bottle carbed beers.

Photo of randallpink
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in: nonic pint glass

A - beautiful opaque copper colour with two fingers of head that remains for quite some time. there is quite a bit of yeast floating around in the glass which for some takes away from the look of the beer but i don't mind it. leaves decent lacing around the glass

S - not very strong on the nose but there is a definite citrusy (grapefruit = my favourite!) presence in it which is a big reason why I love IPA's so mucH. there may be a hint of pine in there but its hard to tell as the citrus is the most powerful

T - amazingly hoppy and bitter which is just what I'm looking for! the citrus is present but not as powerful as in the smell as the hops take over and is a big reason why I was originally drawn to this beer. the aftertaste is great as well as it leaves that bitter taste that IPA heads love. a bit of malt is coming through the more i drink.

M - very smooth tasting and moderately carbonated. the aftertaste isn't as refreshing as I find some other IPA's, but the bitterness remains for quite some time and its good enough for me ;)

O - i tried this beer at the craft roundhouse festival in toronto, and seeing as how I'd had quite a few beers when i tried it, I figured i should give it a go completely sober. While its definitely not the best IPA i've tried this summer, I will definitely be buying a few more cans as i did enjoy it quite a bit. the can itself puts off the image that it will be very citrusy...but in the end the taste turns out to be much more bitter than i expected...not saying thats a bad thing though ;) I would recommend this to anyone looking for a new IPA to try although it does cost a bit more than your average tall can. worth a try in my eyes. definitely think the smell could be a little stronger but the taste actually ends up being pleasantly surprising after that. good beer from nickel brook

Photo of drinkininthewood
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

473ml can purchased from the LCBO $2.65,Packaged 05 17 13. Served in a pint glass.

A- Golden/bronze in color. Bubbly head of foam diminishes fairly quickly and leaves some blobs of lace around my glass.

S- Cirusy hops in the nose, with wiffs of bready malts. Smells good, though the aroma i find is somewhat subdued.

T- Quite hoppy up front, solid bitterness with flavors of pine and citrus ( mainly oranges ) followed by nice malt body which offers flavor of fresh bread and a touch of sweetness. Finish/aftertaste is hoppy/herbal, a lingering encore of the initial bitterness. 80 ibu i feel is a proper rating for this beer.

M- A smooth ipa with carbonation being on the low side. Medium bodied.

D- Solid flavor and smooth body make for excellent drinkablilty. I drank this brew at just above room temperature and think it really brought out some nice hoppy flavors. I bought a second to try at a cooler temperature.

Overall I really enjoy the fact that were starting to see more Ontario breweries really come into their own with bold brews such as this fine IPA. Nice job Nickel-Brook. I'd love to try this ale on cask.

Photo of FondueVoodoo
3.61/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Special thanks to cattersley for sending us this brew. Can is marked packaged March 8, 2013.

A: Clear pale copper hue with a fair amount of suspended sediment. Two fingers of creamy off-white foam with a generous amount of lacing up the sides of the glass.

S: Upfront scents of mild pine resin with background notes of grapefruit and a floral bouquet. There is a slight spiciness together with clean mineral notes. Malts are present and round out the hoppy bitters. Smell is less aggressive than the west coast style and presents with a delicate, more malty scent.

T: Hops are noticeable and upfront in the taste. Snappy and bright, pithy orange and lemon peel envelopes the entire palate and leaves a lasting bitterness on the tongue. Malts which were noticeable in the scent are not detectable in the taste.

M: Chewy and syrupy and coats your entire mouth leaving a lasting bitterness.

O: Considering the upfront presence of hops on the palate I would have liked to have more of hop presence on the nose. With a few further tweaks this could go from good to great.

Photo of IdeaSpeeder
3.41/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Serving Type - 500ml can, poured into a nonic glass

Appearance - Pours an 'orange-y' copper color, unfiltered. Beautiful. Thick lacing appears along the sides of the glass. Sort of have a home-brew look to it....I almost don't want to ruin it by having a sip.

Smell - Disappointingly unobtrusive. Some citrus and pine smells coming through, but mostly citrus. Not much else so far as I can tell.

Taste - Definitely a hop beast. Better Bitters indeed....the can says 80 IBU and I wouldn't doubt it for a second. Citrus dominates, but there is also some of that pine flavour as well towards the finish.

Mouthfeel - Pretty low carbonation, average feel to it. Nothing special.

Photo of tbeckett
4.28/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From old notes.

A - Poured hazy copper with good carbonation coming up. One finger of beige head. Minimal lace, half finger retention.

S - Citrus, bread, a bit of pine, very inviting and strong.

T - Juicy with some pine there as well. Really tasty, juicy, and citrussy.

M - Good carbonation, medium body, nice bitterness.

O/D - One of the better IPAs in Ontario right now. Lovely flavour with a high drinkability for the ABV. A nice one to have in these parts.

Photo of MAB
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A solid, bitter IPA, with a lot of complex flavors.
Nice copper tint to it, slightly hazy, and a good tight white-ish head on it.
It smells fabulous. Leaves and pine needles. Very outdoorsy.
It tastes even better than it smells. The bitterness comes through but the aftertaste is malt and more of those pine notes, rather than strictly hop bitterness.
Nicely carbonated, for the style. The alcohol level is well-covered, so you don't get a burn from that.
I'll be having another of these, for certain.

Photo of dipso123
2.81/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Had in tall can 6 months to the day before expiration date.

A : very cloudy, distinct orange hue, head was short-lived and little to no lacing on the glass

S: small to very small nose

T: citrus but more toward navel orange juice than grapefruit zest - a bit too sweet for me.

M: a bit slick on the tongue in the finish.

O: On the side of the can it says "brewed using primarily Nugget hops." Not sure this is the best idea and may go a ways to explain the plain character of this IPA. In comparison to the complex hop character of so many current IPAs this one is lacking.

Photo of HATS4BATS
3.42/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thoughtful and bold. Full carbonation completes an opaque appearance and body. Little nose that develops into citrus notes over time. Challenges the palate a shock of grapefruit and hops; this powerful IPA doesn't fully mask its high alcohol content which may be too big for some; never develops into meaningful flavour. Sharp after-taste that dissipates quickly. Leaves an impression.

Photo of jaz58
3.91/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first time I've had the Nickel Brook line.

Since I'm a IPA fan this is my choice.

Poured into a pint glass.

A thick blonde head which dissipated slowly.

Cloudy deep orange colour

Very faint nose which is very different for a IPA.

A nice hint of hops. Tea and grapefruit start with a generous bitters finish.

A decent ale over all with a good mouth feel

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from notes
A - Hazy bubbly burnt orange, tall tan head, solid retention
S - Pine, citrus, pepper, bready
T - Pine and citrus hops, then grain and caramel, peppery finish
M - Full feel medium carbo, finishes slightly bitter
O - not outstanding but for a random purchase this turns out to be a worthy enough treat

Photo of JamesMN
3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Completely opaque orange with visible sediment. Soapy off-white head.

Aroma: Citrus, grapefruit hops. Caramel malt.

Taste: Pleasantly surprised by this one. It imparts the kind of bitterness that hop heads like myself crave. Citrus, pine, grapefruit, and lemon rind hop flavor. At the same time it's a bit of a malt bomb with lots of crystal and caramel malt but not much complexity. A finish that is both wet and dry at times.

Mouthfeel: Robust and almost syrupy. Average drinkability.

Final Thoughts: One of the ugliest IPAs I've ever seen but definitely tasty. Would I drink it again? Sure, but maybe straight from the can...

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Nickel Brook Headstock IPA from Better Bitters Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 170 ratings.