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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.
very good

72 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 72
Hads: 210
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 18.11%
Wants: 6
Gots: 30 | 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
View: Beers (36) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 72 | Hads: 210
Photo of Rutager
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours a deep red-orange with two fingers of thick, lightly amber tinted head that lasts a while and paints the sides of the glass.

Smell. Big piney hops, some toasty grains and caramel and a little citrus.

Taste. Great tasting toasty grains, waves of piney hops and cirtus rinds, but not in an overwhelming way. Good bitter finish with a little toastyness still backing up those hops.

Mouthfeel. Medium+ body with medium carbonation.

Overall. My kind of ipa. I'm really liking the malt flavours in this one, and the hops were fantastic. Thanks liamt07!! From CANBIF

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.27/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Originally had this at The Rib & Craft Beer Festival a couple years ago in Kitchener Ontario. Thought it was outstanding then. Was really happy to see it canned in the LCBO when I went home this past summer, so I was sure to stock up.

From a 16oz can into a snifter
80 IBUs

Note: Tested this one as part of the Great Ontarian IPA Showdown against Railway City's Dead Elephant, Muskoka Mad Tom IPA, and Double Trouble's Hops & Robbers.

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, medium looking, off-white head with good retention. Opaque, hazy, burnt orange body with very low levels of carbonation evident. Head eventually fades to a full wisp. A splotchy film remains until the end and leaves touches of lacing down the glass. Good, but needs a thicker head and more lacing for top marks.

SMELL: Pretty big nose on this one. Pale malts, honeydew melon, grapefruit and lemon citrus aromas as well. Some piney hop notes in there too. Quite impressive for sure.

TASTE: Pale malts and melon sweetness up front, then piney and citrus grapefruit at the swallow. Lots of bitterness as well. Big and lingering aftertaste of piney, bitter hops, lemon citrus and grapefruit with just a touch of melon sweetness as balance. Quite flavorful and interesting.

PALATE: Fuller body with medium levels of carbonation. Very creamy smooth on the palate, goes down fine and finishes quite dry. Good stuff all around.

OVERALL: Just wonderful. This was the beer of the festival a couple years back, and it is just as good in can form as I remember it. Maybe the only Ontario brewed IPA that I'd be proud to showcase around the world. This one blew away the competition in the Ontario Showdown. Great job on this one guys. Keep it coming.

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Photo of SebD
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes

Appearance: It has a nice deep orange/amber color to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderately and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of citrus, mango, grapefruit (very tropical) with some piney notes and some bready malts.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has some nice citrus, grapefruit and mango along with some piney notes and bready and caramelly malts.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas. Definitely one of the better IPA's in Ontario.

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Photo of Tilly
4.21/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wrote! Just when I was about to give up on Ontario craft breweries Nickel Brock hits it out of the park!
Pores a clear gold with a frothy white head that dissipates quickly.
Heavenly aromas of skunky pine, grapefruit, lemon and huge hops.
Taste does not disappoint.
Good dry mouth feel with a disappointing lack of bitterness but still a nice finish.
Great job!

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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.

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Photo of Scrylol
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice ruby red color, very hazy, with a frothy two finger head that sticks around. Leaves quite a bit of lacing.

Right off the bat the aroma smells strongly of tropical fruits and citrus. Plenty of orange and mango notes. Slight floral notes to it. Very good.

Bitter, bitter, bitter is what the taste is all about. From front to back consists of plenty of hop flavors, with big, bold bitterness with citrus and tropical fruit notes. Leaves a dry aftertaste with bitterness and earthy notes lingering around.

Creamy mouthfeel with decent carbonation. Has a bit of chewiness to it.

A nice IPA with a very pleasant aroma.

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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.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml can poured into tulip 27/4/12 thanks liamt07 for sending the can

A dark for the style looks reddish brown, murky with little chunks floating around in a thick looking liquid, dense two fingers of beige foam has great retention and leaves a few rings of lace followed by random patches, looking great

S floral and piney hops with some grapefruit and tangerine, not all hops but pretty close just a little caramel malt create some balance and some booze is there but not too bad

T slightly more toffee and more rind then the nose, similar other then that and pretty solid if you ask me

M full bodied with creamy carbonation and a nice bitter bite, leaves a little behind in you mouth, no booze detected and a long piney rind aftertaste, no issues here

O pretty solid stuff going on here, nothing to complain about and it looks and feels great, well rounded IPA

not sure what beer all the others are reviewing because I though this was a solid IPA that I`d be happy to put in my regular rotation If I could get it here. thanks again liamt07 for the can

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Photo of akdo
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: The beer looks likea dark honey with a one-finger head. The head dissipates quickly and leaves its foam on the glass as you drink. The body is also cloudy thanks to the yeast.

Smell: The nose is akin to lemon and grapefruit upon being smelled twice. The notes of pine woods are absent.

Taste: The palate briefly tastes like lemon then shifts quickly to the notes of pine woods. Because of the malt, you can sense the imprint of grapefruits on the pine woods.

Feel: Despite an IBU of 80, it is a rather light IPA. Although I appreciate the attempt to balance the bouquet of flavours, I would have loved to taste the grapefruit first and the lemon along with the pine woods altogether later.

Overall: This is an interesting take on an American IPA. My only reservation is about the weird order in which the different flavours come in play. Nonetheless, the beer has a voice of its own and I would drink it again.

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Photo of rhrytzak
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A friend told me a new Ontario IPA was at the LCBO.

It poured with a nice creamy head, and looks orange and unfiltered. Awesome!
The fresh hops smell was instantly apparent. Very floral aroma with a tad of spicy zestiness. Some malt sweetness apparent underneath.
It begins with a very smooth, very clean mouth fill. Light hops resins play with a slightly sweet maltiness. Challah and Meyer lemons. Then the bittering hops kick in. I'm left with a pithy tang on the tongue for a good 30 seconds. The bitter is very much in balance with the malt, though I have a hard time believing it's 80 IBU. I've had 40 IBU beers with as much kick. Absolutely no booziness. Well done on that!
It is so drinkable for being 7%. It's not cloying or thick. It's just as an IPA should be. I guess when I read 7% I imagined it would coat my mouth a little more. As it is the alcohol creeps up on you.
Overall well done! Ontario needs more of these and with greater variance. It's nice to drink someone's IPA which is not an obvious C-hops bomb. Refreshing! I'll be telling my friends about this one.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.06/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tallboy can from the LCBO; best before Nov 30 2012. I am a self-professed IPA fan, and this is one of the random ones I happened to pick up during my last stop. I've had one decent beer from this brewery, and a few lame ones, so I'm not sure what to expect.

Pours a muddy brownish-amber colour, much cloudier than a lot of the IPAs I've been having recently. The dense, creamy, off-white head seated atop the liquid sticks around for a decent bit, and leaves some good thick lacing behind when it finally bites the dust. Looks good to me. Nice fresh aroma with lots of citrus zest, pine needles, along with some juicy pineapple notes. This is underlain by some faint bready malts and brown sugar. Rather subdued, however, and nothing unusually good for the style.

I am in love with this stuff after one sip. The taste is heavy on the hops, of course - their powerful fruity flavours dominate the profile of this brew. I can pick up pineapple, tangerine, lemon and earthy pine resin as well, and all of the flavours blend together wonderfully. Modest malt bill; some caramel sweetness, but it's hard to make out much else. Strong, fruity, lingering bitter aftertaste that coaxes you into another sip. Medium bodied, with moderate carbonation levels that make for a slightly crisp, but highly refreshing brew. Slightly oily, with the 7% alcohol quite well hidden even at colder temperatures.

Final Grade: 4.06, an A-. Headstock IPA isn't something I'd want to session, but I have a feeling I'll still be buying plenty of it (assuming I continue to see it on shelves). I have been very impressed with a lot of the OCB IPAs I've tried recently, and this is another one to add to the list. Highly recommended if you are a hophead, and easily the best concoction from this brewer - of the ones I've tried so far. Excellent value for the price.

[Updated Jun. 28 2014]

Another can, this one dated Jun 16 2014, so ridiculously fresh by LCBO standards. I'm bumping the score a bit - this is easily one of Ontario's best IPAs IMO. It's not balanced - the flavour is highly astringent, and I would not recommend it to anyone unaccustomed to bitter, hoppy beers. That being said - there is plenty of room in this style for unbalanced beers, and this is a highly palatable example that is always welcome in my glass.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.06/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz can packaged 5/4/15 at 42 degrees into snifter
From a trade with @SebD
Aroma of pine and tropical fruit, doesn’t last
Head small (Two cm, aggressive pour), off white, frothy, diminishing to two mm ring and partial frothy layer
Lacing excellent – complete rings of tiny to small bubbles
Body medium orange, hazy
Flavor more of tropical fruit than pine, not very bitter, mostly Mosaic hops coming through; no malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, slightly oily, soft carbonation

Appearance 4.25, Aroma 3.75, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4, Overall 4

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Photo of badandy
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark amber, white creamy head.

S: Primarily hops, but balanced with roasted malts. Melon, cantaloupe, deep citrus, pine.

T: Nice hit of bitterness upfront, consistent with an IPA. Followed immediately with a prominent pine flavour. Fresh and brilliantly complex. No raw hop flavour... would be nice if this was dry-hopped.

After the flavor dissipates, I'm left with a harsh bitterness that lingers. I think this could be rectified with some crystal malt or a higher mash temp. Perhaps I drank a little on the warm side for this beer.

M: Heavy; creamy.

Not a session beer, but a nice way to start the evening. Makes me crave smoked ribs and pulled pork.... time to schedule a trip south.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473ml can, nice spacey Woodstock-esque imagery on the label - I especially like the bugged-out appearing bird.

This beer pours a hazy, muddled dark bronzed amber colour (pale ale, my tuckus), with three fingers of roiling, foamy, raw cake-like eggshell white head, which leaves some nice chunky, broken cage lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs southward.

It smells of bitter citrus cream and pine oil, blended seamlessly with a weighty caramel toffee sweetness. The taste is more tart, bitter grapefruit rind, some softer tropical citrus fruit, not so soft pine resin, and a sturdy caramel pudding malt backbone, quite capable of weathering, and somewhat withering, the hop onslaught. Booze warming? Not so much.

The bubbles punch in, punch out, and put in their work day, with no complaints, the body a bit on the light side, which seems to work, and further feeds a snappy, good enough for now smoothness. It finishes leaning towards a grudging detente, the hops wilting just a tad, and malt digging in.

Well, I'll be, another well-rounded, big flavoured IPA from Ontario, and in a can, no less. Nice and hoppy, in a big-boy way, with a countering malt that states firmly: you're still in Canada, son. This is going camping with me this summer.

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Photo of Stocean1
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - deep amber colour like a dark apple cider, 1/2 finger well retained off white head leaving a lasting collar, some fine sticky patchy lacing

Bready malt, pine and citrus in the nose

Taste follows the nose, prickly resinous pine with grapefruit, plenty of malt but nicely balanced with the hops.

This brew is medium plus bodied with decent carbonation, it is bitter but perfect for the style, drinkable and refreshing if you like a mouthful of hops (I do), the abv is well hidden.

Reminds me of Great Lakes 666, definitely one of the best APAs in Ontario and if you have walked by it expecting it to be like the rest of the Nickel Brook shite, pick it up today. Keep an open mind and you will be pleasantly surprised. Hopefully this brewer has turned the corner and will start producing other quality brews.

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Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473ml Can from the LCBO for 2.65

Appearance - Slightly hazy copper colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is a below average amount of carbonation and there is some fair/good lacing. The head lasted for 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel, apricots, grapefruit, hops

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste hops, malts, and caramel. There is also a bit of an earthiness and some light fruit flavours such as apricots and grapefruit/oranges. The beer ends with a malty sweet aftertaste and a surprising amount of lingering hop bitterness.

Overall - Reminds me a bit of a smashbomb mixed with a Beau's IPeh. It's a welcome addition to the lacking hoppy beer scene in Ontario. I'd buy it again.

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Photo of liamt07
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can from the LCBO, 473ml into a tulip. Best before September 23, 2012.

Poured an unfiltered deep red, some shades of brown perhaps as well. Soapy offwhite head, good lacing and some chunky bits of head retain. Hops are strong in this one, completely evident once cracking the can. Citrusy and piney, with some sweet caramel and earthy like malt notes. A little gentler on the palate but still strong hops, slight spicy, citrusy, piney with a relatively bready and caramel malt flavour - fairly secondary to the hops still. A bit chewy, bitterness is fairly potent but diminishes quickly. Medium mouthfeel and medium low carbonation - a level which I tend to enjoy my IPAs best. Surprisingly good, a good addition to the IPA scene in Ontario. Brew this in small batches Nickel Brook, and keep this fresh on the shelves.

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Photo of staubot
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Frothy head that is unique and does not go away easy. A bit hazey.
Very unique, smells of apricot hops
Very sour (grapefruit) bitter taste and unique but a unfriendly long lasting heavy hops flavor in the end and after taste.

Taste is not to my liking but it is still a quality taste. That said however due to personal dislike of the taste style I can’t give full marks here.

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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 473ml 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!

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

Hazy appearance, burnt orange in colour. Moderately retentive beige head creates a patchy lace in the glass. White grapefruit, pine, and cedarwood aromatics. The flavour packs juicy grapefruit with leafy and herbal overtones underscored by toasted grain before you hit the lingering bitter finish. A minor fault I find with it is that it seems a little too sweet.

Medium bodied with low carbonation, mouthfeel is smooth and only slightly oily/resinous. Overall, I think this is a pretty solid hop fix that would reach the next level if it were more attenuated.

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Nickel Brook Headstock IPA from Better Bitters Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.