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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
85
very good

66 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 66
Hads: 190
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 10.08%
Wants: 6
Gots: 24 | 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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Reviews: 66 | Hads: 190
Photo of pokerman
2.38/5  rDev -36.9%
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. (279 characters)

Photo of mattsander
2.78/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Quite hazy mahogany in color, floaties, nice head. Not pale. Ugh

S: Bready malty toffee. Malt-centered. Some herbaly/minty hops, but not nearly enough to justify this malt.

T: Follows the nose, very sweet and creamy with a nice malt complexity. Unfortunately this is an IPA and there just isn't nearly enough hop character.

M: Creamy as expected, plenty of malt. (368 characters)

Photo of dipso123
2.81/5  rDev -25.5%
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. (577 characters)

Photo of TerryW
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hazy red under a moderate head that settles to a heavy film and gives spotty lace.

Nose is hops and a hint of alcohol. Sweet on the palate to start, finishes with lingering bitterness. Grapefruit hops and alcohol to taste, not a lot else. Kind of one dimensional as IPAs go. Drinkable, but unremarkable. (304 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.13/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at Bar Volo, IPA day. Neutral aroa, malting A lacey beer with a reddish tinged body. Above average carboantion and lighter than average outhfeel. Some bitternes, not all that tasty, the bitter flavour more in the finish and chalky on first sips, as filler.So-so drinkability. (290 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours murky orange with some flocculated yeast chunks floating around. The head is patchy and shortlived, not much foam clings to the glass. Some light tropical fruit and citrus notes in the nose. Piney hops are upfront in the first sip, followed quickly by an astringent character, almost metallic. Its not overbearing but it does detract a bit from the hops. The malt profile is diminutive and simple, just some sweetness. Alcohol spicyness is present in the finish, as well as some bitterness and that same astringency.

An OK IPA, but some flavor imperfections. I'd try it on tap for sure. Its definitely hop forward. (621 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fresh bottle from the brewery poured in to Founders tulip.

A - Medium to dark amber colour with an orange glow around the edges and one finger of cream coloured head. Some sediment.

S - Some citrus and big herbal notes from the hops with a big bitterness present up front. The background adds some sweet caramel.

T - Sharp bitterness up front with herbal and earthy hop notes and some light floral notes. A slightly sweet malt base provides a some balance.

M - Medium body, somewhat creamy. Light to moderate carbonation. A dry finish. (542 characters)

Photo of mmapes
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Chris for the tallboy can in trade. Poured slightly chilled (but not quite refrigerator cold) into a 6 oz glass. Pours dark orange-brown. Dark for an IPA. Not a huge head, but some fizzy foam. My nose wasn't working well so no notes on the aroma, unfortunately.

Very hoppy up front. Almost one-note hop flavor. Long nicely bitter finish that gets more complex and softer as it finishes. Finish has maybe just a hint of the sweeter side of malty like shortbread.

Later sips are not nearly so hop-dominant. Much better after a few sips. (547 characters)

Photo of IdeaSpeeder
3.41/5  rDev -9.5%
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. (680 characters)

Photo of Mit
3.41/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy red amber colour with a nice but short lived head.

Smells very citrusy with the hops.... A nice malty finish to the nose.

Hops somewhat subdued in favor of the malts. Bitter crisp finish.

Mouthfeel is probably thinner than I would have wanted from a beer north of 5%.

Overall this is a great addition to the craft beer scene in Ontario. Def needs some tweeking to have it rival the other beers in its category (hop head red...nugget nectar) I'm confidant that Nickelbrook has that in them though. (516 characters)

Photo of HATS4BATS
3.42/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (385 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice murky dark amber colour, with a beige two finger of head dissipating to some webby lacing. There's a bit more sweet caramel malts in the aroma than hops, but there are some pine, citrus and floral hops notes. The taste has a nice mellow, but assertive bitterness, with some floral and citrus hop notes with touches of pine. The feel was smooth and slick, with a medium body.

Pretty good and solid IPA! (408 characters)

Photo of Beccy
3.47/5  rDev -8%
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. (432 characters)

Photo of Digimaika2
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Tangerine amber with a bubbly semi-creamy foam head. Clinging lace down the glass with a solid and commendable retention.

S: Grapefruit, passion fruit, toffee, nutty elements, and a noticeable damp woody/earthy aroma. Quite enticing.

T: Wasn't expecting the malt-forward direction of this with a toffee and baked bread taste. Tart citrus is present along with a walnut taste, however, the earthy-woody quality isn't quite what the aroma advertised. Bitter and semi-dry. Tasty.

M: Full bodied with a moderate carbonation. Incredibly oily and viscous, but although I normally enjoy those qualities I feel the taste profile isn't bold enough to match the full bodied quality of this.

D: A decent enough American IPA that I'm happy to see in the Ontario market. After a bit of fine tuning this could be quite the gem. (823 characters)

Photo of CanuckRover
3.49/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours really dark, orange but with a serious reddish tint. Big beige head and nice sticky lacings to the finish.

Really don't get too much on the nose. Vaguely fruity but... not as aromatic as I'd like.

Hops are bright citrus right up front, but don't blink or you'll miss them. Pine bitterness hangs around, but the flavour profile switches to darker malts, burnt caramel.

A malt-heavy offering, firmly in the Canadian IPA category. (439 characters)

Photo of ism
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of several brews we picked up while staying in Ontario. This one obtained from LCBO, in a 473mL can, poured into pint glasses obtained on the Steam Whistle tour. We couldn't resist a local beer that calls itself an "American Style IPA" and follows the American West Coast trend of proclaiming its IBU prominently (80). Challenge accepted!

Pours a cloudy copper with a ruby tint, one-finger white head, with average lacing. Retention is average, eventually becoming a thin white layer. There is grapefruit peel in the nose, accompanied by a bit of floral pine and a hint of earthiness. Hits the tongue with enough carbonation to be noticeable, and the medium body has a good feel. Hops are assertive, on the piney resin side of the hop coin, an earthiness complimenting the malt. Relatively short finish, with more resin and just a hint of grapefruit citrus.

Pretty interesting interpretation of the style, opting for pine and earth as opposed to citrus. Quite quaffable, and one of the better brews we've had on this trip. (1,028 characters)

Photo of papat444
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Chad for this one.

Poured from a 473ml. can, Exp Nov 17 12.

Appearance: Pours a quasi orange body with a thick ecru head that clings all around.

Smell: Pine, grapefruit rinds, some caramel sweetness and tangerines as well.

Taste: Sweet pine & mango mixed with grapefruit. Flavor is a bit tame but good.

Mouthfeel: I like the malt sweetness blending with the low bitterness. Has a thick, creamy feel.

Overall: A decent IPA that has some good things going for it. (477 characters)

Photo of ludachris
3.58/5  rDev -5%
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. (2,383 characters)

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

Deep amber/copper colour, almost 2 fingers tan/off white head, some lace. Pine and citrus upfront on the nose, lightly biscuity malt profile, grapefruit and tangerine there as well, light alcohol notes come and go. Taste is of floral hops and lightly sweet, big maltyness comes through, nice bitterness throughout, pine with some citrus in the aftertaste, buttery at points. Lightly oily, medium carbonation, light to medium weight. Not bad altogether but could use some work to be top notch, still pretty enjoyable though. (523 characters)

Photo of FondueVoodoo
3.61/5  rDev -4.2%
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. (1,074 characters)

Photo of korguy123
3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can into pint glass.

A- Hazy dark copper pour with a two finger off white head. Lacing is excellent.

S- Bright floral hops, bitter citrus with a sweetness of strawberries and caramel from the malts.

T- Bitter pine and citrus with a heavy dose of malt and toffee.

M- Light to medium, slightly creamy, good carbonation.

O- Solid for an Ontario IPA will carry stock in the fridge when I can. (393 characters)

Photo of drinkininthewood
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
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. (1,129 characters)

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from a can picked up at the Lower Jarvis LCBO. Digging the Woodstock poster motif for some reason. For some reason I always associate American IPAs with the colour orange, so the colour just felt right.

Poured into a nonic. Deep amber ruby, slight haze, about an inch of head that levelled off into a fine ring.

Nose is light, but all IPA. Citrus, caramel, peach, a bit of lemon, pale malt.

Decent IPA, with notes of pine, earth, citrus and caramel. Tasty, drinkable ale, though a little bit sweet for my personal preferences. Still, enjoyable.

Mild carbonation, medium bodied, slight oil.

Another enjoyable IPA from Ontario, and part of a string of good brews from Nickel Brook. Worth a try if you see it on Ontario shelves - nice IPA in a can for the summer. (774 characters)

Photo of ChrisCage
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a dark copper toned color that is hazy. The head is superb at first, eventually settling down to a thick-ish layer over the brew. The lacing is excellent as well, leaving behind thick soapy foam. An excellent looking brew~

S- This is definitely an IPA! There is a solid balance between malt sweetness and hop bitterness. There is some molasses toffee noticed upfront followed by dry and strong bittering hops.

T- The flavor is very much like the aromas, but the booze is more noticable. The bitterness is right in your face at first then mellows out to become more malty. The aftertaste is a combination of molasses and hop cones.

M- This has a medium mouthfeel, and the carbonation is actaully quite fine, allowing me to take in the buttery creaminess of this one very well. I find this to be a good combination of toffee molasses and hop bitterness on the palate!

O- I can't say this is my favorite style but I think it's very respectable for an IPA. Well balanced flavors and a full creamy body, this one really does the trick if you're a hophead! I couldn't handle more than one can in a sitting but I do recommend this is you are a fan of the style! (1,167 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can: Poured a deep orangey color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of earthy and bitter hops is dominating. Taste is a good mix between some earthy hops with a medium bitter finish. Caramel malt backbone provides a nice balance to the hops with some light residual sugar. Body is quite full with good carbonation. A bit too sweet for my taste but still enjoyable nonetheless. (412 characters)

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Nickel Brook Headstock IPA from Better Bitters Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 66 ratings.