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
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 66
Hads: 185
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 10.08%
Wants: 6
Gots: 23 | 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: 185
Photo of leaddog
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a dark copper amber with two fingers of creamy bubbly white head.

Smell- Piney, earthy hops, citrus, grapefruit, other tropical fruits, caramalts.

Taste- Piney, earthy hops upfront with the citrus, grapefruit and caramalts. The caramalts play a nice role to balance this brew out.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. A tad creamy. Finishes with a pleasant bitterness.

Overall- An enjoyable American IPA by Nickelbrook. The ABV in this one is pretty hidden. This brew is respectable amongst the other American IPA's I have had. Its nice to see more Ontario made beers here in the Alberta market. (632 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 DenisKolkin
3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
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. (1,069 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 beerluvr
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
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. (799 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 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 DaveBar
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
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! (552 characters)

Photo of JamesMN
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
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... (645 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 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 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 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 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 mintjellie
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (561 characters)

Photo of WeedKing4
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at the LCBO. Went in with low expectations and I was pleasently suprised. Pours a hazy, dark golden orange. This is a very balanced IPA. It has pine and slight grapefruit with some sweetness going with the malt backbone finish. I kept waiting for this to show it was just average with each sip, but it never did. This is actually quite good. I'm going to have to grab one more can to see if it was a fluke. If not, I am going to enjoy having some more of these with the lack of options we have in Ontario.

Picked this up a second time, and its still a quality ipa considering its from Ontario. Not to bad overall. (629 characters)

Photo of bryehn
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, rusty amber colour with a medium-sized tan coloured head that is retained as a frothy collar. Very little lacing and some chunky white sediment.

Thick, syrupy aroma with citrus and berry tones in the forefront. Very sturdy caramel malt base with a pine accent and a spicy note.

The taste is similar, with bright citrus and berry tones taking the lead and backed by toasty, bready malts with a hint of caramel. Nice balance of sweetness at the beginning and a solid bitterness in the finish.

Full-bodied with a relatively mild carbonation. Very creamy on the tongue with a nice, lingering oily sensation. Very drinkable with almost no hint of ABV%. Lemon zest, pine and a peppery spice in the aftertaste.

Wasn’t a fan of any Nickel Brook beers until now. This is a very solid and competitively-priced entry in the increasingly crowded Ontario IPA scene that I’ll be sure to try again. (905 characters)

Photo of Stocean1
4/5  rDev +6.1%
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. (813 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 decimator
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473ml can poured into a pint glass. ABV 7%.

A - Poured a hazy golden orange with a thick froathy head. Head slowly reduces to bubbles and decent lacing.

S - Hops upfront with notes of orange peel, grapefruit, mango and a hint of pine. Caramel malts in the background.

T - Caramel, grains, citrus, tobacco, bitter finish

M - Average carbonation, medium-heavy body, slick, creamy, rustic, lasting aftertaste.

O - The taste is a bit one dimensional but the aroma and mouthfeel help round out this good IPA. (508 characters)

Photo of kevinlater
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
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! (774 characters)

Photo of MAB
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
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. (501 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 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 ssmack
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (362 characters)

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