Believer - Ninkasi Brewing Company

Not Rated.
BelieverBeliever

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BA SCORE
86
very good

479 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 479
Reviews: 181
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 10.79%
Wants: 16
Gots: 45 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  6.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Cascadia on 06-23-2007

An Imperial American Red Ale.

Ninkasi website:
"6.9 % alc./vol. 60ibus. Always available in 22 oz bottles, and on draft."
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 479 | Reviews: 181
Reviews by Bricelyn:
More User Reviews:
Photo of NWer
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber from a seasonal four pack. Very rewarding purchase given I might not have tried this beer if it wasn't included as one of the four. Another fine beer from Ninkasi. Pours dark red. Nice head retention.
Very hoppy for a red ale. Great citrus aftertaste kept me going back for more. Pleasant and very drinkable.
Not an IPA but trying to masquerade as one.

Photo of ohmybock
2.53/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Well, the bottle states this brew has a "rich dark malt complexity" among other things. I'd certainly have to agree after tasting it. Unfortunately, I don't care for that rich dark malt complexity at all in this red ale. For my tastes, that dark, bitter, harsh, roasted character doesn't work for me at all here. I like my red ales "red", but without an overpowering harsh chocolate/roasted character. I did like the hop character which is mingled in with the other flavors. I also liked the color and clarity of this brew. There could have been more head, but that's not a big deal. Overall, this brew just didn't work for me. Oh well, that's why they make lots of different brews, right? Everybody has different likes and dislikes.

Photo of mj001jk
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark red amber with a hazel-colored foam. A thin lacing remains for a while in the glass.

Earthy hops and nutty aromas with caramel and roasted marshmallow accents. A little bit of alcohol bite on the nose but it adds character and lets you know what to expect.

Earthy wood and subtly roasted malt flavors with a fig-like character and pronounced bitterness at the end. The flavors linger and fade out nicely a minute or so later.

I really like this sort of a red ale, dark and brooding - yet fresh and balanced.

Photo of chinchill
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

22 oz shared bottle.
Nice clear red-amber color.
Rather ordinary aroma but a very rich flavor with enough hop balance to leave a mildly bitter finish.

Photo of biboergosum
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle. Believers? I believe I'll have another beer, I do.

This beer pours a mostly clear, dark red-brick amber hue, with one fat finger of puffy, bubbly and generally frothy tan head, which leaves a thick band of snow rime lace around the glass as it evenly sinks away.

It smells softly of semi-sweet biscuity and bready caramel malt, a small, sort of sour dark orchard fruitiness, and leafy, weedy, and weakly piney hops. The taste is more pastry-like grainy caramel malt, biscuity toffee, bruised apples and pears, overripe orange and lemon rind, tart maraschino cherry, and a further tame earthy, floral, and perfumed hop bitterness.

The bubbles are average in their fizzy demeanor, and mostly just fulfilling their contractual support role, the body a bit on the light side of medium weight for the style, and perhaps a touch too strident in its edgy 'smoothness'. It finishes off-dry, that biscuity caramel malt sweetness persisting, alongside some mumbling and bumbling mixed hop bitters.

A bit too metallic and tight seeming overall, even if the underlying flavours have got it all going on - given that the ABV is a bit on the low side for anything deemed 'double' or 'imperial', that should not be a problem. Anyways, drinkable enough, I suppose, once that craft brewer awareness cognitive dissonance kicks in.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a bright, clear ruby red with a slight orange tinge. Off-white, 2 finger head. Good retention. Solid lace presence with good stick.

Smell - Primarily a sweet, bready malt aroma with hints of caramel, citrus and a peppery spice.

Taste - Bread and faint caramel malts to start, then a slightly peppery bite with orange citrus hops become prevalent mid-taste and last into the finish. Aftertaste rings with a slight metallic character, which is common in a lot of reds.

Mouthfeel - Medium body with fair, tingly carbonation, but little bite. Finishes with a good amount of dryness.

Overall - Not sure what makes this a double or imperial red, as the label claims. Tastes like your average craft red to me, along the lines of Red Tail Ale or Alleycat Amber. Good balance, but kinda boring.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apparently the Sumerians praised the goddess Ninkasi for the miracle of fermentation. It is indeed a wonderful process, and I do hope this beer is worthy of worship. I also love that I can pretend this beer is named after the great metal band Believer...to the pour...

Thin and creamy light-tan head leaves strings and dots of lace all around the glass, while the color is a rusted reddish-brown.

Aroma gives equal time to malt, hops and something akin to a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. Quite toasty, even reminding of fried dough. I recently had a beer that tried to emulate the flavor of a chocolate donut and it sucked. This, however, reminds me of a fresh-basked donut.

Flavor fills the mouth with a familiar NW hops layer that doesn't quit. It's nice, although a bit too grassy, without the balance I'd expect the malt to provide. Grassy astringency hangs out in the finish, brash and unceasing. Feels like it'll coat the inside of my mouth forever. Brief flashes of sugary spices peek through, but there's really no getting through the rough and raw hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is nicely soft, just enough carbonation to feel it but it's more about buttery lightness, which helps the bitter flavor ride through even stronger.

An enjoyable slice of the Pacific northwest, Believer takes me back to my Oregon visit last year. Has the signature rawness that I found in various brewpubs out there (New Old Lompoc, Lucky Labrador, and Amnesia, among others). Unfortunately the flavor seems to lack balance. I love hop-bombs, but this isn't even that. It's just not well balanced. More malt, please!

[Thanks to msubulldog25 for this bottle. Go Cubs!]

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky reddish brown with a small light tan head that does not retain very well, and leaves mediocre lacing.

Nose smells pretty good, bready biscuity caramelish malt, and some PNW hop presence, although that aspect seems like it may get overpowered.

Taste follows with nice sugary malt profile and some decent hop bitterness. I wish the hops were a little more prominent, but there is a good bitterness to it. The finish is half dry and bready malt lingers on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is a little bit dense, especially for the abv. Carbonation is ideal though.

Drinkability is ok for the abv, but nothing special. One bomber will be enough.

Overall this is a good representation of the style, but fairly boring and run of the mill. A little more hop presence would be nice, but it would also forego the style guidelines. That being said, i couldn't give a shit less if it makes the beer taste better, do it. A nice beer, and one i enjoyed, but i don't see myself buying it again any time soon, just becuase its a little boring. A nice beer.

Photo of dirtylou
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber, paired with a pork tenderloin and wild mushroom tart. on-sale at the ballard market for $3.49

from notes

appearance: served in a cubs shaker pint, dark amber body, light tan head

smell: nutty, caramel and toffee, piney hops, citrus

taste: doesnt really reach the level of the advertised "double" but its a nice red ale with adequate hopping but not stinging bitterness - pine is the most resonating flavor, with toffee notes, bready, caramel, apple, citrus rind. seems like most of ninkasi's offerings are good, but not great. the price point is nice though

mouthfeel: medium, slightly sticky

overall: pretty good - not really a repeat purchase though

Photo of cjgator3
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Pours a dark brown color with dark reddish hues with a thin light tan head that creates a ring of lacing around the glass. The aroma is piney hops along with sweet malt and caramel. The taste starts out with sweet toasted malt, but is quickly accompanied by a good dose of leafy hops that lingers well after the end of the sip. Overall, Ninkasi Believer Double Red Ale is a really nice and hoppy PacNW brew that is recommended.

Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber. Smooth caramel malt followed by a satisfying citrus bitterness. I would have liked more character from the malt, but that's just me. It certainly fits the average red ale malt profile and despite the "double" name, it's quite drinkable. The hops have a mild, fruity pineapple taste up front followed by a biting orange rind kick that pairs nicely with the bready caramel. A cool beer, check this out.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a wide flute glass. Deep red color with a great inch of thick white head.

Smells of rich malt, lots of it and only that.

Initially watery, then malty with a hop kick at the end.

Smooth and a little creamy. Low carbonation and medium bodied. A good mix.

Great drinking beer. Nice malty smell and taste plus it is actually red.

Photo of kdoc8
4.19/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

You can get this almost anywhere in Eugene. I absolutely love this beer, though I am often alone in my hops-loving group of beer advocates. I find it to be very drinkable and a nice mild beer that's not overwhelming...not too much of a commitment to drink. It's great in all seasons. Just an all around great beer. It pours out with a nice brownish-white head and a dark amber/caramel color. There isn't much of a smell to it. I really enjoy the taste. There are some good blends of malt that completely cover that nearly 7% of alcohol floating around in there. Definitely some good caramel malts going on. It's very refreshing and all around a good beer.

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was tasted at a local tasting a while back. I just got around to typing up my notes.

Pours a golden brown with a respectable head.

Smells like sweet malt and nice hops. Great balance.

Nice sweetness at the front and a good hoppy finish. Great balance.

A bit light, but with nice carbonation.

This is greatly drinkable with a good finish.

Photo of russpowell
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up from bottletrek

Pours orange/chestnut one finger of tan head. some floaties in the bottom of the bottle. Good head retention & above average lacing

S: Cakey, but not much else

T: Toasty malt, herbal & leafy hops & a touch of roasted malt up front. As this warms the flavor oscillates from cocoa to charred grain & back with lots of leafy hops & a touch of fruittyness (figs & pears), plus a bot of brown sugar. finishes dry with some caramel & more leafy hops, almost pulled a 4.0

MF: Light/medium bodied with light, but persistent carbonation; fairly good balance

Fairly drinkable for the abv, but really lacks the malt guts to really suck me in. A nice winter warmer from a pretty good brewery

Photo of Kegatron
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ the Ninkasi Brewing Company (Eugene, OR) on 9/2/11. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a crystal clear ruby in the glass, with a thin layer of bright-white head. This maintains some foamy edges, leaving back a cascade of spotty lacing that sticks a bit to the sides of the glass. The aroma smells leafy and touch dank, which sits on top of a big tangy punch of sweet caramel malt and green citrus with some roasty feeling edges to it. Alcohol is coming out here in the nose a bit, giving this maybe a bit too much of a warm stickiness in the nostrils.

The taste has a firm grapefruit bitterness up front, balanced by a LOT of sticky caramel sweetness before heading into more of a roasted feeling backend. Hops finish this fairly strong though, with green citrus, pine, and dry spice hanging tough. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a solid crispness that spreads out. There is a touch of underlying heft to the feel but the alcohol overall feels pretty right on for the flavors, giving this a warming presence but not coming off as too big.

This was a pretty solid Double Red Ale here, with a fairly well balanced profile (although the malts did threaten to overrun things at bit at certain points) and just the right amount of alcohol being present so as not to turn this into an overly sticky and boozy mess. I enjoyed this and will probably seek this out in the bottle at some point to try again.

Photo of BeerZack
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle says 6.9% abv.
Deep mahogany color, big frothy light brown head.

Lots of sweet caramel and roasted barley smells. Spicy woodsy hops there also.

Mouthfeel is very soft and smooth on this medium-heavy brew.

Taste is sweet and toasty caramalts and roasted barley thats balanced by spicy herbal/woody hops with a hint of citrus peel.

Very drinkable.

Photo of HalfFull
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From a 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass, the Believer pours a hazy copper/mahogany in color and showing a half inch of off white foam. Retention is somewhat brief yet keeping a surface cap and offers some moderate lacing.

Nose is of many a Northwest IPA with an excess for me of off caramel and a subdued hop notes, though there's no indication of age on this bottle. Nose does open up a bit with some air however. Bit more roasted malts come forward in flavor and with a notable bitterness. Malt flavors are pleasant but don't add much depth to the flavor of this pour. Nice but unexciting, the brew improves with warming and offers a decent feel but the drink is held in check by a lackluster delivery and a rather chalky finish.

Photo of souvenirs
3.34/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

650ml from a combo park of four different beers from Ninkasi.

A: Chestnut brown and clear, with about one finger of tan head.
S: Grapefruit, melon, a bit of nuttiness and caramel.
T: Mostly bitter, especially the aftertaste, to the extent that it's unpleasant. This bitterness lingers in my mouth for a long time.

It smelled so good! The taste was a disappointment. I definitely will not get this beer again.

Photo of beerthulhu
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark cherry-ruby that allowed little light and visibility thru the glass. The head proved to be stubborn despite its small statue of 1 finger and stuck around lasting for a few solid minutes. The head was frothy, beige in color while leaving a nice sticky ring lacing. Underneath its deep coloring and haze lied a initially strong carbonation factor that quickly settled to a whimper.

S: The nose reeked of sticky pine and grapefruit of medium-strong proportions. A dry toasted sweetness, perhaps munich, adds a nice malt dry touch to the affair.

T: The flavor starts off with a sweet offering of toasted dry munich malt. The hopping is strong and lively with wet dripping pine juice with a flowery citrus bite. Dry grapefruit with a pollen-like coating soon graces the tongue upon the swallow. I really liked the balance and equal show of malts and hops here and could hardly decide or contemplate as to which I enjoyed more. Both were married into a solid example per style.

M: The mouthful had a nice full maltiness, creamy, all the while being equal parts smooth. Some sticky pine hop resin lingers about on the tongue giving some stickage after the swallow.

D: Although listed at only 6.9% abv it felt like it drank a lot bigger. A big drinking red experience that was rich in malts balanced nicely with a dry American citrusy flowery hop presence making for a classic example that should not be missed. Nice drinkability, very likable per style with a bomber satisfying your American red needs. High repeat purchase appeal.

Photo of Docer
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a bomber at QFC as I sent my other one to the review below ;-) Poured lightly into a tumbler glass.

- Dark and rich ruby red and brown ale color.. very thick, looks rich... and nicely cloudy. Not much head as I poured at a 45 deg. Very light lacing all around.

- Sweet caramel malt scent.. slightly bitter notes... but just smells drinkable. Maybe only a bittering hop present.. hard to tell.

- Roasted caramel... grain.. earthy.. and rather light really. Expected a bit more of a robust roasted and hop presence. Slightly bitter... but devilishly smooth.

- Not too dry, slightly chewy.. bit of a bitter afternote.. belch tastes good.. some roasted chocolate and caramel character there.

- Very drinkable.. would love to see what this would be like out of the cask or keg. Smooth..

I have noticed a bit of inconsistency with their bombers... 1 Tricerahops i had was like a hopslam.. then the next was like a mild Two-hearted... I wonder if the same holds true to this one. I just hope the Tricerahops I sent out was as good as the one I drank right before it. Overall this isn't bad.. but in order to compete.. it needs to be better. This is almost like a brown ale to me.

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

Dark red with a two finger off white head. Plentiful lacings. Aroma is earthy hops and caramel. Taste is big bitter orange grapefruit hops balanced by a large amount of sweet maltiness. The mouthfeel is good with ample carbonation. Nice dry bitter sweet finish. A very big amber and quite pleasant overall. Website lists IBUs as 60 and it sounds about right.

Photo of Sorgasm
4.72/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

appearance - nice deep red with a modest cream colored head.

smell - nice balance of malt and hops; jamie's trademark.

taste - sweet caramel malt profile with a bright cascade hop finish.

mouthfeel - smooth, fitting of the style.

drinkability - oh yeah, pour me another one!

one of jamie's finer concoctions. this beer will make you a believer..

Photo of EgadBananas
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, almost blood red, with a ran finger of frothy head. Nice lace. Caramel and nutty malts comprise the nose, with some herbal, grassy, almost minty hops. Nice caramel taste, nutty malts, spicy hops with a clean bitter finish. Bit of a rich body, medium, light carbonation.

A pretty solid red, nicely drinkable.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 picked up at Belmont Station on Friday night.. poured into my Chimay goblet....

Slightly aggressive pour.. 2" head.. took forever to die back... beautiful lacing.. the brew is a deep red caramel.. deep ruby when held to a lamp.

earthy hoppiness is the main player in the nostrils.. some citric hops are drowned out by toasty malts.. caramel is there too.. but the toasted malts play 1st violin.

flavor begins with an approachable bitterness.. not overdone.. caramel malts with nutty lite cocoa .. fruity/earthy hops.. some cherry??.. finish is sorta minerally/drying with a little caramel essence and grassy hoppiness. medium body and carbonation.. nothing too special in the mouthfeel..

pretty good amber ale... pretty damn good.. maybe verging a little too much on the dark side of things.. but still very drinkable and very fresh tasting... really pretty unique... I don't ever remember having a brew exactly like this.

4.5/4/4.5/3.5/4

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Believer from Ninkasi Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 479 ratings.