Critical Hit - Ninkasi Brewing Company
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Ratings: 55 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Bfarr:
2.45/5 rDev -32.9%
Clear, dark copper and thin tan head with good retention. Caramel sweetness and floral hop aroma. Hop bitterness up front with citrus and floral with caramel and a subtle chocolate in the middle. Long hop linger. Slick, sticky feel.
This seems to be a basic but very over-hopped Barleywine that must have been hopped 6 ways from Sunday to be this hoppy after 2 years. There’s no good combination of flavor and the hop bitterness just overpowers any flavor in it. Maybe this will be better in another year or 7 and definitely needs more of a complex malt combination because otherwise it seems more like an Imperial IPA. This is way too expensive and a poor beer as well. Just goes to show, throw a cool label with a serial number on it and some wax on the top and suckers will shell out $13 for a crappy beer.
07-12-2012 23:41:37 | More by Bfarr
More User Reviews:
3.63/5 rDev -0.5%
A- Very pretty dark amber with a two finger head. Beautiful lacing.
S- Caramel and orange zest with some hop aromatics.
T- Some honeyed citrus flavor, unfortunately a touch medicinal, and loads and loads of hops. Searingly bitter.
M- Soft with medium carbonation and a medium body. Lingering hoppy aftertaste.
O- An aggressively hopped, well intentioned American Barleywine which is really more like a Triple IPA. I like this brewery and like to support them, but drinking this makes one wonder why I'm not just enjoying a Bigfoot or Old Guardian as they pull this style off a bit better. I do love the name and label.
07-13-2012 00:49:25 | More by Aml42000
3.4/5 rDev -6.8%
650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 bottle.
Appearance - Deep orange. Small white head. Retains well.
Smell - Citrus hop. Grapefruit. Slight oxidation. Sweet caramel malt. Smells like a standard barleywine.
Taste - More of a balance to the hops and malt. Grapefruit. Sweet caramel. Oxidation. Bitter.
Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Medium carbonation. Tastes like it's getting old.
Overall - Generic, but it's tasty.
10-04-2013 23:50:31 | More by Alieniloquium
3.55/5 rDev -2.7%
- A rather clear amber colored pour. About a finger of off-white foamy head which has settled to a big bubbly spotty mess in the glass. Not bad looking at all, but not what I really expected. I am used to more cloudy, darker barleywines.
- Sweet caramel grain notes which seems to be rather tucked away in the brew. Certainly some strong alcohol and rubbing alcohol aromas. There is a nice fruity and citrus-like hop presence as well. Seems hot and fresh.
- Sweet malts, bready caramel and quite biscuity. Bitter grassy hops with an earthy flare. The alcohol presence is quite noticeable and hot.. but the flavor isn't quite rubbing alcohol.. though close. It does have a character of its own which is hard to describe. Overall hot, and needs to sit.
Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- Nice medium to full body and is a little creamy and well carbonated. It's explosive bitterness really dries the tongue, but the sweetness lends a lasting chewy character. Overall quite a decent feel to it.
- Not bad.. and in usual Ninkasi tradition, this puppy is bitter! Lots of early boil hops going on here. It's a bit strong, and could certainly use some time in a cold cellar. Though I don't feel this barleywine would get any better, it just may calm down the alcohol notes a bit. Certainly a good attempt though.
01-07-2012 01:18:43 | More by Docer
3.51/5 rDev -3.8%
New Review "2011 Reserve bottle #239/6200 " so says the label.. Poured into my HotD goblet. decent off white head... nice lacing and cap atop a clear light copper brew.
Nose is very hoppy... a nice balance of toasty maltiness... Pretty good PNW nose... Much better integrated than my last review.
Flavor is very well meshed between the toasty/light caramel malts and the hoppy bitterness and hoppy flavors... Hops show as more pithy citrus notes but a subtle piney hoppiness also raises its head.
Body is a solid medium with a light/medium carbonation... mouthfeel is definitely PNW with a residual hoppy oiliness..
Pretty well done... I had a 2013 Bigfoot last night, and I think Critical Hit certainly holds it own.
22 picked up at the COOP .... bottle # 2729/5000 ... Paid a pricey $12ish... Poured into my little Cigar City snifter.... short lasting head, but it still provides nice sheets of lacing but a pretty thin cap... the brew is a fairly clear orange/lite amber.
nose seems to be a bit all over the place... aromatic citrus hoppiness with a good floral overtone... toasty maltiness with some minor caramel... pretty boozy.... a bit of something that I identify as "apricot" ..
Flavor is pretty thin... toasty pale malt sweetness with a bruising bitterness that really begins mid palate and doesn't let up until about :20 after the swallow... hops are more nondescript than the nose, I still get mild citrus, but an ever so slight piney quality edges it out.. long finish, bitter and mildly sweet... EtOH is swinging a large path...
the sweetness is there, but it doesn't jive at all with the body... the body is light/medium (especially for the style).. I think the booze is cutting through this one pretty readily... I hesitate to say fusel alcohols, but it is damn hot right now.
I have a bottle for the cellar and a couple more on hold at a bottle shop until I can make it across town.... but honestly, I doubt I will open another one of these for a couple years... That said, I don't believe this is going to get much better. Time in the bottle is going to do nothing for the body and the lack of flavor... Decent first release for an American Barleywine, but it needs to be dialed in significantly with more body and flavor.
I really wanted to like this one more.... Ninkasi is doing cool work for sure, but I am curious how this one crept through the cracks.... I would have kegged it all and let the draft lines flow.
01-18-2012 06:57:57 | More by JohnGalt1
3.83/5 rDev +4.9%
2010 properly cellared bottle poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours a reddish coppery amber with a thin off-white head that dissipates to a thin persistent film and lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, sweet dark fruit and a hint of citrus. Flavor of mellow caramel malt, dried dark fruit, alcohol and grassy hops. Finish is somewhat abrupt, but leaves a long lasting grassy, earthy hop bite. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. Initial flavors are well balance, but subdued; the finish is hot and hoppy. A decent barley wine that could use a bit more balance between the malt/fruit components and the finishing hops and alcohol heat. I'm glad I cellared this for a couple of years, I think the hops would have been overwhelming in the fresh bottle. I will cellar another bottle for a bit longer, I think it will stand up to more aging nicely and may bring better balance.
03-07-2013 03:54:09 | More by LiquidAmber
3.43/5 rDev -6%
Part of a four way blind barleywine taste test.
Pours orange-tan color. Pretty murky.
Smell is a bit mild, somewhat malty.
Taste was bitter, a bit boozy, but good balance between malt and hops. Fruity and spicy, and a good bitter kick.
Very drinkable considering abv.
Decent, but nothing over the top. Probably not worth the money though. Better than Dick's, but not as good as Green Flash or Full Sail.
07-15-2013 04:21:05 | More by Smurf2055
3.93/5 rDev +7.7%
(Shortened) Pours a nice and solid one finger head into my standard pint glass. The head is mostly medium bubbles, but a decent amount of small bubbles as well. The head is just a hair off white, slightly tan, with some yellow in it. Not very creamy looking. Not really any other descriptive characteristics to it other than "average", it's not too soapy, nor pillowy, just average. The lacing looks like it will be good, but we will have to see for sure as I get down the glass. Head retention is pretty decent, I still have about a quarter finger of head left. Overall not a bad looking head, somewhat average as far as bubbles go, but pretty nice none the less. The body is pretty damn cloudy. I know this has 100+ IBU's, so I'm expecting it to have a lot of IPA characteristics, the appearance for sure does. It's very cloudy, the visibility is almost zero through the beer. The color is a dark orange, almost like a maple color. Hints of gold and brown in the color as well. From what I can see the carbonation looks pretty low. Overall it's a slightly different looking beer, but heck it's a 100+ IBU barleywine, that's not normal either. We will see how the lacing turns out, but overall it's a good looking beer so far. Well it for sure smells like a barleywine. On the nose you get a huge fruity smell to start things off, mangos, pears, apples. For sure a lighter fruit smell, pretty nice actually, it compliments the beer nicely. There is for sure a alcohol presence on the nose, but it is somewhat covered up by a big sweetness that is present as well. That's not necessarily a good thing because overly sweet beers are annoying too, but it is better than having a beer that tastes so boozy you can barely put it down your throat. Honestly I'm really not getting that big hop smell that I should be getting with a 100+ IBU beer. I don't really care that much, because the beer still smells good, it's just a little annoying because that was a big part to Ninkasi's marketing of this beer. I mean there are a little but of hops, but they are extremely covered up by the smell of fruit, alcohol and sweetness. A little small maltyness as well, but again it's immensely covered up. Overall it's a good smelling beer, I really enjoy the fruit complexity and the overall complexity of the beer. It's really not an unusual smell for a barleywine either, the lack of hops and malts, but there should be more considering the marketing. Anyways, overall a good smelling beer, if I was a bigger fan of barleywines it might get a 4.5. Well I am going to be in for a long night with this beer, HOLY CRAP! 11.7% ABV?!?!?! This beer tastes like 6% or 7% ABV, this is insane. I mean the alcohol presence is just way below what it should be, A+ there. I mean yo can taste the alcohol, there is a little in the taste, and a little more in the aftertaste, but crap it's low all considering. As for the rest of the taste, FRUIT. I get a whole lot of fruit here, honestly it tastes more like cider than beer. Mangos, peaches, apples, pears, a lot of light fruit here. Pretty big sweetness to go along with that, but not a gross sweetness at all. I mean the hops in this beer is just excruciatingly small, I mean this tastes like an amber level of hops to me. Like I said, not a problem really, but they marketed it incorrectly. Tiny malt flavor, but like the hops, extremely covered up by the other flavors. Really it's just mostly all fruit, followed by some alcohol and sweetness. It's a good flavor, but honestly considering everything, it's a little watery on the flavor. I mean the fruit is there, and in some ways it's very complex, and full of flavor. But in other ways it's slightly watery in flavor. It's not the end of the world, it's still a good flavor, but it should be noted that it's not the 100% full flavor you get out of a world class beer. Overall good flavor. I've only had a few barleywines, and I can't quite remember the mouthfeel. The mouthfeel of this beer somewhat works with the overall feel of the beer, but I still don't really like it. The carbonation is extremely low, like it's barely there at all, one of the lowest carbonated (if not the lowest) beers I've EVER had in my ENTIRE life. The body has a tiny bit of thickness to it for about a second, and then it's just watery, and I never like that. I mean, like I said it kinda works for the style, cause it's a slow drinking beer, but I would enjoy something thicker and slightly more carbonated. I'm going to give it a 3.5 because it works for the overall feel of the beer, but let it be known that that is an extremely generous rating. The drinkability, like I said, is extremely good, probably the best alcohol-to-drinkability-ratio-beer, I have ever had. It's not easy to drink, don't get me wrong, but it's light years easier than it should be. Overall this is a good beer, it's somewhat unique in a few areas.
03-25-2012 10:42:12 | More by MaltsOfGlory
3.38/5 rDev -7.4%
2010 Reserve, Bottle #2503/5000, 22 oz bomber into a Bolt Cutter glass.
A - Has that perfect barleywine look to it. A nice burnt amber body that is slightly hazy and three fingers of dense light khaki foam with large bubbles that just coats the sides with killer lacing when swirled.
S - Very boozy with dark fruits, some faded piney hops, and lasting toffee and caramel. Pretty rich and bold, but really just too much of an alcohol presence.
T - A muted combination of toffee and faded piney hops. Slick and oily which is great given the style but everything is just so boring here. Finishes with a high level of bitterness and an unpleasant booziness. Mouth feel is nice and creamy though.
O - This left a lot to be desired. Not sure if its the age on it, but its just not a very interesting barleywine. A bit too boozy and the hops flavors are mostly faded but the bitterness is still kicking around. Meh...
04-20-2013 03:32:07 | More by davey101
4.24/5 rDev +16.2%
The 2009 version, on tap at Bier Stein the other day.
The beer pours a somewhat darker, copper amber color with good head retetention and lacing. The nose is impressive in this one, as I get considerable malt, dry citrus, vanilla and brown sugar. This beer smells like a big old, hoppy barleywine. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, and put me in mind of an aged version of Bigfoot. There beer has some nice, slightly oxidized, aged ale flavor components that is pretty nice, which blends well with the brown sugar, sweet malt and considerable hoppy bitterness. Mouthfeel is fairly full in this moderately sweet beer, and the finish is long and fairly dry, due to the considerable boost of hoppy bitterness. Alcohol is noticeable, but this beer is not at all hot or tiring on the palate.
A fine beer, but I was happy with the small taster I got of it at BS. That's really all I needed.
05-13-2013 22:26:35 | More by John_M
3.33/5 rDev -8.8%
Poured into an 8oz Snifter at the Bier Stein
A - Ruddy deep amber almost red w/ nice off-white head that disipates into a thin cap. Small amount of lacing, nice legs. Fairly clear.
S - Not much to the smell for a Ninkasi or an American BW. Lots of sweet malts, very faint citrus, not much hops in the nose. Kinda earthy. Some floral hops as it warms. Slight oxidation.
T - Big malt tast, caramel, sweet dark fruits, some fig and dates. Sweet, with a big bitter finish. Warming sensation, spicy alcohol under the tongue, though the almost 12% is still well hidden until it warms up some.
M - Nice full body, good carbonation, sweet w/ a slightyly dryish bitter finish, prickles and burns under the tongue. Bitterness lingers quite a while after finishing.
O - Not my favorite, but a good beer none the less. I enjoyed it. I would have another (not right now mind you) if I find it again and am in the mood for something that big and heavy. Solid BW, but still kinda low on the hops beyond bittering.
07-29-2011 21:21:15 | More by jbakajust1
2.6/5 rDev -28.8%
Pours a hazy dark reddish amber in the Duvel tulip. Plenty of foam but it does dissipate down to zero lacing before too long.
Murky flavors. Quite bitter. A stew of muddy tastes. About as undrinkable a Barleywine as I've had. Caramel apple taste with a little wintergreen and yams. So sweet plus the hot alcohol taste. Bitter aftertaste is not pleasant with the sugary rush. Woody with burnt sugar.
I call it a Critical Miss. I don't know what's wrong with Ninkasi, they seem to always have variations on dirty, earth, murky flavors. From the 22 oz bottle bought at Beer Revolution in Oakland.
02-04-2013 08:47:15 | More by mactrail
Critical Hit from Ninkasi Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.