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Critical Hit - Ninkasi Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Critical HitCritical Hit

Educational use only; do not reuse.

26 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 26
Hads: 81
Avg: 3.6
pDev: 23.61%
Wants: 12
Gots: 23 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: barleywinefiend on 03-22-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 26 | Hads: 81
Reviews by hopburster:
Photo of hopburster
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

More User Reviews:
Photo of pat61
4.06/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the 2013 version, bottle 1605 out of 10000, 10.4% abv.
A: Brilliant deep copper gold under a thin, copper head that produces spots of lace. Does have legs.
S: Not a big nose – slightly darkened sugar to caramel with some wine notes.
T: Malt and light fruit introduce the palate leading to a lingering bitter finish that is more quinine than citrus rind or roast. The bitterness becomes bigger as the beer warms.
M: Starts a little thin for a big beer, medium low carbonation. Mild alcohol warming. O: A decent but not outstanding American Barleywine.

 566 characters

Photo of Seattle_Suds
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of HoppySeb
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of Aml42000
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

 626 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.38/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

 422 characters

Photo of DOCRW
3.23/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of mc4z
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of GRG1313
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of GeorgeH
4/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Kevlee722
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Rutager
4/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Docer
3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (3.5)
- 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.

Smell: (3.5)
- 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.

Taste: (3.5)
- 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.

Overall: (3.5)
- 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.

 1,357 characters

Photo of MrJolly
3.93/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of Hopmodium
4/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.52/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

 2,488 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.82/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

 871 characters

Photo of kk73
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of afrokaze
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of GeorgeAKeim
3/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of 1424IpA
2.92/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.67/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of PassMeAZima
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Massbmx
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Smurf2055
3.41/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

 412 characters

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Critical Hit from Ninkasi Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 26 ratings.