Critical Hit - Ninkasi Brewing Company
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Ratings: 55 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.75/5 rDev +2.7%
Vintage 2009 served on tap into a stemmed ale glass
A- Poured a reddisgh brown color with a big frothy off-white head that left glass coating lace
S- Very sweet aroma, blueberries, molasses, lots of alcohol, very strong aroma
T- Big sweet blueberry and berry sweetness, rich toffee, lots of breadiness and alcohol. There is a certain taste I taste in all barleywines and this one definitely has it . This is pretty sweet and boozy
M- Light alcohol burn, huge alcohol warming, fuller bodied, soft carbonation. Not as sticky and burning as other barleywines. This actually has a really nice mouthfeel.
O- Barleywines are just not really my style, but I really do enjoy this better than most. The flavors are pretty nice and the mouthfeel is great. Still pretty sweet and alcoholic for my palate. I like Bigfoot better but this is still one of the better barleywines I have had.
02-14-2013 05:19:38 | More by Hoptometrist
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
4.33/5 rDev +18.6%
A - Pours a cloudy amber-orange color with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.
S - Aroma is a mix of sweet caramel malts with some brown sugar, grapefruit and pine hops, and some booze.
T - Starts off with some sweet caramel malts and caramelized sugars with some brown sugar, a touch of dark fruit, and some grapefruit and citrus hops and bitterness. Through the middle, some pine hops come through with some more resiny bitterness with some more caramelized malts. The finish is a mix of sweet caramel malts, caramelized sugars, grapefruit and pine hops, some bitterness, and some booze.
M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet, bitter, and warming finish.
D - Very drinkable. Nice big bold barleywine with a surprisingly high level of smoothness and drinkability.
10-17-2012 05:45:16 | More by ngeunit1
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
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
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
3.93/5 rDev +7.7%
22oz waxed bomber. 2010 Reserve. Bottle Number: 2912/5000. Served in a tulip.
Pours a hazed dark copper. A lot of minute suspended sediment. A finger of beige foam forms and dissipates to a small dense ring. Spots of lacing.
Strong aroma on this one. Dry brown bread malt, floral perfumy hops, sweet fruits like apple, pear, and banana. A big dose of alcohol as well.
Flavor starts dry, with sweet fruits from the nose coming on fairly quickly. Things bloom nicely in the middle of the flavor with lots of floral resiny hops. A lot of bitterness, both tasted and felt, has a real citrus quality as well. There is a sweet caramel malt presence that lingers through the finish. Not surprisingly you taste alcohol in the finish, but it is rather well blended.
Medium-full bodied with lowish carbonation. Fairly heavy on the palate. Appropriate for the strength of this beer, just wish for a touch more carbonation. Very warming, heat hits you after only a couple of sips.
The first beer I've encountered with a 20-sided die on the label. Not that I know what that is... I swear.
03-01-2012 22:45:33 | More by brotherloco
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
Critical Hit from Ninkasi Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.