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The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPA - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPAThe Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

646 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 646
Reviews: 255
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11%
Wants: 66
Gots: 35 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  7.40% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 12-20-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 646 | Reviews: 255
Photo of ghostwalker
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle received as an extra. Can't recall from whom, sorry...

Body is opaque brown with a huge frothy tan head. A little muddy, or I might have rated higher here.

Nose is crisp, clean hops, with a musty maltiness on the finish.

Flavor immediately blows away the memory of a muddy appearance. This is a crisp, clean citrusy/ piney IPA. As a big fan of both the Alchemist and Stone, I get hop character from both brewery's characteristic styles. (Can't say about Ninkasi). Malt contribution is here, but not in a big way. I expected less hops and more malt, given the style and the age of this brew, but it just isn't so.

Mouthfeel is medium, high carb, and lightly tooth-stripping.

Overall, a very nice brew. This one sat around my on-deck fridge for far too long, but was still a great contribution to a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Photo of TruePerception
2.31/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

(Previous review, transferred from beer journal)

Collaboration

Stone / Ninkasi / The Alchemist More Brown Than Black IPA: Appearance: thick, black with grey specks; Taste/Mouthfeel: oatmeal, tobacco ash; bad

The name is far and away the biggest misnomer I've come across in beer yet!

Poured into a pint glass.

Photo of blackie
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: served in a unibroue tulip, the pour creates a healthy coating of khaki carbonation, retained well atop the brown-black ale

s: oh man, a stunner here - fantastic fresh pine hop aromas and a rich blend of nutty, toasted brown malts, lots of woody and herbal influence - notably thyme, rich and spicy tropical fruit juice, loads of fresh hop pulp, just great, an intoxicating aroma

m: carbonated to somewhere between light and moderate, combining with a medium body to create a full, creamy effect

t: the same near perfect complex of toasty brown malts and vivid pine and tropical hop flavors found on the nose, only a brief touch of sugars, woody, some dry roasted flavors pulling through in the bitter finish, delicious

o: love it - best cascadian I’ve had by a mile, perfectly hopped, complex brown malts, fuck yeah

Photo of Smurf2055
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

During pouring, the smells were off the hook. Poured into tulip, blackish with a couple fingers of tan head, good lacing and good retention.

Smell is like a double IPA, but deeper. Super hoppy, but without being overpowering.

Taste is bitter up front, fruity in the middle, and sour/bitter in the back.

There is a lot of West Coast hop profile to this, but Alchemist does bring something new and unexpected. Good beer.

Photo of LubricatedWisdom76
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An interesting name that promises something different but doesn't really stand out as unique to me.

The appearance is a dark, hazy chestnut brown with yeast in it. Not, bad nothing special.

Aroma is mostly pine and earthy dried leaves, not a ton of roasty scents like I get with some of the darker black IPA's (Stone Self Righteous, Wookey Jack).

Taste is very good with a lot of pine and grapefruit citrus but the roast is every understated and to the point of being too subtle for me. There are not enough dimensions for me compared to the best dark IPA's. I was hoping this would have some nutty or slight chocolate roast to go with the hops but it's mostly hops.

Mouthfeel is good for a strong beer, light and drinkable.

Overall a good beer that I would drink as an IPA fan but not anything special for me. It doesn't go above and beyond into the depth and complexity of some of my favorites in the style.

Photo of scruffwhor
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rusty brown with lots of ruby colors. You can still see the suspended sediment in this swampy brew. Good head and head retntion for all twelve ounces.

Citra hop add lots of orange peel and the malts make that orange peel seem as if its roasted. Pretty hoppy, and somewhat roasted aroma.

The flavor is bitter hops and bitter, almost burnt, malt. Orange peels and pine cones mix with toasted and SUPER roasted malts. What roasty bitter BLACKIPA.

The mouthfeel is resiny indeed. The finish is bitter as well. I would have liked this beer more, if the malt were allowed to show up some more on the palate.

Photo of socon67
4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Murky brown pour. Really impressive lacing. Bubbly foam rtises high and stays active.

S - Has a smell of hop resin and tobacco leaves. Dark malt smell gives off a hint of smoke.

T - Flavors of rich malts combine with some earthy spice notes and finish with a sharp bite from oily hops.

M - A hybrind beer that really appeals to just about anyone. Medium bodied with minimal carbonation. Hop resin stays in your glands.

O - Interesting beer that I'm not so sure which style suits it more. But I'm happy to have tried it.

Photo of dfillius
4.89/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass.
A: Moderate pour yields 3/4 finger tan head with good retention. Cloudy :-/ dark brown liquid with ruby edges :-). I wish I hadn't poured lees in with it. Big and chunky bits :-( On another bottle, this was only hazy, upping the score from 3.5 to 4.0.
S: Lots of tropical fruit and hops. Big citrus, golden raisin, lime, orange, mango, grapefruit, guava, pineapple. Man Candy! Thank you for achieving olfactory perfection. Ideal, sublime. Slight creamy roast in background.
T: Balanced dark bread with citrus and tropical hops. I love how it is not roasty! Slightly nutty. That is my idea of a CDA. Nice pink grapefruit in the finish coupled with slight coffee bitterness. Perfectly ripe grapefruit in fact. This may be the perfect CDA. Great complexity. DIPA level of bitterness.
M: Sweet front, chewy center and finish. Nice level of decently aggressive bitterness. Not soapy or astringent.
O: What a great beer! Much more hops than roast, thank goodness. Grapefruit in a glass, with a little chocolate. I love it and wish it were a rotating seasonal or even, dare I say it, replace Sublimely Self Righteous with it! I'd buy again and wish I had 6!

Photo of Immortale25
4.56/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Saint Somewhere wine-style glass. Freshness date?

A- 'Tis indeed more brown than black and yes, I find the name racist. Thank you for asking. Has a 1/4 inch tan head that has trouble retaining before being reduced to a thick ring around the glass's edge and a cluster of bubbles on the surface with hardly any surface foam. Full sheets of sticky lacing stay suspended on the glass as it empties.

S- Wonderful aroma of fresh, pungent hops that's earthy AND citrusy at the same time. Nice going. Chase that with a good dose of brown sugar and toffee from the malt and you've got a recipe for success.

T- And the taste is even more complex than the aroma with an initial pinch of hops on the palate that slides away to reveal the roasted malt character beneath. Many flavors hit all at once but everything is meshing rather than clashing. More notes of brown sugar, caramel and some semisweet chocolate to boot. All the tastes are amped up besides the alcohol which is definitely noticeable but only within the context of your usual 7.4% beer. The hop burps from this one are lovely. Slight raisin aftertaste.

M- Soft on the tongue at first but has a sharp afterbite. Medium carbonation and a bold, not-too-heavy body.

O- Definitely worth seeking out if you haven't tried it. TBA was good, but this is just stellar. Also my first taste of anything from Ninkasi or The Alchemist. Well worth the $4 plus tax.

Photo of BeerDawgs
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 12oz bottle picked up in Columbia, SC

A - Definitely, more brown than black. Brown, with a creamy 1 finger of head. Sediment all over floating in my beer! Wow! Impressive...

S - Brown sugar, plums, and hops. Great mixture.

T - Delicious! Brown sugar, hops, sweet and bitter at the same time.

M - Full bodied, well carbonated

O - An amazing beer period. Definitely a brown..IPA. A nice twist that I have never had before. Definitely can tell that Stone was involved....as a nice hoppy touch is present. Love it!

Photo of Chaney
4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Stone pint glass, because... I'm a badass.

A: Holy sediment, Batman! In addition to that, the brew definitely lives up to its promise: More brown than black. Also, the creme-colored head was frothy and downright ridiculous.

S: Lots of fruit happing here, with the dark malt playing last chair trumpet. Any very subtle hints of chocolate-dipped fruit... just the way I like my Black IPAs.

T: The taste, I got quite a bit more raw cocoa-esque bitterness, but the fruit (grapefruit, raison, plum combo), but overall, I thought it was the kind of fresh bitterness that makes you want to keep going back for more and more.

M: Like I said, bitter, but not too astringent, with lacing that wasn't quite as substantial as I thought it was going to be. Thick in creamy? Yessir!

O: I used to hate this style, but here recently, it has started to grow on me. Or maybe that's just because this beer is so damn good....

Photo of vfgccp
3.71/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Mixed bone white and light khaki head with nice retention and lace. Thinned out coffee body.

S - Wet herbs, musk, grass, black molasses, and a bit of brown sugar.

T - Caramel malt, firm woody pine center, dry cocoa, touch of lemon. Nice semi-sweet iced coffee finish.

M - Medium body to style.

O - Strong bitter character with an excellent soft coffee note.

Photo of ithacabaron
2.69/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Well, the label don't lie. It pours decidedly brown, rich and full, with copper highlights at the very extremities. A khaki head settles down into toad's lie bubbles, with a scrim of lacing on the side of the glass. A curio.

Aroma brings strong fermentation notes. Lots of CO2. Green moss, starfruit, freshly brewed pekoe tea, and tumeric show up. It's a little tough to draw out these smells, however -- the nose is surprisingly muted. I'm not a fan.

Taste is full of dates and smoke, and intensely bitter at the back of the tongue. Some molasses is in here as well, and, after the swallow, there's notes of wood. It's somehow too sweet and too bitter at the same time, like a poorly made amaro. Interesting, but not especially successful.

Mouthfeel is fine, if a bit too full; the beer has a tendency to drag.

All in all, an interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying experiment.

Photo of beer2day
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown pour, heavy caramel notes. 1 finger of dark cream head. Excellent sheets of lace and decent head retention.

Roast notes, light coffee, grapefruit hops, caramel malt, and raw nuts define the nose.

Caramel kicks things off, then gets nutty and a bit smokey with roast malt flavors. light coffee, and a strong hop kick. Mildly sweet up front with caramel and nuts, contrasts well with the bitter finish.

Feel is a bit lighter than the flavors warrant. Not bad for the flavors, but could be a bit thicker.

Overall, very well done and well worth brewing again.

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.94/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's a shame this beer isn't a regular release, I hope it's brewed again.

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. The name is perfect, the color is more brown than black. Slight highlights that give it a vague reddish tint on the sides. Large amounts of setiment. Light brown colored head, that comes up big and there's a great amount of lacing, it's nice, probably the best part of the look.

Smell is awesome. Plenty of nice hop aromas jump out at you, nice pine, and nice citrus come out at you. A little floral notes as well. There's a nice malt sweetness to the nose as well, toasted and nutty.

Taste is equally as awesome. Perfect balance of malts and hops. I feel the hop profile is similar to the classic heady topper, but has a nice malt profile that is much bigger. Hops aren't very bitter, yet strong at the same time, it's nice. Slight caramel and toffee then finishes grapefruity. It really tastes awesome.

Mouthfeel is perfect. One of the more smooth beers I've had from this style before. Carbonation level is great as well as no bite from the alcohol. Nice all around, for an unfiltered beer it has a surprisingly clean finish (nom nom nom). Overall this beer is really great. Dissapointed this is a one time brew, they can do great things together.

Photo of micromaniac129
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a brown black color with a fairly tall dense head beige in color. Carb's are densent but light.
Fantastically aromatic and awesomely fragrant.
I can smell floral hops and piney hops along with orange tangerine in the bouquet. Wonderful.
Taste leans towards the hops with malts being a minor player. Dark ales of this style tend to lean towards a roasted malt bill actually bordering more towards a porter then an ale due in part from the use of black patent malts, but not the case here.
Flavor here is hops. Orange citrus and cedar notes can be pulled from the flavor. Along with floral. There just enough malts to accent the hop flavor. the malts have a nice complexity also.
Feels smooth on the palette but one can feel a very light chalkiness as it drinks. Bitterness is quite low and finishes clean.
this was an awesome drinking beer in every aspect. With the names on the bottle would you expect anything less.

Photo of BostonHops
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a pint glass.

pours a chestnut / mahogany tone while yielding a billowing, tan 3" head. lots of lacing left behind as the head slowly faded. nose offers some citric and hops. nice aroma though nothing spectacular, was expecting a little more.

flavor is a huge improvement. clearly hop-forward with lots of citrus, tropical, and pine-y hoppiness (i think i taste some heady topper in there) with secondary notes of spice and caramel malt. medium bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall, really tasty. this beer wasn't exactly on my radar but i happened upon it and i'm glad i did. elements of it really do remind me of heady topper. definitely worth a try.

(originally reviewed: 02-01-2012)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was this beer named, as I suspect, because it didn't turn out as dark as they'd hoped? Oh well. This was a 355ml bottle purchased from Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Pours, indeed, more brown than black. Dark, but with a decent clarity to it. Head forms as a solid enough film across the top and then largely dissipates, leaving just some off-white foam as a ring around the edge. Lacing is intricate and pleasant. Looks pretty decent.

Nose is sharp, citric and grassy, almost brusque in its hoppiness, but leavened with a malty, almost biscuity character, and almost a spicy cinnamon note. There are hints of pepper, stewed tomato and herbs to it as well, which give a sweet-savoury note. It's very decent, and very pleasant.

Taste is really nicely done. Lovely amalgam of hops and malt, where the hops never become too bitter or coarse, and the malt never becomes too sweet or cloying. The "brown" in the name is perfectly suitable, given that there's a depth to the malt character, lending some toasty warmth, but never a roasted astringency to express excess bitterness. Instead, there are soft stone fruit characters which come from the fruity hop notes melded with the benign and smooth malt sweetness. It's just a lovely flavour: coherent, balanced and caressing.

Overall, bloody good stuff. I wasn't overly enthusiastic about the style when I picked it up—although I was excited to try The Alchemist, and I do love Ninkasi and Stone—but this has shown what you can do with effectively an overdone style brewed with extreme skill.

Photo of eriktoyra
3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a brown liquid into the glass. Impossible to see through. A thick, light brown and three finger high head with lots of bubbles forms at first. The head stays long but leaves thick lacings on the glass.

S: Lots of grapefruit and oranges on the nose. Hay, caramel malts and damp leather. I can also pick up some white bread and raisins. Smells like an IPA.

T: Tastes a lot of dark bread, then lots of orange peel and some grapefruit. Roasted malts together with orange peel are the dominant tastes. Somewhat dry at the end, but not bitter. It is more spicy than bitter. The alcohol is presented nicely at the end.

M: Somewhat more watery than I expected from a 7.4% ABV beer. The carbonation is light to medium and most notable at first.

O: A nice beer that I would try again if given the opportunity. I'm a bit disappointed on the mouthfeel though.

Photo of jeonseh
3.63/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a FFF tulip

A - Dark chestnut that lends itself to the more brown than black name. Had a light mocha one finger head that slowly disintegrated but left some nice lacing

S - Grapefruit is the main scent in the nose and I also get hints of orange juice and light lemon peel. Not too fragrant overall though.

T - At first, there is a light malt sweetness before the hops kick in. I get a slight pine at first before strong grapefurits come in, almost causing your mouth to pucker. The grapefruit lingers on in the finish well after the beer is gone.

MF - Lighter in the body with low carbonation. A bit light overall. Leaves a nice sticky hop resin on the tongue in the finish.

O - Nice, strongly hopped beer as you would expect from this three breweries. Really brings a strong grapefruit that really lingers on in the finish for a very long time. I wish the nose brought a little more flavor and punch to it as you don't get much there. Would love to get some more of these Stone collaborations to try

Photo of BERNUTBAG
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Man... the alchemist comes out in this beer, If you ever had a heady topper you would know what i am talking about, Nice to have a dark ipa have a nice citrus and bitter finsh at the end. will search this beer out again, another great beer from stone!!!

Photo of LittleDon
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black, with nearly no light passing through. Some lace and head, but not much. Noticeable big particulates. Oily, resinous, catty. Smells like an IPA. Nice big body, soft mouthfeel. Licorice, mint, and molasses flavors. Neither sweet nor dry, well balanced. Short lived, but powerful bitter finish. Some acidity on the finish.

Photo of Pencible
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a nearly opaque dark mahogany with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like huge fresh grapefruit, with more grapefruit and a little orange zest and wheat bread.
T: It tasted like bitter grapefruit and waxy hops, with some citrus zest and smoky roasted barley. It had a lasting and strong bitter aftertaste.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Decent body.
D: This had a great scent, but only decent taste and body. This finish was a little harsh, so it wasn't terribly easy to drink. I'd call this one of the better collaborations, but still not as good as I hoped. Only nice to try once.

Photo of arizcards
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle from BevMo in late March for $3.29.

Beer poured brown with a very nice nitrotap head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose is citrus hops, still good after all these months.

Taste is blended very well. Chocolate and Caramel malts merge nicely with a citrus hop profile.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall this is a very drinkable beer, could imagine it was very good fresh! Glad to have tried this one-off between 3 brewers that i have enjoyed in the past!

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer No. 3,700 for me. The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is a mix of lightly roasted malt, chocolate and resinous pine. The flavor is similar, with a good bit of pine, resin and a hint of orange. I also get some lightly roasted malt and a bit of chocolate. The bitterness is fairly low, but the hop flavor - particularly the pine notes - really stand out. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A nice collaboration. Glad I got to try this one.

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The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 646 ratings.