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

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The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPAThe Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

646 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 646
Reviews: 255
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11%
Wants: 66
Gots: 34 | 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
Reviews by nycwinter:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.11/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint a somewhat murky chesnut brown with a nicely formed one finger off white head that left a ful ring of lace as it settled into a frothy mass.Grapefuit-like hop aromas are the only thing I really pick up in the nose wich is a good thing but nothing else.Grapefuit is the main attraction on the palate with mild pine,a sturdy not so sweet malt base hold up pretty well to the hops,I gotta tell ya it's like drinking grapefruit juice with a prickly finish.This is a no holds bard for the hop lover and I like it.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Alchemist collaboration?? Yes Please!!

Pours into my glass a deep muddy brown that yes, is almost black. A half inch of frothy, creamy khaki head sits atop the brew and leaves nice lacing. Aromas are big, bright tropical fruit hop tones right off the bat. Resinous and oh so nice. Pine, grapefruit and bright citrus. Just a touch of roasted malt underneath..the color is definitely deceiving from the smell here. Hops galore!

First sip brings a blast of hop goodness upfront..tropical citrus, grapefruit and pine in a resinous green cavalcade. Smooth roasted malts back it up but the roast is really low key and lets the hops shine through and do the majority of the work. Solid bitterness on the way down. Just a great beer.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Great carbonation and overall just an easy drinking brew that I really can't say anything bad about. Mouthfeel is basically perfect. Overall, this is easily my favorite collaboration beer put out by Stone. Cheers to Alchemist / Ninkasi and Stone on this one. Go get some!

Photo of warnerry
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours deep brown with some reddish highlights. Two fingers of tan head has pretty good retention and leaves some lacing.

S - Lots of citrus, mostly grapefruit, with some pine and some nutty malts.

T - Taste is a nice melding of an IPA and a brown ale. Zesty citrus with some pine. The name is quite apt as the malt profile is more nuts and bread, with only subtle chocolate notes. I think this works much better than the malts used in black IPAs. Very tasty and quite bitter.

M - Medium mouthfeel with lots of dry bitterness throughout.

O - I enjoyed this more than most of the black IPAs I've had. The malt profile seems more complementary to the intense hopping.

Photo of Jason
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle, no freshness date.

LOOK: Hazed brown, good lacing

SMELL: Mint, citric zest, earthy, leafy, spicy, toasted biscuit

TASTE: Bitter, orange oil, tobacco, chicory, carob, toasted grain, dry finish

Warming story behind the beer, as for the beer is gets all up in my grill ... In a good way. Hops slap my palate around a bit and the malt is enough foundation to keep this beer somewhat balanced. Nice twist to on the versatile American IPA style.

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single 12 ounce bottle, purchased for $4 and change(!) at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY

"Drink Fresh-Do Not Age" on bottle, but only dating I can find is after the bottle blurb from Mitch Steele, November 2011.

Pours darker mahogony brown, medium mocha head, stays well, before going to a nice film, collar and ample lace.

Bright, hoppy and acidic nose.

Biting and flavorful IPA, citric, herbal, and quite bitter. Some dark malts riding behind the hop onslaught. Loved it, well done, expensive, but worth a try, especially to support a good cause

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.

Photo of ehammond1
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Dark brown with ruby edges and a thin light brown head. Rings and sticky sheets of lace are left down the glass.

The aroma consists of plenty of pine and citrus hop presence, along with a mild roast component, especially as the beer warms.

The flavor is similar, with pine and grapefruit hop flavors dominating, with a bit of biscuit and roasted malt complementing the hops nicely. A well balanced, drinkable, and not overly aggressive black ale--especially compared to Stone's 15th Anniversary Escondidian.

Medium mouthfeel with ample carbonation--crisp and disappearing.

A good example of the style, but not quite as exciting, bright, or vibrant as 15th Anniversary, or SSR for that matter.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Alright it's always to catch a collaboration beer this one just so happened to occur by chance, I wasn't seeking it just showed up at the local. Pours a pretty dark color, label says more brown than black IPA I'll give 'em the fact that it does let some deep ruby chestnut hues of brown but appears black when not held toward the light. Head is beautiful a rotund layer of creamed coffee froth, fine even lacing. Let me get into the aroma, citrus zest, herbal hops, pine with fresh minty leaves something so fresh and earthy about the whole roasted malt expression going on. Flavor is a rush to the green, heral mint notes blended nicely with the dark roasted malts flowing across the palate at the same time. Nice due to the fact that there isn't a rush of black patent malt that overbears the hops everything lives in harmony here and I can appreciate that. I'm actually enjoying the dry bitter mouthfeel left behind in each sip, it works with a light to medium bodied resinously hopped beer like this. Carbonation levels are smooth and mellow and flavors is HELLO, damn tasty. Overall a dark beer I can get with even though the whole black IPA this white IPA that IPA phase is getting to be burdensome on effortless/untouchable style known as IPA. Just start making up other names the only connection to IPA these beers have are hop levels. No true connection to the origins of beer being transported from England to India, WTF? I like Cascadian Dark Ale.

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 gregb13
3.81/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Saw this and picked it up on a whim at the local bottle shop. Let me say that the aroma of this brew is absolutely superb: Wonderful melange of citrus, hop, sweet fruit. The aroma far surpasses the taste, which is similar to Stone's 15th Ann. Escondidian brew.

Not bad at all, but I found the flavours to be a little all over the place. Man if the taste was like the aroma, this would be an A+ beer for sure. Still, not bad. I'd pick it up.

Photo of quirkzoo
4.54/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours more brown than black (sorry, just had to say it) with an off white three finger head that recedes to a nice pad on the top of the beer. The nose has lots of over-ripe pineapple, it smells sticky sweet, like a pineapple that was left in your trunk over the summer and it exploded from the heat and started to ferment in your trunk. As it opens up I am getting a ton of passion fruit, really tart and sweet tropical fruit. I grew up in Hawaii and this beer is taking me back to my childhood. I get just a touch of roasted malts in the background, but not as much as I would expect from this style, regardless, it is a very nice aroma. On the palate I taste the roast first, with the bitterness of the hops slowly creeping up and building to a very hoppy, bitter beer. I get a touch of coffee and caramel sweetness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a bit thin, I feel like it can't decide if it is a full bodied stout or a dry ipa and winds up being a thin stout. Overall this is a really nice beer for hopheads, the combination of hops is really unique and is unlike any other IPA I have ever had.

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Murky dark burgundy Brown, floaties, and no activation. Decent but average head retention and lacing.

Piney, prickly, citrusy dank west coast hops that overshadow the malts both in Nose and taste. I gave the nose a 4.5 due to the fact that I don't feel you can get a better citrusy IPA nose unless it was truly a IPA. Finish and mouthfeel almost perfect. Crisp, clean smooth and bitter at the same time leaving you begging for another sip. This one was hard for me to put down and stop sipping on. I kept coming for more.

I'm not sure how to describe this one other than the hops are showcased at the front, first and foremost and then the malts show up just a little more brown than black. Cheezy, but seriously.

I could session two or three of these before looking to go onto something else. Pretty solid on this collaboration.

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

Black with brown around the edges of the glass. Amazing fluffy tan head with excellent retention and lacing.

Lovely light fruity and hoppy nose which is much lighter and fresher than the look might lead you to believe. Nice notes of sweet pineapple citrus and candy-like hops.

Flavor is nice as well with great balance. Bright Citra hops seems present which is very nice and well blended with the other hops and light (but dark colored) malt profile.

Light bodied with med-high carbonation.

Overall it's a real nice beer. Nice nose, flavor and great balance with high drinkability. A must try.

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

Very dark brown, and the head is really nice, a toasty browned-white thing, like a marshmallow that just briefly meets the flame. Lasts for the duration and leaves a lot of thick lace on the glass.

Super-potent nose, although the strength of the hops is so bright and clean that it nearly snuffs out all that dark malt. It's pretty much 100%, from what my nose can gather. Gives you the feeling that it's cleaning your brain spotless. Seriously, it's that bright.

Thankfully some grains come into the taste, even if they're burnt-tasting, full of char, giving off some smoke and all that. But that's the kind of beer this is supposed to be. And for all the super-green herbal/citrus peel hops that are just about glowing here, they play nice and mingle well with the malt. With a little warming and opening up, a raisin/plum kind of flavor enters into the mix. Astringent hop greenness/bitterness remains longest in the slightly coating finish. It's almost like sucking on a cannabis bud, although I wouldn't know (too busy setting those buds on fire).

Texturally it's smooth and slick, medium-bodied with a pleasant and gentle carbonation tingle/tickle.

Not familiar with The Alchemist, unfortunately, but knowing well the character of other brews by Ninkasi and Stone, I wouldn't expect a black (okay, brown) IPA from them that would be anything less intense than this. While it's not even the best of the American Black Ale style, it's definitely a very, very good one.

Photo of hreb
4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As soon I as tear the top off the 12 oz bottle an intense aroma of fresh Cascadey hops fills the room. Faintly yeasty, but there's no mistaking that what's inside is IPA. And there's no surprise Stone was involved. Beer pours a very unusual opaque brown, fairly cloudy, with a thin but dense head of bronze. This promises to be a brewer's brew. No date on the bottle that I can see, but there are explicit instructions: "Drink fresh do not age" reports not cascade but Citra and Galaxy for dry hops and two hops I've never heard of for bittering.

Flavor is like a high quality West coast IPA, with nothing to suggest its color. Nothing roasty, nothing heavy, just crisp IPA with a bright grapefruit edge. The BA notes for American Black Ale note that it is another name for a CDA Cascadian Dark Ale. And by that mark this label is exactly on target.

The appearance may be controversial, and maybe it should have been more finely filtered, but the taste is of a fantastic IPA, and the aroma is quite possibly the best bottled IPA I have ever smelled.

Photo of ElGordo
3.91/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Body is a tawny brownish color, a little cloudy, with a few suspended solids hanging around (even though the beer is filtered). Aroma is huge on citrusy hops, with notes of pineapple and grapefruit, along with a touch of sweetness from the caramel malt. Palate is hop-forward for sure, with a strange back-and-forth between sweet, slightly roasted malt and hugely bitter hops. Notes of grapefruit and pineapple come through again, along with a little bit of onion(?). The mouthfeel is considerably thinner than I would have hoped for in a beer of this strength, and the color does seem to lighten as the glass gets emptier. It's an interesting way to deliver a hop bomb, I guess. 

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 GingerJoo
3.81/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

best part of this beer is how smooth it is. Separate from combining two of my favorite styles of brew, it is one of the easiest beers to drink. I first had this beer in late February 2012 when I was snowboarding up in Tahoe. Pint glass pour, I was astonished of the slight gold tinge in the dark color this beer exhibits. One of the best bottled beers I've had in a long time.

Photo of prototypic
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More Brown Than Black lives up to its name in the looks department. It’s a nut brown color. Definitely not black. It’s rather hazy and has a quite a few yeasty particles swimming about. Interesting. Backlighting reveals some light crimson highlights. It’s topped with a tan head that stands about two and a half fingers tall. It dissipates slowly, leaving a thick web of lace clinging to the glass.

The nose is excellent. It kicks off with a really nice, strong hoppy scent. The hops smell mostly piney, but there some citric and earthy qualities, as well. Grapefruit and grass are the most notable. There are some dark malt scents. Roasted and chocolate varieties are both present. Secondary scents include roasted coffee, light sweet caramel. It’s rather deep and complex. Alcohol doesn’t smell very strong. I’m not getting much at any rate. Smells excellent.

The flavor is very good, but isn’t quite as good as the nose. It is very hoppy. No doubt about that. Strong pine and grapefruit flavors emerge very quickly. There are ancillary orange and grassy notes, but they’re secondary. It is definitely bitter and perhaps a bit resiny. The malt base features roasted and chocolate varieties. The cocoa flavor is very nice. Roasted coffee complements the other flavors extremely well. Alcohol is there, but doesn’t come through too strong. It’s not warm or hot. Finishes hoppy, bitter, and dry.

The body is medium. Carbonation is mid-range, but doesn’t seem buzzy. Feels nice and soft. It definitely goes down easy. If I had another bottle, I’d be tempted. This is good stuff.

More Brown Than Black IPA is an impressive American Black Ale, even if it isn’t black. It has a very intense hop flavor that’s sure to satisfy any hophead. I wouldn’t mind just a little more dark malt flavor, but that’s a very minor complaint. This really is impressive stuff that’s well worth checking out. Grab a bottle while you can.

Photo of tempest
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a glass at Craft Ale House. Man, this tastes like the brown ale version of Heady Topper. Huge, juicy, oily hops run through the beer, with the dark crusty malts playing a complement to the floral and citrus flavors. The body is relatively light for such a hoppy beer, which is another similarity to Heady Topper. There's massive hops, but the beer keeps a balance so that it's never overpowering. Find this beer.

Photo of Heatwave33
4.9/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a Dogfish Head Snifter.

Color: A dark deep brown with sediment. Has a nice khaki colored head.

Smell: Peach and pine hops come out front. Followed by ruby red grapefruit and tangerine.

Taste: The Ruby red grapefruit and pine hops are the first flavors to hit. Followed by the peach and tangerine tones.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation, smooth with a medium dryness on the palate.

Overall: WOW! The ruby red and hops are so beautifully well balanced. The flavors are perfect. I would have this as a regular in my fridge. The wife even enjoys sipping on this brew. Please make this a year round or at least a seasonal! Cheers.

Photo of cjacobsen
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(A) Pours an almost opaque dark nut brown color. Almost black, but not quite. Quarter inch stone colored head that diminishes to a light coating atop the beer. Some lacing.

(S) An interesting mix of a rich brown ale with a bunch of hops dumped in. Pine mixed with roasted malts and grains, nut, biscuit, and hop bitters.

(T) The taste is really different. Something that you can't really categorize as an IPA or a Brown Ale. It's weird, but good. Decent bouquet of hops, pine, and grapefruit. Really hits home like an IPA upfront, but then gives way to a roasted malt flavor that is mixed with nuts, biscuit, some leather, and some caramel.

(M) Solid medium body. Thicker but not overly full. Has some grain to it but only at the end. Start is smooth and rich.

(O) Solid beer for what I feel is a mix of two styles. It's got the best of both worlds and sits well with a decent blend. It's different on a good level.

Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep ruddy brown but not quite black (with a surprising amount of yeasty chunks floating in it), with a couple fingers of rich light mocha head. This retains with a creamy near finger that soaps the sides of the glass with thick coasting of sticky lace. The aroma smells fresh and floral, with notes of pine and spice being present and an underlying layer of bright feeling citric fruit and some almost tobacco like herbal accents. Malts are pushed way to the back, with light roast and a dark sweetness that could be what is pushing that tobacco flavor forward in the nose.

The taste is zesty grapefruit, astringent herbal tones, pine, and spice, with those resins in particular sticking in the finish with some strength. The malts profile here really works well with these hops, with a dry roasted character and sticky molasses sweetness. There is no doubt here though that while the hops are the main feature, the malts do act as a nice complimentary side act to them. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe a touch fuller, with a creamy crispness that fills the mouth and is undercut by a herbal slickness that keeps this smooth. The alcohol is mostly well hid, with just some light warmth on the tail end of each sip that drags the finish of this out across the tongue.

This was pretty nice and quite a unique take on the Black Ale style. The malts in particular were more complex and flavorful than you would usually find and paired up rather nicely with a fresh and powerful hop profile in its own right. I wouldn’t expect anything less from these three breweries.

Photo of DonDirkA
4.87/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beautiful pour. Deep brown (yes it is more brown than black). The head is thick and leaves a lot of attractive lacing behind. I know some people think the lacing thing isn't a big deal but it does look nice and tends to mean deliciousness is about to ensue.

The smell, unlike many black IPAs, is very very hoppy. It smells piney and slightly fruity like pineapples and oranges.

Very little blackness to this black IPA. It is very bright and hoppy. Super grapefruitty. Orange and slight pine. There is some of the roasted character of the malts in the background. Really it is just a deliciously citrusy IPA.

Overall, I think this is an awesome black IPA. It is the least black of the black IPAs I have had. This is an awesome IPA. Fantastic. If this were available in my area (Tucson, Arizona) I would drink it on a regular basis. Unfortunately, I found this on a visit to Riverside, CA. This is one of the best of the Stone Collabs that I have had. Maybe the best.

UPDATE: It is now available in AZ. I have at least found it @ Magee Road Liquors in Tucson.

Photo of HalfFull
3.47/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle into a large wine glass. This collaboration pours a deep brown in color and with deep ruby hues in the light. Half inch of tan foam offers decent retention and lace. Does have some mystery chunks floating around, rather odd for such a young beer.

Offers a nice dose of hops with some deep citrus and earthy pine notes. Bit of dark malts and cocoa add to the mix and makes this come across a bit as Sublimely Junior though with a different hop profile.

Bit of roast initially on the flavor, quickly turning to a slick and resinous citrus sense. Finishes a bit thin and with a bit of orange and milk chocolate, and finally a spiciness that isn't quite drying and even mildly sweet in nature. ABV is not noted yet carbonation is a bit low. A decent IPA but yet another collaboration brew that fails to leave a mark.

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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.