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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

635 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 635
Reviews: 256
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.03%

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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: HopHead84 on 12-20-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 635 | Reviews: 256 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque dark brown with a 1 inch foamy khaki head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Random streaks and chunks of lace form on the glass on the drink down. There is some sediment floating around in the glass after the beer is poured. Smell is pretty much all hops: citrus zest, herbs, onions/vegetables. Taste has all of the hop flavors up front with a malt finish that is somewhat roasty in flavor. There is a medium amount of bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a crisp level of carbonation and is very dry. Overall, this is a pretty good IPA but not all that impressive. This beer features hops that give off the vegetal aroma and flavor that I really don't like so I am not too sure I would go for this one again.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2012 02:42:00 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of womencantsail


3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A dark brown, perhaps chestnut, color with a soapy khaki colored head. A nice fresh hop aroma full of grapefruit and pine. Really quite resinous with lots of fresh citrus qualities. Really not much malt to be found. There is some toast and nuttiness to the flavor, however. Grapefruit hop notes follow quickly behind it and there is a solid bitterness on the finish with lots of pine flavor.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 04:44:29 | More by womencantsail
Photo of Thorpe429


3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of drabmuh. Served in a Stone taster glass.

Pours a somewhat-hazed medium brown color with a good off-white head and some nice lacing. The nose brings forward a nice malt presence and a light bit of roast. Nice pine and light resin. A touch of citrus. Flavor pulls back quite a bit from there, focusing more on the bitterness. Nice bitterness to the finish. Light-medium body. Boom.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2012 03:00:52 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98

New York

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy and dark mahogany in color and has lots of particulate matter floating in suspension and a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high frothy beige head that died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and lots of lacing running down the sides of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of citrus and pine resin hops in the nose. As the beer warms up, aromas of eucalyptus become more prominent.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has lots of flavors of citrus and pine resin along with some notes of roasted malts and hints of chocolate. There is a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and relatively crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a very hop-forward beer that is packed with flavors of citrus and pine resin but is quite easy to drink because it’s not that bitter. The smell is also very intriguing, especially after it warms up.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2012 02:41:59 | More by metter98
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2012 23:40:13 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591


3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Duvel tulip pint glass.

Been a whole, what, two months since the last Stone collab touched my lips? Too long, says I. Yar. Anyway, this one pours a dark brown (yeah, it really is more brown than black...) topped by a healthy tor of tan foam. The nose comprises grapefruit, lemon zest, light lime, light leek, pineapple, and a firm backbone of toffee. The taste holds notes of grapefruit zest, light leek, grass, light pine needles, mild toffee, and a touch of dusty biscuit. The hops seem to have lost their magical fruitiness and have opted instead for a more demure, more grass/herb/onion character. We are not amused. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and an almost silky feel. Overall, a pretty nice CDA, but one that suffers from hop transfer (meaning from smell to taste) for me. Still not bad, but not as good as it could have been.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2012 06:34:56 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of MasterSki


4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Binny's. Served in a Jester King tulip.

A - A finger of white foam settles to a collar and some wispy patches, leaving behind a few spots of lace. Lightly hazed brown-red body.

S - Dank earthy hops, a hefty dose of grapefruit and orange, touch of pine, and a bit of roasted malt character in the background but not much to indicate this is a "darker" beer.

T - Taste is again very hop-forward with nice citrus and pine flavors, a bit of tropical fruit, and only the most nebulous sugary malts and almost-imagined cocoa in the background.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and an extremely dry finish that leaves behind some resinous hop oils as well. There's a bit of alcohol warmth that seems out of place for the style and ABV.

D - Pretty enjoyable stuff - I enjoyed that low bitterness and minimal roast character that I'm guessing is John's influence on this beer. A tad overpriced for 12oz, but at least my money is going to a worthwhile cause.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2012 22:24:29 | More by MasterSki
Photo of emerge077


4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Into a wilibecher glass, MBTB IPA pours a murky dark brown, with plenty of yeast sediment swirling around like a snow globe in the bottom of the glass. Compact cap of tan foam, it ebbs after a few minutes, leaving random bits of lace and a thin broken skim on the surface.

Dank hoppy aroma is the highlight, plenty of citrus peel and earthy green resinous qualities. Some toasted malt sweetness takes a backseat, and some woody traces emerge later on.

Moderately bitter with a light complimentary sweetness, some orange peel and resinous pine, greens and bitter orange peel marmalade. Dry finish, slightly toasty and astringently bitter with a bigger swig, that you feel in your gums. Smooth and bitter, medium bodied with light unobtrusive carbonation. Overall a great brown IPA and a successful collaboration.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2012 02:38:52 | More by emerge077
Photo of drabmuh


3.73/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'd like to thank me for getting this Stone tick for myself and the Thorpes.

Beer is browner than black, with a thin tan head of small bubbles, some lacing, moderate carbonation.

Aroma has a mild roast / nut to it but mostly hops of the "C" variety here, Centennial and columbus is my guess.

beer is medium in body, moderate to light in bitterness, nice connectivity between the backbone and the hoppiness, the hoppiness is a little sulfury / earthy with a strong malt forward presence and a light finishing bitterness, not dry. Interesting, but I probably won't have it again.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2012 01:57:38 | More by drabmuh
Photo of Mora2000


4/5  rDev -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.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2012 04:19:01 | More by Mora2000
Photo of jlindros


4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So glad to see this collab. Love Alchemist, as well as Stone, and Ninkasi is good as far as I know. Glad to help out Alchemist as well with the repairs etc.

Big fluffy 2 finger head fades semi slowly with thick lacing, dark ruby light piercing the molasses brown colored beer with yeast chunks.

Nose has fresh hops, centennial I think, spicy, citrusy, floral, even a bit earthy. Some darker malts, crystal, creamy, hint of coffee and chocolate.

Taste starts with creamy malts, darker, with a hint if coffee, caramel, even toffee. Then plenty of hops, spicy hops dominate, as well as a but floral, earthy, dvds some citrus. It gets decent bitterness as the spicy hops really shine, and light citrus with hint of orange and tangerine. Finish is more bitter and earthy and spicy, almost like biting on a hop pellet, little more citrus, and crystal malts, dry but sticky.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, little creamy, good carb.

Overall good, nice hops with a good darker malt backbone, full flavor, rich, and a nice blend of spicy, earthy, and citrus hops. Doesn't go overboard in anything, fairly drinkable for what it is too.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 03:41:32 | More by jlindros
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yet another collaboration beer. I like the bottles. They seem to get nicer with each release.

As far as the beer goes, it's a nice black ale; at least it seemsStrong nose. Flavor is strong as well, though mildly muddled. A hearty drinker that I'm enjoying sipping. Another nice one from the collaboration series.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2012 03:39:19 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
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 aroma...limited 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.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 16:28:53 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Halcyondays


4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours brown with a bit of floaties. Nice off-white head with good retention, some lace.

S: Hops leap out and attack immediately in contrast to the beer's dark colour. Lots of pine. As the beer warms notes of grapefruit and tangerine appear. Pungent.

T: As dark as the beer is the malt doesn't play a huge part. Heavy white grapefruit and cedar, spicy hop character. Good flavours.

M: Medium-bodied, creamy mouthfeel, resiny, not a huge aftertaste though the beer hangs around.

O: A real nice dark IPA plus I know its fresh since I bought the bottle when they first appeared. One of the best collabs Stone has done.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2011 22:09:38 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of barleywinefiend


3.13/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured brown with a nice dirty white cap and some bubbles hanging around

S: Pine resin and orange peel, perhaps a whiff of grapefruit

T: Starts out a bit spicey, pine and citrus, mainly citrus to me but this was not above any other traditional IPA. There was no wow factor for this beer whether they were going for a off IPA or a tame version of CDA. Nothing special/

M: Medium-bodied, with a lacking backend when it comes to flavor and feel

O: Average across the board..CDA or IPA

Serving type: on-tap

12-27-2011 03:34:58 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of StonedTrippin


4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

WOOOWWW!!! never had a citrusy BLACK ipa before, damn this is good. pours a not quite black with a serviceable white head leaving plenty of lace. smells rich and roasty and hoppy, but something more here, there is this intense citrus nectar here, like lemons and tangerines sqeeuzed fresh. flavor is way lighter than expected where the roasty thing just sort of compliments the fruity hops, tart crisp tannic hops. lemony and bright, tempered by the dark malts. this is so so so good. feel is great too, lighter than it looks with great carbonation and a delicate but assertive aftertaste. damn i should have got more than one. this is world class

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 03:58:43 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of tempest


4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-04-2012 22:37:26 | More by tempest
Photo of mdfb79

New York

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 03/24/12 notes. Bottle at RFD, poured into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with two inchs of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus hops, roasted malts, light coffee, pine hops. A nice mix of hops and roasted qualities.

t - Tastes of pine hops, citrus hops, roasted malts, caramel, nuts, coffee, light chocolate. More pine hops than the nose.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation. Easy to drink.

o - Overall I thought this was a very good Black IPA. Still a style that confuses me a bit and I haven't had any that have really blown me away, but this is up there as one of the better ones I've had. The nose has more citrus hops while the taste had more pine hops, and both had lots of roasted qualities mixing with it. Easy to drink, would certainly have it again.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2012 18:05:34 | More by mdfb79
Photo of kojevergas


3.23/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a N'Ice Chouffe beerflute in low altitude Los Angeles, California. My first beer from Alchemist. Expectations are high due to Alchemist's reputaiton, but my past experiences with other Stone beers temper this a bit. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger head of decent cream, good thickness, and great retention. Colour is indeed brown, with floating yeasty particles abound. Appealing, but nothing special.

Sm: Biscuity yeast and fantastic fresh hops. Very hoppy indeed (hey, stone is involved...) Moderate and seemingly balanced. Here's hoping it isn't overly bitter and coarse like so many IPAs...

T: It isn't! It's hoppy, but curbed by the pleasant biscuity yeast notes and light spice on the climax. Perhaps some candied sugar is present? It seems full-bodied - strangely so. It's nicely balanced, though the hops are cut short rather abruptly. Still, this is better than overbearing bitterness. A nicely built, flavorful IPA.

Mf: Smooth and wet, without too much coarseness. It's got a strange creamy overtone going on, which doesn't suit the flavours. Moreover, it's a touch too thick. Still, in general terms it complements the flavours.

Dr: A drinkable IPA without a clear focus, this may please fans of the style but its strange build and experimental nature prevent it from being truly great. I like that it's bold, but this could have used more work. I look forward to trying more beers from The Alchemist.


Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 07:29:12 | More by kojevergas
Photo of Rifugium


3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from Capone's, Norristown, PA
Collaboration between Stone, Alchemist, and Ninkasi.

Poured a deep cola brown, oily and clear, with a thin layer of white bubbles for a head. Roasty malts and resinous hops in the aroma, pretty typical of the style. Taste is pretty woody and generously hop-laden, but not nearly as resinous as other CDAs I've had; flavors of pine needles, bitter citrus pith, cedar, nutty malts, moderately roasty. Medium body, slightly syrupy, a good drinker overall.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2012 14:40:36 | More by Rifugium
Photo of Billolick

New York

4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2012 02:00:01 | More by Billolick
Photo of lacqueredmouse


4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2012 02:02:48 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of Jason


3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2011 20:14:51 | More by Jason
Photo of Zorro


3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear brown colored beer with a small tan colored head.

Smells strongly of C type hops. Strong grapefruit with cedar balls ensure that moths will not get your beer here. No patent malt scent though. This is a beer that is big on hops, roasted malt not so much.

Starts out muddled in the beginning with a savory after taste. Strong bitterness with a taste I can only call burned coffee. Tastes like a mix of DIPA and Starbucks coffee.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall this is just OK. Tastes like Starbucks coffee and a Strong DIPA mixed together.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2012 01:11:53 | More by Zorro
Photo of corby112


3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque, dark chocolate brown color with a one finger yellowish beige head that slowly fades into a lasting ring.  Streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

Floral, earthy aroma with some dank, resinous pine character countered by subtle sweet and roasted malt.  Faint citrus presence along with hints of chocolate and caramel.  Not too roasty or overly malty, allowing the hops to shine.

Chewy medium body with a nice balance of dry bitterness and roasted/sweet malts.   Earthy with pine needle and dank buds along with some sweet citrus flavor.  This is countered by a decent malt backbone with hints of toast, toffee, caramel and chocolate.  Well balanced with a well masked abv making this beer easy to drink.  A nice malt presence yet the hops remain prominent.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2012 00:37:59 | More by corby112
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The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPA from Stone Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 635 ratings.