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Ram's Head India Pale Ale - Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery

Not Rated.
Ram's Head India Pale AleRam's Head India Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

64 Ratings

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Ratings: 64
Reviews: 44
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 10.89%
Wants: 1
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: oberon on 06-10-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 64 | Reviews: 44
Reviews by ncbrewerbun:
Photo of ncbrewerbun
3.09/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From a 12 ounce can that always (4 out of 4 times) gushes when you open it. No freshness date.

This beer's strong point is its appearance. It's a really inviting looking beer. It pours a very clear dark copper with a little red glimmering as you hold it to the light. It comes complete with a creamy white head that stays and stays throughout the drinking of the beer.

The aroma is average at best. There are no knock-you-over hops sticking you in the nostrils. More of a balance between malt and not-entirely-fresh hops, along with a hint of fruit. And there were some phenols that I picked up that detracted.

Flavor is OK, but nothing unique. A good balance without a lot of the hop presence I'd expect from an IPA. The aftertaste just a little plasticky. This beer is an English style IPA and my can may have been a month or so past its prime.

Overall, this is an average beer that looks really nice. There are better IPAs around NC.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.61/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Davie Poplar's IPA with a new a name and in a Carolina collector's can,poured a nice rich copper witha big slightly off white head that leaves globs of lace behind.English hop aromas very herbal and somewhat minty both of wich are pretty light,flavors are pretty light and on the herbal side a lightly sweet matiness shows itself nicely with the herbalness of this beer but both are subtle.This is more of a sessionable type IPA and pretty English in style,not bad.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.08/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine May 2007.

Another canned craft beer (and an unfiltered canned beer at that!). This one is part of Top of the Hill's "Carolina Collector's Edition." It's great to see a brewpub still getting their beers out there in a unique way.

A foamy little can it is, with 12 ounces of liquid foaming enough to fill a 20-ounce glass all the way to the top. The foam shows good retention as the head stays with us for a long while. Mildly hazed amber becomes a bit clearer as it warms up. Freshly cut grass and blonde tobacco from the hop aroma; light biscuity notes from the malt. Timid medium body lets a quick rush of crispness through, with smoothness in the end. Right from the start, the hop bitterness lays in with a solid bitter bite, a juicy nugget of herbal. Some hemp seed and evergreen flavor from the hops bursts in the middle. The malt character struggles to give its share, each time getting pushed back down by the sharpness of the hops. Finishes bitter and dry.

Damn, this IPA does not hold back. Is it off balance? A little. Would a hophead enjoy it? Probably--or at least deem it worth a try. Throw it at some spicy chili spiked with super-hot peppers and see what happens.

Photo of tastybeer
3.83/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pretty auburn amber color with a towering light beige, ivory colored head. And that was with the slowest of pours. Big fluffy lace patches the glass and a soapy thick 1/4" of retention blankets the surface. Nose is a nice delight. Grassy and citrus hops greet you at the forefront, followed by refresing fruits, apricots and peaches which smooth out and blend well with sweet buttery bread and caramel malts. The aromas dart around a lot. Rather interesting and adequate nose. Taste is not quite as good but I still like it. A lot of bittering hops all over the place, but especially through the end. There could certainly be more hops for the flavor, to make mouths happy if not to simply continue the aromas. I like the amount of butterscotchy and caramel malts but to even it out, again there needs to be more hop flavor. Mouthfeel is thick, with a big medium body, creamy and smooth. Coats your mouth fully and leaves hop bitterness behind. Drinkability is great for me. It goes down like butter, even with the emphasis on hop bitterness.

Nice can + nice, pleasant, hoppy and malty beer. And it is pretty British IPA-like.

Photo of nickd717
3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Top of the Hill.

Pours a mostly clear amber color with a very small off-white head.

Citrusy and floral hop aroma with some sweet malty notes.

Flavor also has caramel malt on the base, rather standard hop profile that is mostly fruity/citrusy.

Body is medium, maybe somewhat syrupy, and carbonation is average.

To borrow from "Beerfest," if you can drink Ram's Head, f**k you can drink anything. Just kidding - this beer is fine. Go Duke and GTHC!

Photo of Kegatron
3.33/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy coppery amber, with 2+ big foamy fingers of off-white head. Retains with a thin layer of froth that leaves some pretty sizable sticky lacing behind. The aroma is floral and mostly earthy with a bit of spice and a fairly thick layer of toasted and grainy caramel malts underneath.

The taste is much the same, with the bitterness being more mellow and earthy up front before laying an extremely dry and spicy feel on the tongue. Citrus and malt arrive with a flush in the back, along with a nice roasted texture to the grains. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a soft and creamy feel to the carbonation that then gets a bit pricklier on the out edges of the swallow. This actually goes down pretty decently for the most part.

This lacked a bit of the pop that this had fresh on draft at the brewpub but this is was overall a decent stab at an English IPA with plenty of spice and earthiness. Plus this gets bonus points for being I believe the only establishment in NC that is currently doing cans. Win!

Photo of nms1987
3.42/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A...Brownish bronze, almost opaque. Huge foamy head that doesn't go around for awhile but doesn't give much lacing.

S.. Oranges? This can doesn't smell especially fresh. I remember this being much better. I'll have to go to the brewpub sometime and get it fresh to be sure.

T.. A little bitter but fairly balanced. hop profile. Not as great tasting as I remember, merely average right now.

M... Thick, malty mouthfeel actually. Kind of resembles a less sweet DFH 90 in mouthfeel. Not a whole lot of hop bite.

D.. Fair. I'll have to try it on tap again because I remember this being very good but its only decent right now. Still definitely worth getting sometime, especially at only 6.50 for 6 cans. But I remember it being great with a more biting hop attack.

Photo of ewright
4.48/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: A vigorous pour from a can(!) yields over 1.5" of fluffy white head in my DFH snifter. As the head recedes, a beautiful layer of lace is left on the glass. The beer is a brilliant amber color. The only deduction comes from a slight opaqueness that detracts just a bit.

S: Big notes of spicy herbal hops hit you full force. Slight notes of toasted malts shine through in the background. Late in the beer, I get a faint note of tropical fruit... maybe pineapple?

T: The bitterness is not as overwhelming as the aroma might suggest. It blends very well with the malt; caramel and floral notes mingling nicely with each other.

M: Perfect level of carbonation yields slight tingling on the tongue. The strength of the malt smooths things out nicely.

D: This may not be quite as high %ABV as most IPAs (no doubt a legacy of the old 6% NC cap), but this is one incredibly fine beer. This could easily be my go-to beer, especially when I want a hoppy brew at a reasonable price!

Photo of Treyliff
3.55/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Top of the Hill

A- pours clear and golden with a nice creamy white head with good retention, thick lacing the entire way down the glass

S- piney hops, sugary malt, mineral water

T- piney hop up front mixes with a sweet sugary malt that balances it out, dry finish with a hop linger

M- medium body and carbonation, prickly mouthfeel, smooth finish

O- It's sweet for an IPA, but has some nice piney hop notes, high drinkability

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can collector edition (Ram Head) courtesy of Brentfeesh: Poured a medium orangey color ale with a medium head with average retention. Aroma is hoppy thought not as much expected with a nice malt base. Taste is a mix between some semi-sweet malt with some slightly bitter finish. Body is slightly above average. Nice average IPA but lacking a bit of bitterness to make this truly interesting.

Photo of wedge
3.61/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper-gold color with a little haze, and oh yes, a massive, foamy, rocky head that puffs over the edge of the glass. Aroma is floral, juicy, fruity, and grassy with a fair amount of buttery, caramel malts. More floral and grassy hops in the flavor - lots of bitterness, somewhat like citrus rind. A little earthy and herbal with a slight toffee malt slickness. Medium, well-rounded mouthfeel has adequate carbonation.

Solid English-style IPA, though it could use a malt boost and some more flavor out of the hops.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.03/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz can poured into a pint glass

A - This poured a very vigorous and lively pale copper amber with a huge three to four finger high head of bubbling over and frothy white lace. This one actually seemed to explode out of the can when I poured it. Head finally settled down into a thin layer across the top with minimal side glass lace and a good amount of carbonation streaming up from the bottom. Looked pretty good I would have to say even though it was very very clear.

S - The aroma was very un-IPA like to be honest. Just no where near enough hops in hear and in fact the aroma was dominated by grainey and grass like notes.

T - Not very full flavored this one had just way to much going in the way of mals and grains and not anywhere near the frsh cut citrus hops I would have liked to have seen. The flavor was just weak and really not full enough. Finish was kinda quick and watery, not that biting IPA finish you come to expect.

M - Very light body and of course the aforementioned huge amounts of carbonation almost made this one feel like a light beer. It was just that thin.

D - I supposed it was pretty drinkable only because of how light it was, but if you are taking it in terms of other IPA's I will have to pass.

Overall I was not really sure this was actually an IPA. It was a light pale ale at best, I would mve on, no better then average here.

Photo of wcudwight
4.05/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm a Duke Bluedevils fan but I'll try to be objective reviewing this beer ;)
Crystal clear copper colored with a massive pillowy white head. Nice retention and lace sticks to the side of the glass like one of Tyler Hansboro's bank shots.
Wonderful aroma but not what I expected. This is truely an English session IPA. Earthy, spicy and floral aromas with just a hint of citrus.
Flavorwise it was not what I was expecting but it's still an excellent beer. Earthy almost heathery malt backbone with a nice balance of tropical and earty hops. A nice combination in the finish of spiciness and bitterness.
Creamy medium bodied mouthfeel. I wish the mouthfeel had a bit more sharpness to it.
Overall this is the perfect tailgaiting beer. I love the cans so I can take it fishing and camping.
Nice beer from Tarheel country. Now if Duke University were to have a beer I bet it'd be a nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

Photo of rtratzlaff
3.58/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer looked a clear amber with a large pillowy head that dissipiated slowly. The smell was citrus hops and not much else. Taste was dominated by the hops, but it was sort of a simple hop bitterness rather than hop flavors. Mouthfeel was on the lighter side probably would have added to the drinkability. Maybe its only because its another IPA in a can, but it reminded me a bit of Dale's Pale Ale, but not nearly as good. I could drink this, but it doesn't really live up to IPA status. I feel like they just took their pale ale and simply added a bit more hops.

Photo of daliandragon
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up as a novelty at Grapes and Hops in Fayettevvile last weekend, based mostly on the big horned ram on the can. Why a can and not a bottle? I know not.

Smells and looks good, with a decent head and hoppy but balanced nose. Lacing is readily visible. Hop smell gets stronger as this one warms.

Taste has more malt than most IPAs and the hops don't really kick in until the aftertaste, where they bitter slightly astringently buit not too bad. Also a bit more metal tasting than I'd ordinarily recommend. Kind of schizophrenic in the malt/hops divide of the sip but an interesting taste nonetheless. I don't love it but I'd try it again if I found it.

Photo of CWiggins
3.35/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer has been around my area for quite some time; this is my first taste of it and any of Top of the Hill's brews. It pours a dark copper and allows a one-finger off-white head to form. Features of the aroma include a nice citrus accent, some malt scents, and a nice hop presence. The flavor is equally intriguing: there is a generous amount of malt character, with just a little hops for balance. Actually, this may be one the most malty brews in its style I can recall. It's certainly not too bitter, although hops are certainly detectable at the finish. It is medium-bodied and has just a little too much carbonation for my taste. I can say, however, that I won't deny this beer its due if I'm in the mood for a nice IPA.

Photo of hopsaplenty
3.48/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz can, not date information. Topped with a cool looking light blue anodized tab.

Thick 2" head of fine antique white bubbles sits atop a glowing hazed amber. Loads of active carbonation streams shoot to the surface. The head slowly settles to a moonscape leaving a band of clumpy lacing. The smell is of pronounced caramel and sweet piney and floral hops. The taste is initially a citrus rindy tartness with only a modest caramel note. The finish is light and tart rind edge that does not linger, perhaps a candied grapefruit rind. Fairly balanced, but there is a slightly strange sweet/tart thing that flashes across. Medium body with a light mouthfeel and minimal carbonation. Not bad all around, enjoyable and I would not refuse a can if it came my way.

Photo of sharkheadlasers
3.88/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This IPA pours copper with an amber head. The aroma is a nice, citrus hop (most likely an American hop) that I just can't place followed by some maltiness. The taste is not sweet, but bitter as it should be, but not overpoweringly bitter. It is balanced with a malt backbone. The taste finishes astringent and bitter. The mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing. This is an enjoyable IPA and could easily be followed by a few more of these.

Photo of cvstrickland
3.98/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12-ounce can poured into a shaker pint glass yields a fiery reddish-gold caramel-amber body with a huge off-white head. The soft, grainy foam retains very stubbornly and leaves comfy pillows of puffy lacing on the glass.

The smell of the drink is spicy and fruity with a fine floral character and a touch of husky malt.

The taste is sweet and malty and is punctuated with flavors of spicy grapefruit and sweet orange. A potent dry bitterness is tamed, or at least kept largely in check, by the juicy citrus and a floral-nectary malty sweetness. Grassy hops and a bit of toastiness emerge as the drink warms.

The drink is firm and medium-bodied and feels smooth and silky with a perfect tingle of carbonation. Superb can o' brew.

Photo of Imstillthegman
3.53/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Being a huge beer guy and a huge UNC fan there was no way I could pass this up when I saw it.

Pours a copper color with excellent clarity. Big ol' creamy light tan head leaves a ton of craggy lacing.

The aroma is of some spicy, grassy hops and toasted bread malts. Light bit of caramel and fruit way in the back.

The taste comes as a little surprise to me. It's sweeter than I would have guessed it to be. Spicy citrus hops blend nicely with the sweet honey dipped bread. The finish is a bit medicinal and that lasts into the aftertaste for a couple of seconds...not my favorite part at all.

Medium body. Drying and slightly bitter aftertaste....a bit like Goody's powder if you know what I mean. If it wasn't for the medicinal finish and its lingering, this would be a much better beer.

Photo of Camperdown
4.5/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: All six cans foamed over when I opened them. Beautiful dense head when poured. Nice amber color. At this point I'm pretty hopeful that I've stumbled across a real gem.

Smell: Very nice, more fruity than sharp-hoppy. Milder than I expected, but then I realized that I wasn't drinking a hop-your-socks-off American style IPA.

Taste: Pretty good hop-malt balance. Smooth aftertaste. Please don't campare this to American IPAs. I prefer that style, but this beer is a great English IPA.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation noticeable, but overall still a rich, tart delight.

Drinkability: Found this (in cans) in Southern Pines, NC...I had been hoping for a double IPA to celebrate this state's recent raising of the beer alcohol limit, but this beer was one I hadn't tried before. A welcome surprise, at a good price. A few six packs will definitely make it back to GA. An aside (personal preference)... this beer would probably not usurp Dale's Pale Ale as the canned beer best for drinking during certain outdoor activities.

Photo of
3.63/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. can, courtesy of kkipple - Thanks!

Poured a mostly clear, amber color. Formed a modest, light tan head.

Aroma consisted of caramel and wheat bread. Some peaches in there. Earthy & grassy.

Taste was herbal & grasssy hops, nicely balanced by wheat bread & honey center. Touch medicinal in the finish, not a positive.

Medium in body. Medium carbonation. Not very dry.

Very drinkable, nicely balanced. Pretty good beer, overall.

Photo of EPseja
3.16/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from AKSmokedporter in the Birthday BIF.

Served from a 12oz can at just below cellar temperature in my new favorite DFH pint glass.

A - Poured gently to keep the huge, pillowy head from popping over the rim of the glass. Hazy copper-orange in color. Huge bubbles in the head, underneath a puffy, tiny bubbled tan crown. Lacing is very nice - patchy and sticky. Head remains an island in the middle of the beer through the last sip.

S - Crisp and clean with "chilly" smelling citrus notes. Tangerine is dominant. Not much else...

T - Not much sweetness in the front of this beer - very subtle. More floral notes are evident in the taste than in the nose. The middle brings out a big, bready taste that's laced with bitter hops. Medium drying, leaving you with a slightly astringent kick in the back of the throat after the swallow.

M - Lively and crisp. Refreshing mouthfeel that turns fluffy and light before the swallow. Finish is a bit off balance and very bitter.

D - For an IPA, this beer seems a bit more towards the American than the English style. Quite bitter, but enjoyable overall. Could benefit from a touch more malt sweetness.

Photo of kkipple
3.3/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed some of these a while back at Greenlife in Asheville. Local beer in a can? I can dig it.

A. Unfiltered dusty rust-orange. Small tight head sticks around for a while in my glass. Looks rustic.

S. Smells like an English pale to me... at least the malt bill and lack of prominent hops is giving that impression... sweet and mild, bitter hops in a supporting, not dominant, role. Caramel and a pleasing toasty character are here, along with a little musty grandma's basement sort of smell that's not as offensive as it could be. Muted, creamy oranges...

T. Yeah, English pale / IPA here... bitter hops pile on an astringent / medicinal (alas!) quality to some otherwise smooth drinking sweet malt. Touch of brown sugar. Mostly soft and inoffensive. Not a lot to write home about, this is a perfectly serviceable, though mis-named Pale.

M. Actually pretty good, decently full and light, spritzy carbonation lends to big sips. Finish is toasted sweet grain and generally bitter, slightly metallic hops. Ok.

D. I'm having no trouble drinking this, but it's not something I'd really seek out, either...

Ram's Head has the beginnings of a pretty good session beer here... I'd tweak the hop bill to add more bitter character or at least lose the medicinal quality... more earthy, English hops and a rebranding as a classic pale or some such would help this beer a lot.

Photo of sinistrsam
3.92/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap with a chicken stuffed roasted red-pepper dinner, which by the way, it paired with nicely. Had a redish copper color, foamy white head. Decent lacing and good retention. The nose was a typical IPA, pretty serious hop presence, malt, mild sweet fruits. The taste was mroe sweet than bitter, or rather, had a good balance. Hops, sweet malts, alcohol. Decently smooth for an IPA and finished clean and crisp, as I said, paired very nicely with my meal. I think this is a very drinkable IPA; not too bitter, not too strong. Overall one of my favorites from this UNC microbrewery.

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Ram's Head India Pale Ale from Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.