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Ninja Vs. Unicorn | Pipeworks Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
94
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291 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
291
Ratings:
1,990
Avg:
4.25
pDev:
20.71%
 
 
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Ninja Vs. UnicornNinja Vs. Unicorn
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Ninja vs. Unicorn celebrates the epic battle between two of the biggest hop-heads of lore. Brewed with over five pounds of hops per barrel, this unfiltered double IPA is sure to please the most discerning hop lover. Whether you’re rooting for the mythical horned horse or the deadly assassin of the east, we hope you’ll enjoy Ninja vs. Unicorn.

Added by MasterSki on 01-23-2012

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Reviews: 291 | Ratings: 1,990
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to queens1130 for sharing this one at drewone's tasting.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, and citrus zest. Taste is much the same with a medium hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I think it smells better than it tastes.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Half finger head with nice lacing on a golden and burnt orange murky body. Aroma of wet socks, citrus mostly orange, pineapple, club soda, pine, herbal hops and lots of candy sugar. Flavor is fairly tart due to the citrus which again is mostly orange and white pineapple, pine and toasted malts. Medium body and moderate carbonation. Very good IPA. Balanced, anomalous and very drinkable.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

i havent mad many beers from these guys, but their hoppy stuff has quite a loyal following, so this is a real treat. on tap at falling rock. its hazy golden straw colored with a real tall white head on it, fine lacing as i sip it down. smells like a whole lot of fresh citra hops, juicy and citrusy, with grapefruit and orange notes, as well as a rather straightforward grain base with just a little leftover sweetness. the flavor is predictably all about the hops, showcasing a nice mix of new world strains, but citra still seems like the only one i can positively identify. the freshness is awesome, and it tastes better than it smells, more juicy and alive, sticky and sappy, but not too oily and thick like some of the west coast ones can be, this is decidedly midwestern, fusing elements of each side. the hazy unfiltered nature is more of an east coast thing, and it helps this be a little more interesting in terms of feel. lots of body, a little residual sweetness, but a smoothness like no other, and not a whole lot of bitterness from these hops either. hints of honey and lemon in the finish too. no trace at all of its strength, i drank this way too fast and easy. i wish this was in colorado more often, really top quality ipa.

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Photo of metter98
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is somewhat hazy yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high bright white head that gradually died down, leaving some specks of lacing on the surface, a thin collar around the edge, and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of cantaloupe are present in the nose along with some notes of citrusy and piney hops. The pine becomes a bit stronger as the beer warms up.
T: The taste follows the smell and starts off with flavors of melons—cantaloupe seems to stand out in particular along with some notes of citrusy hops and hints of piney hops in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and quite crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of visible carbonation.
O: This beer has an interesting mix of aromas and flavors, particularly with the cantaloupe melon. It's rather drinkable for an Imperial IPA and hides any traces of alcohol from the taste.

Serving type: can

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

So, what part of the beer is Ninja and what part is Unicorn? The duel that takes place on the taste buds favor a deep and drying bitterness while its finesse fruit tones takes sides with the sweeter malt impressions.

As the oddly curios beer pours, it quickly separates as its golden lush body sinks and its frothy white cap rises. Surprisingly clear in its appearance it's relatively void of any hop-derived haze. Retaining mercifully, the ale only lightly speckles the glass with lace. Aside from its timid lacing patterns, Ninja vs Unicorn has a very stately appearance.

Vibrant and juicy aromas captivate the nose with a ton of citrus and tropical fruits- everything from red grapefruit, lemon and tangerine- to pineapple, mango and apricot are all well represented and in good balance. Supporting caramel aromas give a light biscuit, bread and honeyed character that makes the fruit impressions seem ripe, juicy and vibrant. After the ale settles a bit, other notes of spicy alcohol, apple and buttered popcorn unfold from the mix.

The light honey and caramel sweetness greet the taste buds first; just ahead of the citrus and tropical fruit flavors. But once those arrive, the ale takes on a spicier and earthier tone with pine, sharp herbal and grassy bitterness until it grows into a full-out resiny-dry finish. Lightly buttery- this taste along side of the spicy and bitter alcohol taste add more to the beer's complexity instead of detracting from it.

Medium-dry throughout, the ale easily sheds its early sweetness and creamy carbonation and quickly favors drier and more bitter taste from the middle on. Its spicy acetone prickle seems higher than its 8.5% would suggest but is highlighted by the beer's malty-dry finish and resinous bitterness.

Ninja vs. Unicorn is a magical and inquisitive ale that's terrific with all its glory and a few of its worts (no pun intended). Though not the cleanest IPA in its arsenal, the ale's keen hop-forward delivery easily carries the beer from its initial sip to its fleeting finish.

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Photo of brentk56
3.61/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with three fingers of foam; the persistance is excellent, leaving squiggles of lace behind on the pint glass

Smell: Very piney, but there is also an unusual green onion and sage tone

Taste: A hint of sugar cookie malt and then the hops take over very aggressively; piney to an extreme, but there are other elements that are harder to define, as well - I'll put them in the green onion and sage category for lack of a more precise descriptor; this unusual flavor dominates the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation but mouth-puckering dryness, in the aftertaste

Overall: I don't think I have ever had my mouth dry out from the hops quite like this before; in the hop profile, others are finding tropical flavors but that doesn't capture what is happening on my palate; I'm really curious about the hops that were used but cannot find any reference to that anywhere; I wonder whether the name of the beer offers a clue; perhaps Ninja refers to West Coast "C" hops and the Unicorn refers to European Noble hops battling it out

Thanks to hoppymeal for making this possible

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a hazy beige color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of floral hops with a mix between some citrus hops with resinous notes is quite exquisite. Taste is a super great mix between huge floral notes of citrus hops with some resinous notes with a good malt backbone with just enough sweetness to sustain the hops presence. Body is full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Huge hops bomb with more floral then bitter notes.

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Photo of emerge077
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Glad to see Pipeworks' first beer from the brewery out into the world...

Into a tulip glass it pours a bright saturated golden orange. Plenty of lacing all around the glass forming drippy irregular patterns.

Eucalyptus and light citrus aromas, initial blast of resinous hops, slight pale malt sweetness bleeds through eventually.

Citrus rind, grapefruit and tangerine, a moderate bitterness, and an exceptionally light feel for an 8.5% DIPA. Crisp and clean, finishes with lots of hoppy nuance to keep you interested. Some vegetal bitterness lingers alongside pleasant citrus notes. Very tasty and a solid first entry into the market.

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Photo of jlindros
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to rudzud for sharing.

Creamy fizzy 1/2 finger head fades slowly with light lacing over hazy mango orange colored beer. Head keeps building and not fading, good for the abv and ibu count.

Nose fresh tropical fruit, light grapefruit, hint of musty resins, guava, even hint of pineapple but no real orange citrus, and a light fluffy wheat malt.

Taste starts fluffy, nice creamy malts, light sweetness. Then hops, bitterness builds and ramps quite a bit, nice tropical fruit but not as much as the nose, light pineapple, grapefruit, guava, etc. the hops turn slightly piny and spicy. No resin or orange citrus. Light candy flavored though. Finish is dry and quite biter, spicy hops mostly with a hint of tropical fruits, etc, and slightly oily.

Moth is med bodied, good carb, slight oily hop.

Overall nice, good hops really nice tropical fruit but weird that it's without the orange citrus, light resin, booze is hidden well tasty and goes down easy.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 16oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright gold color with a short white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains a nice blend of grassy hops, fruity citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of citrus and caramel that are very quickly followed by a nice strong floral hops bitterness. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and creates an excellent balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Very crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, good kick, excellent representation of style, this is a 2IPA worth drinking for a very long time.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.11/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a Pipeworks bell tulip. Attractive beer, hazy golden-amber color with a full inch of foamy, beige head that sank to a thick cap and left gobs of lace on the glass. I could smell the fresh hop goodness as soon as I cracked the cap on this one. Pithy citrus and pine, underripe tropical fruits, with a sugar cookie malt base. More of this in the taste, orange pith and zest, strong, oily bitterness, pine resin, green pineapple rind, sugary, bready malt backbone bringing in good balance, but still leaving the hop profile firmly in charge. Vegetal bitterness lasted right into the aftertaste. Medium body, unctuous mouthfeel, moderate and appropriate carbonation. This was a very nicely done DIPA.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Finally getting a chance to try out some beer from this much-ballyhoo'ed new brewery. It pours a clear brass topped by a finger or so of bone foam. The nose comprises mandarin orange, light mango, a sprig of background-dwelling leek, and a nice, smooth mixture of of honey and sweet caramel. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a twinge of pineapple and a small bite of both spearmint and pine resin. The balance at work is really quite nice. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta sticky finish. Overall, a pretty tasty DIPA, one that showcases both a pleasantly fruity hoppiness and a solid balance. Good times.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this at Eataly, enjoyed chilled from the can in a cervoise.

The color is deeply hazed amber with 2 fingers of off white cream for head with fine bead and thick waves of lace stick. The smell is great with lovely tropical hop aroma with slight citrus and mild grapefruit with a pleasant floral aroma and mild pineapple scent with gentle pith/grassy quality.
The feel is great -lots of resinous body with lively bitter texture and medium high carbonation with low sweetness and mostly dry with almost no alcohol noticeable and semi-spicy lasting effect on the palate.

The taste is very good with tangy and fruity tropical quality of golden grapefruit with slight pine and zesty citrus continuing with mild spicy aspect with mango and apricot flavor and hint of grass with slight peppery hop and pineapple combination that also has a dank herbal flavor with so much spicy/tropical hops brimming out. This is wonderfully hoppy yet sneaky drinkable with a nice amount of hop flavor and fruity spicy quality with dank and juicy flavors that last with mild malt support and not overly sweet as some double Ipa's tend to get 1/2 way through.

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Photo of superspak
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, batch 158 bottled 6/28/2013. Pours very hazy orange amber color with a 1-2 finger dense off white head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of huge mango, papaya, passion fruit, peach, pineapple, tangerine, floral, honey, light caramel, light pine, and floral earthiness. Insane aromas with huge complexity of tropical hop notes with a moderate malt balance; and big strength. Taste of big mango, peach, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, tangerine, floral, pine, grass, honey, light caramel, and floral earthiness. Fair amount of pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of big tropical fruits, tangerine, floral, pine, honey, light caramel, and floral earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible balance and complexity of tropical hop flavors; with a moderate malt balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy, slick, and fairly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely incredible DIPA! Huge complexity and balance of tropical hops with moderate malt sweetness; and very smooth to sip on. An extremely delicious offering.

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Photo of mothman
3.78/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

White head. Lace left. Golden yellow color.

Earthy and piney. Some citrus flavors. Mango. Bitter with some resin stickiness.

Decent but nothing I am crazy about.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Initially I rated this much lower - around 4. But I feel like the quality of the cans keeps improving. Less syrupy, better head / lacing, brighter hops with reduced sweetness. Perhaps they've fine tuned the malts, perhaps just dialed in the production. Regardless, this has gone from a solid local beer to a truly great DIPA.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to DLeep for hooking me up with this. Label art is ridiculous and awesome.

the beer is orange with an inch of white head. Aromas of fresh hops, tropical fruit, citrus, pine. Great flavor. It gets better as the beer warms a tad and opens up. Big on the palate, with some noticeable alcohol, but hop character is certainly the feature. Mango, pineapple, pine resin. Very good.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Binny's - Marcy St. Served in a Darkness glass.

A - Two fingers of creamy white foam that settle to a thin cap, thick collar, and splotchy lace. Transparent bronze body.

S - Hefty doses of citrus zest, tropical fruits, pine, and perhaps a touch of sugar cookie malt in the background. Definitely on the more attenuated side of the double IPA scale, which I appreciate.

T - Taste is solid, but not quite as defined as the aroma. More on the ripe orange and tangerine citrus side of things, with less of the exotic tropical flavors. Perhaps a tad more in the way of malt balance - some lightly sugary and bready flavors - but still pretty hop-forward. The last 6oz are pretty palate-bruising - *almost* too much.

M - Carbonation is on the lower side of things, and the body is a tad thin, which combines to make this feel a touch watery. Otherwise it's a nice smooth medium body, with an exceptionally dry finish. Perhaps a touch of alcohol warmth, but not out of line for 8.5%.

D - This is a really good beer. I've never been particularly impressed with Pipeworks' test batches so this is a pleasant surprise, and also bodes well for the future. I hope this becomes a rotating offering as I'd intersperse my Dreadnaught and Maharajah purchases with this beer. Drank the whole bomber on my own with no problem whatsoever.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

We have recently been discussing the merits of CANned beers in a thread that I began in the Beer Talk forum and one of the upsides to CANs is the beauty of the graphics as they appear directly on a 360-degree aluminum cylinder vice a paper label. I would definitely hold this up as an example! The separation begins with the ninja striking one of his swords vertically against the unicorn's horn while the unicorn holds the ninja's second sword horizontally in its mouth. The colors are striking & the whole thing just stands out beautifully!

From the CAN: "Brewed in Chicago, IL"; "CAN Art by Jason Burke at Ink & Lead Designs".

I used the Unicorn's horn to help me to Crack! the CAN open, declining the Ninja's swords which would have irreparably damaged the CAN. Once acCANplished, the Ninja made me CANduct an inverted Glug which raised two fingers of dense, rocky, French Vanilla-colored head with decent retention. Color was an oh-so-slightly hazy Golden-Amber (SRM = > 5, < 7) & as such, the Gelt Gang declined even so much as a taste. They really prefer purity in their gold, apparently. Nose was magical, as though derived from a ChANce enCANter between a ninja & a unicorn! Actually, it was more like a hybridization of a pine tree & a grapefruit tree. Mmmm. Mouthfeel was all ninja/unicorn with the former slashing and thrusting and the latter just trampling my poor tongue into submission. The taste was likewise magical, evincing a very cool, minty flavor initially before the crazy citrus flavors began to take 'hold. Finish was cool, dry & slightly citrusy, almost like a pop. I CAN drink this all day, or perhaps not, at 8% ABV. CAN you imagine this in the cooler at the beach? It would be CANtastic with everyone wanting to see what you are drinking.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.57/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Bright hazy orange body. Nice white head. Some lacing.

Smell - Orange hop aroma. Deep toasty malt. Some booze.

Taste - Orange and grapefruit. Toasty malt again. Pithy bitterness. Harsh bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - There's an abrasive character about all Pipeworks DIPAs. This is no exception. Better than some of the other Ninjas, though. Mediu. Body. Boozy, although that seems ridiculous.

Overall - I don't get why people love this brewery. This is one of the better ones I've had from them, but still not great.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.65/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A good simple off white head is produced with lots of staying power. Foamy, mish mash of bubble sizes, sitting on top of what looks like an unfiltered frozen amber orange body.

Nose is a fairly nice hop blast sort of one dimensional, but gets into faint apricot and zesty orange. A dry biscuit aroma creeps out later.

Palate doesn't come with much richness, but a controlled slightly wet sense. Mouthfeel seems to hint at a little bit of fizz, but luckily not very much present. Orange hop bitter sense creeps in mid way, but loses a bit on the finish. Dry pine action comes in with a nice astringency, but is almost medicinal. Sugar malt bent or hit of biscuit from the nose is non existent on the palate.

Overall it's not bad, fairly drinkable with something to enjoy but can't say I am really drawn to this one.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Received in trade from brewnstrong, thanks for the opportunity Justin! Pours a slightly hazy medium gold color with a smallish creamy head that dissipates quickly. Smells of pine, citrus, earth with a fair amount of lightly fruity bready caramel. The flavor is more pine and and resin than earth and citrus. Moderate amount of caramel malt to back it up with a light pomme fruit flavor and solid shot of hop bitterness. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a slick resinous mouthfeel. Nice beer, I’m glad I got to try it. Seems a bit more drinkable and less harsh than the revenge.

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Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can, with dating on the bottom, Best Before/canning date? Hopefully it the later...

Pours clouded and dull tangarine...lasting fluffy lite khaki cap, leaving ample thicker lace all over the glass.

Pungent citric and tropical fruit nose.

Big and bold. Fresh and flavorful. Crushing and complex. Tropical, citric, heavily hopped, utterly delicious. Glad this high quality brew is now distributed in NY state. The beer scene just gets better and better.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The Ninja vs Unicorn was an excellent DIPA! The beer poured a nice amber with thick white head that left a perfect ring of lacing all the way to the bottom. The scent carried fresh hops that leaned toward bitter fruit. The taste was a very well balance beer, but finished with a grapefruit flare. The mouthfeel was full in body with good carbonation. Overall this was a very easy drinking DIPA....very smooth....could session this big boy.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to CBS snifter. Thanks to robbiemoy13 for this one. Batch #13: Bottled 5/15/12 (only about 3 weeks old!)

A - Medium hazy orange with a golden glow along the bottom. Half a finger of off-white head formed and reduced to a thin layer.

S - Big grapefruit and tangerine aromas up front accompany a fairly assertive bitterness. A slightly sweet malt backbone adds a touch of balance. A very fresh nose, as expected.

T - A huge bitterness up front with big grapefruit, pine and orange zest flavours. The malt backbone definitely plays a secondary role but is evident, adding some caramel.

M - Medium body with a really big chew. Full of resinous hop oils. Light carbonation.

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Ninja Vs. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 291 ratings.