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Ninja Vs. Unicorn - Pipeworks Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Ninja Vs. UnicornNinja Vs. Unicorn

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

208 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 208
Hads: 1,621
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 324
Gots: 264 | FT: 23
Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 01-23-2012

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.
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Reviews: 208 | Hads: 1,621
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
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. (499 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (388 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.61/5  rDev -14%
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 (1,123 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.24/5  rDev +1%
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. (2,039 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.37/5  rDev +4%
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. (487 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.2/5  rDev 0%
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. (638 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (707 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (959 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (715 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
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. (1,344 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
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. (1,305 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.24/5  rDev +1%
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. (383 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
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. (867 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.57/5  rDev -15%
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. (568 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
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. (599 characters)

Photo of corby112
3.14/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy dark copper color with bright golden orange edges and a one finger, frothy white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Very good retention, taking a while to settle and leaving large streaks of soapy lacing on the way down.

Earthy floral hop aroma with fresh cut grass and a strong resinous pine needle character countered by a sweet malt backbone. Hints of spruce tip and earthy soil followed by caramel malt, toast, nut and toffee. Surprisingly one dimensional hop profile. Lacking in sweetness and has too strong of a malt presence in the nose for my preference.

Medium body with a blast of dry, earthy bitterness that lingers over a strong malt backbone into a very dry finish. Very earthy/soil-y with bitter, grassy hops and pine sap countered by sweet caramel malt, toffee, biscuit, toast and a touch of oak. There's some slight boozy sweetness toward the finish but the high ABV is well masked. Overall, this beer was a bit of a disappointment for me. The malt flavors are too prominent and the hop profile is very one dimensional. Not a bad beer, just boring. (1,094 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer pours a clear apricot orange body with a bubbly beige head that sticks on the glass with each sip. There is a slow motion carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The green woody hops are full but a bit softer than in the taste.

T- The slightly pungent big woody green hops have some citrus notes to follow with a slight malt sweetness that tends to dry out as it opens in the finish. There is a green spicy hop note that lingers after each sip.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a tight little fizz and no alcohol heat noticed.

O- This is a nice full hop monster with some good depth to the woody and spicy hops supported by a lurking malt note but still drinks pretty fast. (707 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
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. (681 characters)

Photo of WoodBrew
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
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. (439 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 8.27.13

A -Pours a cloudy darker orange with a one inch tan head with great retention.

S - Citrusy, orange, some honey dew melon.

T - Very tropical, oranges, mango, papaya.

D - Good carbonation with a light body. A bit of heat in the finish.

O - Tropical IPA - very solid and drinkable. (309 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Recieved in a trade, many thanks! Batch 13. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Wow, nice DIPA here. Nice slightly hazy golden orange yellowy pour, more on the yellow than orange with a nice big almost three finger head that is is sudsy and leaved big thick clumpy side lacing and a nice thick blanket.

S - Wow, this is pretty freakin solid. Great citrusy tropical hops with oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, mango, and light papaya. Slight sweetness from malts.

T - Wow, this is tasty too. Not quite what I was expecting based off the nose but nice nevertheless. This is a bit more piney and grapefruit peel than tropical, which is unfortunate. Still nice and tasty with just the faintest of tropics on the end. Quite bitter on the finish.

M - Mouthfeel is quite nice, the carbonation keeps this feelin abit lighter but the alcohol is clear and forward. Wish it was hidden a bit more. Nice and bitter.

O - Overall this was a very enjoyable beer. Glad I got to try it and would definitely consider trading for it again. With the tropics came across more on the flavour though.

S - (1,079 characters)

Photo of claspada
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from West Lakeview Liquors, most recent release - Batch 25, so it was bottled sometime mid-July.

Pours a semi-translucent dark golden/bronze color with a semi-large fluffy white to off-white head that recedes into a thin cap, thick collar with some splotchy lacing remaining.

Aromas begin with a hefty doses of citrus zest, tropical fruits, pine and a subtle amount of grassy hops as well. As it warms I get a hint of the malty backbone highlighted by a slightly sweet sugar cookie-like doughiness.

The tastes follow the nose with some lightly sugary and bready maltiness but then you are immediately greeted with the ripe orange and tangerine citrus hop flavors. As with most beers the tropical fruits and pineapple aren't as present in he taste with a more pine, resiny hop flavor. with less of the exotic tropical flavors.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Previous batches had some low carbonation issues but this one is dialed in. There is a pleasantly slightly assertive dry finish; definitely on the more attenuated side of the double IPA scale, which I appreciate to avoid excess sugary sweetness that plagues some of this style.

Overall this is a super beer; my first from Pipeworks and I can say it won't be my last. It is a super dialed in recipe that has clearly been developed and perfected by the brewer and I can see why even though they have only bottled less than 30 total batches of beer they decided to make this one 6 times already. This is a really good beer. Highly recommended and well worth seeking out if you can get it fresh (like all DIPA). (1,604 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into tulip - thanks treebs

Hazed orange pour with golden hues, topped by a creamy cap of bone white head, patchy lacing littered around the glass while drinking. Juicy, bitter, fruit-forward hops in the nose with a silky sweet lacing and toasted, grainy malts. Grapefruit, pineapple and citrus peel laps against the tongue up front. Juicy and bitter throughout with a slightly higher sweetness level. Caramel and honey, toasted bread crust. Warm, hoppy finish. Medium body, nicely carbonated, sticky and lingering on the tongue.

Super solid DIPA, it seems these guys are onto something here. Since they make so many of them, I'm hoping to try more down the line. (684 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

16oz, canned 073115
A - ivory head tops a mildly hazed golden colored body
S - huge plume of aromatic hops with orange, lemon, pine, grapefruit, and passion fruit
T - hop forward and very bitter with hop notes of grapefruit & lemon zest, pine, passion fruit, mango with some light caramel for malt but it's hardly a backbone compared to the hop bitterness
M - medium body, feels a bit thinner than I'd like, finishes bitter and semi-dry with lingering pine and grapefruit pungency
O - pretty good DIPA, but it falls short of my expectations. I'm still very excited to see Pipeworks start to can their beer. I look forward to trying another one very soon! (654 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had during the 2nd Annual Redneck Racin’ & Tastin’ while tailgating at the dirt track race! Big thanks goes out to marine1975 for this one! Served from bottle into a NoDa snifter. Poured a golden yellow half finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wheat, citrus, citrus hop, and fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus, citrus hop, fruit, earth, and spice. It had a light feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. I went into this one really wanting to be wowed, but found it to be a little bit of a letdown. It was just a little too middle of the row for this style. The citrus aspect was definitely welcomed as it kept it out of the middle of the pack slightly, but I would have loved to see something completely different to make it stand out from the rest. (911 characters)

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Ninja Vs. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 208 ratings.