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Ninja Vs. Unicorn - Pipeworks Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Ninja Vs. UnicornNinja Vs. Unicorn

Educational use only; do not reuse.

246 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 246
Hads: 1,802
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 8.02%
Wants: 334
Gots: 313 | 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.
View: Beers (133) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 246 | Hads: 1,802
Photo of inlimbo77
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pipeworks Brewing Co.
Ninja vs. Unicorn
22oz, batch 18, 6/18/12
Victory tulip

A: Pours a hazy, dark orange color.  Typical DIPA.  Two fingers of bright white head.  Tons of carbonation streaming off the bottom of the glass, and coming up sides.  I see this has some alcohol feet and assume lacing is gonna be left.

S: Lots of tropical fruits: mango, papaya, maybe some pineapple, etc.  Lots of hops, but there is some sweet maltiness in there too.

T: Right up front, nice hop bitterness on the tip of the tongue.  Really pleasant and not overly aggressive.  You get those fruity hops that you smelled.  Definitely pulling some papaya and peach and slight pineapple.  In the middle of the mouth, you get those sweet malts to help cut through the bitterness.  Still very hop forward though.  The close is very dry and slightly bitter.  Leaves you wanting more!

M: Medium bodied.  Great carbonation.

O: A- leading to A for me.  Really surprised and pleasantly happy.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to kawilliams for bringing this to share! Thanks kent!

Reviewed from notes taken 7/4/12.

poured into duvel tulip.

Appearance: clear yellow bodied beer with huge white head. Drops down to a solid cap that remains while drinking the entire beer.

Small: juicy grapefruits and resinous pine. Some tropical fruits and a bready almost sweet malt.

Taste: On the high end of moderately bitter hop bite. Big grapefruit and pine. Oranges and tropical fruits. Malts taste biscuity just like the nose. Pretty hop forward with the malts offering decent balance, but there isnt much taming that going to tame those aggressive hops!

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. The beer finishes a little dry with a bitter snap. No booze noted in this one at all!

Overall: Really great DIPA. This is a wonderful local offering from chicago! Powerhouse hop profile for all those hop heads out there!

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to emerge for sharing this one.

A - Somewhat clear golden orange with an eggshell thick white head and spotty lacing.

S - Tropical fruit, mango pineapple, tangerine, papaya, light hint of pine and soft caramel malt.

T - Juicy ripe tropical fruit, mango, tangerine some grapefruit and more pine than was noticeable in aroma. Candied oranges and honey. Nicely balanced, on the sweeter side for a DIPA but more in a candied fruit way and than caramel/crystal malt way.

M - Medium body and juicy. Lingering hop resin.

D - Very smooth and well balanced. Excellent DIPA.

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Photo of draheim
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle (batch #18) into a tulip. Pours a hazy coppery orange w/ a frothy head, decent lacing, moderate carb.

Aroma is about equal parts pine, grapefruit, and mango. A hint of booze emerges too.

Taste is super-dry pale malt backed up by plenty of hops. Typical citrus and pine with a slightly earthier tropical twist. A really nice sharp bitter bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, about what's expected. Dry but with a lingering finish.

Overall this is a good DIPA but falls just short of really good. There's something different about it that I can't quite put my finger on, maybe it's an attempt to merge the maltier East Coast and hoppier West Coast IPA styles? Seems to have characteristics of both.

Imperial Two Hearted maybe? Whatever the case, I enjoyed it.

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Photo of Nachojon
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured from bottle into Three Floyds Imp. Pint. Nice Golden color, no haze like other IIPAs, this one is clear. Very thin head that dissipated quickly.

S- Not overly aromatic. Does give off a nice aroma of grapefruit and some hop warmth but it doesn't hit you the way I might have expected.

T- Peppery at the start and then moves into the fruit, some grapefruit and tangerine then the grass and finishing out with a nice hop flavor. Very pleasant flavor.

M- I read all the "palette wrecker" reviews and was hoping for the experience, however it isn't quite up to that level. The mouthfeel is crisp and pleasant but there isn't the burn I was hoping for.

O- A very good beer, my first experience with Pipeworks and I have to say I will continue to sample their offerings, I started off with my favorite style and I am not sure I would go out and buy it when compared to my other favorite IIPAs.

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Photo of cnbrown313
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my 5th bottle of Ninja Vs. Unicorn, so I decided it was time to write a review. First of all, the bottle art and the name is pretty cool off the bat, but beyond that, this is an awesome DIPA.

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Duvel glass.

A - Medium golden color, with a nice 2 finger head and some quality lacing as the head retreats.

S - Citrus! Mango! Maybe papaya? The fruity hoppy smell hits you right away.

T - As expected, there is a huge citrus and mango hop flavor right away. But there is a nice malty sweetness that balances it out. This is a tasty beer for sure.

M - It has a nice "not too heavy, not too light" mouth feel. But, the carbonation is very nice.

O - Overall, if you live in Chicago or has a friend that does, grab a bottle of this. You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Hjammer
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pt, 6 fl. oz bottle (with AWESOME artwork I might add) poured into a Great River Brewery pint glass. Batch #18

A: Golden in color, but a bit hazy. Bubbly, white head. Retains nicely.

S: One item comes to mind - bubblegum. Artificial sweetness. Some alcohol. Possibly a bit of grain or wheat in there as well.

T: Little bits of citrusy sweetness, bubblegum, but the major taste is BITTERNESS. There is enough time and space for the contrast between the sweet beginning and the bitter end, but the bitterness is very present. If you like hops, you will go nuts!

M: Nice and full. Whatever the opposite of watery is...

O: A nice balance of sweetness and bitterness. Maybe a tad bit bitter for my tastes. I love the smell though of this guy. This is my second bottle of NvsU and it was completely worth it. Hope Pipeworks continues to brew this one for a long time.

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Photo of Etan
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Batch #13

A: Pours a beautiful deep brass with a huge white head. Great retention and lacing.

S: Lots of pine, citrus, and tropical notes. Cotton candy, clementines, pineapple, fresh grass.

T: Big bitter pine followed by a smooth bready malt presence. Palpable but tolerable alcohol. A bit of fruity sweetness in the finish.

M: Medium-bodied, tingly carbonation. Nice mouthfeel for a DIPA.

O: This one's very piney - I would like a little more fruitiness from the hops but it's clear that it's well-made.

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Photo of egrace84
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ninja Vs. Unicorn. Cool artwork on the label. bomber popped and poured into a Duvel snifter. A- good looking DIPA with a nice creamy head. S- Lovi'n the smell of this, dank, citrusy,pineapple. T- Taste follows the nose pretty well, piney/grapefruit w/ some nice lil malty notes and the bitterness settles right in on the back end of the tongue. M- nice carbonation and kind of a slick little mouthfeel. O- was glad to get my hands on this one, its a great DIPA thats definately not to tough to make light work of and take down by yourself... Yummy.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.76/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, DLFarris!

Unfiltered golden orange with a large, moonscape near-white head that lasts and lasts, eventually leaving some irregular lacing down the glass.

A sweet and somewhat simple aroma, and probably this beer's weak spot, if it has one. There's mild citrus and simple syrup aromas combining pleasantly.

Moderately bitter, decent pine and citrus presence, orange syrup, and just a hint of alcohol presence.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Lingering citrus flavor. Very nice.

Very nice, though it was better at colder temperatures.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%
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.

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Photo of siege06nd
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a great trader, Bertram, for this! Some of the coolest bottle art I have seen.

A. Pours a slightly cloudy marigold with a thick three finger eggshell, thick, foamy head. Excellent lacing.

S. Mmmm, really really nice. Lots of tropical fruit, including mango, tangerine, and pineapple. Some mild pine resin yields to a luscious, soft honeycomb finish.

T. Pineapple, tangerine, candied orange slices, pine needles, freshly cut grass, honey drizzle, and caramel. Leans more toward the sweet, savory side rather than the hop bomb side. And that is a-ok by me. Just a nice big tropical candy profile here with a crisp hop kick. Very nice.

M. Pretty full bodied for a DIPA, very sweet. Crisp with a moderate-high carb level.

O. I was very impressed with this offering from Pipeworks. It's my first experience with them, and I welcome more of their brews (wink, wink Jason). DIPAs tend to be a little too harsh for me, but this has a lovely, easygoing flavor profile that retains complexity and punch without bowling you over with brashness. A top-notch DIPA.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
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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Photo of gkunkle
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a transparent golden orange hue. Head is about 1/2 inch tall an is cream colored. Smells strongly of pine and citric hops, this definitely appeals to my west coast tastes. Taste comes in with a strong citric bitterness, then I get some mellow malt notes followed by a hit of citrus again as it crests the tongue. The finish is crisp and clean with a pine aftertaste. Mouthfeel is just right for this type of beer, not too thick with enough carbonation to lighten the body. This is a great beer, it drinks a lot like the great west coast IPAs, it's brewed in the same style as Pliny and the likes.

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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.

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Photo of rudzud
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
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 -

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Photo of ChiPool
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 22 oz bomber into Duvel tulip.

My habit is to smell the can/bottle immediately after opening. N vs U: you had me at hello! NVU pours an opaque pumkin colored orange, with plenty of cream-colored head. The smell immeadiately reminds me of my first Dreadnaught experience: weed & citrus. The mouthfeel is almost perfect for the style: not too thick or thin...just right. Down the hatch, I'm getting an array of citrus & tropical fruit: orange peel, grapefruit, maybe a bit of apricot or mango. I was expecying a sweet finish, but it actually finishes quite nicely: dry, with a lingering bitterness.

Overall, two thumbs up for my first Pipeworks experience. They are 2 blks from me, so I hope they open a bottle shop soon! I'd be curious to do a blind taste test with Dready: these taste quite similar to me.

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Photo of Holland
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 13, drank as quickly as possible. Thanks to Treebs for the heads up. Grabbed the last bottle on the shelf.

A: straw orange with a slight haze and a great head and lacing that stay for a long time.

S: big pine and fruity smell. The fruits go from pineapple to some other tropical fruits like starfruit or something I can't put my finger on. A bit of sweetness and no alcohol I can detect.

T: very bitter, piney, full of hops. I get earthy flavors and a very mild sweetness. Strong hop taste, and quite complex, but the taste is a bit muddled for me by all of the different flavors. A few tropical fruit flavors carry through from the smell.

M: well carbonated and medium bodied. Quite crisp

O: there are no flaws to this beer to my senses. I see why Pipeworks has been hyped by the Chicago beer crowd. Should have purchased some of their other beers while I was at Binny's.

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Photo of mfavoino
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #8 bottle courtesy of Treebs. Poured into a snifter on 5/4/12.

Appearance: Orange amber color with a big fluffy head that persists for a while. Great lacing.

Smell: Big hop notes. Heavy pine and fruity hops. Citrus aromas became bolder as it warmed.

Taste: Initial hop bitterness is quickly complimented by pale sweet malts. Finishes with a lingering bitterness that is assertive with the piney hops. Very bold, but not too big.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, sticky, with a bit a big of alcohol warmth.

Overall: Very impressive. Hops burst all over the palate and leaves perfect bitterness. This stands up to plenty of top notch DIPAs.

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Photo of quirkzoo
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

big thanks to rmalinowski for the trade.

Pours a bright orange color with 1 finger of white head. Very strong pine and grapefruit flavor accented with a bit of sweet fruits like blood orange (that might be a combination of hop and malt flavors combining, not sure). On the palate it is assertively bitter, stronger than most DIPA's which is saying a lot. With that said, it has the hop flavor to stand up to the above average bitterness. Just dry enough to keep me coming back for more, this is extremely drinkable and I will definitely seek it out if I am in the area where it is distributed.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy golden body with a short but persistent white head.

Smells like tropical fruit- a little pineapple, a little papaya and mango. There's also hints of pine and a little mint.

It's pleasantly bitter with those same tropical fruit and pine notes. It has a very fresh and clean taste to it and it's all well pronounced.

Clean and dry mouthfeel with good carbonation.

This was a very, very good DIPA. I hope this one becomes more accessible.

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

Poured from bomber (Batch #008 brewed 3/21/12 bottled 4/9/12) into a dimple mug. Pours a beautiful deep golden amber with orange hues along a bright white head which leaves gorgeous lacing throughout. Grapefruit, orange, and lemon notes with piney undertones in the nose. Flavors of resin, floral and citrus notes dominate upfront-orange peel. Transitions into a slight sweetness and a touch of malt. Finishes with a crisp, sharp hop bite with pine undertones that gradually relents into smooth silk. Medium body that is very appropriate and completely adequate for a DIPA. Medium to lower carbonation, enough to gentle tickle the tongue and roof of the mouth beckoning you to partake in another mouthful. Silky smooth mouthfeel. Excellent DIPA from Pipeworks. Thanks funkyaudio for this beer!

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Photo of BrewerB
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew arrived courtesy of mcc1654 along with some other gems in a recent trade. Cheers, Mike! I look forward to future deals.

Pouring into this year's SF Beer Week tulip. the beer pours an ever-so-slightly hazed medium orange with great off-white foam formation and retention. Label proclaims this to be unfiltered but it still has good clarity.

Prominent resiny hop aromas in addition to a mandarin-sweet citrus fruit. Hint of toasted malt but mostly clean. Slight esters.

Herbal and dank mix of hop flavors. Bitterness is moderately-high and lingers alongside pine needles in the medium-dry finish. Malt backbone mostly clean but firm enough to support the bitterness. Slightly off-putting grassy flavors.

Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Smooth warming sensation.

Overall this is well-balanced and drinkable while putting up big hop character and bitterness. Would like to see the grassy flavors dialed back slightly. Lacking some of the intangibles of the great styles examples but still a delicious brew.

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Photo of silentjay
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

not quite at its peak freshness. about 6-7 weeks old now, but still should be a decent beer. Definitely on team Ninja.

very, very slight haze on a golden copper with a nice-sized pure white head that lasts for a while and laces okay.

bitter herbal hops with plenty of bitter citrus following. some tropical fruits and some slightly sticky sweet malts back that up.

bitter floral/herbal/spicy hops with a huge dose of citrus rind. tropical fruits behind that and contribute to a sweetness to balance the bitterness along with the underlying malt presence.

medium bodied, decent carbonation, lingering sticky bitterness, pretty spot on for the style.

yah, I like it. definite "in-your-face" hop flavor. no alcohol harshness. great beer that is totally off-the-radar.

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Photo of 312HopBomb
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber served in a Southern Tier Tulip glass. Four finger head with rings of lacing around the sides of the tulip. Crystal clear golden color.

Strong fruity and floral hop aroma characteristic of a IIPA and pale malt in the background. Terrific smell.

Taste is less tropical than in the nose with citrus rind, mango and heavy dry hop resiny pine. Like a West Coast/Midwest blend DIPA. Pine defeats citrus. Pale malts provide the base layer.

Mouthfeel leaves slick hops on the tongue and a dry finish.

A solid offering for Pipework's initial foray into the Midwest brewing scene. The label art is outstanding.

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Ninja Vs. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 246 ratings.