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Ninja Vs. Unicorn - Pipeworks Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Ninja Vs. UnicornNinja Vs. Unicorn

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226 Reviews
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Reviews: 226
Hads: 1,711
Avg: 4.22
pDev: 22.51%
Wants: 329
Gots: 283 | FT: 21
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: 226 | Hads: 1,711
Photo of kevanb
3.66/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle, batch #599-600, poured into a Pipeworks Brewing Ninja teku. 9.0% ABV listed on the bottle.

The beer pours a fairly clear amber color, hues of orange and copper that is essentially lifeless though a nice two fingers of soapy white head rises from the beer that has excellent retention and yields some swatches of soapy lace. The aroma is pungent, plenty of piney and grassy hops, some pineapple and mango juiciness with assertive grapefruit peel though an aggressive caramel malt profile adds some richness and sweetness while the 9.0% abv also pokes its nose out. The flavors are in line, pleasant fruity hoppiness, juicy tropical fruits with bitter grapefruit peel with earthy and grassy hop notes as well but again the malt profile is really prominent, amber and caramel malts that are sticky, sweet and sugary though the alcohol is well hidden relative to the nose. The mouthfeel is sticky, a bit juicy, full bodied and rich with lower carbonation that has just enough liveliness and a dry finish.

Verdict: A decent DIPA from Pipeworks, but a bit too aggressive on all fronts for me, assertive malts with a bit of a darker and earthier hop bill just doesn't really excite my taste buds. Balance is left by the wayside for this, and while the two components fight for supremacy, I don't think anyone is winning.

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Photo of HoppyDrinker
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a pint bottle. Pour was a rich golden tone, light white head that boarders the rim, the smell was a beautiful fresh hop smell, like when you rub a nugget of hops in your hands. The taste was easy; hoppy, citrusy, with a good amount of bitter but felt calming with a burst of hops at the start and the aftertaste bitter not long lasting and the citra hop aromas remaining. The alcohol content did not overwhelm the beer.
Good beer my new favorite.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pretty, pretty transparent orange, persistently bubbly with carbonation, and a big nearly white head that fades slowly to a thin layer over the top. Lacing is full and extensive.

S - Hopness. Smash in the nose citrus and pine. More tangerine and lemon, with a bit of spruce.

T - Follows the nose, with big hop fruit and strong pine, but with a malty underpinning of bread and honey that keeps the bitterness down until the close, where it bursts free and runs roughshod.

M - The visible carbonation is helpful, because the bitter close is partially scrubbed. Still, this is a crunchy hop experience, with hop oils that coat the tongue and build over time.

O - The five pounds show up in every sip, every swig. I big, fat hop fest of the first order. Recommended, for the true hophead in your life.

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.68/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

An outstanding DIPA. Juicy, tropical hoppy notes dominate here, with ripe mango and papaya coming through amongst a sweet, almost honeyed feel. A hophead’s delight. Dangerously drinkable at 9%.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.97/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a translucent golden amber color with a moderate head of off-white froth. Attractive patches of reticulated lacing adorn the glass as the beer recedes. Complex aroma smells of pine resin, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, passion fruit, and bubblegum. A sweetness akin to brown sugar also lurks beneath the fruitier elements.

The first two thoughts to cross my mind after the initial sip are body, and balance. This is superiorly balanced for an IPA, and the body is plenty robust. Bready malt and bubblegum afford all the sweetness one could ask for to offset the mondo bitterness of a DIPA. In fact, the bitterness does not come across nearly as aggressively as I would have anticipated. There is plenty of pine resin, to be sure, but it’s not abrasive in this context. Alcohol is well integrated and unobtrusive. I can’t emphasize enough how impressively balanced this beer is from front to back--it walks a tightrope all the way through, never collapsing toward sweet or bitter, straight through to the finish. The tingling carbonation is just right, facilitating a smooth, full, velvety mouthfeel.

Overall, this may very well be my new favorite IPA (and I say this as a staunch avoider of IPAs). The balance, mouthfeel, and presentation are all excellent, and the bitterness is not obnoxious. An admirable offering from Pipeworks.

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Photo of mschantz
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampling the bomber picked up in Chicago over Thanksgiving at about 30 days old. Light yellow orange cloudy beer with visual sediment. Slight light white head. Citrus fruit and grassy hops on the nose. Flavor is dominated by orange and finishes pretty bitter. Expected to love this beer and while solid I just I was a bit under whelmed. Perhaps not getting to this beer for 30 days didn't help.

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Photo of PVMT
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy yellow pour with a thick white head. Fantastic citrusy aroma; taste follows with grapefruit and sweet malts leading the way, leading to a slightly bitter bready finish.

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Photo of FrancisSmooth
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Received from my good friend in Chi-town off a trade for some Cigar City - Jai Alai from my new stomping grounds

Poured from deuce deuce into pint glass (remainder chilled, not for long)

beautiful orange/gold color

initially soft, nice blend of hops, slight malt backing

caught hints of sweetness on the back, almost a vanilla

grapefruit finish

well crafted for the abv, soft and almost elegant going down, wouldnt have minded a little more carbonation but may have been lost in the shipment. Want more, phenomenal

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle sent to me by spinaltapped, thanks dude!

Pours a medium dark amber, clear and beautiful, with a one and half inch head, and lots of sticky lacing all over the place.

Smells like pine resin, pine cones, caramel, and sweet sugar cookie malt. I'm faily sure this is fresh, so it's clearly a maltier IPA than typical.

Despite the gimmicky packaging (which mind you, I still like), which would seem to indicate an unbalanced, hop heavy bomb- this is actually a bit more balanced. There's a formidable malt backbone, caramel and sugar cookie, slightly bready, with a big hop blast peeking over the top- sticky and dank, some pine, a bit of grapefruit, not a lot of the big sweet tropical citrus I tend to look for. It still tastes good, I just think it could have been done a little better. I like an IPA that has some malt, but I like it better when it props up the back of the beer and supports the hop flavors, rather than shares the stage with the hop flavors.

This is medium bodied, with a sticky, and fairly sweet mouthfeel, along with a moderate level of carbonation. It's very drinkable, despite my complaints above.

This was good, but not great. It does seem like an IPA that would appeal to a lot more people than the typical hop assault (that I love).


Tried the new cans, which has really elevated this beer. The hop flavor is way more out in front, with a big citrus and pine assault. This beer got way better- cheers to Pipeworks for continuing to evolve this beer! I will raise the scores accordingly.

Original Scores:

Look- 4
Smell- 4
Taste- 3.75
Feel- 4.5
Overall- 4

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%

Poured from the bomber into a pint glass.
Beer is a lovely orange with an almost fluffy head that leaves lots of lacing.
Aroma is great. Lots of citrus, a bit of pine, a hint of candy and pineapple.
What a wonderful; tasting beer!. Loads of grapefruit, some pine and orange as well. Less bitter than I was expecting and beautifully balanced. Nice and bright.
The mouth feel is extraordinary! So smooth and nearly creamy. It has a wonderful, velvety and quenching finish.
Overall, just top-notch. I want another.

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Photo of hophugger
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an amazingly clear golden amber with a nice fizzy head and lacing. Aroma is awesome, full of pine resin and some citrus. The resin of the hops is some of the most amazing aromas I have had from any IPA. The taste hits hard with bitter hops, grapefruit rind and yet is still extremely balanced. As the drinking proceeds, the hop bitterness and grapefruit continue strongly interchanging turns with the fresh piney, woody resin. Awesome. Mouthfeel is good, nice carbonation and mouthfeel. Definitely not a session beer but one that I want to revisit over and over again !!!

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Photo of kkleu357
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Hazy orange body with a fluffy white head that dissipates quickly. Big hop pine aroma. Lots of resin hop pine flavors. Not much sweetness or alcohol taste. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Duvel tulip. No freshness date.

A- Pours a medium amber color with a 1/2 inch off-white head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a jagged ring behind.

S- Bright, juicy hop aroma bursting with citrus notes like peach, pineapple and grapefruit. Some booze fume.

T- Actually on the lower end of the bitterness scale, there's just a pronounced citrusy hop flavor without the usual accompanying bite. Alcohol is noticeable but doesn't detract from the smoothness.

M- Tangy and bright with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- I would recommend this to someone who's looking for a high gravity IPA with more hop flavor rather than hop bitterness. Hits on all the right notes without wearing out your palate.

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Photo of vishneda
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Quite awesome. Just a tad on the sweet side for my taste but that's also a differentiator. Can be hard to find, but it's worth a purchase when you do find it.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%

22 oz. bottle, with Batch #497/498 printed on the label; somehow I have yet to review this beer, probably the closest thing Pipeworks has to a flagship beer. 9.00% abv printed on the label.

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A - It pours a nice golden burnt sienna orange colored body with two fingers of thick creamy off-white head. Thick, creamy, and fresh in appearance. Murky and juicy looking. 4.5

S - The aroma is typical of the Pipeworks IPA aromas that I'm used to - lots of pine, grapefruit, lemons, orange, citrus, and some bready malt to balance things out. It smells, big, bitter, and fresh. 4

T - Taste follows the nose - big and bitter with lots of resinous pine, orange, and grapefruit. Caramel malt to balance things out. Lightly sweet. 4

M - Feel is smooth and creamy. Medium-bodied with good carbonation; easy drinking for the 9.00% abv. Resinous, hoppy, and sticky on the finish. Very drinkable for the high abv. 4.5

Overall, a nice flagship imperial IPA from Pipeworks. After having nearly 80 beers from this brewery, however, I'm not as impressed as I might once have been. Definitely recommended for newcomers and fans alike, in any case.

Pipeworks Ninja Vs. Unicorn -----4/5.

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Photo of OneEye78
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 16 oz can dated 7/31/15. Pours a hazy copper color with a half inch white head. Smell had scent of grapefruit, sugar and pine. Taste starts with melon, lemon and grapefruit followed by a wave of piney resin and a firm lingering bitterness. Nice oily, coating feel in the mouth, with a nice level of carbonation. Overall this is a solid IPA, and a worthy flagship for Pipeworks.

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Photo of Flight317
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Got this in a trade after requesting Pipeworks as a local choice. I assumed I would get the stout selection because I've heard good things. The beer smells nice and hoppy like it might be a kick in the mouth. Much to my surprise the hops go extremely well with all of the flavors. It has a nice sweet balance to even out the hops and make it an almost creamy mouthfeel. I think this beer is the perfect ABV. Staying away from seeking out a 10% ABV double IPA did this beer well. Pipeworks continues to impress. Cant wait to try some more from them!

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Photo of indurTheB
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

For a Double IPA, I found this to be very subtle. The smell would have led me to believe that I was going to get hit in the face by a heavyweight prize fighter, but it was much more mellow. Maybe I'm a sadist, but I like getting slapped around by hopes every now and then. Very good beer overall.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
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 TheBrewo
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

We pour a bomber, bottled 06/03/14, into our oversized tasting snifters. It pours a tangerine orange, showing thick haze and wispy, galactic waves of sediment throughout. A two finger tall head of soapy, creamy, eggnog colored foam is produced, and it retains like a champion. The nose, well, it smells exactly like Hopslam. Truly clones of one another, except this is a little less boozy when it’s at full room temperature. It speaks of beautiful citric, herbal, and resinously piney hops, angel food cake, tropical fruitiness of pineapple and passion fruit, white sugar sweetness, dense bamboo leafiness, heavy creamer, white gloss paper, intensely sweet bubblegum esters, toasty pale malts and wet straw, pesticide sting, fusel booziness, metallics, grapefruit peel, and plastic potpourri spiciness. The taste breathes of home squeezed orange juice, mead and honey booziness, parsley and cilantro leafiness, thick hops of bitter herbals, oily and skinny citric peel, and perfumed florals, fresh ginger, souring lemon juice and lime peel, sweeter and juicer bubblegum esters, coppery metallics, white flour and pale malt base, wet paper towels, and honeydew and cantaloupe melon fruitiness. The feel is boisterous and creamy, with nice froth, mustache, glug, flow, and pop. The mouth is left highly dried of astringency, and decently puckered to boot. The abv is appropriate, and the beer drinks back nicely.

Overall, this is our first beer from Pipeworks. We’ve driven through Chicago several times now, and for some reason were always drawn to other locals than these, so have been inappropriately and disproportionally putting off drinking them. Tonight is the night, and we’ll kick off this relationship with a doozy. This is a great beer, but if you put this side-by-side with Hopslam, we would be hard pressed to tell them apart. If we must, this has a lighter air to it, generally speaking, with a sweeter hop component, and less harshness from the booze. This leads to an improved, quicker sippabillity and drinkability. This makes you want to share and talk about the beer, whereas Hopslam makes you want to sit out a snowstorm in solitude while you sip. We’re really not trying to draw as much a comparison as we are, but it is just uncanny. We are highly pleased with this offering, and are happy that Pipeworks has entered our lives.

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Photo of Omnium
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber > Pint Glass

A - Hazed orange gold with a finger of soapy white head medium lacing.
S - Tons of sweet peach, grape, papaya, slightly astringent, some dankness, sweet malt too.
T - Very very sweet malt, kinda boozy, lots of fruit flavor, peach and mango, sweet pineapple, a little melon.
M - Clingy sweet, bitter, very full, a little burn.
O - Very good aroma, flavor gets too abrasive as it warms up.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.84/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

APPEARANCE: I poured this beer three minutes ago and have not touched it. The head is still fully intact, about a finger’s worth. Some random big bubbles are lodged inside this otherwise creamy head. Below the head is a UT-style burnt orange colored beer with a bit of haze. The lacing is nearly perfect with a thicker ring around the top, but coverage of about 95% of the backside of the glass for the rest of it.

SMELL: I love this smell; orange, chalky and earthy. As the beer warms some more traditional grapefruit and pine aromas reach the nose.

TASTE: Piney, resinous and dank…oh wait, no, maybe this is big, juicy, freshly hopped and citrusy like a Double IPA should be…or maybe it’s both. Grapefruit, pineapple, mango, mandarin, lemon, grass, dirty, anise, chalk, lemon, deliciousness. Motherf…er, this is a beautiful tasting beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Rich, creamy, yet still very smooth. These are not words that are typically heard in the description of a Double IPA, but they work. And this is most certainly a DIPA. The hop character is decidedly and bright and fresh even if it lacks the sparkle that typically compliments the Imperial IPA.

OVERALL: It doesn’t get much better than this. My three desert island beers only change once in a while, like maybe every 10 months or so…and I think this one just gained that status. I love this beer.

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Photo of SoxFan
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had to edit my original review from what I had in a bomber. I think the recipe that was used for cans is even better. I would put this canned DIPA up against nearly all east coast brews. It's pretty damn killer. This and Lizard King are 2 of the best canned hops out there.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-Clear amber orange, not much carbonation, one finger head that tries to leave some lacing.

S- Grass, earthy, floral notes. Some citrus as well.

T-Same as the nose, grass and earthy. The finish has some pleasant bitterness.

M-Medium bodied, crisp and some hop resins.

O-Not as good as Unicorn Galaxy but still a very enjoyable IPA.

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Photo of GJ40
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sampled from a 22oz bottle purchased during a recent visit to Chicago.

Golden and clear with a big white head that dissipated quickly but leaves a nice dusting. Aroma is tropical fruit, citrus and flowers with good depth. Flavor is citrus and tropical fruit with a firm bitterness and an alcohol punch. Feel is silky with a low carbonation after the initial evacuation of bubbles.

Great hops and a big punch. It's a little strong for me but very tasty.

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Ninja Vs. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 226 ratings.