Santa Vs. Unicorn - Pipeworks Brewing Company
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Ratings: 165 | Reviews: 23 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by StoneTSR:
4.16/5 rDev +3%
APPEARANCE: A darker shade of mahogany than many other Barleywines, it has a slight haze and an eighth of an inch of head when it is poured. That head slips away within 30 seconds, leaving behind a patch of big bubbles covering about 20% of the surface. Some lighter brown lights come through the murky beer when held up to the light. Lacing is nearly nonexistent.
SMELL: Banana bread stands out upon first sniff. A little spice dances around the bread while some of the bigger malt flavors that are typical of a Barleywine linger in the background. There is not as much of the brown sugary smell that I typically get. Instead, there seems to be more hop aroma in the form of grapefruit and pine.
TASTE: Deer God there are a lot of hops in here. While some malt leads the way an absolute hop explosion occurs somewhere in the middle and finishes strong. The hops are piney, grassy and citrusy with grapefruit standing out. Seriously, this is a real hoppy beer. The finish also seems to have some good strong rye flavors to it. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but that is what I am getting. Obviously, the hops were the featured ingredient here, but the malt does provide some balance, particularly up front. Caramel and a touch of the banana bread from the nose serve to keep this beer somewhere within a stone’s throw of a true Barleywine.
MOUTHFEEL: Rich and creamy, yet still very dry for a Barleywine. The hops are so strong towards the back end that the first few sips might be accompanied by a little pucker. That said, there is enough balance to prevent this beer from going off the deep end. The carbonation provides a light tickle and when that it combined with the dry finish it feels like someone is rubbing a wet hop cone on your tongue.
OVERALL: Santa vs. Unicorn is certainly a hop lovers Barleywine, however, it seems to somehow be at the other end of the hoppy Barleywine spectrum from Avery’s Hog Heaven (granted, that is a pretty narrow spectrum). It is richer, more full and of course, much more red. I will be very curious to see how this drink a year or two from now. It may be amazing, or it may have simply lost what made it so good when fresh.
01-22-2013 05:48:09 | More by StoneTSR
More User Reviews:
4/5 rDev -1%
(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer pours a deep dense brown body with a garnet red glow at the base. The sticky beige head last as a thin meniscus, sticking to the glass in sheets with each sip. There is a slow carbonation of bubbles working their way to the surface.
S- The big green slightly herbal pine hops is full from the time I pop the cap. There is some woody notes to the hops in the finish.
T- The dry toasted malt flavor has some toasted biscuit malt and pale malt flavors underneath. There is a green woody dry hops finish with a slightly spicy hops taste lingering after the finish.
M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a gentle fizz and an alcohol warmth that grows as he beer opens.
O- This is a very dry beer to the point of almost making the malt a bit harsh, and the hops are very dry aswell. The redeeming quality is that everything is very fresh and that gives the malt and hops a great taste. I don’t think it has any of the luscious malt flavors of a barleywine but it is a very nice red ale hop bomb.
01-02-2013 21:08:46 | More by rhoadsrage
2.75/5 rDev -31.9%
650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.
Appearance - Copper body. A bit of haze. Nice collar and surface foam.
Smell - Lots of grapefruit and lemon hops. A little bit of chemical. Strong malt. Strong caramel malt presence.
Taste - Hoppy. Grapefruit. A ton of malt. Kinda tastes like an old double IPA. Eh. Bitter finish with lingering citrus hop.
Mouthfeel - Well carbonated. Bitter finish.
Overall - I'm so unenthused by this. Old IPA is a snifter an apt description.
05-28-2013 01:50:20 | More by Alieniloquium
4.08/5 rDev +1%
Hazed and rusty reddish brown body with a sizable light tan-yellow head.
The aroma has a sharp pine hop bite, resin, and orange juice. Malt is sweet.
No doubt, it's a hoppy one. Primarily pine and to a lesser extent, citrus. The malt is brown sugar. It has a long, boozy finish.
Mouthfeel is suprisingly smooth and creamy with ample carbonation.
Another fantastic beer by Pipeworks. They're just cranking out good beer after good beer.
02-26-2013 02:59:18 | More by Vonerichs
4/5 rDev -1%
a: darkcopper. thin head. lacing fades rather quicky
s: carmel malts, light booze, piney hops, toffee,
t: sweet caramel maltiness pervades. Some pine hops but definitely more muted here than as the aroma. Finishes with a bit of spiciness.
m: Heavy mouthfeel. sticky, low to medium carbonation. slightly dry
o: Overall a nice barleywine. Very drinkable. Not sure what some age would do here but I'm glad I chose fresh.
02-09-2013 03:02:44 | More by Jaycase
4.15/5 rDev +2.7%
Reddish tawny brown color, nice reverse cascading head initially, a finger or so of foam settles after a few minutes. A ring of bubbles cling to the edges and spotty sea spray sticks to the walls of the glass.
Melon rind, pine needles, sandalwood spice in the aroma. Slight whiff of alcohol as it warms, but still fairly subtle.
Light crystal malt sweetness up front, resiny hop bitterness follows quickly after, lingering long into the aftertaste. More pine and bitter citrus peel, earthy and dry in the finish. Smooth feel with light carbonation.
Rating overall/mouthfeel more as drinkability, as this is a very smooth BW with an expertly hidden 10% abv. Would drink this fresh to enjoy the hop character, wouldn't bother cellaring personally.
12-15-2012 04:23:08 | More by emerge077
4.05/5 rDev +0.2%
22 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. Batch #266 67 68 69 printed on the label, this is the 2013 release of this beer. I had it last year, but this is the first time I've had the entire bomber to myself. Definitely glad to see that this seasonal release from Pipeworks is back.
Poured into a clear balloon snifter.
A - Pours a deep dark ruddy mahogany / caramel colored body with just over a finger of fluffy creamy tan foam for a head.
S - Smell is big, beautiful, and hoppy. Citrus, pine needles, amber malt, brown bread, and that creaminess that I seem to pick up on in a lot of Pipeworks beers.
T - Taste follows the nose: big juicy citric grapefruit hops, pine needles, lemon, green apples, and then comes the caramel malt, cream, mild peppery rye, dirty herbal earthiness, and some alcohol warmth.
M - Feel is smooth and creamy, with a dry bitter hoppy finish. Sticky grapefruit, pine, and green apple lingering all over the place with this beast. Full bodied with perfect carbonation.
Overall, a wonderful winter seasonal from Pipeworks; I will definitely continue to look forward to this beer every year. Supremely drinkable for being a 10.00% abv beer. Highly recommended.
Pipeworks Santa Vs. Unicorn ---4/5.
12-16-2013 04:38:52 | More by mfnmbvp
Santa Vs. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 165 ratings.