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Santa Vs. Unicorn - Pipeworks Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Santa Vs. UnicornSanta Vs. Unicorn

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

185 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 185
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 42
Gots: 31 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: emerge077 on 12-15-2012)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 185 | Reviews: 25 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KFBR392
3.76/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: A very dark amber color. Super dark when its all collectively in the glass. Thick lacing that crept down the glass. A pleasant head that was present the entire time drinking.

Smell: A sticky syrupy caramel smell is a sweet treat for the nose. There are a lot of hops and booze in this aroma as well. The aromas don't seem to mix very well, each kind of stands off by itself.

Taste: The front is some pronounced alcohol flavors and strong hops. The body has some of the sweet caramel and barley but not as much as I would have hoped. The huge hop presence cleans off the palette and leaves a very dry feeling behind.

Mouthfeel: Like I said above, a real punisher for the palette. Stinging hops bring the drinker to attention. A dry tacky feeling over a more sweetness oriented dryness you'd get from an elite IPA.

Overall: I was really thrown off by this brew. The bottle reads a barley wine but really comes off as an imperial IPA. It does state this in the description on the back but I felt like it should be labeled differently. Still a very solid brew but I probably wouldn't buy this again.

Photo of Jaycase
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 79

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.

Photo of NSK79
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of cnbrown313
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of WillCarrera
4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle, batch number 79, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a deep ruby red color, topped with a finger of creamy tan head, leaves spotty lacing.

S- Lots of citric and piney hops, fruit, caramel malt and light booze in the background.

T- Really exemplifies the hoppy-US-barleywine style, with lots of citrusy and piney hops, lots of orange, grapefruit and resin. Followed by some malty caramel sweetness and fruity, woody alcohol flavors.

M- Medium to full bodied, has a smooth, creamy feel, the booze is pretty invisible, I really wouldn't guess it's 10%.

O- A really nice American barleywine, it's very hop forward so drink this one now.

Photo of BillHilly
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of DonFrap
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

Photo of Auror
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of mcc1654
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of Orlando
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of ctronco
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

An epic battle, indeed. This stuff pours a clear ruby topped by a finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises pine resin, caramelized toffee, ruby red grapefruit zest, and a touch of toasted biscuit. (On a side note, this stuff smelled goddamn fantastic when I dropped a different bottle (sorry, Vav), and even better somehow when some lemony cleaner was added to the mix.) The taste brings in more of the same, with the initial emphasis on some ruby red grapefruit zest, while the pine and toast come in shortly thereafter. And, boy-howdy, it's fairly strong-feeling as well. The body is a lithe medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a very nice b-wine, one that's strong and dangerously hoppy without going too far somehow. Color me impressed.

Photo of StoneTSR
4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch #64

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.

Photo of mishtif
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of langchops
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of BeerOps
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of WolfsbaneBloom
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of thewimperoo
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of BeerThursdays
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of chitownfish
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pipeworks tulip glass

A:Dark amber with a thin head

S:Tons of hops with notes of toffee.Very good smell

T:Bitter hop taste,it hides the alcohol

M:A little thin in my opinion ,But fills your month with hops

O:Another great beer from Pipeworks! Taste more like a IPA

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #64
(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.

Photo of JVan
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of MasterSki
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle appropriately shared on Christmas Day. Served in a wine glass.

A - Ample tan foam settles to a thick cap and splotchy lacework. Hazed brown body.

S - It's a hoppy barleywine! Big doses of citrus and caramel, as well as some pine and grapefruit zest as it warms up a bit. Perhaps a touch of floral hopping in the background as well. Hits the right balance for this style in my book, with well-concealed booze and not overly herbal hopping.

T - Taste is similar, with an onslaught of pine and citrus zest hops before yielding to a mix of brown sugar, toffee, caramel, and citrus flesh mid-palate. Moderate bitterness and minimal alcohol presence.

M - Smooth medium-full body, with pleasant lower carbonation. Some burnt sugars give a mixed dry and sticky finish. Again, not much in the way of alcohol burn.

D - I really enjoyed this one, as it hits my desired balance for this style dead on. One of Pipeworks' strongest beers and something that should develop nicely between now and next Christmas. Hope they make this one more than once a year.

Photo of sgoro
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

Santa Vs. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 185 ratings.