Santa Vs. Unicorn | Pipeworks Brewing Company

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88
very good
41 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
41
Ratings:
238
Avg:
3.96
pDev:
25%
 
 
Wants:
49
Gots:
49
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6
Santa Vs. UnicornSanta Vs. Unicorn
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Father Christmas, Head Beardo, St. Nicholas Cage, a man of many names he may be, yet he has but one true foe... This Holiday Season, the Unicorn is back bearing his mantle of rainbowed chaos, and this time, it’s seasonal bitches. An Imperial Red Ale, American Style Barleywine or Red Double IPA call it what you will, grab one and get your Jollies while the holiday fight is on...

Added by emerge077 on 12-15-2012

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Reviews: 41 | Ratings: 238
Photo of Vonerichs
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.79/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz, Batch 79 (January '13)
Kennett Winterfest plastic cup

A: Pours a deep amber color. Light off white/tan head. Sticks around a while. Sticky lacing. Good carbonation it appears.

S: Piney hops. Lots of nuttiness. Caramel. Toasty malts. Good hop aroma though. Smells more like an imperial red ale than a barleywine.

T: Hop bitterness on tip of tongue. Pine and earth. Then that malt bill comes in. Nuttiness. Caramel. Finish is dry. Lingering hops.

M: Big medium. Sticky malts.

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Photo of KFBR392
3.77/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

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Photo of Jaycase
3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.24/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of chitownfish
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
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

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Photo of Treebs
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle served in a Pipeworks snifter. Batch #64

A: Pours a deep scarlett color with some off white head forming on the pour. It recedes slowly leaving behind sticky cobwebs of lace.

S: A ton of caramel malt, some pine and some resinous hop bite. Slight hints of citrus zest on the backend as well.

T: Solid bitterness throughout. This is balanced by a nice caramel sweetness from the malts. Light citrus zest like the nose with some underlying pine and resin.

M: Medium to heavy bodied. Sligtly syrupy with a sticky mouthfeel and a medium low carbonation.

O: This was a nice drinking...something. Definitely a hybrid sort of beer. Part barleywine, part imperial red all, but all delicious.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Pipeworks snifter.

A- pours a dark amber, near brown with a 1 finger tan head. Blotches and leopard spotting remains on the glass.

S- brown sugar, lots of citrus (oranges, grapefruit)

T- sweet amber malts, brown sugar, candied oranges and some bitter citrus rind.

M- medium body and carbonation. Drinks very well at 10%.

O- closer to a strong ale or imperial red. Reminds me of Brownshugga, but sweeter and with more citrus.

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Photo of emyers
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch # 64 served in a Founders tulip

Appearance: Dark amber with a very thin off-white head dissipating quickly. Leaves a very thin lacing.

Smell: Served cold, this once is dominated by the hops. Strong grapefruit and pine aroma with caramel malt barely coming through. As the beer warms, the malt takes over with smells of caramel and toffee, with some pine lingering in the background from the hops.

Taste: Caramel malt dominates here. Big toffee flavor up front. The hops are definitely there, with pine and a little bit of citrus, but not quite as prominent as in the nose. I really like the hop profile on this one. Nice punch of bittering hops on the finish, with a little bit of spiciness.

Mouthfeel: Pretty heavy mouthfeel, with a very nice smoothness. Hops on the finish dry out the palate leaving you craving another sip.

Overall: This really should be labeled an imperial red as opposed to a barleywine, but hey, delicious beer is delicious beer. And this definitely qualifies as a delicious beer.

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Photo of jdhende
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch #64 served in a Firestone walker Proprietors tulip

A: Pours a deep copper color with a one finger head. Very tiny bits of lacing sit on top of the head.

S:Tons of toffee and chewy caramel on the nose with dank hop notes on the end.

T: Alcohol is hidden pretty well by the sweetness of the toffee. Also has a nice hop profile. Leaves a nice sweet and slightly bitter taste on my tongue.

M:Heavier, but still quite smooth on the tongue. Just the right amount of thickness in my opinion

Overall: A nice offering from Pipeworks I am glad to have them on the scene in Chicago. To me though this beer strikes me more as strong ale.

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Photo of Florida9
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark red chestnut brown. Pours from the bottle with a visibly viscosity and obviously low carbonation. Forms a small, creamy, and fairly stable bit of off-white colored head that eventually reduces to a very thin surface coating. Leaves some light lacing.

S: Aroma is mostly caramel malts. Earthy with a bit of citrus and fusel spice.

T: Caramel malts, orange rind, slight note of pine, some resin, and a hint of brown sugar. Mild malty sweetness. Turns earthy, with a distinct woody flavor on the back end. A bit of alcoholic heat on the surprisingly short finish.

M: On the heavier side of medium. Incredibly smooth and voluptuous in the mouth. Mild bitterness. Lower carbonation.

O: I'll admit, this beer isn't much of a barleywine in the traditional sense, but the bottle describes it as a barleywine or an Imperial Red or whatever. And I've got to agree, it straddles the lines of many styles. But in the end, I still liked this beer for what it is. A hoppy strong ale with a very smooth body.

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Photo of emerge077
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Santa Vs. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.