Sam Vs. Unicorn - Pipeworks Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sam Vs. UnicornSam Vs. Unicorn

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

137 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 137
Reviews: 16
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 7
Gots: 13 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: TMoney2591 on 07-03-2013

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 137 | Reviews: 16
Reviews by Purp1eOne:
More User Reviews:
Photo of patre_tim
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Amber, mostly clear filtered as I tried not to stir up the sediment as written on the sacred bottle. No visible carbonation, huge 6 finger beige amber tinged head that leaves a paper cut like lacing.

S: Fruity. Strawberries and melons, cantaloupe and watermelon, red licorice, and a hint of black licorice as well. Grape bubblegum. Very little hint of red pepper and pine, as more of an afterthought peppering the notstrils.

T: Wow. Huge sweetness I wasn’t expecting, but it totally undergirds the strawberry and melons, sweet tea, and hint of citrus. Alcohol is very well hidden, what a celebratory beer!

M: What feels like it should be a hick almost syrupy body, is smooth with a little carbonation and a tannic finish.

O: Excellent brew. I saw the brewers interviewed on The Beer Temple podcast from Chicago. I was glad to find this brew which they mentioned on the podcast, at Wholefoods in Chicago while passing through and getting our China visas. This was the last bottle there, and that was in August 2014. Drank September 23rd, 2014 in China.

Photo of larryarms847
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is a murky blood orange red and nothing spectacular, I was a little let down after pouring.

Smells slightly fruity and definite hops, slightly intrigued now.

Tastes exactly how it smells slightly fruity and hoppy but not that great.

Mouthfeel is forgettable.

Glad I didn't save this for the. 4 th, would have been a let down, but a decent red.

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle, with Batch 431-434 printed on the label. Another new entry to me in Pipeworks' Ninja Vs. Unicorn series. Expectations are good considering the source.

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A - It pours a deep dark ruby red with some carbonation visible streaming up from the etching on the bottom of the glass. Three fingers of fluffy khaki-tan foam with some excellent staying power for the high abv. Leaves behind nice fat fluffy lacing. Looks very nice.

S - The smell is comprised of red / caramel malt and some grapefruit / pine hoppiness.

T - The taste is the same - caramel / amber / red malt, some alcohol warmth, grapefruit / pine, & some bready peppery rye sort of taste.

M - The feel goes down smooth and creamy, mild alcohol warmth, and some bready / peppery rye on the finish.

Overall, an alright offering from Pipeworks - I'd say these guys make a more interesting IPA or DIPA than they do red ales, but it was well worth the try and worth having.

Pipeworks Sam Vs. Unicorn ---3.5/5

Photo of dleigh
4.36/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ruby red and beautiful with fluffy head and lots of lacing. Citra tropical tart smell--like a papaya fucked a pineapple and nine months later a surprise popped out. Sweet malt taste with not enough hop bitterness. Smoove feel. Pretty good.

Batch 725-26.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Sweetwater snifter.

Well, I'm closer to having seen everything now that I've witnessed Uncle Sam uppercutting a friggin' unicorn. Yup, that happened. We're all better for it. Anyway, this stuff pours a clear amber-ruby topped by a finger of wan khaki foam. The nose comprises grapefruit rind, dried maple syrup, a half-pinch of leek, mixed greens, mild toffee, and a vague sense of ethereal rye bread (you can buy this at any spiritual shop, dont'cha know). The taste brings in more of the same, with a slightly brighter grapefruit component and a hint of grass for the sake of it. Though the hops win out in the end, a tenuous balance is maintained in the beginning. The body is a lithe medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly drying finish. Overall, a pretty nice imperial red, one that doesn't overdo things with the hops, yet still makes sure you know they're there.

Photo of vic21234
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber poured into a snifter from the fridge. Batch number 160.

A- Pours a cloudy red with a small amount of white head that quickly faded to the sides of the glass.

S- The smell gives off some nice citrus hop aroma and some overall sweetness. Not much else here.

T- Nice citrus hop presence in the taste which really dominates the whole profile. I don't get much of a maltiness which I though I would.

M- Medium bodied, nice carbonation, hoppy and bitter, easy drinker for 9% ABV.

Though I'm not totally attuned to the red ale profile, I expected more malt out of this. The hop dominates the taste for sure. A nice offering from Pipeworks but lower on the food chain when thinking of the other fantastic beers I've had from them.

Photo of harrymel
3.49/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled: unk

Pours a nice red rust color with a soapy sheet of light tans. Smells of sharp hops (reminds me of a butt load of columbus), some gingerbread dough folded with warm butter, some sugar, maybe a hint of booze. Flavor is like a tasty malty shake with some bitterness and a bit of vanilla. I'm surprised at the deviation from the nose that the flavor takes, but it's welcome. Thin bodied with lower carb and and off dry finish, this doesn't meet my expectations of a red - fuller with fleeting, sharp carb and a nice dry finish. Not a bad beer, some folks might hate to hear this, but with a litter Special B malt and some time, this has the potential to be really, really good beer. I like it.

Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Burnished ruby/coppery amber. Dense, creamy finger of taupe colored head.

S: Funky tropical notes. Papaya, citrus, pineapple, berries. Grapefruit, orange peel. Earthy pine presence.

M: Smooth with a noticeable but restrained alcohol kick. Medium body and carb.

T: Boozy tropical cocktail. Orange, pineapple. Pine and juniper berry flavors mid. Ends with tannin bitterness and some citrus hop astringency.

Photo of GJ40
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sampled from a 22oz bottle in a standard pint glass. Thanks surge1311. Batch 161. No date.

A - Light brown with a small beige head. Nice color but somewhat lifeless.

S - Nutty, biscuity and piney.

T - A mix of malty sweetness and hoppy bitterness. Interesting contrast. The 9% alcohol is readily apparent.

M - Very low carbonation with a moderate consistency.

O - Well worth a try but a little malty for me.

Photo of FLima
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Murky light brown color with a thick beige head with medium retention and leaving laces.
Predominant aroma of American yeast and caramels. Relatively mild at first, than brings some hoppy earthy notes.
Bold bitter flavor with notes of American Amber yeast, lots of caramels, pine and a mild citrusy. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Medium body with low carbonation. Alcohol of 9% cannot paired against its malty based and hop profile.
Very hoppy and malty Red Ale. A bit overly sweet and I was expecting more citrus (from an Amber Ale, though this is a Red Ale...), but thankfully it was loaded with hops.

Photo of Treebs
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz. bottle served in a Pipeworks snifter. Batch #161.

A: Pours dark cherry color with a thin white head forming on the pour. It recedes slowly to a bubbly ring that leaves stick sheets of lace down the glass.

S: This is guy is generously hopped. Lots of pine needle and grapefruit with a mild citrus backing. Sweet bread malts balance it out.

T: The malt is more forward in the taste. Light spice with some bready flavors. The hops are more bitter than the nose suggested, but still maintains the piney notes and light grapefruit zest. There is an underlying sweetness from the malts, but it's very light. As it warms the hops are a little more earthy as well. Slighlty boozy on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with a nice medium carbonation. Little stick to this guy.

O: Very solid imperial red. I would have liked a touch more caramel malt to give it a nice sweetness against the hops, but overall it was enjoyable.

Photo of Spreetaper
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Owl Farm (Brooklyn,NY)

Photo of MasterSki
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle shared by Chris (spycow). Served in a tulip.

A - White foam settles to a collar, wispy thin cap, and specks of lace. Transparent dark ruby body.

S - It's a hoppy Imperial Red alright; zesty citrus and piney American hops over top of a caramel, brown sugar, and slightly fruity malt base. Balance is spot on for the style and I like the flavor combination.

T - The taste is quite similar, with citrus and tropical fruit hops over top of a caramel-laden, fruity malt backbone. There's some light citrus peel and pine, and moderate lingering bitterness.

M - Medium body, pleasant moderate carbonation, and a surprisingly dry and crisp finish. I was expecting more lingering hop oils or mail stickiness, but this didn't have much of either. No alcohol presence.

D - For whatever reason, the Sam/Santa vs. Unicorn series is perfectly attuned with my palate preferences in the hop/malt balance for these styles. Very easy (and dangerous) to drink, and surprisingly compelling as a 'summer' beer. Hopefully this pops up next 4th of July.

Photo of Florida9
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A darker shade of chestnut brown. Certainly more brown than red. Slightly cloudy. Forms a smallish creamy, dark tan colored head. Little retention and little lacing.

S: Aroma is fairly malty. Caramel, citrus rind, and maybe a touch of brown sugar. But mostly caramel malt.

T: Taste is malty, yet surprisingly thin. Not necessarily watery, but that's the word that comes to mind. Caramel malt, grapefruit and a bit of orange zest. Mild sweetness, especially on the back end.

M: Medium in body, but just feels thin. Mildly sweet. Low carbonation. Mild bitterness.

O: Not so sure about this one. Malty, yet thin. There are some hops, but it's not incredibly hoppy either. I'l admit, I don't know where the 9% ABV is, because I can barely detect it, but I'm not sure this beer has a whole lot of character otherwise.

Photo of SerialTicker
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bomber bought for $10 at The Beer Temple in Chicago. Batch #161, bottled 7/2/13. Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

Appearance: Pours a deep red/brown color that is hazy as hell (with a few random chunks) with tiny bubbles that form a creamy, two finger, tan head. Lacing is great.

Smell: Tons of hops... really, a ton of them. I can also pick up on some sort of malt sweetness, but this definitely has a ton of hops. There's also a sort of citrus and citrus rind smell in this beer as well.

Taste/feel: Some sort of peach and maybe mango flavors hit the tongue first, for me. After that, that distinctive, piney hop flavor comes through with a moment of cotton candy sweetness. On the finish, there's a fairly large spicy hop and malt presence that I thought would be throughout each sip, given that it's supposedly an Amber/Red. There's a slight afterburn and warmth in the throat on the swallow to suggest the amount of alcohol, but it's not in the aroma or flavor at all. The feel is extremely silky, but almost too much so -- smooth as hell, and drinks like it's been nitro'd. I tend to only like my porters/stouts to have such a character, but it works pretty well here.

I really enjoy this beer, but it's not *quite* what I was expecting. This drinks like a red IPA rather than an amber. I don't really mind that at all, but people should know that this is absolutely loaded with hops before going in. Very tasty. I'm impressed.

Photo of Fcolle2
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark amber in color with a faint red rye. Head is one finger foamy and retains nicely.

Smell has some lightly toasted sweet caramel malt aroma on the front end. Lots of butterscotch and bubblegum esters typical to the unicorn series follow along with a little bit of fruity hops.

Taste, unlike the smell is hop forward. Moderate amounts of herbal piney and earthy hop bitterness hit the palate first. Lots of husky grainy malt follows adding slightly more bitterness and mild sweetness. Hops persist into the exhale.

Mouthfeel is medium to thick bodied with lots of hoppy oils and resin. Moderate carbonation helps soften the stickiness.

Sam Vs. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 137 ratings.