Black Top - New Glarus Brewing Company

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Black TopBlack Top

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1,036 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,036
Reviews: 203
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11%
Wants: 78
Gots: 109 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: cdkrenz on 08-27-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,036 | Reviews: 203
Reviews by Strix:
Photo of Strix
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark with orange-brown edges, and a frothy white head that leaves nice lacing.

Pine and floral notes, followed by a very faint caramel note.

Taste is very similar to Moon Man: pine, citrus, and green pepper carry the day. A caramel, roasty, porter-like note comes in towards the end. I would perhaps like to see a bit more of the dark shine, but as it is, it's delicious.

Bubbly mouthfeel.

This was a very enjoyable beer and it's growing on me even more. I hope it hangs around.

More User Reviews:
Photo of weatherdog
3.61/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter

Pours a pretty deep black with a nice tight dense cream colored head. A medium amount of lacing coats the sides.

Aroma of mild chocolate and dank grassy hops, a little bit of orange citrus on the backend.

Flavor is a bit of roasted barley flavor, assertive bitterness with some grassy hop flavors at the end.

The mouthfeel is the best thing about this beer. Its pretty creamy which balances out the bitterness and doesn't keep the roasted grain flavors from sticking around too long in the aftertaste.

Overall its a just a good black IPA, nothing to special but not bad either.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice hearty black pour with two fingers of creamy khaki foam sitting strongly atop the brew! Aromas kick off with big citric and grapefruit hops that are bright, green and resinous. Somewhat roasted chocolate malts in the backbone with a hint of molasses and caramel sweetness.

First sip brings a mix of roasted grain malts and citric, herbaceous hops. The hops don't come out quite as much as the nose suggested as chocolate, molasses and caramel flavors swirl in as well. Flows down with a nice bitter kick. Nice Black IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with great carbonation. It's hearty but at the same time easily drinkable. A well made beer as I've come to except from New Glarus. For a brewery that does not focus on hops too much I was glad to see them release this and hopefully it will be brewed again sometime!

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

LOOK: Massive tan head, a shade away from pure black.

SMELL: Dank hop resin, burnt sugar, candied dark fruit, mint, citric peel, hermit cookies.

TASTE: Hop oil, floral, citric, soft pine, mellow cigar, roasted grain, burnt cookies, smooth, herbal finish.

Hop forward but more in the flavor than bitterness, a pretty great example of the style. Very drinkable even with the complexities being thrown at the palate.

Photo of tigg924
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown in color, 1 inch head, clear, high carbonation

Smell: piney hops and roasted malt

Taste: expresso, roasted malt, and piney hops

Mouthfeel: light bodied, medium-high carbonation, slightly bitter

Overall: A good not great black IPA. I do like the piney hops. I would not turn this one down, but there are others in the style I would go to first.

Photo of Franziskaner
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More of a deep brown in color and not much light seeps through. A fingernail of khaki colored head covers the top. Brussels lacing. Enticing aroma of fresh,piney hops is moderately present. The flavor is a well balanced blend of piney hops and caramelized dark malt. There's a prominent pine hop edge that stays with you in the fade. The mouth is lightly sticky and chewy.

Photo of ehammond1
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Acquired via trade

A nearly black pour, though though in actuality, it's a very dark brown with a three-finger high light brown head. This beer leaves the glass covered in sheets and irregular lines of lines. By all measurements, this is a truly gorgeous beer.

A very nice, well integrated, and balanced aroma. It's nearly perfect for the style. The hop aromas come in waves of pine and grapefruit, while there's discernible roast, earth, and coffee elements as well.. This is terrific.

The flavor is similar to the aroma, but not quite as bright and vibrant as I was expecting. There's still a good amount of pine and grapefruit presence, backed up nicely by earthy roast and a little coffee. Very nice.

Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation.

A delicious black IPA.

Photo of MattyG85
4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall New Glarus Signature Pilsner Glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark blackish brown with some hints of amber. Moderate amount of bubbles and a solid three finger light tan head with decent carbonation. Leaves a decent amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A nicely hoppy aroma with a good balance of roast and malts. Big hop scent upfront with hints of citrus grapefruit, pineapple, and orange peel along with lots of earthy pine resin. Solid balancing presence of dark roasty malts. Good hints of burnt toast, biscuit, chocolate, nuts, and a little smoke. Also some burnt molasses sugar and a little hint of anise spice. Aroma leans a little more to the hoppy side but the dark malt presence is good.

Taste: Like the nose hints, a strong mix of hops with a solid dark malt backing. Big taste of hops upfront with notes of citrus orange peel, grapefruit, and pineapple. Some earthy grass and a big taste of spicy pine resin. Midway comes the malts which add a nice dark bready balance. Taste of chocolate, burnt toast, biscuit, smoke, and nuts. A slight sweet kick of molasses. Subtle anise spicing. Slightly more hoppy than malty and fairly drying. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Juicy, spicy, and somewhat creamy. Finishes pretty dry.

Overall: A very solid black ale. Hops stand out at first but the dark roasted malts are very solid.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to curtisloew for sending this out. Blacktop pours black, but far from the darkest black you've ever seen, has a great sizeable light beige head to it. Big hoppy aroma, not just bitterness, this one had some of that passion fruit of a tropical nature to it.

Taste was like the smell. Fruity, hoppy, kept the bitterness low. Body was nice and light, despite the appearance. Plus points for not having the dehusked bitterness that a lot of the less than ideal black ales sport. This drinks very different than the appearance, none of that chocolate, coffee or acrid bitterness. Carbonation was just were it should be. Dry and crisp mouthfeel so dominated by luscious non bitter hops.

I'm kinda skeptical of the reviews that give you the typical lazy review simply based on appearance. Coffee, chocolate etc. . . sorry, your eyes have played tricks on you my taste buds believe. Show some initiative, where's the peach, passion fruit and pineapple mentions with green fresh vegetal hop mouthfeel in your review? Or maybe you all got old bottles and I drank a fresh one 2000 miles from the source.

I need to drink this back to back with O'Dells and Grand Teton's black ales, these three beers make up the exemplary models for style, to this guys palate.

Photo of rwathree
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: not as jet-black as many of the other Black IPAs I've had; from bottom to top, this shades toward a walnut brown. Decent cream-colored head leaves decent lacing.

S: Piney hop aroma dominates, but I also get hints of roasted coffee and bitter dark chocolate.

T: Huge hit of grapefruit and other citric hop flavors, with the maltier flavors suggested by the nose coming through subtly. I love how the aroma masks how citrus-forward a beer this is.

M: Creamy, moderate carbonation, and no unwanted, residual aftertaste.

I'd heard great things about New Glarus before I moved to the midwest, and this beer did not disappoint. I've enjoyed this Black IPA above all others I've tried since the trend took off, mostly because the contrast of look/smell and taste is so pronounced. Looking forward to trying more New Glarus brews.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer glows a dense walnut brown body with a glowing brown base. There is a thin tan film that breaks up after a bit.

S- The aroma is woody green hops with a hint of dark malt as it warms.

T- The green earthy herbal hops leads to a light roasted note in the finish. A slight tartness comes through as it opens.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a gentle fizz and no alcohol heat.

O- This has a nice N.W. Coast hop profile with good black malt notes without the bitterness. This is a nice session beer with lots of character.

Photo of richkrull
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep black color with some big fluffy beige head on it.

Smell is sweet, malty with some spice in the finish.

Taste is malty. Maybe a little smokey with some bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium. Good body went down smooth.

Overall a really good beer. It's a very good change of pace.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a delicious-looking head of dirty off-white, big and fluffy, and it leaves big patches of puffed rice lace in its wake. The color is, appropriately, black as tar.

Aroma is a quintessential one, for the style. Huge, clean, ultra-breezy hops, somewhere between dryer sheet and lime peel. The nearly burnt malt character is there in the nose, pretty big too, but the hops overtake slightly.

Taste is nearly a facsimile of the aroma, and a little soapy in the finish. Grassy and citrusy at first, with roasted malts being kind of spicy, reminding of rye. Interesting how the citrus (lemon and orange) spike out of a nearly bracing malt roastiness. But that's the style, ain't it? Feel is thinnish, with prickly carbonation.

Still a seemingly incongruous meeting of elements, these black ales. You dig it or you don't, although not all are created equal. This one is better than most.

Photo of ChopperSmith
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a long neck 12 oz. brown bottle into a standard clear pint glass.

Appearance: Hazy deep brown color, almost coca-cola. Two fingers of creamy foam that faded to a nice frothy cap and left some thick foamy lacing behind.

Smell: Floral, hemp, mint and citrus hops. A slight sweetness underneath the hops.

Taste: Same as it smells, Citrus and earthy hemp hops up front with very little bitterness, then sweet dark malts follow for a remarkably well balanced ale. I love the unique hop profile of this beer, has a great hops aroma and taste but very little bitterness.

Mouth feel: Medium bodied with good carbonation. Finishes clean and hoppy on the palette.

Overall: I like this beer a lot, and will definitely seek it out again. It has a unique hops profile and a lot of character. Another exceptional brew from New Glarus.

Photo of augustgarage
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excited at the chance to try this (thanks to a generous relative) - poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Bistre body with burnt umber and chestnut highlights capped by a fist of thick buff foam. Dense ropes of lace; superior retention.

Very fresh evergreen and citrus notes in the nose - malt backed, but bursting with hops. Vague suggestions of rye as well...

Pleasing complex grainy malt bill with hints of cocoa and molasses (as suggested by the description) - bittersweet and dark flavors blend perfectly with the bright full hop elements. Fresh and rich flavors throughout. Increasing earthy/herbaceous/rooty complexity as the ale warms. Finishes dry but free of astringency or any burnt qualities (a common excess of the style in my experience).

Very well carbonated with a full but not heavy mouth-feel.

One of the better examples of the style - unique and expertly balanced.

Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, Riley's. split during a recent bender in Madison.

from notes

appearance: served in a shaker pint, dark mahogany body, light tan head, some minimal sticky lace

smell: hop resin, grapefruit rind, light chocolate and roast

taste: roasted dark malts, grapefruit, hop resin, char, dry roast. An enjoyable release but i do think this style works best in imperial form.

mouthfeeel: medium, dry, moderate bitterness

overall: good stuff

Photo of WoodBrew
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Black Top from New Glarus has it positives and a few negatives. The beer pours just about opaque, slight light still coming through...the head was thin, slightly off-white and is leaving a lacing. The smell includes pine, citrus, and chocolate. The taste provides hints of pine and slight bitter citrus. There are some tones of chocolate but not overly present. The mouthfeel is a good medium body with decent carbonation. Overall it is a very good beer. Besides being a great beer, other notable positives is that the abv is lower making this a decent session beer. One draw back is that when comparing against Stone Self Righteous or Two Brothers Black Hop Juice, just do not have the big double IPA flavors mixed with big roasty finish.

Photo of Blargimus
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into tulip. Bottled 8/17/2011 - I didn't realize this beer was almost 8 months old until I opened it. Too late now.

Pours a bit lighter in color than I expected for something called "black top" - it's really more of a deep brown. About one finger of light tan head. The lacing that remains is very pretty, and the beer is thick on the glass when swirled.

Smells somewhat muted, but then it IS an old IPA. Hops are definitely there, but they don't pop. I also get some honey and malt. Maybe a hint of roasted characteristics.

Definitely plenty of bitterness left, but the actual flavor of the hop is a bit wilted. A good deal of roasted flavor in the finish. Very, VERY tasty.

Carbonation is good. Finishes a bit drier than I prefer, but it's perfect for the style.

When I received it in a trade with Willseph, it was moderately fresh! I guess I'm to blame for not cracking it open sooner... it's very good as is, so I bet it's even better when it's not 8 months old.

Photo of bashiba
3.38/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark cola brown color with a thin coating of white head. More light a brown IPA.

The smell is very faint chocolate malt with a light bit of pine.

The flavors are very mild with a nice light roasted black malt backbone with just a hint of light piney and earthy hops.

The mouthfeel is very dry and light a bit thin.

This beer drinks more like a nicely hopped English Porter, or maybe its time for Black English IPA.

Photo of Hjammer
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 fl oz bottle poured into a Leinenkugel's mug.

Picked up a 6 pack from a gas station in Oconomowoc yesterday evening. God bless you Wisconsin!

A: Pours a deep deep DEEP brownish-red. Gives way to a light creamy brown head. A little over a finger and a half to start, slowly dissipating to a trace amount.

S: Refreshing pine notes that fade into a mellow chocolate haze. Little hints of some rye maybe?

T: Burnt toast, or any burnt/charred food. Grapefruit bitterness, orange peel. Rye again maybe? Very subtle, and I MEAN subtle sweetness; the type of "sweetness" present in a dark chocolate bar.

M: Nice and frothy. Sleek and smooth down the gullet.

O: I approve of the black IPA trend. Surprisingly drinkable for how bitter it is. Does NOT destroy the palate. I would have liked a bit more of the sweet scent to translate into my tastebuds, as this guy is a little too charred for my liking, but I would gladly buy another 6 of this guy.

Photo of morimech
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not really black but more a dark brown. A two finger head forms and has good retention before settling to a thick cap. Large amount of lacing is left down the glass.

Mostly hop aroma. A little dank with huge doses of citrus and pine. The malt is mostly hidden. Just a little roast is detected.

Thankfully I can taste the black. The black comes in the form of chocolate and roasted malt flavor. Still largely a hop bomb though. Citrus and pine brings the bitter punch.

Body is that of a standard IPA. Has good carbonation.

Better than a lot of beers of this style. The black is not just color but has some flavor.

Photo of emerge077
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super sticky and creamy tan foam, fluffy and billowing above the rim of the glass. Slow to recede, sticking to the sides of the glass in sheets and three dimensional clusters. Dark mahogany brown with a reddish ruby glint in the light.

Superb grapefruit and sweet citrus, integrated with the mellow richness of roasted malts. Sweet hop resin, begins to approach dank greenery, but stops short.

Smooth and well integrated flavors, leaning to the sweet side with minimal roastiness, just a bit of dark malt sweetness and plenty of hoppy citrus notes. Grapefruit, orange rind, and toasted malt pretty much sum up the flavors. Mellow on the roast and stout/porter aspects, low bitterness, full hop flavor. Pretty unique interpretation of a Black IPA if you ask me.

Thanks orbitalr0x for the bottle!

Photo of MaxSpang
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Duff27 for throwing this in at FFF XV.
Served in a tulip.


The beer pours a very dark brown, and appears black whilst in the glass. There's a shimmer of reddish-brown light that poked through in the glass. The head was about 2 fingers and was just slightly off white. It dissipated to a sliver quickly, and left moderate lacing. Lovely looking brew.


The beer has a big hop aroma - tons of grapefruit, lots of pine, some peach, and a little pineapple. I also get some dark malt character. There's a bit of coffee, some bittersweet chocolate, and a little roasted malt. There's a smidge of some alcohol in the nose, but it works well with the other aromas. This beer is an awesome smelling beer!


A little milder than the nose would suggest, this beer still has some wonderful complexity. The front of the tongue is greeted with some tropical fruits, citrus notes, and melon. The middle of the tongue has some nice coffee and a little chalky bittersweet chocolate. There's some slight bready character, and overall the beer is more balanced than it is bitter. This beer isn't sweet, but has somewhat of a roasty fruit flavor which is very pleasant. It's more like an IPA than it is like a porter or stout, but the dark malt adds a little layer of complexity to add to the beer's hoppy notes.


Black Top is very easy-drinking. It starts off with a bit of body, then finishes wonderfully dry and crisp. The carbonation is somewhat low, which works in this beer.


This is a really nice "Black IPA". The beer is complex, yet not fussy on the tongue. Everything is extremely balanced. This beer is incredibly well made, and would be a beer that one could enjoy several of throughout the evening.


Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint.
2301 printed on the neck, no info.

A - Deep mahogany brown, almost jet black in color with a clarity that shows through in the highlights. A tan head is perched on top for what seems to be endlessly. Wispy lace clings to the glass like patch marks on the long, straight road.

S - Roasted black patent malts are overthrown by abounding American citrusy hops. A plethora of mango and pineapple underlines the earthy dry grass and leaf pile. Very well balanced.

T - Once again, the roasted black malts find themselves tailgating the American hops, happy to provide a good base for their flamboyancy; a bit more citrusy than the aroma and still plenty earthy.

M - Medium-bodied and decidedly bitter, it's balanced between roasty acrid and hoppy, citrusy bitterness. Faintly dry through the finish, the roast closes it out as it fades into the sunset.

O - Hops and malt work like a team throughout the whole stretch of the way, cruisin' for a wonderful finish of balanced beauty. Abundantly flavorful and good to the last drop, New Glarus' Black Top is one fantastic Black IPA.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A gift from my friend in Wisconsin. Bottle date 3011 - Oct 28/11.
Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Poured dark brown and settled very dark brown with some ruby glow around some of the edges One finger of foamy light brown head with good retention.

S - Big citrus notes up front with some juicy fresh grapefruit and some pine coming through from the hops. The background has some roasted malts with a light coffee aroma.

T - Hop bitterness up front with grapefruit and pine flavours. Malt backbone adds roasted malt with a hint of chocolate and a molasses sweetness in the middle. A good balance.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation.

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Black Top from New Glarus Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,036 ratings.