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Black Top - New Glarus Brewing Company

Black TopBlack Top

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

816 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 816
Reviews: 190
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%


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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: cdkrenz on 08-27-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 816 | Reviews: 190 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Jonada
Jonada

New Jersey

3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with no freshness date served in a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with 2 fingers of a light tan head that settles into a thin coating. Nice patchy lacing as well. Body is dark but translucent when held up to light.

Smell: Mango, grapefruit, lightly roasted malt, hint of chocolate.

Taste: Citrus, floral hops, iced tea, hint of bready malt with some light residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and crisp with medium strength carbonation. Light lingering bitter finish.

Overall: Nice, easy drinking black IPA. Nothing special, but still enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2014 05:18:47 | More by Jonada
Photo of StaveHooks
StaveHooks

Oklahoma

3.69/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle to a DFH IPA glass.
Thanks to RDUB/OKPLUS for this one.

A - Clear dark brown with a sudsy cream colored head that has nice staying power. Leaves vertical specks of lacing.

S - Nice hoppy aroma, green pine, sweet roasted malts, earthy grains, spicy, green chives.

T - Roasted malts, not too roasted though, spicy pine hops, green chives are in the flavor as well. The malt is earthy and slightly grainy The spice has a rye and anise character and runs all the way through the finish. Some bready yeast comes out as it warms. The finish is mild almost reminds me of a dunkel finish.

M - Aggressive carbonation clings to the tongue, smooth feel, light to medium body, slightly watery at times.

Very nice hoppy aroma. The hops are more subdued in the flavor letting the medium roasted malt shine a bit. A touch of rye and anise spices are a welcomed component and meld well with the malts. Again the aroma is where this beer shines. This drinks like a session Black ale. I could easily knock down several of these in a setting.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2014 21:17:41 | More by StaveHooks
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a hoppy black ale that combines sweet and roasted barley and chocolate malt with a rather delicate, if high volume, citrusy hopping. a very interesting marriage of flavors here. not as black as expected, dark brown glowing amber in the light under an inch of off white fluff that settles slowly. the nose here is citrus hops and roasted barley with all of its attendant bitterness. seems brighter than it looks, and a sturdy ale yeast ties the two together. the flavor starts and ends with the dark malt. not brutally dark, but earthen and well roasted. the hops are only in the middle, not in the finish, which i find odd and enjoyable. lemons and even kiwi fruit are coming from the hops, a very cool palate, before the wave of dark barley washes them clean. id like a little more body in this one, the flavors are great but the journey from a to b is too short. carbonation could also use a little kick up. overall though a very cool beer from new glarus. thanks to drlovemd87 for bringing this one back for me.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 16:54:05 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of Axnjxn
Axnjxn

North Carolina

4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle into a new glarus flute glass.

pours a dark brown with a very appropriate beige head. smell is very hoppy and piney..ooh promising. taste is quite hoppy too , piney and a tad of coffee finish. very hoppy though, especially for a black IPA which I normally don't dig. but this is superb. medium bodied with mild carbonation.

overall great job new glarus. real impressive.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2014 02:37:40 | More by Axnjxn
Photo of d5001986
d5001986

Wisconsin

4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into tulip.

Appearance is a slightly transparent black with off-white head.

Smell is piney and a bit of alcohol.

Taste is lots of piney hops and a bit of chocolate malt. This is probably the most intensely hopped beer I've had from NG, I definitely dig this!

Feels medium bodied, with a good amount of carbonation.

Overall a great buy from NG. If you're a hop-head, you can't go wrong with this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2013 23:20:28 | More by d5001986
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours very dark brown to black with a lasting tan head. Trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of citrus with some pine, licorice and charred molasses.

The taste is of citric, piney hops that blend with chocolate and coffee. Complex, hoppy and dark. The roast is present, but mild enough that it doesn't clash with the bitterness of the hops. I like how the touch of pine tie the citrus and malts together. Bitter-leaning finish.

It has a smooth, creamy body.

Hoppy and dark. Like mentioned above the flavors are complex, but do not clash. The flavors weave together to make a very enjoyable brew!

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2013 20:50:28 | More by jwc215
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a very dark russet brown with a fine half finger light brown head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of citrus hops, pineapple, sweet malt. Flavor of biscuit, lightly toasted malt, citrus and grassy hops with hints of coffee and orange family citrus; finishes with grapefruit rind and citrus hops bitterness. Medium bodied. A nice black ale with good hop character; not quite as toasty and dark malt as a Northwest style (CDA), but pleasant and well made for a black IPA.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 02:15:02 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of Kevin-Wieken
Kevin-Wieken

Minnesota

4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Black Top
New Glarus Brewing Company, Wisconsin
---from bottle to pint glass---

Appearance
Very dark brown, dark ruby around the edges. Thick creamy looking head. Great lacing.

Smell
Roasted malts, dark chocolate and a little citrus seeping through.

Taste
Oh man! Espresso-like malt right away, followed by sweet/bitter hops.

Mouth-feel
Maybe over carbonated for this beer. Sticky and bitter – but very drinkable. Flavor profile changes in between sips.

Overall
More hoppy than I thought (when is that a bad thing?) Carbonation seems to cover the malt flavor a bit. That being said, I really enjoyed this beer. Espresso flavor is always welcome, day or night. Hop heavy dark beers aren’t common, so this is a treat. Opening another soon.

Post review addition - Just learned from a fellow beer aficionado that this beer is in fact a Black IPA

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2013 03:31:44 | More by Kevin-Wieken
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter. The brew appears a dark brown to mahogany color with lighter brown around the edges. A tan cap rests atop fading slowly leaving some spotty lace.

The aroma is dank and herbal with a roasty earthen coffee undertone. Somewhat weedy with hops that blends to more fruity and floral as it is smelled more.

The tastes has some bready grain, biscuits and chocolate. Quite roasty like coffee with a bitterness that seems to come from the kiln of the grain instead of oily, resinous hops. Somewhat dank and weedy hops are more present towards the back.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Very easy drinking and enjoyable with a solid mix of character. I would drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 19:50:38 | More by stakem
Photo of Flounder57
Flounder57

Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger mocha head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a dark brown and almost black color with some clarity when held up to light and bubbles can be seen coming up through the glass. Spotty lacing as the beer was drank too.

Smell: Pine, smoke, roasted malts, chocolate malts, tangerine, and grapefruit.

Taste: The citrus flavors stick our the most. There is also ash, roasted and chocolate malts, pine, and some mild lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light bodied, mild bitterness, and low to medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty solid and tasty black ale. A nice hop and malt blend that rolls off the tongue. 6.9% too. A trip to Wisconsin is seen in the immediate future to get more.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 07:16:31 | More by Flounder57
Photo of rlee1390
rlee1390

Indiana

4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A-Black in the glass but clear deep ruby around the edges, one finger off white/tan head.

S-Very roasty, some burnt notes, dirt, some hops.

T-Like the nose; roasted malt in the beginning. Dark chocolate and coffee later. Tad bit of bitterness.

M-Medium bodied, not much carbonation though, tad watery.

O-A good Black IPA, not sure of the freshness though.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2013 17:20:28 | More by rlee1390
Photo of MCain04
MCain04

Illinois

3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

Dark brown pour with a fluffy cream-colored head, good retention, some lacing

smells of piney hops, roasty malts, some sweetness, molasses, and fruity notes.

Taste is roasty with some piney floral hops, sweetness lingers, molasses, some chocolate.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation and a sticky dry finish.

Overall a solid black IPA, there are some better ones out there but for the price this one is solid.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2013 01:43:51 | More by MCain04
Photo of Ryan011235
Ryan011235

Ohio

3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Bell's tulip on 7/26/12

A) Pours a mahogany brown but settles much darker, exhibiting a deep ruby and crimson hue when held to the light. One thumb head deflates to an evenly thin layer of foam that reaches upward to the lace dripping from the glass. Thin retention, but pretty good lace overall.

S) Huh. The balance between malt, hops and roast is about the most expertly integrated that I've come across. Bright citrus, soft pine needles and floral hints meld seamlessly with mildly roasted dark grains and subtle chocolate sweetness. The aroma is not bombastic or particularly showy. It is, however, darn smooth.

T) The flavors are well-integrated too, though the hops outshine the malts. Nothing wrong with that, right? Green, sappy pine carries a dry, bitter kick throughout. Citric overtones are peppered along the way. Dark roast supports the hops without stifling them. Notions of cocoa powder, coffee beans and grain. Very dry.

M) Underneath waves of ample, rolling carbonation and resinous hop cling lies an otherwise silky-smooth medium bodied beer. Residual pine and roast linger.

D) Aside from far higher carbonation than I prefer this is really good. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2013 19:58:40 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of Etan
Etan

Wisconsin

4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz.

A: Pours a mellow black with some reddish hues. Nice beige head.

S: Hops dominate the nose. Soft orange, pineapple, grapefruit peel, a hint of roasted grain behind.

T: Taste brings juicy citrus, a bit of clean pine, mild chocolate and a bit of roasted malt. The malt is very understated compared to the hop profile.

M: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Really tasty and easy-drinking black IPA. Very light on the roastiness which is unusual for this ABAs..

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2013 03:03:06 | More by Etan
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.55/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour at the Protest Bottle Share For LA Beer Week held at Red Carpet Wine in Glendale, CA.

Pours a hazy copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, citrus fruit, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus fruit and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is more like a regular IPA than the style they were going for in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2013 17:35:08 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of elNopalero
elNopalero

Texas

4.66/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This pours a cola coffee color with a generous layer of cocoa colored foam.

There’s a burst of grapefruit and pine aroma followed by a touch of chocolate roast.

This has a real pleasing flavor with the grapefruit hop profile coming across each sip. There’s a dry finish with a touch of cocoa nib on it. I liked it.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2013 05:56:58 | More by elNopalero
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

4/5  rDev -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.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2013 20:28:57 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of herr_fish
herr_fish

Wisconsin

4.31/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

app-look like a porter, dark chocolate brown, tan head, appears to have lighter carbonation.
smell- nice hop spice, strong aroma, scent lets you know you are in for a strong flavorful beer.
taste- hop forward with a nice roasted malt background which is what makes it different that a typical ipa. The hops have a distinctive spice note to them and I couldn't put my finger on it at first. Decided there is an element of rye to this beer.
mouthfeel- just a touch thinner than i like, but good overall
overall- a real winner here, I have tried it several times now, some days I think it is amazing, some just good to great, either way always a good choice.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2013 23:49:37 | More by herr_fish
Photo of martyl1000
martyl1000

Wisconsin

4.31/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

khaki finger of head, into a tasting snifter. Aleutian islands of lace sticks permanently to the glass.

Aroma of summer citrus. Thought there'd be roastiness, but there's none. Maybe the slightest vague caro-syrup sweetness. Aroma is basically American IPA.

Flavor in the mouth is a shock of sweetness on the front of the tongue. Then of course American IPA with assertive hops. Profile fades into a molasses back-end. It's all perfect, balanced, bitterness and malt.

Cracked my top-five non-big-beer beers of all time.
---
I'm revising my review of 9/9/13 after having tried Lake Louie Radio Free IBA. I totally loved Black Top when by itself. But next to Radio Free IBA, my malt-lover preferences assert themselves, and I have to downgrade Black Top from 4.58 to 4.34.

Also, it seems to fight with a lot of different foods.

Still, amazingly flavorful while remaining eminently refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2013 01:44:15 | More by martyl1000
Photo of BEERMILER12
BEERMILER12

Maine

4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a near pitch black color with a fingers worth of tan head that recedes to a cap that leaves decent lacing

S: Nicely balanced. A good amount of roasted malts combine with piney, citrusy, and earthy hops. Some chocolate and caramel in there. Alcohol well hidden

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with a mix of roastiness and fruitiness and slowly unfolds to reveal plenty of pine, citrus, earth, caramel sweetness, dark chocolate, and molasses. Bitterness hits midway and continues into the finish

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A nice black IPA with great balance and drinkability. Black IPAs are usually hit or miss with me, and this one is a hit. Recommended

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2013 03:47:18 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.89/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A steady pour into my New Belgium globe glass produces a three finger-thick, pale brown tinged, tan colored head; the head subsides with a creamy texture, and quite a bit of loft. The beer is a concentrated brown color, that isn’t quite black; it shows a clear, dark red-plum hue when held up to the light. The aroma has a pungent, sweet, ripe citrus character to it up front that reminds me of peak season tangerines. Supporting notes of guava, lychee, and canned mandarin oranges add to the expressive hop fruit character. There is an earthy dark malt character here that is noticeable at times underneath the dominant hop character; some light char, perhaps a touch of cold dark-roast coffee, as well as a toasted whole grain character, and a bit of burnt grain husk character.

Lots of dry citrus character up front has a bit of an edge to it, the hops get a bit more floral and tropical fruit like towards the finish, but the final finish has an herbal citrusy character that is a bit like essential citrus oil mingled with tropical fruit essence. The dark / roast malt plays a supporting role here, it is quite smooth, but provides a bit of a burnt edge, a touch of cold coffee in the finish, some charred grain, and even a bit of roasted / burnt wood character. The hop flavor has a bit more of an herbal edge to it than in the nose, it is still mostly fruit driven, but there are light notes of pine sap, some menthol character, and a general green herbal character that lingers on the palate along with a bitter hop character; the bitterness is also accentuated by the roasted malt. The body of this beer is quite light, extremely quaffable, without being watery though, as there is just a touch of viscosity to the brew.

This is clearly a brew meant for knocking back a couple pints. The beer is quite tasty, though I think I prefer the juiciness of the aroma a bit more than the flavor; heresy perhaps, but the body / malt is almost a bit too light to fully be able to support the hop character in the flavor department.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2013 19:53:57 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of BWED
BWED

Pennsylvania

3.99/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a chalice

A- Deep dark brown and hazy. Light tan head with nice retention though hanging very low. Good lacing.

S- Big pine hop and some dry citrus rind. Very subtle sweet malt and caramel.

T- Mild caramel. Finish is pine.

M- Full bodied, with a bitter, dry finish. The finish, however, doesn't linger.

O- Very very good. It isn't over the top, which I'm learning that New Glarus is very good at that. It's a lot more mild than the big black ales I've had before, but it still holds the same qualities of a great one.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2013 23:32:39 | More by BWED
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore

Wisconsin

4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into an unlabeled snifter today 8/22/2013. Have had at least a six pack of this in the past year or so but this is the first time I'm able to sit down and review this beer on its own merits.

Pours a dark mahogany brown, not far off from black but definitely not black with a large, fluffy 2-finger tan head that slowly dissipates into a bubbly film that aggregates in the collar. Lacing is very nice here as well- it sticks well on the side of the glass I'm drinking from. All in all, a very nice looking dark beer.

I can smell a good bit of citrus flavours initially. Lots of citrus- tangerines, orange, even a bit of grapefruit. Or maybe the orange=grapefruit, I don't know. But its definitely citrusy. I can smell a faint background of dark malts- very faint coffee, toffee and some sweet candied sugar. When its chilled, its very hop dominant. When it warms up, the malts come out a little bit more. Still rather hop-forward and pungent.

It tastes very much like a sweet IPA. Lots of tangerines and orange in the flavour throughout, and the coffee and chocolate kind of poke out in the middle a little bit. But this is very much a hoppy beer. The flavours don't meld together quite that well compared to the nose but this is still tasty.

Medium bodied brew that isn't too sticky or dry; it is actually quite refreshing. Aftertaste is rather citrusy. Carbonation is just right for this beer. Generally a smooth, hoppy flavoured beer that has a different sweet background, likely from the different types of malts used.

Its a very good black IPA. Don't think I've had a better one in a while, if ever. As a guy who loves Black Butte Porter/Eddy Fitz Porter/etc., I would like a bit more of that roasty malt presence in a Black IPA- that is what would really do it for me. Anyway, if you like both IPAs and porters, this is an interesting one for you to try.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2013 01:53:07 | More by Stevedore
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

4.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle.

A: Clear deep brown body under an inch of dense, creamy tan head. Terrific retention and lacing. Attractive.

S: Piney hops dominate, with some dark chocolate malt in the background. Simple and good.

T: Spicy, piney hops up front, with the roasted malts contributing some coffee notes toward the end. Clean, bitter, herbal finish. Balanced, flavorful, and drinkable. Great.

M: Creamy, soft medium body. Delicate and rich at the same time.

O: Excellent hoppy dark ale (I prefer to stay out of the naming controversy), and one of the few examples of the style that I find genuinely drinkable. I could easily put away several of these, which is impressive given their strength of both ABV and flavor intensity. Another winner from New Glarus, and an incredible value as a $7-$8 sixpack.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2013 02:36:00 | More by woosterbill
Photo of brock146
brock146

Minnesota

3.16/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A - Pours a dark chocolate color with a thin white/tan head

S - Citrus and piney hope smell.

T - Tropical hops and roasted malt. A slight carmel flavor with some pine and citrus to back it up.

M - Much thinner than I was hoping for. Thin and bubbly.

O - Decent black IPA. It is much like the rest of the New Glarus offerings in that I was expecting much more out of the beer than it actually provided. Another beer from NG that I feel doesn't live up to all the hype. I just wish that the minds at work in New Glarus Wisconsin would be a little bit more bold when it comes to their brews. However, I may be tainted by trying to compare it to Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2013 05:25:58 | More by brock146
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Black Top from New Glarus Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 816 ratings.