1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Black Top - New Glarus Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black TopBlack Top

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

975 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 975
Reviews: 196
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 11%
Wants: 74
Gots: 91 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: cdkrenz on 08-27-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Black Top Alström Bros
Ratings: 975 | Reviews: 196 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NuclearDolphin
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Pint Glass

Appearance - Dark Crimson Red with a slightly hazy look. Head is nice and foamy around 3 fingers width with a tan color. Sparse lacing along the sides of the glass

Smell - Piney Hops, Chocolate, Coffee and Caramel. Very malty smelling as well. This certainly has an interesting scent!

Taste - Strong Piney hops, licorice, chocolate, burnt malts and coffee. Despite the fact it calls itself an IPA on the side, I was surprised the hops are as strong as they are in here. The combination of piney hops mixed with the other flavors is unique and comes together very well, much better than what i was expecting. It does however leave a strange "Piney Hops and Licorice" aftertaste though.

Mouthfeel - A bit of the heavier side. Carbonation is moderate here but not quite intense, so this one is more of a sipper than anything else. It's not a beer you can just chug down in a few seconds.

Overall - It's a flavorful yet unique style of IPA that deserves to be tried out at the very least. It's not perfect but it's worth checking out.

Photo of Kunstman
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of PeterOrlando92
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of danp14
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Durtdiggler
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark as black top as the name says with a nice 2 finger head, a lot of present effervescence upon pour from bottle into tulip glass. The head sticks all over the glass and retains it's presence.

Aroma starts with pine, dried citrus like orange aroma. I expected more roastiness from stout like malts but did not notice any. Some slight caramel aroma. Aroma is very much like a strong American IPA.

Taste starts very American IPA with huge hop presence then slowly fading into a caramel, molasses type of back end. It goes together real well, not too sweet, well balanced full of bitterness and malt. Dan nailed the taste and balance on this one. A different direction, more porter than stout type of malts.

Mouthfeel is very lively. The carbonation dances on your tongue, finishes clean.

Even being in Wisconsin, I've had a hard time finding this beer. I'm going to drink it as long as it's available. This beer is brilliant, world class.

Photo of jegross2
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing the Black Top from New Glarus Brewing Company out of Wisconsin. This beer is one of New Glarus' most sought after seasonal beers.
Score: 89

Bottle stamp is "0962 13:39," meaning it was packaged on the 96th day of the year (April 5, 2012). This beer just hit shelves a week or two ago. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 05/05/12.

Appearance: Pour a deep caramel, almost black color with ruby highlights in the body when held up to light. Two fingers of creamy off-white/tan head at pour settles to a bubbly ring around the glass and thin film atop the glass. Average lacing and average retention with residual cling. 4/5

Smell: Lots of piney/grassy hops and citrus. Lemon, grapefruit, tangerine and a little sugary pineapple. A touch of creamy milk chocolate too. Really nice IPA aroma with a light chocolate twist. 4.5/5

Taste: A lot less IPA-like (and flavorful) than the nose let on. Creamy chocolate, chocolate malt, and a light amount of creamy coffee flavor upfront and on the midpalate. Then some creamy lemon citrus and grapefruit. Mildly hoppy finish. The nose is very flavor-intense, but the taste is quite subdued in comparison. Very drinkable and refreshing. Gets a little hoppier as it layers on the tongue. 3.75/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied, medium carbonation. Smooth, oily, creamy mouthfeel. Slighty acidic and hoppy finish. 3.5/5

Overall: Solid black IPA, but I have had better. The nose is really nice, but it sets up the wrong kind of expectations for the taste. I would absolutely drink another, but not quite sure I would want five more.

Recommendation: This mild hybrid IPA is probably a good gateway beer for casual beer drinkers looking to get into IPA. Snag a bottle while it's fresh and in season.


Cost: $9.99 for a six pack.

Photo of doughanson78
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Blargimus
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
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 drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At the time of this review, this is #30 on the "Top Beers - American Black Ale" list on beeradvocate.com. Bottle shared by Thorpe the other day, served in a snifter.

Beer is black / dark brown with a thin off white head of small bubbles, low retention, some lacing, moderate to low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, mild roast, mostly hops, mostly pine hops.

Beer is medium in body and sweet with a nice pine hop finish and a little bitterness from the hops and the grain, a decent drinking beer, one of the better simpler black ales I've had, I would have it again.

Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to BeerFMAndy for getting a box of New Glarus out to me. Served in a New Glarus taster glass.

Pours very dark brown with a nice two-finger off-white head. Good retention and some sticky lacing as it falls. The nose has some nice pine and roast, plus backing citrus. Flavor meshes the hops and the backing roasted malt quite well. This is how an ABA should be done. Body is medium with a touch of acrid roast dryness plus hop bitterness cutting through. Quite good.

Photo of smartassboiler
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of rmalinowski4
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in my Founders Chalice.

Pours an opaque black with a one finger head that recedes slowly leaving a thin cap on top.

Smells of sweet orange, tangerine, and tropical fruit covered in bitter chocolate. Slightly roasty in the background, very delicate and complex.

The taste is similar to the smell. Bready chocolate malt backbone leads to orange, tangerine and other tropical flavors. Slightly bitter from the roasty chocolate flavor, yet sweet and fruity. The flavors are both strong and subtle at the same time, complexed and well balanced, everything just works together extremely well.

The mouthfeel is rich and creamy without being thick or chewy, smooth and rich with moderate carbonation to make the flavors dance on the palate. Works extremely well with the flavors and the style.

Overall this beer is fantastic. It's a fruity, chocloaty masterpiece. Highly recommend picking this up again.

Photo of RyanGustner
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%

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

Shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike.

The beer is chestnut brown with a quarter inch of beige head. Nice aroma, with scents of pine, hop resin, roast. The roast character is definitely secondary to the pine and hop flavors. Easy to drink, with a lingering taste of pine and a hint of chocolate. Overall, this was one of the better examples of the style I have yet had.

Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of monitorpop
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of ericjubeck
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Photo of ehammond1
4.13/5  rDev +1%
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 GripitandSipit
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of Sidaot
3.25/5  rDev -20.5%

Photo of Petrofessor
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of bretsky07
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of Zachtheporter
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Photo of GORUM
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of KajII
3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Tulip glass]

The pour was a thick murky dark brown with an average sized (1-2 finger) light beige creamy head that had decent retention and some good spotty lacing.

The aroma was of a pine hop, a roasted grain malt and a mild moldy yeast with notes of caramel, coffee, a bit of chocolate and licorice.

The taste was mildly sweet and acidic with notes of caramel and licorice at first and then became lightly bitter with a note of coffee and a piney hop finish. The flavor only stuck around for a short while with the taste fading rather quickly, leaving behind a mild piney bitterness.

Mouthfeel was just a bit under medium in body with a dry texture and a medium carbonation.

Overall a mildly hoppy Black IPA that was very easy going down, and had an enjoyable aftertaste...

Black Top from New Glarus Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 975 ratings.