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Nickel Brook Headstock IPA | Nickel Brook Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
86
very good
81 Reviews
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Nickel Brook Headstock IPANickel Brook Headstock IPA
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
Ontario, Canada
nickelbrook.com

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A boldly hopped, full bodied American style IPA. Headstock IPA is brewed primarily with nugget hops, which gives rise to a distinct hop flavor, bitterness and aroma. It also uses blend of classic European and North American malts to enhance the body and full flavour. No additives. No Preservatives. Naturally carbonated for a smooth, crisp finish.

80 IBU

Added by Sammy on 08-05-2011

BEER STATS
Reviews:
81
Ratings:
252
Avg:
3.83
pDev:
18.28%
 
 
Wants:
8
Gots:
42
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 252
Photo of Sammy
3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at Bar Volo, IPA day. Neutral aroa, malting A lacey beer with a reddish tinged body. Above average carboantion and lighter than average outhfeel. Some bitternes, not all that tasty, the bitter flavour more in the finish and chalky on first sips, as filler.So-so drinkability.

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Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473ml can, nice spacey Woodstock-esque imagery on the label - I especially like the bugged-out appearing bird.

This beer pours a hazy, muddled dark bronzed amber colour (pale ale, my tuckus), with three fingers of roiling, foamy, and raw cake batter-like eggshell white head, which leaves some nice chunky, broken cage lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs southward.

It smells of bitter citrus cream and pine oil, blended seamlessly with a weighty caramel toffee sweetness. The taste is more tart, bitter grapefruit rind, some softer tropical citrus fruit, not so soft pine resin, and a sturdy caramel pudding malt backbone, quite capable of weathering, and somewhat withering, the hop onslaught. Booze warming? Not so much.

The bubbles punch in, punch out, and thus put in their work day, with no complaints, the body a bit on the light side of middleweight, which seems to work, and further feeds a snappy, good enough for now smoothness. It finishes leaning towards a grudging detente, the hops wilting just a tad, and malt digging in.

Well, I'll be, another well-rounded, big flavoured IPA from Ontario, and in a can, no less. Nice and hoppy, in a big-boy way, with a countering malt that states firmly: you're still in Canada, son. This is surely going camping with me this summer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can: Poured a deep orangey color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of earthy and bitter hops is dominating. Taste is a good mix between some earthy hops with a medium bitter finish. Caramel malt backbone provides a nice balance to the hops with some light residual sugar. Body is quite full with good carbonation. A bit too sweet for my taste but still enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 12/10/2015. Pours slight hazy orange/copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, melon, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, honey, light caramel, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of juicy citrus/tropical/pine hops and moderate bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, melon, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, honey, light caramel, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/citrus rind bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, melon, lemon/orange peel, pine, honey, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of juicy citrus/tropical/pine hops and moderate bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero astringent hop flavors after the finish. Good amount of dryness from sticky bitterness as well. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, sticky/resinous, and slightly creamy/bready balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent IPA! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of juicy citrus/tropical/pine hops and moderate bready malt flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Normally cans with shrink-wrapped labels on them look pretty silly. This one is the exception in that it uses a matte-style wrap, which I think looks really good.

Flavor is more on the pine tone with a thick profile. I thought to myself that it tasted unfiltered and turned the can just a smidge to see the word "unfiltered." Very robust and earthy. Some filtering could probably do it some justice, but what is here provides a good beer to go with food.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fresh bottle from the brewery poured in to Founders tulip.

A - Medium to dark amber colour with an orange glow around the edges and one finger of cream coloured head. Some sediment.

S - Some citrus and big herbal notes from the hops with a big bitterness present up front. The background adds some sweet caramel.

T - Sharp bitterness up front with herbal and earthy hop notes and some light floral notes. A slightly sweet malt base provides a some balance.

M - Medium body, somewhat creamy. Light to moderate carbonation. A dry finish.

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Photo of liamt07
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can from the LCBO, 473ml into a tulip. Best before September 23, 2012.

Poured an unfiltered deep red, some shades of brown perhaps as well. Soapy offwhite head, good lacing and some chunky bits of head retain. Hops are strong in this one, completely evident once cracking the can. Citrusy and piney, with some sweet caramel and earthy like malt notes. A little gentler on the palate but still strong hops, slight spicy, citrusy, piney with a relatively bready and caramel malt flavour - fairly secondary to the hops still. A bit chewy, bitterness is fairly potent but diminishes quickly. Medium mouthfeel and medium low carbonation - a level which I tend to enjoy my IPAs best. Surprisingly good, a good addition to the IPA scene in Ontario. Brew this in small batches Nickel Brook, and keep this fresh on the shelves.

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Photo of biegaman
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

"Pale" is usually a misnomer when it comes to India Pale Ales. It certainly is in this case: baring a bit of orange gloss, the beer is basically brown. *Head*stock, however, is aptly named: thick, bubbly foam shoots in every direction like Medusa's hair and leaves a lacing so detailed and particular you'd think it was made by Faberge.

The aroma is a wickedly enticing blend of candied orange peel and sappy pine resins. A lot of pineapple is noted too, as is the general herbal-leafy notes that necessarily characterize a good hop job. The fruitiness of the hops is elevated by toasty, lightly caramelized malts. The bouquet, somewhat impressively, contains as much sweetness as bitterness.

80 units of bitterness and 7% alcohol isn't too hard to swallow for a drinker like me who is long accustomed to, and finds highly gratifying, strong and bitter beers. For those used to pale lagers, however, a beer like this might just make them cringe. The leafy, herbal hop astringency is almost puckering it's so bitter. It's like drinking fruit pith.

All that being said, there's plenty of nutty, chewy, caramelized maltiness in there that makes things a little more palatable. The flavor of the hops too - candied orange peel, pineapple fruit, pine resin - are pretty appealing also. Put another way, this isn't just an IPA for IPA makers; it should suit the average craft beer drinker just fine.

...And that is how it suits me. Not great. But "just fine". It's a beer I like well enough to buy often, though I probably won't. It's a beer I can't really find any faults in, though I think there's room for improvement. One thing is for certain though, it's a welcomed and really successful offering from this brewery. With this they've raised their standards.

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Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473ml Can from the LCBO for 2.65

Appearance - Slightly hazy copper colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is a below average amount of carbonation and there is some fair/good lacing. The head lasted for 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel, apricots, grapefruit, hops

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste hops, malts, and caramel. There is also a bit of an earthiness and some light fruit flavours such as apricots and grapefruit/oranges. The beer ends with a malty sweet aftertaste and a surprising amount of lingering hop bitterness.

Overall - Reminds me a bit of a smashbomb mixed with a Beau's IPeh. It's a welcome addition to the lacking hoppy beer scene in Ontario. I'd buy it again.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml can poured into tulip 27/4/12 thanks liamt07 for sending the can

A dark for the style looks reddish brown, murky with little chunks floating around in a thick looking liquid, dense two fingers of beige foam has great retention and leaves a few rings of lace followed by random patches, looking great

S floral and piney hops with some grapefruit and tangerine, not all hops but pretty close just a little caramel malt create some balance and some booze is there but not too bad

T slightly more toffee and more rind then the nose, similar other then that and pretty solid if you ask me

M full bodied with creamy carbonation and a nice bitter bite, leaves a little behind in you mouth, no booze detected and a long piney rind aftertaste, no issues here

O pretty solid stuff going on here, nothing to complain about and it looks and feels great, well rounded IPA

not sure what beer all the others are reviewing because I though this was a solid IPA that I`d be happy to put in my regular rotation If I could get it here. thanks again liamt07 for the can

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Photo of ppoitras
4.11/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

473ml can purchased as a single from the LCBO booth at the Toronto Royal Winter Fair.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" light beige head over the cloudy golden copper brew. Head holds on nicely, with lasting lace. Aroma is juicy citrus.

Taste starts sweet, jiucy citrus from nose in the middle, moderately bitter close coupled with even more citrus. Mouthfeel is way smooth, and drinkability is excellent. Liking this one.

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Photo of bylerteck
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From old notes.

A - Poured hazy copper with good carbonation coming up. One finger of beige head. Minimal lace, half finger retention.

S - Citrus, bread, a bit of pine, very inviting and strong.

T - Juicy with some pine there as well. Really tasty, juicy, and citrussy.

M - Good carbonation, medium body, nice bitterness.

O/D - One of the better IPAs in Ontario right now. Lovely flavour with a high drinkability for the ABV. A nice one to have in these parts.

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Photo of Rutager
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours a deep red-orange with two fingers of thick, lightly amber tinted head that lasts a while and paints the sides of the glass.

Smell. Big piney hops, some toasty grains and caramel and a little citrus.

Taste. Great tasting toasty grains, waves of piney hops and cirtus rinds, but not in an overwhelming way. Good bitter finish with a little toastyness still backing up those hops.

Mouthfeel. Medium+ body with medium carbonation.

Overall. My kind of ipa. I'm really liking the malt flavours in this one, and the hops were fantastic. Thanks liamt07!! From CANBIF

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Photo of papat444
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Chad for this one.

Poured from a 473ml. can, Exp Nov 17 12.

Appearance: Pours a quasi orange body with a thick ecru head that clings all around.

Smell: Pine, grapefruit rinds, some caramel sweetness and tangerines as well.

Taste: Sweet pine & mango mixed with grapefruit. Flavor is a bit tame but good.

Mouthfeel: I like the malt sweetness blending with the low bitterness. Has a thick, creamy feel.

Overall: A decent IPA that has some good things going for it.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

BB April 12 2013.

Beer pours a murky caramel. Fairly large off-white head. Dissipates at a moderate pace, leaves a bit of lace.

Hops are upfront in the nose. Lots of citrus, orange and grapefruit. Mango. A bit of pine. Caramel malt.

Taste is similar to the nose, but the malts are a bit heavier. Moderately bitter, with the tropical side of the hops poking through a bit more than citrus (both are present). Caramel malt, a bit of biscuit.

Medium bodied, highly carbonated. I find it a bit irritating. Bready, oily.

Overall, quite good. One of the better Ontario IPAs.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Originally had this at The Rib & Craft Beer Festival a couple years ago in Kitchener Ontario. Thought it was outstanding then. Was really happy to see it canned in the LCBO when I went home this past summer, so I was sure to stock up.

From a 16oz can into a snifter
80 IBUs

Note: Tested this one as part of the Great Ontarian IPA Showdown against Railway City's Dead Elephant, Muskoka Mad Tom IPA, and Double Trouble's Hops & Robbers.

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, medium looking, off-white head with good retention. Opaque, hazy, burnt orange body with very low levels of carbonation evident. Head eventually fades to a full wisp. A splotchy film remains until the end and leaves touches of lacing down the glass. Good, but needs a thicker head and more lacing for top marks.

SMELL: Pretty big nose on this one. Pale malts, honeydew melon, grapefruit and lemon citrus aromas as well. Some piney hop notes in there too. Quite impressive for sure.

TASTE: Pale malts and melon sweetness up front, then piney and citrus grapefruit at the swallow. Lots of bitterness as well. Big and lingering aftertaste of piney, bitter hops, lemon citrus and grapefruit with just a touch of melon sweetness as balance. Quite flavorful and interesting.

PALATE: Fuller body with medium levels of carbonation. Very creamy smooth on the palate, goes down fine and finishes quite dry. Good stuff all around.

OVERALL: Just wonderful. This was the beer of the festival a couple years back, and it is just as good in can form as I remember it. Maybe the only Ontario brewed IPA that I'd be proud to showcase around the world. This one blew away the competition in the Ontario Showdown. Great job on this one guys. Keep it coming.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice murky dark amber colour, with a beige two finger of head dissipating to some webby lacing. There's a bit more sweet caramel malts in the aroma than hops, but there are some pine, citrus and floral hops notes. The taste has a nice mellow, but assertive bitterness, with some floral and citrus hop notes with touches of pine. The feel was smooth and slick, with a medium body.

Pretty good and solid IPA!

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Photo of peensteen
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber/copper colour, almost 2 fingers tan/off white head, some lace. Pine and citrus upfront on the nose, lightly biscuity malt profile, grapefruit and tangerine there as well, light alcohol notes come and go. Taste is of floral hops and lightly sweet, big maltyness comes through, nice bitterness throughout, pine with some citrus in the aftertaste, buttery at points. Lightly oily, medium carbonation, light to medium weight. Not bad altogether but could use some work to be top notch, still pretty enjoyable though.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from notes
A - Hazy bubbly burnt orange, tall tan head, solid retention
S - Pine, citrus, pepper, bready
T - Pine and citrus hops, then grain and caramel, peppery finish
M - Full feel medium carbo, finishes slightly bitter
O - not outstanding but for a random purchase this turns out to be a worthy enough treat

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tallboy can from the LCBO; best before Nov 30 2012. I am a self-professed IPA fan, and this is one of the random ones I happened to pick up during my last stop. I've had one decent beer from this brewery, and a few lame ones, so I'm not sure what to expect.

Pours a muddy brownish-amber colour, much cloudier than a lot of the IPAs I've been having recently. The dense, creamy, off-white head seated atop the liquid sticks around for a decent bit, and leaves some good thick lacing behind when it finally bites the dust. Looks good to me. Nice fresh aroma with lots of citrus zest, pine needles, along with some juicy pineapple notes. This is underlain by some faint bready malts and brown sugar. Rather subdued, however, and nothing unusually good for the style.

I am in love with this stuff after one sip. The taste is heavy on the hops, of course - their powerful fruity flavours dominate the profile of this brew. I can pick up pineapple, tangerine, lemon and earthy pine resin as well, and all of the flavours blend together wonderfully. Modest malt bill; some caramel sweetness, but it's hard to make out much else. Strong, fruity, lingering bitter aftertaste that coaxes you into another sip. Medium bodied, with moderate carbonation levels that make for a slightly crisp, but highly refreshing brew. Slightly oily, with the 7% alcohol quite well hidden even at colder temperatures.

Headstock IPA isn't something I'd want to session, but I have a feeling I'll still be buying plenty of it (assuming I continue to see it on shelves). I have been very impressed with a lot of the OCB IPAs I've tried recently, and this is another one to add to the list. Highly recommended if you are a hophead, and easily the best concoction from this brewer - of the ones I've tried so far. Excellent value for the price.

[Updated Jun. 28 2014]

Another can, this one dated Jun 16 2014, so ridiculously fresh by LCBO standards. I'm bumping the score a bit - this is easily one of Ontario's best IPAs IMO. It's not balanced - the flavour is highly astringent, and I would not recommend it to anyone unaccustomed to bitter, hoppy beers. That being said - there is plenty of room in this style for unbalanced beers, and this is a highly palatable example that is always welcome in my glass.

Final Grade: 4.13, an A-.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz can packaged 5/4/15 at 42 degrees into snifter
From a trade with @SebD
Aroma of pine and tropical fruit, doesn’t last
Head small (Two cm, aggressive pour), off white, frothy, diminishing to two mm ring and partial frothy layer
Lacing excellent – complete rings of tiny to small bubbles
Body medium orange, hazy
Flavor more of tropical fruit than pine, not very bitter, mostly Mosaic hops coming through; no malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, slightly oily, soft carbonation

Appearance 4.25, Aroma 3.75, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4, Overall 4

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Photo of SebD
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes

Appearance: It has a nice deep orange/amber color to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderately and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of citrus, mango, grapefruit (very tropical) with some piney notes and some bready malts.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has some nice citrus, grapefruit and mango along with some piney notes and bready and caramelly malts.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas. Definitely one of the better IPA's in Ontario.

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Photo of TerryW
3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hazy red under a moderate head that settles to a heavy film and gives spotty lace.

Nose is hops and a hint of alcohol. Sweet on the palate to start, finishes with lingering bitterness. Grapefruit hops and alcohol to taste, not a lot else. Kind of one dimensional as IPAs go. Drinkable, but unremarkable.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473 ml can from LCBO for $2.75 CDN into a pint glass

Appearance - Golden-ish, dark orange color. 1.5 fingers if head leave a creamy white cap that is slow to disappear, Tons of sediment is readily visible in the glass which may detract from the appeal for some.

Smell – Hops! Piney scents as well as some earthy flavors.

Taste- Quite hoppy with the earthy elements and a piney citrus fueled aftertaste. Maybe a touch of lime thrown in.

Mouthfeel- Balanced as the hops are quite strong enjoyable for someone who likes this but not so overbearing that complete balance is broken. Nice creaminess as well that may be unexpected.

Overall – Quite a delicious beer, one that the hopheads will like, plus it has good ABV and other than the appearance has a refined plate that is creamy and decadent. A favorite in the IPA class.

EDIT(s) - Just had this beer again and was the same as before except for the fact that it was crystal clear and had no chunks of sediment floating around. Much improved appearance in my mind has meant a bit of an adjustment in scoring. Lately, I find myself enjoying this beer frequently, as I compare my top three IPA's I drink on a volume basis, which are Central City's Red racer, Nickel Brook's Headstock and Boneshaker by Amsterdam. I think I was selling Headstock short given that I buy a lot more of it than Boneshaker (although not as much as Red Racer) and yet it's scored lower. The 10 cent difference in price isn't making the difference. SO I've upgraded this beer to 4's across the board, because quite honesty I feel that's where it deserves to be. Maybe it's better consistency and excellent freshness that has brought me around, but Headstock is a winner for the Ontario craft beer scene.

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Photo of mick303
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a two finger head of creamy tan amber head. Colour is an attractive medium amber brown with a good carbonation.

Nose is strongly of hops. Also a fresh foresty aspect. Quite good balance.

Taste is initially bitter, but then develops a malt backbone which carries a few other flavours, some slight nuttiness and sweetness. Hops are quite prevalent, I picked up a slightly metallic cloying note, but this didn't stick around. Bitterness on the whole is quite balanced despite being nice and full.

Good, medium-bodied in comparison to some of the very full IPAs. But quite refreshing, and moderately smooth.

Its a pretty solid IPA and fairly drinkable, but nothing particularly exceptional. Nice bit of fruitiness to it as well. Drinks quite well, and a definite session option.

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Nickel Brook Headstock IPA from Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
3.83 out of 5 based on 252 ratings.
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