Total Domination IPA | Ninkasi Brewing Company

378 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Ninkasi website:
"6.7% alc./vol. 65 ibus. Always available in 22 oz bottles, and on draft."

Added by grumpy on 08-23-2006

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Reviews: 378 | Ratings: 1,466
Photo of Sidd
3.57/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Smells wonderful, but doesn't feel well balanced, toffee malts, piney bitterness shows up later, cloudy amber, pours with minimal head. Doesn't dominate as expected

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3.01/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

I've been drinking this beer for the better part of a decade. It used to be one of my favorites. It was fruity and had layers of floral notes that balanced the extreme hoppiness. I have been drinking whiskey/not drinking beer for the last couple of years and occasionally i'll randomly get a craving for this beer alone. I have fond memories of drinking this and playing Starcraft 2 in 2011-2012.

I decided to pick up a 6 pack while at Fred Meyers (I live in Portland) and noticed the very distinct black and teal label is now replaced with a beautiful painting of a mountain range. While I do like the new label, I do miss the old label, it was very distinctive and unique and allowed me to instantly find this beer. This beer has been about $10 for a six pack as far back as I remember. It was on sale for around $8 which was rare in the past.

To put it frankly I was completely surprised and utterly bummed out to discover that this tasted like an average IPA with no real discerning or unique characteristics that made it so delightful. It was just bitter and had no real features to redeem itself. Is it just me? Did Ninkasi change their recipe? Do they brew larger batches and lose consistency in mixing ingredients? Did they cut out some of the more expensive ingredients? Did they get too big for their britches? Is it an old batch?

Some of the reviews on this site seem to affirm my experience. I may try this again in the future but if it tastes like this batch tastes I will probably never buy it again, sadly, as it was my favorite beer and really the only beer I ever truly craved.

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Photo of matcris
3.46/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A fairly clear amber, with loads of carb rising, and a 2 finger, foamy head that sticks to the glass, a bit. The aroma is mild grapefruit and orange and same with the flavor. A fair amount of bitterness up front that continues to build and linger. There is enough malt sweetness to basically balance the beer, but it is quite bitter, on the whole. The feel is average carbonation, a little sticky, but, dry on the finish, and medium-ish bodied. Overall, a little too bitter, overall, for me. It stays with you.

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Photo of smcolw
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Large bubble, but small head. It recedes like soda pop on ice. No lace at all. The liquid is orange-amber and cloudy.

The smell is light and slightly off. I'm getting a bit of plastic to the nose. Overall, I'd say this is more malty than hoppy, but neither come through in a solid way.

The malt only shows up in the swallow as a bit of fruity sweetness. It is very brief. The body is thin and the carbonation slightly high. The hop is the story of this beer. It's strong and weedy on the swallow. It creates a long, white pepper-like aftertaste. I get a faint bit of alcohol immediately after the swallow, but the sensation is fleeting.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.56/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Here's another good beer, that when the brewery found increased footprint distribution, the beer suffered as closer accounts got older beer (in my experience). So while this beer can be very good, it also lately has suffered in what you can pull off the retail shelf.

Darker than your average SRM in an ipa, this one also seems low on the head formation and carbonation angle, coming in at around 1/3". The aroma seemed like simcoe, nondescript citrus and pine feels.

Taste is good, total normal ipa feels, high hops, drier body, alcohol and ibus in those 6-7 and 60-70 ranges. Good price on these, they seem to have made some big contractual agreements with chain retailers. Never see these in refrigeration though. They need to bottle date.

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Photo of mklmcgrew
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a pint glass

L: Pours a hazy orange color, with a 1-finger head. Average head retention and lacing.

S: Very light nose, some malt with a hint of citrus and pine hops.

T/F: The most prominent flavor characteristic is the bitterness at the end. There is a little bit of citrus and malt, but really, this is mostly about the bitter finish. Medium carbonation and a light-medium body.

O: I found this only OK. Not as deep and complex as many other IPA options. I wouldn't turn it down, but not searching it out either.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass: color is darker straw, a bit opaque, head is off white with fine to small bubbles and some lacing on the glass.

Smell is subdued to me: neutral malt, then some bread and biscuit then lighter earthy hops.

Taste is again neutral to the style, with moderate hops a bit of biscuit but not a strong bitter or strong malt lean - it tastes good but seems subdued.

Mouthfeel is moderate carbonation, a bit more bitter presence, crisp on the tongue.

Overall, a solid and easily drinkable beer but lighter prominent flavors.

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Photo of thebrood1987
4.74/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Cracker, toffee malts and a huge floral pine dominant the nose. I love this beer! It totally reminds me of if Samuel Adams Boston Lager took their recipe and added American hops to make it an IPA. It even smells very similar to it now that I give it a bit more of a smell. Sweet toffee malts take over the first half of the taste and then ending in a floral piney bitterness that lingers and grows the more you drink it. So if you are a fan of Boston lager and wanted to know what it'd taste like with American hops give this beer a try.

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Photo of bilbobrewer
3.64/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

With a name like that, expectations are high....but it appears form ratings here, not met.

No freshness info on the bottle...for a brewery the size of Ninkasi, that is terrible.
Jeez, you work next door to Nike.....pick up some marketing skillz!

Pours clean gold, Head is modest, a bit creamy, lingers for awhile.
A well-bittered IPA....but not much else going on.
ABV is a pedestrian 6/7%.

Honest question: What, exactly, does this beer "totally dominate"?
Not a very complex's a well-bittered IPA.
Meh. There's better, there's worse.

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Photo of AndrewMichael
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, nice piney aroma. Strong, distinct, bitter aftertaste on this IPA. I'm glad they started providing this in 6 packs, a real solid, bitter IPA.

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Photo of Stevem68
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a lightly hazy light golden color. Aroma citrus and sweet malts. Flavor is citrus, with a little bitterness. Light carbonation and a little thin body but not bad. Overall a nice drinkable beer.

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Photo of dfconnor
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Full-bodied flavor for a regular IPA. Heavier on the bittering hops and not so much on the aromatic hops. The emphasis was more on the malt foundation than hoppiness. A great change-up to the proliferation of overly hopped IPA offerings.

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes taken 04/20/16:

Semi-clear at first, then hazy and quite opaque as the rest is added to 16oz glass from 22oz bomber. Cuprescent amber topped with foamy light-tan head of decent retention. Resin, raisin, sweet orange, apple, berry aromas. Much the same on the palate, albeit spicier and fruitiness more subdued, apart from berries. Rind and nearly soap in the finish. Fuller end of medium-bodied, sloshy, semi-smooth, plenty of tingly then sudsy carbonation.

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Photo of Beejay
3.18/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Orange apricot in color, very hazy with a light tan head. d

S: Fruity with hints of berries on a background of tropical fruit.

T: A bit more bitter than I would have imagined. Solid bitterness up front, followed by a touch of malt sweetness, and an earthy and citrus lingering bitterness. I wish the flavor was as juicy as the aroma.

M: Medium with fairly low carbonation.

O: I like the aroma, but otherwise it is fairly ho-hum.

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Photo of Boomshalakalakaboom
1/5  rDev -72.7%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This is horrible. This is not an IPA! It tastes like it's a wheat beer. I'm returning it because it's not what it says it is. I hate wheat beer and I hate this beer. I love hoppy IPAs and this is pure false advertising. Going to the store to return it. I signed up for a BA account just to warn others about this beer. Utterly undrinkable.

Poured it down the drain, and I don't do that very often.

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Photo of Kinger22
3.96/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bubbles form a thin, creamy head atop a dark gold pour. A strong fruity scent with levels of hops as well. The taste is strong on hops with hints of the fruit flavors. An easy-drinking beer that sits well.

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Photo of BethanyB
3.94/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: A swarm of bubbles create a large, creamy white head atop a fizzing, clear, dark gold body. A pretty beer.

Smell: Floral hops mixed with juicy orchard fruit, mostly peaches and pears. Pale malt brings an almost hay-like quality to the aroma. Balanced, sweet, and refreshing.

Tate: Toasted honey sweetness and pale biscuity malt are well-balanced by floral and citrus hop flavors. The medium bitterness is just high enough to confirm this as an IPA. A bit of grapefruit and golden pear adds some interesting brightness. There is a grainy cheerio flavor in the aftertaste that is somewhat distracting.

Mouthfeel: Medium/light body and high carbonation are ideal for the style. Crisp, with a finish that is both dry and frothy, as the head lasts throughout the drinking session.

Overall: A great IPA for those who are just starting to get into hops--the tasty sweetness provided by the malt and fruit flavors is impossible to ignore, but it manages to complement the bitterness rather than working against it. It has sour patch candy appeal--sweetness with a bite!

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.21/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Day 2 of my Cali road trip/west coast ipa binge. Carmel to Big Sur.

Honey color with decent retention. Smells like pink grapefruit hops. Tastes like pink grapefruit candy wedges. Kinda juicy. Sharp, lasting bitter.

The name is bigger than the IPA.

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Photo of Buzzsaw68
3.96/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If you like IPAs, you'll like Total Domination. If you prefer "hoppier" tasting IPAs, you'll enjoy this beer. It's doesn't have a high IBU and has no "surprise" bitterness. It's citrusy taste, Cascade hops, and more than normal carbonation has an almost refreshing ability for indulging in the evening, not so much during the day as it is a filling beer. When going a bit "over board" one night, it seems to leave you with less of a hangover. There's no science or reasoning, but has been repeated many times haha. Good stuff, a must if you've never had it or first time tasting Ninkasi beers. Cheers

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Photo of MAB
4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Better on-tap than it is out of a bottle, I think. This is a bottle review.

Lovely color-- deep amber. Hoppy nose. Nice head.
Hoppy flavor, but overall not too bitter, considering. Well rounded.

The on-tap version featured more bitterness, for whatever reason.

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Photo of ezra_shroomer
5/5  rDev +36.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite brew ive had hands down. Ninkasi does a great job and their TD IPA is my go to drink for a good night. Love love love. Keep the wonderful brews coming (:

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This beer's aroma is classically piny in every sense of the word. Sure, there are also hints of melon, caramel, and table sugar, but this one is all about the pine in particular. Dare I say it smells like a forest? It doesn't particularly pop, but neither does it seem overly harsh or biting. It tastes much the same way - that is to say, it's a pine bomb. It starts with plenty of pine, grass, and lemon; and finishes with a surge of toffee and caramel. Light fruit esters pop up after a while. Though I don't find it THAT bitter on the palate, make no mistake: it's astringent and very dry, with carbonation that's ample enough to cleanse things nicely. On the other hand, it feels a bit too bulky on the tongue. I expected a brutal pine bomb, but this is actually quite nice. A classic, old-school IPA that shows what the style used to be like, and still offers enjoyment compared to all the tropical juice beers currently out there today.

3.45/5: An old-school IPA through and through, but still quite charming

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Photo of GetSmokedOn
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 5

Purchased from local beersman.

Poured from a bottle into my mouth.

APPEARANCE: A cold wind blew as I powerfully gripped the bottle. Nice condensation on the bottle, good sticker. No twist top? No problem! Used a hammer to gently destroy the top of this bottle. Good foamy stuff on top and the glory rating would be strong to quite strong.

SMELL: The delicious pine drifted into my nasal unit. After removing the pine pieces I smelled the beer. It smelled like a pretty good IPA. There was a hint of chocolate with music notes and I could also smell my finger and I got a hint of my house because I was in my house.

TASTE: First, the flowery taste hit my mouth muscle like a veritable tour de france of hops. I was then lead down the primrose path to a hint of citrus. I took that hint and solved the riddle. There was mad citrus. There was a beery aftertaste. There was also a beery beforetaste with a beery nowtaste.

PALATE: Really bubble.

OVERALL: This beer. If I could put it into a word, I would say "This beer was so good". Of all the beer I did have this was one of the beers that I did have and didn't not have. There were good times and there were bad and I think that I had this before at my friend Jeff's house.

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Photo of gmoneyproductions
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

220z bottle poured into a pint glass
no bottle or enjoy by date
pours a golden orange to slightly amber and somewhat cloudy
moderate white head that hung around and left some lace on the glass
smell was somewhat complex and subtle pine citrus and hops initially then ambrosia as the beer warmed
taste similar to the nose slightly sweet with floral pine and citrus also a perfume ambrosia taste as well
feel is medium body and somewhat viscous
i like ninkasi especially sleigh'r and tricerahops
total domination was not as good but ok overall

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Photo of woodychandler
3.42/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I know that I should be laser-focused on The CANQuest (tm), but I have been curious about Ninkasi's beers for a while and when I spied this at The Fridge, I decided to bring a 12-fl. oz. bottle home with me for review. Little did I know that it would be so unhappy in my fridge - twice, it tried to commit suicide by falling off of the shelf when I opened the door! Fortunately, I have a small bit of foam there for just such circumstances, having lost a couple that way. No worries, mate! Today, you shall have your freedom returned and you will experience the glory of recycling thereafter!

From the bottle: "Multiple hops collide in balanced perfection, dominating the senses and achieving total satisfaction. From the Pacific Northwest, birthplace of the modern IPA, comes a beer whose name says it all."

As I held the bottle up to the cold, hard light of the burgeoning day, I saw floaties in the kick of the bottle, suggesting a) hopping to the point of saturation/oversaturation and b) that a VERY gentle pour was in order. The cap Pop!ped off quite easily and so began the aforementioned pour. This raised only a skim of foam, but I managed to leave most of the lees (?) in the bottle, so I consider it a win. Color was a solid Amber (SRM = > 7, < 9) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a pine hops quality, but it was not as dominant as the name had led me to expect. Mouthfeel was medium, but the tight CO2 bubbles gave it a prickly quality on the tongue. I was not really impressed by the taste. It was like the hops had total domination, not the beer having total domination over me. It was highly unbalanced, which I generally like, but this was like licking a pine tree without any respite. Don't get me wrong - I remain a self-avowed hophead, but the hops were unabating here. Finish was quite dry, naturally, since the malts were either absent or hiding out in their having been totally dominated.

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Total Domination IPA from Ninkasi Brewing Company
3.66 out of 5 based on 1,466 ratings.
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