Believer | Ninkasi Brewing Company

very good
528 Ratings
no score
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Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
An Imperial American Red Ale.

Ninkasi website:
"6.9 % alc./vol. 60ibus. Always available in 22 oz bottles, and on draft."

Added by Cascadia on 06-23-2007

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 528 |  Reviews: 196
Photo of JLapadura
2/5  rDev -47.4%

Photo of chugalug06
2.47/5  rDev -35%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Very little cream colored head rises. Not much lacing either. Brew is very dark red-purple with lots of browns.

Crisp caramel scent with nice subtleness.

Bland flavors. Relaxed hops and not very crisp. The flavor lingers with off metallic flavors. Carbonation is high and bitterness is missing. Very sweet for a Red.

Eh. Take it or leave it. I'll never seek this one again.. Can't recommend it either. But, it does go down rather quickly.

 444 characters

Photo of sourdog
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%

Photo of g_jenkins
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%

Photo of largadeer
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%

Photo of ohmybock
2.53/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Well, the bottle states this brew has a "rich dark malt complexity" among other things. I'd certainly have to agree after tasting it. Unfortunately, I don't care for that rich dark malt complexity at all in this red ale. For my tastes, that dark, bitter, harsh, roasted character doesn't work for me at all here. I like my red ales "red", but without an overpowering harsh chocolate/roasted character. I did like the hop character which is mingled in with the other flavors. I also liked the color and clarity of this brew. There could have been more head, but that's not a big deal. Overall, this brew just didn't work for me. Oh well, that's why they make lots of different brews, right? Everybody has different likes and dislikes.

 733 characters

Photo of Beaver13
2.62/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle. Pours ruby amber with a medium creamy light tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is cola malt with some nutty cardboard leather.

The flavor is sweet nutty cola and caramel malt with a bit of a bitter alcohol finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, it's not well balanced with overly sweet cola malt and an overly bitter finish that just doesn't all go together.

 442 characters

Photo of jeffeljefe
2.63/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A) Rocky head fades after a few seconds leaving nice lacing, hazy reddish orange
S) sweet malty aroma, fruits
T) Sweet and roasty malt, resinous, slightly bitter, estery body, metallic finish
M) smooth medium-body, prickly carbonation, long bitter finish
O) Never really been a fan of red ales to date, this one not converting me. Appearance and smell are the high points, taste is pretty good until it fades to the bitter, piney finish that coats my mouth

 456 characters

Photo of magictacosinus
2.71/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

This was one of the many beers poured at the December Albany Taproom bottle share. Whoever bought it, thanks! Poured out of a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. This was 60-90 days old, so keep that in mind as I review.

Pours a darkened reddish amber color - looks a lot like your typical English bitter, mind you, if it weren't for the off-white fizzy looking head that I've typically seen in all of this brewery's beers. Some bubbles stick to the sides of the glass upon the initial pour, and while it seems relatively lively it isn't enough, apparently to solve it from completely dissipating overall. Slightly viscous in appearance, but otherwise pretty average for the style.

Smells slightly citrusy, with a mostly earthy grainy and spicy yeasty feel overall. In other words, this is how MOST hoppy Ninkasi beers have been for as long as I can remember. Some orange peel, big pine, and maybe some grapefruit, but it's otherwise very earthy, spicy, and grainy, with some light soapy notes as well. Something's really up with whatever yeast they're using, because it's really disjointed overall.

Tastes equally earthy, and while there's a better dose of citrus and pine here, it ends up feeling very peppery and soapy. Granted, this bottle may be slightly past its prime, but I have no idea what this probably tasted like fresh. Maybe a little bit juicier? Regardless, there's nothing more here than some dried citrus rinds, pine, pepper, and some slight earthiness, with a biscuit caramel backbone that becomes excessively overrun by the soapy properties. Finishes pretty astringent and malty, and the floral soap notes become stronger at the finish as well. It's slightly refreshing, but mainly while it's cold. As it warms up, it gets progressively maltier, much to its disadvantage. It's not the worse, but not a very good interpretation of the style.

Something's up with Ninkasi - I've been drinking their beers for a while, but a lot of them have gotten yeastier, earthier, and soapy in the past year or so. This is a prime example of many things that are a little strange with their beers these days, and I'm not sure if it's just my changing taste buds, or something particularly worse. Otherwise, I had some trouble enjoying this, which is bizarre as this is merely an amber ale! Not very recommended, but okay if you're just starting to get into amber ales.

 2,371 characters

Photo of craigreno
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%

Photo of Offa
2.81/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is very much a west coast strong amber ale-type that, after a somewhat promising start, falls flat into rough, one-dimensional caramelised-citrus bitterness and not much else.

Deep red brown-copper, it is faintly hazy with a medium-big orange-tan head slowly shrinking to a thin foamy top and leaving some decent foamy lace.

Aroma is pine caramel, caramelised orange, plain sweet caramel and caramelised barley.

Taste starts off fairly well but goes downhill. It has up front a winey caramelisede toast character that quickly fades and never returns, lightly sweet, with some citrisy-woody bitterness with a little pine and burnt bitter orange, grapefruit and a toasted barley bitterness, all dominating the finish and aftertaste at first. However, things soon degrade, compelxity vanishes, and it ends up overly bitter, sharp burnt citrus and wood with a little dry barley, leaving a character that is rather plain, thin, and barely 2-dimensional. Feel is light but pretty good. It becomes tedious fast.

 1,012 characters

Photo of illidurit
2.85/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into a pint glass. Pours sort of orange but sits a deep clear amber in the glass. Nice foamy beige head. Aroma isn't too robust for the style. It's hoppy but not a tropical citrus blast like Winter Yulesmith etc. Notes of pine sap and caramel with a little solvent and grapefruit. Flavor is a letdown. Barely anything there. The body is so thin that it seems like the flavor is washed away before I can taste it. Fleeting bready malts and an herbal hoppiness along with a tobacco note, however faint. One positive here is the bitterness, which is very substantial. Carbonation is a little on the low side. All it needs is body and it could be a decent beer.

 671 characters

Photo of Gottiline559
2.89/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Photo of ThickNStout
2.93/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle from LetsPour. No discernable bottling info. Served in a Sweetwater snifter.

Pours deep murky red brown with about a half finger of off white head that quickly recedes.

Aroma is fairly faint. Caramel, bread and herbal earthy hops.

Flavor is bready malt forward. Toast, caramel, toffee, lemongrass and herbal hops. No real alcohol presence in the taste.

Medium light body with an interesting carbonated zest with each sip that quickly calms to a slow sizzle on the tongue. Long lasting grassy bitter hops in the aftertaste.

Not sure what makes this a "double" red ale because I'm pretty sure it has neither twice the malts nor twice the hops of a standard red ale. It's still a pretty solid beer and I had no problems polishing off a bomber by myself.

 772 characters

Photo of homebrew311
2.93/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked this one up while I was in Washington. Poured in to a standard pint glass.

A: pours a deep red, 2 finger foamy head, heavy lacing

S: piny and earthy hops all over in the front along with a backbone of sweet malts

T: like the nose, spicy hops up front with a considerable amount of bitterness, by mid palate- it turns into a bit of a mess. Some tea leaf like flavors which throws me off a bit. Poorly balanced.

MF: medium body, high carbonation

D: this was not that great for a red ale, the nose and appearance were promising, but the taste did not deliver.

 568 characters

Photo of trubeernick
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of BrewtalHonesty
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Seemingly balanced initially, though strong lingering bitterness.
Edit: Originally rated 2/5, though increased to 3/5 upon tasting second bottle straight from fridge. This beer benefits greatly from being imbibed cold, and suffers greatly from being imbibed slightly warmed.

 274 characters

Photo of HungryHuy
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Nice smell and mid, but didn't like the spiced finish.

54 characters

Photo of jbakajust1
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of Luiz0930
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of mrkinnex
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of jtosch
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of towlea25
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of Wedcat
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of od_sf
3/5  rDev -21.1%

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Believer from Ninkasi Brewing Company
3.8 out of 5 based on 528 ratings.
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