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Believer | Ninkasi Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
86
very good
183 Reviews
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BelieverBeliever
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
ninkasibrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
183
Ratings:
492
Avg:
3.81
pDev:
17.85%
 
 
Wants:
17
Gots:
56
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 183 | Ratings: 492
Photo of chugalug06
2.47/5  rDev -35.2%
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.

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Photo of ohmybock
2.53/5  rDev -33.6%
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.

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Photo of jeffeljefe
2.63/5  rDev -31%
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

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Photo of magictacosinus
2.71/5  rDev -28.9%
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.

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Photo of Offa
2.81/5  rDev -26.2%
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.

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Photo of illidurit
2.85/5  rDev -25.2%
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.

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Photo of ThickNStout
2.93/5  rDev -23.1%
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.

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Photo of homebrew311
2.93/5  rDev -23.1%
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.

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Photo of BrewtalHonesty
3/5  rDev -21.3%

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.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.09/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a clear, dark amber body with a finger of light beige head. Retention is decent, and it leaves a web of lace from the initial pour, but nothing on the way down. No collar.

S: Grapefruit citrus, dark crystal malt, a touch of chocolate, spice, herbs, earth. Actually quite a nice nose.

T: The taste is a little less impressive. It's hoppy, but it is more straight bitterness than hop flavor. It might be an old bottle, but without a date, I can't tell. It imparts flavors of earth, herbs. Caramel and chocolate are noticeable. I pick up citrus and what might be pine in the finish. If this is indeed an old bottle, I'm betting it's a doozy fresh. Right now it's a hybrid imperial red / barleywine.

M: Medium-bodied. Carbonation is a little high and it makes the beer foamy, but it's not a deal-breaker. Long-lasting, sticky bitterness.

D: I'd love to try this on tap; I doubt I'll pay too much attention to bottles unless they start dating them.

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Photo of tayner
3.11/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle

Poured dark brown/ruby red tint with a creamy colored head, lots of sticky lace.

Smells of bitter, over-roasted almonds.

Taste is up front some citrus hop flavors, lots of grapefruit and some lemon peels. It finishes with a sort of rancid nut oil flavor and some burnt husk flavors. The flavors are not all that pleasing and linger on and on.

This one has plenty of carbonation to keep the mouthfeel from being heavy, but still a full feel.

I managed to get down this one bomber, but I cant help but feel that someone over-roasted the grains on this one, and not in a good, I want this beer dark and flavorful kind of way but more of a rancid, old stale pecan kind of way.

I have really enjoyed the other two ninkasi brews I have had thus far, and I am thankful this wasnt the first one I have tried.

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Photo of Dubbercody
3.12/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. Nice beer, a bit hoppier than I was expecting, but it's nice. Nice reddish brown color. Quite resiny.

Interesting beer, although not my favorite, but I'll have to try it on tap to see if that makes a difference. It's one that grew on me. The second half of the 22 oz bottle I enjoyed more....

 307 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.13/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Looks nice with the fine-grained foam and darkish amber color. Quite carbonated in the mouth. Peculiar woody flavor that slides into something like old oxidized wine. The hops start out OK but overwhelm the other flavors. General effect is an Old Ale with a hop attack. Lots of malt is the nice touch, but the elderly fruit flavor gets very old.

Another brand that apparently only BevMo carries, which is another reason to avoid BevMo.

 436 characters

Photo of DNA
3.15/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a snifter with very little head and a deep red color. The aroma is strong on hops with a solid biscuit/nutty malt that blends fairly well with the hop aroma. In terms of taste though, the bitterness of the hops overwhelms the malt character. The hop character could be toned down a bit to let the wonderful malt that I smell come through in the flavor. Drinkability is low due to the excessive bitterness.

 417 characters

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.19/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Look: Dark mahogany red in color with a 1/4 inch off white head and ok retention with great circular lacing

Smell: Some piney hops and caramel malt

Taste: The beer is very malt forward and the hops actually get lost in the back ground. Subtle notes of caramel pine and a earthy spice

Mouthfeel: Medium body and medium carbonation and a bit dry

Overall: For a red ale I found it to be lacking a bit, I would have loved more hops on the palate instead of so much malt. This is definitely not my favorite red ale but it is not bad either

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.2/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a dark, hazy reddish-brown color. Tan head turns to a film and leaves a bit of lacing.

Smell: Nice caramel malt aroma, with some hop undertones.

Taste: Dark, roasted malts - a bit of caramel, but not particularly sweet. Strong bitterness in the finish and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with moderate carbonation. Generally smooth.

Drinkability: A bit tough to drink - alcohol seems to kick in fast, but the taste is a bit difficult, combined with the full-bodied feel.

Not a big fan here. Something seems "off", even if I can't put my finger on it.

 610 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.23/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm back and forth on this one. Which makes me think a bit less of it since it seems to be going both ways. Too tangy with too much malt showing. Too...bright. I know I have used that term in the past, but that is what I am thinking here on this one. Just strikes me as too turned to the wrong side. Should be a bit more mature and subdued and rounded in certain aspects, in my opinion.

 386 characters

Photo of Hoptometrist
3.24/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap into a shaker glass at Taylor's in Eugene

A- Poured a dark ruby red with a soapy off-white head that left glass coating lace

S- Faint aroma of caramel and toffee

T- Dominant burnt caramel and toffee flavor with some hop bitterness on the finish. Not much hop flavor though

M- Medium body, finished mostly dry but a little watery, low to medium carbonation

O- A drinkable beer, but not one of my favorite red ales. Too much burnt malt character and lacking hop flavor.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.28/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From a 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass, the Believer pours a hazy copper/mahogany in color and showing a half inch of off white foam. Retention is somewhat brief yet keeping a surface cap and offers some moderate lacing.

Nose is of many a Northwest IPA with an excess for me of off caramel and a subdued hop notes, though there's no indication of age on this bottle. Nose does open up a bit with some air however. Bit more roasted malts come forward in flavor and with a notable bitterness. Malt flavors are pleasant but don't add much depth to the flavor of this pour. Nice but unexciting, the brew improves with warming and offers a decent feel but the drink is held in check by a lackluster delivery and a rather chalky finish.

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Photo of stevoj
3.29/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Applebys. Dark amber with thick, foamy head. Sourish hoppy nose. Taste has a metallic tinge with dry finish. Good, but not best, still recall the metallic tinge to this day.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22-oz. bottle into a pint glass on Nov. 27, 2012 (purchased the variety 4-pack for $15.99 at BevMo (with card) in La Mesa, Calif. (San Diego) on Nov. 27, 2012. Red amber with 1-2 fingers of khaki white head that dissipated at a normal rate. Sporadic retention on the sides, average and lighter on the top.

Smelled rye, iced tea, molasses, and lots of thick rich malts. Some butter, but not too crazy.

Tasted heavy amber malts. Got thick molasses, rye, iced tea with some slight bitter hops late.

Medium body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Long surprisingly bitter finish.

This beer started out well, but as soon as it hit the lips it went downhill. Not something I’d try again.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The color when poured was a reddish brown, light tan foam that disapated, but did have some lace on the side of the glass. The smell was of roasted malts, mild hops and a hint of sweet candy.

The first sip, I thought I was drinking a mild IPA. The only flavor I got was of a piney nature. The bittness wasn't overpowering, but it lacked a lot of flavor, compared to the aroma after the first sniff. Not impressive of this Red Ale. Average at best.

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Photo of souvenirs
3.34/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

650ml from a combo park of four different beers from Ninkasi.

A: Chestnut brown and clear, with about one finger of tan head.
S: Grapefruit, melon, a bit of nuttiness and caramel.
T: Mostly bitter, especially the aftertaste, to the extent that it's unpleasant. This bitterness lingers in my mouth for a long time.

It smelled so good! The taste was a disappointment. I definitely will not get this beer again.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.39/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a super deep mahogany color bordering almost on brown with a one finger head of thick off-white foam. The head sits there with tons of retention, fading over ~ a 10 min time frame to eventually leave tons of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is heaviest of a toasted malt smell with a large showing of caramel and brown sugar. Along with these aromas comes some lighter dark fruit smells of cheery and plum as well as a little bit of a more grainy smell. Some hop aromas are present in the nose as well with bot a citrus and earthy aroma being mixed with the rest.

Taste – The taste begins with a rather heavily roasted malt and relatively caramel and fruity (cherry and plum) flavor. There are some lighter hop flavors present at the start with both a grapefruit and earthy flavor being on the tongue. Some more grainy and more fruity flavors join the tongue at the middle, overall sweetening the taste a bit. In the end the bitterness really steps it up, bringing on much more dank earthy and piney flavors to the tongue, and while I would normally like that, they don’t seem to meld with the other flavors in this one, creating a somewhat unbalanced and slightly off flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. The thicker body and lower carbonation seem to up the off dank flavors at the end, and in conjunction with the rest of the flavors, accentuates the mix of rather odd flavors a bit too much.

Overall – Nothing too spectacular here in my opinion. The flavor profile was a bit off with no real melding and complementation. Some may like, but I will likely pass.

 1,806 characters

Photo of ccrida
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into my large St. Feuillien goblet, Believer is a very dark brownish amber with a big tan head, pretty tight with some larger bubbles, not much last, pretty heavy lace. Granted they call it a double red, but the fact is, this sucker is so dark, it could pass for a brown porter.

Smell is pretty good, a nice mix of amber malts, slight caramel sweetness and resinous hops, pine like.

Taste is ok, I haven't had this since it first came out, and while it's better then I remember, it's still not quite what I am looking for. I prefer more of the DIPA style big reds, where this one has big maltiness, moderate hop flavor, and very high level of bitterness, which seems to dominate any other taste. I'd guess there's oats in this too, a bit grainy, astringent. There is a bit of sweetness and waxy phenols from the malt, but the bitterness of the hops really dominate the palate. Served around 45F, I let the second half sit for a good hour while I shoveled snow, and I have to say that it improved quite a bit once warmed up, with some chocolate coming though to provide more malty contrast to the bitterness. Still, only a 1/2 point improvement.

Mouthfeel is pretty carbonated, chewy, medium-heavy body.

Drinkability is ok, not a bad beer but it really doesn't work for me. I'd like more sweetness from the malts, and/or more hop flavor and less bitterness. Upping the flavor profile would let them boast the ABV a tad as well, making it more of the double the claim. Still, I'm a big fan of this brewery, and view this more as a disconnect in personal taste rather then failure in execution.

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Believer from Ninkasi Brewing Company
3.81 out of 5 based on 492 ratings.
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