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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 UCLABrewN84
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at The Glendale Tap in Glendale, CA.

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest and herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a better hop presence in the taste.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%

A well made beer but one that doesn't all the way jive with my tastes personally. It's brick red with a yellowish frothy head with superb retention from the tap. What I like about it is that it's loaded with caramel red malt favors but remains rather dry compared to other beers in the style. That's the good for me. The bad is that it seems overhopped from a bitterness perspective, and has a lot of body for what it is, making it a real slow sipper for me, and it doesn't warm up all that well. Soapy feeling on the tongue but bubbles are good. Usually I like how hoppy their stuff is, but this seems out of whack a little bit.

edit: this is far better in the bottle than it was from the tap in my experience. more balance, more hop character rather than bitterness, and a less sweet malt base. maybe it has been tweaked, maybe that keg was old, but its a lot better for me this second time around. bumping up a few scores to reflect that.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle. Believers? I believe I'll have another beer, I do.

This beer pours a mostly clear, dark red-brick amber hue, with one fat finger of puffy, bubbly and generally frothy tan head, which leaves a thick band of snow rime lace around the glass as it evenly sinks away.

It smells softly of semi-sweet biscuity and bready caramel malt, a small, sort of sour dark orchard fruitiness, and leafy, weedy, and weakly piney hops. The taste is more pastry-like grainy caramel malt, biscuity toffee, bruised apples and pears, overripe orange and lemon rind, tart maraschino cherry, and a further tame earthy, floral, and perfumed hop bitterness.

The bubbles are average in their fizzy demeanor, and mostly just fulfilling their contractual support role, the body a bit on the light side of medium weight for the style, and perhaps a touch too strident in its edgy 'smoothness'. It finishes off-dry, that biscuity caramel malt sweetness persisting, alongside some mumbling and bumbling mixed hop bitters.

A bit too metallic and tight seeming overall, even if the underlying flavours have got it all going on - given that the ABV is a bit on the low side for anything deemed 'double' or 'imperial', that should not be a problem. Anyways, drinkable enough, I suppose, once that craft brewer awareness cognitive dissonance kicks in.

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Photo of brentk56
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear copper that verges on mahogany with a rocky beige head that leaves plenty of lace behind

Smell: Piney and pithy, with undertones of caramel and nuts

Taste: After an initial blast of caramel and nuts, the flavor grows increasingly piney and then pithy, with a biting dose of tangerine peel; after the swallow, the residual sweetness returns to balance out the hops; somewhat earthy finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: All in all, one of the better examples of the amber style; sure, I would like it to explore the IPA dimensions a bit more but that is not what this beer is about

Thanks, mabermud, for the chance to re-visit

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating(got this very recently though). Pours fairly crystal clear reddish copper color with a nice 2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some nice soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange, caramel, pine, herbal, floral, pineapple, bread, toast, and honey. Very nice aromas with nice strength and malt/hop balance. Taste of grapefruit, orange, caramel, pineapple, biscuit, pine, toast, floral, herbal, and light honey. Fair amount of pine/citrus bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pine, caramel, herbal, bread, toast, and honey on the finish for a good bit. Great balance of flavors; with just enough hoppiness to let the malt profile shine through, and yet it is still a very hop forward brew. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and slightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Very smooth to sip on. Overall this is an excellent imperial red! Very nice hop flavor profile and complexity, with great malt balance. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ the Ninkasi Brewing Company (Eugene, OR) on 9/2/11. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a crystal clear ruby in the glass, with a thin layer of bright-white head. This maintains some foamy edges, leaving back a cascade of spotty lacing that sticks a bit to the sides of the glass. The aroma smells leafy and touch dank, which sits on top of a big tangy punch of sweet caramel malt and green citrus with some roasty feeling edges to it. Alcohol is coming out here in the nose a bit, giving this maybe a bit too much of a warm stickiness in the nostrils.

The taste has a firm grapefruit bitterness up front, balanced by a LOT of sticky caramel sweetness before heading into more of a roasted feeling backend. Hops finish this fairly strong though, with green citrus, pine, and dry spice hanging tough. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a solid crispness that spreads out. There is a touch of underlying heft to the feel but the alcohol overall feels pretty right on for the flavors, giving this a warming presence but not coming off as too big.

This was a pretty solid Double Red Ale here, with a fairly well balanced profile (although the malts did threaten to overrun things at bit at certain points) and just the right amount of alcohol being present so as not to turn this into an overly sticky and boozy mess. I enjoyed this and will probably seek this out in the bottle at some point to try again.

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Photo of chinchill
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%

22 oz shared bottle.
Nice clear red-amber color.
Rather ordinary aroma but a very rich flavor with enough hop balance to leave a mildly bitter finish.

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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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany-hued body with a thin ring of white bubbles up top.

Smell: Toasted grains and caramel with a distant, though distinct spicy hoppiness.

Taste: Grainy, caramel maltiness with a light amount of sweetness. Even some roast in there too. Spicy, woody hop character with a medium-high bitterness. Hint of lemon zest. Dry, grainy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Adequate and drinkable, I'll give it at least that much.

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

"Brewed and dedicated to the believers of Ninkasi. Rich dark malt complexity is balanced by a plentiful hop presence bringing together perfection in every sip. Who knew believing had so many rewards?"

--Believer Double Red Ale label

More cranberry than orange, with maraschino cherry highlights when backlit. Atop this darker than usual red ale sits a pale caramel colored crown that is small, but has a great deal of character. The moonscape surface looks fantastic, as do thick patches of sticky lace.

The beer smells moderately caramel malty with plenty of citric and spicy hoppiness. It's all wonderfully bold and portends good beer to come.

Other than a fruit peel muskiness and a little bit of sourness, both of which remain in the background, Believer Double Red Ale tastes like a well-hopped double red ale. Imagine that. Malt and hops are nicely balanced, both in terms of sweetness-bitterness and in terms of flavor delivery. Yet another successful lupulin-loaded Pacific Northwest brew. There are 60 IBUs in case you're wondering.

The malt backbone is just big enough. A teensy bit more heft would be welcome. Flavors include melted caramel, a cornucopia of citrus fruit (lemon, orange and grapefruit), and maybe even candied cherries. This isn't a hugely complex beer, but it is a tasty one that should satisfy anyone looking for an alpha acid fix.

I'll set my full mouthfeel bias aside and give BDRA the benefit of the doubt. Again, a few more shovelfuls of malt would help. The carbonation does what it's supposed to do, while pretty much staying the hell out of the way.

Believer Double Red Ale and Total Domination IPA are my favorite Ninkasi offerings so far. Both are solid from top to bottom. I look forward to seeing what else these guys have up their sleeves. Cue The Monkees: "I'm a believer...".

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Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Empire Ale House, Mt. Vernon, WA

Poured into a pint glass, a nice clear reddish-brown, with a small but dense white head. Toasted bread and dark sugars in the aroma. Toasted malts and bread in the taste, caramel, nuts, followed by a hop bitterness and a touch of apple and orange zest. A touch of alcohol. Medium bodied and quite drinkable.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was fantastic. Just wanted to get that out of the way. Served chilled and poured into several pint glasses, this one was consumed on 09/07/2009.
 
The pour was marvelous. Rich dark amber in color with a nice brown consistency to it. A big head of off white comes up and over the top, settling down nicely into a pillow that never really lets go after that point. Really nice touches of lace ring the sides of the glass and complete the look rather well. Enormous aroma of earthy hops, sweet caramel and candy like sugar are damn near spot on. Warming it only serves to make it sweeter. Wonderful touches of warm brown sugar are the first thing I notice. Smooth, super smooth. Big, nearly full bodied feel here delivers tons of bready malts and an overpowering dose of caramel flavor. Just about perfect. Warming up brings out more candied sugar and just the most sweet malt flavors  I could imagine. Nice dose of hops on the finish just brings the whole thing together really quite nicely.
 
Overall this was just superb. A style I don't get to see to often, but if it came out like this I would be dying to try it. Really just top notch and a cut above the rest. I would have to recommend this to anyone.

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Photo of russpowell
3.41/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up from bottletrek

Pours orange/chestnut one finger of tan head. some floaties in the bottom of the bottle. Good head retention & above average lacing

S: Cakey, but not much else

T: Toasty malt, herbal & leafy hops & a touch of roasted malt up front. As this warms the flavor oscillates from cocoa to charred grain & back with lots of leafy hops & a touch of fruittyness (figs & pears), plus a bot of brown sugar. finishes dry with some caramel & more leafy hops, almost pulled a 4.0

MF: Light/medium bodied with light, but persistent carbonation; fairly good balance

Fairly drinkable for the abv, but really lacks the malt guts to really suck me in. A nice winter warmer from a pretty good brewery

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Photo of billab914
3.81/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into my Mad Fox glass. The color has a really nice looking caramel and ruby tint to it. It's is one of the reddest "Red" ales I've seen. A thin but sticky tan head covers the top and is already all over the glass. Great looking beer.

The aroma shows a good amount of toasted and caramel malts to it. I get a modest citrusy hop presence to it as well with a little pine and grapefruit coming through.

The taste also has a pretty bold caramel and toasted grain flavor to it. I get a little toffee in the finish as well. Like the aroma, the hoppiness is pretty reserved but it does show a little herbal citrusness at times.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a pretty good beer. t was nicely flavored and easy drinking. It had a nice malty base to it, but the citrusy hops could have come out a little more. Overall a pretty solid beer though.

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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.

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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 Gobzilla
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark amber into my tulip with a one finger head that died off quick that left a little lacing.

S: could smell some malts with a hint of nuts and faint hop notes in the background.

T: Has a maltly flavor in the front with some nutness, and a pleasent bitterness at the end.

M: the beer is medium bodied with light carbonation.

D: Not a big fan of red ales, but really enjoyed this beer from ninkasi. I think I could drink a whole bomber by myself next time.

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Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber. Smooth caramel malt followed by a satisfying citrus bitterness. I would have liked more character from the malt, but that's just me. It certainly fits the average red ale malt profile and despite the "double" name, it's quite drinkable. The hops have a mild, fruity pineapple taste up front followed by a biting orange rind kick that pairs nicely with the bready caramel. A cool beer, check this out.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 1/2010 notes. Poured into a tall cylinder glass. Pours a dark ruby red with a one inch white head and lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, herbal hops and citrus. Nice, medium bodied red ale. Light to moderate malt and dark fruits. Spike of piney hops at the finish, which worked well with this beer. Very enjoyable.

 322 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice hazy amber color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with lots of caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, with caramel notes. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, recommended.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled June 2011
A solid pour into my New Belgium Globe glass produces an almost two-finger thick, lightly tan colored head; the head is fairly creamy textured and dense and leaves a fair amount of lacing on the sides of my glass. The beer is a dark, concentrated, almost burnt amber color that shows a bright, lightly hazed, deep red color and a ton of carbonation bubbles when held up to the light. The aroma, a mix of rich malt and the hops, reminds me of a deep berry fruitiness that is backed by a deep caramelized citrus zest character. There is a touch peppery character and a soft pine note that is in the aroma, but these play a definite supporting role in the aroma. The malt definitely plays a big role here in the nose, though the hops are the dominant note, and it contributes an almost buttery caramelized malt character as well as a slightly nutty, deeply caramelized, fruity maltiness and a toasted grain character that plays a slightly secondary role. The caramelized notes are definitely the dominant malt aromatic in this beer and it really accentuates and deepens the fruitiness from the hops, which is why the nose has such a berry like focus instead of the more typical citrus focus that defines many an American hop.

Definitely a touch over-carbonated, but there is enough of a creamy quality to the body that this really doesn’t detract much. The beer has a sweetness to it that is not overwhelming, but accentuates a fruit character that leans towards caramelized tangelo, concentrated ruby red grapefruit, some touches of lychee as well as a ripe berry character that almost has a jam like quality to it. There is a balanced bitterness to this beer (it definitely isn’t overly aggressive), in the finish it becomes a bit more aggressive and even combines with a touch of malt astringency that hints at darker malts. While the body definitely has a chewiness to it, it remains pretty drinkable and light enough to be quaffable. The malt contributes a hint of nuttiness as well as a rich toasted caramel malt character and perhaps a hint of sweet tea. There is a certain spiciness to the hop character, likely accentuated by the malt, that reminds me just a bit of cinnamon somehow (I’ve gotten the same note in Winter Yulesmith).

This is quite tasty, I wasn’t expecting too much as I was thinking the maltiness might get in the way of the hop character; this is not the case and the hops and malt are both quite ample and play well together. This is definitely a beer I am enjoying quite a bit.

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Photo of biegaman
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Believer has a colour that is more brick than blood red, but its clotted complexion gives it a look that might appeal to creatures of the night. It has a deep crimson tint that makes things too shadowy to see through, although holding it into the light reveals a clear, ruby-like glow. The dunes of foam awash against the glass have a sandy tone to them.

Most beers with this quantity of bold character can be a bit overwhelming, but this rich red ale is something my nose can't get enough of. I'm enamored with it - there's such a tremendous presence of both malt and hops, the latter toasty but decadently sweet with black cherry fruitiness and the former drenched in resinous pine and birch syrups.

Oxygen introduced by swirling opened a cosmos of rich, layered flavours that, fortunately, could also be appreciated on the palate. The toasty, toffee-ish malts are thick as molasses in February (and actually have a fair bit of molasses sweetness too) with plenty of meaty, mushroom-y flavour. The finish is sprinkled with candied citrus zest and pine serum.

What I really appreciate about this beer is that it not only has a ton of hop flavour, but it has a variety of hop flavour that pairs well with the malts. The spruce-y, pine-y notes, rather than be restricted by toffee-ish malts, are actually fanned by them, contrasting with the heavily toasted bread crust notes to seem overtly minty, with a lime taste in the finish.

To successfully pull off a "double" red ale requires two parts: assertive hops and rich maltiness; failure to ensure both elements results in an unexecuted recipe so far as I'm concerned. But when each of those two parts are present - and as bold and flavorful as they are here - then it can be one of the most satiating and satisfying styles there is.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 picked up at Belmont Station on Friday night.. poured into my Chimay goblet....

Slightly aggressive pour.. 2" head.. took forever to die back... beautiful lacing.. the brew is a deep red caramel.. deep ruby when held to a lamp.

earthy hoppiness is the main player in the nostrils.. some citric hops are drowned out by toasty malts.. caramel is there too.. but the toasted malts play 1st violin.

flavor begins with an approachable bitterness.. not overdone.. caramel malts with nutty lite cocoa .. fruity/earthy hops.. some cherry??.. finish is sorta minerally/drying with a little caramel essence and grassy hoppiness. medium body and carbonation.. nothing too special in the mouthfeel..

pretty good amber ale... pretty damn good.. maybe verging a little too much on the dark side of things.. but still very drinkable and very fresh tasting... really pretty unique... I don't ever remember having a brew exactly like this.

4.5/4/4.5/3.5/4

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark red, with a long lasting white head, lots of lace, a little fizzy.

S: Fragrant and pungent with a lot of sweet malt and caramel.

T: Biscuity malt, with hop flavours of pine, cedar and cantaloupe. Not bad.

M: Smooth, elegant, soft carbonation which I like, medium-bodied.

D: Another solid effort from Ninkasi. In the end this turned out to be more of a sipper. While I haven't been blown away yet, the 2 beers I've had from them have been good.

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Photo of Zorro
3.61/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A clear and very dark red colored beer. This has a good 1 1/2 inch tall tan head on it. Very good in the looks department.

Smells malty and hoppy with malt being the stronger scent. Slightly spicy with some brown sugar scent. Citrus and mint hops but this is really more a malty beer.

Starts out malty with a woody aftertaste. Chocolate and hops, though strangely they are hard to ID beyond some sort of C Hop. Decent flavor but not real memorable, tastes like Arrogant Bastard watered down.

Mouthfeel is good.

An OK beer but also kind of boring. Everyone makes a beer kind of like Arrogant Bastard but not quite and this is another. Next time I want a beer like this I will buy AB for less money.

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