Believer | Ninkasi Brewing Company

very good
189 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 189 | Ratings: 510
Photo of froghop
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pour is a semi-hazy maroon, with a small tan head, and very good lacing.

smell of spice, some cocoa, caramel, some brown sugar, malt, and roasted nuts.

taste is smooth and creamy, caramel, some spice, hoppy, a little brown sugar, some bitter-sweet chocolate, and a touch of nuts, ends refreshing, nicely bitter, with a touch of citrus.

overall a well rounded strong ale.

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Photo of kdoc8
4.19/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

You can get this almost anywhere in Eugene. I absolutely love this beer, though I am often alone in my hops-loving group of beer advocates. I find it to be very drinkable and a nice mild beer that's not overwhelming...not too much of a commitment to drink. It's great in all seasons. Just an all around great beer. It pours out with a nice brownish-white head and a dark amber/caramel color. There isn't much of a smell to it. I really enjoy the taste. There are some good blends of malt that completely cover that nearly 7% of alcohol floating around in there. Definitely some good caramel malts going on. It's very refreshing and all around a good beer.

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Photo of DiabolikDUB
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz. Bomber into Snifter glass.

Pours a deep amber red that glows around the edges with a nice 2 finger light caramel colored head that lasts and eventually forms a classy ring around the glass. Aroma is a good balance of sweet malt, citrus hops and a touch of booze. Flavor has quite a bit of dried fruits and more of the sweet malt and ends with a light bitterness. Its medium-bodied and not overly sticky. This is a drinkable brew and enjoyable but there is just something about it that would make me hesitate before I decided to purchase again.

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Photo of loren01
4.47/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark ruby/brown color. Slightly cloudy with a good sized head and good lacing down the glass
S: Sweet with a nice grassy/earthy hoppiness
T: Caramel/toffee sweetness up front with a nice crisp earthy hoppiness at the end
M: Medium bodied, medium amount of carbonation
D: Very drinkable beer, would try this again for sure.

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Photo of Docer
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a bomber at QFC as I sent my other one to the review below ;-) Poured lightly into a tumbler glass.

- Dark and rich ruby red and brown ale color.. very thick, looks rich... and nicely cloudy. Not much head as I poured at a 45 deg. Very light lacing all around.

- Sweet caramel malt scent.. slightly bitter notes... but just smells drinkable. Maybe only a bittering hop present.. hard to tell.

- Roasted caramel... grain.. earthy.. and rather light really. Expected a bit more of a robust roasted and hop presence. Slightly bitter... but devilishly smooth.

- Not too dry, slightly chewy.. bit of a bitter afternote.. belch tastes good.. some roasted chocolate and caramel character there.

- Very drinkable.. would love to see what this would be like out of the cask or keg. Smooth..

I have noticed a bit of inconsistency with their bombers... 1 Tricerahops i had was like a hopslam.. then the next was like a mild Two-hearted... I wonder if the same holds true to this one. I just hope the Tricerahops I sent out was as good as the one I drank right before it. Overall this isn't bad.. but in order to compete.. it needs to be better. This is almost like a brown ale to me.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: reddish-brown, slight haze, tight-beaded tan foam with OK head retention

Aroma: fresh grass, plaster of paris (I kid you not), caramelly malt, slight acidity, woodsy hops

Flavor: chewy malt backbone with hints of licorice, acidic coffee, burnt toast, and creamy butter; quite pithy hop flavor of pine resin; finishes semisweet with a long-lingering hop bitterness

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, gentle carbonation, slight astringency

Other comments: I bought this bottle from Fred Meyer in Milwaukie. The first bottle I selected was a pretty drastic short-fill (below the bulge in the neck), which I noticed at check-out luckily. Good beer and even at $3.79, I would have been pissed if I got home with that short-fill bottle!

Note: After I posted this review, I checked my profile and saw that it was my 666th review. A devilish beer? Too bad it wasn't a Duvel!

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

Pours a dark golden amber color, with a thick, darkish head and extremely pretty lacing.

Smells sweet and hoppy, maybe a little licorice.

The sweetness and hoppiness are very well balanced -- exactly what I look for a in a hoppy red.

Feels thick but light in the mouth -- not syrupy, but with great substance.

Dangerously drinkable beer.

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

Dark red with a two finger off white head. Plentiful lacings. Aroma is earthy hops and caramel. Taste is big bitter orange grapefruit hops balanced by a large amount of sweet maltiness. The mouthfeel is good with ample carbonation. Nice dry bitter sweet finish. A very big amber and quite pleasant overall. Website lists IBUs as 60 and it sounds about right.

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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 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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Photo of Reagan1984
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was able to pick up this bottle at Belmont Station in Portland on a recent trip. I heard nice things and was honestly drawn by the color of their labels. Let's hop I'm happy I picked it up.

About a finger of off white head formed and slowly settled back into the beer. The beer is a very deep amber color with lots of ruby highlights. Clarity is nice, bit it's so dark you can't see all the way through it. There are very tiny pinpoint bubbles quickly making their way to the top of the glass.

Aroma is an intriguing and deep mix of roasted malt and some real hop fruit tones. There is a bit of spice in here as well.

Flavor is deep and nice. Very smooth and rich with some nice deep malt flavors. Alright, I am a Believer. Hides the 6.9% abv very well. A touch of cocoa, some nice roasted notes, some dark spices like cinnamon and something else, I can't pinpoint. This is one that really opens up as it warms slightly. I liked it when I opened the bottle. Now a short time later, I love it. The hop presence opens up and there is a more pronounced hop lingering finish. Slight, slight apple cider finish.

Medium bodied with a dry tone to it. Carbonation is slight and about right for the style and flavor. I find this nicely drinkable. I am VERY happy to have picked up this bottle.
When I head west again, I shall have more Ninkasi products.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours a dark red with a small, rapidly disappearing tan head. Aroma of sweet malt , fruits, strawberry seeds and raspberry seeds. Flavor of bitter hops, toast, and light fruits. Easy drinking and quite tasty! More of an amber ale than ASA to me. Quite good!
Aroma: 8/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 7/10
Palate: 4/5
Overall: 15/20

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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.


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Photo of sholland119
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a hazy cedary brown with a very thin tan head with a little bit of lacing.

S-Nice caramel malt sweetness with some good earthy hops.

T-A very nicely balanced brew. A very nice hop presence throughout with a very solid malt balance and a bit of acidic bite.

M-Surprisingly creamy for the style, which I enjoyed. Nice carbonation.

D-Very nice. I could definitely enjoy a few of these.


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

I wrote "big fruitbowl aroma" in my tasting notes as I sat sipping this ale at The Starlight in Eugene. Later I discovered I had used the exact same phrase in my writeup of the bottled version of this ale. I guess this makes me either consistent or predictable - perhaps predictably consistent.

My numeric evaluation also turned up much the same though it would seem I got more aroma from the bottled version than I did at the Starlight where the aroma folded early. The color glows in deep apocalyptic red though the ale was visually inhibited by a paucity of suds. Taste contours are bold.

A rough and tumble session ale that challenges the taste buds with an adventuresome nuttiness, buxom malts, and a fist-pounding bitterness that holds one's attention.

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

22 oz. Bottle.
This beer pours a deep ruby red with a nice thick head and soapy lacing.
The nose has burnt caramel with notes of citrus, dried fruit, and earth.
Flavor has a great bitterness balanced with a carmel and fruit finish.
The mouthfeel is creamy and has a medium body. This is quickly becoming one of my "Go-to" beers because it is a very drinkable and well made beer. Good job Jamie!

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with a fairly nice loosley beaded head and some sloppy lacing. Smells minerally, earthy, and malty, but also a bit thin and watery. Tastes smooth, malty but dry, but a bit flat in flavor. There is some lingering minerality and a bit of charred malt. The mouthfeel is a bit thin and watery up front, but it finishes malty and spicy. Decent, but it doesn't really make me want to come back for more.

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Photo of koopa
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber from liquid solutions poured into a bodum thermo glass.

A - Deep red color bordering brown with a nice beige head.

S - Good hop presence but sweet smelling as well.

T - Strong roasted malt taste up front with a mild hop bitterness in the finish. Quite different from other well hopped ambers that I enjoy such as Green Flash Brewings Hop Head Red or Speakeasy's Prohibition Ale. Believer has its own take on this category and I'm enjoying it.

M - Fair amount of carbonation and a bit chewy

D - Very drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of GJ40
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a 22oz bottle in a tulip glass. Purchased at Belmont Station in Portland, OR.

A - Deep red color that traps most of the light that tries to get through. It has a thick beige head with good lacing.

S - Combination of sweet malt and hops. Some yeast as well. Very nice.

T - Roasted malt dominates at the start (more then I expected). Its then joined by a good bitterness from the roasted malt and the hops. Not a lot of hop flavor though. It didn't seem able to make its way through. Good but not my favorite from Ninkasi.

M - Chewy. Really sticks to your mouth. Nice moderate carbonation with lots of very small bubbles.

D - Good but again, not one of my favorites from Ninkasi. It goes very well with food though. The flavor really stands up to spicy foods like Mexican.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown,slightly reddish complexion, nice looking dirty white head. Very nice hoppy strong aroma, piney, floral, great Nice hoppyness in the taste too..pretty dominanat though to be honest the semi-sweet malt profile is large. There seems to be a battle in my mouth bewteen the two, it ends in an uneasy truce as the hops fade out half way down the throat. Very nice. Good smooth palate, slightly sticky but alcohol well hidden. LIked this one a lot, not up with Arrogant Bastard, but would like to taste fresh at brewery

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apparently the Sumerians praised the goddess Ninkasi for the miracle of fermentation. It is indeed a wonderful process, and I do hope this beer is worthy of worship. I also love that I can pretend this beer is named after the great metal band the pour...

Thin and creamy light-tan head leaves strings and dots of lace all around the glass, while the color is a rusted reddish-brown.

Aroma gives equal time to malt, hops and something akin to a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon. Quite toasty, even reminding of fried dough. I recently had a beer that tried to emulate the flavor of a chocolate donut and it sucked. This, however, reminds me of a fresh-basked donut.

Flavor fills the mouth with a familiar NW hops layer that doesn't quit. It's nice, although a bit too grassy, without the balance I'd expect the malt to provide. Grassy astringency hangs out in the finish, brash and unceasing. Feels like it'll coat the inside of my mouth forever. Brief flashes of sugary spices peek through, but there's really no getting through the rough and raw hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is nicely soft, just enough carbonation to feel it but it's more about buttery lightness, which helps the bitter flavor ride through even stronger.

An enjoyable slice of the Pacific northwest, Believer takes me back to my Oregon visit last year. Has the signature rawness that I found in various brewpubs out there (New Old Lompoc, Lucky Labrador, and Amnesia, among others). Unfortunately the flavor seems to lack balance. I love hop-bombs, but this isn't even that. It's just not well balanced. More malt, please!

[Thanks to msubulldog25 for this bottle. Go Cubs!]

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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....

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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 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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Believer from Ninkasi Brewing Company
3.81 out of 5 based on 510 ratings.
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