Ninkasi Brewing Company

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American Amber / Red Ale
Ranked #81
Ranked #21,785
3.82 | pDev: 10.73%
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
Very Good
Notes: An Imperial American Red Ale.

Ninkasi website:
"6.9 % alc./vol. 60ibus. Always available in 22 oz bottles, and on draft."
Reviews: 200 | Ratings: 541
Photo of BucannonXC5
3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
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 donkeyrunner
3.74/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber pour but sits dark brown in my festive Thanksgiving mason jar. Big, boisterous head is all bluster and quick to dissipate. No lace and left by a sad, lonely wisp of retention.

Caramel pineapple aroma with a mineral, fruit skin undertone. Tastes like it smells: sweet, sweet caramel pineapple spice hops and Hawaiian Punch. Steely like it was brewed with mineral water.

A brighter, sun shiny version of what is often a thick, heavy, over-carmelized malt laden beer. I like the interpretation.

My first Ninkasi and while I'm impressed by the beer I'm disappointed by the labels. That's not even trying.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy copper-orange with a finger of frothy tannish head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet rich caramel malts with some light caramelization, grapefruit, tropical, and pine hops, and some light bready malts.

T - Starts off with some sweet rich caramel malts with some caramelized sugars, with some grapefruit, orange, and citrus hops and bitterness. Through the middle, some pine hops come through with some more bitterness and some bready malts. The finish is a mix of sweet caramel and caramelized malts, grapefruit and pine hops, and some bitterness.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and bitter finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice overall balance with a good malty backbone and a nice hop profile and bitterness.

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Photo of thegodfather1076
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Ninkasi seal as expected with a smooth and appealing color scheme that flows well.

Appearance: Poured from a 22oz bomber into a 16oz English Pint. Pours out a deep dark amber color with a 2 finger airy tan foam head that dissipates fairly quickly before slowing and then finally dissipating into thin foam coating. Head retention is 4min 52sec. Very good lacing.

Smell/Aroma: Smells on the sweet side with caramel malts and an almost buttery aroma. Very pleasant citrus hop smell accents the malt smell.

Flavor/Taste: Huge toasted sweet caramel malt presence right of the bat followed by a buttered biscuit-like flavor. The citrus hop tasted accents well on the back end.

MouthFeel: Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass. Finishes a bit dry.

Drinkability: Very filling but very drinkable.

Overall/Comments: Heavy on the malts but this is a double red ale. Packed with an excellent flavor and smell profile. A very good example of a Red Ale. Classified as an Imperial Red Ale at 6.9% ABV.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
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 jmarsh123
3.49/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep red with a 2 finger off-white somewhat creamy head. Good retention. Just a bit of lacing.

Smell is a little bland. A little caramel with some earthy and perhaps citrusy hops. Not much here.

A little bit of sweet caramel upfront. Rounds into huge piney earthy bitterness near the back end. Tastes like a huge heaping of Nugget akin to Nugget Nectar only a lesser version. Hops leave an astringent aftertaste.

On the light side of medium, but all in all not bad. Good carbonation levels.

Not too bad, but not best in style either. It was a pleasant drinker although I wouldn't recommend it to people who don't like bitterness in their reds.

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Photo of chugalug06
2.47/5  rDev -35.3%
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 Hoptometrist
3.24/5  rDev -15.2%
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 colforbin73
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

for a 3.99 bomber i think this is a good buy. as far as ambers go you get really good hops here, the body is excellent - nice head....

pours a very thick red with an equally thick foamy sticky tan head. the smell is malty -- but overall, i am just not getting anything.

the taste is really good, nice deep amber roasted malt, and a very nice compliment of hops, really delivering a good piney hop resonance.... you get a good throat coating hoppy brew... there are nice herbal hints on the back of the palate, a little thyme and rosemary goes a long way.

very gratifying mouthfeel, OVERALL, at 3.99/22oz i would def buy again.

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Photo of Phelps
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a snifter.

Deep, dark burgundy, slightly hazed with yeast and other particles. One finger of frothy tan foam quickly recedes to a silky top layer.

Bright, floral and spicy hops are here in the aroma, but they’re definitely less potent than the malt, which delivers big hits of caramel and burnt sugar with a more subtle hint of biscuit. A little toast and a touch of chocolate. Solid, sweet aroma.

The flavor, unfortunately, doesn’t carry the same sweetness. Hop bitterness blends with lightly toasted biscuits. Tangy sugar and floral hops up front; caramel at the swallow. More caramel emerges as the brew warms, but it never really gets to the level I’d like to counteract the big hop bitterness.

Medium-light in body; very soft, tingly carbonation; just a hint of silky fizz. To its credit, the alcohol is very well-hidden.

Believer needs to reach room temperature to really reveal its full potential, but even when it does I’m not too impressed. It won’t make a believer out of me.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
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 EgadBananas
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, almost blood red, with a ran finger of frothy head. Nice lace. Caramel and nutty malts comprise the nose, with some herbal, grassy, almost minty hops. Nice caramel taste, nutty malts, spicy hops with a clean bitter finish. Bit of a rich body, medium, light carbonation.

A pretty solid red, nicely drinkable.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle tried 10 Jan 2012. Xmas gift from A&P, thanks! Served in the 0.4 L Kurfursten Pils, uh, footed stange (?). Just unpacked this glass, first time using it since I bought it about 7 years ago.

Medium sized brownish orange head. Medium carbonation. Clear brownish red in color. Aroma is resiny, bitter orange. Starts quite sweet, malty, caramel, cinnamon. Quickly turns orangey-resin and bitter in the middle. Somewhat sticky body, ethanol is noticeable. Fairly sweet-bitter orange finish and aftertaste.

A good introduction to Ninkasi's offerings.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Half Acre Tulip.

A- Pours a dark amber with a 2 finger light beige head. Some small spiderwebs of lacing remain on the glass.

S- Sweet dark fruits, cherry, citrus and some pine.

T- Some toasted malts, cherry, lots of citrus (orange and grapefruit), and slight bitter pine.

M- Medium body and carbonation. Nice and creamy feel gives a nice smoothness.

O- Very good red ale. The cherry/dark fruit notes is different but still has a nice citrus flavor and aroma as well.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.31/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a brandy snifter.

A: Opaque umber, not particularly pretty. Relatively little head, but decent tracing and lacing. Some bubbles visible within.

S: Smells pretty great. Almost a perfect amber ale, actually. Buttery, sweet, rich, malty, with pleasant floral-bitter hops.

T: More bitter than anticipated, but with a rich molasses on the endtaste to lend balance. This is a very well-crafted beer. Malt-heavy, on the tongue and in the flavour profile. Hops are not as present as in the nose, to the slight detriment of the taste, I feel. Still, there is a bit of resin on the aftertaste and citrus in the maintaste.

M: Full, sweet, and wet. It has presence, if not gravitas.

O: I'm really impressed. Even better than Tricerahops? Highly recommended; will definitely have again. One of the best (Imperial?) red ales I've ever tasted.

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Photo of billab914
3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
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 natemort13
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark ruby amber with a tan head that sticks around for a bit.

Nose is caramelly with some citrusy hops. Some toffee as well.

Taste brings out a lot of caramel malt with an overarching hoppiness. Somewhat coppery flair to the malt.

Mouthfeel is crisp carbonation and medium bodied.

Overall nice big slightly hoppy balanced red. nice complementing bitterness from the hops and smooth/sweetness from malt. Not a bad red but nothing too special.

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Photo of Hophead101
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle label #8 courtesy of flexabull

A: 4.5 pours a beautiful looking burgundy color with a moderate sized off white/ tan head. the head seemed to last quite a while as it was still around after taking some notes. it left a nice collar and top film with more than abundant lacing.
S: 3.5 a very ho hum smell. sweet caramel malts, minimal hop presence.
T: 3.5 more hops in the taste. but mostly dominated by caramel malts, biscuit and some mild spiciness.
M: 4 medium body, plenty of carbonation. some lingering bitterness.
D: 4 not bad.

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Photo of Drinkerofales
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy copper, red in the sunlight. A nice light head leaves some lacing.

Smell is citrus hop, roasted malt and a hint of sweet.

Taste is similar to nose. The hops surround and fill the mouth, the malts are in the middle, with a hint of sweet finish.

Smooth with a light hop tang. Almost creamy for a medium light brew.

A great beer and price. Plenty of flavor going on, will definitely have some more.


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Photo of climax
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not tough to believe in this one after the pour. The mahogany body sits under a nice sticky finger of mocha head. Retention and lacing are very nice, good start.

It smells the part of a bold west coast Amber Ale. The citrus tones from the Centennial hops accent the massive malt bill. Sweet caramel and buttery biscuit smells indicate whats to come.

The beer becomes much more balanced as the Summit hops amp up the bitterness. The toasty biscuity malt profile is still massive, yet held more in check. The balance is very good.

The acidic characteristics pucker the cheeks a bit. Sharp carbonation resonates through the dry pithy finish. This is the most impressing beer so far from Ninkasi; it's bold, balanced, and drinkable.

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Photo of Murrhey
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Reviewed live.

A- Half a finger creamy khaki head. Reddish brown coloration, very cloudy. Lacing is quite nice

S- Floral hops and fruity. Smells quite nice, but too subtle for me.

T- Burnt sugar, raisins, bittering hops, metallic linger. Can taste slight booziness notes. Interesting and very flavorful.

M- Very full bodied and dry. Carbonation is just right.

O- I had middling expectations for this beer and was surprised with a nice, tasty brew.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap @ Brewers Haven, Boise ID. Served in a shaker.

A: Pours a very dark amber white head leaves some lace behind. Clear and carbonated.

S: Caramel & toffee amber malts, bitter pine hops, notes of herbal hops. Pretty balanced.

T & MF: Creamy body, flash of toffee sweetness, bitter pine, herbal & grassy...touch of grapefruit as well, with faint woody and toasted grain notes. Creamy medium body...finish is dry. Malt presence is sweet but not cloying or overly so.

O: An enjoyable bigger red; though the booze isn't noticeable it feels a little larger than 6.9% abv. Very drinkable and enjoyable though. Wouldn't have minded more hops.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.19/5  rDev -16.5%
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 -16.2%
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.

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Believer from Ninkasi Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 541 ratings