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 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 EgadBananas
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
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 +4.2%
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 +10.2%
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 +13.1%
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%
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%
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 -2.6%
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 +10.8%
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 +1.8%
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 +1%
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 -3.4%
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 -16.3%
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.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to flexabull for this one.

A - Deep amber with a thin off white head.

S - Caramel, toasted bread, candied citrus hops.

T - Rich malts, sweet caramel, candied citrus hops with a light touch of pine. Little bit of roast as it warms.

M - Medium body and creamy.

D - A little malty but still good.

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Photo of Durge
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark root beer color with a decent light oatmeal colored head and very nice lacing. The aroma says malt and caramel rootbeer pine. Very enjoyable. The taste includes is a wild blend of coffee, licorice, root beer and malt with a pleasant herbal hop touch. This has a woodsy quality with medicinal overtones. It’s medium bodied with decent carbonation for a refreshing feel. This is a slightly different but right proper red ale. Nice stuff!

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

Clear dark copper/red colour with a creamy light tan head with moderate head retention.

Deep resinous hop character with citrus notes. Very malty with a nice burnt toffee note. A touch of orange.

Big toffee malts with plenty of bitter grapefruit and some pine. Pithy. Nice.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A solid red ale with lots of hop flavour and a pleasant malt character. Good.

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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 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 chicano4craft
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear,dark amber with a fingers worth of creamy off white head. Very nice and inviting looking beer. Good lacing.

Nose is sweet with toffee and caramel. Hops are present in the background with a touch of earthy grass.

First thing I notice with the taste are the hops. They play a bigger role than expected. This isn't a bitter beer or hop bomb. The hops seem to balance the rich malt flavors. Lots of toffee, caramel and a little fruit. Finish is dry and sticky. Nice balance

Mouthfeel is decent. It starts off creamy but quickly dries out.

Overall...a real nice beer for the style. Deeper flavors than most ambers. More hops than most reds. Glad I was able to score a bottle.

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Photo of DrJay
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear, deep red colour with clumpy beige foam, lots of lacing, decent head retention. Malty aroma, grain husk and toffee, earthy and spicy hops in the background, some biscuit and bread. Bitterness was moderate, picking up in the finish as the sweetness started to fade. More biscuity and caramel malt, slight citrus fruitiness, toffee and bread. Medium bodied with velvety carbonation, great texture with slight alcohol warmth and flavour. Overall, pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of SDtastentune
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Darker amber clear getting towards a light brown. Small head that dissipated quickly into a haze cloud over. Small lacing.

S - Bready, malty red, small hop background and malt forward kinda musty.

T - Musty malty and kinda hoppy but not like an ipa, lower ibu but higher malty'ness and deeper red. Some caramel mixed with some fruits. Thick taste but definitely not thick at all??

M - Good/ok... kinda fizzy but not over carb'ed. larger aftertaste.

O - Overall... Good Red ale, maybe needs more alcohol to give it some bite. But not bad at all for a red, maybe some more piny hops would be good, but hey this is not a red ipa... Super malty and doubled up red taste.

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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 dirtylou
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber, paired with a pork tenderloin and wild mushroom tart. on-sale at the ballard market for $3.49

from notes

appearance: served in a cubs shaker pint, dark amber body, light tan head

smell: nutty, caramel and toffee, piney hops, citrus

taste: doesnt really reach the level of the advertised "double" but its a nice red ale with adequate hopping but not stinging bitterness - pine is the most resonating flavor, with toffee notes, bready, caramel, apple, citrus rind. seems like most of ninkasi's offerings are good, but not great. the price point is nice though

mouthfeel: medium, slightly sticky

overall: pretty good - not really a repeat purchase though

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