Ninkasi Brewing Company

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American Amber / Red Ale
Ranked #81
Ranked #21,565
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 brewcrew76
3.78/5  rDev -1%
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 +7.9%
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 +4.2%
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 -18.1%
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 +1.6%
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 +3.4%
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 +2.9%
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 +2.1%
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 +5.5%
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 +8.6%
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 -6.3%
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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Photo of MDDMD
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22b oz bottle

A-deep red amber color with a thick head slow to dissipate

S-malty caramel with some piney bitter overtones

T-slightly sweet malty caramel flavor with nice balance of hoppy flavor mixed in

M-medium bodied with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-a nice amber ale, enjoyed this with a nice meal, but would be equally good on it's own.

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Photo of doughanson78
3.57/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz. Bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Dark red/amber. Clear. Slightly off white 2 finger head. Good lacing. Good head retention.

S: A lot maltier than I thought it would be. Caramel and roasted malts. Kind of bready. Light piney hops balance things out. Very slight floral/soapy scent.

T: Sweet caramel, toffee up front. Roasted malts through the middle. Little bit of piney hops to lighten the sweetness of the malts.

M: Medium to full bodied. Creamy. Light carbonation.

O: A very decent beer. Nice and sweet but balanced nicely with hops.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After being underwhelmed by Spring Reign I am glad to be rewarded by a great double Red Ale. Poured dark reddish brown with a huge head. The beer is malt forward but with lots of hops. Thick mouthfeel which is right for the style. You never feel that you are drinking an IPA but rather a big malty cousin that still has the hops. Big long finish with little sweetness. Good stuff

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Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
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 vande
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ozer poured into a nice Goose Island pint...

A ~ a thick looking brownish red with a slight dirty tannish lace hugging the glassware

S ~ coppery malts w/ hops right away

T ~ To be honest, somewhat reminds me of lagunitas "chronic" - Censored.. another beer I like! Malty, hoppy, rich... Very good!

M ~ bit creamy textured...light-to medium feel.

0 ~ a tasty beer found in this bottle!

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a wide flute glass. Deep red color with a great inch of thick white head.

Smells of rich malt, lots of it and only that.

Initially watery, then malty with a hop kick at the end.

Smooth and a little creamy. Low carbonation and medium bodied. A good mix.

Great drinking beer. Nice malty smell and taste plus it is actually red.

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Photo of Japerrault
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark copper, slightly hazy. Nice thick creamy head with good retention and lacing.

S: Caramel, Toffee, Toasted malts. Some spicy aromas from the hops.

T: Malty sweetness upfront, Brown sugar and roasted grain flavors in the middle, and a little resiny piny hops in the finish. Slight bitterness throughout.

M: Full bodied ale. Nice carbonation, definitely not too watery.

O: Overall a nice red ale.

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Photo of quisatzhaderach
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer is copper-red and beautiful. It looks very inviting.

Sharp hops penetrate a thick blanket of sweet malt to dominate the nose.

The taste is a powerful pairing of rich, multi-dimensional grain sweetness and strong hop flavors. The hops, however, seem to lack depth, leaning toward astringency.

The beer is hefty and assertive, in a good way. It could benefit from greater nuance in the hop flavor, however.

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Photo of wstuart
4.48/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

anyone who sips Believer, immediatly becomes a believer. it is very apparent why ninkasi has kept this brew as a year round brew. very aromatic of cascade hops, with a bitter finish that comes on a little strong. great for cool days and outdoor/beach consumption

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Photo of NWer
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber from a seasonal four pack. Very rewarding purchase given I might not have tried this beer if it wasn't included as one of the four. Another fine beer from Ninkasi. Pours dark red. Nice head retention.
Very hoppy for a red ale. Great citrus aftertaste kept me going back for more. Pleasant and very drinkable.
Not an IPA but trying to masquerade as one.

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Photo of bs870621345
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to DankTheTank for this one

Pours a deep cloudy amber color with an inch of white head. Leaves nice lacing down the glass.

Smell is slightly smoky, caramel, mainly herbal hops, citrus, and pine.

Taste is strong smoke and caramel, pine on the end that clears the palate. It makes me think this is a little faded, but still good.

Mouthfeel is full, not too much carbonation, lingers a little bit.

Drinkability is good, its pretty good, probably needs to be fresher, but I have no way of knowing.

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

Pours a dark red-brown color with 2-finger head. Piney hop aroma. A straightforward flavor. Hops and smoke. Sort of copper-ness that I've come to attribute to all red ales. Major bitters coming up in the back. Can easily recommend this one. Ninkasi delivers the goods once again. Although... personally I like things a little more adventurous. I like a beer that confounds me. So, as far as Ninkasi goes, my preference is for their Spring and Summer seasonal ales. But Believer is good nonetheless. I want to believe...

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Photo of nezelrac
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

draft pint

A - cream colored one finger head; slightly hazy red/amber; decent lacing

S - citrus and floral hops on a malty/caramel nose; slightly yeasty fruitiness

T - a little toasty/biscuity w/sweet malt notes; lots of hoppy notes woven through the palate - like the nose, floral and fruity/citrus; there is a freshness and pleasant fruity quality to the palate

M - medium weight; moderately firm; good CO2

D - highly!

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

Appearance is very dark for a red beer, for sure darker than an amber beer. I mean honestly this looks more brown than red, I only detect small hints of red here and there. Pours a nice one finger head that gives good lacing. On the smell I detect hops and malt, but not much of each, the smell is faint, maybe it's because the beer is cold, once it warms up I will re-evaluate. Taste is very robust, not nearly as hoppy as I would expect for a red, in fact the malts are more present than the hops in this beer. You get a big malt hit in the front end and then a small hop bite on the back end and finish. The beer is very heavy, it has the mouthfeel of a porter. It has a very interesting flavor and mouthfeel. Drinkability is somewhat high, even though you can taste the 7% alcohol at times, it is generally masked very well.

As this beer warms up the hops and bitterness come out a bit more, but in most of the swigs, the malts are still the dominant factor.

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