Believer | Ninkasi Brewing Company

very good
185 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: 185 | Ratings: 501
Photo of jeffjeff1
3.69/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- dark red color, thick foamy head, very nice lacing

Smell- very malty, very slight amount of hops

Taste- very malty, more hops in the flavor than in the smell, well balanced, pretty good

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- I thought it was pretty good. I would probably have it again.

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Photo of dsolonenko
4.24/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: awesome color, deep red, very clear. big creamy head which does not go away
S: smells great too, heavy sweet with prunes and macademia-nutty notes. and toasted bread
T: caramel and toasted bread, then the hops bitterness kicks in and stays for quite some time.
M: silky mouthfeel, low carbonation
O: overall great bear, maybe a bit too bitter to my taste

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Photo of jeffeljefe
2.63/5  rDev -31%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A) Rocky head fades after a few seconds leaving nice lacing, hazy reddish orange
S) sweet malty aroma, fruits
T) Sweet and roasty malt, resinous, slightly bitter, estery body, metallic finish
M) smooth medium-body, prickly carbonation, long bitter finish
O) Never really been a fan of red ales to date, this one not converting me. Appearance and smell are the high points, taste is pretty good until it fades to the bitter, piney finish that coats my mouth

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Photo of ChugMan
3.89/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4

Food Pairing: Had this with some meaty red sauce lasagne, and the two worked together very well. The hoppy finish of the Believer was quite contrary to this happy joining, however.
A - Beautiful deep red. Prominent head which provided some fine lacing as well.
S - Very mild, but enticing. Carrot, cherry, black licorice.
T - Remarkably creamy coupled with a richness that makes you want to keep on drinking!
M - Begins creamy, with hoppy bites across the tongue throughout which are welcome at first, but outlast and unfortunately overshadow the otherwise charming qualities of its flavor.
O - Difficult to reconcile. On one hand, it has an excellent flavor which is truly outstanding in my experience with this style. On the other, it seems unbalanced with the bitterness of its aftertaste. Absolutely worthwhile on the whole, and one worth revisiting with perhaps more worthy food pairings.

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Photo of BradMacMullin
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into 20oz gladd at Side Door. Great looking dark copper appearance with a nice 1 finger head. I was pleasantly surprised with the taste - nice malty taste with a slgith hoppy balance. A great 'warmer' type of taste. Ninkasi usually underwhems me with their ipa that is everywhere, but this is a pilsner I will return to

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Photo of sam_bliss
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz Bomber into Ninkasi pint glass.

A magnificent inch of caramel-white head tops off this elegant transparent mahogany-amber ale. The foam leaves ample lacing up the side of the pint glass. Grassy hops and red cherry top off the malt-forward aroma of caramel, toffee and some roasted scents. The first sip is pleasant, although much different than my expectations. It tastes like grapefruit spooned out of the half-bowl peel. Carbonation tickles and citric acid prickles. Very complex mix of rich malts fill out the mid-mouth taste. The aftertaste continues to pucker, and leaves an unpleasant grapefruit-like sting in the back of the throat. It's a bit metallic.

This is a much more citrus-heavy beer than I expected (or even smelled!) Like the take on American Amber with no single malt flavor dominating, which allows for a very solid malt canvas on which to paint citrusy hops. The issue is they might have overdone the grapefruit. I'm not sure what makes this a 'double' red - I'd like to know why it is called that. Overall, I like it. Refreshment level is as high as possible for an amber ale.

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

Appearance - Pours a bright, clear ruby red with a slight orange tinge. Off-white, 2 finger head. Good retention. Solid lace presence with good stick.

Smell - Primarily a sweet, bready malt aroma with hints of caramel, citrus and a peppery spice.

Taste - Bread and faint caramel malts to start, then a slightly peppery bite with orange citrus hops become prevalent mid-taste and last into the finish. Aftertaste rings with a slight metallic character, which is common in a lot of reds.

Mouthfeel - Medium body with fair, tingly carbonation, but little bite. Finishes with a good amount of dryness.

Overall - Not sure what makes this a double or imperial red, as the label claims. Tastes like your average craft red to me, along the lines of Red Tail Ale or Alleycat Amber. Good balance, but kinda boring.

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Photo of N3rdM3t4l
3.46/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into standard pint with Ninkasi logo printed on it (my lucky pint glass).

A: a finger of slightly reddish head fell to a decent cap with a few patches of frothier foam. Leaving good lacing on the glass. Somewhat see through dark red. I can't even call this amber because it isn't orange enough. Looks like blood orange.

S: sweet with notes of banana (odd), slight floral notes, and a bit of caramel.

T: opens a little sweet followed by a good hit of rich malty flavor followed up with a shot of hop bitterness.

M: really rich and kinda chewy. feels pretty darn good going down too. would say either the light side of heavy or the heavy side of medium bodied.

O: a little bias here, Ninkasi are hometown heroes and I really love this beer. Nothing fantastic about it but it is one of my go to beers.

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Photo of harrymel
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled: unk

Pours clear blood orange flesh with a central dome and peripheral etch of light tan foam. Smells of some resiny hops, a bready rye like character and a touch of BO. Flavor is bitter with that nice red beer spicy character (I think this is from Special B malt...). A good dose of sweetened malts, some bits of tea hops and a cinnamon like finish that is longer than anticipated. Medium bodied with reserved carb and a bit of a dry finish. Nice enough beer, but I don't buy it very often anymore due to the price hike (which is miniscule).

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Photo of ThickNStout
2.93/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle from LetsPour. No discernable bottling info. Served in a Sweetwater snifter.

Pours deep murky red brown with about a half finger of off white head that quickly recedes.

Aroma is fairly faint. Caramel, bread and herbal earthy hops.

Flavor is bready malt forward. Toast, caramel, toffee, lemongrass and herbal hops. No real alcohol presence in the taste.

Medium light body with an interesting carbonated zest with each sip that quickly calms to a slow sizzle on the tongue. Long lasting grassy bitter hops in the aftertaste.

Not sure what makes this a "double" red ale because I'm pretty sure it has neither twice the malts nor twice the hops of a standard red ale. It's still a pretty solid beer and I had no problems polishing off a bomber by myself.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
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 -1.8%
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 +10.2%
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 -0.3%
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 +3.7%
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.

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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 jmarsh123
3.49/5  rDev -8.4%
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 -35.2%
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%
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 -1.3%
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 -2.9%
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 +7.6%
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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Believer from Ninkasi Brewing Company
3.81 out of 5 based on 501 ratings.
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