Critical Hit | Ninkasi Brewing Company

Critical HitCritical Hit
BA SCORE
46.4%
Liked This Beer
3.64 w/ 97 Ratings
Critical HitCritical Hit
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
ninkasibrewing.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by barleywinefiend on 03-22-2010

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#32,362
Reviews:
33
Ratings:
97
Liked:
45
Avg:
3.64/5
pDev:
13.74%
Alströms:
-
 
 
Wants:
16
Gots:
27
Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 97 |  Reviews: 33
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Verdugo Bar in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, and candied citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, brown sugar, candied citrus zest, and grapefruit juice flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and dry mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty, but it is quite bitter with the hop additions used.

Serving type: on tap.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

as much a double ipa or something as a big barleywine. i feel like this is as much about the hops as it is about the grain, if not more so, which sort of turns the american barleywine back into the ipa range. its pale in color too, less of the caramelized toasty toffee barley we usually look for in the style, and not nearly enough body to get there either. the hops are nice though, pine forward and sticky, and also impressively bitter, more than enough bitterness in this one to balance out the residual grain sweetness, which again i think doesnt necessarily lend itself to the style, but is well resolved here. carbonation is also really high, much higher than barleywine in truer forms really needs, but with all the hops it makes sense, really carries the beer, and gives it a much quicker finish than most. the alcohol shows through a lot, largely i think because it is so light and thin, but i do kind of want to taste it in this style. i like the beer pretty well, but i dont think its up to the ninkasi standard for quality, and i definitely dont think it satisfies the palate looking for a true american barleywine, but perhaps we have defined the style too narrowly, and this takes it to a new place...

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Photo of biboergosum
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, 2014 Reserve - very Dungeons and Dragons in its theme, which makes my eyes glaze over, before I've even approached this one's heady measure of ABV.

This beer pours a clear, bright medium red-brick amber colour, with two fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and lightly bubbly tan head, which leaves some limestone grotto lace around the glass as it slowly sinks out of sight.

It smells of semi-sweet, grainy caramel malt, a touch of biscuity toffee, reduced brown sugar, some candied citrus notes (think of those discount store 'orange' slices), some prominent leafy, earthy, and piney green hop bitters, and a loitering metallic booziness. The taste is bready and doughy caramel malt, some lessened toffee sweetness, a still rather sweet citrus and pome pithiness, further muddled dark orchard stone fruit, some subtle earthy mustiness, and more evolving leafy, floral and certainly piney hoppiness.

The bubbles are pretty understated in their quotidian frothiness, the body a solid middleweight, if one harbouring some heavy-set aspirations, and generally smooth, with a wee creaminess arising as those fridge temperatures ebb a little bit. It finishes still sweet, the big-ass malt, meandering fruit, and hard to pin down booziness sealing the proverbial deal.

Overall, this could be considered a big-ass Yankee DIPA, sure, if no one was looking all that closely at it - big malt, big fruity and verdant hoppiness, and yes, big booze. I get that the delta between the two styles is minimal, but this is the example that proves the point, if there is even any merit in doing so.

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Photo of mactrail
2.61/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy dark reddish amber in the Duvel tulip. Plenty of foam but it does dissipate down to zero lacing before too long.

Murky flavors. Quite bitter. A stew of muddy tastes. About as undrinkable a Barleywine as I've had. Caramel apple taste with a little wintergreen and yams. So sweet plus the hot alcohol taste. Bitter aftertaste is not pleasant with the sugary rush. Woody with burnt sugar.

I call it a Critical Miss. I don't know what's wrong with Ninkasi, they seem to always have variations on dirty, earth, murky flavors. From the 22 oz bottle bought at Beer Revolution in Oakland.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 bottle.

Appearance - Deep orange. Small white head. Retains well.

Smell - Citrus hop. Grapefruit. Slight oxidation. Sweet caramel malt. Smells like a standard barleywine.

Taste - More of a balance to the hops and malt. Grapefruit. Sweet caramel. Oxidation. Bitter.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Medium carbonation. Tastes like it's getting old.

Overall - Generic, but it's tasty.

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Photo of IrishColonial
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 properly cellared bottle poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours a reddish coppery amber with a thin off-white head that dissipates to a thin persistent film and lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, sweet dark fruit and a hint of citrus. Flavor of mellow caramel malt, dried dark fruit, alcohol and grassy hops. Finish is somewhat abrupt, but leaves a long lasting grassy, earthy hop bite. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. Initial flavors are well balance, but subdued; the finish is hot and hoppy. A decent barley wine that could use a bit more balance between the malt/fruit components and the finishing hops and alcohol heat. I'm glad I cellared this for a couple of years, I think the hops would have been overwhelming in the fresh bottle. I will cellar another bottle for a bit longer, I think it will stand up to more aging nicely and may bring better balance.

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Photo of stevoj
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Brewers Haven, 2013 vintage. Big malt bomb. Hazy dark copper body with small creamy, soapy head. Aroma : malt; taste : malt. Big hop finish coupled with slow building warmth. Medium weight, silky feel, bitterness lingers, coupled with pleasing simmering heat. Nice warmer.

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Photo of John_M
4.24/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The 2009 version, on tap at Bier Stein the other day.

The beer pours a somewhat darker, copper amber color with good head retetention and lacing. The nose is impressive in this one, as I get considerable malt, dry citrus, vanilla and brown sugar. This beer smells like a big old, hoppy barleywine. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, and put me in mind of an aged version of Bigfoot. There beer has some nice, slightly oxidized, aged ale flavor components that is pretty nice, which blends well with the brown sugar, sweet malt and considerable hoppy bitterness. Mouthfeel is fairly full in this moderately sweet beer, and the finish is long and fairly dry, due to the considerable boost of hoppy bitterness. Alcohol is noticeable, but this beer is not at all hot or tiring on the palate.

A fine beer, but I was happy with the small taster I got of it at BS. That's really all I needed.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.52/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

New Review "2011 Reserve bottle #239/6200 " so says the label.. Poured into my HotD goblet. decent off white head... nice lacing and cap atop a clear light copper brew.

Nose is very hoppy... a nice balance of toasty maltiness... Pretty good PNW nose... Much better integrated than my last review.

Flavor is very well meshed between the toasty/light caramel malts and the hoppy bitterness and hoppy flavors... Hops show as more pithy citrus notes but a subtle piney hoppiness also raises its head.

Body is a solid medium with a light/medium carbonation... mouthfeel is definitely PNW with a residual hoppy oiliness..

Pretty well done... I had a 2013 Bigfoot last night, and I think Critical Hit certainly holds it own.

3.75/3.5/3.5/3.5/3.5

***

22 picked up at the COOP .... bottle # 2729/5000 ... Paid a pricey $12ish... Poured into my little Cigar City snifter.... short lasting head, but it still provides nice sheets of lacing but a pretty thin cap... the brew is a fairly clear orange/lite amber.

nose seems to be a bit all over the place... aromatic citrus hoppiness with a good floral overtone... toasty maltiness with some minor caramel... pretty boozy.... a bit of something that I identify as "apricot" ..

Flavor is pretty thin... toasty pale malt sweetness with a bruising bitterness that really begins mid palate and doesn't let up until about :20 after the swallow... hops are more nondescript than the nose, I still get mild citrus, but an ever so slight piney quality edges it out.. long finish, bitter and mildly sweet... EtOH is swinging a large path...

the sweetness is there, but it doesn't jive at all with the body... the body is light/medium (especially for the style).. I think the booze is cutting through this one pretty readily... I hesitate to say fusel alcohols, but it is damn hot right now.

I have a bottle for the cellar and a couple more on hold at a bottle shop until I can make it across town.... but honestly, I doubt I will open another one of these for a couple years... That said, I don't believe this is going to get much better. Time in the bottle is going to do nothing for the body and the lack of flavor... Decent first release for an American Barleywine, but it needs to be dialed in significantly with more body and flavor.

3.5/3/3/3/3

I really wanted to like this one more.... Ninkasi is doing cool work for sure, but I am curious how this one crept through the cracks.... I would have kegged it all and let the draft lines flow.

 2,488 characters

Photo of pat61
4.06/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the 2013 version, bottle 1605 out of 10000, 10.4% abv.
A: Brilliant deep copper gold under a thin, copper head that produces spots of lace. Does have legs.
S: Not a big nose – slightly darkened sugar to caramel with some wine notes.
T: Malt and light fruit introduce the palate leading to a lingering bitter finish that is more quinine than citrus rind or roast. The bitterness becomes bigger as the beer warms.
M: Starts a little thin for a big beer, medium low carbonation. Mild alcohol warming. O: A decent but not outstanding American Barleywine.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.55/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

2010 vintage #2279/5000

A: Poured a sherry-orangish color with good carbonation and a dirty white head. Quite a bit of lacing on this one

S: Faded pine, some citrus and cardboard with some bread

T: initial taste of citrus followed by a dash of heat and then some dish soap, cardboard oxidation, faded hops and a long bittering presence on the end. Really hard to get pass the dish soap and cardboard.

M: Mouthfeel is bitter, well carbonated, medium-big to big body with pine, a tad bit hot.

O: It was not that great fresh and now its just plain harsh. Not a candidate for aging.

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Photo of kscaldef
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of costanzo_mike
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of BDeibs
3.54/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Rutager
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Photo of twelveinches
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Photo of bsuedekum
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Photo of arizcards
3.59/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber from TW Arrowhead at the end of October for $13.99. This is the 2013 version, bottle 3760 out of 10000. This is 10.4 % abv, 100 IBU.

Beer poured amber-brown with a beautiful head upon the initial pour.

Nose is slightly boozy but nothing much beyond that.

Taste is very unbalanced. Initially the traditional barleywine malt bill was there but be prepared to be slammed by mega alpha hops. I suspect if you aged this beer another 4-5 years it could be pretty good.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and somewhat smooth.

Overall not a bad beer but not worth the price of admission.

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Photo of beergoot
3.51/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Unique bottle label data: 2014 Reserve, 11% ABV, BOTTLE NUMBER 07298/20000

Dark reddish-copper body; thick, sticky head; spidery fingers of lacing along the glass. Very fruity aroma infused with heavily sweet grain scent; raisins, plums and red grapes. Cereal grain flavor base with a harsh bitterness; boozy. Heavy body; hot alcohol notes.

A rather hot, harsh beer which delivers some malt sweetness yet that is overridden by a rather overly-aggressive bitterness and alcohol presence.

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Photo of illidurit
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Hootie159
3.89/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hoppy barleywine. If you prefer the English traditional this is not for you. I do prefer the English but there are a few merits. The bittering juxtaposes, but works with the sweet malt. The heavier carbonation helps the favors bite into the tongue.

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Photo of birchstick
4/5  rDev +9.9%

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Critical Hit from Ninkasi Brewing Company
Beer rating: 46.4% out of 100 with 97 ratings
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