Stone / The Alchemist / Ninkasi - More Brown Than Black IPA | Stone Brewing

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Stone / The Alchemist / Ninkasi - More Brown Than Black IPAStone / The Alchemist / Ninkasi - More Brown Than Black IPA
Stone / The Alchemist / Ninkasi - More Brown Than Black IPAStone / The Alchemist / Ninkasi - More Brown Than Black IPA

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 255 | Ratings: 648
Photo of BarrytheBear
1.68/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle in a snifter. Purchased at Binny’s over Christmas.

Pours like brown watery diarrhea accompanied by a dab of Palmolive soap bubbles

Smells of solvent harsh chemicals. This may be used industrially to clean YMCA gym floors.

Wow! This is really gross. Rubbing alcohol, medicine, and nail polish remover. Long, relentless, sulfur laden finish seeps nastily into my tasting places. How can these three breweries combine to create something so perplexingly unappetizing?

I am engaged in a long, drawn out furrowing of the brow in a vain attempt to understand.

Verdict: Davey Jones locker

 602 characters

Photo of TruePerception
2.31/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

(Previous review, transferred from beer journal)


Stone / Ninkasi / The Alchemist More Brown Than Black IPA: Appearance: thick, black with grey specks; Taste/Mouthfeel: oatmeal, tobacco ash; bad

The name is far and away the biggest misnomer I've come across in beer yet!

Poured into a pint glass.

 313 characters

Photo of charlzm
2.58/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Consumed February 12, 2012.

Beer pours a deep brown with a two-finger tan head that's a bit splotchy.

Aromas of pine tar and peaches. Huh.

Flavor is more of the same, except that there's a pretty disagreeable bitterness on the finish and the slightest hint of a caramel malt base in there.

Beer is slightly dry and finishes with a lingering bitterness.

Glad I only had 12 ounces of this to drink. Can Stone make a really good collaboration ale? So far, no. Not good, just... different.

 490 characters

Photo of ithacabaron
2.69/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Well, the label don't lie. It pours decidedly brown, rich and full, with copper highlights at the very extremities. A khaki head settles down into toad's lie bubbles, with a scrim of lacing on the side of the glass. A curio.

Aroma brings strong fermentation notes. Lots of CO2. Green moss, starfruit, freshly brewed pekoe tea, and tumeric show up. It's a little tough to draw out these smells, however -- the nose is surprisingly muted. I'm not a fan.

Taste is full of dates and smoke, and intensely bitter at the back of the tongue. Some molasses is in here as well, and, after the swallow, there's notes of wood. It's somehow too sweet and too bitter at the same time, like a poorly made amaro. Interesting, but not especially successful.

Mouthfeel is fine, if a bit too full; the beer has a tendency to drag.

All in all, an interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying experiment.

 883 characters

Photo of crossovert
2.92/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle.

It pours a murky pond water brown with tons of floaties and a fluffy light brownish-tan head.

The smell is slightly roasty with some cocoa, there is a hint of tropical fruit. Not really a prime-time combo.

The flavor is pretty bitter which helps it. There is a fair amount of cocoa and roastiness. The hops aren’t as apparent in the flavor besides the bitterness. There is a slight bit of fruit but it is subtle. It really tastes more like a porter with a ton of bittering hops more than anything, not really an IPA at all and not bad.

If they just got rid of the aroma hops in this one it would be pretty good.

 631 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.13/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into bubble pint glass during a Stone event at a local pub. The beer was a very dark brown with about 1/4 inch of dark khaki head that OK retention and lacing.

There a bright hop scent, very reminiscent of Stone IPA, lots of floral and citrus notes. On the tongue, there was , surprise, lots of hops. On the tongue, the citrus stood out, there was malt playing a minor support role, and a bit of roast lingered on the finish, which was otherwise clean.

The body was just on the thin side of typical for this style. Drinkability was OK, if you like this style you'll want more than I did. Overall, this was a fairly average example of a CDA, a style that I think is something of a bastard child, and one that doesn't really trip my trigger. If you are a fan of the style though, you'll probably like this beer a lot. Worth a shot to decide for yourself.

 868 characters

Photo of RuckusDu
3.13/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a very dark mahogany in color with light beige head. Maybe a finger or two on the pour. Some random lacing. Lots of floaties, including in the head and at the bottom of the glass.

S - Smells of gorgeous grapefruit and hops. So sweet and smooth throughout. Wonderful.

T - Don't get me wrong, I like hops, but this tastes like eating a hop pellet. Very harsh, with little citrus flavor. It starts off decent with a little sweetness, but goes downhill from there.

M - Thin in body but decent carbonation. Could use some work.

O - Not my kind of beer. In general, I don't reach for the black IPAs anymore, but this is worse than most. Just not good flavors in here. My one thought would be to use this in cooking if you want to give some hops flavor to something.

 773 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.15/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured brown with a nice dirty white cap and some bubbles hanging around

S: Pine resin and orange peel, perhaps a whiff of grapefruit

T: Starts out a bit spicey, pine and citrus, mainly citrus to me but this was not above any other traditional IPA. There was no wow factor for this beer whether they were going for a off IPA or a tame version of CDA. Nothing special/

M: Medium-bodied, with a lacking backend when it comes to flavor and feel

O: Average across the board..CDA or IPA

 488 characters

Photo of codsmith
3.21/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

@ Bar on Buena, served in tulip

A: very dark brown, but can see a little thru when up to light. Small off white head that has nice lacing

S: huge amount of pine and fruit hops aroma. No grain aroma. Goes against style where you are looking for some roasted aroma

T: Hops are so over powering that none of the grain comes through. All you taste is hops from beginning to end. Horrible for category, but would be better in another IPA category

O: for sure not a black, cascadian, etc. IPA. better suited for another category

 526 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.27/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a N'Ice Chouffe beerflute in low altitude Los Angeles, California. My first beer from Alchemist. Expectations are high due to Alchemist's reputaiton, but my past experiences with other Stone beers temper this a bit. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger head of decent cream, good thickness, and great retention. Colour is indeed brown, with floating yeasty particles abound. Appealing, but nothing special.

Sm: Biscuity yeast and fantastic fresh hops. Very hoppy indeed (hey, stone is involved...) Moderate and seemingly balanced. Here's hoping it isn't overly bitter and coarse like so many IPAs...

T: It isn't! It's hoppy, but curbed by the pleasant biscuity yeast notes and light spice on the climax. Perhaps some candied sugar is present? It seems full-bodied - strangely so. It's nicely balanced, though the hops are cut short rather abruptly. Still, this is better than overbearing bitterness. A nicely built, flavorful IPA.

Mf: Smooth and wet, without too much coarseness. It's got a strange creamy overtone going on, which doesn't suit the flavours. Moreover, it's a touch too thick. Still, in general terms it complements the flavours.

Dr: A drinkable IPA without a clear focus, this may please fans of the style but its strange build and experimental nature prevent it from being truly great. I like that it's bold, but this could have used more work. I look forward to trying more beers from The Alchemist.


 1,501 characters

Photo of denver10
3.27/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown with a nice tan head, decent retention and lacing. Lots of sediment present.Smells like a roasty IPA. Earthy hops, roasted barley, some chocolate comes out as it warms. Flavor wise, a little citrus, some sweet creamy mocha, and some earthy bitterness. Just nibbling on medium bodied with some carbonation. Not a fan of black IPA's and this one doesn't quite change my opinion of them.

 401 characters

Photo of inlimbo77
3.3/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into Victory tulip/snifter thingy. No official bottle date, but the write up on the back reads November 2011.

A: Pours a deep brown color....more than black. About a finger of soapy light tan head. Almost unfiltered look for my pour with some bits of stuff floating around in the glass.

S: Mostly piney hops on the nose. I get a little medicinal note in there as well. Some fruity hops maybe, a little grapefruit hidden below everything.

T: You get a piney hop bite on the tip of the tongue. Then you get dominated by that strange medicinal earthy flavor. Eucalyptse maybe? I have heard that term thrown about for this one, and see what they are talking about. Bitter close of hops and that earthy weird flavor.

M: This is medium bodied like an IPA. Thinner than it looks.

O: This beer is OK. That strange flavor was a little off putting and might keep me from "buying" it again. Also, the $5 - $6 solo bottle price tag might help do that as well.

 971 characters

Photo of BarleyWineRox
3.36/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a muddy brackish black with a huge toffee head. Pine and citrus scents jump out of the glass. Skunky pine dominates. Those hop scents fade once in the mouth. Surprisingly mellow caramelly malts seem to predominate the taste. A little hop bitterness on the back end, but Where did the hops go? Pleasant enough but a bit disappointing.

 339 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
3.43/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, no date.

yup, it's dark brown. cream colored head, fades to thin whispy covering that stays. hops dominate the aroma. piney, earthy, a bit of citrus.

taste is sorta herbal, earthy, spicey. hop resin and a touch of caramel malt. dry finsih. medium body, oily feel, medium carbonation.

overall - interesting, but not as good as Stone's other Black IPAs

 370 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.47/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle into a large wine glass. This collaboration pours a deep brown in color and with deep ruby hues in the light. Half inch of tan foam offers decent retention and lace. Does have some mystery chunks floating around, rather odd for such a young beer.

Offers a nice dose of hops with some deep citrus and earthy pine notes. Bit of dark malts and cocoa add to the mix and makes this come across a bit as Sublimely Junior though with a different hop profile.

Bit of roast initially on the flavor, quickly turning to a slick and resinous citrus sense. Finishes a bit thin and with a bit of orange and milk chocolate, and finally a spiciness that isn't quite drying and even mildly sweet in nature. ABV is not noted yet carbonation is a bit low. A decent IPA but yet another collaboration brew that fails to leave a mark.

 821 characters

Photo of xnicknj
3.48/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into tulip - thanks to aviencko for leaving this at my apartment (again)

Pours a deep blacked out color with some faint browned hues. One finger high layering of beige head dissolves, leaving bubbled retention and patches of film. Spotty lacing all along the glass.

Faint hop bitterness in the nose swirled with dark chocolate sweetness. Touches of pine and citrus. Plenty of dark roasted malt with touches of coffee.

Nice dose of bitterness up front with pine and sticky resin. Touches of grapefruit and citrus peel underneath. The darker malt backbone slowly creeps in, supported by chocolate and roasted hints. A flash of sweetness is quickly swept away by another blast of bitter hops. Finishes piny and sticky with a faint warmth.

Fuller medium body, slightly higher carbonation, sticky and lingering on the tongue. A nice black IPA here, although I would've like a little more out of the nose.

 925 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque dark brown with a 1 inch foamy khaki head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Random streaks and chunks of lace form on the glass on the drink down. There is some sediment floating around in the glass after the beer is poured. Smell is pretty much all hops: citrus zest, herbs, onions/vegetables. Taste has all of the hop flavors up front with a malt finish that is somewhat roasty in flavor. There is a medium amount of bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a crisp level of carbonation and is very dry. Overall, this is a pretty good IPA but not all that impressive. This beer features hops that give off the vegetal aroma and flavor that I really don't like so I am not too sure I would go for this one again.

 769 characters

Photo of Philousa
3.53/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed from the bottle at Bottlecraft in San Diego.

Dark roasted cocoa bean in color with a thin but bubbly head. Very sticky, but not enough head to leave whole rings on the glass. Floral, sweet, grassy hop aroma with sweet chocolate/dark caramel lying in the background. Dark coffee, bitter grassy hops, and thin caramel flavors. Hops lighten and thin out the dark brown malt, but don't take over completely. Malt is still the most prevalent taste. Balanced feel, this is very drinkable for a dark ale.

This has a distinct aroma of Stone IPA with a dark malt bill set as a backdrop. This is a very good beer, but a story set in another city is still the same story, so I'm glad the malt is so distinct. This is the first beer I've had that distinctly tasted like coffee without this fact plastered all over the bottle. Its malt is subtly complex, which I like.

 865 characters

Photo of LubricatedWisdom76
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An interesting name that promises something different but doesn't really stand out as unique to me.

The appearance is a dark, hazy chestnut brown with yeast in it. Not, bad nothing special.

Aroma is mostly pine and earthy dried leaves, not a ton of roasty scents like I get with some of the darker black IPA's (Stone Self Righteous, Wookey Jack).

Taste is very good with a lot of pine and grapefruit citrus but the roast is every understated and to the point of being too subtle for me. There are not enough dimensions for me compared to the best dark IPA's. I was hoping this would have some nutty or slight chocolate roast to go with the hops but it's mostly hops.

Mouthfeel is good for a strong beer, light and drinkable.

Overall a good beer that I would drink as an IPA fan but not anything special for me. It doesn't go above and beyond into the depth and complexity of some of my favorites in the style.

 916 characters

Photo of farrago
3.57/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nicely whipped up head, crests near two fingers, plenty of larger bubbles forming islands here and there, pretty deep tan color, good retention, lacing is wispier than expected and doesn’t stick much. Murky brown color with a yellow tinge, huge amount of floating particles inside, saved lots of money on filters. The nose filled with pine sap, sour oranges, flowers and pineapple, nectarine, green apple, peach fruit, maybe you get discern some cocoa, mocha or coconut but it’s close to seeming 100% hops, doesn’t last especially long. Full-bodied, bitter and resinous, glues itself to your palate and starts scrubbing away. The coconut, caramel, butterscotch and chocolate comes through clearly here. Still, the pine and herbs bring pucker, joined in this by tart grapefruit to orange citrus. The pineapple, papaya, nectarine fruit sour too and not very flavorful. The carbonation gets aggressive and contributes to its lack of overall balance and rougher texture. The heat is evident, were it not for the sweetness of that caramel and coconut oil you might need a throat lozenge for relief. No doubt it accomplishes its intent.

 1,136 characters

Photo of sidetracked
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy brown with lots of particulates. Cream head that lingers. Kind of mud brown in appearance.

Aroma of citrusy hops--grapefruit, tangerine, orange. Light bitterness.

Upfront taste of citrusy hops. Orange and grapefruit mix with some bready malts. Some roasty malt in the middle. Hoppyness lasts through the finish. Citrusy with some roasted/toasted chocolatey malts. Lingering citrus bitterness. Moderate bitterness upfront fades to a light bitter finish.

Medium body with medium carbonation. Slightly oily.

Very citrusy with a nice light malt presence. Flavor at the finish matches the appearance more. Pretty good dark IPA.


 651 characters

Photo of facundoCNB
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a dark brown with a few inches of tan fluffy head. smells of grassy hops and strawberries. tastes bitter-sweet of hops with a citrus backbone. toasted grains add to the bitterness. light bodied, nice foamy head causes lots of lacing. got this through a trade. it was nice to try one, but i don't feel like we missed out all that much in nj (we didn't get any distro of it here).

 385 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased for $3.99. Brown color, looks fine enough. The smell is a blast of hops, with just a bit of dark malt coming in at the end to remind us that it is a "black" IPA. The flavor is bitter, super hoppy, a bit of orange. Overall not bad and while it is a little pricey I did not regret buying it.

 311 characters

Photo of jbertsch
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip.

Murky brown in appearance with a beige head that caps and sticks around til the end.

Aroma gives me grassy hops, nuttiness, and faint cinnamon. Smells like a hoppy brown ale. As it warmed it smelled a little meaty. I never got any of the citric notes other reviewers claimed they got.

The taste is primarily earthy grassy hops along side a malt profile that brings brown bread to mind. Notes of tobacco and nuts are noticeable. Slightly bitter finish. Smooth mouthfeel.

Overall this was enjoyable enough but I thought it could be better. I have had better black IPAs and hoppy browns. The flavor profile seems a little disjointed. Give it shot, if you're willing to pay its price.

 709 characters

Photo of projectflam86
3.59/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A- Just as the name suggests, pours a dark brown color with a thick white foam head that leaves good lacing. Quite a bit of sediment floating around which is going to take a few points off.

S- Very dank resinous hop aroma with some pine and floral scents. Some spicy and toasted grain scents are present as well.

T- Incredibly bitter initially with some citrus and spice flavors coming through. The finish is nutty sweet and boozy, especially considering the ABV is 7.4%.

M- Medium bodied with ok carbonation. Sticky and earthy.

O- Overall a cool idea and a decent beer, but probably not one that I would throw into the regular lineup.

 685 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Stone / The Alchemist / Ninkasi - More Brown Than Black IPA from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 648 ratings