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

255 Reviews
The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPAThe Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by HopHead84 on 12-20-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 255 | Ratings: 647
Photo of GRG1313
4.21/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewing this one so that it can have reviews sufficent for a grade.

Pours a dark brown with a light khaki head that is fast fading but comes back with a nice swirl.

Typical fresh pineapple IPA nose and not any "brown" character if you smelled it blind.
Clean, bright and inviting nose. Light burnt toast/malt undertones in the nose.

Mouthfeel is medium bold with a nice cream charachter and very rich and inviting.

Flavors are rich, bold, assertive appealing and most "drinkably inviting." In two words, this one just "tastes good." This is a big bold bright hop bitter IPA that has roasted grain and toast in the back palate and that goes into a pine/grapefruit old bitter toast/malt finsih. Complex, layers and well made.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -14%
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.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

WOOOWWW!!! never had a citrusy BLACK ipa before, damn this is good. pours a not quite black with a serviceable white head leaving plenty of lace. smells rich and roasty and hoppy, but something more here, there is this intense citrus nectar here, like lemons and tangerines sqeeuzed fresh. flavor is way lighter than expected where the roasty thing just sort of compliments the fruity hops, tart crisp tannic hops. lemony and bright, tempered by the dark malts. this is so so so good. feel is great too, lighter than it looks with great carbonation and a delicate but assertive aftertaste. damn i should have got more than one. this is world class

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Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy and dark mahogany in color and has lots of particulate matter floating in suspension and a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high frothy beige head that died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and lots of lacing running down the sides of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of citrus and pine resin hops in the nose. As the beer warms up, aromas of eucalyptus become more prominent.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has lots of flavors of citrus and pine resin along with some notes of roasted malts and hints of chocolate. There is a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and relatively crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a very hop-forward beer that is packed with flavors of citrus and pine resin but is quite easy to drink because it’s not that bitter. The smell is also very intriguing, especially after it warms up.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.27/5  rDev -19.7%
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.


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Photo of emerge077
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Into a wilibecher glass, MBTB IPA pours a murky dark brown, with plenty of yeast sediment swirling around like a snow globe in the bottom of the glass. Compact cap of tan foam, it ebbs after a few minutes, leaving random bits of lace and a thin broken skim on the surface.

Dank hoppy aroma is the highlight, plenty of citrus peel and earthy green resinous qualities. Some toasted malt sweetness takes a backseat, and some woody traces emerge later on.

Moderately bitter with a light complimentary sweetness, some orange peel and resinous pine, greens and bitter orange peel marmalade. Dry finish, slightly toasty and astringently bitter with a bigger swig, that you feel in your gums. Smooth and bitter, medium bodied with light unobtrusive carbonation. Overall a great brown IPA and a successful collaboration.

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Photo of oline73
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this during the EBF.

Appearance: Pours brown with some light coming through at the edges. The head is off white and there is good retention.

Smell: Citrus hops with hardly any roast at all. There is just enough malt sweetness to keep it balanced.

Taste: Very smooth with citrus hop bitterness and some mild roast. The roast is there, but doesn't distract from the hops. The finish is rather bitter. Nice beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Another nice version of this style for Stone. Enjoyed the balance of flavors. I would have another.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of drabmuh. Served in a Stone taster glass.

Pours a somewhat-hazed medium brown color with a good off-white head and some nice lacing. The nose brings forward a nice malt presence and a light bit of roast. Nice pine and light resin. A touch of citrus. Flavor pulls back quite a bit from there, focusing more on the bitterness. Nice bitterness to the finish. Light-medium body. Boom.

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Photo of oberon
4.11/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint a somewhat murky chesnut brown with a nicely formed one finger off white head that left a ful ring of lace as it settled into a frothy mass.Grapefuit-like hop aromas are the only thing I really pick up in the nose wich is a good thing but nothing else.Grapefuit is the main attraction on the palate with mild pine,a sturdy not so sweet malt base hold up pretty well to the hops,I gotta tell ya it's like drinking grapefruit juice with a prickly finish.This is a no holds bard for the hop lover and I like it.

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Photo of jlindros
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So glad to see this collab. Love Alchemist, as well as Stone, and Ninkasi is good as far as I know. Glad to help out Alchemist as well with the repairs etc.

Big fluffy 2 finger head fades semi slowly with thick lacing, dark ruby light piercing the molasses brown colored beer with yeast chunks.

Nose has fresh hops, centennial I think, spicy, citrusy, floral, even a bit earthy. Some darker malts, crystal, creamy, hint of coffee and chocolate.

Taste starts with creamy malts, darker, with a hint if coffee, caramel, even toffee. Then plenty of hops, spicy hops dominate, as well as a but floral, earthy, dvds some citrus. It gets decent bitterness as the spicy hops really shine, and light citrus with hint of orange and tangerine. Finish is more bitter and earthy and spicy, almost like biting on a hop pellet, little more citrus, and crystal malts, dry but sticky.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, little creamy, good carb.

Overall good, nice hops with a good darker malt backbone, full flavor, rich, and a nice blend of spicy, earthy, and citrus hops. Doesn't go overboard in anything, fairly drinkable for what it is too.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep ruddy brown but not quite black (with a surprising amount of yeasty chunks floating in it), with a couple fingers of rich light mocha head. This retains with a creamy near finger that soaps the sides of the glass with thick coasting of sticky lace. The aroma smells fresh and floral, with notes of pine and spice being present and an underlying layer of bright feeling citric fruit and some almost tobacco like herbal accents. Malts are pushed way to the back, with light roast and a dark sweetness that could be what is pushing that tobacco flavor forward in the nose.

The taste is zesty grapefruit, astringent herbal tones, pine, and spice, with those resins in particular sticking in the finish with some strength. The malts profile here really works well with these hops, with a dry roasted character and sticky molasses sweetness. There is no doubt here though that while the hops are the main feature, the malts do act as a nice complimentary side act to them. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe a touch fuller, with a creamy crispness that fills the mouth and is undercut by a herbal slickness that keeps this smooth. The alcohol is mostly well hid, with just some light warmth on the tail end of each sip that drags the finish of this out across the tongue.

This was pretty nice and quite a unique take on the Black Ale style. The malts in particular were more complex and flavorful than you would usually find and paired up rather nicely with a fresh and powerful hop profile in its own right. I wouldn’t expect anything less from these three breweries.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an extremely dark brown in color with some reddish brown hints when held up to the light and quite a bit of visible sediment. THe beer has a finger tall light tan creamy head that reduces to a very thin layer over the entire surface of the beer with some thicker patches and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed.

S: Hops are the dominant smell in this beer with both citrus and pine/resin being in the foreground. As the beer warms up, there is a smell of eucalyptus (which is not something I expected in a beer) - which gives the beer a slightly medicinal quality.

T: The taste of this beer follows the smell with the pine/resin and citrus hops coming through in about equal parts. There is a light flavor of the roasted malts from the body and hints of something akin to chocolate. There is a lingering bitterness but it is not too intense or aggressive.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp.

O: As this beer is quite hoppy but not overly bitter, it is pretty easy to drink. This beer is sessionable and I could easily drink a couple of these in a sitting. This beer has a very pleasant taste and very interesting aroma (especially after the beer warms up). A very interesting collaboration and one I would likely get again given the opportunity.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from Capone's, Norristown, PA
Collaboration between Stone, Alchemist, and Ninkasi.

Poured a deep cola brown, oily and clear, with a thin layer of white bubbles for a head. Roasty malts and resinous hops in the aroma, pretty typical of the style. Taste is pretty woody and generously hop-laden, but not nearly as resinous as other CDAs I've had; flavors of pine needles, bitter citrus pith, cedar, nutty malts, moderately roasty. Medium body, slightly syrupy, a good drinker overall.

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Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Ithaca glass. It poured brown in color with a thin, creamy, tan colored head to it. There are some floaties hanging around in it as well. Nice lacing on the glass.

The aroma has a juicy, citrusy hoppiness to it with some notes of peach and mango along with some resiny pine. The Citra hops are pretty apparent in the aroma. I get a little bit of a nutty, malty quality to it but the hoppiness is the dominant component. As it warmed, more of the resiny pine and citrus rind qualities came out.

The taste shows a lot more bitter citrus rind and grapefruit hoppiness to it. It's juicy and has a little of the tropical fruit notes that were found in the aroma. The resiny pine, grapefruit, citrus rind flavors are very bold in it, especially in the finish.Again, just a hint of malty, nutty flavors are detectable from behind the hops.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and somewhat silky with carbonation being moderate. Overall, I really liked the juicy, tropical fruit notes in the aroma but the resiny grapefruit was a little overdone in the taste and didn't really fit well. Overall a pretty good beer, but not a real outstanding one in the style.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to tenderbranson69 for sharing this. The bottle was split with me and JC.

The color is murkey brown with a subtle translucent effect with some bubbles visible in the pour. The head is beige with ultra fine bead and lace sticks very well. The smell is so fruity with lots of herbs and tropical hop notes too. The slight similarity to simcoe in the NZ hops is noted which is slightly piney and citrus. The feel is very good with oily resins and moderatley high carbonation and bitterness with mild sweetness and general body is good for the style with a pretty dry feel in general.

The taste is great with the Nelson sauvin hops and the others like Galaxy and citra giving a very tropical and juicy hop flavor the malt is toasty and slightly sweet but not really roasted in taste and doesn't obscure the wonderful citrus/tangy tropical hop essence at all. Overall I was impressed and this lived up to my high expectations based on the fact the alchemist was involved, highly recommended.

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Photo of Jason
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle, no freshness date.

LOOK: Hazed brown, good lacing

SMELL: Mint, citric zest, earthy, leafy, spicy, toasted biscuit

TASTE: Bitter, orange oil, tobacco, chicory, carob, toasted grain, dry finish

Warming story behind the beer, as for the beer is gets all up in my grill ... In a good way. Hops slap my palate around a bit and the malt is enough foundation to keep this beer somewhat balanced. Nice twist to on the versatile American IPA style.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A dark brown, perhaps chestnut, color with a soapy khaki colored head. A nice fresh hop aroma full of grapefruit and pine. Really quite resinous with lots of fresh citrus qualities. Really not much malt to be found. There is some toast and nuttiness to the flavor, however. Grapefruit hop notes follow quickly behind it and there is a solid bitterness on the finish with lots of pine flavor.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 03/24/12 notes. Bottle at RFD, poured into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with two inchs of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of citrus hops, roasted malts, light coffee, pine hops. A nice mix of hops and roasted qualities.

t - Tastes of pine hops, citrus hops, roasted malts, caramel, nuts, coffee, light chocolate. More pine hops than the nose.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation. Easy to drink.

o - Overall I thought this was a very good Black IPA. Still a style that confuses me a bit and I haven't had any that have really blown me away, but this is up there as one of the better ones I've had. The nose has more citrus hops while the taste had more pine hops, and both had lots of roasted qualities mixing with it. Easy to drink, would certainly have it again.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.82/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Duvel tulip pint glass.

Been a whole, what, two months since the last Stone collab touched my lips? Too long, says I. Yar. Anyway, this one pours a dark brown (yeah, it really is more brown than black...) topped by a healthy tor of tan foam. The nose comprises grapefruit, lemon zest, light lime, light leek, pineapple, and a firm backbone of toffee. The taste holds notes of grapefruit zest, light leek, grass, light pine needles, mild toffee, and a touch of dusty biscuit. The hops seem to have lost their magical fruitiness and have opted instead for a more demure, more grass/herb/onion character. We are not amused. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and an almost silky feel. Overall, a pretty nice CDA, but one that suffers from hop transfer (meaning from smell to taste) for me. Still not bad, but not as good as it could have been.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am sworn to secrecy (I think) as to my source for this one, but it was part of a huge trade that I pulled off recently. I am not a fan of the style, but its uniqueness makes it appealing to me all the same.

From the bottle: "I was first exposed to brewing dark IPA while I was head brewer at the Vermont Pub and Brewery in 1996. One day, I pulled a recipe from the archives for an IPA named Blackwatch. Brewed for the holidays, it was a wonderful departure from the expectations of the times. Under the close tutelage of Greg Noonan, we started to refine the complex balance of hops and roast levels. When I was fortunate enough to open The Alchemist in 2003, a modernized version of such a creation was on the top of my list. Following the recent flooding of our pub, I was presented with the opportunity to collaborate on a dark IPA with Stone and Ninkasi. Three great brewing communities coming together to brew and American Black Ale - I think Greg would be proud of the loyal following this style has gathered. [Undersigned] - John Kimmich Head Brewer, The Alchemist November 2011"

Gee, I almost feel sacrilegious with respect to my feeling about the style, but it just goes to show that you cannot please everybody.

Lots of lees/sediment were evident in the kick of the bottle, so I decided that a slow, gentle pour was in order. I gave it a little bit of agitation once it was in the glass, but I could not muster up anything more than wisps. Color was a deep-brown with garnet highlights and NE-quality clarity. The nose was dense with pine hops, resinous in its intensity. The mouthfeel was medium, but right away I could taste the dark malts getting in the way of the hops. Therein lies my heartburn with the style - keep your friggin' dark malt outta my AIPAs! I do not find Cascadian IPAs to be the sum of their parts, but instead, one part only serves to subtract from another. Enough of my rant. The finish allowed the hops a second chance, which was nice, but I could still taste charcoal, which was not nice.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.71/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Mixed bone white and light khaki head with nice retention and lace. Thinned out coffee body.

S - Wet herbs, musk, grass, black molasses, and a bit of brown sugar.

T - Caramel malt, firm woody pine center, dry cocoa, touch of lemon. Nice semi-sweet iced coffee finish.

M - Medium body to style.

O - Strong bitter character with an excellent soft coffee note.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Alright it's always to catch a collaboration beer this one just so happened to occur by chance, I wasn't seeking it just showed up at the local. Pours a pretty dark color, label says more brown than black IPA I'll give 'em the fact that it does let some deep ruby chestnut hues of brown but appears black when not held toward the light. Head is beautiful a rotund layer of creamed coffee froth, fine even lacing. Let me get into the aroma, citrus zest, herbal hops, pine with fresh minty leaves something so fresh and earthy about the whole roasted malt expression going on. Flavor is a rush to the green, heral mint notes blended nicely with the dark roasted malts flowing across the palate at the same time. Nice due to the fact that there isn't a rush of black patent malt that overbears the hops everything lives in harmony here and I can appreciate that. I'm actually enjoying the dry bitter mouthfeel left behind in each sip, it works with a light to medium bodied resinously hopped beer like this. Carbonation levels are smooth and mellow and flavors is HELLO, damn tasty. Overall a dark beer I can get with even though the whole black IPA this white IPA that IPA phase is getting to be burdensome on effortless/untouchable style known as IPA. Just start making up other names the only connection to IPA these beers have are hop levels. No true connection to the origins of beer being transported from England to India, WTF? I like Cascadian Dark Ale.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yet another collaboration beer. I like the bottles. They seem to get nicer with each release.

As far as the beer goes, it's a nice black ale; at least it seemsStrong nose. Flavor is strong as well, though mildly muddled. A hearty drinker that I'm enjoying sipping. Another nice one from the collaboration series.

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Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single 12 ounce bottle, purchased for $4 and change(!) at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY

"Drink Fresh-Do Not Age" on bottle, but only dating I can find is after the bottle blurb from Mitch Steele, November 2011.

Pours darker mahogony brown, medium mocha head, stays well, before going to a nice film, collar and ample lace.

Bright, hoppy and acidic nose.

Biting and flavorful IPA, citric, herbal, and quite bitter. Some dark malts riding behind the hop onslaught. Loved it, well done, expensive, but worth a try, especially to support a good cause

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is a muddled brown coloring with some sediment and haze that lead to an opaqueness. The strong pour gives a slight head for an instant, but it quickly settles into a sparse film. Aromas are citrusy and piney, with a resiny hops presence. The hop forward flavor that blasts the forward tongue is blended superbly with a strong, tart, grapefruit profile that bitters the side of the tongue at the same time. Backbone of light toffee malt, with a slight roasting, but it's hard to pinpoint through the tremendous citrus and hops harmony racing across the palate. The beer is light bodied, almost on the verge of crispness, which suits the flavors very well. The aftertaste is like having a big, juicy chunk of grapefruit in your mouth, with all of the tart and sweet flavors combining with the drying feeling. The finish has a slight linger, and doesn't dry to the point of being astringent, but instead leaves a little watering in the mouth. Very tasty beer!

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The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPA from Stone Brewing
4.07 out of 5 based on 647 ratings.
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