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

Stone / The Alchemist / Ninkasi - More Brown Than Black IPAStone / The Alchemist / Ninkasi - More Brown Than Black IPA
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American Black Ale
4.12 | pDev: 10.92%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Stone / The Alchemist / Ninkasi - More Brown Than Black IPAStone / The Alchemist / Ninkasi - More Brown Than Black IPA
Reviews: 255 | Ratings: 648
Photo of olfolxholme
4.69/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5


12 oz bottle into an Ommegang chalice

A - Nice dark brown with tan head. Superb lacing.

S - The citrusy hop aroma of my dreams. Good lord. Yes.

T - And it tastes good, too. Thank god. Some dark malts in the background, but totally dominated by delicious citrusy hop flavor. More please.

M - Nice mouthfeel. Doesn't overwhelm in this category, but doesn't distract.

O - If you can find a bottle of this, buy it. Try it. Thank the hops you get to drink it. I wish I had discovered this earlier and I wish this were available year round. FANTASTIC.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nicely intense dark IPA, with a shiny resinous edge.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Screen-printed label in bronze and white where the typography takes the identity, noting collaboration, year 2011, and offers an elaborate narrative on the back about collaboration, intent, ingredients. Shows 7.4% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Hazy ruby brown pour, plenty of floaters even if one tries not to disturb the bottom, rich tanned creamy head, good retention, surface memory and good touches of lacing.

S - Resinous nose, pine needless, roasted hint, a bit muted… Not such a fresh bottle I guess.

T - Taste shines nicely with plenty of resinous notes, pine, leafy and grassy touches, some roasted dash in the background… In fact there is a bitter/coffee hint as it lingers… to a bit of even a spicy hoppy touch, remote memories of a medicinal touch.

M - Medium to medium/full body with medium carbonation, emerging oiliness, nice long bitter finish with a yeasty touch.

O - Nice hoppy offering, dark resin...

Notes: Dunno how to evaluate the collaboration edge of it but this is rather pleasing and would not mind to see it again. In fact it would have been nice to reach a bottle sooner. Nelson Sauvin is somewhere there, but there is little if any touches of fruit in the brew. But still this is rather enjoyable. Charity effort in the mix, which typically is good for the brewers involved, and gives some sense to the collab in that regard…

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Photo of sweethome
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown...yes, more brown than black...and chunky! Loads of chunky hop residue in this unfiltered beer.

Nice head - about two fingers - nice lacing.

Love the nose, grapefruit, chocolate, all the pacific northwest hop thing going on.

Entry is crisp hoppy bite, then some chocolate malt, a hint of roast, grapefruity hops...but subdued a bit. Pleanty of hop flavor, not overly bitter.

At last! A black IPA aka cascadian ale that I really like. This brings the flavors together so well. Hoppy, flavorful malts, perfect belnd of the two. I have not really seen the need for this style before this beer. Add in the fact it is brewed by a few great brewers and it all makes sense!

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.12/5  rDev 0%
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 siege06nd
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Pours a very dark brown with a finger of off-white head. Great retention and lacing. Lots of particulates, though. A metric crap-ton of unsightly sediment.

S. Piney and citrusy hops, little bit of grain, some biscuit and faint caramel.

T. Piney, resinous hops, some toasted biscuit, lots of roasted grain. Pretty good.

M. Moderate bodied and well-carbonated. Crisp and easy-drinking.

O. A solid dark IPA, but nothing more.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown color with a light toffee colored head, even when held to the light it can't pentrate it's dark opaque cloudiness.

The aroma is amazing as it's nothing I expected at all from a beer like this. Hops dominate with a spicy resinous aroma of pine and citrus rinds. It smells like the orange and grapefruit peels were dumped right into the kettle. Pungent, spicy, zesty, and resiny with malt nowhere to be found in the nose.

The first sip...hey, there's the roasted bitter chocolate malt...but for brief moments before the hop flavors crash in around it, blends, and steps up the bitterness a few notches. The hop flavor is an even mixture of grapefruit, pine resin, and some orange zest in the back ground to create a spicy mixture.

Medium body, slight pricklies on the tongue from the carbonation, and a lingering bitterness of grapefruit and pine with a light background of roasted malt. The cpombination gives a little bit of a cotton feeling in the mouth.

I was very surprised by this beer as I usually don't enjoy a black IPA, but this one substantial and worth the adventure of trying if you like your hops.

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Photo of mjord23
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black (as the name implies). Massive cappuccino head, plentiful lacing. Dissipates fairly quickly, lots of large bubbles. Lots of yeast/sediment, kind of marring an otherwise beautiful appearance.

S: Subtle almost coffee-like notes behind a beautiful floral and pine bouquet. Pleasant and complex.

T: Is it an IPA? Stout? I don't know, and I don't care. It's got the depth and roasty-ness of a good stout, but obviously it's predominantly an IPA. Great hop characteristics, heavy on the pine, balanced out by sweet malt notes. Really unique, I'm definitely enjoying it!

M: Soft and dry. It's definitely got the IPA crispness, but also the smooth-creaminess of a stout. Again, balanced. Good carbonation, and it masks the alcohol well. Taste lingers pleasantly.

O: I'm impressed. I really feel like it borrows characteristics from a good stout and a great IPA, and comes together for a really unique, exciting, and delicious experience. Very good brew!

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Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
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 yourefragile
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of Thorpe429.

Pours a dark, clear garnett brown with a dense bubbly light tan head; great retention and sticky webs of dry lace. Nice roast malt on the nose with grapefruit and pine hops. Flavor is more bitter than malty, with citrus and grapefruit rind hops starting mid palate and dominating the dry finish. Some roast malt and light caramel sweetness throughout. Medium thick body, medium light carbonation, with a soft creamy texture.

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Photo of albertjr21
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Into a tulip, brew pours a brown highlighted black under a creamy off white head. Aroma is more hop focused than anything with an alluring piny and fruity puree blend set to a subtle yet significant roasted malt background. Cool and pleasantly pungent pine hops take center stage on a smooth magic carpet ride of deep roasted cocoa. Smooth and satisfying brew for the "Black IPA" lover.

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Photo of evilkalla
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle into an ale glass.

A: Pours a dark brown, maple syrup-like color. There is a trace of head on it, with a fair amount of carbonation, and a few floaties. Laces the glass pretty well.

S: Definitely piney, resinous hops. A touch of malt on the nose but still mostly hops.

T: Very bitter but quite a bit of brown malt on the finish. Very well balanced. Very good beer.

M: Feels just about right in the mouth.

O: Solid offering. Glad I gave this a try.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from Larry's Liquors Palm Springs CA for 3.49$

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a large size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fantastic lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, grapefruit/oranges

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste lots of fresh hops mixed with malts and lots of vibrant citrus flavours. Lots of grapefruit/lemons/oranges both juice and zest. There is also a bit of a peppery spiciness and some dark fruit notes. It ends with a bitter hop aftertaste with a bit of alcohol burn.

Overall - The scent is fantastic. Lots of potent hops that will make this beer appeal to any hop head. Very reminiscent of stone's self righteous - maybe a touch more hops. A very good beer that I'd be happy to drink again.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
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 brotherloco
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Served in a tulip.

Pours a solid dark brown with a big three finger pillowy beige head. Settles very slowly. Some floating sediment can be seen. Medium amount of chunky lacing is left behind.

Aroma of citrusy hops, orange sherbet, some dark fruits, caramel, and a little bit of roasted malt. A touch medicinal. No real sign of booze.

Roasted malt is a little more assertive in the flavor but plenty of bright, citrusy hops come along for the ride. Middle transitions into a more floral, bitter hop flavor and then dries up into a roasty bitter finish with a lingering aftertaste. A little bit of that medicine I got in the aroma is in the finish as well, probably from one of the hop varieties. Alcohol stays hidden throughout except maybe way at the end of the finish.

Medium bodied with medium but somewhat soft carbonation. Sharpens up on the dry finish. Quite drinkable.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into tulip. Pours a deep brown with lots of suspended sediment. Nice mild carbonation, little head but sticky. Smell is fantastic! Serious cotton candy hop aroma with some malts. Taste is very nice. Again, cotton candy hop flavor...chewey and smooth. Nice caramel malts complement on the underside.
Overall, really great brew and for such a good cause. Nice job all around. Go grab one...

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Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
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 facundoCNB
3.58/5  rDev -13.1%
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).

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Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
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 rfgetz
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy dark brown with chunks of yeast sediment, medium khaki head, good sticky lacing. Scent leads with pine resin and citrus, backs up with toasted grain, caramel, faint notes of cocoa. Taste leads with quite bitter, but not overly flavorful hop bite, piney and moderate citrus, some floral, lightly sweet caramel with decent roast, chalky cocoa powder, nutty. Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, powdery on the palate. Unique in flavor compared to other beers in the style, quite enjoyable.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown in color with a light tan head. In the aroma, a small caramel roast and a nice mellow hop. In the taste, a mellow pine hop and a small caramel roast. A mellow hop bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry caramel and a pine hop in the aftertaste. Nice hop in a brown ale, quite drinkable and nice.

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Photo of Gmann
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark chestnut brown color with a frothy pillowy tan head that has some nice retention. There are tons of yeast clumps floating about which is unappealing.

The aroma is of a sticky dank pine and resin hop profile. A good amount of tropical fruit notes as well. The aroma is dominated by the hops, I don't pick up much from the malt.

The taste is of a pine and resin hop, quite bitter. Tropical fruit notes provide a touch of brightness. The malt is bready, some toasted pumpernickle. As the name suggest, the malt bill is more brown ale. The hops are quite earthy. Perhaps a touch powdery from the yeast.

Moderate body with fizzy carbonation. Short lived sweetness is dominated by the hoppy bitterness. Quite a lingering bitterness, slightly chalky.

Not my favorite style and the hop profile leans heavily on bitterness instead of flavor. Its well made though.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Chevy Chase for $5. I guess this finally made it out here.

True to its name, this pours more brown than black, a very dark brown with reddish brown highlights. There's a light brown head with good retention and nice lacing too. The nose is a pleasant heady dose of citrus, specifically grapefruit and some pine. A nice brown malt base is present, with a blend of toasted bread and caramel. The most dominant character, though, are the hops. Just a touch herbal with a little mint as well. Quite excellent.

The palate is a pretty full-on hop assault, even though the beer is 3 months old. Big, aromatic pine and grapefruit, quite fruity and moderately bitter, the hops are still front and center. The mid-palate does have toast, nuttiness and a little brown sugar, all quite fermented out and dry. Not much dark grain character is present. Bitter, mildly resiny on the finish with a blend of pine and grapefruit zest, this beer is medium-light in body and mildly carbonated, this beer is pretty enjoyable. More of a hoppy brown/IPA hybrid IMO. Thoroughly enjoyable, but a little over-priced.

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Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev -2.9%
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 GingerJoo
3.81/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

best part of this beer is how smooth it is. Separate from combining two of my favorite styles of brew, it is one of the easiest beers to drink. I first had this beer in late February 2012 when I was snowboarding up in Tahoe. Pint glass pour, I was astonished of the slight gold tinge in the dark color this beer exhibits. One of the best bottled beers I've had in a long time.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -2.9%
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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Stone / The Alchemist / Ninkasi - More Brown Than Black IPA from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 648 ratings