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

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The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPAThe Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPA
647 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 647 |  Reviews: 255
Photo of ElGordo
3.91/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Body is a tawny brownish color, a little cloudy, with a few suspended solids hanging around (even though the beer is filtered). Aroma is huge on citrusy hops, with notes of pineapple and grapefruit, along with a touch of sweetness from the caramel malt. Palate is hop-forward for sure, with a strange back-and-forth between sweet, slightly roasted malt and hugely bitter hops. Notes of grapefruit and pineapple come through again, along with a little bit of onion(?). The mouthfeel is considerably thinner than I would have hoped for in a beer of this strength, and the color does seem to lighten as the glass gets emptier. It's an interesting way to deliver a hop bomb, I guess. 

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Photo of Mississipping
3.81/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Without repeating the suspected pun, it pours dark brown (almost black) with a very large tan colored head that almost refuses to settle.  Exceptional lacing left behind on the edges of the glass. 

S: Somewhat subdued aroma, compared to what I was expecting, I guess.  I get a bit of grapefruit and a bit of pine with some earthiness and body odor.  As it warms, the hop profile improves just a bit, but is still a little underwhelming.

T: The taste is better than the aroma.  Really nice hop profile with citrusy fruits up front ... grapefruit and tangerine prominent.  Pine sap and some earthiness just behind, but fighting for dominance.  A bit of maltiness, but not much at all.  Hops show their ass on this one. 

M: Medium bodied with a lower level of carbonation that is almost perfect for this beer.  Pretty smooth and creamy with just a little bit of prickliness on the tongue.  Not much sweetness at all, but a big hop bite and a lingering hoppiness and good drying effect. 

D: This started out underwhelming although I waited a little while to open it before taking it out of the fridge.  As it warmed even more, it became pretty exceptional.  Really nice hop profile, excellent flavor, great mouthfeel.  I'd definitely recommend letting this warm quite a bit before taking the first sip to get the most out of it.  Take your time and it will be worth the wait.  Going back to buy a few more bottles tomorrow. 

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Photo of rtaps
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours dark brown, with an amber hue to it when held to the light, about a 1 finger khaki head, with fairly decent retention leaving spotty lacing

piny hops up front with some roasted malt not all that much there but its nice.

almost sweet up front, then the hops hit you piney, some grapefruit and roasted malts

pretty light bodied, low carbonation kind of crisp. leaves the mouth dry

overall its a soil IPA for a great cause

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Photo of WankelEngine
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

More Black Than Brown IPA Review

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass

A: Pours a very dark brown, bordering on opaque black. There is a foamy white-tan head of about one finger which fades to a cap over a few minutes leaving little little lacing.

S: The smell is sweet and fruity. There are tropical fruit smells, mango and peach. There is a bit of sweet and piney hops in the background.

T: The taste continues the tropical fruits I noticed in the smell, but they are slightly more subdued. There is a large dose of pine flavor which provides a lot of bitterness. The bitterness and the fruitiness are fairly complementary, although the pine tends to overwhelm the fruit. There are notes of caramel with light hints of roasted malts.

M: The mouthfeel is delightful. Fairly thick for an IPA, almost creamy with mild carbonation.

O: A fruity IPA with a bitter hop backbone. Lighter in taste than the color suggests.

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Photo of Vancoubeer
4.94/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just get it. An amazing beer. What a dark IPA should smell like, should taste like and look like. Awesome beer. One of the best dark ones I have ever had. It has the hops and its a very very deep rich malt flavor. Its too hard to describe but it was one of the best IPAs I have had in a long time. Simply buy one at your peril. You will want two. Let the beer speak for itself.

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Photo of Nightrain87
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of davidthebruce
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of rudylaw
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of Nugganooch
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz to pint glass

A: It pours, well, more brown than black of course. It's a murky dark brown ale with a much lighter, even watery edge to it. Like the end result of a black and tan. Super Chunk at that. Just a bunch of flakey yeast and hop particles suspended in darkness. Tight khaki beige head with a great float to it and some crusty rings of lace. With all do respect, this is one fugly looking beer.

S: Smell is a great surprise with just a huge grapefruit and pine aroma blast. Sharp dank and catty fresh hop flowers. Thinking Simcoes but the write up states Citra, Galaxy, Delta, and Nelsons. Wowzers! You have my attention. Fruity and tropical. I detect some faint sweet carmelized malts in the background.

T: Taste opens up assertive with hops. Super danky hop nuggets. A grapefruit and pine bomb. Nice and resinous. Citrus zest, mangoes and tropicals. Gradual sweetness. Tails with some caramlized malts that have a slight char roasted grain character. Especially in a low acrid bitter aftertaste. Slight alcohol but it is inviting here. Decent balance amidst the lingering hop resins and smoky char roast malts. Perfect sweetness holds everything together.

M: Overall medium in body with a decent creamy texture. Lingering and resiny sweet mouthcoat. Good carbonation. Crisp and dryer in finish.

D: Juicy good. Think a dirty Heady Topper. Very similar in hop profile but with some CaraFa II or III thrown in there. In fact that is exactly what it tastes like. A darkened Heady. Not only clever...like the dirty rain water that wrecked havok on the East Coast but just a kick ass brew. Possibly the hoppiest brew I have had from Stone in terms of flavor and aroma.

This is one Stone Collab gone right. Will definitely be looking to make more contributions to the cause while I still can.

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Photo of Britton
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of mechamifune
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a tan head. Carbonation evident with nice lacing. An overall inviting appearance.

Smell is fruity and hoppy, with what i would best describe as the "typical" stone hop profile. Not a strong sweetness or sense of roastiness to the smell, but still very pleasant.

Taste is very citrusy with a strong sense of orange zest in the finish. Not particularly bitter but not as many sweet/bready notes as i thought there would be. As i progress through thr glass i find myself tasting orange more than hops. For an ipa though this is a nice overall taste.

Mouthfeel is slightly creamy and easy to drink. Maybe slightly undercarbonated for the style but nothing to complain about.

Overall this is a solid beer.... if i could buy it on a regular basis as a reasonably priced sixer i would... but i can't, so i won't.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.82/5  rDev -6.6%
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 ely2000k
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer. At the title describes, this pours somewhere between brown and black, and looks like a stout with a little less head. Very think, soapy looking head that lingers in the glass. Strong smell of hops jump out of the snifter that I poured it into. Taste is great, hard to completely peg down. Great balance of sweet like roasted malt, balanced by very fresh and somewhat aggressive hops. It's an IPA, but doesn't really feel like one. Imagine a stout with aggressive hops and that is kind of what this is. Mouthfeel is think and a bit creamy. This beer is a winner, will try to get this again before it's gone!

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Photo of Gobstopper15
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of BigB415
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at Ales Unlimited in San Francisco.

A: Pours dark brown with medium head into my Moylans pint glass. Medium retention but most of the head slides right back down the glass.

S: Fresh hops. I feel like I'm holding hops in my hands and taking a huge whiff. It reminds me of when I was in Golden, Colorado and the whole town smelled like hops.

T: The beer also tastes like hops but not as bitter as you'd find find in a regular IPA. It's probably because it's a black IPA but I'm no expert on this style. The hops seem more "creamier" kind of like a Guinness but better tasting and more pronounced.

MF: Some bitterness from the hops. Nothing else really.

O: It's an interesting take on the style. What number is this for Stone collaborations in 2011 alone? I'm glad to see Stone getting in touch with other great breweries and making some kick ass beer. This is a nice beer. It's very well balanced. I heard about the Alchemist flooding when it happened. I hope they get everything back together and if I'm ever in their neighborhood I will definitely stop by and hope their beer is as good as this.

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Photo of MasterSki
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Binny's. Served in a Jester King tulip.

A - A finger of white foam settles to a collar and some wispy patches, leaving behind a few spots of lace. Lightly hazed brown-red body.

S - Dank earthy hops, a hefty dose of grapefruit and orange, touch of pine, and a bit of roasted malt character in the background but not much to indicate this is a "darker" beer.

T - Taste is again very hop-forward with nice citrus and pine flavors, a bit of tropical fruit, and only the most nebulous sugary malts and almost-imagined cocoa in the background.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and an extremely dry finish that leaves behind some resinous hop oils as well. There's a bit of alcohol warmth that seems out of place for the style and ABV.

D - Pretty enjoyable stuff - I enjoyed that low bitterness and minimal roast character that I'm guessing is John's influence on this beer. A tad overpriced for 12oz, but at least my money is going to a worthwhile cause.

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Photo of Kopfschuss
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of BenTherHppedThat
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of BeforeNoon
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. poured into 16 oz. tumbler

A: Dark brown, 2 finger fine head

S: Cascade hops, pine, lemon rind

T: Lemons, grapefruit, mild chocolate and cocoa

M: Medium body, medium-high carbonation

O: I don't think I have ever tasted hops this fresh. The darkness of this beer really threw me off. This is a hop forward beer, but it gives way just for a bit at the end to the roasted malt. Very hop heavy beer, but well balanced.

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Photo of mightyquinn
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of WrongEmBoyo
4.5/5  rDev +10%

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.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1017th Review on BA
Bottle to Pint
12 oz


App- A cola brown pour with a good one finger slightly khaki colored head. Good sticky cling and lace.

Smell- A huge mix on this one. A little bit more tropical fruits in this nose mixed with some good piney resin and a little bit of malt.

Taste- I like this profile. It's not quite a Black IPA, not a brown ale. I like the way this blends some citrus with some roast and some malty peanut notes.

Mouth- A little bit more on the medium side of lighter bodied with a medium low carbonation and a little bit of a good peanut/malt/pineapple residual flavor

Drink- Another well done collaboration from Stone and some great brewers The Alchemist and Ninkasi. This was flavorful, boundry pushing and layered withouth being overdone. I'd have this one again.

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Photo of johnnyboy76
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%

Photo of SageO
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No official date on this bottle, but I know the release date was 10 days ago, so super fresh. Nose is out of this world – I’m used to Stone’s hop profile, but the smell of hops in this beer is unbelievable. Both pine and tropical fruit notes. Bright IPA taste… I’m not sure where the “brown” comes in, because I barely taste it. Maybe a bit of nuttiness, but definitely very little malt. I can’t possibly rave enough about the IPA profile on this – it’s 100x more than I expected, even from Stone.

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The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone - More Brown Than Black IPA from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 647 ratings
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