Ninja Vs. Unicorn | Pipeworks Brewing Company

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Ninja Vs. UnicornNinja Vs. Unicorn
2,592 Ratings
Ninja Vs. UnicornNinja Vs. Unicorn

Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States

Style: American Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Ninja vs. Unicorn celebrates the epic battle between two of the biggest hop-heads of lore. Brewed with over five pounds of hops per barrel, this unfiltered double IPA is sure to please the most discerning hop lover. Whether you’re rooting for the mythical horned horse or the deadly assassin of the east, we hope you’ll enjoy Ninja vs. Unicorn.

Added by MasterSki on 01-23-2012

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,592 |  Reviews: 431
Reviews by AshJazz:
Photo of AshJazz
4.75/5  rDev +11%

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerZombies1
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ninja Vs. Unicorn – Pipeworks Brewing

American double IPA , DIPA

8.5% ABV


APPEARANCE: I imagine if a ninja’s sword where to chop the head of a Unicorn, he would wipe his blade clean on his ninja pajamas. The color on his ninja costume would be reminiscent of the way this lovely beer poured. A beautiful golden amber, with sparkling highlights that really hypnotize you when you stair into it. Produced a nice big loose white head that lingering cap.

AROMA: Drinking this out in the forest has intensified the pine aromas, all around me the pine cones are falling. Getting tons of sticky pine and huge resinous piney hops coming off the pour. Fresh sliced juicy grapefruit, like the ones on “fruit ninja” game from my iPhone. Followed by some over ripe orange and tangerines. There is a wonderful maltiness that translate into toasted bread and sugar cookies. The nose on this beer is amazing. I imagine this is what a unicorn fart would smell like!

TASTE: After the ninja chopped the head off of this mythical beast, the blood spilled and filled bottle upon bottle of this beer. Usually when a beer has such an outstanding nose the taste doesn’t live up. Not in this case, the flavor layers are all right there in line with the aroma. For a beer that claims 10 ibu it inst a palate wrecker at all, Its actually very easy drinking. The piney hops come flying at you like a ninja star. Super dank that’s followed up with a big bursting citrus flavor. The sweet malts do make an appearance like a piece of toast with a grapefruit/orange marmalade. There is a some heat on this beer, which is odd with the abv coming in at 8.5%.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium body with a moderate carbonation. there is a very pleasant syrupy creaminess that makes this a really smooth drinking ipa. Lots of that resiouness pine comes through on the mouthfeel, really coating the entire mouth. Leaves the mouth with a long lasting lingering finish.

OVERALL: Not sure if Ninja Vs.Unicorn is a the name it should have. Its so balanced that it should be called Ninja Sex Unicorn. Huge fan of every aspect of this beer, including the little heat that comes out i’m assuming from the battle. Speaking of battles I think the real winner was me! I just saw that they are going to start canning this beer, when that happens I will be trading for a case at a time. Truly everything I would want and ask for out of a dipa.

RATING: 4.5/5 Zombie Heads!

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Photo of El_Hern
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was my first time having ninja vs Unicorn and I was very very surprised. Not that I did not think it was going to be a good beer, but that it was a great balanced beer. It had the right amount of both hop notes and refreshing fruity flavors. I loved the bitterness up front that quickly subside and you are left with citrus flavors like lemon, grapefruit with maybe some hints of honey and malt.

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Photo of PhilsPils
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Fairly clear pale-for-a-DIPA gold. OK, finally a DIPA that really hits me in the face with a nose of grapefruit, mangoes, pineapple and resiny pine. Actually tastes quite a bit like a scaled-up Lizard King but with much more piney dankness. The aroma reminds me of a time when I snuck off with some friends into a storm cellar and they (not me!) smoked some weed and that funky, earthy dankness is still in my brain. This is not an overly bitter beer, but it's not too sweet either. Very nice balance with the dry hops being the main attraction of the show. Great beer!

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: murky gold permeated by streams of rapidly rising bubbles under a lacy 1" white cap with good retention

S: rich citrus aromas lift off the glass

T: Citrus leads the flavors especially Texas ruby Red Grapefruit, orange, and tangerine

F: warming but not hot or harsh

O: nicely balanced, easy to drink and easy to repeat

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Photo of IndiaPaleViking
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Loved the balance on this one. Dank bitterness up front followed by sweet fruit and a clean hop finish. My first Pipeworks purchase and I am looking forward to my next one.

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Photo of GrumpyGas
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16oz can canned on 06/20/18
Poured into a willie becher shows a cloudy yellow-gold body and supports a proud inch plus head of fluffy white foam with decent retention and smearing lacing.

Aroma and flavor is a complimentary mix of pine and grapefruit.

Mouthfeel is a fuller leaning medium with an almost sticky wetness.

Overall a solid double.

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Photo of russpowell
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a slightly hazed gold with 2 fingers of ivory colored head. Very nice lacing & head retention

S: Breadyness & citrus, the only area where this didn't quite meet expectations

T: Oranges, grapefruit, dryness, a little bready sweetness as well up front. Tangerine & dryness as this warms, plus a little pine & breadyness. Finishes dry, with pomelo & pine

MF: Medium body, fairly firm carbonation, good balance

Easy to drink, not quite in my wheelhose for DIPA, but very close

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Photo of richj1970
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 16 oz can into nonic pint. No visible date.

A: Pours a slightly cloudy golden yellow with 1-2 finger fluffy white head that lasted quite a while and leaves plenty of sticky lacing.

S: Straight up pineapple orange juice. Beautiful citrus aromas with just a touch of some pine.

T: Again the citrus flavors dominate. Pineapple, grapefruit, mango, and oranges. Nice and juicy.

M: Medium body with a fairly big hop bitterness at the end.

O: Really enjoyed this one. Pretty sure I need to find more Pipeworks beers to try out.

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Photo of monkist
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am a great fan of West Coast IPAs but when I meet something that stands out, I am more than glad to present it. Now this is the proof that Chicago, Illinois can produce amazing IPAs! Reminds me a bit of Evil Twin with their citrusy, piney and dry East Coast IPAs. This one has real guts as a double IPA, it has plenty of piney hops to make it blast. Semi smooth mouthfeel and balanced really well to have the malts support the greatness of the hops. Won't forget the first sip, how impressive it was. Truly stands out as a great (non-West Coast) IPA!

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Photo of MikeyMcD86
4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I've had this beer beer before but did not review it so I'm happy to get my hands on it again to do this review.

Look: Beer comes in a medium golden color with a medium plus haze. Not much head but the few millimeters of foam that is there lingers with a nice creaminess.

Smell: Aroma is very much of tropical fruit; super ripe Mango and Papaya. A faint yeastiness on the back end. A little dankness as well but nothing offensive.

Taste: Flavor is nothing like the aroma. Lots of citrus; Orange and Grapefruit leads on the palate. Nice and juicy with just enough bitterness on the finish to keep the beer from tasting syrupy.

Mouthfeel: Awesome mouth-feel here. Coats the tongue nicely but doesn't leave any drying bitterness on the back end.

Overall(Style Points): Awesome beer from Chi Town! Although, it's not quite as good as the best stuff coming out of NE It has all of the characteristics that I look for in a DIPA. 97 Points!

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Photo of LeRose
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a hazy honey color - like honey that is just beginning to crystallize and going just a bit cloudy.

Big citrus aroma hits immediately - orange, tangerine, and faint grapefruit. There is slightly sweet, bready malt aroma that sets the base for the other smells. Eventually as the beer warmed, some tropical fruits appeared as well, mainly a pineapple note. The aroma is intense, but not overpowering. Definitely says "drink me".

The taste is exceptionally smooth and well-rounded, with a well-tempered bitterness. Mostly orange and tangerine, but grapefruit comes to play eventually, with a very nice invasion of pine. An apple note, and a hint of tropical fruit with pineapple and maybe a bit of mango. Nice level of sweetness, and the malt is not playing second fiddle to anyone here - clearly defined. This is a very nicely crafted beer with multiple layers of flavor all working well together.

It is soft on the tongue and smooth on the finish, only moderately drying. Medium bodied, maybe a touch oily. This is a beer that is easy to drink, maye dangerously so.

Overall, the hype is justified. While I don't think it is necessarily better than other similar beers, I think it is a damned fine, well made brew that makes me wish I had picked up more. It is an everything you want and nothing you don't for the style. Worthy.

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Photo of cbutova
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- The tallboy releases a golden yellow brew that is just a bit hazy into my becher glass. The cap atop the brew is white with a foamy and frothy texture displaying fairly good retention. Wide sheets of lace wrap around the glass with drizzle between each sips stop.

S- Pungent... even after pouring I can smell this brew from several feet away. Bright and bold mix of fruity and floral hops. Mango, passionfruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach and dank notes lead way to floral, pine, herbal, crackery barley and berry hints.

T- The citrus and pine hops grow but still a good presence of tropical and stone fruit hops right there with them. Bitter pine resin, grapefruit and oranges, tangerine, dank herbs, melon, floral and pineapple hops joined by a slight sweetness, bready and pale barley hints.

MF- Creamy and puffy texture with a rather fluffy and smooth feeling on the palate. The high end carbonation accentuates the hop flavors and the eventual heavy, clean bitterness.

A tropical, citrus and floral hoppy aroma leads into a flavor profile that is somewhat shifted to the pine and citrus side of hops as the bitterness is just massive. A beer that anyone that has been in the game for a while has heard of and for good reason: it is clean, smooth as hell and delivers a blast of hops and bitterness.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy with a fluffy white head that sticks everywhere. Amazing floral, pine and citrus aromas blast you in the nose. The taste is a nice orange and pine flavor with a tiny bit of balancing sweetness​. A really well balanced and delicious beer.

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Photo of Harrison8
4.56/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy yellow with an orange tint. Nearly three fingers of snow white head foam on top with good retention and great lacing left behind. Aroma is sugary sweet with notes of citrus, orange, baked sugar, and lightly breaded malts. Very smooth aroma that invites a sip. Flavor profile is baked sugar, and lightly breaded malts with a hearty helping of citrus, orange, and lemon zest. Very lively, and extremely easy to drink. Mouth feel is medium-thick in feel with a crisp, smooth feel. Overall, the sweet, sugary notes in this one are pretty darn impressive. It makes it extremely easy to turn a sip into a gulp. It's an approachable hoppy beer that refrains from being remotely bitter, and yet still provides the feel and flavor characteristics of beer - not juice.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

We have recently been discussing the merits of CANned beers in a thread that I began in the Beer Talk forum and one of the upsides to CANs is the beauty of the graphics as they appear directly on a 360-degree aluminum cylinder vice a paper label. I would definitely hold this up as an example! The separation begins with the ninja striking one of his swords vertically against the unicorn's horn while the unicorn holds the ninja's second sword horizontally in its mouth. The colors are striking & the whole thing just stands out beautifully!

From the CAN: "Brewed in Chicago, IL"; "CAN Art by Jason Burke at Ink & Lead Designs".

I used the Unicorn's horn to help me to Crack! the CAN open, declining the Ninja's swords which would have irreparably damaged the CAN. Once acCANplished, the Ninja made me CANduct an inverted Glug which raised two fingers of dense, rocky, French Vanilla-colored head with decent retention. Color was an oh-so-slightly hazy Golden-Amber (SRM = > 5, < 7) & as such, the Gelt Gang declined even so much as a taste. They really prefer purity in their gold, apparently. Nose was magical, as though derived from a ChANce enCANter between a ninja & a unicorn! Actually, it was more like a hybridization of a pine tree & a grapefruit tree. Mmmm. Mouthfeel was all ninja/unicorn with the former slashing and thrusting and the latter just trampling my poor tongue into submission. The taste was likewise magical, evincing a very cool, minty flavor initially before the crazy citrus flavors began to take 'hold. Finish was cool, dry & slightly citrusy, almost like a pop. I CAN drink this all day, or perhaps not, at 8% ABV. CAN you imagine this in the cooler at the beach? It would be CANtastic with everyone wanting to see what you are drinking.

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Photo of KMachHops
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Can into tulip.
Look: Tons of fluffy head and amber.
Smell: Tropical.
Taste: Tropical with pines and eucalyptus.
Feel: More carbonation than I would like and does have some heat at the end.
Overall: Solid DIPA. It has that west coast style.

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Photo of JackieTH
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden yellow with a creamy foam head that laces up. Looks great. Smells delicious - pineapple, citrus pith, mango and unripe papaya. Taste is creamy mango and papaya, citrus pith bitterness and unripe papaya interplay with a light sweetness keeps it interesting. Finishes dry, mildly bitter. Very tasty brew. Would definitely purchase more.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

So, what part of the beer is Ninja and what part is Unicorn? The duel that takes place on the taste buds favor a deep and drying bitterness while its finesse fruit tones takes sides with the sweeter malt impressions.

As the oddly curios beer pours, it quickly separates as its golden lush body sinks and its frothy white cap rises. Surprisingly clear in its appearance it's relatively void of any hop-derived haze. Retaining mercifully, the ale only lightly speckles the glass with lace. Aside from its timid lacing patterns, Ninja vs Unicorn has a very stately appearance.

Vibrant and juicy aromas captivate the nose with a ton of citrus and tropical fruits- everything from red grapefruit, lemon and tangerine- to pineapple, mango and apricot are all well represented and in good balance. Supporting caramel aromas give a light biscuit, bread and honeyed character that makes the fruit impressions seem ripe, juicy and vibrant. After the ale settles a bit, other notes of spicy alcohol, apple and buttered popcorn unfold from the mix.

The light honey and caramel sweetness greet the taste buds first; just ahead of the citrus and tropical fruit flavors. But once those arrive, the ale takes on a spicier and earthier tone with pine, sharp herbal and grassy bitterness until it grows into a full-out resiny-dry finish. Lightly buttery- this taste along side of the spicy and bitter alcohol taste add more to the beer's complexity instead of detracting from it.

Medium-dry throughout, the ale easily sheds its early sweetness and creamy carbonation and quickly favors drier and more bitter taste from the middle on. Its spicy acetone prickle seems higher than its 8.5% would suggest but is highlighted by the beer's malty-dry finish and resinous bitterness.

Ninja vs. Unicorn is a magical and inquisitive ale that's terrific with all its glory and a few of its worts (no pun intended). Though not the cleanest IPA in its arsenal, the ale's keen hop-forward delivery easily carries the beer from its initial sip to its fleeting finish.

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Photo of jakecattleco
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Can dated 4/25/18 into a tumbler.

Light golden with just the faintest bit of haze, less than a finger of white head but it had decent retention and left limited spotted lacing.

Nose is a bit mute, lots of citrus (grapefruit, lemon zest, and orange/tangerines). Perhaps some very subtle floral undertones.

Follows the nose but packing a MUCH bigger punch. Citrus attack to the palate, so West Coast profile and so good.! Finishes with plenty of bitterness and astringency, very drying finish with both lingering awhile.

Low-medium bodied with medium carbonation, lively and tingly on the tongue, lips even tingle a bit from the astringency, slick on the finish. Feels like the enamel is being dissolved from my teeth, love it!

LOVE this beer! Reminds me very much of a lower ABV version of some of the best batches of Boneyard's Hop Venom that I've tasted. This would be a recurring regular purchase when found fresh. So good!

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours slightly hazy orange with big white head and streaks of lacing.

Aroma - Light grass and lemon aroma, orange, grapefruit, very mild aroma.

Taste - Nice light orange, pine, citrus peel, hop flavors. Very well balanced and super easy drinking no sign of the alcohol.

Feel - Medium bodied soft easy drinking light dry finish.

Overall - Love this beer very well done solid light flavors alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of darktronica
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Probably my favorite of Pipeworks' regular standards, with intense flavor but still maintaining a nice balance between hop flavors and malt sweetness. An excellent go-to when you don't have time to look at everything on the shelf.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pale colour with a nice white head

Smell of citrus, lime and lemon mostly, melon. Juicy and resinous

Juicy mouthfeel, moderate to high carbonation

Overall a very enjoyable dipa

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Photo of josanguapo
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Can. From latiendadelacerveza. In Teku glass. Playing Avernun 2. Superb west coast ipa, with all its notes perfectly assembled and a really well hidden abv, making it very crushable and utterly treacherous

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Photo of Lorgeous
4.71/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours an extremely pleasing hazy honey color. Very light carbonation. Smells almost tropical with bright citrus and pineapple notes. Tastes of tangerine and citrus. Wonderful flavors hit the tongue on impact. Goes down effortlessly.

= A brilliant beer. The artwork on the can drew me in but the taste is what I’ll remember. Home run DIPA.

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Ninja Vs. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.28 out of 5 with 2,592 ratings