Ninja Vs. Unicorn | Pipeworks Brewing Company

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Ninja Vs. UnicornNinja Vs. Unicorn

Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States | website

Style: American Double / 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

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Reviews: 316 | Ratings: 2,129
Photo of joeseppy
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aromas of grapefruit, pine,and tropical fruit.

Hops-a-plenty with sweet malt!!! Big tangerine. Piney resin, grapefruit rind upfront with pineapple, mango, and papaya lingering.

Tongue smacks with a fantastic balance of hoppy, malty, fruity bliss.

This DIPA lives up to my every expectation. They keep making this--I keep buying. Every batch gets better. Rivals any other splendidly. Great job Pipeworks!!

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Photo of vic21234
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a snifter. Batch number 48.

A- Pours a hazy orange color with a finger or so of a white head. Some lacing along the sides of the glass. Looks like a nice DIPA.

S- Tons of citrus is apparent upon popping the cap. Orange, mango, grapefruit are most notable in the aroma for me. A sweet maltiness is noted also.

T- Starts off bitter with a dry feel. Lots of citrus and also pine coming into the taste. A nice malt backbone finishes off the sip.

M- Lighter side of medium bodied, nicely carbonated, dry, bitter and hopped. Drinks very easy for 8.5%.

I've only had a few offerings from Pipeworks, but this is my favorite. A well balanced DIPA that is refreshing and very drinkable.

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

Big juicy yummy fruit notes from citrus to light maraschino cherries. It almost smells like ice cream sundae toppings with orange-zested-whipped-cream. Nothing is overpowering, and it is well balanced.

Appearance is that of a dark lemon, slightly hazy, and an eggshell white head that laces well enough.

At first sip I get a nice burst of juicy sweetness followed by another burst of bitterness. The beer is very well balanced between sweet and bitter. The flavors are sharp. I get peach, apricot, and tangerine. It has a moderate body and low-moderate carbonation. It leaves me wanting more.

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Photo of Thedaver4220
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. Bomber poured into a Maudite tulip. Batch #56

Ninja vs Unicorn pours a cloudy ruby color with about a finger of fluffy head. Great lacing on this one as well. The nose is piney but not as strong as I was expecting. Nice bitterness and creamy, sweet mouthfeel wrap this mythical battle in a nice little bow. All around a really good beer that's super drinkable. And on a side note BJ and Garret are super cool dudes that live for this and you see it in their beers. Nice work guys.

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Photo of fvernon
3.88/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #48 poured from a 22oz bottle into a Lawson's balloon snifter (should be pretty dang fresh).

Pours out THICK! There is an off-white head, sort of pearl, that leaves decent lacing and settles fast. This is the color of wild honey, a bit cloudy/hazy, and wafting out a nice strong aroma of pineapple and fresh cut pine. Leaning in, though, a distinctly heavy and creamy sweetness is there as well - candied oranges is a pretty close description. The pine sort of takes a back seat when trying to get a good sniff.

Up front on the taste is that creamy candied orange, lemon zest, and a sweet, malt-pine exhale with just a hint of alcohol. This beer is pretty thick and sticky, although not exactly cloying - more like a sappy viscosity. It's different, I'll give it that - the creaminess and thick mouthfeel are two of the things that set this apart from standard DIPA fare. Overall a nice brew; I may grab another bottle or two if I'm in chicago and am in the mood for a sweetly hoppy drink.

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Photo of warnerry
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 48, bottled 10/24/12

A - Pours clear slightly burnt orange with one finger of off-white head. Head has good retention and leaves some spotty lacing.

S - Big citrus hops aroma, with a lot of grapefruit, and some orange as well. Some pine hops. Malt aroma is pretty mild, with a bready aspect. Pretty standard DIPA aroma, but the citrus presence is very nice.

T - As big as the citrus aroma was, the citrus taste is much bigger, in a great way. Lots of grapefruit zest, some juicy orange pulp and a bit of tangerine. Taste also has some nice pine and grassy hops. Nice earthy bitterness. This is a really fresh bottle, and the malt component is a footnote, but does provide a bit of depth.

M - Mouthfeel is very smooth for such a hoppy beer. The malts provide a nice amount of body, though the finish has an intense lingering earthy bitterness. Very nice.

O - This is an excellent DIPA. The body is big, but not sweet, and the hops provide a lot of different flavors, not just intense bitterness. The citrus is very nice. Look forward to having this again.

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Photo of AJacob81
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into New Belgium globelet.

A - Golden orange, a bit hazy, with a finger and a half of eggshell foam head that dissipates fairly quickly and is retained in a soapy ring and an island of bubbles in the center. Gorgeous legs.

S - Citric fruits and some pine, w a bit of bready sweet malt in support. Overall, not an overwhelming nose, but hits the expected notes.

T - Blood oranges, ruby red grapefruit, and fresh pineapple entwined with hints of burnt sugar and caramel. Grassy, delightfully bitter hops in a balanced finish. This must be fresh, because the flavors just pop.

M - Creamy, resiny, and crisp, sits fairly heavy on the palate. The hops resin provides a sticky viscocity throughout that coats and masks a slight alcohol burn.

This is just a phenomenal DIPA. Between this and Haymarket's Matthias, Chicago is finally producing some world-class hop bombs. Great time to be a hophead in the Windy City.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.86/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. Batch 33

A - Pours a hazy amber color with puffy, 2 finger off white head. Dissipates slowly with lots of lacing along the side.

S - Smell is a little muted. Fruity citrus. A little yeasty.

T - Honestly more malty than hoppy, malt profile reminds me of a barleywine. Hops are bitter, not entirely fruity.

M - A bit dry, but smooth.

Overall - I didn't think this was outstanding. It was missing a lot of what makes a DIPA that good--a lot of hops. It was drinkable, and actually tasty, just seemed like a miss.

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Photo of Cresant
4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served this 22 oz. brown bottle in a Tripel Karmeliet glass. Batch 25. The body was lightly hazy and orange/apricot colored. Minimal lacing.

The smell had tons of pine and citrus. Floral and fresh.

The taste was creamy sweet, and powerfully hoppy. Juicy with enough malts to carry the aspiriny drying bitterness. The bright, piercing bitterness lingers after the initial sweetness. Tropical fruits. Unique DIPA. Very tasty. Alcohol is well hidden.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied with medium carbonation. Some alcohol sting.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a hazy beige color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of floral hops with a mix between some citrus hops with resinous notes is quite exquisite. Taste is a super great mix between huge floral notes of citrus hops with some resinous notes with a good malt backbone with just enough sweetness to sustain the hops presence. Body is full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Huge hops bomb with more floral then bitter notes.

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Photo of bashiba
2.63/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured a cloudy amber/orange with a light thin off white head.

The smell was very buttery diacetyly with a big shot of green pine and juniper.

The flavor is diacetyl laden as well, big buttery and slick with most of the hops being bittering hops, has a strong juniper bitter finish, with a bit of sweet caramel malt sneaking through a bit. A very strange blend.

The mouthfeel was slick and resiny.

Not a good double IPA, very flawed, couldn't even finish.

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Photo of mikul93
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Clear amber-orange with a very fluffy 2 finger head. Nice lacing.

S Pineapple, Citrus notes, sweetness and hops. A nice fragrant DIPA

T Bitter hops is the first thing that hits your tongue, followed by that caramel backbone, grapefruit & Pineapple finishes it off with a bitter finish.

M Medium bodied beer. Nice carbonation. Flavors sit on the tongue for a while. Bitterness lingers.

O Very pleased with this brew from Pipeworks. Picked up a bottle while on a trip to Chicago and wish I had grabbed a couple more. Cheers!

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Photo of Jaycase
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: copper. two finger foamy head. good lacing.

s: piney hops, some caramel

t: strong piney hops, some caramel, good amount of bitterness. hops, hops and more hops

m: medium body, medium carbonation. sticky hop resin clings through the end.

o: If you enjoy hoppy bitterness, this will be delightful. Fortunately I do and it was. My first from Pipeworks and surely won't be my last.

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Photo of MIA4IPA
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not only is this beer brewed right here in Chicago it is the BEST DIPA unfiltered I have ever had!!

A- dark orange with a huge cloud of white head

S- Very tropical daydreamed myself sitting on a beach. A touch of booziness.

T- out of this world very smooth the booziness scared me at first. A little bready with tangerine, ripe orange and citrus follows: Where is my hammock!!

Overall- The best DIPA UNFILTERED a guy can ask for! I wish I bought more!! Balanced with malt and hops taste and finish!!

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Photo of cooler4life
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another brew from a journey to Chicago - Batch #25.

A: Poured a clear copper orange color with a one finger head. Lacing and glass retention are great.

S: The nose is dominated by tropical fruits at first, then transitions to white wine and toasted malt.

T: Hop bomb without blowing you out of the chair. Strong pine, mango transitions to a dry saltine cracker. As the beer warms, the alcoholic burn becomes more pronounced, however it is not overbearing. Slightly sweet honey in the finish.

M: Leaves a fantastic bitter sweet coating of hop resin on the palate. Crisp and clean, with one of the better finishes I've had in a DIPA.

O: I was pleasantly surprised how good this DIPA turned out to be. Keep 'em coming Pipeworks!

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Photo of FosterJM
3.91/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1454th Review on BA
Bottle to Parra Tulip

Thanks to Dvelcich for this one

App- Top fading dark orange to light with yellow highlights. Huge puffy head with a semi- fast receding rate. Great cling like a merinque. Super creamy looking in the glass.

Smell- Big fat juicy nug hops with a strong booze and malty spicy note. Great aromatics and a fullness on the nose.

Taste- This is a very creamy DIPA. Hops stick out for days. The balance is incredible. Cery hoppy with a good malt balance. Earthy and flavors abound.

Mouth- A fuller medium body with a medium carbonation. Full hoppy creamy residual flavors.

Drink- Hot damn thats good. It could be dropped down a bit on the bitter to increase it up to an overall 4.5 but for a huge bitter hoppy DIPA. It gets the job done.

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Photo of beesy
4.13/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Batch #18 bottled 6/18/12. Thanks Colt for sending this one.

A - pours a pale orange with a two finger dirty white head. A very mousse like head holds on for the entire glass, leaving a fair amount of lacing.

S - hoppy. more citrus than tropical. sweet. full. alcohol. maybe a fuzz of oxidation.

T - the hoppy nose leads into the flavor. Not as floral/fragrant as the Heady I drank last night, however the alcohol is way more suppressed than in Heady, but you can tell it's there. A somewhat coarse bitterness lingers, especially after larger samples. I think this has a fuzz of oxidation as the hop flavor seems diminished and a tad stale half way through the palate. Resiny. A little malt resides on the back end if you can dig through the IBU's to get it.

M - medium bodied.

D - surprisingly easy to drink.

Overall, a very nice IIPA. The alcohol is mellow compared to a lot of other IIPA's I've had in recent months. I think it might have gotten a little beat up a tad getting shipped in the 96 degree heat from Chicago, but still think it was in pretty good shape only being a month old and having spent a week in the fridge. Would love to re-review this if I could find it on tap when on a trip to Chicago.

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Photo of claspada
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from West Lakeview Liquors, most recent release - Batch 25, so it was bottled sometime mid-July.

Pours a semi-translucent dark golden/bronze color with a semi-large fluffy white to off-white head that recedes into a thin cap, thick collar with some splotchy lacing remaining.

Aromas begin with a hefty doses of citrus zest, tropical fruits, pine and a subtle amount of grassy hops as well. As it warms I get a hint of the malty backbone highlighted by a slightly sweet sugar cookie-like doughiness.

The tastes follow the nose with some lightly sugary and bready maltiness but then you are immediately greeted with the ripe orange and tangerine citrus hop flavors. As with most beers the tropical fruits and pineapple aren't as present in he taste with a more pine, resiny hop flavor. with less of the exotic tropical flavors.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Previous batches had some low carbonation issues but this one is dialed in. There is a pleasantly slightly assertive dry finish; definitely on the more attenuated side of the double IPA scale, which I appreciate to avoid excess sugary sweetness that plagues some of this style.

Overall this is a super beer; my first from Pipeworks and I can say it won't be my last. It is a super dialed in recipe that has clearly been developed and perfected by the brewer and I can see why even though they have only bottled less than 30 total batches of beer they decided to make this one 6 times already. This is a really good beer. Highly recommended and well worth seeking out if you can get it fresh (like all DIPA).

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Photo of dpodratsky3
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured into tulip glass

A: Hazy, unfiltered, tanish orange, awesome dense frothy head, slight off-white in color

S: Hop bomb, unique aroma, fruity but not citrusy, like tropical fruit with a hint of resiny hops

T: Not quite kill your palate bitter, balance of sweet, but not crazy caramel sweet like some DIPA's, bread malt presence, alcohol definitely comes through as it warms, hops are still the star for sure, more piney in flavor than it was in aroma but still has that distinct fruity aspect, begins to get a little harsh towards the middle and end of the glass since you cannot drink it fast, the alcohol and lingering hop bitterness combine with that slowly sweetening caramel to give it a lightly hard to finish flavor

M: Not super dry, stays pretty high, almost don't notice

O: A very solid DIPA, good balance for most of the tasting, however as it warms it does skew slightly towards being too caramel and boozy for me, definitely a sipper

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Photo of crossovert
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bottle.

It pours what I would call a peach-ish gold with a frothy white head.

The smell is sweet with some tropical mango and a hint of caramel.

Taste is a bit of caramel, marmalade, some citrus notes, not too much barley or caramel like the nose. Very clean fruit flavor with some basic sugary sweetness. Medium bitterness. Love the flavor.

It is a good fruit-forward ipa. I had it just about a month old so take that for what it is worth. An extra kick off bitterness and hop aroma would've done this beer wonders.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pipeworks Brewing Co.
Ninja vs. Unicorn
22oz, batch 18, 6/18/12
Victory tulip

A: Pours a hazy, dark orange color.  Typical DIPA.  Two fingers of bright white head.  Tons of carbonation streaming off the bottom of the glass, and coming up sides.  I see this has some alcohol feet and assume lacing is gonna be left.

S: Lots of tropical fruits: mango, papaya, maybe some pineapple, etc.  Lots of hops, but there is some sweet maltiness in there too.

T: Right up front, nice hop bitterness on the tip of the tongue.  Really pleasant and not overly aggressive.  You get those fruity hops that you smelled.  Definitely pulling some papaya and peach and slight pineapple.  In the middle of the mouth, you get those sweet malts to help cut through the bitterness.  Still very hop forward though.  The close is very dry and slightly bitter.  Leaves you wanting more!

M: Medium bodied.  Great carbonation.

O: A- leading to A for me.  Really surprised and pleasantly happy.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to kawilliams for bringing this to share! Thanks kent!

Reviewed from notes taken 7/4/12.

poured into duvel tulip.

Appearance: clear yellow bodied beer with huge white head. Drops down to a solid cap that remains while drinking the entire beer.

Small: juicy grapefruits and resinous pine. Some tropical fruits and a bready almost sweet malt.

Taste: On the high end of moderately bitter hop bite. Big grapefruit and pine. Oranges and tropical fruits. Malts taste biscuity just like the nose. Pretty hop forward with the malts offering decent balance, but there isnt much taming that going to tame those aggressive hops!

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. The beer finishes a little dry with a bitter snap. No booze noted in this one at all!

Overall: Really great DIPA. This is a wonderful local offering from chicago! Powerhouse hop profile for all those hop heads out there!

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to emerge for sharing this one.

A - Somewhat clear golden orange with an eggshell thick white head and spotty lacing.

S - Tropical fruit, mango pineapple, tangerine, papaya, light hint of pine and soft caramel malt.

T - Juicy ripe tropical fruit, mango, tangerine some grapefruit and more pine than was noticeable in aroma. Candied oranges and honey. Nicely balanced, on the sweeter side for a DIPA but more in a candied fruit way and than caramel/crystal malt way.

M - Medium body and juicy. Lingering hop resin.

D - Very smooth and well balanced. Excellent DIPA.

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Photo of draheim
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle (batch #18) into a tulip. Pours a hazy coppery orange w/ a frothy head, decent lacing, moderate carb.

Aroma is about equal parts pine, grapefruit, and mango. A hint of booze emerges too.

Taste is super-dry pale malt backed up by plenty of hops. Typical citrus and pine with a slightly earthier tropical twist. A really nice sharp bitter bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, about what's expected. Dry but with a lingering finish.

Overall this is a good DIPA but falls just short of really good. There's something different about it that I can't quite put my finger on, maybe it's an attempt to merge the maltier East Coast and hoppier West Coast IPA styles? Seems to have characteristics of both.

Imperial Two Hearted maybe? Whatever the case, I enjoyed it.

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Photo of Nachojon
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured from bottle into Three Floyds Imp. Pint. Nice Golden color, no haze like other IIPAs, this one is clear. Very thin head that dissipated quickly.

S- Not overly aromatic. Does give off a nice aroma of grapefruit and some hop warmth but it doesn't hit you the way I might have expected.

T- Peppery at the start and then moves into the fruit, some grapefruit and tangerine then the grass and finishing out with a nice hop flavor. Very pleasant flavor.

M- I read all the "palette wrecker" reviews and was hoping for the experience, however it isn't quite up to that level. The mouthfeel is crisp and pleasant but there isn't the burn I was hoping for.

O- A very good beer, my first experience with Pipeworks and I have to say I will continue to sample their offerings, I started off with my favorite style and I am not sure I would go out and buy it when compared to my other favorite IIPAs.

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Ninja Vs. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
4.25 out of 5 based on 2,129 ratings.
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