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Ninja Vs. Unicorn | Pipeworks Brewing Company

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Ninja Vs. UnicornNinja Vs. Unicorn

Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States

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: 324 | Ratings: 2,154
Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch #87
Pours a clear coppery amber with a loose white head that fades quickly. The nose is dank and wreaks of freshly squeezed citrus & passion fruit and a bit of booze. The taste is a blast of sugar-coated citrusy hops with a light slightly alcoholic finish. The mouthfeel is almost syrupy sweet with an overwhelming hop profile that lingers. This is a solid IPA, thanks Tom for sharing.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.81/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Big thanks to djcorrao for the bottle.

Appearance: A slight haze on a deep orange with copper leanings colored beer. Head is white and bubbly. Drops to a wispy cap and small loose collar. Some spots of lacing.

Smell: Flowers and pine needles. Loads of backing citrus, mostly grapefruit. Resinous pine. Some pith and mint. Hints of marmalade sweetness. Almost sugary sweet in the back. Malts are big enough to handle the hop assault. Big bready malts with some underlying caramel malt. Cooked and caramelized sugars.

Taste: Pithy bitterness gives way to oily pine. Grapefruit flesh and rind. Nice malt backbone. Pushes some undercooked bread dough. Caramel sweetness. Rich, caramelized sugars. Some lingering mint in the back. Some herbal elements in the back. Huge floral hit. Feel like I ate some flower petals/perfume. Tangerine candy. Fruity. Nicely balanced...somehow.

Mouthfeel: A bit heavier than medium body. Carbonation in moderate. Starts of wet and smooth, but as it warms it dries out a bit.

Overall: I choose you Pikachu!

In the battle of Ninja vs. Unicorn, this time, I win. A decidedly aggressive yet balanced take. A lot going on, but it mellows a bit as it warms. Not something I would drink all day every day, but I'll definitely be seeking it out again.

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Photo of Durtdiggler
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 48 poured into a tulip glass. Hazy orange and pours really big with creamy head and a lot of lacing on the glass.

Aroma is very Michigan IPA style. Some sweet breads and malts with caramel and orange rind, dried pineapple with balanced piney hop aroma.

The taste is very much like it smells with a creamy, sweet, breads start with hop bitterness throughout. Not as complex versus some of the DIPAs I've had but a very well balanced profile. The hops lingers throughout as opposed to steep intro into at first sip.

Mouthfeel is medium yet very drinkable, soft feeling, not as clean finishing. Excellent.

Overall a really nice beer. More balanced with a complex malt profile as opposed to presenting the hops. Very similar in taste to a 2 Hearted Ale with some kick. I tend to like more base malt with a lot of west coast late boil hops but I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of sleuthdog
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Batch #56 poured into Founders Bolt Cutter glass

Pour: Hazy light orange with a finger and a half of bright white head. The head consisted of small tight bubbles that did not last very long. This settled to a small pocket of bubbles on the surface and a thin ring around the edge. Some light lacing is noted.

Smell: Citrus forward with orange, mango, pineapple, and grapefruit. A very pleasant sweet malt is in this with a bread note, too. Pretty standard DIPA here but the citrus in it is nice.

Taste: Just like the smell, very citrus forward and in the most enjoyable way. Lots of grapefruit and orange zest with bit of lemon. Not too bitter as there is a sweetness mid palate that smooths things out. At the back end the bitterness says hi in the swallow and aftertaste. A very enjoyable beer for sure!

Mouthfeel: Crisp and creamy at the same time. Somewhat sticky with a medium body and medium carbonation. Really spot on for this style.

Overall: I must say that Pipeworks knows their DIPA's. This is top notch for the style. Nothing really stands out but then again nothing is deficient either. Just a perfectly well rounded DIPA that is a complete joy to drink.

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Photo of nightrain789
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had heard a lot about Pipeworks and was extremely excited to try them, so when we were at the Goose Island N. Clybourne location, we decided to go to the Binny's near it. Grabbed this and the Cyber Dog.

This was an extremely impressive beer. I wouldn't consider this on the same level as the Dogfish Head 120 minute by any means, but that is an exceptional beer. The closest imperial IPA that I could compare this to is the Dogfish Head 90 minute.

In comparison, I will say that the the body of the beer is slightly lighter, but it has great head retention and even though the hops are very apparent in the nose, the malt of the beer balances out the hops. This is different from the Dogfish Head 90 minute, but it is great in its own right.

I've had a few other bottles of Pipeworks and all of these beers have been excellent, even the more experimental ones. What I can say is that this upstart brewery makes great stuff, and anyone near Chicago should support local brews, so enjoy

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to queens1130 for sharing this one at drewone's tasting.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, and citrus zest. Taste is much the same with a medium hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I think it smells better than it tastes.

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Photo of bifrost17
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a Hair of the Dog tulip. Batch number 48, I really love that 48 is hand written on the label, nice touch.

A: Typical DIPA, dark orange. Filtered, but not quite see through, nice carbonation bubbles running up the glass. Really good looking 2 finger white head. Leaves some nice thick lacing on the glass.

S: I'm not getting much on the nose. Hoppiness, as expected. Citrus notes, faint alcohol....vanilla?

T: Wow, awesome. Citrus bomb, lots of orange up front, in the middle I almost taste an orange creamsicle, definite hints of vanilla, relatively bitter at the end, like a bitter grapefruit. The aftertaste I get is so weird, orange creamsicle, awesome, never tasted that flavor in a DIPA before.

M: Mouthfeel is perfect, creamy, smooth, moderate carbonation, medium side of full bodied. Really drinkable for the 8.5%.

O: Totally surprised here. I saw the high marks this beer had from other reviews, but the only other Pipeworks beer that I've had was their smoked porter, and I was not a fan, but Ninja vs Unicorn is really damn good. Chicago is really stepping up its game as far as hoppy beers go, Daisy Cutter, Double Daisy Cutter, and Anti Hero IPA are some of my favorites, but Ninja vs Unicorn has to be my favorite by far. Seek this beer out, try it, worship it. What a treat. Big thanks to my friend Nick out in the Chicago area for sending this my way.

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Photo of Rimbimhoot
3.81/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can from $11 4-pack

A: Pale golden yellow, translucent, possible hop haze
S: Grapefruit, sweet tangerine, peach, tropical, very light alcohol
T: Sugar coated tangerine, bitter grapefruit, very light malt backbone, lingering bitter piney hops, light berry
M: Medium mouthfeel, sometimes light and sometimes kind of syrupy
O: Very happy to see this in cans at a decent price. Somewhere between those easy drinking deceptive IIPA's and the more malty IIPA's

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Photo of joeseppy
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
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 +2.8%
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 -6.1%
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 -1.4%
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 -8.9%
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 +2.1%
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 +1.2%
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 -9.4%
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%
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 +2.6%
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 -38.3%
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 -6.1%
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 -2.1%
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 +5.6%
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 -2.1%
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 -8.2%
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 -3.1%
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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Ninja Vs. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 2,154 ratings.
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