Santa Vs. Unicorn | Pipeworks Brewing Company

Santa Vs. UnicornSanta Vs. Unicorn
BA SCORE
84.6%
Liked This Beer
3.99 w/ 254 ratings
Santa Vs. UnicornSanta Vs. Unicorn
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States
pdubs.net

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Father Christmas, Head Beardo, St. Nicholas Cage, a man of many names he may be, yet he has but one true foe... This Holiday Season, the Unicorn is back bearing his mantle of rainbowed chaos, and this time, it’s seasonal bitches. An Imperial Red Ale, American Style Barleywine or Red Double IPA call it what you will, grab one and get your Jollies while the holiday fight is on...

Added by emerge077 on 12-15-2012

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#4,586
Reviews:
43
Ratings:
254
Liked:
215
Avg:
3.99/5
pDev:
10.03%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
46
Gots:
48
Trade:
5
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 254 |  Reviews: 43
Photo of acurtis
2.87/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of jaydoc
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.74/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

a good one from pipeworks. huge barleywine here, very american in nature, almost drinks more like a red double ipa, as there is quite a bit of amber malt sweetness running through it, and then a huge dose of bittering hops that come on all at the end. it looks amazing in the glass from the tap, shiny amber color, elegant creamy white head an inch high on top, and holding on for a long time for the style. smells like booze, almost hot and harsh on the nose, but once i get past that, i get citrus from the hops, grass too, and then a bunch of layers of sweet grain that lead the way in terms of flavor. caramel and nut brittle and toffee and butterscotch and bran muffins and molasses and honey all seem to be in there, a really really cool malt flavor to this. i dont know why i expected it to be spiced, maybe the santa thing, but it isnt, and i almost miss it there in the middle. a little ginger and orange peel or something would add depth and seasonal appeal, but instead its all hops. those work too, but they are pretty bitter, and with all the alcohol bursting out of this one, its an awfully intense drink all up. it was a trudge though even a small pour, and it gets tougher and tougher as it warms up. super alcoholic, but tasty and layered, and worth trying this season.

 1,286 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy very dark amber in color (dark brown when viewed from afar). It poured with a short beige colored head that consistently remained on the surface.
S: Light to moderate aromas of piney hops are present in the nose along with notes of caramel malts.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of pine resin hops along with notes of caramel malts and toffee. The hops lend a moderate amount of bitterness. No alcohol is perceptible.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The alcohol lends some warming to the back end of the mouthfeel.
O: This beer is quite hoppy for a barleywine, and the bitterness really cuts through the underlying malts, masking any sweetness in the taste and stickiness in the mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

 810 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ringing in the holiday season, Pipework's does Christmas without the threat of added spice which plagues most of the genre. Instead, the toasty, hoppy flavors that greet the palate are caught right smack-dab between American barleywine and imperial IPA.

Deep amber in color, the ale's rusty presentation is capped with a rich ecru lather. Billowing scents of citrus and pine mingle upward to the nose while its initial taste is boldly caramelized with seared toffee, bread crust and an overall nutty character.

Underneath it all, its bready-sweet maltiness lays a malty foundation with toasted sweetness, peanut skins and savory grilled bread. As its honey-like taste drifts, the hops waltz in, bringing their sharp grapefruit and orange-laced citrusy power and its gripping bitter pine resins to finish.

Lightening its body just enough to suggest the dryness of imperial IPA, the medium-full ale is malty-dry on the late palate with simmering bitterness of dried citrus peel and torn pine needles for a Christmas ale that's off the beaten spicy path.

 1,054 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.59/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Bottle into tulip:

HEAD: 3 inches wide. Off-white colour.

BODY: Glowing amber. Nontransparent. No yeast is visible within.

Looks decent for a barleywine.

AROMA: Heavily hopped. Amber malts, bready malts, grapefruit, bitter rind, and light pine.

Aromatic intensity is above average.

Suggests an overhopped barleywine with no unique or special features.

TASTE: Candi, caramel, amber malts, bitter melon rind, grapefruit bite, floral notes, and pale malts. Imbalanced. Subpar build.

Not gestalt, nor very cohesive.

Its low quality and relative simplicity renders it difficult to elaborate on.

TEXTURE: Irritatingly coarse, medium to full-bodied, thick, and unrefreshing. Poor execution. Overcarbonated.

OVERALL: A disappointment coming from the well regarded Pipeworks Brewing. Not strong work, nor is it noteworthy. I'd caution against buying it.

C-

 859 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reddish tawny brown color, nice reverse cascading head initially, a finger or so of foam settles after a few minutes. A ring of bubbles cling to the edges and spotty sea spray sticks to the walls of the glass.

Melon rind, pine needles, sandalwood spice in the aroma. Slight whiff of alcohol as it warms, but still fairly subtle.

Light crystal malt sweetness up front, resiny hop bitterness follows quickly after, lingering long into the aftertaste. More pine and bitter citrus peel, earthy and dry in the finish. Smooth feel with light carbonation.

Rating overall/mouthfeel more as drinkability, as this is a very smooth BW with an expertly hidden 10% abv. Would drink this fresh to enjoy the hop character, wouldn't bother cellaring personally.

 750 characters

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of dbrauneis
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy mahogany in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and moderate ruby red + cola brown highlights. The beer has a two finger tall sudsy foamy tan head that reduces to a large patch of thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of citrus/grapefruit and pine hops with slightly lighter aromas of caramel + toasted malts.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of toasted + caramel malts with a light to moderate amount of caramel sweetness. That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of citrus/grapefruit and pine hops which impart a moderate amount of lingering bitterness.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Hints of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: I might classify this as a Hoppy Imperial Red IPA than an American Barleywine but it definitely has a very enjoyable hop aroma and flavor and lacks the cloying sweetness I associate with barleywines. Enjoyable and easy to drink with well hidden alcohol.

 1,140 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of smithj4
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of paulish
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mdaschaf
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Alieniloquium
2.79/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Copper body. A bit of haze. Nice collar and surface foam.

Smell - Lots of grapefruit and lemon hops. A little bit of chemical. Strong malt. Strong caramel malt presence.

Taste - Hoppy. Grapefruit. A ton of malt. Kinda tastes like an old double IPA. Eh. Bitter finish with lingering citrus hop.

Mouthfeel - Well carbonated. Bitter finish.

Overall - I'm so unenthused by this. Old IPA is a snifter an apt description.

 473 characters

Photo of orangesol
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

An epic battle, indeed. This stuff pours a clear ruby topped by a finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises pine resin, caramelized toffee, ruby red grapefruit zest, and a touch of toasted biscuit. (On a side note, this stuff smelled goddamn fantastic when I dropped a different bottle (sorry, Vav), and even better somehow when some lemony cleaner was added to the mix.) The taste brings in more of the same, with the initial emphasis on some ruby red grapefruit zest, while the pine and toast come in shortly thereafter. And, boy-howdy, it's fairly strong-feeling as well. The body is a lithe medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a very nice b-wine, one that's strong and dangerously hoppy without going too far somehow. Color me impressed.

 810 characters

Photo of jgunther71
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of krome
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, w/o freshness/vintage/bottling date info to be had...

Pours murky darker amber, limited cap, leaves a fine film, thin colar and minor fine lacing.

Caramel malted up nose

More caramel, toffee, malty goodness, some smoke and quite a dry hoppy finish....thick, richly flavorful and well worth a try. Quality winter night capper

 342 characters

Photo of mklisz
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of smartassboiler
3/5  rDev -24.8%

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Santa Vs. Unicorn from Pipeworks Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84.6% out of 100 with 254 ratings
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