Black Top | New Glarus Brewing Company

201 Reviews
Black TopBlack Top

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by cdkrenz on 08-27-2011

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Reviews: 201 | Ratings: 1,053
Photo of Beginner2
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Disclosure #1: if I had to pick one brewer, New Glarus would be it. (See my Place review.)
Disclosure #2: if I had to pick one ale in this style I'm not particularly fond of, this ale would be it.
Disclosure #3: If I were to write long tasting reviews (which I tend not to do because I'd rather comment on the social/cultural contributions of beer), I would not write a long tasting review for this style. Here are my two sentences on taste.

Like many New Glarus beers, this one is straightforward, much like their lagers (maybe that Wisconsin German influence?)
I liked Black Top because its hops are subtle and the brewer did not let the roasted malt make the ale too bitter.

The biggest problem with New Glarus is its distribution. (I don't blame them for not doing business with the Illinois ABC or the state for that matter; being a taxpayer and increasingly awkward citizen.) Back on point, Black Top did not appear as a seasonal this year. Fortunately, I had one left from its last release. Still good.
Went well with a mildly spiced Pad Thai in a BYOB restaurant.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black pour, not used motor oil black, its more fair than that. Tan, 1 inch head. Hoppy aroma that isn't all roast and bitterness, there are some legitimate pine and tropical fruit impact going on here.

Taste was also just great, already establishing itself as a top tier black ale, this one gave more hop mouthfeel flavors than it did roast or bitterness, which it seems 90+% of the black ales do. This one hits with peach, mint, pineapple and pine flavors, so well done.

Would not hesitate to grab more of this.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours bright dark brown under a 2” finely bubbled tan foam collar that grips the side of the glass.
S: Dark roast malt aromas with spicy hops.
T: Light coffee and roast with a bitter hop accent on the finish. F: Clean, smooth medium carbonation and body.
O: A well balanced, easy to drink American Dark Ale.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

New Glarus Black Top has a medium, cream colored head, a dark, reddish-brown, slightly hazy appearance, and heavy lacing left behind. The aroma is of sweet, grapefruit hop resin, and the flavor is of the same, with white bread, slight char, and low-to-moderate bitterness in the back of the sip. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and New Glarus Black Top finishes semi-dry and easily drinkable.


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Photo of Franziskaner
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More of a deep brown in color and not much light seeps through. A fingernail of khaki colored head covers the top. Brussels lacing. Enticing aroma of fresh,piney hops is moderately present. The flavor is a well balanced blend of piney hops and caramelized dark malt. There's a prominent pine hop edge that stays with you in the fade. The mouth is lightly sticky and chewy.

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Photo of Lucular
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1000th rating of Black Top!

Pours with a huge head that leaves copious lacing on the glass. I'm not the biggest fan of the black IPA style but I have no complaints. The malts provide a slightly sweet caramel flavor the melds well with the citrusy hops (the bottle says the hops are piney and citrusy, but I get more citrus than pine).

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Photo of pagriley
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

A - Pours black with light 1 finger head that settled quickly
S - bright hop nose with citrus and pine
T - not a lot of the roast. Pretty straight up IPA
M - light body. Would prefer a bit morealt backbone but pretty solid

Overall solid black IPA. Very drinkable

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Pilsner glass

Deep mahogany brown with some carbonation. Taupe foam lid and good lacings

Aroma of grassy hops, pine, raisins and figs

Roasted malts on the first sip in the middle of the tongue. Slight bitterness on the side of the tongue.

Slight lingering bitter aftertaste. No sudsing

I like it. Good, different , well balanced

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Photo of LeeryLeprechaun
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Beer pours jet black with a sticky tan head.
Big and sticky hop aroma.
Beer is fairly balanced for a black IPA. A nice dark malt backbone well balanced with hops. Nice bitter hop finish without the harsh roast bitterness of dark hops.
Enjoyable black IPA, not my favorite style but this was well done.

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Photo of cyclonece09
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Beer poured into a "pint" glass from a 12oz bottle. Pours black with an off white head that leaves good lacing. Smells of flowery hops with a touch of pine. Tastes of darker malt with nice hop bite, citrus notes coming forward. Beer is light bodied with good carbonation, finishes great. Overall a very good beer.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- Pours dark brown with a 1.5 finger fluffy off-white head. Really settles nicely around the edge

S- Clean citrus of bitter grapefruit. Fresh cut pine. Caramel and molasses malt base. Not the most pungent, but clearly an IPA

T- Flavor profile not as discernible as the aroma. Sweet and hoppy up front before mellowing out some. A musky, minty, spice thrown in there as it finishes bitter.

M- Sticky and resinous. Sits a little heavy. Solid, but not quite as crisp as I would prefer.

O- A great example of a black IPA. Love the bright citrus character. Another great showing from a brewery that really impresses me.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look - as black as black top with a good slightly tan head but goes away after a min or so. Leaves good lacing.
Smell - piney citrus hop smell but a sweet carmel malt backbone.
Taste - fantastic balance between a toasty sweet carmel malt and more of a slight piney hop with some bitterness.
Feel - medium full body with lots of carbonation.
Overall - really love this black ipa. More malty than most with less hops but just enough for an ipa.

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Photo of Jonada
3.59/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with no freshness date served in a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with 2 fingers of a light tan head that settles into a thin coating. Nice patchy lacing as well. Body is dark but translucent when held up to light.

Smell: Mango, grapefruit, lightly roasted malt, hint of chocolate.

Taste: Citrus, floral hops, iced tea, hint of bready malt with some light residual sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and crisp with medium strength carbonation. Light lingering bitter finish.

Overall: Nice, easy drinking black IPA. Nothing special, but still enjoyable.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle to a DFH IPA glass.
Thanks to RDUB/OKPLUS for this one.

A - Clear dark brown with a sudsy cream colored head that has nice staying power. Leaves vertical specks of lacing.

S - Nice hoppy aroma, green pine, sweet roasted malts, earthy grains, spicy, green chives.

T - Roasted malts, not too roasted though, spicy pine hops, green chives are in the flavor as well. The malt is earthy and slightly grainy The spice has a rye and anise character and runs all the way through the finish. Some bready yeast comes out as it warms. The finish is mild almost reminds me of a dunkel finish.

M - Aggressive carbonation clings to the tongue, smooth feel, light to medium body, slightly watery at times.

Very nice hoppy aroma. The hops are more subdued in the flavor letting the medium roasted malt shine a bit. A touch of rye and anise spices are a welcomed component and meld well with the malts. Again the aroma is where this beer shines. This drinks like a session Black ale. I could easily knock down several of these in a setting.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a hoppy black ale that combines sweet and roasted barley and chocolate malt with a rather delicate, if high volume, citrusy hopping. a very interesting marriage of flavors here. not as black as expected, dark brown glowing amber in the light under an inch of off white fluff that settles slowly. the nose here is citrus hops and roasted barley with all of its attendant bitterness. seems brighter than it looks, and a sturdy ale yeast ties the two together. the flavor starts and ends with the dark malt. not brutally dark, but earthen and well roasted. the hops are only in the middle, not in the finish, which i find odd and enjoyable. lemons and even kiwi fruit are coming from the hops, a very cool palate, before the wave of dark barley washes them clean. id like a little more body in this one, the flavors are great but the journey from a to b is too short. carbonation could also use a little kick up. overall though a very cool beer from new glarus. thanks to drlovemd87 for bringing this one back for me.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle into a new glarus flute glass.

pours a dark brown with a very appropriate beige head. smell is very hoppy and piney..ooh promising. taste is quite hoppy too , piney and a tad of coffee finish. very hoppy though, especially for a black IPA which I normally don't dig. but this is superb. medium bodied with mild carbonation.

overall great job new glarus. real impressive.

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Photo of d5001986
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into tulip.

Appearance is a slightly transparent black with off-white head.

Smell is piney and a bit of alcohol.

Taste is lots of piney hops and a bit of chocolate malt. This is probably the most intensely hopped beer I've had from NG, I definitely dig this!

Feels medium bodied, with a good amount of carbonation.

Overall a great buy from NG. If you're a hop-head, you can't go wrong with this one.

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Photo of jwc215
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours very dark brown to black with a lasting tan head. Trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of citrus with some pine, licorice and charred molasses.

The taste is of citric, piney hops that blend with chocolate and coffee. Complex, hoppy and dark. The roast is present, but mild enough that it doesn't clash with the bitterness of the hops. I like how the touch of pine tie the citrus and malts together. Bitter-leaning finish.

It has a smooth, creamy body.

Hoppy and dark. Like mentioned above the flavors are complex, but do not clash. The flavors weave together to make a very enjoyable brew!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a very dark russet brown with a fine half finger light brown head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of citrus hops, pineapple, sweet malt. Flavor of biscuit, lightly toasted malt, citrus and grassy hops with hints of coffee and orange family citrus; finishes with grapefruit rind and citrus hops bitterness. Medium bodied. A nice black ale with good hop character; not quite as toasty and dark malt as a Northwest style (CDA), but pleasant and well made for a black IPA.

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Photo of Kevin-Wieken
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Black Top
New Glarus Brewing Company, Wisconsin
---from bottle to pint glass---

Very dark brown, dark ruby around the edges. Thick creamy looking head. Great lacing.

Roasted malts, dark chocolate and a little citrus seeping through.

Oh man! Espresso-like malt right away, followed by sweet/bitter hops.

Maybe over carbonated for this beer. Sticky and bitter – but very drinkable. Flavor profile changes in between sips.

More hoppy than I thought (when is that a bad thing?) Carbonation seems to cover the malt flavor a bit. That being said, I really enjoyed this beer. Espresso flavor is always welcome, day or night. Hop heavy dark beers aren’t common, so this is a treat. Opening another soon.

Post review addition - Just learned from a fellow beer aficionado that this beer is in fact a Black IPA

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Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter. The brew appears a dark brown to mahogany color with lighter brown around the edges. A tan cap rests atop fading slowly leaving some spotty lace.

The aroma is dank and herbal with a roasty earthen coffee undertone. Somewhat weedy with hops that blends to more fruity and floral as it is smelled more.

The tastes has some bready grain, biscuits and chocolate. Quite roasty like coffee with a bitterness that seems to come from the kiln of the grain instead of oily, resinous hops. Somewhat dank and weedy hops are more present towards the back.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Very easy drinking and enjoyable with a solid mix of character. I would drink this again.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger mocha head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a dark brown and almost black color with some clarity when held up to light and bubbles can be seen coming up through the glass. Spotty lacing as the beer was drank too.

Smell: Pine, smoke, roasted malts, chocolate malts, tangerine, and grapefruit.

Taste: The citrus flavors stick our the most. There is also ash, roasted and chocolate malts, pine, and some mild lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light bodied, mild bitterness, and low to medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty solid and tasty black ale. A nice hop and malt blend that rolls off the tongue. 6.9% too. A trip to Wisconsin is seen in the immediate future to get more.

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Photo of rlee1390
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A-Black in the glass but clear deep ruby around the edges, one finger off white/tan head.

S-Very roasty, some burnt notes, dirt, some hops.

T-Like the nose; roasted malt in the beginning. Dark chocolate and coffee later. Tad bit of bitterness.

M-Medium bodied, not much carbonation though, tad watery.

O-A good Black IPA, not sure of the freshness though.

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Photo of MCain04
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

Dark brown pour with a fluffy cream-colored head, good retention, some lacing

smells of piney hops, roasty malts, some sweetness, molasses, and fruity notes.

Taste is roasty with some piney floral hops, sweetness lingers, molasses, some chocolate.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation and a sticky dry finish.

Overall a solid black IPA, there are some better ones out there but for the price this one is solid.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Bell's tulip on 7/26/12

A) Pours a mahogany brown but settles much darker, exhibiting a deep ruby and crimson hue when held to the light. One thumb head deflates to an evenly thin layer of foam that reaches upward to the lace dripping from the glass. Thin retention, but pretty good lace overall.

S) Huh. The balance between malt, hops and roast is about the most expertly integrated that I've come across. Bright citrus, soft pine needles and floral hints meld seamlessly with mildly roasted dark grains and subtle chocolate sweetness. The aroma is not bombastic or particularly showy. It is, however, darn smooth.

T) The flavors are well-integrated too, though the hops outshine the malts. Nothing wrong with that, right? Green, sappy pine carries a dry, bitter kick throughout. Citric overtones are peppered along the way. Dark roast supports the hops without stifling them. Notions of cocoa powder, coffee beans and grain. Very dry.

M) Underneath waves of ample, rolling carbonation and resinous hop cling lies an otherwise silky-smooth medium bodied beer. Residual pine and roast linger.

D) Aside from far higher carbonation than I prefer this is really good. Recommended.

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Black Top from New Glarus Brewing Company
4.06 out of 5 based on 1,053 ratings.
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