Black Top
New Glarus Brewing Company

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IPA - Black / Cascadian Dark Ale
4.1 | pDev: 10.73%
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Reviews: 210 | Ratings: 1,090 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
WOLFGANG from South Carolina

4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Roasted chocolate and coffee with a nice citrus bite. Resinous finish leads to a nearly perfect mouthfeel for the style. Excellent representation of this style. Thanks DOC.

Aug 12, 2018
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Volstead from Missouri

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This hidden gem took me by surprise. If you get a chance to try one, go for it. Fully favor and a full boutique of flora and taste. Great lacing, effervescence and coloration. A friend gave me a bottle and now I wish I had a second.

Jan 30, 2018
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours coffee brown with a nice tan cap; good retention and a webby pattern of lace

Smell: Grapefruit and pine, with an underpinning of chocolate and caramel

Taste: The hops intermingle with the chocolate malt from the outset, bringing a bitter edge to the chocolate and caramel tones; the piney bitterness builds, through the middle, but the sweeter tones persist into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: Not among my favorite styles but still very well handled

Thanks, Virby44, for the opportunity

Jan 01, 2018
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Tsar_Riga from Indiana

4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Slightly translucent body, dark brown, with a light tan head, persistent. Lots of lacing on the edge, coating the glass with thin ribbons.

S - Nose of pine and roasted malts, fairly quiet, honey and molasses.

T - Bright front of pine, lingering orange zest and flesh, roasted malts, and a tail of mild bitterness.

M - A tickle of carbonation, with minimal dryness.

O - Pleasant and tasty, with bright flavors that mingle citrus hops and fine roasted malts. Delicious.

Dec 10, 2017
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c014572 from Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm at a loss for describing this. Has a very hoppy aroma from what smells like dry hopping. I was expecting this to be a more bitter and heavily hopped beer but was taken back with how smooth and balanced this was. Exceptional offering.

Nov 15, 2017
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aleigator from Germany

3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours totally black with a great, creamy beige head.

Nose is pretty muted, with a note of exotic fruits and a herbal layer becoming visible.

Has a smooth mouthfeel with a silk, refreshing medium body.

Tastes of roasty malts, mellow earth and herbal hops among bakers chocolate. Turns hoppier after the swallow with ripe oranges and juicy kiwi among more chocolate and a note of toffee. Finishes a bit smoky, dry with a bakers chocolate backbone.

Solid black IPA, which does not smell of much, but tastes of an intense interplay between fruity hops and sweet, earthy malts.

Nov 12, 2017
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FBarber from Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown-black color. Thick velvety tan head dissipates somewhat leaving lots of sticky lacing and about a half finger of residual foam. Head re-constitutes even while drinking the beer. Gorgeous looking beer.

Smell has notes of roasted malts and some lightly citrusy floral hops.

Taste has notes of caramel and dark roasted malts. Light citrus and grapefruit notes along with some floral hops come through on the back end with a mild bitterness. There is a mint like flavor in here that I keep picking up on as well. Adds some lightness to the flavors.

Feel is medium bodied and coats the mouth. Mild carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall this is an outstanding black ale - one of the few I really enjoyed and would drink again.

Nov 04, 2017
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TheSixthRing from California

3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottling code B188

Appearance - Pours dark, cordovan brown with a light tan, finger width head. Fair retention results in a thin, broken layer of suds. Strong lacing with broken sheets and webbing making up the bulk of it.

Smell - Not picking up much. Mild malty chocolate character and a touch of underlying floral hops.

Taste - Fair notes of chocolate and roast. Mild hop spice bite. Mild citrus bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with low carbonation. Slick, slightly silky texture makes it an easy drinker.

Overall - Not sure how old this thing is, but I'm not getting a lot of hops out of it. Actually not a lot of anything. I'm willing to bet this thing is old as dirt. A shame. If the bottling code means what I think it means, then this thing was brewed last February. Hmm.

Oct 28, 2017
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Beginner2 from Illinois

4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Feb 24, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Jan 28, 2016
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

Jul 12, 2015
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RonaldTheriot from Louisiana

3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
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.


May 21, 2015
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Feb 27, 2015
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Lucular from Maryland

4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
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).

Jan 24, 2015
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pagriley from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

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

Nov 27, 2014
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WunderLlama from Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev -1%
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

Nov 12, 2014
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LeeryLeprechaun from Colorado

4/5  rDev -2.4%

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.

Oct 29, 2014
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cyclonece09 from Wisconsin

4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

Sep 14, 2014
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Bosoxfan20 from Missouri

3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

Apr 20, 2014
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drdiesel9483 from Ohio

4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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.

Feb 24, 2014
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Jonada from New Jersey

3.59/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

Feb 15, 2014
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StaveHooks from Oklahoma

3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

Jan 25, 2014
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Jan 08, 2014
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Axnjxn from North Carolina

4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Jan 03, 2014
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d5001986 from Wisconsin

4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Dec 30, 2013
Black Top from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 1090 ratings