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 anglagard1
4.77/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Threw this is in to finish off a mixed six-pack. Glad I did.

Smell: Sour, along the lines of grapefruit.

Taste: Grapefruit with just the right amount of sugar on it. When a fruit is at its peak ripeness, it reveals all of its assets without the attending negatives. This is an improvement upon past styles; if you liked Moon Man, you will probably like this more. Succeeding tastes reveal a hint of New Glarus' coffee stout, but just a hint. I tried to justify giving this something less than a perfect score, but it didn't feel right

Mouthfeel: A nice, light base that allows the delicate notes to play on the upper octaves.

Overall: I've had some top shelf beers in the last couple of days, but this is really standing out for me. I don't consider myself an IPA kind of guy, but this is everything that is right about IPA. As a matter of fact, I'm calling it a night as I feel I've reached the pinnacle.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black top pours a black color, with a nice tan head, that lasted with the beer. There is a nice dark hoppy smell, I would imange heaven smells like this. The taste has a realllly nice hoppy tone to it, but doenst over power; a dark sorrta flavor. Very nicely carbonated, not overpowering but not weak either, fantastic balance. Overall this is a fantastic beer, loved it, would easily get more.

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Photo of matjack85
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this single 12oz brown bottle as part of a make-your-own 6 pack of assorted New Glarus beers for $10 (so $1.67 per bottle). Since New Glarus doesn't export outside the state, you'll have to go up to Wisconsin to get these. No freshness date on this one.

The beer poured a dark cola brown color that showed off purple highlights when held to the light. Two fingers of tan head that lasts awhile and leaves lots of beautiful lacing on the glass.

Fantastic smell. Hops galore - both piny and citrus. Some nice roasted malt underneath the hops.

Love the taste. Somehow they managed to get insanely hoippy flavor into this beer without being insanely bitter. Great mix of pine, grapefruit, and orange peel flavors balanced nicely with sweet roasted malt and a bit of dark chocolate. Delicious.

Surprisingly light considering all the flavor. Smooth mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

No trace of alcohol despite the nearly 7% abv. Easy to down more than a few of these, and well worth the trip to Wisconsin to pick some up.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This pours a cola coffee color with a generous layer of cocoa colored foam.

There’s a burst of grapefruit and pine aroma followed by a touch of chocolate roast.

This has a real pleasing flavor with the grapefruit hop profile coming across each sip. There’s a dry finish with a touch of cocoa nib on it. I liked it.

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Photo of dimensionQ
4.62/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have generally disliked any IBA in existence. I don't like hops used in an IPA mixed with roasted malts. To me, the flavors have never meshed. That is, until now. The blend of Chinook, Amarillo, and Citra hops are perfect to match the roasted malts of this beer. Black Top is lighter in body than the usual hoppy porter, but it has the mouthfeel of an IPA you might throw back a few of in the night with the nice smooth hop bite as a finisher.

Honestly, this is what I always thought a great beer in this style would be. It is nice and roasty, but the hops shine in the smell and the taste. The hops compliment the roastiness, rather than coming across as a slap in the face along with the first taste of the beer. Thankfully, Mr. Carey didn't include the Cascade hops in the recipe. That is generally the downfall of this style as the hops are much better suited to match up with the power of the roasted malts. This beer tastes like it is well-balanced, rather than most other IBAs on the market I have tried.

This is easily my favorite new brew of New Glarus since the Crack'd Wheat. I have enjoyed Two Women thus far, but I thought the Edel Pils was a much better example of a similar beer in the New Glarus stash of recipes.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.57/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

(A)- Pours a deep and dark burnt sienna; near black color. Produced a nice cap of tan froth. Decent retention with some lace.

(S)- A nice "green" piney citrus (lime & lemon) in front of extremely subtle chalky roasted bits.

(T)- Despite how hop forward the smell was, the taste is exactly how I have always imagined a black IPA should be like. A great balance of nutty, roasty bread and finishes in an almost creamy; piney citrus. Fantastic!

(M)- A great carbonation level and balance. The perfect balance of roasty malts and classic IPA citrus and pine.

(D)- A new style, but New Glarus simply nailed it with this new offering of theirs. A near perfect balance of what I have always looked for in this style but never found. A solid roasty backbone with a finish of citrus hops. Well done as always New Glarus. I am by no means an expert in this style, but I really think this is the shining example I have been looking for.

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Photo of Durtdiggler
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark as black top as the name says with a nice 2 finger head, a lot of present effervescence upon pour from bottle into tulip glass. The head sticks all over the glass and retains it's presence.

Aroma starts with pine, dried citrus like orange aroma. I expected more roastiness from stout like malts but did not notice any. Some slight caramel aroma. Aroma is very much like a strong American IPA.

Taste starts very American IPA with huge hop presence then slowly fading into a caramel, molasses type of back end. It goes together real well, not too sweet, well balanced full of bitterness and malt. Dan nailed the taste and balance on this one. A different direction, more porter than stout type of malts.

Mouthfeel is very lively. The carbonation dances on your tongue, finishes clean.

Even being in Wisconsin, I've had a hard time finding this beer. I'm going to drink it as long as it's available. This beer is brilliant, world class.

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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 rwathree
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: not as jet-black as many of the other Black IPAs I've had; from bottom to top, this shades toward a walnut brown. Decent cream-colored head leaves decent lacing.

S: Piney hop aroma dominates, but I also get hints of roasted coffee and bitter dark chocolate.

T: Huge hit of grapefruit and other citric hop flavors, with the maltier flavors suggested by the nose coming through subtly. I love how the aroma masks how citrus-forward a beer this is.

M: Creamy, moderate carbonation, and no unwanted, residual aftertaste.

I'd heard great things about New Glarus before I moved to the midwest, and this beer did not disappoint. I've enjoyed this Black IPA above all others I've tried since the trend took off, mostly because the contrast of look/smell and taste is so pronounced. Looking forward to trying more New Glarus brews.

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

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint.
2301 printed on the neck, no info.

A - Deep mahogany brown, almost jet black in color with a clarity that shows through in the highlights. A tan head is perched on top for what seems to be endlessly. Wispy lace clings to the glass like patch marks on the long, straight road.

S - Roasted black patent malts are overthrown by abounding American citrusy hops. A plethora of mango and pineapple underlines the earthy dry grass and leaf pile. Very well balanced.

T - Once again, the roasted black malts find themselves tailgating the American hops, happy to provide a good base for their flamboyancy; a bit more citrusy than the aroma and still plenty earthy.

M - Medium-bodied and decidedly bitter, it's balanced between roasty acrid and hoppy, citrusy bitterness. Faintly dry through the finish, the roast closes it out as it fades into the sunset.

O - Hops and malt work like a team throughout the whole stretch of the way, cruisin' for a wonderful finish of balanced beauty. Abundantly flavorful and good to the last drop, New Glarus' Black Top is one fantastic Black IPA.

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Photo of djhowell
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Dark brown, almost black body with a finger of tan head which stuck around and left a little lacing.
S: Citrus hops, lemon, lime, maybe a hint of pine and roasted malts in the background
T: More roasted malts than in the nose, chocolate, grapefruit, pine, bitter finish.
M: Creamy, light
O: Really like this beer, good black IPA. It’s well balanced, tasty, and very drinkable. I’ll seek this one out once there’s some more room in the fridge again.

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

Thanks to Psychotia for hooking me up with this, truely delightful.

Pours an initial deep dark brown which transitions into a deep black with a one finger cream head. Superb lacing.

Smells nice and hoppy, lots of pine and grapefruit. Hints of chocolate and roasty malt.

Taste backs up the nose, really nice balance of hoppy bitterness and sweet and roasty malt.

Mouthfeel is medium with nice carbonation, very easy to drink.

Another home run from New Glarus, this is really great.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to curtisloew for sending this out. Blacktop pours black, but far from the darkest black you've ever seen, has a great sizeable light beige head to it. Big hoppy aroma, not just bitterness, this one had some of that passion fruit of a tropical nature to it.

Taste was like the smell. Fruity, hoppy, kept the bitterness low. Body was nice and light, despite the appearance. Plus points for not having the dehusked bitterness that a lot of the less than ideal black ales sport. This drinks very different than the appearance, none of that chocolate, coffee or acrid bitterness. Carbonation was just were it should be. Dry and crisp mouthfeel so dominated by luscious non bitter hops.

I'm kinda skeptical of the reviews that give you the typical lazy review simply based on appearance. Coffee, chocolate etc. . . sorry, your eyes have played tricks on you my taste buds believe. Show some initiative, where's the peach, passion fruit and pineapple mentions with green fresh vegetal hop mouthfeel in your review? Or maybe you all got old bottles and I drank a fresh one 2000 miles from the source.

I need to drink this back to back with O'Dells and Grand Teton's black ales, these three beers make up the exemplary models for style, to this guys palate.

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Photo of rmalinowski4
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in my Founders Chalice.

Pours an opaque black with a one finger head that recedes slowly leaving a thin cap on top.

Smells of sweet orange, tangerine, and tropical fruit covered in bitter chocolate. Slightly roasty in the background, very delicate and complex.

The taste is similar to the smell. Bready chocolate malt backbone leads to orange, tangerine and other tropical flavors. Slightly bitter from the roasty chocolate flavor, yet sweet and fruity. The flavors are both strong and subtle at the same time, complexed and well balanced, everything just works together extremely well.

The mouthfeel is rich and creamy without being thick or chewy, smooth and rich with moderate carbonation to make the flavors dance on the palate. Works extremely well with the flavors and the style.

Overall this beer is fantastic. It's a fruity, chocloaty masterpiece. Highly recommend picking this up again.

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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 drpimento
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pretty good beer. Generally I don't care for dark hoppy brews, but there are exceptions and this is one of them. Poured a lovely, light tan, thick, foamy, billowy head that lasts a long time and lots of lace. Color is a very dark, clear garnet with some bubble trails (seen with a flashlight). Aroma is very hoppy with pine, citrus, and pineapple predominant along with malt. Flavor is similar to nose and I don't pick up much of the roastiness that I expected. Body is good and ditto carbonation. Finish is fairly long, ending with fresh hop. Good drinking beer.

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Photo of Soneast
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a burnt brown to black color, that when held to a light reveals a crystal clear liquid with glowing ruby edges. Develops a 2-finger thick, tan head, showcasing that thick, creamy, long-lasting consistency typical of heavily-hopped beers.

The aroma is a blast of American hops, with a lot of citrus character, zesty lemon and pungent grapefruit as well as some tropical fruit aromatics, a bit of mango and pineapple. There is very little malt character, certainly no roastiness, maybe a mild toasty, cracker-like note.

The flavor dives right in with some intense hoppy character, layers of fruitiness on the tongue, citrus notes blend with a very well balanced toasted maltiness. Again, I wouldn't say the malt brings any roastiness to the beer, mostly just a over-toasted malted barley flavor that balances perfectly with the hops.

This is what I feel and IBA should be. The hops clearly steal the show, and the roastiness is kept in check, to the point of being barely perceptible. Most IBAs I've had just taste like a heavily hopped stout. This is actually something all it's own. Not only that but it is incredibly drinkable, with the medium-light mouthfeel and manageable ABV. Dan hit a home-run with this beer, IMO.

*EDIT* Just saw this beer won gold medal at GABF. Impressive considering how competitive the style category is this year, it looks like I'm not alone in thinking this beer is the epitome of the style.

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Photo of 2BDChicago
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep, dark brown with medium thick light-tan foam.

S: Light floral and citrus. And the very light roasted malt has a slight nuttiness or woodiness to it. The flavor notes synch up into a very appealing aroma.

T: Really nice taste, and again the flavor notes mix very well together. The hop fruit is most like pineapple, but it blends so quickly into the most perfect roasted malt taste I've ever had. It's very refreshing and almost seems light for a medium weight and alcohol style. If there's a hop bitterness it's as a perfect ingredent, not a distraction in any way.

O: This is a really good beer and like the best of New Glarus it's perfection is slowly revealed. Any doubts that the Black IPA style is a gimmick should be dis-splled by this brew. And, the other myth of this style being only done well by the West Coast brewers is shattered. Another big win for a championship team.

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Photo of billyzoom666
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours extremely dark amber. The red coloring only shows when held up to light. Not much of a head here. Holy shit, great scent! Piney hops right in your face, but not enough to think you're going to drink Pine-Sol. Mouth watering. The hops are definitely up front on this one. It finishes up sweet, and I wonder if that's the molasses they said was in it on the bottle. Another great effort from New Glarus. Cheers!

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Photo of joefeidt
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another fine one from New Glarus. Reminds me a little of Surly Darkness, sort of a Darkness Lite. Speaking of Surly, the hops in this one remind me of Surly Abrasive which recall the days when I used black friction tape used to wrap hockey sticks.

Held my glass up to the setting sun and it blotted it out nicely. This is not a heavy dark beer, rather it is a lighter than usual IPA with the citrusy / hockey tape hops slightly overpowering the chocolate malt. Not sure about the ABV but it's at least 7 by my buzz-o-meter.

All in all, another unusual (in a good way) offering from NG. Good work, people. Keep it up.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Awesome bottle included in the killer WI-box sent down to me from my man, BeerFMAndy. Really excited to try this one! Popped it open and into a pint glass she went...

Pours a dark Cola-like ruddy black with light edges. Inch worth of beige head on top, of the creamy sort, leaving gobs of lace in its wake. The nose on this beer is phenomenal! Aromas of pine needles, citrus, faint whisps of roast, damp trail. I dipped my nose in, and it never wanted to leave.

Nice hefty body holds up well with the ABV and bitterness. Carbonation is moderately low, which is no complaint. This being a fall-release, I was a little worried that this beer lost too much of its character. I never had this one "off the press," but I find it hard to believe it was much better than it is now, because this was fantastic. Big hoppy flavors abound. Sharp and flavorful. Semi-sweet finish. Mild dark maltiness noted, but the hops take over. Superb beer.

Andy, I hope you enjoy this review, because I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Thanks again!

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Photo of dfried
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color is black, but not midnight black, with some ruby highlights and a tan head. Aroma is of orange and grapefruit citrusy hops with some piney notes, detectable malt backbone of burnt sugar, less like burnt mashmellow than dark candy sugars like in toffe or caramel.

Flavor is all hops up front, again quite citrusy, mostly of grapefruit, but with a pine resin punch to the sharp but not astringent bitterness. Roasted malts provide show up after that, not roasty as one would find in a stout, but just enough to add a leathery flavor and texture to the malt profile. Some residual sweetness is there and welcome to help with the huge hop load, but overall this beer is a tad on the dry side of the spectrum. A few grassy notes from the hops in the finish as well.

Overall? Yum. For a brewery that shies away from hops for hops sake, they can sure hit the nail on the head when they want the hops to shine. Great malt profile on this one too. Just enough to keep the hops in check.

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Photo of scones
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Black, with a good head of white foam. The foam lingers, and the lacing is good. Just a good looking black IPA.

S: Grapefruit, oranges, a bit of pine. Smells like a good IPA, not much malt.

T: Hoppy, citrusy with grapefruit, but a bit malty. Dry throughout, but keeps the fruitiness. Very delicious. Me likey.

M: Not too thin, but not full bodied. A bit biting with the carbonation and the hops.

O: I really like this beer. It's like a sweet IPA. Definitely picking up a few more packs of this bad boy.

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Photo of Jfriz25
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Very dark, almost black with some amber hints near the edges where light is creeping in.

Smell- Hop forward with citrus and pine. Reminds me of two hearted a little.

Taste- I get the same citrus as in the nose but there is a nice roasty burnt flavor. I would have expected more bitterness given the amount of hop flavor but it stays in check.

Mouthfeel- Nice medium body, doesn't stand out in a good or bad way.

Overall- This is probably my new favorite New Glarus and black IPA in general.

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Photo of vespahulb
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was looking forward to picking this up after doing the Tyranena Oktoberfest ride.

Upon first whiff, I was taken. A blast of citra hops...ripe peach and apricot, citrus, dank pine, followed by a heady roasty-coffee and chocolate aroma. I could smell this all day.

In the mouth, I immediately realized that this is textbook for what a Black IPA should be. Looking dark and heavy, yet transparent, it has the definite lightness of an IPA but a roastiness of porter. The mouthfeel is creamy and light. Lot's of acidic citrus, grapefruit and pineapple on the front, with a bitter coffee and burnt chocolate finish.

I gotta say, this is a stellar example of a Black IPA, easy, smooth with definite drinkability. New Glarus nailed this one in a big way.

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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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