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 kylehay2004
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: quarter finger head that doesnt last long on a deep amber brown body with some red tinges.

S: tangerine and orange citrus, brown sugar, caramel and roasted malts. Overall mild.

T: This one is pretty sweet and chocolately to me. The hops seem to be represented by citrus but I was wanting more earthy and roasted flavors but its really more of a heavy caramel malt IPA over black IPA to me.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: wanted more from the hops personally. Still a very good beer.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.56/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour at the Protest Bottle Share For LA Beer Week held at Red Carpet Wine in Glendale, CA.

Pours a hazy copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, citrus fruit, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus fruit and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is more like a regular IPA than the style they were going for in my opinion.

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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 Knapp85
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a very deep brown color, a decent looking tan colored head on top. The retention settles leaving a thin film over top of the beer and a scattered lacing. The smell of the beer is aromatic, it's got a nice piney hop aroma blended with the roasted earthy malts and chocolate in there too. The taste is really balanced, it's got a hoppy flavor upfront with a chocolatey roasted aftertaste. It's not nearly as hoppy as some of the Black IPA's out there. The mouthfeel is smooth, it's rich and slightly creamy. The carbonation is really nice also. Overall this is a very good beer, high drinkability with a lot of flavor. Enjoyable for sure!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Bell's pilsner glass in me sister's gaff in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Reviewed live. Bottle courtesy of crewfan16 in our last trade. Thanks again, buddy! Expectations are high.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a very dark ruby-black; nontransparent and opaque. Head is two fingers of khaki cream featuring good thickness and retention. The label's description of the body colour as "jet black" is downright wrong. Lacing is decent. Retains for a good four minutes; I won't be waiting because I can't wait to taste it. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Caramel malt, pleasant floral hops, hints of well executed hoppy pine notes, some orange citrus, and chocolate when I really really look for it. Can't say I detect molasses. A very fresh and pleasant moderate strength aroma.

T: A pleasant balance of citrus, pine, and dominant floral hops. Hints of chocolate and brief emergences of dark malts. No molasses. Marvelously balanced. Hints of yeasty spice and the illusion of fruit from the hop esters. Quite tasty and subtle. Brewed with the understanding that IPA brewing is not a game of dicksizing IBUs and hop content. I'm impressed. Still, it does come off a bit simple, if only from its seemingly effortless construction. I quite like it.

Mf: Smooth, slightly creamy, silky, and wet. Good thickness and carbonation. Suits the flavours nicely. Some delicacy is involved.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, especially for the style. Another solid brew from New Glarus, a brewery that is really meeting my high expectations so far. I remain impressed. I've had few better beers in the style. The marriage of mouthfeel to flavour is particularly impressive here. Every IPA fan should try this. The silky texture was a highlight. That said, its simplicity does hold it back.


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Photo of emerge077
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super sticky and creamy tan foam, fluffy and billowing above the rim of the glass. Slow to recede, sticking to the sides of the glass in sheets and three dimensional clusters. Dark mahogany brown with a reddish ruby glint in the light.

Superb grapefruit and sweet citrus, integrated with the mellow richness of roasted malts. Sweet hop resin, begins to approach dank greenery, but stops short.

Smooth and well integrated flavors, leaning to the sweet side with minimal roastiness, just a bit of dark malt sweetness and plenty of hoppy citrus notes. Grapefruit, orange rind, and toasted malt pretty much sum up the flavors. Mellow on the roast and stout/porter aspects, low bitterness, full hop flavor. Pretty unique interpretation of a Black IPA if you ask me.

Thanks orbitalr0x for the bottle!

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Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to BeerFMAndy for getting a box of New Glarus out to me. Served in a New Glarus taster glass.

Pours very dark brown with a nice two-finger off-white head. Good retention and some sticky lacing as it falls. The nose has some nice pine and roast, plus backing citrus. Flavor meshes the hops and the backing roasted malt quite well. This is how an ABA should be done. Body is medium with a touch of acrid roast dryness plus hop bitterness cutting through. Quite good.

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Photo of nickfl
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ours with a small head of off white foam on a very dark brown body. A nicely spicy hop aroma with notes of pine and citrus. Thick malt up front with a nicely balanced hop character. Notes of orange and grapefruit and light roast in the finish. Very drinkable, this has a great hop flavor and just enough dark malt character to make it more than an issue of appearance.

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Photo of jlindros
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to paco1029384756 for this one.

Pours a big fluffy 1.5 finger head that fades semi slowly with hints of lacing, over very dark brown color, slight hint of ruby light sneaking through the edges.

Nose wafts tons of hops, I could smell it on the pour. Lots of citrus, tangerine and orange zest, some pine, bit of grapefruit, and hint of musty resins. Also there is a bit of darker creamy porter like malts, hint of caramel and black malts.

Taste brings hops as well, more of the bright fresh hop flavors, more pine as well, hints of tangerine and citrus, bit of earthy and chewy hops as well. Then come the malts, bit of caramel and dark malt flavors, hint creamy, slight hint of molasses and honey like sweet malt flavors, and even slightly chewy. Finishes semi bitter but never gets overly bitter, with some lingering pine and earthy hops as well as chewy darker malt flavors.

Mouth is med to a bit heavier bodied, decent carb.

Overall pretty good, nice hop profile that really explodes, some nice malts to back it up, nothing goes over the top or out of place, drinkable and tasty.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

black pour with a big head of tan lacing; a near perfect balance of rich roasted malts, smoked notes, dark earthy, and piney hops. warming only brings the hops to the front even more and allows them to steal the show. quick hitting and bitter as the first sip hits your palate it was amazing how smooth

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

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

LOOK: Massive tan head, a shade away from pure black.

SMELL: Dank hop resin, burnt sugar, candied dark fruit, mint, citric peel, hermit cookies.

TASTE: Hop oil, floral, citric, soft pine, mellow cigar, roasted grain, burnt cookies, smooth, herbal finish.

Hop forward but more in the flavor than bitterness, a pretty great example of the style. Very drinkable even with the complexities being thrown at the palate.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 11/03/12 notes. Picked up a bottle of this at the brewery and opened the next day in my hotel room. 12 oz. bottle.

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black color, with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of pine hops, roasted malts, light citrus hops, toasted malts, and light chocolate. Very nice roasty/pine mix, I like the nose a lot.

t - Tastes of pine hops, roasted malts, light coffee, light citrus. Again, the pine hops and roasted malts dominate and are great.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. No bitterness, and quite easy to drink.

o - Overall a really nice Black IPA; loads of pine and roasted malts which work really well together. If you're a fan of this style, I'd definitely recommend checking it out. Would like to have it again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike.

The beer is chestnut brown with a quarter inch of beige head. Nice aroma, with scents of pine, hop resin, roast. The roast character is definitely secondary to the pine and hop flavors. Easy to drink, with a lingering taste of pine and a hint of chocolate. Overall, this was one of the better examples of the style I have yet had.

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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 WoodBrew
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Black Top from New Glarus has it positives and a few negatives. The beer pours just about opaque, slight light still coming through...the head was thin, slightly off-white and is leaving a lacing. The smell includes pine, citrus, and chocolate. The taste provides hints of pine and slight bitter citrus. There are some tones of chocolate but not overly present. The mouthfeel is a good medium body with decent carbonation. Overall it is a very good beer. Besides being a great beer, other notable positives is that the abv is lower making this a decent session beer. One draw back is that when comparing against Stone Self Righteous or Two Brothers Black Hop Juice, just do not have the big double IPA flavors mixed with big roasty finish.

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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 MasterSki
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this a while back but for some reason skipped over it when going through my notes. Shared by Nate at BYOB before the Indiana Jones - Temple of Boobs burlesque.

A - A half-finger of light tan foam settles to a thick collar and some splotchy lace. Dark brown body that is a bit lighter at the fringes.

S - Big citrus hop aroma with a touch of pine as well. Roasted malts contributed some caramel and chocolate notes. This was probably between 2-3 months old when I had it but the nose was still quite potent and hoppy.

T - Taste isn't quite as good, but it's still a largely enjoyable blend of citrus, roasted malts, and a light sprinkling of cocoa powder. I appreciate the low level of bitterness.

M - Medium body, medium-low carbonation, smooth texture, and no obvious alcohol.

D - This is the sort of Black IPA that I like most - low bitterness, big hop aroma, and only light chocolate and black malt notes. Crushable stuff, and with a great price to boot!

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Photo of Duff27
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Two inch tan head on a dark brown/borderline black beer. EXCELLENT head retention and well above average lacing.

S- Big whiffs of citrus in the nose...grapefruity citrus.

T- Taste reveals not as much roastiness as apparent in other black IPAs, but there are some chocolate notes...more as it warms a bit. Hops deliver but are not overpowering by any means. Well hidden alcohol.

M- Good medium mouthfeel, creamy. Medium to medium-low on the carbonation.

D/O- If I were blindfolded the thought of this IPA being black would never have crossed my mind. Cheers to Dan and Co. for tackling a newer American beer style even if they're the (domestic) masters of classic German styles. Highly recommended.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At the time of this review, this is #30 on the "Top Beers - American Black Ale" list on Bottle shared by Thorpe the other day, served in a snifter.

Beer is black / dark brown with a thin off white head of small bubbles, low retention, some lacing, moderate to low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, mild roast, mostly hops, mostly pine hops.

Beer is medium in body and sweet with a nice pine hop finish and a little bitterness from the hops and the grain, a decent drinking beer, one of the better simpler black ales I've had, I would have it again.

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Photo of aasher
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle was courtesy of 4DaLoveofStout, thanks Brian!

Black Top pours a light bodied dark hazelnut brown that turns to a black as it pools. It has a nice and soft one finger beige colored head and the beer has amber highlights in the light.The nose is clean and hoppy. It's slightly floral and grassy with no roasted notes. I didn't expect that but welcome the change of pace. The flavors are clean and soapy. It's slightly floral and grassy and has a little malt sweetness to it and very light roast. It has nice flavor. It drinks light and dry. I'm a fan. If I had been blindfolded I would have thought that this was a standard IPA and I love that. I wish more breweries were able to capture that aspect.

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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 TheSevenDuffs
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A gift from my friend in Wisconsin. Bottle date 3011 - Oct 28/11.
Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Poured dark brown and settled very dark brown with some ruby glow around some of the edges One finger of foamy light brown head with good retention.

S - Big citrus notes up front with some juicy fresh grapefruit and some pine coming through from the hops. The background has some roasted malts with a light coffee aroma.

T - Hop bitterness up front with grapefruit and pine flavours. Malt backbone adds roasted malt with a hint of chocolate and a molasses sweetness in the middle. A good balance.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A steady pour into my New Belgium globe glass produces a three finger-thick, pale brown tinged, tan colored head; the head subsides with a creamy texture, and quite a bit of loft. The beer is a concentrated brown color, that isn’t quite black; it shows a clear, dark red-plum hue when held up to the light. The aroma has a pungent, sweet, ripe citrus character to it up front that reminds me of peak season tangerines. Supporting notes of guava, lychee, and canned mandarin oranges add to the expressive hop fruit character. There is an earthy dark malt character here that is noticeable at times underneath the dominant hop character; some light char, perhaps a touch of cold dark-roast coffee, as well as a toasted whole grain character, and a bit of burnt grain husk character.

Lots of dry citrus character up front has a bit of an edge to it, the hops get a bit more floral and tropical fruit like towards the finish, but the final finish has an herbal citrusy character that is a bit like essential citrus oil mingled with tropical fruit essence. The dark / roast malt plays a supporting role here, it is quite smooth, but provides a bit of a burnt edge, a touch of cold coffee in the finish, some charred grain, and even a bit of roasted / burnt wood character. The hop flavor has a bit more of an herbal edge to it than in the nose, it is still mostly fruit driven, but there are light notes of pine sap, some menthol character, and a general green herbal character that lingers on the palate along with a bitter hop character; the bitterness is also accentuated by the roasted malt. The body of this beer is quite light, extremely quaffable, without being watery though, as there is just a touch of viscosity to the brew.

This is clearly a brew meant for knocking back a couple pints. The beer is quite tasty, though I think I prefer the juiciness of the aroma a bit more than the flavor; heresy perhaps, but the body / malt is almost a bit too light to fully be able to support the hop character in the flavor department.

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Thanks! Cracked this to celebrate the 15th of August. In keeping with tradition, I poured it into my Woodshop 7 snifter.

A: Very dark in color with an inch of beige foam that lingers for half a minute

S: Perfumy floral aromatics with resinous pine. Citrus is pronounced, redolent of tangerine, peach, and orange. There's a dash of dark malt. Nice aroma.

T: Light roasted malt presence with a whisper of chocolate but only a little of sweetness. There's a smooth moderate bitterness with ample pine resin, orange, and grapefruit. Nice citrus flavor. Dry hop forward finish.

M: Medium body with upper medium carbonation.

Overall: A nice dark IPA from New Glarus. The malt provides color but not too much flavor.

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Photo of rudzud
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a trade. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a nice deep, dark brown almost black hue with a good one finger light khaki head that faded to leave a nice quarter inch blanket with minimal side lacing.

S - Lots of chocolate malts here with light roast and even lighter pine. There was ALOT of hop in the bottle, but it seems to have vanished upon pouring.

T - More of those roasted (light) malts and slight chocolate. There is almost a spruce quality (like someone else mentioned). I dont get much in the way of bitter hops. Then again, I dont get much in the way of hops period.

M - Mouthfeel is quite nice, good carbonation.

O - Overall this was an interesting black IPA. I would like abit more IPA aspects though in this beer. The notes that are there though are quite tasty.

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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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