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Black Top | New Glarus Brewing Company

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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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 201 | Ratings: 1,053
Photo of jmarsh123
2.54/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark chocolate almost black color with a solid 3 finger tan head. Excellent sticky lacing down the glass.

Smells of roasted chocolate malts with just a little earthy hop presence.

Not as much hop presence as I'd expect. Just a slight citrus flavor on the front end. Some dark roasted malts are present, but really the flavor on this one is lacking.

A bit thin and carbonation on the lower side.

Very disappointed by this one as I've loved almost everything I've had from NG before. It just kind of tastes liked a watered down porter.

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Photo of gbbass16
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first ever New Glarus beer. Had a friend grab some when he went home for Thanksgiving. Pours a dark brown with a quickly dispersing head. The smell is mildly hoppy with some nutiness. Has a good mouthfeel, not to thick or thin. Taste was bitter, then citrus, then hops, and finished with a dark wood/nut tone. I havent had many dark ipa's but this is one that I will for sure seek out again. Food pairings would be fun with this beer.

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

Picked this sixer up in Platteville, WI at the Piggly Wiggly. Smell of citrus hops, maybe some pine and roasted malts. Brownish black pour with white head. A little sweetness to it and then the hops come in. Wow, is this a great beer! Toasted malts and hops mix well; New Glarus really hit a home run with this brew.

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Photo of mrand01
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Weyerbacher tulip. Received this from richkrull in one of the n00b BIFs. Thanks man!

A: A very dark, opaque, brown. About 1/4" of off-white head on the pour that dissipates fairly quickly. Little amount of lacing.

S: Citrus hops with some dark roasted malt.

T: Definitely a malt forward example of this style. That or my bottle is a bit old. That said, it's still relatively hoppy with nice dark malt character (coffee, chocolate, you know the drill).

M: Medium bodied, sticky, with nice carbonation.

O: A pretty good black IPA. I feel like Stone's 15th anniversary brew is the mark to hit for this style right now...that beer is just too good. That said, this may be more available than that is...

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

Thanks to Duff27 for throwing this in at FFF XV.
Served in a tulip.


The beer pours a very dark brown, and appears black whilst in the glass. There's a shimmer of reddish-brown light that poked through in the glass. The head was about 2 fingers and was just slightly off white. It dissipated to a sliver quickly, and left moderate lacing. Lovely looking brew.


The beer has a big hop aroma - tons of grapefruit, lots of pine, some peach, and a little pineapple. I also get some dark malt character. There's a bit of coffee, some bittersweet chocolate, and a little roasted malt. There's a smidge of some alcohol in the nose, but it works well with the other aromas. This beer is an awesome smelling beer!


A little milder than the nose would suggest, this beer still has some wonderful complexity. The front of the tongue is greeted with some tropical fruits, citrus notes, and melon. The middle of the tongue has some nice coffee and a little chalky bittersweet chocolate. There's some slight bready character, and overall the beer is more balanced than it is bitter. This beer isn't sweet, but has somewhat of a roasty fruit flavor which is very pleasant. It's more like an IPA than it is like a porter or stout, but the dark malt adds a little layer of complexity to add to the beer's hoppy notes.


Black Top is very easy-drinking. It starts off with a bit of body, then finishes wonderfully dry and crisp. The carbonation is somewhat low, which works in this beer.


This is a really nice "Black IPA". The beer is complex, yet not fussy on the tongue. Everything is extremely balanced. This beer is incredibly well made, and would be a beer that one could enjoy several of throughout the evening.


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Photo of WJVII
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BA bud CDKrenz. Been too long since my last review.

Poured into a pint glass this brew was a nice oil black color with a decent finger milk chocolate head. The aroma is bold and full of hops. Spice, pine, and strong citrus are all present in the nose. The taste is very crisp with a decent malt up front with hints of caramel and burnt grains. The finish is all hop. Most notably citrus almost to the point of over powering all the other flavors. Despite this the medium to light body and good carbonation round out this beer. A newer style with lose parameters this brew fits the bill and is a good example.

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Photo of willseph
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark, but not black as the name might imply. Poured into a pint glass, little head, no lacing. Fresh floral and citrus nose, the smell is fantastic in fact. First taste was a complex arrangement for me, but subsequent sips made it easy to tell the sweet molasses, malt, and tart hops apart. Nice mix of both earthy and citrusy hops with chocolate undertones.

Overall, one of if not the best black IPA I've had. Well balanced, not too rich, definitely a go-to for me.

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Photo of Nachojon
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- More of a deep, dark red than black. 1 finger head quickly dissipates. No lacing.

S- Hoppy aroma with just the slightest bit of chocolate in the background.

T- Very complex. Love the crisp hops combined with chocolate malt backbone. Usually a beer like this would end up too malty for me, but somehow Dan has found a way to let these flavors hit you one at a time. Nice coffee, dark chocolate flavors here.

M- Crisp and clean. Almost feels too thin at first but as it warms up it really gets a nice body that fits its flavor profile. Nice carbonation.

O- New Glarus is solid and this is another good one from them. Happy to get a chance to try this one, will try again.

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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 azdback
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my custom etched "dead man's hand" pint glass. Pours a very dark brown, but held up to a light it is pretty see through. I can see millions of tiny carbonation bubbles leading to a small one finger head that is creamy in appearance and tan colored. Lace is not to sticky at first and doesn't improve with time.

Smell is quite hop forward and mint pine heavy. It smells a lot like a great IPA. I am just getting a bit of roasted flavors. Mild roasted coffee and a bit of chocolate sweet.

Taste at first is a let down. It has the great fresh hop resin that I love in an IPA but initially the dark roasted flavors don't meld well with it. This one does improve as it warms and as the swallow gets farther down my throat. This is a very mild, but good, interpretation of the style.

Mouth is silky or velvety with creamy carbonation. Body is balanced and finish is average and wet.

Overall it took me a while to get into this one but after it warmed I really liked it. I am still looking for a Black Ale/IPA to knock off Stone 15th Anniversary as the best in the category. This one is a must try if you are exploring the style.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excited at the chance to try this (thanks to a generous relative) - poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Bistre body with burnt umber and chestnut highlights capped by a fist of thick buff foam. Dense ropes of lace; superior retention.

Very fresh evergreen and citrus notes in the nose - malt backed, but bursting with hops. Vague suggestions of rye as well...

Pleasing complex grainy malt bill with hints of cocoa and molasses (as suggested by the description) - bittersweet and dark flavors blend perfectly with the bright full hop elements. Fresh and rich flavors throughout. Increasing earthy/herbaceous/rooty complexity as the ale warms. Finishes dry but free of astringency or any burnt qualities (a common excess of the style in my experience).

Very well carbonated with a full but not heavy mouth-feel.

One of the better examples of the style - unique and expertly balanced.

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

Appearance: Dark black with dark brown hue when held to the light. Small, fine head that diminishes quickly.

Smell: Lots a pine notes. Very nice, clean hop profile.

Taste: Very pleasant hop profile. Intense pine hop profile up front with very little taste of alcohol. Very pleasant and extremely well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Mild to medium carbonation. Smooth and pleasant texture.

Overall: A great IPA and one of the best black IPA's I've had. A great pine hop profile that doesn't overwhelm but pleases. There is also a great balance with the malt and while 7%, very little alcohol taste.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a 6pk of this from Woodman's in Janesville, WI for $6.99 in Fall 2011.

Pours a dark brown/black color with a slight fluuf off-white head. Scent has chocolate malts, molasses, and bitter hops in the mix. Basically the taste is a more robust version of an IPA. It still has a bitter taset throughout but is nicely complimented by the sweet tastes of chocolate and molasses. A very complex beer that overloads the taste buds at first making for a great sipping beer. A great brew using a more unique style that you just don't find too many of in your local beer store. A must try!

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Photo of ChiPool
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the open, BT smelled like the NG IIPA (which i really enjoyed). I wasn't sure what to expect, withthis being my first "black IPA". The benefit is that I have no benchmark...just experience the beer.

Pretty well balanced between hops & malt. The hop presence is piney. Almost no presence of booziness: super smooth. I really think the key to NG beers is to appreciate the subtleties. I know this isn't a "holiday brew"' but i was just able to get my hands on this A few days before T'giving. As a hophead, I prefer this to many of the spiced holiday brews.

Nice, almost sessionable balanced IPA...

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

appearance - jet black, light penetrates the bottom of the tulip glass with a slight reddish hue. Beige head that dissapates to a thin layer and leaves sticky lacing

smell - lots of pine in the aroma, a tiny bit of citrus. Could be a little more aggressive. Slight bit of roast malt in the nose

taste - sweetness coats the back of the throat first followed by a nice piney hop forward taste. Slight bit of roast malt in the flavor, but nothing stout-like about this which is fairly surprising. Not that I mind, I prefer it this way. The finish falls of with a little bitterness.

mouthfeel - thin mouthfeel that makes it extremely drinkable. Medium carbonation.

overall - Probably the most drinkable Black IPA that i've had. It depends on your mood and taste to decide whether that is right for you. This is almost sessionable but is 7%. It certainly is black, and it has a good amount of hop aroma. It's not exceptional in any way.

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Photo of Treebs
3.21/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle served in a FFF pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown with some dark ruby/blood orange hues around the edges where the light hits. A one finger light khaki head forms on the pour and stick around for a while and leaves some splotchy, sticky lace down the glass.

S: I definitely get some citrus hops in the nose balanced out with a caramel malt backbone and some light chocolate as well. It's a nice smell, but definitely different.

T: Definitely a different taste. Quite the maze of flavors. Biscuit malts with some light toffee and cocoa. The citrus hops come through in the very end with a finish of slight bitterness. Tastes more like a blend of beer.

M: Between medium and light bodied with great carbonation. Very drinkable with a bitter finish.

O: Not too bad. I felt the flavor profiles were sort of fighting for dominance with the hops just squeaking out a victory. I still don't know what to think of this "Black IPA" style.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice hearty black pour with two fingers of creamy khaki foam sitting strongly atop the brew! Aromas kick off with big citric and grapefruit hops that are bright, green and resinous. Somewhat roasted chocolate malts in the backbone with a hint of molasses and caramel sweetness.

First sip brings a mix of roasted grain malts and citric, herbaceous hops. The hops don't come out quite as much as the nose suggested as chocolate, molasses and caramel flavors swirl in as well. Flows down with a nice bitter kick. Nice Black IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with great carbonation. It's hearty but at the same time easily drinkable. A well made beer as I've come to except from New Glarus. For a brewery that does not focus on hops too much I was glad to see them release this and hopefully it will be brewed again sometime!

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

Got a six-pack of this from a good friend in Milwaukee. After having a put a few of these to good use, I thought it high time to give it a proper review. I'd like to note that while it is characterized as an American Black Ale, the brewer calls it a Black IPA on the label.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Pours an inky black, with a three-finger tan head that reduced unevenly, leaving moderate lacing around the sides of the glass.

Has a very aromatic aroma, spicy and hopped, with that signature New Glarus yeast smell I've come to recognize in a few of their beers. Pine, grapefruit, molasses and burnt caramel are all present.

Smoother in taste than in aroma, there's a fair amount of roasty malt to start that is so smooth it is almost creamy. Pepper, pine, and herbal flavors combine for a smooth, moderately bitter finish. The bitterness is not drying, however, leaving your palette eager to drink more.

Medium bodied, this is a lot smoother than most Black IPA's I've had. The closest in mouthfeel I've had to this is Stone's 15th Anniversary , and even with that, there was enough hops to give it plenty of bitterness to finish. This ale, on the other hand, is a lot smoother and easy to drink.

Pleasant, clean, and easy drinking, this could almost qualify as a sessionable Black IPA. Of the for New Glarus brews I've tried thusfar, it is easily my favorite. Certainly worth a try, and one which I am glad to have a few more from that 6-pack in my cellar.

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Photo of ChopperSmith
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a long neck 12 oz. brown bottle into a standard clear pint glass.

Appearance: Hazy deep brown color, almost black...like coca-cola. Two fingers of creamy foam that faded to a nice frothy cap and left some thick foamy lacing behind.

Smell: Floral, hemp, mint and citrus hops. A slight sweetness underneath the hops.

Taste: Same as it smells, Citrus and earthy hemp hops up front with very little bitterness, then sweet dark malts follow for a remarkably well balanced ale. I love the unique hop profile of this beer, has a great hops aroma and taste but very little bitterness.

Mouth feel: Medium bodied with good carbonation. Finishes clean and hoppy on the palette.

Overall: I like this beer a lot, and will definitely seek it out again. It has a unique hops profile and a lot of character. Another exceptional brew from New Glarus.

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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 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 Pauly2X
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark brown, as I can just barely see through it when held to a light. Nice half finger beige head as well.

S- Citrusy, piney and grassy hop aromas domminate. A light roasted malt character is noticeable in the background as well.

T- The roasty malt character gains strength from being weak in the nose before. The hops don't go down without a fight resulting in a great balance throughout. The finish leans a little hoppy but is still well balanced overall.

M- Nice smooth medium body with good carbonation.

O- A great "sessionable" CDA. If you have the means, I highly recomend picking some up.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a dark brown with clarity around the edges, nice frothy 2 finger head, good retention, nice lace

S: fresh hops, notes of citrus and pine, some tropical fruits as well, maltiness in the background

T: pine and grapefruit dominate the front, roasted malts are present in the middle, slightly bitter finish, nice balance, alcohol is incredibly deceptive

MF: mellow carbonation, smooth body

O: this is a really nice example of this "new" style, easy drinker, well balanced, good flavor

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