Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Black Top | New Glarus Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 201 | Ratings: 1,053
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.

 619 characters

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.

 474 characters

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.

 677 characters

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

 302 characters

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.

 1,139 characters

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.

 919 characters

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.

 592 characters

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!

 587 characters

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...

 604 characters

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.

 938 characters

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.

 953 characters

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!

 822 characters

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.

 990 characters

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.

 1,486 characters

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.

 853 characters

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.

 459 characters

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.

 497 characters

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.

 607 characters

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

 493 characters

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.

 964 characters

Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours sort of an amberish red that becomes a dark mahogany with 1 finger head.

S - Quite a bit of citrus hops, bit of dark, caramel and molasses malt, a touch of white chocolate. Finishes with a bit of licorice and pine.

T - A lot of grapefruit in the mouth, a bit of light chocolate, some orange peel.

M - Smooth, not remarkable.

Overall - Good beer, good balance. But it does a good job of creating a good black IPA.

 426 characters

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

Poured a deep black color with some big fluffy beige head on it.

Smell is sweet, malty with some spice in the finish.

Taste is malty. Maybe a little smokey with some bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium. Good body went down smooth.

Overall a really good beer. It's a very good change of pace.

 309 characters

Photo of Erish
3.77/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass. No freshness date.

A: clear dark mahogany color, an aggressive pour produced a thick dark tan head that slowly fell into a thick cap with good lacing.

S: ruby-red grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, key lime, pine, and a back note of espresso. Smells pretty freaking awesome!

T: the roasted notes come through strongly on the palate wherein they seem restrained in the nose, also the depth and saturation of the wonderful citrus aromas that are evident in the nose seem faded upon tasting this beer. The finish is muted and grassy. I really, really wanted to love the taste of the beer based on how wonderful it smells, but I was reminded that smell and taste, while connected, are not the same thing. Not that I hated the taste of this beer, it just failed to live up to its billing that was advertised to my nose!

M: light to medium-bodied, lightly silky to somewhat oily texture, moderate to plentiful carbonation, and the finish is only moderately bitter.

O: I like this beer, and love the smell of this beer, but it fails to live up to the standards of what I consider a "great" go-to beer. Still, I would get this again.

 1,178 characters

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.

 394 characters

Photo of kawilliams81
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass.

A- Near black with 2 finger creamy tan head and some blotches of lacing.

S- Roasted malts, pine and some citrus hops.

T- Chocolate and roasted malts. Pine and citrus hop bitterness comes in in the middle and finish.

M- Light body but not too thin. Medium carbonation with a slightly dry finish.

O- Good black ipa. Have had better bigger black ipa's, but this beer is easy to drink and has nice roasted malt and hop bitterness.

 455 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!