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 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 Urbancaver
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark mahogony brown. Beautiful colour. Lots of off-white frothy head. Smells very hoppy. Some roastiness peaking through. Definitely very drinkable. Body is a bit thin but low carbonation levels. Despite not being a huge Black IPA fan this was fairly tasty. Quite sessionable

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Photo of brew3crew
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- dark body with a white whispy head.

S- nice hop smell. Very fruity and i like it...

T-follows the nose. Has a nice smell but not to overly hoppy. Very pleasant

M-medium body and smooth

O- very nice beer. Good work. Another hit from new galarus.

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Photo of devilben02
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, opaque cola brown, topped by a thick, sudsy sand-colored head. The aroma is that of a well-made pale ale, with a bright grapefruit hop presence on top of a light caramel sweetness. The flavor is likewise "paler" than the color would suggest, with only a dull, muddled roastiness and an ashy aftertaste providing any indication that this beer isn't dyed to be as dark as it is. In contrast to the other black ales I have tried (and made myself), the predominant characteristics are again a light, fresh grapefruit hoppiness that would be more expected in an APA/IPA. The fine, tingly carbonation and medium-light body are fine enough, but just like the flavor profile, it would be nice if the texture was a bit more robust.

Overall, although this beer largely lacks the deep roasted character of a black ale, and it isn't potently bitter like many IPAs today, it was still quite a pleasure to drink.

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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 johnkale
3.57/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - cola colored, slightly translucent, with tight beige cap of foam

S - not nearly as roasty as I would expect, tons of citrus, grapefruit and orange zest, moderately piney, with a bit of toasted bread, a touch of molasses

T - follows nose, though pine comes through a bit more. there's a nice molasses sweetness that comes through under the hops but it displays some burnt edges. aftertaste is a little too charcoal for my liking, but i find that to be the case with a lot of beers of this style, ends decidedly hot, which came as a big surprise to me

M - too thin, carbonation is good, but considering the alcohol heat and the hoppiness I desired something a little bit chewy

O - very solid, very drinkable, while the hops melded fairly nicely with the roasted malt components there were a few flaws that kinda stuck out a bit too much for me to be completely sold on this one

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into pint glass.

A) Black at first glance. Held up to light, revealing a very dark brown. There was a nice inch of tannish colored head. The head settles to a nice looking dusting. There is very good lacing with this one.

S) Plenty of pine and some citrus peel. A bit of sweetness and a touch of coffee. Smells good...

T) Roasted malt, pine and citrus fruit. Hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

M) Medium body, well carbonated. This has a nice balance. A nice piney finish, with a pleasing aftertaste.

O) Wow.... Really enjoyed this beer. This is one more reason I am thankful to have New Glarus Brewing Co located in my neck of the woods.

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

A: Dark brown, not quite black like some others. Clear and filtered. Small, tan, espresso-like head that leaves a little bit of lacing.

S: Big time hops. Mango, orange, pineapple scents. Sweet, caramel, toffee malt comes through in the background.

T: Hops right up front, great hop flavor that matches the aroma profile. Then, malts join in and give a nice caramel sweetness. Finishes slightly bitter, yet clean.

M: Medium-full. Slightly sticky. Perfect amount of carbonation.

This is another great, drinkable brew from New Glarus. It's nice that they ventured into this style, it is one of my favorites. This is not the best black IPA I've had, but certainly one of the most drinkable, something New Glarus always keeps in mind for the Wisconsin consumer. This brew could benefit by more of a coffee and roasted malt flavor profile.

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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 Metalmonk
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a delicious-looking head of dirty off-white, big and fluffy, and it leaves big patches of puffed rice lace in its wake. The color is, appropriately, black as tar.

Aroma is a quintessential one, for the style. Huge, clean, ultra-breezy hops, somewhere between dryer sheet and lime peel. The nearly burnt malt character is there in the nose, pretty big too, but the hops overtake slightly.

Taste is nearly a facsimile of the aroma, and a little soapy in the finish. Grassy and citrusy at first, with roasted malts being kind of spicy, reminding of rye. Interesting how the citrus (lemon and orange) spike out of a nearly bracing malt roastiness. But that's the style, ain't it? Feel is thinnish, with prickly carbonation.

Still a seemingly incongruous meeting of elements, these black ales. You dig it or you don't, although not all are created equal. This one is better than most.

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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 morimech
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not really black but more a dark brown. A two finger head forms and has good retention before settling to a thick cap. Large amount of lacing is left down the glass.

Mostly hop aroma. A little dank with huge doses of citrus and pine. The malt is mostly hidden. Just a little roast is detected.

Thankfully I can taste the black. The black comes in the form of chocolate and roasted malt flavor. Still largely a hop bomb though. Citrus and pine brings the bitter punch.

Body is that of a standard IPA. Has good carbonation.

Better than a lot of beers of this style. The black is not just color but has some flavor.

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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 Hachiman
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish-brown with a one-finger ecru head and fine lacing.

Nice citrus-herbal, complex hop aroma. Very pleasant.

Very tasty guava-citrus fruitiness that blends well with a murky malt sweetness. Some bitterness on the back end.

Medium heavy, lightened by carbonation and some drying alcohol at the finish.

This has become my second favorite New Glarus brew after their world-class Wisconsin Belgian Red.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: dark brown, finger head, fine lacing

S: big citrus nose (grapefruit)

T: citrus, malt, mild roasted malt, slow bitter finish
hint of oily

M: med body, big tongue prick, solid
carbonation, mild oily mouth

O: New Glarus has a very nice start.
Enjoy their beers and would get this again.
Recommend this to others, perhaps, a
good Black IPA gateway offering.


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Photo of jera1350
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great look of the dark body and thick cap of dark tan foam. The head retains nicely.

The nose on this beer is amazing. Huge fresh hop scent fills the nose. Floral and chocolate malt notes linger in the background to form one great smelling brew.

Quite chocolatey tasting with roasted malt undertones and a nice crisp hop presence. Plenty of citrusy hops happening on the back end actually.

Quite smooth and lightly dry. I would call this medium bodied.

This is one of the top examples of the style that I have had. I think this is one of the most drinkable ones for the style as well. This is an absolutely well done "American Black Ale". The nose is killer and the overall beer is a real treat.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am very excited to find out that New Glarus is releasing new beers again!

Pours dark, almost black with darker brown highlights around the edges of the glass. Two finger tan head that sticks around for a while, mediocre lacing, but excellent smooth creamy lighter bodied texture and is well carbonated.

Now, the thing that this beer does exceptionally well is in the nose. This is the first beer in a long long time that I can remember smelling so good from all the way across the room from my pint glass, the nose really carries that far! Heady scents of pineapple / mango, pine resin, and roasted malts as if from a porter mingle together in a combo that really makes me salivate for some reason. Tastes of all the things promised by the nose and also some interesting interplay between a sweet caramel malt tone that plays hide and seek with a roasted more bitter malt, finish is relatively straightforward bittering...overall a fantastically well-executed BIPA.

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

This beer has a very good, strong aroma of hops as you open the bottle and pour. Pours a very dark, nearly pitch-black (hence the name, right?) with an ample 2-finger tan head that leaves a nice lacing as it dissipates. The mouthfeel is solid.

The taste is complex (at least for my level of expertise). It doesn't have nearly the hop/citrus taste I'd have expected from the smell. After the initial taste of hops, it mellows fast with a sweet and slightly malty aftertaste.

I'm not too familiar with Black IPAs, but I did enjoy this beer quite a lot, and look forward to enjoying it and other Black Ales again.

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

This is no RIS/DIPA mix. It is a great blend of some complex flavors. What a great tasting beer. After the first smell I thought wow, and after the first drink I knew I was going to open another one.
12 oz bottle poured into a pint
Look is very dark, with a nice sized head.
Smell Wow very hop forward a lot of citrus fruit.
Taste very complex and the citrus starts it all off and then the malts join the show. I get a lot of both hops and malt flavors and neither over shine the other. What a great blend.
Feel is a little thin and fits this beer perfectly
Overall I wouldn’t change a thing. It will be interesting to see if some time changes this beer. Fresh as it is now it is amazing.

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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 crossovert
3.37/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Black IPAs, I usually hate them because they are really lame and un-thought-out recipes. Maybe NG can change my mind. 12 oz bottle.

It pours a dark brown with a foamy tan head. Definitely looks nicer than most of these types of brews.

The smell is really nice. It emanates from the glass even when you don't have your nose up to it. It smells like a big time dipa or something but with a hint of cocoa. It is nice and fresh which helps it. Very resiny.

The flavor isn't as great, but it is better than most black ipas. It has a bitterness that lingers on the back of the tounge. The flavor is very citrusy with some sugary malt and a hint of roastiness on the back end.

It is still kind of jumbled but at least black ipas are evolving into something a bit more drinkable.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.54/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Deep ruby with black hues and a light tan head.

S - Wow! Awesome aroma. Pine and citrus, candied orange, grapefruit, resiny, fresh hops. Smells like some nice Simcoe hops to me.

T - This is where it all falls apart. For such a great aroma the taste is very dull. Fair hop presence of citrus and grapefruit with a touch of pine. Some malt balance but no complexity at all.

M - Light body, almost watery.

D - Very strange combination. The aroma seems like a completely different beer than the taste/mouthfeel. Everything great about the aroma just disappears.

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Photo of znichols
2.87/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Not black, but closed to it. Dark ruby body when held up to the light. The head is off-white and settles pretty quickly. Would have wished for this sucker to be a little more opaque.

S - Great aroma of pine needles, lime, and roast. Very enticing. A good aromatic balance of American hops and dark malt.

T - This is where this beer lacks for me, unfortunately. I was hoping for a greater malt and/or hop presence. It starts with a pretty subdued citrus hop flavor and quickly moves to light roastyness then fades altogether. Could have used a little more lingering flavor from either the hops or malt. Perhaps some more flavoring hops and a little crystal malt?? Also not a whole lot of bitterness for any style of an IPA...

M - Somewhat sticky but a little watery. Moderate carbonation and a strange grittiness to it.

O- I tend to look at Cascadian Dark Ales as a full-flavored beer that blows your palate but you can only have one or two a night. I could probably drink 10 of these if i had to, but thats not really a good thing. Its pretty watery and lacking the robust flavor promised by the roasty, hoppy aroma. NG tends to make more approachable beers, which this is, but maybe not every style needs to be made approachable. I would say this is the first New Glarus beer i've had where they really dropped the ball. Its a Black IPA, but not a very good one.

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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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