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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 201 | Ratings: 1,053
Photo of Etan
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


A: Pours a mellow black with some reddish hues. Nice beige head.

S: Hops dominate the nose. Soft orange, pineapple, grapefruit peel, a hint of roasted grain behind.

T: Taste brings juicy citrus, a bit of clean pine, mild chocolate and a bit of roasted malt. The malt is very understated compared to the hop profile.

M: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Really tasty and easy-drinking black IPA. Very light on the roastiness which is unusual for this ABAs..

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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 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 rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer glows a dense walnut brown body with a glowing brown base. There is a thin tan film that breaks up after a bit.

S- The aroma is woody green hops with a hint of dark malt as it warms.

T- The green earthy herbal hops leads to a light roasted note in the finish. A slight tartness comes through as it opens.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a gentle fizz and no alcohol heat.

O- This has a nice N.W. Coast hop profile with good black malt notes without the bitterness. This is a nice session beer with lots of character.

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Photo of herr_fish
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

app-look like a porter, dark chocolate brown, tan head, appears to have lighter carbonation.
smell- nice hop spice, strong aroma, scent lets you know you are in for a strong flavorful beer.
taste- hop forward with a nice roasted malt background which is what makes it different that a typical ipa. The hops have a distinctive spice note to them and I couldn't put my finger on it at first. Decided there is an element of rye to this beer.
mouthfeel- just a touch thinner than i like, but good overall
overall- a real winner here, I have tried it several times now, some days I think it is amazing, some just good to great, either way always a good choice.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

khaki finger of head, into a tasting snifter. Aleutian islands of lace sticks permanently to the glass.

Aroma of summer citrus. Thought there'd be roastiness, but there's none. Maybe the slightest vague caro-syrup sweetness. Aroma is basically American IPA.

Flavor in the mouth is a shock of sweetness on the front of the tongue. Then of course American IPA with assertive hops. Profile fades into a molasses back-end. It's all perfect, balanced, bitterness and malt.

Cracked my top-five non-big-beer beers of all time.
I'm revising my review of 9/9/13 after having tried Lake Louie Radio Free IBA. I totally loved Black Top when by itself. But next to Radio Free IBA, my malt-lover preferences assert themselves, and I have to downgrade Black Top from 4.58 to 4.34.

Also, it seems to fight with a lot of different foods.

Still, amazingly flavorful while remaining eminently refreshing.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a near pitch black color with a fingers worth of tan head that recedes to a cap that leaves decent lacing

S: Nicely balanced. A good amount of roasted malts combine with piney, citrusy, and earthy hops. Some chocolate and caramel in there. Alcohol well hidden

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with a mix of roastiness and fruitiness and slowly unfolds to reveal plenty of pine, citrus, earth, caramel sweetness, dark chocolate, and molasses. Bitterness hits midway and continues into the finish

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A nice black IPA with great balance and drinkability. Black IPAs are usually hit or miss with me, and this one is a hit. Recommended

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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 BWED
3.99/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a chalice

A- Deep dark brown and hazy. Light tan head with nice retention though hanging very low. Good lacing.

S- Big pine hop and some dry citrus rind. Very subtle sweet malt and caramel.

T- Mild caramel. Finish is pine.

M- Full bodied, with a bitter, dry finish. The finish, however, doesn't linger.

O- Very very good. It isn't over the top, which I'm learning that New Glarus is very good at that. It's a lot more mild than the big black ales I've had before, but it still holds the same qualities of a great one.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into an unlabeled snifter today 8/22/2013. Have had at least a six pack of this in the past year or so but this is the first time I'm able to sit down and review this beer on its own merits.

Pours a dark mahogany brown, not far off from black but definitely not black with a large, fluffy 2-finger tan head that slowly dissipates into a bubbly film that aggregates in the collar. Lacing is very nice here as well- it sticks well on the side of the glass I'm drinking from. All in all, a very nice looking dark beer.

I can smell a good bit of citrus flavours initially. Lots of citrus- tangerines, orange, even a bit of grapefruit. Or maybe the orange=grapefruit, I don't know. But its definitely citrusy. I can smell a faint background of dark malts- very faint coffee, toffee and some sweet candied sugar. When its chilled, its very hop dominant. When it warms up, the malts come out a little bit more. Still rather hop-forward and pungent.

It tastes very much like a sweet IPA. Lots of tangerines and orange in the flavour throughout, and the coffee and chocolate kind of poke out in the middle a little bit. But this is very much a hoppy beer. The flavours don't meld together quite that well compared to the nose but this is still tasty.

Medium bodied brew that isn't too sticky or dry; it is actually quite refreshing. Aftertaste is rather citrusy. Carbonation is just right for this beer. Generally a smooth, hoppy flavoured beer that has a different sweet background, likely from the different types of malts used.

Its a very good black IPA. Don't think I've had a better one in a while, if ever. As a guy who loves Black Butte Porter/Eddy Fitz Porter/etc., I would like a bit more of that roasty malt presence in a Black IPA- that is what would really do it for me. Anyway, if you like both IPAs and porters, this is an interesting one for you to try.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle.

A: Clear deep brown body under an inch of dense, creamy tan head. Terrific retention and lacing. Attractive.

S: Piney hops dominate, with some dark chocolate malt in the background. Simple and good.

T: Spicy, piney hops up front, with the roasted malts contributing some coffee notes toward the end. Clean, bitter, herbal finish. Balanced, flavorful, and drinkable. Great.

M: Creamy, soft medium body. Delicate and rich at the same time.

O: Excellent hoppy dark ale (I prefer to stay out of the naming controversy), and one of the few examples of the style that I find genuinely drinkable. I could easily put away several of these, which is impressive given their strength of both ABV and flavor intensity. Another winner from New Glarus, and an incredible value as a $7-$8 sixpack.


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Photo of brock146
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A - Pours a dark chocolate color with a thin white/tan head

S - Citrus and piney hope smell.

T - Tropical hops and roasted malt. A slight carmel flavor with some pine and citrus to back it up.

M - Much thinner than I was hoping for. Thin and bubbly.

O - Decent black IPA. It is much like the rest of the New Glarus offerings in that I was expecting much more out of the beer than it actually provided. Another beer from NG that I feel doesn't live up to all the hype. I just wish that the minds at work in New Glarus Wisconsin would be a little bit more bold when it comes to their brews. However, I may be tainted by trying to compare it to Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale.

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.19/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a dark black pour with 2 fingers of creme colored foamy head leaving behind tons of lacing. smells of grapefruit and dark roasted grains.. definitely a fresh black ipa! a dark bitterness coming from the dark grain bill, with a nice floral/citrusy hop profile that balances this beer out perfectly and takes the attention away from the color. medium body, slightly creamy, mostly sticky.. medium carbonation.

i think aside from wookey jack, this is one of my top black ipa picks. too bad it's not available here!

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Photo of Omnium
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Pours a dark brown, one finger head, light lacing.
S - Has a roasted nutty quality to it, some decent pine and other earthy hop scents, and a mild toffee malt.
T - Taste follows the smell a lot but this is really a lot more like a brown ale than a black, which isnt bad, but I'm not sure how to lean on it, the hoppiness does come through midway.
M - Creamy yet enough bitterness to cut through.
O - Its not really a black ale, but its still pretty good, but there's better black IPA's out there.

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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 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 MJKauz
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, darker than a straight Coke. Golden full three finger head.

S: I got more malt than anything, maybe a little coffee and citrus. A strong hit of malt right off the pour though.

T: Not at all bitter for what I'd expect and lacks the depth that I'd expect. I do get the coffee notes and a dark chocolate with a bit of citrus feel that lingers. Malt falls off quick.

M: Leans more toward a watery stout than a Black IPA. Its smooth and warms my mouth despite the temperature.

O: Its a nice balance when I want the hops from an IPA and the malt of a stout and drinks much easier without the bitterness that some nights turn me off from an IPA.

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Photo of jaasen64
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into HF "fest" sherry glass. Thanks Josh (thebigredone) for sending this cool extra.

A- Pours a dark brownish black that appears almost opaque in the glass. A thin amount of head that recedes fairly quickly to a flat top, not a ton of lacing, about average carbonation.

S- Aromas of citrus hops, some dark malts, and maybe a slight smokiness that balances well. About average aroma.

T- Citrus hops of oranges, light pineapple, with a slight bitterness, some lightly roasty dark malts, finishes with more citrus fruits and a very slight cocoa presence. Interesting flavor profile, but nothing that is overly aggressive.

M- Fairly thin, not a ton of carbonation, easy drinking.

O- This was a slightly above average black IPA. It was good and had a nice aroma/taste profile but there wasn't anything about it that made it stand out too much. Definitely something that I would drink again, but nothing that I would necessarily seek out.

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Photo of atr2605
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-pours a coca cola color with a foamy tan head with excellent retention and lacing
S-lots of citrus in the nose
T-more citrus and some roasted chocolate notes in the background
M-smooth medium bodied
O-well balanced and very good beer, not quite as complex as I would have expected but still a great brew

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Photo of zeledonia
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted 15 June 2013, reviewed from notes.

Pours very dark brown, not quite black but almost there. One finger of light tan head, good retention and really nice lacing.

Smell is really nice, quite a bit better than most black IPAs I've had. The citrus burst of hops blends quite nicely with the gentle chocolate aromas of the malts. Showcases the aromatic hop and rich malt elements that I look for in this style, and they come together harmoniously.

Taste is good, but a little simpler than I'd like it to be. Rich, chocolatey malts that have a full chewy character that I have a hard time pinning down, but that I really like. Biggest thing that's lacking is bitterness - the dark malts and the hops should both bring it, but I don't get it from either.

Feel is one of the highlights. Smooth, rich, and mouth-filling. Carbonation swells up, becoming foamy and fluffy in my mouth, and a finish that lasts just as long as it should.

A really good black IPA. The smell mixes hops and malts quite well, and the feel is excellent. Taste is the low point, but it's still pretty good.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From: Woodman's, Kenosha, WI
Date: No date on bottle
Glass: Tulip

While definitely drinkable, Black Top does not live up to expectations: not dark enough, not hoppy enough, a definitely pleasant, but not showstopping Black IPA that feels a bit watered down at times. Of course, as I have no idea how old this bottle is, it's hard to say whether this is an accurate representation or not. Since New Glarus does not find it worth their time to put dates on bottles, though, I'll consider this as good as any bottle I'll find at a store and worthy of reviewing.

Pours a 1.5cm tall head of slightly off-white foam, made up of small-sized bubbles, with average retention of about one minute. The foam fades to a thin cap atop the body of the beer, leaving modest lacing of some dots and lines affixed to the insides of the glass. Beer is a transparent dark brown color, with light bringing out amber brown to dark orange hues. Carbonation is visible, somewhat sluggish, rising from the center of the glass.

Aroma is of moderate pine resin, lightly roasted malts with some sweetness, and mild dark caramelized malt. Somewhat muted, raising concerns about age of bottle or just relatively unexciting aromatic expression of the beer.

Overall flavor impression is of mild pine-like hops with moderate bitterness, mild roasted malt, cocoa, and dark caramel malt sweetness. The general idea is: mild. Front of palate features dark caramel malt sweetness with a touch of roasted malt and slight piney hops. Mid-palate of light pine resin, mild roasted malts (think very faint cocoa), and equally modest hop bitterness. Back of palate finds mild roasted malt with hints of char, cocoa, dark caramel sweetness, and a tingling of pine-like hops. Aftertaste of mild hop bitterness with light roasted malt, chocolate, and dark caramelized sugar sweetness.

Beer is medium-bodied with carbonation of fairly low intensity, resulting in a smooth, though somewhat overly placid mouthfeel. Closes semi-dry, with significant stickiness lingering on the palate.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark dark brown, near black. Nice finger and a half tan head that retains nicely. Fair amount of lacing. This is a nice looking beer.

Nose has big fresh fruit character, mosty dominated by sweet orange. Subtle Roast malt plays nicely with fruity hops. Very slight pine can also be detected.

Dark roast malt and hints of chocolate are now more dominante in the taste. This is followed closely by an grassy slightly piney hop character that has mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel is nice. Very refreshing yet not shy on the nice hoppy pils. Very drinkable.

Overall this is a great black ipa. It's got alot going on that gives it great complexity and balance.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.36/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the Black IPA for someone who wants to get into more beers of this style. Very hop forward with a citrus nose and citrus taste with light pine. There is very light roast to get the dark black hue with slight off white head. I prefer a bit more roast when I settle into a Black IPA but this beer drinks so smooth. Regardless of style this beer is very drinkable and worth seeking out. One of the better Black IPAs I've had.

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Photo of Purp1eOne
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - A nice dark brown in color with a decent head

S - like a IPA, hops, citrussy a very nice aroma before the taste

T - This tastes like a quality black IPA should a nice citrus quality with a hint of malt

M - A very nice feel of carbonation and body

O - I really liked this beer, everything went together very well and was surprised that I like it so much. Will definitely be added to my New Glarus hauls.

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Photo of 312HopBomb
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a nice tan crown. Great lacing.

Smell is herbal, floral hop with some berries. Nice fresh fruit.

Taste has perfectly roasted malts with some light molasses and light brown sugar mixed with fruity, herbal hops. A definite treat. Some warming alcohol.

A very nice black ale and a bit potent. Cheers, New Glarus!

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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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