Black Top | New Glarus Brewing Company

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1,077 Ratings

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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Ratings: 1,077 |  Reviews: 207
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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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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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Black Top from New Glarus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 1,077 ratings
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