Always got my eyes peeled for Ninja sightings when I am at the liquor store and was able to grab this one a few days after its release. One of the newer additions to the Ninja family, Nelson Sauvin. Nelson has seen an increase in use lately and I am not complaining, it is one aromatic and flavorful hop from New Zealand. Nelson Sauvin comes in at 10% and as usual Pipeworks does not release the IBUs for Ninjas.
Appearance: Hazy dark copper/light amber with a 1 finger head and some nice lacing. This is more toward the color of a Double IPA I like, sometimes the Ninjas are really dark in color.
Nose: Very piney, spicy, some fruitiness and earthy notes as well. Definitely that New Zealand Nelson vibe on this one, as Pipeworks says I have never had a Gooseberry but this has a definite Gooseberry feel to it, I agree. Just has some notes in the nose you can’t quite put your finger on what it is, must be Gooseberry.
Taste/Mouth: Spicy, floral and some grape notes up front. Kind of leafy and vegetal in the aftertaste and finish. Full mouth-feel and pretty drinkable for a 10%, some pale malt backs up the huge hop notes. Nelson dominates the flavor and feel of this one with its very unique and different notes. Not overwhelmingly hot like some of the other Ninjas, has some heat though obviously from the 10%.
Price/Availability: Rotating Ninja lineup as hops are available and depending on what they feel like brewing I would imagine. First time for Nelson, decent pricing around $10.
Overall: Surprised with how good this one was, the Ninjas can be a bit of a crap shoot sometimes. Nice showcase of a newer hop variety that I would definitely recommend everyone gets familiar with. Its in the middle as far as ranking up against the other Ninjas, I would buy this one again.