Beer Review: Pipeworks Grungeist Imperial IPA


New ninja alert! Grungeist comes in at 9.5% ABV.

Appearance: Cloudy copper orange color with a 1 finger head. Sticky lacing and a head that dissipates to a thin layer. Typical ninja art.

Nose: Fruity and somewhat musty. White peach, stone fruit, white grapes, apricot, kiwi and some pineapple. Lemon and a malt backbone as well.

Taste/Mouth: Wow very unique flavors. White peach big time all the way through like a peach gummy flavored candy. Grapefruit, mango, apricot and grapes. Very juicy, flavorful and unique. You can pick up some heat but barely, it’s hidden well by the big juice and hop flavors. Keeps you interested.

Price/Availability: $10 a bomber in Chicago and pretty easy to find. Rotating as all the Ninjas are.

Overall: One of the most unique, if not the most unique Ninja to date. Grungeist is a new German hop and certainly has incredible depths of flavor. I am obviously a huge fan of this series (seeing as I have reviewed just about all of them) and I love they are pushing the boundaries of these single hop beers and using some new and different hops. This is an awesome and unique beer showcasing a hop I am sure we will start to see pop up more and more.

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Pipeworks Lupine Imperial IPA


Lupine Ninja is up next in my relentless pursuit of reviewing every Ninja out there. I love how Pipeworks literally reveals nothing about this series on their site, just the abv of the ninjas and everything else is just blank. Was excited to see Pipeworks take on this new hop variety. Lupine comes in at 9.5% ABV.

Appearance: Very light, hazy, golden yellow color. 1 finger head with some great lacing. Standard ninja bottle showcasing the eyes of a brewery employee, I believe.

Nose: Super interesting nose on this one. Some unique flower and earthy notes followed up with a big hit of white grapes. Tropical fruit, mango peel, lime and lemon are also quite prevalent. The white grape make for an interesting aroma, definitely an extremely unique hop.

Taste/Mouth: Really nice flavor, super juicy and full feeling. Finishes bitter and slightly dry with a nice tingle and heat from the alcohol. Some of the notes from the nose make there way into the taste such as the white grape, mango and tropical flavors. Really nice flavors and just like the nose, very unique.

Price/Availability: This is a newer Ninja but I suspect it will be rotating as the rest of the series is. $10 for a bomber so the price is right.

Overall: Very unfamiliar with this hop variety but sign me up because after this beer I am certainly a fan. This is a fantastic double IPA and I ended up buying a few of these and enjoyed them a lot. I will continue to grab any new beers from this series and continue to revisit my favorites when they are re-released, add this one to the list!

Grade: A

Beer Review: Pipeworks Hallertau Blanc Imperial IPA


You guys know the drill by now. Pipeworks makes single hop Double IPAs dubbed the Ninja series. I buy them all, I review them all, I drink most of them every chance I get. This one is a showcase of one of the hottest hop varieties out there, Hallertau Blanc. This particular Ninja, Hallertau Blanc, comes in at 10% ABV.

Appearance: Hazy golden color with a thick and pillowy white head. Really awesome sticky lacing all the way down the glass as you make your way through this beer. Standard ninja label art.

Nose: Really strong tropical fruit nose. You get pineapple, berry, mangos, passionfruit and get ready for this one, starfruit! Super awesome to get so many unique tropical fruits and to get really great notes from them all. You get some citrus fruit in there as well, especially grapefruit. Some malt sweetness of course, to be expected on a 10%er.

Taste/Mouth: Citrus comes through first with some lemon and grapefruit flavors followed up by strong tropical fruits. The sweet malt comes through as well. Not as much heat as you would expect at 10%. Very sticky and dry finish, which makes taking the next sip a no brainer.

Price/Availability: Rotating with hop availability (although I think at this point they have only done this one once). Decent price as with all the Ninjas, in the $9-$10 ballpark.

Overall: Another successful Ninja. A great showcase of one of the most popular hops in the game currently, Hallertau Blanc, which has some really amazing unique flavors to it and this is a great way to explore those flavors uninhibited. Keep them coming Pipeworks, I will continue to drink them!

Grade: A-

Beer Review: Pipeworks Cascade Imperial IPA


I continue to try and grab every Pipeworks ninja I see and review them all. This time I have Cascade Ninja, which I have had before reviewing it but wanted to buy it again so I could write a review (and have the bottle for my Ninja collection).

Appearance: Deep copper/light amber color, 1 finger head and some super sticky lacing. Standard Ninja artwork.

Nose: Pretty juicy citrus smell with some grapefruit notes sticking out. Lot of floral and spice coming out of the nose as well.

Taste/Mouth: Spicy and citrusy with some floral notes as well from the nose. Pretty brutal on your palate, very hoppy and bitter. Finished dry and with some heat and a bit from the alcohol content.

Availability: Rotating with hop availability, prices around $10 and pretty readily available in Chicago.

Overall: Another ninja showcasing a great hop. This one is in the middle of the pack as far as ranking the Ninjas. I don’t think its one of their best but I would buy it again as I definitely still consider it to be a solid beer that I enjoyed drinking. Another job well done Pipeworks.

Grade: B

Beer Review: Pipeworks Centennial Imperial IPA


I see a ninja, I buy the ninja. Simple as that really. Here is another review of another ninja series beer from Pipeworks, this time it is showcasing Centennial hops. Centennial comes in at 9.5% ABV with no IBU listed.

Appearance: Hazy copper/amber color with a 1 finger head and plenty of sticky lacing down the glass.

Nose: Pretty fresh hop smell to it, when I drank this and made my notes this beer was bottled only 5 days before can’t get much fresher than that! Ripe tropical fruit, grapefruit, honey, pine and resin with some malt on the nose. Smells very sticky.

Taste/Mouth: Follows the nose with pine and resin notes up front with some grassy, caramel and honey as well. Good amount of malt in the taste, maybe more noticeable than the hop flavor of the beer. A little hot with the 9.5%, I wish the alcohol was turned down a little bit and the characters of the hop flavors could come out a bit more. This beer is also pretty brutal on your palate, crushing bitterness.

Price/Availability: Rotating with the other Ninjas as hops become available. The price is around $11.

Overall: A lower tier Ninja here, love that they always locally source the hops for the Ninja series beers. Unfortunately I think they could have better showcased Centennial in this one, not a lot of flavor from the hop, more just crushing bitterness and a little too hot and malty for me. I much prefer some of the other Ninjas to this one. I do hold all of them to high standards because I know how good they could be!

Grade: C+

Beer Review: Pipeworks Nelson Sauvin Imperial IPA



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.

Grade: B+

Beer Review: Pipeworks Citra Imperial IPA



Up next is a review of another single hop showcase from Pipeworks Ninja Imperial IPA series, this time it is Citra. This is probably the Ninja I have heard the most about and the one I was the most excited to try for the obvious reason that is showcases the incredible Citra hop. Not much to add that I haven’t said on Ninja reviews in the past so I’ll just get to it. Citra comes in at 9.5% ABV and doesn’t list IBU.

Appearance: Deep hazy copper amber. 1/2 finger head with some great lacing. Love the artwork on all the ninjas, I assume it depicts various employees of the brewery?

Nose: Onion, tropical fruit, pineapple, juicy citrus fruit, resin and skunky. This one has lots of great hop character. You can get some of the malt in the nose as well just like some of the other Ninjas I have had in the past.

Taste/Mouth: Sticky medium mouth with a semi dry finish. Pine, resin, citrus fruits and pineapple dominate the taste of this beer. Nice hop bitterness and character with a little malt to balance things out, don’t really get any of the alcohol in the taste which is good.

Price/Availability: Rotating with availability of hops and schedule. I bought it for about $13 and this one sells out pretty quickly.

Overall: This is one of the better Pipeworks beers I have had without a doubt but I still think Mosaic reigns supreme in the battle of Ninjas. This is definitely a great beer I would buy again and one that lives up to the majority of its hype and a fine showcase of Citra.

Grade: A-