Pipeworks Ninja vs. Unicorn


I don’t know about you, but when I picture unicorns, I think a cute and cuddly majestic animal that every 8 year old girl writes to Santa about.  But in the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend!!”  This unicorn adorning the Pipeworks label looks as if he (and it has to be a he) was shot up with more steroids than BALCO had at the turn of the century.  Roger Clements, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco, Alex Rodriguez, The Macho Man Randy Savage, and Sammy Sosa were all cleaner than this bulging, raging, and testosterone laden thoroughbred.  It actually could put up a fight against a ninja, that’s if it doesn’t find itself in front of a grand jury denying every knowing Victor Conte.  Will it knock my taste buds out of the park, or will it forever be branded by an asterisk?  Time to run them numbers…

IMG_1253Appearance:  Lighter in color than the picture would suggest.  A transparent golden brown with a head that lasted for a little while.  Lacing was pretty as I drank.

Smell:  Nice citrus fumes are emitting from this brewski.  Oranges, limes, grapefruit and some tropical mango are the fruits that I get from the head.  A fruity IPA with a noticeable malt backbone to it.  Under the fruitiness there is a sweet, grainy scent that reminds you this is a Midwestern IPA.

Taste:  Big grapefruit and bitter finish on this brew – it’s odd that this is the first thing that I notice about the beer.  It’s probably because upon first sip, everything was pretty lackluster.  I was expecting something better than this, considering this beer his highly regarded by the public, but man, it just falls short.  On the front end, it’s pretty malty.  I get very little citrus from the brew and it sits heavier than Vader for an IPA.  Mid-palate, there is an odd muskiness you get similar to venturing into your Grandparent’s basement crossbred with year old freezer burned vegetables.   Mustiness sometimes works in a sour, but for what is supposed to be a clean IPA, it really subtracts from the overall experience.  Other than those off flavors, there really isn’t much else this brew offers, other than a dense, malty taste.  It’s quite lacking in flavor and might be one of the least complex DIPAs I’ve had.  The biggest note is on the finish, which for me is overly bitter and on the acidic side.

IMG_1255Mouthfeel is a little syrupy on this brew, but at 9% ABV, that could do it.  I felt that the carbonation was a little too much for an IPA, but it could have been in my head.

Overall:  Since it’s around Christmas time and I’ve been brushing up on the holiday movies, drinking this beer is the same feeling Ralphie had when he realized the secret message he eventually decoded was, “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.”  I felt gypped from this bottle.  How can this possibly be so highly rated?  If you’re a fan of West Coast, hop forward, tropical IPAs, skip this.  Overall, I’ll give it a C-, and if you take into consideration the availability factor of this brew, maybe even a D+.  With that rating in writing, you maybe thinking I must have had an old batch.  Not really.  It was brewed less than a month ago.  I know it’s not as fresh as people would like, but considering my review of Lunch was at least 3 months old, it’s young in comparison.  Not even PEDs could help this brew.



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