Sensory: Ninkasi – Ground Control

Sensory #3

Back for our third instalment in this series and I’m sitting with a back log of tasting notes to write about. Unsurprisingly it would seem that I drink faster than I can type. Now on to a beer who’s yeast has gone where no yeast has gone before.

Ninkasi – Ground Control – Imperial Stout

10% Alcohol by volume in a 650 ml bottleIMG_7027

This beer caught my eye in a great looking box though at close to $30 a bottle it was a tough decision to make. After reading the description I found out why this beer is 30 and though it may be a gimmick I decided that it’s something I should try. This Imperial Stout from Ninkasi is definitely something unique brewed with Oregon hazelnuts, star anise and cocoa nibs. Those ingredients alone however are fairly common in stouts what really makes this beer unique is the yeast they used. With the help of some rocket scientists they took some ale yeast, fired it into space and when it came back to earth they used it to make this beer.


This beer pours almost as black as outer space with just a slight reddish-brown hue around the edges if you tilt your glass and the tan to brown head fades at a steady rate. Looks fairly clear as in lacking haze though this beer is dark and dense with little to no light passing through. When swirled the beer laces up the sides dissipating quickly.


The aroma starts out with strong chocolate flavours leading into rich hazelnuts and a light woody anise note. Toasty grain notes with a slight sweet dark fruit and some coffee bitterness. There are also some alcohol notes that push their way into the mix.


A rich chocolate bitterness comes out right away leading into some licorice anise sweetness. Again the alcohol pushes through and provides a pleasant warming sensation. We also get some nice toasted biscuit along with a small amount of dark fruit. Little hops are present aside from a bit of a woody character. A little nutty though those hazelnuts that are in there seem to unfortunately get a bit lost in the mix. Some coffee notes are present as well as some smoky burnt notes from the malt. A medium to full body with low to medium carbonation that coats your mouth a bit with a little drying astringent and a slight smooth creaminess.


Though I did enjoy this beer it was hard to get past that 30$ price tag that has probably gone up now thanks to the terrible new taxing of imported products the Alberta government has instituted. The gimmick of space yeast hooked me into buying this beer and though I do love the idea behind this beer the yeast doesn’t really add anything to the beer. Don’t get me wrong I quite enjoyed this beer, it’s a solid imperial stout but with the price tag being what it is it’s unlikely that I’ll purchase it again. If you have an extra 30 bucks to spend this isn’t a bad way to spend it even if it’s just to say that you’ve drank space beer.

Till the next pint!

William Walker

“Here’s to a long life and a merry one,
A quick death and an easy one,
A pretty girl and an honest one,
A cold pint and another one!”


Published by: walker983

Not great at talking about myself but I'm going to Olds college for their Brewmaster and brewery operations management program and was persuaded to do a blolg. So here I am doing blogs on beer sensory/reviews. I don't much consider myself a writer so I always appreciate some constructive feedback in that I can improve these segments.

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