Tag Archives: Black IPA

Big Al Brewing Super Villain

Big Al Super VillainMy first beer from this Seattle brewery, Super Villain. They call it a Cascadian Dark Ale, I still prefer to call the style Black IPA (regardless of the contradiction).

Black body, big beige head and a ton of hops in the aroma. This is a good example of why I like the style so much; there is more to it than just overwhelming hops. Smokey malt, a bit of char, cedar, then the hops come in. More pine than citrus and lingering. It feels big, but the 8.9% ABV is still surprising. Cool label, too.

Grade: A

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Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 4

Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 4

Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 4

Here is another season I look forward to every year, Left Hand Fade to Black. A different recipe every year, this fourth version is a “Rocky Mountain Black Ale”. Could fit into the Black IPA category as well.

Color certainly matches the title. Thin, creamy head floats atop a pitch black body. Very strong pine hops are noticed first. Charred wood comes through next, followed by sweet malt. Bitterness from the hops really linger. More than 60 IBUs almost make you pucker. Chocolate comes through as it warms.

The balance is what makes this so good. There is enough going on with the sweetness, bitterness, texture, and char to give it great flavor. This is why Fade to Black is so good!

Grade: A

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21st Amendment Back in Black

21st Amendment Back in Black

We return the Black IPA. One of the newer and definitely hotly debated styles. Personally, I like them a lot. The trouble, of course, is the balance. Neither the hops nor the roasted malt can overpower the other. Does 21st Amendment pull it off with Back in Black?

The pour is, indeed, black. The nose is mostly citrusy hops. Thankfully, the roasted

21st Amendment Back in Black

characteristics come through in the taste and the finish. It’s almost like both the roast and the hops get their own part of the show in the finish. Flavor is full of roasted malt, some sweet caramel, and more citrus and pine hops.

Tasty, but the hops are definitely more powerful than the “black”. Not particularly complex.

Grade: B

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Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA

Stone 15th Anniversary

One of the country’s best breweries celebrating 15 years of brewing excellence with a growing, and still developing style. Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA.

The pour is smooth and creamy and leaves a tight beige head. The aroma is mostly piney and citrus hops. Supremely bitter, this one takes hold quickly. Once the bitterness from the hops mellows, there’s chocolate, figs, sweet citrus, coffee, oak, and lots of booze.

It’s very good, but kind of tough to get through. What else would you expect from Stone? There’s no attempt to hide the nearly 11% ABV.

There is nothing else out there like this. Worth trying just to say you’ve had it.

Grade: A

 

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Tommyknocker Hop Strike Black IPA

Tommyknocker Hop Strike

While Black IPA might be an oxymoron, it does produce incredibly interesting beers. This is my first try from Tommyknocker, Hop Strike Black IPA.

The aroma is an interesting mix of chocolate, rye, and a bunch of grapefruit. The color is quite nice, too. Pitch black with some maroon around the edges. The grapefruit is all over the flavor as well. The rye is nice, and I do get some chocolate, but the finish is like I just drank a glass of grapefruit juice.

Not my favorite Black IPA. I wanted more of the “black” side of things and the grapefruit is way too much for my taste.

Grade: C

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Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale

Stone Sublimely Self Righteous

Part of the fun with Stone is reading the bottles. It’s true. The Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale is just that. The messages are always arrogant, sanctimonious, with a bit of a “we love this beer, and if you don’t, go screw yourself, but we don’t care.” I usually don’t go for holier-than-thou attitudes, but they always pull it off. Quite deliciously so, too.

As far as the Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale goes, I’d put this in the Black IPA category, even though they don’t call it one. Pours dark as a stout with a slightly off-white creamy, rocky head. Several different hops in the nose. Lots of hops in the flavor with the charred and roasted flavors finally in the finish. Lemon and grapefruit start, then the roast, followed with a familiar hop pummeling. It’s definitely more hoppy than Heavy Seas Black Cannon, but that one has more of the “black” than the “IPA”.

Plus, with the 8.7% ABV, you’ll likely notice it after a 22 oz bomber.

If you’re curious about Black IPAs, a great place to start. If you’re not a hop head, something like the Black Cannon is probably more your choice. Can’t go wrong with either, though!

Grade: A

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Heavy Seas Black Cannon

A couple of firsts for me with Heavy Seas Black Cannon. My first from them, and my first Black IPA. But even from the first sip, I know this won’t be the last! Smells like fruit and pine, like you would expect from an IPA, and it’s definitely black. I’m noticing some familiar stout characteristics with a dry, smokey mouth feel. Some chocolate and nutiness. It is a bit lighter than most stouts, and while there are some hops in the finish, it isn’t a huge, in your face IPA. Really well balanced, and there isn’t even a hint of the 7.3% ABV.

This might disappoint hop heads expecting a super bitter IPA, but I think it’s a great blend of two dispirate (yes, that’s on purpose) styles.

Plus, I’m diggin on the pirate theme.

I haven’t heard of many Black IPAs, but I could really see this catching on. Perhaps a future homebrew project of mine!

It’s very good, but I don’t know if I can quite go to great.

Grade: B

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