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5 Years Later - Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
5 Years Later5 Years Later

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

71 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 71
Hads: 117
Avg: 4.02
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 13
Gots: 18 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Billolick on 02-16-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 71 | Hads: 117
5/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Probably the best beer I've ever tasted. Had it with a cheese platter at Gramercy Tavern in NYC in Jan 2015, which means this particular bottle had been cellared for at least 3 years.
Poured a deep dark black, with intense smells and a taste that lingered long after the meal was over.
Drink it if you find it!

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Photo of FLBeerGuy
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a foamy tan head that leaves nice lacing.

Nose is piney hops and roasted malts.

Taste is like the smell with some chocolate malts and toffee, some nice hop bitterness on the finish.

Medium carbonation with some dryness on the finish.

This is a top notch black IPA, nice and hoppy with a strong dark malt backbone. I've had many that don't measure up, but this one does.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from tasting notes. Sherry, alcohol and cocoa on the nose. Pours deep dark opaque chestnut to mahagony under a 3” finely bubbled foam cap. Rich chocolate caramel rolls over the tongue bringing roas, coffee, alcohol and a bitter hop accent by the finish. Very creamy texture and a medium full body.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a huge thanks goes out to rich for this one. i had been dying to try it so i brought it out last friday to split with alex. poured into pint glasses.

what a nice deep, dark, black pout that let no light come through what so ever. a good head of tan crept up the sides of the glass and left some nice lacing all along the sides.

dark malts are very prominant here with chocolate, lots of roasted notes, hints of vanilla and tobacco and of course very nice and perfectly placed piney hops. this carries over well into the taste as the hops come out first and give a nice little quick bite of flavor before the rich backbone of smokey malts kicks in with all of its sweet, roasty goodness and balances out the palate, creamy with a wonderful carbonation to it you really had to search for any hints of alcohol here at all.

overall an outstanding beer. great fresh, cannot imagine it ageing well, but really just outstanding the way it is right now!

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Photo of Kendo
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Paid probably more than I should have (about $17.99, I think) for a 750 ml bottle at Westmere Beverage. Consumed on March 5, 2011.

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body is dark brown with mahogany hues around the edges. A 2-finger light brown, bubbly head settles on top and leaves behind decent lacing.

S: Not terribly strong in the nose, but what's there is real nice: chocolate malt and leafy and earthy hops.

T: Great taste. Nice chocolatey malt up front - I get both dark chocolate and milk chocolate at different times. Also a bit of roasted coffee in the middle. Finishes with American-variety hop bitterness: piney with some citrus. There is a touch of heat at the finish, but at 10% that's not surprising, and I didn't think it took away from the taste at all. Overall, this is tremendously balanced between the chocolatey malt that I like in a big stout and the hop bitterness I like in a D/IPA. Great stuff that really earns that 5 rating, at least for me.

M: Full-bodied. Carbonation is active but fairly smooth all around.

D: Excellent. Obscenely drinkable for a beer that's 10% ABV.

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Photo of Billolick
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Large bottle purchased at the brewery in Pleasantville a few days ago. Vince V. says this is a "Black DIPA". No bottling date info. The label is top notch, with spacey black and silver designs and nice lightning bolt logos on the corners, well done.

Pours black, dark tan frothy head, leaving respectable fine sheeting and strands of lacing.

The nose is where the excitement starts, its loaded with dark chocolate, mocha, vanilla and later dusty hops. Big and juicy sniff on this one.

First I get another blast of dark chocolate, then dark pumpernickel bread, some vanilla, followed by a jolt of drying, bitter and pungent hops.

Mouthfeel is rich and chewy, like a dark chocolate milkshake, with a hop infusion on the tail end.

Flavorful, complex, dense waves of chocolate balanced with all those hops.

Congrats on 5 outstanding years!

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Photo of nickfl
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with two fingers of light tan foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles at a moderate pace and leaves excellent lacing on the glass as it goes.

S - Spicy, dark malt with some peppery chocolate in the background and hoppy notes of pine, juniper, and mustard.

T - Pepper, clove, and dark, smoky coffee up front. Some very dark chocolate notes in the middle and more pepper with a hint of pine hops. Finishes with dark chocolate, smoke, pine and juniper hops along with a lingering note of spicy mustard.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Wow, this beer is huge and complex but also unlike any other black ale I have ever had. Great malt character with hops that keep things balanced and set the sugary notes off in just the right way. Really well done.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was at the Huntington Superstar chatting up how much I loved this beer when I had it on tap at The Good Life this past weekend only to find out that it was just added to the growler station where I was earlier in the week. Uh...YEAH! I will certainly be leaving with a 32oz fill of this!!!

a - Through the growler, just as black as I remembered, but with a tint of red where the light struck it right. Opened the growler and filled my Portsmouth sniftery tulip. The same frothy head quickly built at the top of the brew and looked great. Frothy and foamy and easily rebuilt after it had gone away. Real beautiful beer upon first pour...kind of like the way I used to admire a guiness...this actually looks quite irish stout like.

s - Strong roasted malts. Some chocolate, some coffee and even some tobacco and a hint of hops, but this is all about the malts. The coffee hint seems to come from the extreme roastiness of the brew...very reminiscent of a high quality gourmet coffee.

t - The flavor, too was intense roastiness and essentially all dark malt with faint hints of chocolate or cocoa. Hops only really show in the bitterness which seems more subtle than I remember from a week ago. Essentially the taste is only roasted malt, which is a flavor I enjoy. Upon second pour I picked up a bit of hoppy vanilla as well.

m - Good carbonation, light to medium bodied. Smooth as silk.

o - Overall, I really dig this beer. So much so that I ran out the other day to pick up a slew more bottles of this one. Nice work captain lawrence...keep on making these amazing beers that fly under the radar!!! No difference in scores from the tap (makes sense since this growler fill was a few hours ago)...can't wait to crack a bottle and see how it compares.

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Photo of mcallister
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very deep mahogany showing some scarlet hues in the light. Head is high, rocky, tan and killer. Long lived and spotty sticky lacing.

Rich roasted caramel aromas, black malts, piney and citrusy hops, chocolate covered orange slices, apricot, light stone fruits. A hint of smoke and asphalt at the end. A really nice aromatic treat.

Wow this beer may change my perception of the style. Rich complex, crazy long finish that finishes citrusy and full of bitter hops but then is suddenly clamored and stops to a huge bitter roasted malt. Lots of chocolate, spent coffee grounds, burnt sugar, mocha, orange peel, slightly sweet toffee, and milk chocolate, bitter. Some piney and earthy hops linger late in the finsh. Just a big, complex, monster of a beer and delicious. Rich, creamy, and bold.

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Photo of scootny
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This a combined review of the fresh bottle and a cellared version. I am taking the higher scores from each category.

Appearance is just short of perfect. Dark cola color with a towering light brown head that stays forever and leaves lots of lace. (Both)

Smell is very chocolatey and is nuanced with vanilla and oak. Mild cherry and a hint of leather. Deep roasted grains and warm dark breads. Hops are big as well with a good piney bite and a touch of citrus in the fresh and more muted pine in the older.

Taste is where this stuff sets itself apart. This is like a cross between an American stout and a DIPA. Big chocolate malt front with coffee and mocha trailing after. Aging lets typical barrel flavors like oak, cherry, and leather develop. Nice. Fresh, the hops sweep in and cover this stuff and give a BAM grapefruit signature to the finish and then the more subtle aspects show themselves. Alcohol is more evident in the aged bottle in the middle of the swallow as the more lovely hops cover it more. However it in no way tastes like 10%. Finish fresh is all hops and grapefruit, aged is coffee tinged earthiness and a bite of hop oil.

Feel is lighter that something this strong has a right to be. Fresh it has a velvety creaminess. Older is shows a gentle carbonation and a light syrup thickness.

A great sipper and a two for one beer. Fresh it was more like a DIPA but with some cellaring it reveals some extremely complex barrel like flavors. Glad I had it fresh and old.

Notes from 4/15/11

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Photo of Zodijackyl
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber that is fresh from the Captain's men this week. Winter congestion makes it a bit hard to smell the beer, but it does smell good.

Pours black with a light tan head. Aroma of earthy hops and caramel malt with a hit of citrus hops at the end. Taste starts with somewhat sweet hops up front (more a pils taste to them) which is followed by a big rush of citrus and tree-tasting hops and a bit of warming from alcohol, but little ethanol shows through the taste. Bitterness comes through the malt in small amounts as it warms up a bit, matches by a bittersweet hop taste and a lot of citrus/tree hop freshness. Clean mouthfeel and the hops and malt make a solid aftertaste of citrus/pine and a bit of black malt. Very drinkable, other than a slight warming in the finish, I would never know it was as heavy as it is.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a charcoal black color with some suprising ruby highlights when held to light, decent cap of off-white/lightly greyed head, nice sticky lacing. Scent is a huge whiff of hops - quite resinous which combines with alcohol notes to be almost cologne like. Malts are roasty, charred and faint smoke. First sip is quite bold and bitter - one of the most palate scorching beers i've had. As mentioned above, the pine and noticaeable alcohol work together to begin to kill the palate, but the nice roasty, earthy and charred malt notes are able to come through. Medium bodied, uber dry. I was a little hesitant that I wouldnt be able to kill a whole 25oz of this after how bold the first few sips were, but the mouth became used to the heat and the beer mellowed nicely as time progressed.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap review supplemented by a bottle

A: The beer is black with only a touch of brown when held up to the light. I have had a few black IPAs american black ales or whatever they are called this week and this is the blackest I have ever seen hands down. A finger of bone colored head with some spotty lacing as well.

S: The nose is of green hop and an obscene amount of malt. It is weird the only thing that is even close is Stone 11th AKA Sublime but this takes it to the next level. Some chocolate. Just a touch of roast which works since it does not really work with the hops.

T: Starts off with equal part hop bitterness with some chocolate to balance it out. There is some other malt but it does not really impart much to the taste but it balances it out nicely. This beer is hoppy as hell right now. It really is quite balanced all things considered. You only get the slightest hint of the ABV.

M: Surprisingly light given the ABV and the grist. Feels like an IPA which is impressive.

D: One of the most drinkable 10% beers that I have ever had. You think black IPA but you would never think this. Totally gonzo beer. Congrats the the Captain. Makes me look back 2 weeks after their opening and sitting in an empty tasting room with Scott. Now such problems are a thing of the past. Congrats to the Captain for 5 years and many more.

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Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.27/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As is in my pint glass, this sits pitch black and the initial pour yields a kahki colored, thick and frothy head. Remarkably, after holding it up to the light, there are actually some dark ruby hues laced within. Pretty nice looking beer.
Love the aromas coming at me; powerful piney hops, big roasted malts, and a sense of chewiness that i know im going to enjoy without a doubt.
A dead on carb level makes this work out very well. It enables roasted flavors of chocolate, pine, and a hint of vanilla to slide seamlessly across the palate, leaving a nice bitterness behind on the finish. I love the sense of bitter black coffee i get on the backend. This beer just keeps on getting better and better as it warms, with the roasted notes toning down just a bit, leaving behind a little more of a hop punch. Glad i got to try this one.

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Photo of superspak
4.26/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into oversized wine glass. Pours clear dark brown color with a huge 3 finger light tan head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a fairly thick lacing cap that lasts. Nice thick lacing clings to the glass as well. Aromas of caramel, bread, roasted malt, chocolate, orange, and pine. Nice complex and hoppy aromas. Taste of big chocolate, caramel, roasted malt, orange, and pine. Decent amount of bitterness present on the finish; with lingering notes of orange, chocolate, and roasted flavors. Medium carbonation and full bodied. Nice creamy mouthfeel and smooth drinkability for the alcohol level. No alcohol in the taste and a fair amount of warming present on the finish. Overall, a delicious black ale. Tons of flavor and complexity with easy drinkability for the alcohol level.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to Paul (pmlondrigan) for this great beer. Cheers!

Appearance - Pours into my SA Perfect Pint with a dark chocolate brown color. When held up to the light a dark ruby red color can be seen. Over two fingers of great looking dark tan head is achieved with a moderate pour, that dissipates slowly leaving chunky lacing.

Smell - These American Black Ale's are starting to grow on me. Nice hops and pine up front, then overshadowed by charred malt, bittersweet chocolate, and earthy notes (slight floral hops at the end).

Taste - What an interesting flavor profile. The bitterness of the hops and pine flavor are definitely up front but then are taken over by a stout like sweetness which is intermixed with slight citrus. I've had a few styles of this before but this one just stands out a bit more and really makes me sit here and try to pick out the flavors one by once as they cascade. Bready malts in the back, a hint of the earthy/floral characteristics, and burnt malts. One of the best of this style I've ever had.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, creamy, decent carbonation, finishes with a hint of bitterness on the palate.

Overall - Extremely pumped I was able to try this. When Paul mentioned this beer and I looked it up I couldn't wait to taste it. This is a very well done version of the style, and honestly, after having a few others based on this style I'm curious if I will ever find something up to par with this. A very enjoyable beer and one that is easy to drink for how high of ABV it is (I didn't even look at the ABV until after drinking some and couldn't believe it was 10% - I get just the slightest taste of alcohol in the taste and no warming sensation). A splendid beer.

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Photo of Durge
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A solid jet black color with a big bubbled light tan ring on top and significant lacing. The aroma is easy to catch as soon as you open the bottle. Deep licorice and nutty leaf. Malt-peat and light rhubarb, smoked oak. It's beautiful. The flavor hits a little harder with heavy dark chocolate malt, more licorice-molasses and a hint of meaty smoke. As is usually is the case this big beer only improves as it warms. The body is full but not syrupy or cloying. Carbonation is subtle for a solid, slick feel. Alcohol is a bit evident but not intrusive at all. Awesome dark ale.

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Photo of cavedave
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A one finger dark beige head relaxes to a lively skim atop this black and opaque brew. Lace sheets cling with persistent resin to the glass.

Luscious chocolate and roast greet my nose, followed closely by heavenly citrus hints, dark bread, even lighter hints of floral. Enticing bouquet.

Oh wow, this is really quite a blast of flavor. It starts with burnt sugar and herbal bitter, picks up the pace with some dark roastiness, even some charry bitter, drying pine joins, but the bittering hop in this is dominant, a delicious extract of bitter pith flavor, especially in the finish. There's a lot of complexity to the malt bill, but little in the way of sweet balance. I mean that in a good way.

Mouthfeel is more IPA than Porter (unlike many supposed black IPAS), nice attenuation, very resinous, dry clean finish, maybe a touch too much carb. if I'm picky about it.

Drinkability is good as any big offering in this style, esp. as alcohol is well hidden by hop flavors.

Impression: Congrats on five great years, this huge beer is a wonderful creation to celebrate.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark black color with a hint of brown blended in and a finger of frothy mocha colored head. The head very slowly fades down to a ring around the glass lacing nicely.

S - Aroma is full of deep earthy hops and some nice slightly sweet roasted malts. A bit of chocolate and deeper roasted elements mixed in as well.

T - Starts off with a nice hit of earthy hops and deep roasted toffee malts. Bit of bittersweet-chocolate in the background. Lots of roasted flavor. Through the middle some coffee flavor and some stronger chocolate flavor comes through. The finish is a nice blend of the roasted malt, earthy/floral hops and just a tinge of alcohol burn.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels really smooth and creamy without being too heavy. Finish is a bit bitter and dry which is really nice.

D - For 10% abv, pretty drinkable. Nice balanced flavors with a really nice hop profile alongside all of the roasted flavor. Just a touch expansive, but worth it to give it a try.

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Photo of afksports
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Thank you, Captain Larry, for making a beer available locally that I can enjoy to this extent. The trend continues with these malt and hop bombed black & hoppy ales.

Five Years Later looks and has the mouthfeel of a dark and roasty porter, with the aroma of a double IPA with tons of burnt malts added. It's citrus and earthy hoppy in smell, combined with tons of burnt and roasted malts, and rich caramel. Very enticing to get a whiff of. I could probably smell it for longer than it takes to drink a 750ml bottle.

Speaking of that, the taste follows the smell, and at 10% alcohol by volume, this is a supremely drinkable brew. Burnt and malty at the start, the sweetness of the citrus pokes a hole in the middle of the malty palate, and a coffee and hops bitter combination finishes the taste. Further - it finishes clean. It's like a tire fire meeting a winter fireplace meeting a grassy clearing in the forest. And you have a clementine in your backpack. And a Hershey's bar.

What a treat.

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Photo of phreshbeer
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Sold in a 25oz bottle with an attractive silver/black label. The beer is "black" in color and hard to see through. When held to the light a dark mahogony is revealed. Head is coffee colored, thick, and sticks around for several minutes.

S: Chocolate and hops.

T: Bitter Chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt to start. Next, the warm flavor of alcohol. Finally, strong bittering hops at the finish. Overall, a nice combo of flavors.

M: Heavier than an IPA, but not as creamy as a stout. Feels just about right for black DIPA.

D: Very drinkable for a 10% beer. Even though its hoppy, this beer may be suitable for aging.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ubufan2112 for sending this bottle my way. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

Pours near black with a good light tan head and some sticky lacing as it moves down the glass. The nose is really, really quite nice. Loads of earthy hops with a bit of pine. Nose almost exhibits a bit of an oak presence as well. Some roast lingers in the background. The taste doesn't hit quite as hard, though the hops are front and center and there is that hint of oak in the finish. Feel is dry; there is no indication of the ABV at all. Really pleasurable. This is one of the best American Black Ales I've to date.

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Photo of modernartblues
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Holy Smoke in Mahopac, NY

A: at least as black as the stout on the table, maybe tinges of brown, but this is a pretty dark beast, bit of off white head, lacing is present, but not extensive

S: earthy hops, tinge of roastiness, but the hops are the show

T: excellent, this is what the Cascadian Dark Ale style is suppose to be all about, a boatload of hops back up by hints of roastiness and chocolate-coffee, this ones right up there with the best of them--no hint of the abv, I would have believed 6%

M: probably right on for the style, which in my mind should be medium to full bodied, its not as big as a impy stout, but its not light by any means.

O: pretty good. Price was out of control on this one, I refused to buy a bottle, but couldn't resist it on-tap. Worth the hype. Whether it was worth the cash (17.99), well I guess that depends on the user...Bottom line is that this is one of the better "Black Ales" I've had.

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Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a chalice at Great Bar Harry in Brooklyn. Certainly an interesting beer. It had a fairly rich character, yet wasn't too thick to impede the drinkability. There was a clear roasted coffee and roasted chocolate note followed by mild dark fruit notes. Overall, was a great beer to have at the end of the night.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Duvel tulip. Received as part of my Birthday BIF box from dmeadows; thanks Denis! Been looking forward to trying this one.

a - Pours a very dark brown color with two fingers of tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Head lasts for about two minutes and leaves a little bit of lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of citrus hops, pine hops, rooasted malts, bready malts, light chocolate, and some earthy notes at the end. Big hops up front which then give way to some earthy and musty notes. Pretty nice.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, pine hops, roasted malts, and chocolate malts. All four mix together up front into a nice combination. Some nice bitterness up front as well due to the hops. Also some bready malts, light vanilla, and light alcohol.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Very smooth and creamy body, goes down very easy for 10% ABV. Great mouthfeel.

d - I thought this was a very drinkable, enjoyable Black IPA. I thought the mouthfeel was amazing and I didn't have a problem drinking the bottle by myself. The smell and taste have that interesting Black IPA combination of hops and chocolate/roasted malts, but this beer does it better than most. One of the better Black IPAs I've had; would certainly have again. Another good beer from Captain Lawrence.

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5 Years Later from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 71 ratings.