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Blakkr - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

128 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 128
Hads: 1,022
Avg: 4.2
pDev: 8.57%
Wants: 83
Gots: 169 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  9.99% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: stvanderwoude on 02-15-2014

This double black as night IPA is too massive for just one brewery's efforts. BLAKKR took the trinity of Real Ale Brewing Co, Surly Brewing Co, & Three Floyds Brewing Co, to actualize this crushing ale. Cheers.

This is the 16oz canned Surly version.
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Reviews: 128 | Hads: 1,022
Photo of NickTheGreat
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L (4.5) - Beautiful cola-black color. Thick and fluffy tan head on top. Just like a nice stout, really.
S (4.25) - Jam packed full of roasty coffee aromas and floral/pine hops. Very intriguing
T (4.5) - Tastes great. It really combines your IPA hop flavors with the heavily roasted malt caramel/coffee tastes. Very complex, in a good way.
F (4.75) - Great thick mouthfeel. Low carb and smooth drinking beer. I don't get any alcohol feelings from it.
O (4.5) - I really liked this one. I like the big bold flavors of double IPA's and the like. I brewed an Imperial IPA that is actually fairly similar to this one. I definitely will buy this one again.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very dark black with a little light showing through on the edges. The head is tan and thick but in my glass left almost no lacing. The aroma is citrus, burnt sugar or molasses, char and pine. The taste follows the nose but with the citrus and char playing a large part of the flavor. There is a pleasant sweet maltiness and a nice mild bitterness that consists of the char and hops. The alcohol doesn't come through in the taste but it does leave a warm sensation.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Blakkr has a very thick, beige, creamy head, a very dark brown (NOT blakkr than blakk, though) appearance, and heavy lacing left behind. The aroma is of bright, citrus, indistinguishable fruit, with maybe a background bread. Taste is of black bread, some not-so-strong bitterness, and sweet, fruity, hops (yes, I said "sweet"). Mouthfeel is medium, and Blakkr finishes semi-dry and easy drinking (for a 10% beer, which presents no alcohol).


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Photo of stakem
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks Kegatron for the hookup on this one. Pounder can poured into a three floyds teku. The brew appears black in color with a tan cap 2 fingers strong. Full patchy lace sticks to the glass.

The smell is sweet with chocolate covered raisons, herbal and piney hops before some solvent char and bitter earthen elements.

The taste is sweet inititally then resinous and oily with bitter char, earth, tobacco and finishes resinous with herbal and piney hops.

This is a medium bodied brew with modest carbonation. Im not the biggest fan of this style but im digging this take on it.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz can poured into a snifter.
(A)- Pours a dark burnt sienna color. Minimal froth.
(S)- Mild roast meets plenty of pine and citrus.
(T)- A bit more roast than the smell. Meets plenty of pine ridden citrus.
(M)- Good carbonation level and balance. A bit more roast than hoping but still plenty of hop bitterness.
(O)- A solid Black IPA. One of the better ones out there

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Photo of beertunes
3.33/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Another from garymuchow. 16oz can poured into 10oz goblet. Pours a solid black color, with just a thin cap of tan head that dissipated quickly, and had very low lacing.

WHOA! Holy licorice bomb! As the glass neared my olfactory opening, a huge blast of licorice assaulted me. Underneath, there was a light grain scent, soft hops, and a lot of licorice. On the tongue, there was licorice. Lots and lots of licorice. Some low malts showed through, and a medium level of hoppiness was apparent. Did I mention that this brew tastes like licorice? Because it does.

The body was light-medium, and had a crisp, dry finish. Drinkability is going to depend on how much one likes licorice. It's not my favorite, so my enjoyment level wasn't premium. YMMV. Overall, a pretty nice beer that a lot of folks will love. I wasn't one of them, but I appreciate the chance to have tried it.

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Photo of dcotom
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Surly tap takeover at Harry's Five & Dime Tavern, Cedar Falls, IA. Review from memory. L - An impenetrable pitch black color, small light tan head. A - Dark roasted malts, bright hop aromas. T - Sweet dark caramel up front, piney hop bitterness on the finish. F - Not too heavy on the palate for something as complex as this. Nice mouthfeel. O - Very nicely balanced, hides the high ABV incredibly well. Another great one from Surly!

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ratings are correct below, but I changed some marks above to make the final rating as close as possible with Beer Advocate's "revamped" system. The 4.09 overall rating is accurate.

Type: 16-oz. can
Glass: Manzanita pint glass
From: My cousin Sam
Price: N/A
Purchased: N/A; Received July 24, 2015
Consumed: July 24, 2015
Misc.: Canned on March 30, 2015; Collaboration with Three Floyds and Real Ale

Thanks Sam!

Poured a pitch black color with 4-to-5 fingers of khaki tan, rocky tan head. Above average sporadic spiderweb lacing on the sides of the glass. Good retention. A really good looking beer. (Sight - 4.38)

Smelled a good mix of malts and hops. Got smoky notes, spicy pepper, faint ashtray, pine, hops, slightly spoiled fruit, roasty malts, dark fruits and chocolate. (Smell - 3.88)

Tasted slightly better than the nose. Got black licorice, vegetables, smoky ashtray, dark fruit - cherry or raspberry - reminding me of one of the See’s Candies, earthy, pine, light grapefruit rind, roasty malts and Citra zest. Did not taste 9.99 percent for sure. Maybe 7.2 pct. tops. (Taste - 4.13)

Medium body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long finish. (Feel - 4.13)

This was just a really good version of an American Black Ale, which is not surprising coming from Surly. (Overall - 4.13)

4.09 | 92 | A-

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Photo of cjohns73
4.91/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 16 oz can. Dated about 3 months prior but drinks incredible. Pitch black with huge frothy head. Smell is full of tropical hops and you would think this was any traditional DIPA on smell alone. The hops are so wonderfully balanced with the roasty flavors -- every sip has everything you want.

I foolishly offered one of these to a friend the other day, he chose a pseudoSue instead. I think I lucked out.

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Photo of jwc215
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pin-sized can:

Pours very dark brown with a listing head. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of pine/resin and citrus with chocolate.

Taste is of pine/resin some citrus and chocolate. There is some coffee but the roast is restrained enough to add dimension without clashing with the bitterness of the hops.

It is velvety smooth despite the noticeable alcohol.

Tasty, rich and strong. This is heavy on hops and malt. And it all comes together wonderfully!

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Photo of Treyliff
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz can, canned 4/2/15, poured into a tulip glass

A- pours pitch black in color with a small creamy khaki colored head that retains long after the pour, eventually leaving some lacing behind

S- citrus hop aroma gives notes of orange peel & tangerine, also hints of pine. Underlying smoky black malt gives notes of chocolate & earth

T- rich dark roasted malt up front gives lush flavors of dark chocolate and cocoa, along with some caramel notes. Sharp citrus and leafy hops poke through the dark malt, giving flavors of orange peel, grapefruit, fresh cut grass & mint. More chocolate malt & citrus on a dry finish

M- medium-heavy body with medium-low carbonation leads to a thick, creamy and chewy mouthfeel that continues into a smooth and drug finish, ABV is hidden very well

O- one of the best Black IPA's I've had. This one finds a way to provide enough chocolate malt to stand up to the intense hops, which usually dominate in this style. Drinkability is so smooth for the ABV

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Photo of rynegne
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I really like this one a lot. It's hop-forward with a bit of a roasted coffee and anise flavor that some IPAs have. It's up there in my top Black IPAs. Quite expensive, but, given the ABV and quality I don't mind paying a bit more.

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Photo of larryi86
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thank you garymuchow for this!
16 oz can, dated 3/30/15, poured into a teku

A- Black with a four finger mocha head.

S- Some tropical fruits, pineapple, roasted malts, pine, faint coffee.

T- Tropical fruits, faint pineapple, some citrus, roasted malts, coffee, some sweet fruits, piney/dank finish.

M- Smooth, medium to full body, creamy.

O- When I opened the can I thought this this was 6.66% ABV until I looked down and saw it is 9.99%, but the alcohol is very well hidden. Really enjoy this, feel the malts really help balance out the El Dorado hops. Probably the best use of El Dorado that I have tried.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Somewhat of a splurge at $18/4-pk 16 oz., though when you think about it, if it came as a bomber, it would be about $7 -- not especially "luxury" pricing. Wait, let me work this out. It's $18/64 oz. = $0.28/oz. So, oh, 22 oz. would be only $6.18. I wouldn't think twice about buying a bomber of totally legendary beer for six bucks!

Mmm. It's quite good. Makes me think of New Glarus Black Top, though with sweetness and body and abv. It's actually a tad bit overly sweet.

This is what Lake Louie Radio Free IBA aspires to, and nearly achieves, I might add.

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Photo of cokes
3.79/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Thoroughly shadowy, blackened Crimson with an impressive and lasting stack of beige-peach foam.
The nose brings pine bark, burnt grapefruit, toasted sugar, raisin bran flakes, brandy, and flares of pineapple and peaches.
A slap of tropical fruits across the tongue. Peaches, melons, pineapple, lime leaves. A dusting of coffee grounds. Some creme brûlée, burnt sugar and custard notes. More herbal on the swallow. Alcohol is not a factor, other than a twinge of post swallow bitterness.
Thinner bodied than i expected with a trickling carbonation.

I really don't know what to do with this. I like it as an Imperial IPA with touches of roastiness. But the style is one I can't really embrace, nor know what to expect. The IPA part of this works, but the black part seems completely underdeveloped. And I'm not sure if I like it more or less due to this (lack of) balance. Ultimately, it's a handicap, because I still have no idea what I want in black IPA, nor have I found an example to adore. Not here either.

Sorry Blakkr, it's not you, it's me.
But at $16/4-pack, I'm not going to try any harder to salvage this relationship. But I know you'll make someone else very happy.

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Photo of Moose90
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz can reads - "Canned On 04/20/15 F2870"

A — Pours a deep and dark black color, with little to no light around the edges, just pure black. There is a puffy, cappuccino like head that forms, but it fades into a thin layer atop the dark body of the beer. Lacing left behind is sticky, and extremely consistent.

S — Smells quite hoppy and bright initially. Though underneath it all is a very rich and darkly roasted malt profile. Lightly roasted bitter coffee, earthy and herbal notes, light lemon and citrus tartness.

T — Taste is quite intense and complex, lots of big hop and citrus notes initially. The background is very malt focused and layered, lots of roasty charred malts. Though it does seem to be slightly dialed back in each regard, not super dark and rich, and it is also not overly hoppy or bright. As it warms there becomes a bit of a fruity and estery tone, almost cherry and jam like, really really great. Still balanced with char and malt.

M — Medium bodied, there is a long and lingering finish, almost a bit sticky, the 9.99% ABV is undetectable.

O — Nice overall, would love a little bit more char and roasted complexities, but great nonetheless, this holds up very well over time (within reason), I would absolutely seek this out again.

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Photo of Mattress00
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Holding a flashlight behind it doesn't break through this very dark beer. The foamy tan head leaves a nice lacing effect behind on the glass.

S: Strong dank, earthy, piney aroma with a smidgen of citrus. Some roastiness comes through.

T: Dankness dominates initial taste followed by a combination of green, earthy, hoppy taste quickly surrounded by some bitterness. There is a balance of bitterness there but it's overwhelmed by the earthy dankness and roastiness.

F: Because it's a very dark beer much like a stout, a full mouthfeel is anticipated but it immediately reminds me that this is an IPA with it's crispy carbonation and bitterness on the tongue.

O: While I really admire Black IPAs for blending the roastiness and color with the bitterness/hoppiness of an IPA, this balance is often contradictory. This beer makes it more complicated as it adds a huge earthy hoppy aroma/flavor aspect to what I expect to be a more West Coast IPA style (I don't know why because these are all Midwest breweries). While a very tasty 16 ounces of goodness is found in this can, if you like earthy dank IPAs and strong, roasty stouts then this IPA will cause you an added joy. For those looking for a traditional Cascadian Dark Ale, you will be disappointed. Still a good beer but nothing I would spend more than $10 a 4-pack for.

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Photo of majorbase2
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, nearly black color with a small foam head. Dissipates quickly, leaving just a ring of lacing around the edges.

Aroma is fantastic. A wonderful blend of smells. Citrus hops, dark fruits, and alcohol are there at first sniff. Some very lightly roasted coffee and chocolate malts.

Wow! The taste is remarkably complex. The fruity, citrus led by grapefruit and pineapple arrive first, quickly overtaken by some roasted malts. Licorice and fig play beautifully with the citrus that led off. Followed up with some roasted coffee malts, that stick to the tongue unlike anything I've seen before. The transformation of taste here, from the initial, brief flavors of hoppy citrus to the overtaking of dark fruits and more notably some roasted malts. Runs the gamut from IPA to Stout from beginning of sip to end of sip. Quite a bit of sweetness and bitterness on the back end, really sticking to the tongue.

Medium bodied. Sweetness and bitterness make it a bit more of a sipper, but not what you'd expect at 10%. A little bit of bite from the alcohol, especially as it warms.

Overall, this is a fantastic beer. A very good collaboration. Definitely would recommend this to everyone.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz can brought in in a friend of a friend's suitcase. Canned on 3/30/15. Served in a large snifter.

Pours black with a smallish light brown head and lots of carbonation to sustain it. Smell is interesting -- caramel and hops? Roast and tropical juice? Sounds strange, but smells nice.

Taste is a nice mixture of roasty burnt caramel and hops again. With a strong bitter hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel is light and effervescent. Very nice black ale.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Have had this on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl and from a can.
L: Pours black under a 3” frothy, sticky tan foam collar that provides prominent lace.
S: The nose is richer on tap than from the canned version. The tap version has mild espresso, light roast over cocoa and a light hop accent.
T: Its very soft in the mouth with layers of roast, coffee, cocoa, and toasted bread, with a big bitter finish woven from dark roasted grains and a moderate hop addition. The beer has distinguishable layers of both malt and bitterness.
F: Very creamy, medium to medium full body, medium carbonation, very soft.
O: This is an interesting complex beer with layers of flavor. It is not as bitter as some of this brewer’s brands.

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Photo of KevChiTown
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tons of coco nibs. Super crushable. The single most unique Black IPA I've ever had. Soft, smooth, creamy almost. Hops that balance, but not overpower. Awesome beer

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Photo of joiceed
4.87/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Phenomenal Beer. Despite its bold 10 % ABV, it is extremely drinkable. Dangerously so. It's appearance is nearly as black as a Guinness with a slight hue of red cedar on the edges. It develops a nice head with a tan coloration. It smells of citrus: orange, apricots, and even suggests the slight sour of pomegranate. The taste is a bouquet of deep plum, caramelized apricots, oranges and even hints of a very smooth red wine soaked tobacco. Wonderfully flavorful in the realms of sweetness without tasting sweet. This is due to its excellent hop character. As a Double IPA should, it finishes with the tingling bitterness of fresh hops. Tangy and tongue twisting the hop profile is very noticeable. The only drawback to this beer that I can conjure is that I think it could have a little more zing with regards to the hop. Nonetheless, absolutely smooth. Its dangerous because it's extremely delicious and easy to drink, but also this beer will be quick to knock you on your ass!

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Photo of nhindian
3.67/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to TGanyone for tossing a 4-pack of this into a recent trade as an extra!

Too massive for just one brewery, Blakkr sees three heavy-hitting breweries team up to release this imperial black ale. Generally not my favorite style - I don't exactly like the combination of fresh hops and roast flavors - but if anyone can do it, I whole heartedly place my faith in Surly and 3 Floyds.

Appearance - Rather than being black, Blakkr more closely resembles a dark cola as shades of brown poke out from around the edges. Atop the surface, a light tan head slowly builds until peaks at around a figure in height before fading away, leaving nary a trace behind. Instead a thick lattice of foam speckles the glass.

Aroma - The nose is a cacophony of hop and malt that I find myself constantly wavering about. On one hand, the hops are just as juicy and tropical as a DIPA and the malt is roasty and filled with coffee, but on the other hand, when those two extremes are coupled there isn't a smooth mingling. It is hard to reconcile the spectrum but I truly do love each individual component.

Taste - Much like in the aroma, the flavor has all the punch of the hops and malt behind it. Unlike the nose, however, the ingredients play much more nicely together here. The coffee subsides and is replaced with a licorice note that bridges the gap. A slightly bitter chocolate flavor also meshes well with the pineapple and citrus hop taste.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is imposing without being syrupy. Perfect carbonation helps move the flavors along, and in a beer with so much going on, it's much appreciated.

Closing Arguments - At the end of the day, I still feel like my impressions of this style are unchanged. Unlike other black ales I've had, Blakkr kicks it the hop and roast to a previously unseen level, but still suffers from the fate of not co-mingling the two in a seamless manner. To be fair, taken separately, both the hop and malt components are near top-notch, but there is a clear separation between them. This is much more apparent in the nose than the flavor.

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Photo of B1gears
4.93/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a beautiful dark brown almost opaque color. 2-3 fingers of tan head, which lasts long and leaves a nice lace.

S - Hop aroma is present and on the piney side.

T - Initial taste is of charred wood and chocolate, replaced quickly by licorice on the back of the tongue, and then a vague pineapple taste. It's really surprising that it's so high in alcohol content.

M - Good mouth feel. Carbonation is a bit more than I'm used in a dark ale. Not a bad thing!

This a beautifully balanced and delicious beer. Surly does it again (with help).

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Photo of dmgeng
4.73/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I made a trade for this annual Surly release and I was really not let down!

A - Pours a beautiful dark brown color. Off white colored head with fine bubbles and great lacing.

S - The smell is of citrusy hops along with pine and herbal tones. Mixed together with some bakers cocoa, medium roasted coffee, sweet malt, and roast. Smells just as you would expect this beer to and it's great.

T - It hits the tongue with a sweet malt character that is ushered by the citrus, pine, and herbal hop character from the nose. In the middle there is some caramel to compliment the hop flavors that I really enjoy. On the backside there is more of the coffee, dark chocolate, and roast similar to an export stout. Also on the end is a resin fueled hop bitterness that sits perfectly with sweeter porter flavors from the middle.
M - Moderate mouth-feel. Moderate carbonation. The mouth-feel is the best I've had for a BIPA and basically sits like a really good DIPA but has that bitterness from the roast to add balance.

Overall, this is an amazing black IPA. I would definitely seek it out next year. This is my new favorite BIPA and if it had a more amp'd up hop flavor it would be one of my favorite beers of all time. The hops are good but could definitely be stronger. I also couldn't drink more than a few due to the palate wrecking nature of an Imperial Black IPA. I would strongly recommend this beer if you like DIPAs and robust stouts.

Glass- Imperial Nonic

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Blakkr from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.