Blakkr | Surly Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States | website

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.99%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by stvanderwoude on 02-15-2014

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Reviews: 138 | Ratings: 1,102
Photo of VelvetExtract
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours a dark brown color. Light really struggles to worm it's way through this brew. Thinner, brown head.

S-Its plenty hoppy. I get a bunch of grass and citrus. The darker aspect of this beer matches the more heralded hoppy aromas. Dark malt, roast, a bit of char.

T-Starts off hoppy. I get a dried-out orange flavor with a good shake of pine and grass. Here, Surly's Blakkr is even more balanced by the rich, dark maltiness. Sweet chocolate and sugared coffee.

M-Bitter from both the dark roastiness and the hops. Body has plenty of texture to it. Softer carbonation.

O-I wasn't very impressed with this but I rarely am by Black IPAs. The flavors often conflict with one another on my palate.

Edit: tried another can and it was a much hoppier brew the second time. Not sure what happened to the first can butt his one is much, much better. Grade upped from a 3.66.

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Photo of BeerDazed
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Fellow GTOTM fan shared from his bomber and poured in a red solo cup, while waiting in line to purchase tix. I know...not the proper glass, but the only one available.
The deep black color looked exquisite against the white interior lining of said cup. All kidding aside, it looked fantastic. Nice brownish head too.
Taste was smooth, dark, delicious. Great hop flavor and roasty goodness.
Smell was dark roasted malt, chocolate, and licorice.
Mouthful not as heavy as a stout but definitely more on the fuller side.
Looking forward to drinking this out of a real glass, and maybe even on tap.
Superb offering of this particular style. Blakkr is Bawesome!

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Photo of TheBeerDrinker
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out black as night with a very light brow, one-finger head with good retention and a little lacing.

Smell is fruity pineapple, orange, mango, with no bitterness and hard to get any grains out of the nose. Really smells like a citrus hop forward IIPA.

Taste follows the nose quite close with the citrus charactoristics but there is some dark malt, molasses, and maybe a tad but of chocolate. The taste is really close to Abrasive with a little darker edge to it.

Mouthfeel is spot on for what I would call a IIPA although this beer is not really billed as that.

Overall I REALLY like this beer as I love Abrasive and it has many of the same charactoristics. This is not usually a style I like but I really love it as it reminds me of Abrasive.

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Photo of papat444
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tricerahops for this one.

Poured from a 16oz can, canned on 02/17/14.

The pour is densely black with a strong 3 finger head. Aroma is ripe grapefruit mixed with a rich, roasted aroma, bit of chocolate also. Flavor and feel is smoother than expected, juicy hops that segues into creamy coffee. Goes from bitter to a creamy sweetness.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16 oz. can poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Some edge transparency. Off-white head. Wispy surface with a medium collar.

Smell - Hoppy. Black IPAs always seem grassy to me. Roasted malt. Dark caramel.

Taste - Grassy hop flavor. Grapefruit. Immediately bitter. Roasted malt and caramel. Lingering bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Very roasty. Very bitter. Medium body, though.

Overall - Black IPAs need to be very good. This is good, but doesn't stand out.

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Photo of paladinjoe
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

First of all, I'm not understanding the low ratings I'm seeing on this one, this beer is AWESOME! I've only had two of what we call Black IPAs, and I love both of them! For some reason, this style isn't getting a whole lot of love.

In a lot of ways, this beer is very similar to Surly's Abrasive Ale, which is a 100 beer rated beer, hence, my lack of understanding for the low ratings. With all said, it's basically Abrasive Ale, with some roastiness to it, and a slight hint of stout qualities... just very very good. I know there's a Surly Overrated IPA, I'd call this Surly's UNDERrated IPA!

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Photo of yourefragile
3.66/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can, thanks whoever.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a light tan head, light lace. Nose of pine and grapefruit, char and roast malt, bitter chocolate. Flavor is more straight forward IPA like with piles of pine and citrus bitterness, very light dark chocolate and a bitter pine and mild ash finish. Medium thick, high carbonation, chewy finish.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.05/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Can of this from Digita a while back. Thanks dude!

From a 16oz can into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Clear brown pour yields a one finger, looser, foamy, off-white head with good retention. Head fades to a foam cap and clings to the sides of the glass with a huge stream of carbonation up the middle. Clear dark brown body. Nothing special here. Too much carbonation and the looser head isn't all that impressive either.

SMELL: Hops and more hops. Pine, melon and lots of grapefruit on the nose. Nice hop profile, but nothing black about the nose.

TASTE: Lots of hops again. Pine and melon notes, with lots of bitter grapefruit at the swallow. Big and lingering aftertaste of more grapefruit and piney bitterness, grassy hops, and just a faint hint of roasted malt. Very light. Mostly a hop bomb with very little black to be found.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Slightly creamy on the nose, goes down fine and finishes slightly mouth-coating. A bit of bitterness lingers on the palate.

OVERALL: A good hop bomb for sure, but it's all IPA. There was really no need to make this beer dark brown, as any kind of roasted or chocolate flavors that would be produced by these dark grains were not allowed to come out and play anyways. The trick with a hoppy black ale is to hop it up, but show just the right amount of restraint so the character of the dark grains can play a role in the flavor profile as well. That didn't happen here. Might as well just make a regular hop bomb DPA and call it Ornggr. A good beer that we enjoyed, but not representative of the style.

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an IPA glass. Liquid is very nearly totally black, with some dark brown hues around the edges. Small-ish brown head kicks up on the pour and fades quickly, but leaves some rings of lace, and a nice film on top of the beer. The few lines of bubbles rising slowly to the top actually look kind of ominous... but maybe I'm just letting the can art get to me.

Aroma is not particularly strong. I get some citrus hops, and a bit of milk chocolate, but that's about it.

Flavor definitely packs the punch where the aroma didn't. Bigtime hops up front - citrusy, grassy, etc. A big malt bill quickly comes in to mix around - milk chocolate & breadiness. The hops begin to add some spiciness as it warms. Finish is pretty bitter, with hops being the predominant aftertaste. Your mouth is really left kind of pummeled after the swallow... in a nice way, of course. It's maybe a bit too much of a bruiser for my tastes, but there are nice flavor notes in there that work well.

Mouthfeel is semi-thick with lots of carbonation - good for the style and for the flavor.

Overall, I'm glad I got to try it, but I doubt I'd be able to drink it all the time. Of course, making a big bruiser of a beer seems like what they were going for (the can calls it "crushing"), so I'll give it a little extra in the score. Thanks to roostor07 for the can!

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am judging on the style not on preference for this one.

A- Pitch black, pours pinky light tan head with medium retention. Bubbles stick to the side of the glass.

S- Kinda light here, especially compared with the T. This is muted a lot. Getting a rye hop smell out of this. Muted wheat barley smell. Voided

T- Holy crap; out of the gates blast of hops on the palate. Big black rye pale hop profile. Really bitter; I am with Speedway Jim here on preference

M- For the style, this is the smoothest by far. Medium body, creamy and the carb is just about right here.

O- I didn't love this, I graded to the style; only having maybe 5 or so Black IPA in the past. This was by far the best one that I have had though. Big thanks to Mike for this one! Great experience!

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Jeff for this one. I love Surly but hate Black Ales... first world problems. 16oz can into a Surly snifter.

Tall pour yields a big2.5 finger coffee colored head with excellent retention. Beer is dense and pitch black. Lacing is stringy, sticky, and layered. Doesn't really get much better.

Nose is ash, roast, pine, citrus hop bitterness and a touch of caramel and smoke. Weird but aromatic and fits the style.

Opens smoke, roast, pine and citrus hop bitterness. Ashy in the middle with hints of liquorice, roasted malt and a biting, bitter hop presence. The issue here is that I associate the bitterness with ash instead of fruit/pine. Ends caramel, more liquorice, and a slight boozy bitterness in the finish. Resiny and smoky in the aftertaste. A good beer with nice complexity but I'm not a fan of what's happening here.

Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Lively, rich and slightly hot in the mouth and goes down warm and smooth. Messy finish with a long, filmy, lingering aftertaste. Solid.

There are very few offerings in this style that do it for me and even though I love Surly, Blakkr is not one of them. Just too aggressive and bold with too much happening. Certainly representative of the style but I'm just not a big fan.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16oz tallboy can, canned 3/18/2014. Poured into an unlabeled shaker glass yesterday, 4/18/2014.

A- black body with a thick, long-lasting off white head. Bits of lacing.

S- grapefruit, orange, tangerines and a bit of pine. Lots of roast and a bit of smoke. Seems like a double IPA without the biscuits and caramel that usually accompany them.

F- roast dominates the malt contribution, a lot of citrus hops. Very aromatic in the hops used. Good bitterness on the backend evoking grapefruit.

M- medium bodied, not thin or thick but just about right. Good carbonation. Perfect balance of bitterness and roast.

O- much better execution of what I imagine a double black IPA to taste like. Far better than Three Floyds' take on this beer.

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Photo of ktenneydenver
3.99/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Denver Bicycle Cafe. Was very excited to try this beer. I don't usually go for black IPA's, but having heard such good things about this one I decided that I had to get some. Very well balanced. The hops are out front but not offensive. Roasted coffee flavors from malt worked well with the hop profile. Very dry. Glad I got to try it.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.99/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint-can-awesomeness from laymansbeerfan poured into my Hill Farmstead tulip...

A: Black body, brown edges, nice off-white head retains well, decent lacing.

S: Citrus hop-forward with notes of pine and tropical fruit as well...herbal hops too. Malt backbone has hints of cocoa and roasted malt.

T: More citrus hops, with flavors of orange, tangerine and grapefruit, followed by herbally/dank pine. Dark malt creeps in with solid background notes of dark cocoa and faint cold coffee.

MF: Fairly bitter, this is a hop-prominent beer, but the malts also seem to lend to the dryness of this brew. Medium-fuller body.

O: Pretty good Black IPA. Hop notes are what I prefer, more citrus-forward with pine backing that up. Maltiness is nice as well, not overbearing but still present with flavors of cocoa and coffee and roast. Overall well-executed and fairly unique.

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Photo of jwerner23
4.95/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is very good beer from three very good breweries. I tried a can cold and tried one warm. Cold it is a good beer but at room temp this beer shines. You get more flavor at room temp and I think that is the way to drink it, let it warm up a little bit and the flavors meld a lot better. Either way its a good beer but so good letting it breathe and warm up a bit.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours viscous thick black in color with a good 2 finger head that has good retention.

Smell is a nice mix of hop and malt forward. Hops come slightly first and more potent. Big herbal hop aroma covers a milder fruity hop aroma. Malt has notes of char and some lighter chocolate and coffee.

Taste follows the nose. Big herbal hops hit the palate first with a mild bitterness that is followed by a big charred slightly smokey malt flavor and bitterness. Finish is intensely bitter, maybe a little to much for my liking.

Mouthfeel is good. Super thick body is cut with mild carbonation. Lots of sticky hop oils and resin along with an aggressive bitterness.

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Photo of Jparker37
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into a nonic pint. Canned on 3/4/14

A - Just a shade shy of opaque. Two fingers worth of tan head from a strong pour. Lacing-o-plenty.

S - Bright citrus and tropical hops. Hints at some pine.

T - Malts blend with hops through the entire taste. Easy to detect those sweet rich caramel flavors right away mixing with the citrus hop flavors. There is plenty of bitterness which is spread out along the whole taste and has enough oomph at the backend to be a Double Imperial Black Ale. Hop flavors lasting long after.

M - Medium to medium-full body, medium-light carbonation, semi-dry.

O - The tropical hops are always a welcome aroma for all American styles but wondering how the malt is so hidden. Terrific looking beer with a stiff head. Taste showed some great malt but ultimately was a hoppy brew. I believe a 16oz can is perfect as it usually takes me 12oz to give a full review; 16oz leaves me with four extra ounces to savor sans typing.

Recommendation - How could you go wrong with these three great breweries. Pick it up while it's available. Not sure on whether this will be replicated.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.61/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Boy this one hurt at the checkout. $18.99/4-pack 16 oz. I can count on one hand the breweries that I will submit to this way.
Poured into riedel beer glass that can hold the whole can and looks nice too. Canned 3/4/14, so only a few weeks old.
What a fantastic aroma. Fresh fruit, esp. pineapple. This is mixed with other hoppy citrus a streak of fresh green hops and shored up with a soft roast and dark malt. Really, really nice.
Definitely a black ale with dark red highlights. Nicely sized full and thick light brown head.
Flavor is more balanced than aroma with malts playing a key role. Very smooth roast with shots of caramel and no apparent malt bitterness. Bitterness, however on the finish with a tasty hop flavor. The start of the drink is such a nice mix of malty sweetness and fresh fruit-filled hop flavor - super good blending. As the malt flavors grow and change so do the hops with a huge cornucopia of flavors in the middle that are distinct and blended fantastically well simultaneously. This all flows into a very smooth bittering finish of great length with a soft blending of roast flavors. Alcohol flavor is present too and shows in a straight alcohol manner, like smelling everclear, yet somehow it flows with the rest of the drink.
So nice.
Nice full feel with a bit of grittiness at times. Perfectly carbonated with just enough to fill the mouth with action, but no too much.
Hard to say any beer is worth this cost, but man is this a nice beer.

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Photo of BrewsforBreakfast
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 4 pack at Whole Foods. Brilliant beer. Can into pint glass.

A- Darkest brown possible when held up to light. Basically black but there is some color in there. Huge frothy off white head. Tons of lacing.

S- Smells amazing citrus. Awesome IPA aroma.

T- Great combination of hops, bitter. Aftertaste lingers on the tongue with a dark, almost burnt bitter. Reminds me a little of a rye IPA but much smoother, more exciting flavors. Much better crafted. Little bit of alcohol bite at the end.

M- Outstanding. Creamy. But not oily. IPA hybrid.

O- so glad I sought this out and bought it on release date in my area. These 3 brewers nailed this. Very unique & delicious. Have 3 more left!

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Photo of ZAP
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Originally had this on tap at Zorbaz in Detroit Lakes and was surprised with how much I liked it as black IPA's are usually not my thing. Bit the bullet and picked up a four pack for $18 or whatevert it was and I am glad I did. There are some beers worth the extra cash and this is one of them.

A-Dark black with a light brown creamy head.

S-Really a great hop laden aroma....tons of citrus with oranges, tangerines and tropical fruits bursting out of the glass is two feet away from me and I can still smell its aroma drifting towards me.

T-Until now this seemed like an IPA but the "black" part comes in on the taste. I expected it to be very hop forward and while the hops still do shine also entering into the fray are flavors of dark chocolate, light molasses, and roasty malts....the blend is dazzling

M-A bit syruppy....expected the hops to provide a bit more balance on this end of things but the hop strengths seem to be in the aroma and flavor with not much of a tight dryness on the finish.

O-This is really special. I may buy one more four-pack of this before I am done.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black and a bit thick with a mocha colored head of creamy foam that fell fast but tried to leave lace. It has a nose that is bursting with tropical fruit and some orange citrus. Floral hops , a bit of pine, and not to be outdone a terrific roasty malt. The malt has a bit of dark sweet chocolate on it and this beer smells like something wonderful. Taste is fabulous. The mouthfeel is a bit thick and it travels the palate somewhat slowly but to it's advantage. It shows off a dry roasted malt that is a touch bitter and has a bit of chocolate on it. It's soft to the palate and creamy. The fruits are tremendous. Tropical like pineapple and mango then orangey and also a touch of tart grapefruit. The hops give a bit of pine. The beer finishes creamy, sticky and with a wonderful bitter that lasts and allows a bit of caramel and all that fruit to linger in the aftertaste with just a hint of the chocolate left to really make you tear up a bit.


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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This one was canned exactly 3 weeks ago.

An aggressive center pour from the 16oz. can into a tulip glass produces a strong, dense foamy head. It slowly subsides to a light coating on top and a lovely lace along the sides of the glass. This beer is blacker than most. No light shines through this brew.

The aroma is not extremely strong and is mostly pine and citrus with a little bit of roast coffee or dark chocolate hiding in the shadows. As it warms, the smell seems to grow a bit with some pineapple showing up as well.

The taste is rather amazing. A hoppy, bitter bite right up front quickly followed by dark chocolate, maybe some strong coffee and then finishing with a lingering piney dryness. I want to keep going back for another drink. The alcohol is hidden, buried deep in the inky depths.

The mouthfeel is about right with a hint of creaminess and even a touch of sweet stickiness. The carbonation is just right.

Overall, an excellent beer. This one runs deep.

A little pricey? Perhaps. I paid $18.99 for the 4-pack.

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Photo of cvm4
3.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle brewed by Three Floyds on 2/14/2014

A - Looks great for a black IPA! Solid black body, light tan head and a good amount of lacing.

S - Floral hops, roasted malts and some bitterness.

T - A nice mix of citrus and black roasted malts. Slight dull molasses. A little bit of bitter, but not overwhelming.

M - Medium bodied and medium carbonation. A bit of a wet/dry finish and well hidden abv.

O - Not too shabby. I like it and do love all of the characteristics of a black ale/ipa.

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Photo of MNishCT77
3.38/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

16 oz. bottle tried as part of a blind beer tasting with the Better Beer Authority (BBA), canned on 2/21/14, poured into a large snifter glass and tasted over an hour.

A - 2/3 - dark brown coloration, low clarity letting very little light through (cannot see through), initial tannish white head that settles into a 1/2 finger lacing that persisted throughout the drinking; large alcohol legs; moderate-to-high carbonation that reagitates on the swirl

S: 8/12 - low-to-moderate pine/resiny aroma with some background citrus fruit; some roasted malts peek through; no alcohol presence on the nose (especially impressive for 9.99% ABV)

T: 14/20 - on the anterior tongue, there's a mild bitterness that pops the taste buds for some classic PW hop flavors - again, pine and sticky resins with some background citrus characters; in the middle of the mouth, the roasted malts with more muted biscuity character starts to arise; little-to-no alcohol detectable; finishes dry

M: 3/5 - some hop oils coating the tongue, alcohols provide fullness and balance; moderate carbonation pushes the envelope

O: 6/10 - I was really looking forward to this one after reading/hearing that this is a hybrid of Abrasive and Darkness; however, in both the blind format and after the reveal, I called this "disappointing"; the citrus aroma/flavors are huge in Abrasive and the chocolate/coffee character is exceptionally complex in Darkness - unfortunately; this doesn't live up to either beer; regardless, thanks to Andrew Lewandowski for a sought-after beer from one of my favorite breweries!

TOTAL - 33/50

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Canned on 02/17/14 – FW Snifter glass
Notes taken on 03/13/14

Big thanks Allen!

A: Dark brown on the pour turns much darker once concentrated in the glass. Like black motor oil. Forms a thick sponge cake over top made up of some stubborn khaki suds. Holds up quite nicely leaving behind a nice sticky trellis of lace on the glass.

S: Big citrus hops on the nose. Super fresh green pellets with some resinous pine. Touch of mild roast malt there with some loamy earth. Light suggestion of coffee underneath but it is pretty minimal amongst all the fresh hops. Really nice and fresh aromatics. Definitely has my senses delighted!

T: Insanely fresh hop flavors. So green and fruity with abundant citrus qualities. Tangerine and orange zest mostly with evergreens and a very smooth balanced approach with it’s low to moderate level of actual bitterness. Subtle yet firm coffee roast notes and cocoa emerge and intermingle. The alcohol is well masked but you know its lurking there at almost 10% ABV. Damn this is one good dark ale. Lot’s going on but within a controlled balance.

M: The body is moderately heavy and full but the texture is incredibly smooth and silky. It lends to a lighter perceived feel with moderately low bitterness and a nice slick coating all across the palate. Good drying crisp at the finish. Fairly clean residuals.

D: One of the best Black IPA’s I have come across yet. Slightly edges out Stone SSR for me. Has a much more silky smooth feel but still comes with tons of hops and great balance bringing in just a touch of coffee and chocolate roast there.

Highly recommended if you dig the style…it’s comparable to a dark roasty Abrasive I would say.

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Blakkr from Surly Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.