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Wild Raven - Thornbridge Brewery

Not Rated.
Wild RavenWild Raven

Educational use only; do not reuse.

38 Reviews
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Reviews: 38
Hads: 133
Avg: 4.08
pDev: 9.31%
Wants: 12
Gots: 19 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Thornbridge Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.60% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: TMoney2591 on 02-24-2010

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (53) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 38 | Hads: 133
Photo of aleigator
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours as dark as the night, with a huge, stable head.

Smells of grassy, wet grass hops, together with roasted, cocoa infused malts. Has a dank, fish scale fortified undertone, with mango shining through. The hops establish a certain dankness, which creates an interesting interplay between the malty qualities of the beer and its tropical fruits.

Has a medium carbonation with a smooth yeast appearance, creating a pleasant mouthfeel. While the beer got a gentle complexity to it, it remains refreshing.

Tastes of grass enriched orange, blood orange and papaya, while an earthy maltiness sets the foundation. A metallic note from the carbonation ties the different flavours together, by providing a sharp metallic bitter whiff, as well as an earthy coppery sweetness. The finish features a dry hop impact, defined by wet grass, accompanied by roasted cocoa nibs, revealing coffee qualities. Its bitterness stays long on the palate, while being accompanied by barky coffee flavors.

Wow, very intense and extremely versatile. The hoppy part of the beer is very prominent, not only providing the typical fruits but also ice-bonbon topped wet grass. The resulting dankness blends well into the malts, due to the noteable carbonation, hops and earthen malts stay on par on the palate, creating a fantastic tasting beer.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a really dark brown with reddish hues sitting under an ample head of off white foam.

Big notes of pine and roasted malt in the smell. Some chocolate of the dark variety.

Tastes even better than it smells. I get some pineapple out of the hops that are used.

Gloriously smooth on the palate and very easy drinking.

A marvelous brew!

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Photo of interzen
4.39/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass

Look: Pours very much like a well-known Irish stout - dark brown to black body with a big pile of fluffy, beige/tan head. Some nice ruby-red highlights when held up to the light. Considerable staying power in the head department, and some nice lacing left behind.

Smell: Strongly hopped, as you'd expect for an American-inspired beer. Interesting mix of both resin and citrus hops, with the former definitely dominating. If there's any malt aromas in there then the hops are doing a mighty good job of steamrollering them beyond perception.

Taste: Hops, oddly enough, and .... dark chocolate. Yes, really - bubbling under the hoppiness there's the chalky bitterness that you'd get from a really good quality dark chocolate (think in terms of 85% cocoa). Most unexpected, and contrasts nicely with the other, more malt-oriented and caramel flavours. Whilst it's not nearly as full-on as something like a chocolate stout, it definitely adds a degree of interest.

Feel: Smooth, nicely bitter with a nice, lingering aftertaste and that wonderful hint of chocolate. There's not a lot of carbonation but that just adds to the drinkability.

Overall: Not as in-yer-face as an American IPA but then it doesn't need to be - this stands perfectly well on its own merits. Superb balance of bittering and aroma hops, combined with the malts and that dark chocolate vibe make this an absolute cracker. Thornbridge do some superb beers and this one is right up there with the best of them

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Photo of fank2788
4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite black with some highlights around the edges but in general not much light passes through on top a finger of tiny bubbles falls to a thin layer that laces nicely. The smell is full of piney hops and some citrus hop as well, not much in the way of malt as the hops truly dominate. This is quite tasty as it starts with a good shot of pine and citrus hops which are backed with some caramel and chocolate malt but this is definitely hop focused. Smooth and roasty finish with some lingering hop bitterness, pretty low levels of carbonation that all combine to invite the next sip. I'm not a huge fan of Black ales or black IPAs but do enjoy this one, I'm yet to be disappointed by Thornbridge Brewery.

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Photo of FLima
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black color with red highlights and a thick mushroom head with excellent retention and leaving a wall of laces.
Nice aroma with notes of passion fruit, black fruits and licorice, some Brazilian jabuticaba and a light roastdness.
Flavor with lots of dark fruits, licorice, smooth roastdness, predominant grapefruit citrusy, resin, pines, tea leaves, musk and flowers. Dry and bitter aftertaste with an elegant roasted prolonged note.
Very good Black IPA, super fruity and perfectly balanced with a good deal of citrus hops. One of my top favorites British breweries, which carry some American accent. Don't remember to have let me down. Recommended.

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Photo of metter98
3.91/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is black when viewed from afar but upon closer inspection when brought up to a bright light it is clear dark red and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige head that gradually died down, leaving some patches of bubbles in the center, a collar around the edge, a thin head in between, and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark and roasted malts are present in the nose along with hints of citrus and pine resin hops.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is mostly dominated by flavors of dark malts with some notes of burnt, chocolate and roasted malts and has underlying notes of tropical fruits and pine from the hops, the latter of which contribute a light amount of bitterness. The roasted malts particularly linger into the aftertaste.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The subdued nature of the hops in this beer fits the bill of this being a Black IPA from the United Kingdom and this could be classified as an "English Black IPA" if there was such a style.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Roguer
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Big, tan head with good retention. Brew is black as a solid stout. Nice, sticky lacing. The bottle is beautiful, with an artsy, stately label, and a black-on-gold neck label.

Strong hop notes up front - floral and juicy citrus - against a malt backbone that gives notes of smooth chocolate and biscuit, and hints of dark fruit.

Strong acidic grapefruit hop flavor, as well as an earthier, greener bitter hop bite; some sweet juicy orange or ruby red grapefruit as well; caramel malt and bitter chocolate. Hop-forward; balanced bitterness; appropriately subtle yet present malts.

Fairly dry, medium feel; a little more full than a normal IPA, but the bracing bitterness is more of a factor than any chewiness. Lively with very little sting.

This is a very good Black IPA that is right on the mark. Tons of hop character that is really highlighted, and a roasty malt character right at a perfect level for the style. It's a little bit drier in the flavor than I typically prefer, but I find that is often the case with English IPAs.

If you're a fan of Black IPAs, I'm not sure this would immediately jump right into your top 3, but neither do I think you'll be disappointed.

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Photo of dar482
3.69/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer comes in a dark brown color.

The aroma has roasted malt, chocolate, a hint citrus, but mostly earthy and piney hops.

The flavor follows roasted malt, sweet caramel, a huge herbal and spice bitternes son the back.

It is easy drinking, though reminds me more of a hoppy porter than a black IPA.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A black IPA in a 500ml bottle from Systembolaget, Sweden.

Clear, black beer with a one finger high withe foam.

Smell of chocolate, orange, pine, grass, tropical fruit and rosted malt.

Taste: Rosted malt, a little bit of coffee, chocolate, grapefruit, peach and hops.

Medium body and small but right carbonation. Great bitterness. A really good beer!

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Photo of hansavijaticar
4.74/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Colour: dark brown, bit of red.
Smell and taste: pines, ananas, grapefruit, cocoa; dark chocolate (in the back).
Lingering bitterness, but quite refreshing, surprisingly for the style. Medium body.
Very complex beer, one of my favourite black IPA-s.

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Photo of MarkoNm
2.21/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.25

Thornbridge Wild Raven.

Pours with a nice dark brown, almost black color, and a decent beige head.
The strong aroma my nose picked up were roasted malts with some coffee as well.
The taste was likewise roasted plus some coffee. The bitterness was very strong, much too strong for my liking.
Overall, this beer was too heavy, too strong and too bitter. Not really good IMO.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-cask 11/20/2013 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI served in an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a large dense off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, chocolate, citrus and hops.

T: The taste starts out very creamy with bitter sweet flavors of chocolate, coffee and citrus followed by a roasted malt character. The hops presence is a bit subdued but still brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: A little crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a very solid beer to drink for a long time if you’re in the mood for the style.

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Photo of heygeebee
4.19/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

From Beer Cartel. BB 05 2014

A - black with whitish one finger head. Spotty clingy lace.

S and T - similar being a more earthy IPA style than the floral US style backed with the coffe and choc dark roasts. Grape fruits yes but not to the fore. Hint lychee, from a hop I cannot name but I recognise.

M - lightly carbonated and very smooth

O - what you might expect from Thornbridge, as in a more restrained attempt at style and really slap in their style bracket. Drinkability up with zestiness and sharpness down making it all the more drinkable.

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Photo of danieelol
4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with good head and lacing.

Smell is glorious pine, jasmine (think that's the Sorachi Ace). Spicy and seductive, the pine is really potent. A slightly rice-y note. A little bit of tangello/blood orange.

Taste has more blood orange and tangello. Nice candied quality.

Mouthfeel is slightly sweet in a good way, piney and mildly bitter and ashen in the finish.

This beer is excellent, fresh and way too easy to drink, like most Thornbridge (I)PAs that I've tried.

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Photo of dangeru
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really nice. Good hop and roast, with an additional layer of interest coming from an oakiness to the flavor.

The best black IPA that I can regularly get my hands on in the UK.

Not as good as Boneyard Armored fist, but definitely a solid black IPA for those of us across the pond.

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Photo of MrKennedy
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

310ml glass at the Local Taphouse, Darlinghurst.

Black appearance with a lightish off-white collar of foam on top that laces really well. Good head retention.

Smell has pine & grapefruit and touches with chocolate & coffee. More of the first two and the last two just add complexity.

Tastes of the grapefruit with some pine. Again chocolate & espresso coffee are there, but the chocolate is less pronounced and the coffee is very secondary.

Mild bitterness throughout with it coming from hops first and a little late kicker too. Dry finish. Solid body for the size.

Really impressed. Complexity & subtlety done very well. One of the better black ipa's I've come across. Becoming a bit of a Thornbridge fanboy after this and Halcyon.

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Photo of flyingpig
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle from Good Spirits Co, Glasgow (£4.00):
Deep mahogany that, almost black & a thumb sized, thick looking, foamy head on top that holds pretty well before eventually settling as a thick looking, light brown lacing.

Hoppy with some pine and citrus notes along with a touch of grapefruit. This is followed up but some toasted, darker style malts and a hint of coffee. I could detect some sweetness, a little bit of bitter and a few background fruits competing for notice along with some faint chocolate and light tropical fruits.

Citrus and pine hops along with bitterness and a sweet malt taste. There is some darker malts from the nose, some grapefruit as well and a well balanced, bitter finish with hints of light chocolate and toasted malts.

Medium body and a smooth, creamy feel with plenty of bitterness in the dry, citrus infused finish with lively carbonation.

Nice pine and bitter hops backed up with some toasted malts and the background chocolate and coffee that is subtle but definitely noticeable. A really nice beer and one that goes down far too easily.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown with a large off-white head.
Nose shows chocolate, nutty malt, sorachi ace custard notes and soft spicy resinous hops. Lovely.
Flavours include more of the sorachi dill and custard, resinous piny hops and some roasted malt.
A bit too much carbonation.

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Photo of John_Henry
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lovely dark colour with a solid light brown head that is retained well leaving good lacing. The hops come threw on the nose, but not half as much as on the pallet. I'd guess NZ hops which have a great tang to them without being too bitter.

Listed as a black IPA, which is a great style, this could however equally be listed as a hoppy porter. Either way a great bear well worth hunting out.

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Photo of Tone
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, brown color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of hops, slight sweet malt, hint of citrus (grapefruit?), and hint of caramel malt. Fits the style of an American Black Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hops, pine, citrus, floral hops, hint of grass, and hint of roasted malt. Overall, good appearance, blend, body, and complexity.

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Photo of eriktoyra
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown liquid with thick and creamy off-white head. The head lasts long.

S: The smell is dominated by an intense citrus tone, almost like it is fabricated. Citrus detergents in fact. I can also find leather, flowery hops, Earl Grey tea and dark roasted malts.

T: It tastes Earl Grey tea, flowery hops and lots of citrus. There is also some leather and coffee towards the middle and bitter grapefruit peel at the end.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation.

O: The citrus tones in this one is very, very dominant. Worth a try!

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Photo of crnipeter
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

With an UK-brewed black IPA history seems to be reverting itself except that Americans are colonizing England this time.

Decants dark brown with garnet hue topped by stable light-tan head with lots of
sticky lacing on the sides.

Pungent citrusy and resinous hop-aroma is backed by dark malt character i.e. biscuity, caramel and chocolate qualities. Besides citrus-yielding Sorachi and Centennial hops a distinctive black gooseberry aroma of Nelson Sauvin can be picked up, with all three hop-varieties being advertised on the label.

Mouthfeel is smooth like that of a porter while grapefruity-resinous hop flavor mingles with roast till the dry finish featuring both hop bitterness and tanninic notes of roasted malt.

Light-medium bodied with moderate yet fine carbonation.

Overall, a very good fruity-roasted-resinous Cascadian Ale that tends to remain closer to an IPA rather than to a Porter or Stout and that's precisely as it should be. (500 ml bottle into tulip, BB 2013-04-10)

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this thanks to an offering from Ty at Craft in Reno. Jet black, tan head, .8" in depth. Aroma was mild hops, miniscule roast, tobacco, ash.

Taste was a more bitter than usual English black ale, biscuity, high carbonation, probably leaned more grapefruit than pine in the flavor. Was actually pretty complex. High amount of toffee flavors. Nice tang smack to it. Seems to have a meld of old and new school hops. A relatively dry mouthfeel, something I don't normally associate with all the different and sometimes competing flavors to this beer. Any fruit flavors associated with this beyond grapefruit, seem to be overstated. I'm just not finding them.

Definitely a better than average black ale, this one really puts all the usual suspects from an ipa and a porter together. I think it works well, even if not really something I could drink a few of during a game on the telie.

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Photo of bark
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The clear liquid is black with a brown edge (100 EBC). The two finger head is pale brown. It sinks slowly leaving lots of lacing.

The smell is hoppy and quite bitter with some roasted notes and dry coffee. Alcohol is present, as is citric hints and a touch of resin.

The taste is both bitter and roasted. Hints of orange peels, grapefruit, plums and a touch of coconut. Roasted nuts, mild notes of coffee and dark chocolate. Medium to full body. The aftertaste got a lingering smooth bitterness, green fruits/berries, cream and a mild clean sweetness. The finish got notes of hops and coffee plus some warming alcohol.

The carbonation is mild to medium, the many bubbles smooth and small. The liquid is a bit dry.

I have had a few black IPAs the last years, but I felt that I just didn’t “get” the style as they basically were either were over-hopped stouts or IPAs with a pinch of black malt. The results were never balanced nor very interesting. But with this one, I begin to understand the concept. And a damn tasty beer, too.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Builds an average, rocky, dark beige head that leaves patchy lace over a black beer with dark brown highlights. Some carbonation clings to the Fisheye Pint glass.

Sweet with cedar resin and modest hop aromas followed by light orange. The malt profile is rather weak. There are some floral notes.

Modest bitterness with a modest bitter finish and less depth than desired.

A medium to light body with velvety texture and fizzy carbonation. Alcohol is as expected and this beer is dry.

A fine accompaniment to lunch. While I may well try this one again, it needs to be consumed with food.

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Wild Raven from Thornbridge Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.