Wild Raven - Thornbridge Brewery

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Wild RavenWild Raven

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128 Ratings
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Ratings: 128
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.11%
Wants: 10
Gots: 18 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 128 | Reviews: 40
Reviews by thepeter:
Photo of thepeter
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at GBBF, poured light Black with a frothy foam head, bit of lacing. Aroma of bitter hops, cocoa, coffe, dark malt, dark bread. Taste is malty and rich up front, bitterness hits in the middle and continues until it balances out with a bit of sweetness at the end and leaves the palate pretty clean with a little hoppy after taste but very pleasant. MF was great as always when coming off the cask, perfect natural carbonation and medium body. Overall a very nice balanced Black IPA

More User Reviews:
Photo of bishopdc0
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is black with a generous tan head 4

The aroma is a mix of sweet choc malts and a hop balance that brings it together

The taste starts sweet and citrus hops. The taste of the chocolate and roasted malts come in. The roast lingers and is a bitter finish this is a near perfect flavor mix

Photo of jazzyjeff13
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 500ml bottle with a BB of Dec 2011. Label mentions that notes of dark chocolate, pineapple and orange will present themselves....

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Very dark; appears black but deep ruby highlights are revealed when held to the light. Yields a huge head of light-brown foam with good retention; this slowly subsides to a surface layer. Aroma of fruity hops with notes of tropical fruit, citrus and pine, underpinned by sweetish malt, subtle coffee and yeast.

Tastes of aromatic hops with a dark malt backbone and powerful bitter finish. Notes of pine, citrus, tropical fruit, bitter chocolate, hints of coffee and roasted malt. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly with considerable astringency. Full-bodied, but doesn't come across as heavy. A pleasant lingering aftertaste of aromatic hops.

Superb - a must try for any hop lover. Plenty going on, with stacks of aromatic notes and bitterness. I could drink this for hours... I've also tried this on cask, which is even better, but a fantastic beer in any format.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

Photo of Roguer
3.98/5  rDev -2%
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.

Photo of MrKennedy
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of ReluctantScooper
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nine-pint minicask at home.

I have only one problem with this beer. It's a Black IPA. And that's so oxymoronical that it makes my brain melt.

But I've learned to live with it. It's citric chocolate. Feisty sauvin notes fight for attention with Sorachi dryness. Black coffee drops in there too.

Rumour has it that this beaut is going to be bottled. It'll be a cool summer if that's the case.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Photo of fank2788
4.06/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of metter98
3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
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

Photo of beerdrifter
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at my favorite beer store in Belgium, Dranken Geers. Deep dark brown-black pour with just a touch of red. Huge three finger caramel-colored head with good retention and decent lacing. The nose is hugely aromatic and one of the best smelling Black IPA's I've had. Tons of roasty malt and piney hops with hints of grapefruit, tobacco, espresso, and chocolate. The taste is over the top and spot on to what a Black IPA should be. Perfect balance between the piney, citrusy, juicy hops and the chocolaty roasted malts. The Nelson Sauvin hops really shine and make this big, bold beer even bigger. Hints of grapefruit, pine, mocha, and espresso with just a touch of vinous notes. The mouthfeel is slightly thick and chewy with a bit of creaminess and a great tangy, bitter hop finish. And with a 6.6 ABV, I could drink this all night long! Black IPA's are currently my favorite style, and this is either one or two on my list. Never thought Sublimely could be challenged, but Thornbridge has done it once again!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Photo of EmperorBevis
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sublimely well balanced with all the taste sensations of eating a blackjack & fruit salad at same time, Thornbridge's best bottle!

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Lizardville ina tulip glass. Pours an inky black, with a 2 finger ecru frothy head that slowly reduces, looking like foam on a specialty coffee.

Has a malty aroma, like ovaltine with mild coffee and hints of toffee. Very mild floral hops in the aroma, and only then upon agitation.

Smooth, with coffee, astringent bitter, peppermint, and thin malt. Amazingly, this smells maltier than it tastes. Ends quite dry and bitter, with hints of solvent.

Medium bodied, with a dry finish that leaves the tongue tacky.

A nice, dry IPA with hints of coffee that melds the English IPA style with dark roasted malt seen in many American IPA's. Better than their Jaidpur, I'd recommend it.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip glass at Sheffield's.

The 2011 Bachelor Party Extravaganza continues in the Sheffield's beer garden. This bit pours a garnet-highlighted tawn topped by a finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises toasted biscuits, toffee, dry pine needles, light tobacco, flowers, and dark greens. The taste sits closer to the hoppy end of the spectrum than the smell, with the pine, mint, and spicy greens taking center stage, forcing the toffee, light cocoa, and very light roasted malts to the wings. The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly dry finish. Overall, a pretty nice English CDA, perhaps a bit on the hoppy side for my tastes (I like just a touch more balance), but generally enjoyable.

Photo of k3ve
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

very dry dark ipa, liked it a lot! tryed at beer'o clock in bukarest.

Photo of Tone
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of dangeru
4/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of John_Henry
4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Photo of crnipeter
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
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)

Photo of dar482
3.69/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Photo of MarkoNm
2.21/5  rDev -45.6%
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.

Photo of bark
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Photo of StJamesGate
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purple brown that shows garnet in light with a solid steady creamy tan head that puckers and leaves thick rings. Incredible fresh resin-skunk hop nose with pine needles and lemon peel plus slight ashy cocoa underneath.
Charcoal, earth, sultana and cocoa beans up front with seriously bitter lemon hop bite with a bit of evergreen and leaf. Nelson Sauvin gooseberry and Centennial tangelo come out as it warms.
Kiwi finish and heavy IBU linger. Medium, sticky, soft, creamy and chewy.

Never thought I'd say this about an English beer, but this is almost too bitter for me. It really needs to warm up and let the tropical fruit notes open out - even then they're buried, and I get no pineapple like the label says. Or is this actually the acidity of the dark malts enhancing the bitterness? Either way, this is a Sorachi Ace-fest, and a monstrous IPA no matter what the color.

Top flight CDA.

Photo of interzen
4.39/5  rDev +8.1%
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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Wild Raven from Thornbridge Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 128 ratings.