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Hop Strike Black IPA - Tommyknocker Brewery

Not Rated.
Hop Strike Black IPAHop Strike Black IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

192 Reviews
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Reviews: 192
Hads: 463
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 20.11%
Wants: 17
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Tommyknocker Brewery visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kirkpjr on 06-04-2010

Hop Strike is a dry hopped black rye IPA. The beer is characterized by an intermingling of spicy citrus hops and chocolate malt. Substantial 78 IBUs are balanced by roasted rye resulting in a nice depth of malt character and deep color.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 192 | Hads: 463
Photo of ggroller
4.84/5  rDev +28%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a freaking great beer. I'm going to go get some more of this.

Darkish ruby red in appearance with a nice whitish head.

I can smell hops and a bit of rye. A tiny bit of coffee too.

This beer is super balanced. I can taste the rye and the hops. It's a bit roasty too.

Mouthfeel is just a tiny bit chewy.

This is 7% but it's a session beer in my opinion.

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Photo of SeattleBeerBlog
4.56/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- WOW. Poured from a hand pump at the brewery with a super thick off-white head, cascades like it is on Nitro but pours from old school cask. Extremely dark and great lacing. Man, I have never seen a cask beer done like this.

S- Smells of Chocolate malts, with pine, Citrus (grapefruit), and a bit of spice.

T- hmmm, a hit of bitterness followed by flavors of Citrus and pine, then carmel and spice. Very nice, bitterness could linger a bit more and it would be exactly what I want from a Black IPA.

M- On Cask, so I don't know if this is a fair reading. Supper creamy, great carbonation and zero cloying. Makes me want cask beer everyday.

D- Overall a spectacular beer, I had this also on CO2 and it was still great but the Cask is the way to go on this one, the beer went from being very good to spectacular. Made me really think Cask is King. Also made me think that a lot of pubs aren't doing cask correctly as this beer was just a different animal off of a brewery operated hand pump.

At the brewery during GABF!

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Photo of DenverLogan
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

You know...after a big mountain drive I often head for Tommyknockers. Now I know, there's some alternatives, like Summit County with Backcountry and Dam Brewery, and the Golden City Brewery, and others, but Tommyknocker puts out some fine brews, especially at the brewery. Reminds me of Abita in Louisiana...if you only get the beers in 6-packs at your local grocery store, then yeah, they're so-so, but at the brewery, you often find the gems, and the atmosphere can be compelling. Anyway, I happily digress...I'd say this is a fine black IPA and I like that style, I'll admit. However, lately it's been difficult, because they have also had a fresh hop with hops from Montrose, CO, and they have a fine Saison at less than 5%, and there's the Oaked Butthead Bock, and the always lovely Imperial Nut Brown, but over the last couple of weeks I've picked growler refills of the Hop Strike...nice aroma, color, tastes of some hops being challenged by mild dark malts with a nice overall profile...refreshing and satisfying...ayieee!!!

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: deep dark brown, not black with some bog fluffy head rentention and lacing. chocolate sundae.

smell: big citus. smells like a strong IPA, sublte dark malts

taste: a nice dark IPA, hugge citrus flavors and a nice dark malty malt backbone.

mouthfeel: medium and light for a dark beer

drinkability: solid Dark IPA. one of the best I have ahd.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 16oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Dark brown with ruby highlights, big rocky head of eggshell-white foam.
Aroma-Citrussy hops and a faint cocoa powder note
Taste-Cocoa porter and citrussy IPA combo of flavors. Milk chocolate, smoky, citrus hop bite, and a spicy rye profile make this a very tasty and interesting brew. A little different taste with every sip. Very flavorful, but a bit thin-bodied in the mouthfeel keeps this brew from being truly exceptional. Still, a very tasty and interesting beer. Would pair nicely with smothered burritos. Yum!

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Photo of mattcrill
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Pleasant powdered cocoa notes up front. Earthy and piney hop notes assert their presence quickly. Doughy bread-like character that is well knit into the hop and chocolate charater.

Appearance: Dark brown pour with shoe leather edges. Sticky off-white head that retains well and laces the glass softly.

Flavor: Chocolate covered candy orange slices on the front end. Nice earthy and citrus hop character that is subdued but noticeable. Clean fermentation character. Finish is clean and dry. Aftertaste is long and bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Slightly creamy and slippery. No alcohol heat.

Overall impression: This reminds me of Founder's Black Rye. Bottle says it's a "Black IPA" but the strong rye character takes it to another, much more interesting level. I haven't been impressed by anything Tommyknocker has done so I'm completely blown away by this. Strong work.

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Photo of rrski198
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Almost opaque. Looks more of a stout than anything else. Its actually darker than some stouts i've seen. Nice mocha colored head.

S: Smells like chocolate covered hops. Its like a hopped up chocolate stout.

T: Follows the nose exactely. This is quite unique and really good. I have had other black IPAs that are very heavy on the hops with little to the malt outside of the color. This is certainly a step above. Malt is sweet, semi lactose stout, and the bitterness is of pine needles.

M: Full, round, great balance. Sweet first, but the sweetness sticks around with the hops that take hold toward the end. Very nicely done.

O: My favorite balck IPA to date is Stone's 15 aniversary. This is nothing like that but just as enjoyable. I really dig how this style is now being duplicated by enough brewers to have a wide variety or flavors. This is a must try!

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Photo of tdm168
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Village Draft House

Arrived in a 12oz chalice; pitch black with a thin lacing of brown head. The nose is very pleasing; roasted malts, a hint of chocolate, and floral hops. The taste is very similar; roasted malts up front with a clean, floral finish with hints of chocolate. As the beer warms, there are some noticeable peppery characteristics that come from the rye. It's medium bodied, moderately carbonated, and very smooth.

This beer has a little of everything that I love. I'm a huge fan of the Black IPA movement and I'm also a huge fan of rye beers. The rye is subdued until the beer warms leaving one with the impression that this is just another decent black IPA. Once the beer warms though the rye is noticeable and works so well with the roasted malts and the hop character. This is a beer worth checking out!

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Photo of cjgator3
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle

A- Pours a dark black color with a nice light tan head with great lacing and retention.

S- The aroma has some dark malts and a good dose of fresh citrusy hops. Smells good!

T- The taste like the aroma is dark roasted malts up front with a little sweetness sneaking in and finishing up with a lingering bitterness from the hops.

M- The mouthfeel is somewhere between light and medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I am a big fan of most of the black IPAs out there and this one did not disappoint.

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Photo of godlessape
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:Cloudy deep dark brown, almost black with quarter inch head that dissipates quickly.

Smell:Incredible piny citrus hops covered over a roasted caramel malt.

Taste: As good as it smells. Toasted dark rye with with robust coffee and caramel notes.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, light bodied. Maybe could use just a wee bit more carbonation.

Overall: This is a great beer, and it won't be my last.

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Photo of veinless
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Jesse13713 for this beer; yet another want/cool local he sent in our trade.

Pours a dark caramel toned black with a healthy three-finger off white head that froths big time, and is cake-like with lots of rockiness. Leaves excellent lace and has phenomenal retention. Great looking head, and pretty good looking body.

Spicy chocolate malt is dominant in the smell, with some black pepper and dark chocolate coming out the most. Citrus and tropical fruit are much lesser but are there for sure.

Boy this beer tastes delicious. Spicy rye, dark roasted malt, rich chocolate, with crisp fruit in the background. The black IPA style seems to be very polarizing, but I can't get enough of it, especially with the added rye complexity. The malt is coffee like at the end, making the finish clean along with the hops.

Mouthfeel is crisp, smooth, and thinner than you'd expect from a dark beer like this. The malts are hidden well in terms of the feel, especially considering how strongly they taste. Could be a bit fuller though. Drinkability is excellent due to the dry end and the flavors are balanced enough that the beer remains easy to down til the end. Great beer, shame it was brewed only once (according to this site anyways).

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Photo of Mitchster
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed with 2-row, Munich, 34 & 75 Crystal, Carafa III, Chocolate malt, and roasted rye. Hopped with Chinook, Summit, and Willamette. 7.0% ABV, 78 IBU's. $1.79 for a 12oz. single @ BevCo.

Pours out to a clear very dark walnut, forming a modest light tan head with good retention and nice sheets of lacing. Carbonation is mild to moderate. The nose is wonderful...you get a really nice balance of the spicy rye, the skunkweed from the Chinook and Summit, the carob and cocoa from the chocolate malt and some really nice toasty, Oolong tea, and biscuit smells as well. The taste is a recap of the aroma, but perhaps not as intense and not as well balanced. The bitterness, while moderate, hogs the show from the subtleties I pick up in the nose and the rye really adds a dirty, earthen flavor. Lighter bodied than I would expect from a 7.0% beer.

A really good beer, but almost a great beer. If I could, I would ditch the rye (replace it with pale 2-row), and knock down the IBU's to maybe 60-64.

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Photo of chicano4craft
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz bottle poured into a tulip. Almost completely black. One finger worths of a white, tannish head. Good lacing.

Hugh hop aroma in the nose. Very piney with some roasted chocolate. Some earthy/grassiness as it warms. Very pleasant.

Taste is like bitter dark chocolate. Citrus comes through with a pretty clean finish. Rye does make an impact without being intrusive. Adds to the full flavor. Orange peel mixes with the roasted malt. Very good.

Good carbonation and excellent drinkability. I love me some dark rye beers and this one was a pleasant surprise. I will have to head up to the brewery and try this on tap. If you can get your ahnds on this it's woeth the try. One of the better rye beers I've had lately.

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown color; deep ruby on the edges. Poured a deep tan 1 finger head with fair retention to an even skim. Laced in wide rings.

S: Very sweet toasted malts. Citrus tickle. Chocolate and burned toast.

T: Big malts up front that carry into the middle; bitter chocolate, burnt caramel. Citrus and grapefruit hops add a bit of complexity as they seemingly layer onto the malt character. A little resiny through a sharp bitter finish.

M : Medium body. Moderate carobnation. Starts creamy and smooth, transitions to resiny, finishes bitter.

D: Very drinkable; especailly with moderate abv. The interaction of flavor and feel was very pleasant. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of dbossman
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Near black with a small but steady tan head; lacing is intricate

S: Lots of rye breadiness coupled with pine, flowers, and weed? a subtle citrus makes this an interesting and nice smelling beer

T: The rye maltiness is most prevalent up front and then the pine bitterness comes back but in the end it's the chocolaty breadiness that stays on the tongue

F: Creamy with a pleasantly low amount of carbonation--this beer sits nicely on the back of the mouth

D: This is a really nice offering from Tommyknocker--their best that I've had; this is a tasty and easy drinking Rye PA; nice work guys!

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Photo of donmonkey1
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours an opaque dark brown/black with a nice frothy tan head that has awesome lacing. The head could have been a little thicker and last a little longer.

Smell: Powdered malt used to brew your own beer. Sweet, burnt toast, brown sugar, roasted nuts, coffee.

Taste: Sweet hops, sugary pine tree bark, licorice (black and red), interesting bitterness and sweetness at the same time.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, lacks carbonation, boring.

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Photo of beerguru14
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour, Color, & Aroma:

Pouring the beer into a snifter (I was questioning if this was the correct glass for this style), the first thing I noticed was how dark it was. Of course I was expecting it, but my brain still gets confused when it sees IPA and then a dark beer comes flowing out of the bottle. Anyway, enough nonsense. The carbonation in the beer was extremely high, the beer foamed quickly and lasted for a long time making me slightly impatient. I didn't have enough fingers to measure the head on my initial pour. The advantage of a pour like that is that I had a significant amount of time to look at the head. Similar to where the beer was brewed, it was very rocky and frothy.

As expected the aromas were very complex. Initial smells was of citrus, then heavy roasted malts, followed quickly be pine and then chocolate. The aroma was like a dance in which every characteristic knew when to put its foot forward. I enjoyed having my nose in this beer. Other aromas I was getting faints wisps of were toffee, hints of molasses and some earthy tones.


How can I describe this beer effectively. In the past, I have tried beers in which have so many conflicting characteristics that the beer was distracting at best. I was curious to see if this beer would be the same. I mean look at the style: Black Rye India Pale Ale. So many dominating characteristics go into each an IPA, Rye beer, and a black beer whether it be a schwarzbier or stout. I figured this would also have some distracting elements.

I happy to realize I was wrong. Chocolate and a slight coffee robustness was most prevalent when I first took the sip. Grapefruit and earthy hops quickly followed the malts. Lastly, a hint of toffee or caramel was slightly coming through.

Finish and Body:

What I enjoyed about the brew was how creamy it was; however, the rye still provided a hint of dryness so the beer wasn't too sweet. I would say the finish of the beer was the most unique part about it. An earthiness was very prominent at the very end that washed the other fantastic flavors away. I am relatively sure the earthiness was from the use of the rye, but a style of hop could have also been the culprit. I can see how that particular finish may be too unique to some people, but I for one enjoyed it.

Final Thoughts:

As my first and only commercial example of a Black Rye IPA, I didn't know what to expect from the style. I hope I have the opportunity to more examples of the style, but until then I believe Tommyknocker did an excellent job brewing up another master piece. Prost!

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Photo of Durge
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Discovered at the Mellow Mushroom in Greensboro, NC this one is a dark black, transluscent mohogany color with a flimsy light tan head and modest lacing. The aroma is grapey cream soda with bold and beautiful pine hops and light bready malt. Very nice. Put to the palate I’m tasting lots of delicious root beer malt sweetness and intense charcoal pine hops. Beautiful flavor with a medium-light bodied brew with lively carbonation and a crisp feel for the style. A great hop brew with personality that seems very drinkable to me.

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Photo of kirkpjr
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first time adding a beer, and what better one than a beer brewed specifically for Alabama's Free the Hops.

Picked up a growler of this at Dee's.

Poured into a SA perfect pint glass.

A: Pours a thin but dark brown. One finger of beige head. Looks like a typical brown ale, dark but somewhat transparent in the right light. Lacing present all around the glass.

S: Nice citrus and tangerine hops upfront. Also some chocolate and cocoa nibs are present in small amounts. Nice combination of the malt and hops. Reminiscent of Sweetwater's Happy Ending.

T: The smell follows right into the taste, but with the order reverse. Light chocolate and roasted malts upfront, followed with a juicy citrus hop finish. Very smooth and enjoyable, with just enough richness and bite. I couldn't detect very much spice typical of rye beers.

M: Medium to full body, despite the thin pour. Also slightly creamy - I can only imagine what this would taste like on cask. Moderate carbonation. Very nice combination of chocolate and citrus hops stick to the tongue.

D: Very drinkable and very flavorful. A great combination of styles. A little rich to be sessionable. Thanks to Tommyknocker for dedicating this tasty beer to AL!

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Photo of BierStein711
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

So smooth!!!

Bottle poured into imperial pint, four finger head crests the glass and overflows briefly.

Jet black with beige head

Smells of rye, hop, and grain

Flavor is of bitter hop, and smooth, smoothest rye. This isn't too complex of a beer, but it is fantastic in so many ways.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, and thick. Carbonation is not too noticeable

Overall, this is a fantastic beer from Colorado. I'm going to explore the Tommyknocker brewery's portfolio at this point. I'm inspired. Black Strike has struck me!! I'm going to dive into Colorado quality!!

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Photo of superdedooperboy
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into a pint glass.

Pours a deep, clear ruby-brown with wonderful garnet highlights when held to the light. A fat, frothy head of light tan foam shows marvelous retention, holding tight throughout and lasting to the finish, grabbing tightly to the walls of the glass, leaving behind thick, bubbly curtains of lace as the glass empties.

Sweet caramel and molasses show themselves in the nose alongside a big whiff of spicy rye and faintly citrusy hop notes. A bit mellow, but enticing nevertheless.

Medium-bodied with a very mild carbonation, things are uplifted a bit from the start when the whopping spiciness of the rye malt melds with the sweet, almost chocolaty malt flavor. Malt sweetness circles around the edges, but the rye spiciness combined with the moderately bitter, citrusy and piney hop notes balances perfectly, moving into the finish a bit dry and drying out still more in the end, with a distinct rye character lingering afterward.

Infinitely drinkable, this is one masterpiece of a rye ale, wonderfully balanced and delightful. Alabamans are lucky to have such a great brew dedicated to their cause, and I only wish that this could accompany Terrapin's Rye Pale Ale on local taps in Augusta, GA.

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Photo of plfahey
4.23/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a shaker pint.

Appearance-Deep mahogany brown with relatively good clarity. Moderately tall pale khaki head has good retention and shows some nice lacing.

Aroma-Black, bittersweet chocolate and green spicy/piney hops. Background notes of nutty rye, roasted malt, and bread crusts. Slight herbal hop notes as well.

Flavor-Delicious chocolate with lighter notes of rye bread crusts, nuts, and rye fruitiness. Green, herbal, and pine hop flavors with moderate hop bitterness in the finish. Finishes with slightly acrid, dry, black cocoa powder flavor and some woodsy hop flavor. Quite tasty.

Mouthfeel-Medium to medium full body with smooth viscosity from the addition of rye. Moderate to moderately low carbonation. Silky smooth and creamy.

Very tasty black IPA, and the rye notes really shine in the flavor. Smooth and easy drinking. A solid and quite delicious beer-highly recommended.

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Photo of MinorThreat
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz bottle poured and capped off draught at Tommyknocker. Thanks for bringing it all the way to the DTC Dave!

A-Pours like thick coffee. Very dark, even when poured it really doesn't have that "its so red its black" appearance. Nice thick mocha colored head with decent retention and good lacing.

S-Yup, there are some high AA% hops in this one. Smells like Chinook and Summit. Spicy, citrus fruit and pine with a good roasted grain and chocolaty back.

T-Lots of citrus and spicy hops right up front that give way to roasted cereal grains, coffee and chocolate. The rye pops out a little and seems to work well with the heavily roasted grains to bridge the gap between hops and malt with a nice sharp, crisp roasted bitterness.

M-My initial reaction was that it was thin based upon the color association with big thick beers. The taste of the beer matches the mouthfeel well, not too dense, stays light and refreshing on the palate.

D-It hides the plus/minus 7%ABV very well. It is a complex, well integrated beer that I could have two or three of. Highly recommended.

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Photo of rembrant
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours near black and opaque, nice beige head, leaves a lot of lace and froth on the glass

A bit of coffee scent, something earthy and a subtle hops that's hard to define, hints at tangerine.

Does use the malt side effectively,almost a porter with a hoppier finish. Has elements of coffee and a bit of chocolate. The Rye doe not come across so much as rye but as an earthy complexity.

The hops have a bit of pine,a tiny bit of citrus but overall is a moderate hop snap for a black IPA. I thought there was a tough of apricot or papaya in the finish

The effect is somewhat between Edmund Fitzgerald and Tumbler with a fairly complex flavor and a bit more bitter to the end. Odd,but I like it because it finds an original take that tastes good.

Mouthfeel has a special mix of briskness and richness with the hops in this bringing a bitter on the end yet not dominating the malts in the flavor. The result is a very drinkable beer.

This is a jack of all trades,an interesting and tasty brew,and a plu for this brewery.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cottony, tan--shaded one-inch head (quite a few big bubbles) topped the pint glass in which this was served. Dark stained-cedar color with black cherry highlights.

The smell of sour rye and rustic hops, bold and balanced, radiates assertively from the glass. A bit of a syrupy cola sweetness present as well.

What you smell is what you taste. Bitter, slightly sour, roasty, a touch of chocolate.

A little above medium viscosity, but a decent amount of fizz. Bubbles delicately pop on the back of the tongue.

I dig the flavor and feel of this beer - a lot going on. It's far from shy or subtle, but it's short of brazenly excessive. A little more refinement in the sweetness and I could see drinking this often, especially with a smart food pairing.

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Hop Strike Black IPA from Tommyknocker Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 192 ratings.