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Hop Strike Black IPA - Tommyknocker Brewery

Not Rated.
Hop Strike Black IPAHop Strike Black IPA

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431 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 431
Reviews: 190
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 13.1%
Wants: 13
Gots: 12 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kirkpjr on 06-04-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 431 | Reviews: 190 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rrski198
4.43/5  rDev +18.4%
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!

rrski198, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of rembrant
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

rembrant, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at The Lark, East Northport, NY.

Poured a deep brown hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured a roasted malts, dark chocolate and a piney malt.

The taste consisted of roasted malt, charcoal and rye spice. A light sweetness and piney hop highlighted the experience.

Overall a tasty black IPA. Nice rye addition.

plaid75, Sep 10, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids & Solids, Longmont, CO

Hop...black...rye...pale...ale. There's a lot to like in that description. Poured a dark brown, almost black, with a small tan head that retained as a ringlet. Complex aroma: roasted malts hit me right away, with grapefruity hops soon to follow, resin, and a spicy rye character in the background. A good mix of all the aforementioned qualities in the taste, with the resinous and citrusy hops taking the foreground, but a definite roasty base, slight cocoa and caramel tones, with a bready, spicy pumpernickel distinction. Nice! I liked it. Medium body, moderate carbonation, full of flavor, and quite nice to drink.

Rifugium, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of nitro0292
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best by Oct. 24, 2011. 12 Bottle poured into a tulip. Produced a cappuccino colored one finger head. Head recently moderately to form a solid ring. Solid black and opaque - no light is getting through. Good lacing all the way down.

Smelled of coffee, chocolate, roasted grains and some floral and piney hops. Smell is well balanced, you that both roasted grains and American hops are in here.

Taste was more of the same. Balanced, without the hops or the malts dominating, but each getting some action. I don't get a ton of rye, but I can get the hint. Finish is fairly dry and not overly bitter or roasty, quite smooth. It doesn't taste like 78 IBU's, but that is likely a result of the roasted malts and residual sugars.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, more akin to a stout than a hopped-up IPA. Like everything else with this brew, right in the middle and highlights all of the attributes. Carbonation is medium low, with just enough dancing on the tongue to keep the flavors popping.

I know this beer contains rye, but it seems it is a minor portion of the mash and given all the factors, I think this needs to be an ABA/Black IPA.

One of the better black IPAs I've had, but not the best.

nitro0292, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of Pintofbrown
2.6/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: This is either one of the darkest rye's available, or it is a black IPA with special attention to the black part. It is not quite opaque, can see the other side of the living room when held up to the light, but it is a nice dark mahogany. The sandy head built to about one finger of foam. It is okay.

Smell: Quite the interesting profile; there is pepper and a roasted smell, almost like roast beef, that must be the rye in the nose. Almost no hops, unless they are blending with that extremely weird rye smell. I am not sure this is going to be my thing.

Taste: And...This is not my thing. For a black IPA, it really does not do anything right. The dark malts are not making any interesting contributions, and the hops are not here, or they are buried. And the rye is just making this...weird taste, like a roasted meat flavor. It has the sour bitterness of an IPA, but with the roasted / burnt malt flavor, it is just not gelling.

Mouth feel: It is a medium to light mouth feel thanks to the carbonation: it is not watered down which is nice. The aftertaste is a mess of bitterness and alcohol. Why I get burn in a seven percent ABV brew is anyone's guess.

Overall: I appreciate that Tommyknocker was running with this idea of a good, hoppy rye beer, and I wish it worked for me. But whatever this was, it did not work. Maybe try some different hops that gel better with the rye? Or get away from that roasted malt and try a sweeter, or bready malt.

Pintofbrown, Aug 29, 2011
Photo of PokerGod
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance- dark red to brown color. Not very transparent. Crazy, thick, volatile head, 2 inches easy. Wonderful lacing.

Smell- hops. Overboard hops. Spicy, clove smells. Nice aroma.

Taste- for a beer called 'Hop Strike' I exected a bigger hop-bang for my buck. Hoppy, but not over-the-top. Tasty. Malts shine through in the middle, and it brings it back to a hoppy spicy, herbal finish. Maybe that's the rye. ?

Overall- a good IPA.with nice color. Well balanced. I would drink again, but not sure if I would buy again.

PokerGod, Aug 23, 2011
Photo of Morey
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown to almost black in color. Brown and deep cherry red hues can be seen when held directly to the light. Cream colored head stood about a half inch tall following my medium pour, but has settled to a thin lace after a few minutes. Pretty good stick.

I'm getting roasted malts, spicy rye, and hop bitterness in the nose. Aroma was pretty strong when I first poured it, but it's really mellowed out some now.

Wow. I'm getting the rye, the malts, and the hops. Really easy to pick up on all the flavors here. Super balanced and quaffable. Rye and hop combo leaves you with some nice lingering spiciness on the back end.

Medium bodied with a carbonation level which sits just below the middle of the road mark and I'm digging it.

This beer is really well done overall. It should have been placed in the Black Ipa category though.

Morey's Bottom Line: This is one of the easier drinking Black Ipa's that I've had. I could probably do a six pack on a cool fall evening.

Morey, Aug 23, 2011
Photo of ummswimmin
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at the local bar. It looked kind of like a light stout. Pretty black with some thin-ness. There was minimal head (probably from the bartender's generous pour).

The body was right on for the style. It is like an IPA (thin). There was a decent amount of bitterness on the back end, but not from the hops. The coffee bitterness hung on for quite a while.

Speaking of hops, I didn't get much in the aroma or in the flavor. This would be a better example of a porter, than a black IPA. It was a little disappointing to be missing the hop flavor.

It was a decent beer, but it kind of missed the mark of my expectations.

ummswimmin, Aug 22, 2011
Photo of cjgator3
4.38/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

cjgator3, Aug 21, 2011
Photo of zoso1967
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hop Strike pours a deep ruby color with a surprisingly deep khaki head. The head is nice and frothy, but fades fast. The good news is it leaves very nice lacing in its wake.

The aroma is a very nice mix of hops, spicy rye and roasted malt. Pine and citrusy grapefruit aromas mingle well with some charred coffee and bitter cocoa. Not much sweetness is detected in the nose.

The flavor is another very nice mixture of roasty, chocolaty malt and the bold American hops. The roasted malts have an almost smoky sort of character and a very nice cocoa been vibe to them. The hops are just what you would expect in an American IPA, but take on a new flavor dimension when mixed with the roasted malt and the rye. I really like how the rye interfaces with the dark malts. I surely need to track down more dark brews that use rye in the malt bill. The malt sweetness seems to be fairly plain, letting the beer’s other attributes shine.

The mouthfeel is medium with a very low carbonation, but that is fine me. It has just enough to keep the mouthfeel alive without becoming too much when combined with the bitterness. The finish is dry with a very nice charred and hoppy ending.

I must say, this brew was a very pleasant surprise. I have not been terribly impressed with TommyKnocker in the past, but this brew is really well put together and quite tasty. If this were just a India black ale I am not sure how good it would be, but that rye really puts it over the edge. Very tasty.

zoso1967, Aug 17, 2011
Photo of Beaver13
2.35/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle. Pours a dark brown with a smallish off white head that quickly diminishes to a thin film that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet roasted malts, rye and a little chocolate.

The flavor is heavy tarry bitter roast with some sweet malt, and some rye comes out in the strong bitter aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, the flavors don't mesh at all. It just tastes weird with the harsh tarry bitterness, spicy rye and sweet malt.

Beaver13, Aug 17, 2011
Photo of Tone
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark brown color. 4/5 inch head of an off-tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of sweet malt, roasted malt, hint of rye, and slight citrus hops. Fits the style of an American IPA, or an American Black Ale, not a Rye Beer. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of citrus hops, roasted malt, and sweet malt. Overall, not complex, but very well blended.

Tone, Aug 15, 2011
Photo of Mitchster
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

Mitchster, Aug 14, 2011
Photo of BARFLYB
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Out of a bottle into a pint glass.

Hop Strike pours a tan/brown color out the bottle resulting in a very dark shoe polish brown when clumped in the glass. A lasting cap of cream colored foam, with nice splotchy lace.

The black in this black/rye IPA comes out in the nose with big roasted malts and some black coffee notes. The rye is hard to make out but a nice blast of piney hop scent rounding it out.

Roasty flavor up front with old coffee. The hop bill comes up in the middle and is quite grassy and earthy tasting, not citrus forward. Rye malt comes through in the finish with a clash of all three leaving a burnt aftertaste.

Feel is medium bodied and malty while hops play a factor in an aggressive mouth feel in the finish. A bit sharp on the tounge after some swigs, the carb is felt.

An interesting beer and a nice mix of styles. Im not to big on the black IPA concept as it defeats the purpose, but the rye aspect in Hop Strike makes for something new, although not a everyday beer, and at that, only one.

BARFLYB, Aug 14, 2011
Photo of dubinsky
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this as part of my Beer of the Month club. Poured from 12oz bottle into a 6oz tasting glass and split with a friend.

A - Pours a dark brown and most black with red highlights. The bottom of the glass really shows the redness. A short off white head sits atop this beer eventually leaving no lacing behind.

S - IPA huh? This smells sweet and malty, like a porter. I do pick up some hops but i think that Tommyknocker is trying to ride the IPA wave a bit too hard with the beer offerings i have tried.

T - Let me start off by saying this is a good tasting beer, but not as a Black IPA. This really makes me think im drinking a hoppy porter. There is a ton of chocolate and rye malt that completely overpowers the hops.

M - Medium bodied with good medium carbonation. Fairly slick on the tongue and very drinkable at 6.5 % ABV.

O - As i mentioned this would have been a good porter or rye beer but as a Black IPA as the label implies i'm not impressed. As with their pick axe "IPA" which is really a Pale Ale, they have tried to do the same with this beer with is really a Rye Beer. Too bad, cause this could be decent as a porter.

dubinsky, Aug 11, 2011
Photo of BB1313
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

New 12oz bottles, best by Nov. 21, 2011. Pours a pitch black, no light getting though. Decent off white head and nice lacing. The aromas are great, best part of the beer, IMO. Lots of ripe dank, pungent hops.. really funky and complex! The chocolate and rye malts definitely take a backseat. Now the flavors aren't bad at all, but I was a tad letdown due to the great nose. The hops still run the show, but the chocolate makes its' presense known. Slightly spicy, but I didn't really pick up on the rye at all. Mouthfeel is nice, but I thought it would be thicker due to the rye. It's easy to drink, bottle reads 6.5% ABV, and by the time you're done with the beer, you won't even feel it.. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing.

Nice beer, I liked it.. and maybe w/ a few tweaks this could be an off the charts Black IPA. But for right now, it's good and worth checking out. This was fresh and smelling so good..

BB1313, Aug 09, 2011
Photo of claytong
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i always hold these beers up to the trout hop which isnt fair because that just blows the others out of the water, so ill try and be more generous than i want to be, also not getting as much rye as i hoped

appearance - black with hints of red and brown. nice tan head comes up to an inch in a 6 oz pour.

smell - i can smell the rye, but (ill give a little spoiler) theres not much in the taste...pine tar and hops

taste - roasted malts, not as i expected but leaning towards malts used in over the top stout

mouthfeel - bitterness lingers and dries up the mouth in a not so nice way. good body and good carbonation

claytong, Aug 08, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thick hoppy goodness, a rich aroma with a hint of spice comes through on the nose right away. really nice blended notes of pine resin, warm malts, a nice touch of buttery middle and a touch of rye. really well done and this carries over to the flavor perfectly. smooth, effortless feel on this one delivers a light hoppy goodness with hints f spiced rye and buttery malts. nice clean finish with a light dryness and a touch of kick

mikesgroove, Aug 07, 2011
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tommyknocker : Hop Strike

Pours a deep black in color with a decent off white foam cap with large soapy bubbles leaving lots of lace. Aroma is decidedly malty. Lots of caramel and toasted malts upfront. In the taste, malty again with alittle rye spice and small hop presence in the finish. Mostly caramel, roast, and slight coffee flavors. Dry cocoa. Alittle flowery citrus and mild bitterness on the back end. Medium to full bodied feel. Overall, a decent black IPA with a small rye and hop presence.

Stinkypuss, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of DrDemento456
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow a black Rye IPA. Love me some roast and hops so this should be tasty.

A - Color is a dark brown with a nice ruby red hue and it is nicely carbonated with tons of bubbles in the base of the glass and a slightly tan head that has some pretty good lacing.

S - Wow the spice of the rye smells good in the one with roast as a nice second fiddle. I can detect some hops in the nose a very nice pine.

T - Huh it seems to be all there, the roast not to heavy just giving a bit of smoke the rye which is balanced and gives it a bit of spicy twang in the finish, and a nice bit of bitter pine in the middle bringing the whole thing together. After the second sip the pine sticks around seconds after I drink.

M - Pretty medium bodied as expected for the ABV.

Overall I don't think I love the idea since I am not a huge fan of rye beers but it does add a dimension to the black IPA I have not yet seen in any other beer. Drinkable and kinda glad I have 3 more, will have to try it again after a heavy stout.

DrDemento456, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of godlessape
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

godlessape, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of Imsothirsty
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very dark in color, not quite stout, a little light comes through. Thick finger of head, nice lacing.

Smells delectable. Roast coffee and piney hops both come out strong, with a little bit of hops.

Taste is great/good. I get the malts first, lots of coffee, a little nutty. Next is the rye which only contributes a small amount in my opinion but its welcome. FInally solid hop finish, mildly bitter mostly pine, some citrus

Mouthfeel is medium light with lots of carbonation.

Overall I would pen this more as a black IPA than a Rye brew. Very good and worth a try if you see it.

Imsothirsty, Jul 26, 2011
Photo of beerguru14
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
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!

beerguru14, Jul 25, 2011
Photo of GPHarris
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a four-fingers thick dense and pillowy tan head into a snifter that left thick sheeting and lacing throughout. head really billows as well. the body was a dark black.
s - dark roasted chocolate malts with a hint of rye.
t - big piney and spicy hops with some roastiness underneath.
m - thick and bubbly.
o - really good beer and the rye goes well with the roastiness.

GPHarris, Jul 25, 2011
Hop Strike Black IPA from Tommyknocker Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 431 ratings.