1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Ipswich Dark Ale - Ipswich Ale Brewery

Not Rated.
Ipswich Dark AleIpswich Dark Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

208 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 208
Reviews: 149
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 16
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ipswich Ale Brewery visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  6.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-20-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Ipswich Dark Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 208 | Reviews: 149 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of snackerfish
5/5  rDev +29.2%

snackerfish, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of Lawnboy33
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Lawnboy33, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of DavidHamilton
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

DavidHamilton, Jul 14, 2012
Photo of RBorsato
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

RBorsato, Nov 06, 2012
Photo of bjohnson
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ipswich never ceases to amaze me! This one pours a dark cranberry/maroonish color with a good head. Not much head retention on this one though. Leaves a nice trail of lace. Smells nutty and has a roasted malt taste. Also is a tad bitter. Drinkabillity is great, just like the rest of Ipswich's beers!

bjohnson, Oct 09, 2005
Photo of meechum
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade with Almalkin

A - Poured a nice dark brown with some ruby highlights. Had a great light tan head that fell very slowly leaving a nice sticky lace down the side of the mug

S - A nice big malty smell with hints of caramel/toffee and some biscuity smells

T - This could be the best brown ale I've ever had. The taste was a complex mix with a quick hop bite up front giving way to a nice malty middle and then finishing up with a piney hop bite at the end with a dry finish that left me wanting more

M - A nice full body to this beer with good carbonation but not overly carbonated.

D - I regret that I only got 2 out of this trade..this is by far the best brown I've had and I enjoyed every sip of both bottles I got

meechum, Dec 11, 2007
Photo of smcolw
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep brown. Opaque, but only when placed against a bright light. Good tan head that leaves some spotty lace.

Rich dark malt aromas, but not sweet--dark chocolate comes to mind. Roasted, but not burnt, grains are tempered by the subtle touch of hop. Very inviting!

Like an excellent homebrew, I mean this as a high compliment. There are stong stout-like flavors, but this brew is missing the richness of a stout. I enjoy the large amount of hops present as well. This may be one of the most flavorful brews I've had in some time.

Typically, I'm not a "dark" beer fan. I love stouts, porters and brown ales, but when a brewer is inclined to use the moniker of dark ale, I typically expect a watered down version of an American ale with a small amount of black patent malt to make it darker. I am pleased to report that this beer breaks that rule; it is complex, flavorful and extraordinarily drinkable. This was a shocking surprise!

smcolw, Mar 06, 2005
Photo of Wamesit
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark hazy orange/amber. Thick head that retains fairly well. Lacing is strong.

S- Some citrus hops in there. Mainly a dark, sweet (but bready) malt.

T- Gorgeous. Hints of coffee underlie the rich caramel malts. Citrus hops find there way into the flavor by way of a bitter and dry finish.

M- Big. Smooth yet with solid carbonation.

D- All day. The mouthfeel is big but so smooth; the flavors so balanced that one could easily continue on with a few of these and enjoy every sip.

Wamesit, Nov 24, 2010
Photo of JasonCoop
4.4/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a very dark ruby/brown color with sticky beige foam.

smells great, nice hoppy citrusy sweet kind of smell.

taste: very full bodied and malty taste. hops balance it out nicely with a good kick. a nice full, sweet brown ale with an unexpected hoppiness. nice dry earthy finish. pretty good.

mouthfeel is very thick. pretty full beer, but with a good balance from the nice hops in the finish.

i don't consider this brew too drinkable because of it's fullness and its robust flavor. seems like the abv is probably around 8. a little strong to drink all night. but a nice change of pace and a pretty good brew overall.
will try again asap

JasonCoop, Mar 04, 2006
Photo of mostpoetsdo
4.4/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep dark brown, with faint light tan head.
Update: The head is this and leaves great lacing. The head stays practically the entire time while drinking, excellent.

S: Malty, biscuity, yeasty, and a hint of cocoa at the end. Pine hop aroma.

T: Big malt flavor, but follows the nose exactly with great biscuity flavors. Also has a touch of dark fruit, and a slight hop bitterness at the end to give it a nice kick.
Update: Wow, when this is fresh, it's a fantastic take on the style. All the previous flavors are present, but there is a great, acidic, piney hop punch that hits you simultaneously with the malt.

M: Update: Let this beer warm up a bit. Has a near-Guinness mouthfeel, super smooth, creamy, but a medium body. Best of both worlds, great carbonation.

D: It's a very enjoyable beer, a tasty and interesting Brown Ale.
Update: This beer is a great take on the style. Make sure you let the beer warm a bet, reap the benefits. Buy this fresh and it's one of the best, older is great as well.

mostpoetsdo, Sep 27, 2011
Photo of NJpadreFan
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ipswich Dark Ale

Inside the variety 12 pack. $17.50 at Joe Canals- Lawrenceville, NJ

A- Hazy cloudy brown with a moderate size lacing head.
S- slighty roasted oily pine hops.
T- Nice bitter oily green hops with a roasted and mildly burnt touch.
M- Sweet pine hops with a mild burnt coffee/ cocoa finish.

Overall- I don't think this is a nut brown?! Tastes like an IPA/ porter blend ( Tröeg's Dead Reconing Porter?!?!)

Very Tasty, actually quite delicious. Too bad you only get 2 in the 12 pack.

NJpadreFan, Oct 03, 2007
Photo of pbrian
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours muddy brown with an everlasting tan head. Smell is a fresh mix of sweet malts, spicy yeast, and citrusy hops. Taste borders on a porter: roasted grains, chocolately, nice yeast profile. Bitterness towards the end balances it just so. Smooth and full bodied. A treat I should buy more often.

pbrian, Sep 25, 2002
Photo of tugdriver7
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked-up the Ipswich variety pack (Trad Ale, Dark Ale, IPA, and Oatmeal Stout) at "Thrifty Dutch" in Hanover PA. The bad news is that, when you find something "on the road" that you like, it's frustrating when you can't get it locally. The good news is that this is probably the best "mix" pack I've ever selected "blindly" (e.g., without reading BA first). Amazing quality.

The Dark Ale pours rich and brown and cloudy in the glass, with a nice head of foam that dissipates quickly and leaves lather-like lacing all the way down. The smell is instantly toasted malt in the nose with a very pleasant fruity hops that subtley balances the whole. Taste is far more complex than I thought--a mix of the aforementioned malt and hops (fruity and piney... more than expected but extremely welcome in the flavor matrix) with a touch of malty sweetness that, along with the subtle carbonation and rich body, renders this one a beer you can't easily put down (on the table that is). It's fantastic. Easily as good as any brown I've ever tried.

tugdriver7, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of JayNH
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a slightly hazy deep brown with a respectable two finger head.

S- Sweet, a bready/biscuity maltiness with notes of a brown ale nuttiness. Plenty of pleasant scent for a brown.

T- A slightly sweet dark roasted maltiness. Very mildly nutty. Well hopped for a brown, a nice citric grassy hoppiness.

M- Smooth, medium bodied. Carbonation could be a bit more creamy.

D- Excellent! This brew defines an "American" brown ale. Almost a brown/IPA hybrid.

JayNH, Apr 02, 2009
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a nonic)

A- This beer pours a dense brown body that glows a dark oak hue at the base of the glass. There is some microbubbles gliding up the sides of the glass. The thick sticky yellowish tan head last and last with creamy rings sticking to the glass with each sip.

S- The soft aroma of clay and lightly toasted malt has some soft green hop hints with a musky pungency to them. A bit soft in aroma but very pleasant.

T- Green hops have a nice full pungency with some wintergreen qualities to it. There is a nice dark biscuit malt flavor that comes through. There is a touch of tartness and grainy quality in the finish with a very soft bitterness that lingers as a green herbal quality.

M- Medium mouthfeel with a slippery texture that finish a bit creamy.

O- This beer has a nice rich flavor of hops with some soft bitterness and a nice character, albeit a bit soft, in the depth of brown malts.

rhoadsrage, Sep 27, 2011
Photo of far333
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark copper color with a foamy beige head that leaves oily lace around the glass as I drain it. Aroma is of cocoa, with hints of cinnamon and sweet candy. Smooth and full mouthfeel leads to a full and chewy flavor of roasted malt with hints of chocolate, coffee, and fig. Hop presence is felt, but it doesn't compete with the other flavors. They all work well together. A lingering cocoa flavor envelopes the mouth. This is a great beer.

far333, Jan 02, 2004
Photo of bditty187
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Unfiltered, brown in hue with a tawny-amber highlight, especially when held to a light. A modest sized beige head of a ¼” in height topped off the beer. The head retention was reasonable; it faded to a loose cap, which lasted the entire consumption. The subsequent lacing was basically none. Still the appearance is pleasant. The first couple of whiffs of the nose didn’t do much for me. But, in time, aromas of chocolate, oranges, caramel, and a Brown Ale-like maltiness emerged. The smells from the hops were slight but I got a suggestion of grass. The dark malty aromas are the focal point, yet they really aren’t that loud. Still the potency is strong enough to tell me to drink. So I did. I won’t lie, I didn’t realize there was a style of beer on BA called Dark Ale; I just thought it was a ubiquitous term. I really didn’t know what to expect, especially on the palate. The nose was good but the taste was, frankly, awesome! The balance was impressive; the maltiness is very much like a Brown Ale but with chocolate and caramel influences. The chocolate flavors are significant. In the middle a yeasty, ale fruitiness is found, oranges mainly but hints of citrus. These citrus notes are also found in the finish but this time it is a byproduct of the hops. I am impressed at the bitterness; I get a sold dose of citrus bitterness on the back of my throat. What is this beer exactly, an IDA? That would be an India Dark Ale! This is damn tasty! The aftertaste really seals the deal for me; it is a mix of dark malty flavors and bold hoppy bitterness. I could pair this beer with many different foods and cheeses. It is surprisingly complex! Medium/medium-full in body, it works for me, the carbonation is modest but natural, this is an easy drinking beer. Lovely stuff. Yet again I am impressed with these Ipswich beers. This might be the best tasting one yet. I’d kill for more. Thank you drweizen for the bottle in the BIF 5 package!

bditty187, Jun 10, 2004
Photo of MJR
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish-brown with a bit of chill haze. A light tan head starts at a nice size, and only shrinks a bit. Decent lacing on the glass.

Smell: The aroma is a balance between the bready, grainy smell of the malt, and the aromatic smell of the hops. There's a touch of nuttiness in there as well. Great aroma!

Taste: The balance that was present in the aroma is now tilted a bit towards the hoppy end of the spectrum. There is the bready, toasted flavor from the grains, but the green, fresh hop flavor takes center stage here. The hops have a bit of a grapefruit bite to them. I detect a slight alcohol flavor towards the end, but it's faint enough to not take the attention away from the other flavors. Very nice!

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a mouthfeel that stradles the line between dry and crisp, and round and creamy.

Drinkability: Damn good...if this was available here, I could easily down pint after pint! This is quite the kick-ass American Brown Ale!

A 'thank you' goes out to pbrian for including this great brew in our trade.

MJR, Apr 03, 2003
Photo of jwc215
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown with a foamy tan head that leaves lacing.

The smell is nutty, toffeeish, earthy with a slight hint of butterscotch.

The taste is of toffee and dark chocolate. It has a roasty character reminiscent of coffee. It has a nutty, earthy character as well. Citric bitterness balances the malty sweetness, especially in the dryish finish.

It has a rich medium body with medium carbonation.

This is one well-made, well-balanced, dark Brown Ale. Not quite "sessionable" (though was probably not meant to be), it's very drinkable nevertheless. It leaves a roasted aftertaste, which if you enjoy as much as I do. A robust brown!

jwc215, Jul 06, 2008
Photo of twelvsies
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer appears a dark brown which looks a bit reddish when held up to the light. Small off-white bubbly swirly head. Smell is very complex. Piney hops come to mind first, followed up by some chocolate wafts and some cherry or grape kicks. Smells like one of those chocolates in the box with the raspberry filling or whatever. Taste is roasty chocolaty malts with a very substantial hoppy backbone. Some dried fruit notes in there as well, a key part of this complex little beer we have here. For a beer this thick and chocolaty and tasty like a porter, this beer is not full bodied, more of a medium feel, but crisp and smooth. A very interesting, drinkable ale. Cheers.

twelvsies, Nov 10, 2004
Photo of Jacobob10
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The last variety out of my mixed 12-pack to be sampled. Poured a murky, brownish-orange color. The appearance reminded me of apple cider with a nice head. Great nutty aroma. There are definitely some floral hops in there that give the taste a nice bite to counteract the roasted malts. The taste reminded me of coffee and dark chocolate. Normally you would find the same taste in a much more hefty brew, but the drinkability on this is excellent. Very enjoyable beer and I was very pleased overall with the Ipswich sampler pack.

Jacobob10, Apr 26, 2005
Photo of EStreet20
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, shaker pint glass.

A - Nice, nearly opaque dark brown that glows tan when held to the light. Has a nice finger of tan/off white head up top. Looks inviting.

S - Give me a nice roasty aroma with some chocolate. A bit of hops kick through, surprisingly to me.

T - A very nice roasty taste that has a tiny sweet hint come through, but is beat back by some hop bitterness before finishing dry.

M - Fairly light for such a dark beer. Moderate carbonation.

D - A very nice brown ale that makes you want more. Good for when you're in the mood for a roasted tasting brown.

EStreet20, Oct 01, 2007
Photo of UncleFrank
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow.
As far as a style, where Dark Ale fits Im not sure. Is it Munich Dark? Porter but lighter? Brown Ale? etc? But to this I say who cares!
The aroma is of chocolate and biscuts. Almost like a dark grain bagel with hints of maple. No hop aroma. The color is cloudy brown with a lasting beige head.
The taste gets better as it warms. Typical of a strong beer, which this isnt. This adds to its complexity. Chocolate, wood, roasted malts, a touch of dark fruit followed by citrus and pine hop flavors like orange skins. The finish is slightly hoppy and dry. A tartness or "twang" stays and makes me want more.
This is an excellent beer. I really want to find the "Base" idea for it and brew something like it myself.

UncleFrank, Feb 21, 2004
Photo of 86MonteSS
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've got high standards for Ipswich, but their beers consistently take my standards and force them into very uncomfortable places. The Dark Ale proves to me what a rock-solid brewery this really is. Their beers are characteristically robust yet very drinkable, and this is no exception. A baker's chocolate quality seems to be at the forefront of this beer, but at the same time it's refreshing enough to be had by the dozen. Rich, savory... a real base hit.

86MonteSS, Oct 18, 2004
Photo of tastybeer
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark is right. Very dark glowing brownish red color. Tan-cream colored head is 1.5 finger and leaves a nice little layer over the beer. Smells lightly sweet with chocolate, certainly malty, and pretty hoppy. Taste has similar qualities. Resinous pine, floral and citric hops blend with the sweet malts balancing the beer quite nicely. A nice conglomeration of all sorts of flavors here. Mouth is gritty and smooth. Easy drinkability too.

Another good Ipswich beer. Yummy + good to get whenever your little heart desires.

tastybeer, May 10, 2006
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ipswich Dark Ale from Ipswich Ale Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 208 ratings.