Ipswich Dark Ale - Ipswich Ale Brewery

Not Rated.
Ipswich Dark AleIpswich Dark Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

219 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 219
Reviews: 152
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.36%
Wants: 15
Gots: 8 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-20-2000

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 219 | Reviews: 152
Photo of TMoney2591
2.9/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Working my way through the Ipswich line that we get 'round here. This offering pours a murky black-brown topped by a finger of beige foam. The nose comprises light roasted malts, light coffee, light toasted white bread, and dark greens. The taste brings in more of the same, with the toast and coffee coming in a bit more powerfully, some orange rind and pine sap coming in, and a harsh vinyl flavor coming in at the end. This same tobacco-like vinyl character was present near the finish of the Oatmeal Stout as well... The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a slightly dry and sticky finish. Overall, it's hard to enjoy this beer, what with that vinyl taste. Maybe they just roast their malts in a strange way (thus explaining the similarities with the Oatmeal Stout)? Regardless, I could not drink this very easily...

Photo of jman892
3.03/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours dark brown with some copper highlights. Sudsy head and decent lacing

S- Grassy hops are pretty noticeable. Has a very earhty aroma overall

T - Good amount of hops considering the style. A little bit of toffee sweetnes trying to come into the picture, but largely covered up by the hops. There is a bit of a soapiness character also

M - Stongly carbonated, medium bodied

O - A little bit more bitterness than I would normally expect from a Brown ale. A perfectly average beer for me

Photo of smakawhat
3.06/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Eeek old bottle! 3/11/2013.

Nice deep chestnut brown color, with creamy light white and tan coffee like head. Head is three fingers tall lots of retention, and soapy whipped up lacing. Pretty nice looking brown.

Great nose on this. Good herbal sweetness, with hints of milk chocolate and toffee. Great brown like spices and cinnamon and nutmeg aromas, very solid and impressive.

First taste. What the heck? Palate feel. Watery and very weak. Malt, non existent, no hinting taste at all from the nose of classic brown ale flavors. No nutty, chocolate, or even minor roasty quality. Slightly acrid, somewhat sour grain and astringent and oil zest bitterness and not of a good hop like quality..

This is really a disappointing brown.

Photo of Zorro
3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hazy brown colored ale with a small tan colored head.

Smells sweet and malty with a chocolate cake batter malt aroma. Smells of chocolate and vanilla with wheat toast. No patent malt aroma at all and no coffee aroma either.

Starts out dry with a fair amount of bitterness and mostly a wheat toast flavor. Taste bitter with some small amount of sweet malt to offset the hops. Mild patent malt flavor, and that is about it. Pretty much a run of the mill brown ale.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall a pretty standard Brown Ale. Nothing here to make it stand out. Not sure I would ever try this again. I am near certain I would try anything new over this beer.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.16/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle - $3.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours out a dark russet-toned body with a rather tall, beige head.

Smell: Roasty, toasty malts, chiefly, with hoppy edges of pine and pith.

Taste: Hardly toasted bread, a fair amount of chary roast, and some bitterish chocolate, though very little sweetness ever coming forward to the drinker. Bark-strewn pine chips and a bit of chopped citrus pith ahead of a medium level of bitterness. Drying on the back half with some lingering pine and roast.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Actually, I was surprised at how fairly hop-forward this was, and was a bit disappointed, as I'd hoped for something more on the malty end of the brown ale spectrum.

Photo of scruffwhor
3.19/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ruby, copper, and cola all mixed together for this beer's color. Great head and residual foam and bubbling. This beer looks great!

Very hard to pick up the toasted and almost roasted malt aromas. As well as a few bitter hop aromas as well.

Taste starts bitter toasted, almost roasted orange peel. Then maybe some toasty and roasty malts mix in the middle through to the finish. But still pretty bitter from start to finish. More like and AIPA that wishes it was an ABA.

Not bad, but doesn't fit the style at all in my opinion.

Photo of
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle

Hazy, dark orange/brown. Small, light tan head.

Scent was malty and caramel as first impression. Pine hops came through next. Fairly mild overall.

Taste was more bitter than sweet, pine and herbal elements. Some roast notes. Touch of caramel and wheat bread to balance out flavor profile.

Medium body. Medium carbonation. Fairly dry.

Overall, OK, but nothing special. Decent beer with slight tilt towards hops.

Photo of nixhecks
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This brown ale poured a cidery brown color with tons of sediment particles floating about - really looked like apple cider. It also had a small head that formed and retained for a few minutes, also leaving a decent amount of lacing down the glass. It could have been the ice cold glass that hindered the aroma, but there was not much smell to this, I was barely able to smell a malty spiciness, not much else. Medium bodied mouthfeel, and a raison-ish malt foretaste with a crisp hop bite on the finish. The aftertaste was a bit unpleasant. Overall I can't see this as a dark/brown ale, it tasted much more similar to a handcrafted, unfiltered amber ale.

Photo of robwestcott
3.27/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

thanks to ahelm for this extra.

poured cold from the bottle a murky dark amber / brown to a dogfish head '08 shaped pint with a wisp of a short lasting off white / tan head.

aroma of toasted brown sugars and sweet dark molasses and hot maple syrup.

hmmm... not a very agreeable first few sips, however, it may be from a tired palate following a pretty things black ale / that said, this one's not tasting anything close to the fairly agreeable nose. a bit bitter, a bit sour even, with an acidic dirty hoppy bite.

medium carbonation, thin-ish, light bodied, strangely bitter for a brown ale.

drinkability - yeah, but I'd not have another.

Photo of billybob
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

medium to dark brown in color with a short light tan head that fades to just cover the beer and a fair amount of lace that holds well. smokey roasted malt aroma. smokey bitter coffee, has a burnt taste to it leaving a fingering after taste, bitter chocolate. don't like anything with a smokey taste so i will pass on this one.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, maple, roasted nuts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty with sweet flavors of caramel, maple and nuts. There's a strong bite of hops bitterness, but it doesn't seem to blend with the sweetness. The malt character is hearty. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this wouldn't be one of the first brown ales that I would pick.

Photo of scottum
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy deep brown with a big tanish head. Bready/roasty malt flavors rule this brew. The hops balance the finish quite well, but where were they at the start of the race? The finish is quite nice and makes you want to take another sip. Not the best brown ale on the market, but certainly a drinkable brew by all means.

Photo of fedt
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, thick tan head

S: Mild aromas of roasted malts and spices. Smells a little sweet.

T: The ale tastes watery, hoppy without body. It's definitely very thin and I was hoping for more.

M: Thin body. This has more carbonation than needed for a beer without a good malt backbone.

O: This is the first beer I tried from Ipswitch and I was not impressed. I don't think I would try this again.

Photo of WesWes
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, roasted malt scent that boasts of caramel and special roast malts. There is a slight nutty feel as well. The taste is decent. It's got a brown ale feel with quite a bitter finish. There is a considerable hop element here. I'm not sure that I really like the concept here. It's dry and roasted with some caramel notes, but hoppier than hell. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a forgettable beer. The concept is neat, but delivery suffers.

Photo of Liquids
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark it is-not exactly a brown. Cloudy and unfiltered deep brown color with a one finger cappucinno head, and lots of carbonation; looks good to me. Aroma is all american brown, hoppy, resinous--I dare say cascade. Taste is dark, dark brown, with earthy caramel notes and charred malts detected. Lacking the nutty flavors of the browns I prefer. Heavy on unfermentables, offset but the hops that follow. The flavor of this beer is really fading into the not-that-different flavor of the Mcneils and Berkshire Porters I've has more recently. A bit tea like in flavor, I notice after a few sips. Certainly hoppy as per the "american brown" style. Ragged char flavors linger making it a brown porter...well, let's just call it dark. Mouthfeel is thick and full bodied as expected from the sweetness of the unfermentables. This is not a bad beer, but disapointing considering I have been eyeing change for a single of this for over a year, thinking it would be a solid microbrew answer to newcastle and possibly even one to stock regularly. But some how that clear bottled UK brew that I hate to like has kept it's head about the pack as best of style for (nutty) browns...and despite that brew having major flaws, many browns I try go in very different, though not necessarily better directions, this being another. A fine beer on it's own, considering the complex layers of hops, caramel, and roast malt flavors, but somehow beers like this manage towind up striking me as booring. Sad.

Photo of tzieser
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a much darker than expected brown color with a thin head that settles pretty quick leaving a lacing around the glass. i was hoping for a better head.

interesting aroma. was expecting something on the maltier side but instead i get a piney, floral hop character. not bad necessarily, just not what i was expecting. malts were still there though, just not as rich as i hoped.

pretty good flavor. again, this was hoppier (for a brown ale) than i expected but as i sipped more i began to get used to it. a little sweet up front, with some chocolate malt (possibly caramel) quickly followed by some bitter hops (east kent goldings most likely). at first i thought this was a bit too hop forward for a brown ale, but the more i sipped the more i grew comfortable with it. solid ale.

average mouthfeel; average drinkability;

a good "dark ale", but not something i'll be picking up again. i'm happy with the 2 i got in my mixed 12.

Photo of Kinsman
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A: Dark brown, almost no light shining through. Thin but creamy head.

S: Slightly sweet maltiness with a flowery hop presence.

T: Sweet upfront quickly followed by a moderately hoppy finish.

M: Medium-body, good carbonation. Dry finish.

D: Overall pretty easy to drink but a little more hopier than what I expected for a brown ale.

Photo of ecoboy
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

How does anybody expect to sell anything called a "Dark Ale" in this country? The general public is so afraid of the dark, so to speak. This must be a tough sell. Someone used to Newcastle would love this flavor, and yet the word "dark" might send them spinning off down the liquor store aisle.

This is for lovers of roasty and even chocolaty malts. Light mouthfeel, light hop character. This is certainly capable of being very drinkable if you're a malt person: fairly unidirectional with the roasty nature lasting all the way through the glass and even therafter. Does not unpleasantly coat the tongue.

Good enough for what it is: the metaphor might be like a steak good enough to not need any sauce.

Photo of Dansting
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Poured a cloudy brown color with a medium light-brown head. Strong lacing. Aroma of chocolate, malt, and coffee. Nice mouthfeel. Flavor is malty with a strong coffee overtone. Almost more of a porter than a brown. Not one of my favorite brown ales.

Photo of Arithmeticus
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured chilled in 4-oz. taster, in shifts

A: decent head (dissipates quickly) with mix of bubble sizes; little carb action; dark copper color
S: caramel, malty aroma; persistent, inviting
T: bitter, dry flavor; complex; more hoppy than malty; prominent roasted malt (almost smoked), toward a stout; good balance of flavor with alcohol; hop flavor is in the darker, lower range

Pretty good beer.

Photo of rangerman21
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A- Dark dark brown with a white head
S- Dark malts dominate
T- Roasted malts with a coffee finish
F- Bright
O- A tasty dark ale.

Photo of ppoitras
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12ozer bottle bought as part of a mix 6-pack (that the proprietor was nice enough to allow me to make) from Holiday Spirits, Storrs, CT.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" tan head above the cloudy dark reddish brown brew. Head fades slowly, and lacing is average. Aroma is grain husks and dark fruits. Interesting, almost reminiscent of a doppledock in the nose. Taste is earthy bitter grains, fruity tartness as it goes over the tongue. Mouthfeel and drinkability are okay this time around. Was a bit sloppy with the decanting, this could be the source of what I perceive as somewhat off-flavoring. An interesting brew that I will revisit.

<edit> Was growing on me by the end, and I upped a few attributes a notch.

Photo of tai4ji2x
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

murky dark brown; even murkier if you swirl in the yeast. the head retention will be influenced by that as well. the less swirling in the bottle, the less creamy and sticky the head and lace will be.

scent is quite floral and hoppy. bit more than i expected from a "brown ale". the caramel malt can still be detected in the background.

mouthfeel was a bit thinner than expected, given the bottle conditioning. otherwise smooth, with gentle carbonation.

flavorwise, again, the bitter hops are stronger than i expected from a "brown ale". not that it isn't nice, but then maybe the style is mis-categorized?

Photo of Philabeerphia
3.64/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As a style, Brown Ale is quickly emerging as one of my favorites. I am excited to see how Ipswich's version stacks up.
12oz bottle that has been 'aging' in my fridge for 1+ month, pulled and poured into the cuvee 'bell' tulip.

Velvety and deeply crimson in color. Nearly opaque, topped with a fine crown of khaki head. A tight and appealing looking package, but some of my favorites have more retainage in the head and some richer chocolate colors.
In the nose I am not getting much of anything. A faint whiff of tobacco, citris and cider. Where I am disappointed in the nose, the flavor and mouthfeel are more than splitting the difference. A few notes of bright cherry around the front of the mouth rolls into heavy, sweet tobacco. Sweetness spreads into some cream corn, but quickly deepens and grows a bit bitter with some espresso notes. This is all wrapped up with a dry, smoky finish provided by some hoppiness that intermingles well with the roasted, chocolate grains. Nicely attenuated, and nicely carbonated. Overall a clean, fine beer to drink. If its not hitting on all cylinders, it sure is a good kick.

Photo of Stimack
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brew pours to a dark brown color with a nice sized tan head that broke down quite quickly but did leave a fair amount of lacing. The aroma is really nice, sweet caramel malt aroma with a slight roasted scent. Also an alcohol scent in notable if you take a big whiff. The taste is very nice with a unexpectedly large hop taste, I did not pick it up in the nose so was not expecting it. Also at the start it has a somewhat creamy malt like taste that snaps to the hop flavor described above. Over all this is a nice brew, probably not my favorite from Ipswich but even in the mixed 12 pack it will not stick around for long.

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Ipswich Dark Ale from Ipswich Ale Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 219 ratings.