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Ipswich Dark Ale - Ipswich Ale Brewery

Ipswich Dark AleIpswich Dark Ale

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

202 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 202
Reviews: 148
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 10.57%

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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 202 | Reviews: 148 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of argock


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Bukowski's Tavern (Boston, MA) in clear pint glass for $5.00.

A: Super dark murky brown with 1/2- to 1-finger beige head with average retention and a few lace rings circle the glass.

S: Big malts from much of the spectrum including mainly black, caramel, and chocolate malts. Hops are lightly herbal and woody without much character otherwise.

T: This is a malt-lover's beer with big dark malt flavors that hit notes of caramel, dark roasted, and licorice with an overall woody, walnut-like flavor. Hops are very light and mainly earthy.

M: Medium-to-full bodied with low carbonation and a malty-earthy aftertaste.

D: One of the most earthy, dark brews I've ever had. I enjoyed it because of the range of malt flavors it delivers.

Serving type: on-tap

11-07-2009 19:36:50 | More by argock
Photo of NeroFiddled


4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ipswich Dark Ale:
Beautiful appearance. The body is a very deep, ruby-accented dark mahogany brown. The creamy tan head has excellent retention, and it leaves almost solid walls of lace about the glass.

Surprisingly hoppy nose! I was expecting a much more basic ale, perhaps something like a dunkel lager but done with ale yeast - this is nothing like that. It's quite American with juicy, fruity hops bursting forth. Very nice! Beyond that it's pretty basic with a just lightly chocolatey malt base.

The flavor delivers the same hops found in the aroma, but they're more rounded with a grassy side as well. From there the malt steps in, and it's much more chocolatey than the nose suggests, and also very darkly caramelish. It offers a flicker of sweetness, and then settles down as the solid bitterness and leafy hop flavors rise. Well-rounded and very nicely balanced considering the citrusy hops present.

An impressive, hoppy brown ale!

Serving type: on-tap

05-06-2009 21:14:38 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of DavidSeanNJ

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-Tap served into a pint glass...

A- Dark brown "is that black?" liquid...thin head, not much lace. Not your typical looking brown ale.

S- Smell was roasty and malty with hints of nut and dark coffee beans.

T- Taste was full of character. Lots of roasted flavors, some dark chocolate and molasses, some hop punch, but tended to stray on the malty side.

M- Interesting- somewhat thin for a full flavored brown ale- easy going down, not heavy.

D- A sessionable brown ale. Good stuff, but wasn't BLOWN away.

Serving type: on-tap

05-18-2008 17:33:54 | More by DavidSeanNJ
Photo of dherling

New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a dark reddish-brown with a light tan head. Decent lacing. The nose 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. The taste offers a 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. Medium in body with a mouthfeel that stradles the line between dry and crisp, and round and creamy.

Serving type: on-tap

03-24-2007 23:41:31 | More by dherling
Photo of JWU


4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz. bottle poured into a porter glass.

A- a very dark brown, with amber hues when held to light. A nice khaki head laces very nicely.

S- Some pumpernickel bread with a cocoa and chicory sweetness there as well. Some leafy hops are detectable. Fruity esters lie well underneath. Pretty straight forward brown ale here.

T- Not as dark on the flavor (as the smell) and really nice and complex for a brown. A dark bread base is backed up by cocoa, chicory, coffee, a slight nuttiness, and some fruity yeast notes. Sweetness reminds me of a molasses, but is appropriately restrained. Finishes with a mild leafy/citric hop note.

M- Really nice and slick, slightly creamy. Dries nice on the back end, but not crushingly so.

O- New England Breweries seem to really have brown ales down. (thinking Smuttynose here) Really nice offering from Ipswich.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2013 01:32:58 | More by JWU
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly hazy dark amber in color with light to moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation and some amber + golden orange highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy tan head that reduces to a large cap of thick film and a thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer with a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of roasted and toasted malts with a light hint of char. Light to moderate aromas of pine/resin hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of roasted and toasted malts with light flavors of char. There are moderate flavors of pine/resin hops in the finish which impart a moderate amount of lingering bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. LIght to moderate amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Pretty hoppy for an American Brown Ale with a pretty big flavor profile - enjoyable and pretty easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2013 00:26:39 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of RonaldTheriot


4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ipswich Dark Ale has a medium, off-white head, a caramel color, lots of streaming bubbles, and thin lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of caramel, sweetness, and light cocoa. Taste is of caramel, sweetness, cocoa powder, and mild bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium and a little bit slick. Ipswich Dark Ale finishes dry, sweet, and very drinkable. I think it's really delicious!


Serving type: bottle

09-05-2013 23:39:36 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of smakawhat


2.98/5  rDev -23.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2013 16:23:59 | More by smakawhat
Photo of tone77


3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a pretty, cloudy auburn color with a 1/2 inch head. Smells both malty and hoppy, yum. Taste is also well balanced malt and hop, some nuttiness, very easy drinking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a quality and enjoyable beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2012 00:51:45 | More by tone77
Photo of BigCheese


3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottled on 9/28, just over a month old.

A: Pours a deep mahogany, with a large/healthy/thick baileys colored pillow of a head. The big head lasts, one of the better I've seen in a little while. Leaves lacing everywhere. Not totally clear but appears filtered.

S:Toasted biscuit, toffee, herbal hops break through, rather light aroma.

T: Mix of malty sweetness and intertwined with a slight punch of hops. Lots of caramel, toffee, nuttyness, oatmeal, milk chocolate all come to mind. Finish is more bittersweet chocolate and medium roast coffee. some Grassy hops too, with hints of pine/lemon. definitely some bitterness not sure if its hops, dark malts or both. Hints of butter too, maybe a dash of diacetyl, which isn't uninvited.

M: High carbonation, light body but silky smooth, I suspect oats, quite drinkable.

O: Quite a pleasant brown ale. A bit darker than many brown ales, with a bitter/robust character. Sort of a brown ale/robust porter hybrid IMO. I like it, another solid session beer from Ipswich, simple recipes, superb execution.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2012 01:30:22 | More by BigCheese
Photo of Dools9


3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 8/14/12 poured into a tumbler.

A: Murky, dark brown in color. Very nice creamy two finger khaki brown head. Very nice lace and retention.

S: Very malty, lots of toasty grain, caramel malt, a bit of earth.

T: Light pine and bitter earthy hops give way to a wave of toasted grainy malt, roasted biscuit, and ends with a nice toffee sweetness. As the beer warms, some roasty chocolate malt comes through and the sweetness becomes a bit more more pronounced.

M: Medium body, lightly crisp, slick mouth.

O: Pretty enjoyable brown ale here, actually a bit more hop foward than expected.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2012 17:40:16 | More by Dools9
Photo of Arithmeticus


3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2012 03:02:17 | More by Arithmeticus
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle served in a Unibroue snifter.

Appearance: Pours a near-clear, dark mahogany with a beige head that has moderate size and durability.

Smell: Roasted malts with spicy hop overtones and hints of raisins. 3.75

Taste: More hops here than expected, but the maltiness of the brown ale base is clearly present (albeit less pronounced) as well. Mildly bitter. Dark roast in the finish with some lingering pine/hop notes.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium+ carbonation. Slight crispness and astringency.

Overall: More hop-forward than a typical brown ale, this is better classified as a brown pale ale, and a good one at that.
Both aroma and flavor improve with warming.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2012 23:03:59 | More by chinchill
Photo of DaftCaskBC

British Columbia (Canada)

4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 1/2" tan coloured head that left a nice lacing over brown liquid.

S: Citrus hops, yeast, toffee malt

T: Citrus, floral and some pine hops up front with toffee and chocolate flavoured malt. More bitter than sweet.

M: Thin viscosity and a high level of fine carbonation. Some drying from the alcohol.

O: A pretty good brown ale that gets better as it approaches room temperature.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2012 01:52:13 | More by DaftCaskBC
Photo of Cyberkedi


3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma has a malty core with subtle chocolate and citrus notes and just a hint of cloves. It pours a dark, hazy, warm brown with a fairly thick and persistent light tan head that leaves some good lacing. Malty flavor has woody, unsweet chocolate and caramel notes plus a fruity hint. Smooth, firm-bodied texture is fizzy and lively, leaving a woody, malty finish.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2012 20:19:19 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.15/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2012 19:24:54 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of Zorro


3.13/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2011 00:53:19 | More by Zorro
Photo of silentjay


3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

almost english porter-like in appearance. a deeep brown which shows some mahogany when held up to the light. nice, khaki head that leaves tons of lacing after it laces quickly.

roasted/candied nuts with some dark fruits, molasses (light) and caramel with some toast.

nice roasty, toasty, sweet flavor with a significant charred/smoke flavor that is not usual for the style, but adds a nice element to cut through the sweetness. roasted nuts and fruits are still there, and some cacao on the finish.

medium bodied with a gently prickly carbonation and a syrupy stickiness left behind with a toasted and sweet aftertaste.

I like it. usually a pretty boring style, the heavy roast brings in an element that helps distinguish this one from the pack.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2011 05:28:51 | More by silentjay
Photo of jman892


3.03/5  rDev -21.9%
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

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 17:18:49 | More by jman892
Photo of scruffwhor


3.18/5  rDev -18%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 22:54:13 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of rhoadsrage


4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2011 21:15:32 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of mostpoetsdo

Rhode Island

4.4/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2011 04:12:31 | More by mostpoetsdo
Photo of TMoney2591


2.85/5  rDev -26.5%
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...

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2011 20:29:27 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of VelvetExtract


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-When poured, this brew looks like root beer. Dark, brown with a pretty tan head. The head leaves some pretty nice lacing around the glass as well.

S-Deep sweet sugars. A Toffee hard candy smell. Almost get a bit of roasted nuts. A slight bit of chocolate. Sweet yet roasted. A pretty enjoyable scent.

T-Enjoyable but not as powerful as I was initially expecting. Come to think of it I am actually relieved by that, seeing how hot it is outside. This beer boasts a surprising amount of hop bitterness. I am surprised by the hop character not only because of the style of beer, but also because I am fairly certain this single bottle is not fresh at all. The roasted nut and chocolate is there too but less than in the nose. The is a pretty complex Brown Ale.

M-Lighter than I was expecting. Refreshing carbonation. Pretty dry too.

O/D-Another solid brew from Mercury Brewing Company. Their IPA is quite solid, the Original Ale is pretty tasty, and they might make one of the my top 3 Summer Seasonals. Great company providing great beers at a great price. This one fits right in with the family.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2011 03:08:11 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of ferrari29


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured from bottle into a Sam Adams pint shaped glass

A - Beer poured with a well carbonated body; bottom of the beer was light a light amber color and became darker, dark maroon, as you moved up to the top (probably due to the shape of the glass; no lacing stuck or formed on the side of the glass and the beige colored head held very well

S - Slight hints of herbal scents; mostly a roasted malt and burnt toast smell, almost of popcorn; grainy; slight skunk aroma; coffee at the end

T - Taste was slightly burnt, toasty; roasted malt, followed up by a semi-sweet flavor of creme and custard, especially after the beer has warmed up a bit; nutty taste

M - Beer's body was thin and slightly effervescent; beer has a very very bitter aftertaste

D - Alright for a dark ale, probably one of the better ones I've had in a long time; I would take this over most Brown Ales but you're being warned ahead of time of its overwhelmingly airy and toasty tastes

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2011 02:05:29 | More by ferrari29
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Ipswich Dark Ale from Ipswich Ale Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 202 ratings.