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

210 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 210
Reviews: 149
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 16
Gots: 7 | 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
Ratings: 210 | Reviews: 149 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of donkeyrunner
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color with oxblood highlights. Beige head that quickly fades to a foamy ring minus a few rogue bubbles floating lazily in the center. Ample sticky lace.

Smells of fruit salad at first pour. Nutty, carmelized sugar is dominant thereafter. Very earthy, as in sticks and dirt--but in a good way.

Thin nuttyness up front overtaken by carmelized brown sugar and smooth baking chocolate. Mild fruit and hop bitterness in back. Has that Ipswich mulled cider yeast that I love. Tea-like aftertaste gets stuck to the roof of my mouth. Mouthfeel is dissapointingly thin like semi-flat ginger ale.

via duffextracold

donkeyrunner, Mar 06, 2009
Photo of duffextracold
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dark brown color. 1/2" head, fades down to just a ring of bubbles around the edge. leaves lots of lacing on the glass. smells slightly grainy, with a hint of bitter hops, some sweet malt in the background. Tastes great. some chocolate malt, a hint of roasted malt. sweet up front, with plenty of bitter hops to balance it out. body is on the thin side, with medium carbonation. overall drinkability is excellent. i got 2 of these in a variety 12 pack, and wish there were more.

duffextracold, Mar 06, 2009
Photo of GbVDave
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Loterbol tulip. Thanks to Ineedabeerhere for the trade and hook-up!

A: Pours a dark, charred-brown color with a creamy light-brown head that leaves a healthy lace sheeting. The carbonation, when visible, is pretty active and does a fine job of feeding the unbreakable ring that's left after the head recedes.

S: Aromas of roasted malt, burnt brown sugar, toasted sourdough bread crust, pan seared dark chocolate, and a bit of grapefruit.

T: Heavily roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, and tangy dark fruit mix it up with flavors of toasted bread crust, sour grains, chalky carob chips, grapefruit, blackened brown sugar/molassas, and white pepper.

M: Dry and tangy. Fruity with a nicely dry roastiness. A bit of chalk and pepper, as well. Finish alternates between tangy fruit, bittersweet chocolate, and spicy pepper. Oily and resinous.

D: Relatively sessionable. I liked the peppery dryness as well as the fruity tang and chocolate-y remnants.

GbVDave, Feb 22, 2009
Photo of Stunner97
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- A very dark cloudy brown beer which cant even be seen through as it is so dark, Carbonation can be seen along the side of glass and traveling up to a tan medium to thin head,

Smell- Caramel and definite malts first is off the nose at first, slight hops which seem faint but there, maybe even slight milk chocolate smell, something i really like from the smell here

Taste- A malty beer flavor comes at first but then a slight bitterness or hops come to you, a tad of the caramel and chocolate on the nose, A good balance between hop bitterness and malt sweetness, big flavor and long finish, maybe only complaint would be slightly more bitter that i would have expected

Mouthfeel-- Id best describe it as smooth and full bodied

Drinkabilty- Not sure this is one I would drink more then one of two in a session but a pretty good beer that I would visit again as a time to time brew, cant really knock this beer seems to scream high quality with big flavor

Stunner97, Feb 10, 2009
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 Nipitato
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a six pack at Marty's in Newton, MA.

A: Very dark brown hue. Clear. ruby highlights. Ringed off white head.

S: Sweet with lots of caramel and biscuit character. There is also some yeast derived fruitiness.

T: Malt is toasted (almost burnt toast) and chocolate. Quite bitter. The bitterness carries throughout. Hop flavor is somewhat citrusy.

MF: Dry. Moderate mouthfeel. Lightly carbonated.

D, notes: Bitterness kind of gets in the way of drinkability on this one. i don't feel that the malt is round or full enough to balance appropriately.

Nipitato, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle as part of a mixed 12pack from Market Basket. Pours a dark brown almost black almost opaque body with a half inch of off-white head. Citrussy grassy hops dominate the aroma - odd and unexpected. Chocolate and coffee malts share the flavor almost equally with citrussy grassy hops. As the beer is consumed, a sweet chocolate coffee, toffee character comes through more than anything, more pleasing. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. A flavorful drinkable beer. Nothing really wrong with it - the hoppiness is a little more than I like in a brown. But a solid well-crafted beer nonetheless.

MrHurmateeowish, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of OtherShoe2
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep brown with ruby hues and a decent frothy head that slowly dissipated down the pint.

Dark roasted malt and a whiff of hop leaf here. Some scant sugars that add to the overall aroma are a nice touch.

Nice complexities. Dark dried fruit flavors, with some sweetness, but not alot. Kinda that deep flavor you get from a dried fig, but less sugary. Earthy notes are what I get -- that brown bread or pumpernickel toast element, with a bit of hop bite.

Nice carbonation dancing on the tongue. A little alcohol warmth peeks through too. Surprisingly drinkable and quite enjoyable.

OtherShoe2, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of sethmeister
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle no freshness date.

Pours a dark chestnut brown which shines red in the light. Foamy light tan head leaves wisps of fluffy lace.

Scent is bread, molasses, and leafy hops.

Taste is roasted malt, chocolate malt, and a touch of caramel. There's a very light sweetness (molasses?) and a hearty wheat bread and burnt bread crust flavor. Satisfying hop note and a subtle lingering bitterness. Citrus hops peek out at the end.

Mouth is medium with a nice bitter astringency.

Drinkability is very good.

Enjoyed this and would definitely buy it again.

sethmeister, Nov 08, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I received this one thanks to a generous trader who sent me more then I could handle worth of New England brews this week. I grabbed this one out of the fridge on a whim as I had really wanted to try it. Served cold, right out of the fridge and poured into a fluted pilsner glass. This one was consumed on 10/07/2008.

The pour was very nice. A very rich, dark brown color coming forward on this right away. Some nice clarity could be seen in here as the carbonation trickled up towards the top of the glass. A nice head of maybe an inch and a half then came up over the top and settled down gently to a thin foamy layer that hung out for the rest of the session.

The aroma was big. There were lots of roasted malts, hints at caramel, and a nice mixture of dark fruits. Touches of figs, plums almost with a nice balance to it provided by some light earthy hops. This carried over very well into the flavor. Started out with a very nice rush of rich roasted malts. Almost smoky at times there was that really nice, dark feel to it. As it rolled across the tongue it started to get a touch sweeter and then rolled into a very nice dark, fig like fruit flavor. A slight bite of tart on the tongue as it went down and this carried over very well into the finish, which was made slightly dry by the hop undertones. Very nice medium bodied ale with a great carbonation that never let it even get a touch of dull. A smooth, easy drinking session ale I had no issues what so ever in putting this one down.

Overall I thought this was a very solid offering, and a very nice way to introduce me to this brewer. I would have no issue at all with getting this one again any day. Really a very solid offering here and something I would look forward to trying again.

mikesgroove, Oct 13, 2008
Photo of horshack7
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It pours brown that is amber red around the edges.
Along with a light foamy tan head that lasts a short time.

Aromas: Hints of dark roasted malts. Subtle hints of hops lightly roasted.

Taste: At palate impact it starts off a little crisp the smooths out. It's full bodied as the roasted malts gracefully roam around. The hop bitterness for this is a little on the dried fruit side but the is a balance to it.

Notes: This one is a very flavorful American Brown a lot less sweeter than it's English counterpart that's for certain. It is certainly a tasty beer all around. Cheers

horshack7, Sep 15, 2008
Photo of brewcrew76
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to JoeCeez for shring this.

A - Deep brown with very little tan head that fades immediately.

S - Caramel and roasty malts, fresh bread, molasses and a hint of hops.

T - Caramel and roasty malts, nutty with a hint of chocolate, soft burnt toast that lingers into a hoppy dry finish.

M - Light and slightly creamy. A little lighter than most browns but not really a bad thing. Dry, roasty lingering finish.

D - A tasty Brown. I like the chocolate, roasty hints in a brown ale. This one could easily be a regular if it was available here.

brewcrew76, Aug 22, 2008
Photo of gford217
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark, dark brown with a small, short-lived head that left a ring and very little lacing. Roasted chocolate malts dominate the aroma with a hint of hops and molasses. Taste is sweet malts as well but less chocolate than the aroma indicated. The hops also make their presence felt in the finish with a slight dry bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a lot of carbonation that tingles the tongue nicely. This is a very good brown ale and highly recommended.

gford217, Jul 14, 2008
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 TheManiacalOne
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
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.

TheManiacalOne, Jun 19, 2008
Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

DavidSeanNJ, May 18, 2008
Photo of MrMonkey
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque dark brown, slightly cloudy looking, with amber highlights when held to the light. A one-finger light tan head fades quickly to a sticky ring. Lots of lacing marking each sip.

Smells faintly of roasted malt, burnt bread, and musty woods. There's a faint sweet nutty aroma as well.

Taste is roasted malt, a hint of dried dark fruit, and roasted nuts. Some bitter hops show up in the finish. Pretty good representation of the style.

Seems pretty light bodied; clean and crisp with a moderately dry finish.

Not the best, but certainly not the worst brown ale I've had. Easily drinkable and enjoyable.

MrMonkey, Apr 12, 2008
Photo of albern
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a hearty and thick dark ale with a nice frothy dark head, plenty of lacing and retention. The smell is robust caramel and roasted brown sugar. There is plenty of hoppiness in the finish and a husky, bready quality in the taste. I haven't had an Ipswich in a long while and I'm wondering why not. This is a nice beer worth seeking out and plenty enjoyable.

albern, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of erosier
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark brown color with an off-white head that laces the glass very nicely. It smells of dark roasted malts and some good hop bitterness for a nice aroma. The taste is of sweet dark roasted malts with a really good hoppy bitterness that rounds out the beer for a really nice flavor. The mouthfeel is nice and crisp and it is a very drinkable beer. Definately worth it.

erosier, Feb 11, 2008
Photo of beerthulhu
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark cola-red color with a cherry tan head.

S: Sweet raisiny aroma with some caramel is present on the nose.

T: Flavor is dry, with a very earthy hop bitterness. There some dry burnt woodiness as well roasted malt character providing a smoky finish. There's slight cola nut notes and finishes dry with a lingering smokiness like a smothered camp fire. There is some nuttiness, burnt sherry and woody flavor that leaves a smoky residue coating on the tongue and a lingering dryness for the finish. Some dry chocolate, light bread and roasted malt. Overall a moderately good beer that is rich, robust, smoky and earthy but doesn't make for a session beer.

M: medium-full body, nice texture and residual qualities

D: a hearty dark ale that may be limiting in quantity but very big on individual quality.

beerthulhu, Feb 02, 2008
Photo of jslot38
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Part 1/4 of the mixed pack (although I drank all the original ales without a review).

Appearance: Almost black body (dark... I guess), covered by a bubbly off white head.

Smell: Touches of molasses in damp moss. Malty, not a strong aroma.

Taste: Mmmm... Malty. Smoked presence of moss, nuts, burnt toast. Not much of a hop presence, a few earth ridden notes at the most.

Mouthfeel: The best charecteristic of this beer lies in its mouthfeel. Its very smooth, and nice on the tongue. Coupled with a good drinkability (6.3% ABV is unnoticed) this could make a good session ale. A bit more burnt than a brown ale, almost reminded me of a black lager or a light porter.

jslot38, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of RonfromJersey
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown body leaves no visibility, topped by a lightly tannish rocky head. Very good lacing is quickly evident.

Rich mocha nose is a real joy. The chocolate and coffee blend well even while asserting themselves individually.

Taste begins with a mild chocolate. Earthy hop builds to the swallow. Not a bite, but a nice little nip. Clean finish leaves a hint of mocha.

Nice smooth mouthfeel has a good body for a brown ale without getting too close to stout territory.

Solidly drinkable, and it's sad that here is only two in the twelve pack.

An enjoyable dark ale well worth a try.

RonfromJersey, Dec 11, 2007
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
3.23/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

, Dec 10, 2007
Photo of Gavage
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: brown in color with a huge 3" fluffy tan colored head. The head lingers around awhile, and produces some nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: roasted malts, caramel, and a hint of brown sugar sweetness.

Taste: nice roasted malt flavor with some caramel, hints of chocolate, ripe red fruit sweetness, and a lingering dryness and soft burnt tone that is very pleasant.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp and dry at the start, smoother and dry at the finish. Aftertaste is long with the the roasted and burnt tones. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: great session ale here. Picked this up as part of the Ipswich mixed twelve pack and was glas they added this one to the mix.

Gavage, Nov 10, 2007
Ipswich Dark Ale from Ipswich Ale Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 210 ratings.