1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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)
View: Beers (32) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Ipswich Dark Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 202 | Reviews: 148 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Jayli


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

Consumed 1/8
Poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours a ruddy, brownish color. A one finger of white head sits on top, recedes at a moderate pace and leaves spider webbed wisps of lacing.

S: Nose is raisin, plum, and caramel.

T: Taste is sweet upfront, raisin, cherry mixed with molasses. Middle is filled with a toastiness and nuttiness. Finish has a mild piney hop bite.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, rather oily on the tongue.

D: Goes down easily, quite tasty, mild kick, slightly off for the style. Though it is off for the style, I found this to be a fantastic beer that I would easily sit with for a night.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2011 13:29:49 | More by Jayli
Photo of tzieser


3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 02:15:01 | More by tzieser
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

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

Appearance: Pours a chocolate brown with tawny highlights and a thick tan head that leaves a reasonable amount of lacing

Smell: Brown bread, with hints of molasses and char

Taste: Brown bread, up front, with a roasty and nutty flavor progression; by mid-palate, the char takes over, adding a burnt, bitter element that lingers after the swallow and into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: A solid ale all around, with a big flavor profile for the style; I would like it better if the char flavor wasn't quite so prominent

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2010 19:54:15 | More by brentk56
Photo of Doomcifer

Rhode Island

4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark with great head and lacing. Smells of citrus hops, brown sugar, roasted malts. Maybe a touch of lemon zest. Tastes up front of roasted malts, toasted grains, brown sugar, and finishes with a very big citrus hop kick. Very aggressively hopped brown ale. Delicious....dry, astringent finish. Good carbonation. This is one of the very few brown ales that I really enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2010 01:36:53 | More by Doomcifer
Photo of robwestcott


3.2/5  rDev -17.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2010 03:11:49 | More by robwestcott
Photo of Wamesit


4.45/5  rDev +14.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2010 05:10:48 | More by Wamesit
Photo of gfreed


4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At first I wasn't so sure about this beer. After drinking the first bottle of the six-pack, I found it to be too hoppy, somewhat oily, too fizzy and just overly bitter for what I wanted in this style. However, after working my way through the remaining five bottles over the course of a couple of weeks, I've come around.

Clear amber in the glass with an unending stream of small bubbles rising merrily from the foot of the glass. There a citrus pungency in the aroma that is sharp at first but is dulled by caramel from the malt. The body is quite sharp-- sharp and pointy, enough to poke through the spiciest of food, with enough bubbles to inflate a small balloon. Watch out for the belch factor. Tasty, citrusy and while somewhat bitter for a brown ale, it has enough roundness at the end to prevent it from falling over the hoppy cliff that so many other American ales do these days. I drank one bottle while suffering from a mild cold, and it definitely helped clear my congestion.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2010 19:51:33 | More by gfreed
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

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

12oz bottle served in a standard pint. Poured a deep brown - with minimal light penetration. Ruby highlights are revealed when backlit. Head is two inches, tan-colored and frothy/creamy latte-like in consistency. Head eventually settles into a solid quarter inch dollop - some lacing, but no legs. Nose suggests sweet malts (chocolate and caramel, but not overwhelming in character), a roasty quality and a hint of nuttiness also comes out in the mix. Taste consistent with nose; however, a light lingering hops bitterness comes out at the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-light, with a lively effervescence and a little bit of residual prickliness at the finish. A pretty solid brown ale, but the hoppy finish slightly detracts from the drinkability in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2010 01:47:34 | More by Jwale73
Photo of Gambrinus1184


4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a Ro's restaurant pint glass.

A: Poured a dark, murky amber brown color with a frothy, two-finger head of dense, off-white foam which reduced into a fine lace. Head retention was decent and carbonation barely visible.

S: Nice fresh milled grain aroma with hints of oat and hazelnut to go along with fruity, citrusy esters and light, herbal, earthy hops.

T: Flavor is solid and malty up front with a good amount of caramel and dextrose sweetness backed with fruity ale flavors of apple and ripened vine fruit. Balances nicely with a nutty malt balance and some drying, earthy hops to finish the flavor.

M: mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, slightly chewy but very drinkable.

D: A very nice, dark American ale. The 6.3% ABV is not noticeable under the balanced craftsmanship of this brew. Satisfying flavors all around and a good harmony of ingredients as well. Nice work, Mercury!

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2010 19:44:34 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of uustal

Rhode Island

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

Pours a deep brown with some red shining through. Creamy, off-white/light brown head with good retention and solid lacing. Light coco and hoppy aroma. Big hop profile in this ale. Earthy and citrus hops create a semi-bitter profile. Unsweetened chocolate malt also has a say. Hop dominated despite the malt presence. Medium bodied and a crisp mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2010 22:24:12 | More by uustal
Photo of ExtraStout


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

Creamy 1/2" off white head that slowly recedes to a rather thick sheet. Ringed and patterned lace with good strength. Deep brown in color with flashes of burgundy and auburn.

Semi-sweet caramel and roasted malt aromas. Tones of roasted nuts: almond, hazlenut, etc. Light coffee and espresso.

Mild coffee flavors; lightly sweetened, met by a surprising dose of lemon from the hop profile. Almost an unsweetened, but not completely bitter, milk chocolate and caramel flavor. Hints of toasted hazlenut toffee in the aftertaste.

Medium bodied; a nice mellow feel on the palate. The carbonation is just a tad too much for the style.

Nice flavors; light and drinkable. The cascade hop addition is a unique choice for the style. I'm not sure it works really well, but it doesn't ruin the beer in the least.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2010 23:05:33 | More by ExtraStout
Photo of Durge


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

I found this prepackaged at a package store in Wilmington, MA and then had to sit on it a few weeks before I was able to try it for the first time. It seemed to hold up fine showing a thick dark brown color with a good sized tan head and great lacing. The aroma is a nice roasted malt and chocolate pine hops, very deep with hints of swampy smoke. The flavor brings tangy malt and grassy pine hops in a medium bodied brew. It is smooth with very fine carbonation. It feels tingly and a little aqueous but not too bad. Tart and yet mellow caramel-malt, almost kind of light stout-like. A pleasant surprise but not a show stopper. Would gladly drink anytime, copiously, and would buy again. A great deal for the price, as well. Nice job Mercury.

Serving type: growler

06-01-2010 03:07:14 | More by Durge
Photo of mnrider


4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown bottle. No freshness date.

A: Pours a dark brown with a reddish hue. Head is creamy and a darker tan, then disappears quickly but leaves a real nice prominent amount of lacing.

S: Aroma is mostly malty. Fruity with a little hop and some grain/breads.

T/M: Very smooth, roasted malts. Hops provide a nice balance and needed hop bite and bitterness. Sweet chocolate can be tasted also. The finish is hopy and dry.

D: Nice Ale. Another great brew from Mercury. Definitely worth drinking again. Not sure why i've never heard of this Brew Company.


Serving type: bottle

05-21-2010 02:18:51 | More by mnrider
Photo of ujsplace


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

Poured into a pub glass.

Thick, extra chunky tannish head that leaves nice lacing. This brew pours a very dark brown that has a nice, deep amber hue at the bottom of the class. A very inviting brew...

Smells of deep roasted malty sweetness and a hint of dark earthy hop bitters.

Nice malty sweetness up front with a bitter chocolaty mild espresso-like middle that finishes with a very mild citrus finish.

Velvety smooth and sits nice on the tongue.

I am again very impressed with Ipswich. A mixed case being my first experience with Mercury Brewing, I have to say that I am really getting into this. This brew is a great buy and I am definitely interested in trying more of what they have to offer.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2010 01:20:09 | More by ujsplace
Photo of Pittsburgh


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

Dark, frothy, malty brew, pours dark brown, decent amount of foam, has a slight hint of coffee in the taste, overall a nice brown ale. Smooth, has enough taste to it, a slight bite/sharp finish.

Easy to drink, I would buy it again, nothing over the top or different but an above average brown ale for the price, a nice change up from the usual in its price range. I will put this in the rotation of moderately priced quality brews.

Intrigued enough to try others.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2010 00:09:41 | More by Pittsburgh
Photo of EtOHMD


3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle without freshness date into a pint glass. Rich thick tan head, several fingers. Lots of sticky lacing. Mahogany color. Very nice appearance. Slightly sweet smell but overall not much aroma. Slightly burnt, bready, caramel taste up front followed by mild hops and dry finish, with ? rye afertaste. Clean crisp feel. Nicely complex without being overwhelming. Happily had 2-3 at a time.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2010 00:16:25 | More by EtOHMD
Photo of nickfl


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

A - One and a half fingers of light brown head on top of a dark brown body with good clarity. The foam settles slowly and leaves nice lace.

S - A malty aroma of dark bread, toffee, and light coffee. Some spicy citrus hops show through in the background with a lemon note.

T - Big, brown malty sweetness up front with lots of caramel and brown sugar. Spicy pine and citrus hop flavor cuts through the sweetness in the middle and rides on top of bready malt note with some hints of chocolate. Finishes with sweet toffee malt and brown sugar as well as lemony citrus hops and strong, balancing hop bitterness. Lingering citrus flavors in the aftertaste along with roasted grain notes of dark chocolate and caramel.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately high carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - Quite nice, this is much more flavorful and complex than the generic brown ale that I expected. The malt bill is very robust with lots of caramel complexity and a good dose of roasted character, especially in the finish. The hops are also very assertive with more than enough bitterness to balance the malt and a strong citrus flavor that effortlessly punches through the sugar, but becomes a little cloying by the end of the glass. Something about the lemon flavor of the hops is a little dissonant when layered with the rich, sugary scorched caramel flavors of the malt; perhaps a touch more pine character or just a little less sweetness would balance it out. Overall, a well made, assertive American Brown ale, though not a beer I could see myself drinking on a regular basis.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2010 06:58:42 | More by nickfl
Photo of Sam21


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

A - 12 oz bottle poured into a 20 oz nonic pint glass. Pours with a strong fluffy two finger head. The body is dark brown with a ruby fringe. The head recedes very slowly leaving a thick wall of lace around the glass. The lace remains as an almost impenetrable wall. It retains a sudsy layer

S- Nose is fruity and all the way through with citrus and floral hops having a presence.

T -There is an initial sweetness that fades immediately to a smoky and hoppy level.

M- Creamy ale that coats the tongue. The perfect amount of carbonation.

D - Very drinkable although I don't know if I'd want to drink this all night. But I would love to finish a night off with this.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2010 02:07:30 | More by Sam21
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle with no batch code or date shown. Sampled on February 19, 2010. The pour is a dark brown with ruby hues and a beige quarter-inch pillowy head. It neber quite goes away. There is a nice thin lacing glistening on the side of the pint glass. The aroma tends to be of strong dark malts and resin. I do not really notice much nuttiness. The mouthfeel is fairly heavy. Bitterness leads the taste folloed by a light but dry hoppy finish. Not bad at all.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2010 02:02:29 | More by puboflyons
Photo of morebeergood


3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of the bottles included in the Yacht Club variety 12 pack. Poured into a standard pint glass. Dark brown color, with a fairly good sized head. Roasted coffee and chocolate smell, though on the faint side. Taste was quite good. There was an earthy and peaty flavor, yet a hint of sweetness at the very end on the palate. Great mouthfeel, as there is plenty of malt here to give this brew a nice body. Maybe not a beer to enjoy a whole six pack of, but an excellent beer to have one or two of on a cold night to sip and enjoy. Flavor really opened up as it warmed up to room temp. A tasteful winter brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2009 22:16:19 | More by morebeergood
Photo of cvstrickland

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The chilled 12-ounce longnecked bottle pours a brew that is quite clear and ruddy chestnut in color with a short topping of creamy pale beige foam. The head doesn't hang around very long, but the skim it leaves behind manages to decorate the interior of my SABL shaped pint with drippy wisps of lacing.

The aroma is laced with floral citrus note or two, a touch of toasted grain and a bit of of sweet caramel. As the drink warms, a savory chocolatey character gains purchase in the profile.

The taste is quite in line with the nose-- sweet and a touch chocolatey-- but the flavor profile sports a clean citrus-oil bitterness that squelches the chocolate and lingers on the palate long after the drink.

The drink is medium-bodied with fine carbonation. Highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2009 19:59:03 | More by cvstrickland
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 marlinsfan4


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

Quite the generic name for a beer... "dark ale"... ah well, it's what's inside that counts. Pours a dark brown color (what a surprise) and nice nutty sort of aroma to it. Nice mouthfeel and creaminess to this one, a bit subdued on the flavor though. Definitely highly drinkable for the sort of high ABV though, just expecting a bit more malty flavor for it being a brown ale. A solid beer from their mixed 12 pack but I prefer the IPA and stout over this one.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2009 21:21:31 | More by marlinsfan4
Photo of Kinsman


3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2009 00:12:48 | More by Kinsman
Photo of DrJay


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

Chestnut brown with some translucency and a bit of haze from loose sediment. It had a thin beige cap that showed good head retention and left sticky, spotty lace on the glass. Balanced aroma, caramel and toffee with light tangerine and grapefruit. Medium to low bitterness with light caramel sweetness. Chocolate and cocoa filled out the malt character while grapefruit bitterness lingered in the finish. Medium to light bodied with fine carbonation, light dryness. This was pretty good. It had a pleasant flavour, with hops and malt balanced nicely.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2009 00:22:01 | More by DrJay
Ipswich Dark Ale from Ipswich Ale Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 202 ratings.