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Dark Abby - Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark AbbyDark Abby

Educational use only; do not reuse.

26 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 26
Hads: 165
Avg: 3.55
pDev: 36.06%
Wants: 8
Gots: 35 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Devils Backbone Brewing Company visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
Dubbel |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: on 10-01-2009

Meet Abby, Azrael’s darker twin. This Belgian beauty is mysteriously alluring with a sultry flavor combination of brown sugar, plum and spices in a dark burgundy hue.

Abby has a deep, rich flavor, and a serious strength but like her sister, hides behind a deceptively light fruity finish. On the surface she’s the sweetest girl you’ll ever meet, but one taste you’ll be trapped in her darkly alluring web.

Alcohol by Volume: 7.5%
Hop Bitterness (IBUs): 18
Malts: Pilsner, Dark Munich, Honey, Dark Crystal
Hops: Saaz
Sugar & Spice: Turbinado Sugar, Sorghum Syrup, Secret Spice Mix
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 26 | Hads: 165
Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear dark amber in color and poured with a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass and some lacing on the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of sweet malts and brown sugar in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has some notes of raisins and spices towards the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a low amount of carbonation.
O: This is a beer that needs to be slowly sipped but is a good representation of the style.

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Photo of oberon
3.11/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours into a goblet an amber hued chesnut brown with a thinner slight off white head atop.Maybe the cleanest aroms of any dubbel that I have come across,some light fige and raisin but it's really light.Lightly carbonated and a little thinner than most of the style I have come across.Flavors are on the lighter side with dark fruit and sweet alcohol notes,some phenol spiciness plays a small role.I have really liked the other DB offerings I have had,this not so much.

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Photo of Jason
3.96/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Loving this brew, looks like a Dubbel so we are squared away there. Sweet nose of dark malts, raisins, caramel, and spice with a kick of alcohol. Sweet palate, dried plums, slightly warming, balanced spicing, mild phenols, dark sugar, mild broth, & modest hopping show a quite complex brew ... well within the style and a great sipper.

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Photo of chinchill
3.57/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle..
Fine clear ruby red body with a very good head.
Malty aroma is rather simplecompared to the more spicy flavor.
Medium body and carbonation.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Adam. Thanks man.

Dark mahogany auburn body with a thin beige cap. Brown bread, yeast, brown sugar. Dark fruit notes, particularly raisins and plums. Like to medium and body with moderate sweetness, just like Adam's mom.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a schooner, the beer is a dark, deep, copper-highlighted mahogany coloring with no head. Aromas of fig, apple, caramel, toffee, roasted notes, brown sugar, and woody highlights. Flavors are richly sweet forward, with a solid dose of apple, brown sugar, caramel, molasses, dates, fig, and a spice blend of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and clove. Very rich, and the spices give a subtle warmth to the beer. The body is robust, but kept light by the carbonation. There is a sugary sweet, darkly rich aftertaste lingering on past the smooth, slick finish. Tasty brew.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.63/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance-Pours a chestnut color with ruby highlights when held up to the light and a one finger cream colored head. The head fades quite fast to leave a thin persistent film and only a very small amount of lacing.

Smell – The smell is largely of darker fruits of cherry and fig with a caramel sweetness and hints of a yeasty aroma mixed within.

Taste – The taste begins with sweet fruit flavors of cherry, raisin, apple and fig. Upfront there is also a light roasted malt flavor. The fruity flavors grow more cherry in nature more toward the middle where the sweetness is overall increased by some flavors of brown sugar. Around the time the sweet maximizes a yeasty flavor begins coming to the tongue. With this comes both flavors of a more bitter citrus and tannin like flavor which take the taste to its end. When mixed with a rather strong alcohol flavor (strong for only a 7.5 % abv brew) it leaves a boozy and lightly bittered fruit wine like flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel-The body of the beer is on the average side for the strength of the beer with a carbonation level that was a bit on the lower side for a dubbel . A little more carbonation may have been better for knocking down some of the alcohol flavors as well as complementing some of the sweeter fruit flavors, but overall the feel was pretty good.

Overall – An OK dubbel, although a little to bitter and tanniny in flavor for me.

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Photo of argock
3.83/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap in a Shaker pint at Mellow Mushroom (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Beautiful auburn with a short cap of off-white head with a few small scraps of lace.

S: Strong banana aromas but followed by stronger fruity dark maltiness with fig/date and raisin and a light caramel sweetness that mixes well with the fairly intense maltiness.

T: The flavor follows the aroma with dark maltiness that is fruit-tinged with raisin and date flavors mixing with a pretty heavy but enjoyable dose of light and medium caramel sweetness. The yeast character is somewhat stronger than in most abbey ales/dubbels I have had but it is certainly reasonably within style.

M: Very drinkable despite the 7ish% ABV with the smoothness of a doppelbock.

O: A really fine Belgian ale from DB. I thought Azrael was pretty good too, so they are starting to hit their stride in a style besides lagers. If you like a bit more sweetness and yeast character in your dubbel, this is a great beer for you.

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.04/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up as part of mixed six to give a try. I tend to like Belgians but have little experience with Devils Backbone so not sure what to expect. Love the color, I will call it Deep Purple. Very little head or carbonation. Excellent smell, you definitely get the Belgian in the nose. Mixed bag with the taste. Interesting and tasty, balanced. Pretty easy to drink which gives it a little bonus overall due to alcohol content. I enjoyed the beer and would gladly drink again and would probably buy depending upon the cost.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a dark chestnut color with a ruby hue, small fizzy head quickly dissapears, leaving no lace

S- dark cherry juice and sugared berry aromas, licorice, slightly phelonic with a bit of cherry coke

T- dark cherry flavors follow aroma and is slightly tart, sugary, Belgian yeast with some spicy notes, alcohol becomes noticeable mid-palate as it finishes light and dry.

M- medium body and carbonation, lively & foamy mouthfeel, alcohol warmth with a dry finish

O- some good flavors going on, but it seems to fall off at the end. I enjoyed the dark cherry notes, but wish they would have stayed to the finish

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Photo of Beejay
3.84/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Deep ruby brown in the glass, light tan head that quickly turns into a ring...

S: Clove, banana, and raisins meld together with toffee. Belgian yeast character is certainly prevalent.

T: Raisins, clove, and caramel sauce on sweet dark bread.. A touch boozy, with a dark fruit finish.

M: Medium thick with medium high carbonation.. I would actually like to see a touch more carbonation in this style.

O: Overall a decent beer for when you are in the mood for a nice dark Belgian style.. Interesting, and new.

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Photo of mntlover
3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark walnut color with a small light tan head that disappears at once to ring of bubbles. Some light splotchy lace left behind.

Aroma is bready malt dark fruit notes, plums, figs light banana with some earthy notes and very light spice.

Taste is malty decent peat notes in the flavor, almost raisin bread like malt. Some dark fruit notes raisins and plum with touches of brown sugar. Finish is lingering malt notes with that brown sugar touch along with earthy like spice kick. Carbonation also kicks it up a notch for a tingly finish. Nothing great here, but very nice offering for a dubbel from VA.

Mouthfeel is good a medium with a boost of carbonation at the finish that brings the spice out more.

Overall would say its an easy drinking dubbel when you are not looking to analyze every sip. Might be purchasing this again for a sessionable ale, with some dubbel flavors.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.97/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

reviewed on 1/10/2011

A: opaque, bright chestnut with a bubbly head. after dying down, fine bubbles begin to sporadically escape to the surface.

S: alcohol, figs, brown sugar reduction. smells sweet enough to pour over some vanilla ice cream.little bit of chalky Belgian yeast towards the end.

T: initially starts with baked apples, peaches, almost like fresh pie. then moves into molasses, caramel, clove, cinnamon with some alcohol heat in thte finish.

M: medium to full body withy some ight lingering carbonation.

with Belgian breweris being the benchmark for this style, this is a great example from the other side of the pond. well done!

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Photo of SierraFlight
3.3/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into shaker pint. Dark amber body with a ring of tan bubbles that disappear quickly. No lacing. Aroma is of brown sugar, raisins, figs, a touch of banana, and malt. Taste is carried by a moderate raisin sweetness with a lower level of yeasty spice and a small amount of earthy bitterness. Medium-light body, thin texture, soft carbonation, a little alcohol on the finish.

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Photo of delta490
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- poured a deep ruby/brown. Short lived tan head. Steady carbonation from the nucleation pint on the bottom of the glass leaves a small bubbling point in the center and some good lacing

S- rich malt aromas with dark fruit (plum, maybe cherry?) and some mild alcohol esters

T-the alcohol plays a more pronounced role in the taste. It's a little astringent and overwhelms (slightly) the traditional dubbel notes present

M- nice mouthfeel with a slight crispness on the finish.

O- not bad, but not quite a dubbel.

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Photo of obywan59
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark winey red in color with maybe a 2 finger head from a hard pour that disappears wihtin a few minutes No bubbles of carbonation. Pretty to look at, but once the foam disappears, it looks more like a glass of port or sherry.

Sweet malt with dried plums and a hint of spice. Smells like a Belgian. Esters from the alcohol lend an almost cherry like character to the aroma

Lightly sweet dark fruit with a light citric tartness as well. Belgian yeast in the aftertaste. A bit grapey at times.

I really like the mouthfeel. It's medium full and creamy except for a substntial prickly bite. Decently warming for this cold winter's night.

Maybe I was swayed by the 7.5% ABV, but this beer just hit the spot for me. It's not horribly complex, and yet it left me feeling utterly satisfied. I'd definitely try it again.

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Photo of DaveBlack
3.31/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

A: Dark brown beer with some reddish hints. What little head there is disappears almost immediately and leaves zero lacing.

S: Big malty aroma, some dark fruit, and the alcohol comes through as well. Not a particularly aromatic brew.

T: The front of the beer comes through with lots of malts, brown sugar, Belgian yeast, some spice. The middle has the alcohol come through, and the end just fades away into nothingness, leaving a malty sweetness in the mouth.

M: Moderate body, creamy, slightly sticky, with a moderate amount of carbonation, but significantly less than I've found in some dubbels.

O: Not a bad beer, but not particularly good. It seems that you can only get so much flavor out of a Belgian style beer without bottle fermenting. The beer is heavily front-loaded, and the end could use some more hop character. That being said, it has some good flavors, is sweet without being cloying, and is quite drinkable

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Photo of Guden
3.15/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A- Deep garnet with just a thin ring of off-white bubbles for a head.

S- Surprisingly not much here. A touch of chocolate covered cherries and caramel malt.

T/M- Up front is lightly fruity with some cherry qualities. Middle and finish again show a light fruitiness and chocolate. Thin and undercarbonated throughout.

O- A surprisingly poor effort from DB. Not a lot here and the lack of body and carbonation makes it even more unimpressive.

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Photo of stckhndlr
3.06/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Dark ruby red tones around the edges of the glass. After a minute or two there is no head. Other than that, nothing much happening.

S- Raisin and currants. a dark malty, bread aroma.

T- malty dark fruit cola like flavor. Not amazing, but it's drinkable. A dry toasty woody finish.

M- medium body with a good amount of carbonation.

O- decent but without amazing qualities.

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Photo of jmasher85
3.84/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the beer that got me into DB. It succeeds quite well in mimicking the Belgian-style dubbel with a strong hint of raisins, some nicely roasted malts, and a rich, slightly fruity but still somewhat intense beer flavor. Worth getting excited for every time this comes around each year, and much more interesting than their Spring seasonal, which is a fairly middling Belgian-style blonde.

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Photo of UPMD_Bill
3.72/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Didn't like this as much as Azrael. Nice dark reddish-brown color. Smell/taste of caramel and licorice, with some sour/acid notes. Not much carbonation.

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Photo of blindtiger24
3.96/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Raisins, cherry cordials, banana esters on the nose. Nice deep maroon color. Dried fruit (cherries, figs, plums), some clove, and noticeable honey. Finishes sweet. Smooth and slightly velvety, and wamr on the throat. A bit on the sweet side but impressed by how it's so easy to drink.

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Photo of Monkeefartz
2.63/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I may have had an unusual experience, but there is inconsistency between bottles. Some are closer to a sour than an ale, and with the sour bottles the carbonation is overwhelming. On draft, it is much better and is closer to the dubbel in flavor.

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Photo of JCarey
1.88/5  rDev -47%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Looking at previous reviews I think I got a bad batch, or maybe just this first bottle. Let's hope its just that.

Pours like a coke. Aggressive carbonation that dissipates quickly. About as much head as a soda. Mouth feel of a semi flat soda. Smell is pretty rotten. Taste isn't 'bad', its drinkable, I guess. Just a pretty disappointing Belgian. I will amend if the other bottles turn out better.

No date on the bottle.

After finishing the 6 pack I think my review has to stand. I had a couple that were OK, but 4/6 being unpleasant isn't good enough to change the review. Inconsistent? Bad processes? Bad distributor or Store? Who knows, but I'll steer clear of this brew for a while.

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Photo of Eeroomnhoj
3.47/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I came home from work and saw I had one more of these in fridge, yeah for beer, so I cracked it open. Yum. I'm not sure what s meant by an aggressive pour, but it's going down fairly smooth.

Here's what I think I know about the beer. It isn't real foamy, which is a good thing. I suppose if I poured it into a glass there wouldn't be a lot of "head". It did taste a little spicy, but had some flavor to it. I would enjoy this beer more in the winter time when I prefer "heavier" things (red wine, the Old Testament, gravy, etc.). I would buy it again and would love to try it on tap.

I also don't think I would want to drink this as a session beer. One or two would be fine.

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Dark Abby from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 26 ratings.