1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $14.99 (US/print only). Offer ends April 30. Subscribe now! (Because great beer deserves great stories AND readers.)

Black Hops Beer - Blue Hills Brewery

Not Rated.
Black Hops BeerBlack Hops Beer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

138 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 138
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 17.34%
Wants: 6
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Blue Hills Brewery visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.75% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: david18 on 07-05-2010

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (14) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 138 | Reviews: 52
Reviews by EtOHMD:
Photo of EtOHMD
4.05/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Have been trying a few of Blue Hills beers since they are local and this is by far my favorite. Poured from a 22oz brown bomber a chestnut brown with one inch off white head. Smells sweet, nutty, and I keep thinking somewhat fruity (strawberry keeps popping into my mind). Nice malty taste, caramel with mild roasted and smoked flavors on the back end. Fairly thin feel. Was a nice contrast to a spicy meal that I had and good definitely drink another. For $4.20 for 22oz a definite steal.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #46 (Nov 2010):

A lagered ale with a German malt bill, and more than the usual amount of hops. Dark brown with amber edges; creamy, dense head. Yeasty, fruity, hoppy, roasty nose, though the yeast seems to come through the most. Super smooth with a hefty body, the clean maltiness ranges from toasted bread to chicory to cocoa powder. Mildly fruity with a yeast tone that stays. Twang of hops drops more flavor than bitterness. Expect more of a hop pres- ence (it's the name's fault). Still, the balance works here to produce a solid ale.

Photo of BeerIsland
3.69/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bomber bottle label says South Shore Brewing Co dba Blue Hills Brewery Canton Mass
Black Hops 6.75%

A nice looking beer, the Black Hops didn’t express much aroma except some nice malt backnotes. This beer has a very nice balanced flavor that helps drinkability. While not being a big fan of this style, I appreciate the affinity with the darker malted lagers. Like a Schwartz malts add to bitterness, lighter finish. In that regard, I think true schwarzes and hefty dunkles have more to offer than this beer. This is a decently made beer that works OK within the broad parameters of this style.

Photo of tigg924
3.66/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, dark brown in color, hazy

Smell: burnt malt and sugar

Taste: burnt malt, sugar, chocolate, nut, and hints of charred pine

Mouthfeel: medium/low carbonation, light body--borderline watery, sweet with a small bitter backbone.

Drinkability: I like this one and could have several. This is one of the better beers from Blue Hills that I have had so far. I love the depth of flavor here. The pine/nut combo is really good. I wish this had a bit more body, but is still a quality offering.

Photo of jondeelee
3.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black Hops' nose is somewhere between a porter and a stout, smelling of milk chocolate, chocolate malt, coffee, mocha, and freshly-baked wheat bread. Though the beer has "hops" in the title, and the description promises a hoppy taste, there's virtually no trace of hops in the nose--only the faintest of tinges at the edge of the mealy malts belies their presence.

On the tongue, the beer begins dark and rich, with good chocolate malt, chocolate, coffee, and wheat bread flavors. There is, early in the mouthful, a sense that hops are going to come into play at some point, as a noticeable bitterness surrounds the malts (though at this point the bitterness is largely devoid of hoppy grapefruit-and-pine notes). Mid-mouthful, as the dark sugars peel away, the hop base becomes more apparent, and though it never reaches IPA levels, a distinct citrus tang joins the malty play, and the two of them dance around each other for the remainder of the mouthful. A strange, fizzy-light vodka spritzer of flavor hovers at the edges, perhaps caused by the hops (since the ABV is only 6.75%, I can't imagine the alcohol being the cause). The aftertaste is a continuation of the hop-and-malt jog, still slightly heavier on the malts, and lasts for quite a while. In addition, the aftertaste is quite dry. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is great beer, though I do notice that taking too many sips at too close of an interval seems to cancel out much of the malt flavor, leaving more hops to sting the tongue. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the malts were such a wonderful presence at first that it's a shame to see them go (though they do still make a strong appearance in the aftertaste, regardless). Still, the beer is very drinkable.

Photo of tkelley
3.03/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle (straight from the brewery!) poured into snifter glass.

A - The body is very dark, if not quite all the way black. There were brown/red hues around the edges where the light hit the glass. The head was about a half inch of light tannish foam that dissipated quickly.

S - Not a very strong smell when compared with other hop-centric beers, but the hops and roast are still obvious and pleasant.

T - I taste the roasted malt more than the hops. There's a sweetness present as well.

M - Smooth. Not crazy bubbles or anything. Its kind of like a soda.

D - Eh. This isnt really an American Black Ale. It isnt really very hoppy. But it's not a porter or stout either. I dont think this beer is really anything to go back to for me.

Cheers!

Photo of beveritt
3.67/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. Label depicts a hop cone wearing goggles and a ski mask in the crosshairs of a rifle scope. No clear freshness dating; my wife just brought this one back from a recent trip to New England.

Appearance: Pours with 1 finger of medium tan head. This settles quickly to a thin incomplete coating of foam leaving behind no lacing. The beer itself is a medium, muddy brown and opaque in the center. Some sediment remains in the bottle.

Smell: Roastiness with strong notes of chocolate and licorice.

Taste: Smooth roasted grains upfront with mild undertones of coffee and a distinct graininess. Very mild bitterness; finished with a lingering milk chocolate flavor.

Mouthfeel: Average + carbonation level. Body is good.

Drinkability: Leaves a little to be desired in the looks department, but overall a pleasant beer. Not sure I will be trading for this one though and as it isn't available locally, probably a one of.

Photo of CooperEllis
2.55/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle from my brother into a .3l tulip.

Well, it's certainly not black. Brown Hops? Perhaps more accurate. An odd head on this one, it's thin bubbles but doesn't look very dense. It is gone slowly and leaves moderate lacing on the sides of the glass and some on the top.

This is going to be a short review because I have very little positive to say about this. It taste's like watery strawberry quik. I'm not even sure how this happened? It has a very big bite at the back that sits on the tounge and just curls in my mouth. the aftertaste is harsh and fills the mouth much more than the brew itself.

the thing is, this didn't froth when I poured it, it doesn't have any funky notes in the aroma, it doesn't give any impression of being bad/past it's prime/infected or anything else. It simply isn't very good - or at least isn't what I was expecting and I don't think it's any good. It is sour enough to make one of my eyes flip shut. I don't have anything positive or constructive to say about this because clearly other folks have had it and enjoyed it, but I wouldn't classify this as a Black Ale, and I certainly wouldn't purchase it again.

drainpour the last 12oz.

EDIT: Just went and looked at other reviews of this...I just don't get how what I had is at all what these folks had. Maybe a bad bottle, if I have another I'll update my review.

(88th)

Photo of puboflyons
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

From the 650 ml. bottle. Sampled on October 12, 2014.

It has a handsome looking reddish-amber pour with a modest off-white creamy head. Not black as one might expect but still attractive looking.

The aroma has a pleasant sweet roasted maltiness but little in the way of hops.

The body is medium to full. Smooth.

The taste is a bit of surprise given the aroma. There is a lingering bitterness that kicks in at the end. I think they did a decent job with it.

Photo of zlackoff
4.65/5  rDev +34.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Maybe my favorite beer to date.

It has a very nice dark dark dark color that just looks delectable. I first got this despite the corny label to see what a mixture of a dark roasted malt with strong hops might be like and I was pleasantly surprised.

The beer's dark malt do it a favor giving it a nice slightly chocolaty characteristic but leaving room for some other fruity tones, a little sweetness and let's not forget the hop flavors that do this well-rounded beer's name justice.

In addition to the well-rounded flavor this brew gets it right with the perfect amount of carbonation (although I do prefer more lightly carbonated than most) that puts this one on my 'buy again' list.

Photo of musicforairports
3.1/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a glass at the Atlantic Beer Garden in Boston.

Pretty black, small head, some lacing. Sediment visible in the glass.

Aroma is light and chocolate-y.

Taste is chocolate/coffee malt and some floral hops. Not as much hops as the name might indicate. There's also a prevalent chalky, homebrew kind of taste here. Goes down smooth for the ABV, though.

Mouthfeel is medium and appropriate. Not too carbonated.

I'm not too crazy about this beer; the off-flavors remind me of an average homebrew. Drinkable though, for sure, and light enough for the ABV.

Photo of awolff
4.22/5  rDev +22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pouring from a 22 oz. glass bottle into a 22 oz. glass mug (adorned on the side with "beauty is in the hands of the beer holder"...all too true)

Appearance - The beer pours with a thin head of foam, which doesn't last all that long. Color is quite dark, and a look at the edges reveals that it's a dark dark red, which appears quite black when looking through the center.

Smell - The smell is heavily malty, and touches on chocolate, coffee-like tones. The bitterness in the smell seems like it is coming more from something like roasted barley or like an unroasted coffee bean, rather than the hops for which the beer is named. I can hardly smell the malt without taking a sip.

Taste - I have to say, I don't taste the well-hopped character touted on the label - it is mostly a rich malt profile that has a very slight biscuit sort of taste to it, or like a wheaty bread. A slight bitterness but really not so much from the hops as what I again take to be roasted malts.

Mouthfeel - A light carbonation that isn't lacking even after a while despite the lack of any real head retention. The beer is very smooth, and goes down easily - perhaps moreso than expected for the 6.75% ABV and deep color. It is definitely a bonus to the rich malt character that the beer feels so light.

Overall Impressions - I love this beer. As commented above, I'm not sure that the description fits, since hoppiness isn't really the central character of the beer in any of its respects. It is somewhere between a stout and an IPA, but seems to belong in a category on its own. One of my local favorites!

Photo of cuttsjp
4.27/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: very dark brown, almost black but with some pretty reddish hues, head is cream colored and disappears very quickly

Aroma: toffee, coffee, a little roastiness and a hint of citrusy American hops

Flavor: lots of flavor, toffee and roasty espresso combine really interestingly with a decidedly citrusy hop flavor...great how this style of beer combines the dark toffee and coffee flavors with the very bright American hop flavor...very nice and balanced, quite enjoyable

Mouthfeel: medium body, relatively high carbonation (clearly IPA carbonation rather than porter carbonation...interesting choice for sure)

Drinkability: This beer is balanced and flavorful, but it doesn't overwhelm the palate too much. It is definitely an interesting style that I would be interested in brewing this year (especially since all the cool kids are doing it)

Photo of KSac4115
2.16/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a very dark brown with amber hints. Lets a little light through but not much. Half inch foam head that dissipates quickly.
Smells of brown sugar predominantly. Floral sense of hops are apparent too. Malts and minor coffee hints as well. The sweet "brown ale" smell is the scent that really sticks out.
First flavors are that of a brown ale with subtle citrus tastes possibly. Then comes in a meltingpot of flavors. You get a slight hoppy taste that suddenly disappears and leaves you with a bitter middle taste followed by a smooth and odd sweeter aftertaste. It's pretty much a mediocre brown ale at best with odd and out of place hoppy hints during the middle of the taste. Halfway through and I still don't get what they were trying to do.
It is well carbonated. The fluctuation of taste is off-putting.

It seems like they tried to fuse a brown and and a mild pale ale and were unsuccessful. Fail.

Photo of david18
3.73/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on draft at a bar called The Other Side while on a recent trip to Boston. The "Black" by the way modifies "ale" not "hops". Interestingly this was the second black IPA I had that day and this one wasn't bad either. Very dark in color with a suprisingly light head. Great hop aroma and flavor that are present enough to stand up to the additional malt. I have no idea of the ABV. Overall, a good beer.

Photo of Genuine
3.88/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bomber into my Sam's Perfect Pint Glass.

Poured a very dark, almost non translucent, but it is a very dark amber when backlit.

Smell - Grassy, malty, a hint of molasses, not much hops in the nose.

Taste - Pretty much follows the nose. Carbonation hits first, then I get a good roasted maltyness/slight coffee/toffee flavors come right though. There is no hops to be detected here. Mostly some nice roasted malts.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body. I'd be disappointed if it was any lighter.

Drinkability - I could have more than a few of these very easily. Very easy to drink beer, hardly any bitterness from the hops. My first of the style and it's not bad. Just wish it was a bit hoppier.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a thin but dense off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, milk chocolate, some hops and some dark fruit.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of milk chocolate, some citrus and some dark fruit. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in. The hops presence is a bit weak for the style and makes this beer seem more stout-like than IPA-like but it’s enough to provide a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

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

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style even if it isn’t as hoppy as most others in the style, this is a solid beer worth drinking for a long time.

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

22oz bottle purchased at Ryan & Casey Liquors, Greenfield, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" tan head over the clear burgundy brew. Head dwindles promptly down to a skim of small bubbles, with prevalent lasting lace. Aroma is roasty dark malts, stanky piney hops, with a peek of fruitiness.

Taste follows along, dark sweetness to start, fruitiness for a moment, followed by ample pine bitterness to the close. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, and drinkability is good. Could do with a little more depth of grain for balancing, but a beer with hops in its name is probably going to edge that direction.

Photo of predikit
3.5/5  rDev +1.2%

Pours a dark brown, settles in the glass a very dark, ruby hued held up to light. Yields a tan head that leaves plenty of lacing behind.

Smell is very subtle, very faint hops and something in the back I can't quite pick apart.

The taste is more stout or porter than anything else, the hops take a backseat to chocolate malt notes, in fact the hops are almost impossible to detect. Suits me just fine, I'm not too fond of hops.

Full bodied, medium carbonation, very smooth.

It doesn't shine as a hoppy stout or whatever it's trying to emulate here, but it was a 95 cent single, so no complaints. Wouldn't revisit this.

Photo of DrinkingDrake
4.02/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a tan big bubble head that dissipates pretty fast but leaves a fat ring around the glass. A lot of toasted grains in the nose with a faint zesty/earthy hop background.

Bitter toasted grains upfront with a faint fruity hop character. Some bready chocolate body with a dark fruity hop bitterness with a creamy finish. A dry creamy finish if that is possible. For the deep toasted/hoppy character of this beer it has a high drinkability.

Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A nice thick frothy head rises up about 2 fingers before the large bubbles pop it back down to earth somewhat slowly, as it leaves a slightly messy lacing too. THe beer is a very dark molasses brown with some haze.

N: Semi weird... I initially get fresh roasted coffee beans, like the pure coffee bean smell right after you roast it and grind it. An earthy roasty aroma goes right with that. Then some earthy hops behind that, with a slight bitter aroma, and light grassy hop pellets. I also get a little chocolate. There's also a strange dark fruit aroma, like a fig or date.

T: Starts with lots of malts, mostly roast, with some black patent malt. Again lots of fresh roasted and ground coffee beans. Some earthy bitterness, some from the roasty coffee beans, and some from an earthy and semi grassy hop pellet taste. A spicy bitterness also starts to rise up. A slight creamy flavor, almost oatmeal. There is a slight caramel and sweetness flavor, with touch of molasses. Despite those dark malt flavors and coffee, it has a lighter ale feel to it overall, with some earthy, chewy, spicy hops.

M: Medium body with lower but tolerable carbonation.

F: Some lingering dark malt flavors, more roast and black patent, and lots of coffee. Mostly dry, but some light caramel and molasses flavors lingering. The bitterness comes on stronger on the finish, with roasty dark malt bitterness, and more hops. The hops bring more of the earthy and spicy qualities on the finish, with a slight herbal smashed hop flavor.

A strange beer, very unusual. It has those black IPA qualities that others have, with lots of dark malts, but not quite the stout thickness and richness, but more of a dark ale or almost porter. Then the nice earthy spicy and herbal hops that a black IPA would have. A nice blend of various flavors. It could have used a little more carbonation.

Photo of jdhilt
3.41/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a two finger light khaki head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Deep brown color. Nose is hops and tart fruit and flavor is dry, tart fruit. $4.55 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, MA.

Photo of smcolw
3.98/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Frothy foam of a head, leaves plenty of streaky lace. The color is dark brown but apparently clear.

Dark malt aromas; I can detect some black patent. Lightly earthy.

Dry and dark flavor with a strong fresh hop finish that lasts long into the aftertaste. Rich bodied with a lower level of carbonation. It comes across oily and spritzy at the same time. There's a touch of alcohol in the swallow. The general flavor reminds me of a very well made homebrew.

Overall, this is an unusual beer. It has elements of a mild stout, but with lots of hop bitterness.

Photo of GarthDanielson
2.78/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bomber into a tumbler pint, the beer is a very dark, vibrant, blood-ruby red coloring that looks black in the depths. There was a trace of head for a split second after a rough pour, but it goes quickly. Aromas are roasty hops, resiny and fresh, with a molasses and coffee blend, as well. Flavors are really wierd. A syrupy, darkly sweet malt and molasses tang on a watery, thin body. The hops go flying by in a flash, and don't do much to help the brew. A slight citrus undertone, but again, it's not entirely helping. The aftertaste is minimal, with a slightly sour tone to it. The finish is next to nothing. Much more watered down than it looks, and disappointing overall. The pour and the nose gave some high hopes, but the beer falls short for me.

Photo of WanderingFool
3.65/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black Hops pours a dark brown/near black into the glass with a small, creamy light tan head. The foam dissolves quickly to a ring around the surface leaving behind a netted pattern of lace on the glass.

The aroma is malty with subtly hoppy notes. Chocolate malt, a little bit of roast with a touch of pine and citrus.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer has a firm carbonated fizz, slightly syrupy with a dry finish. The flavor is malty with chocolate and bread dominating. It also has nutty notes and a touch of ripe fruit mixed in. It finishes with some hop bitterness and a taste of pine. Once gone the chocolate and nutty notes linger on the palate.

This is a tasty, malty beer with a good body. I was looking for more hop notes and IPA characteristics. This reminded me more of a porter.

to view more.
Black Hops Beer from Blue Hills Brewery
79 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.