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Black Lightning - DuClaw Brewing Company

Black LightningBlack Lightning

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

91 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 91
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 12.02%


Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: oline73 on 03-10-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 91 | Reviews: 38 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of 57md
57md

Pennsylvania

3.74/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark brown to black with a finger of head that lingers a bit and leaves nice lacing in its wake. The nose has a decent amount of hops and along with a touch of roast. The flavor profile is not quite full-bodied, but the roasted malt and hops are certainly present and well-balanced.

This offering would make for a good introduction to the black ale style, but it is certainly not on par with the best of the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2013 00:57:15 | More by 57md
Photo of Swift989
Swift989

District of Columbia

2.61/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

this beer tastes like watered down coffee. the smell is syrupy and strong. the mouthfeel is watery and slightly dry upon swallowing. taste is too close to a stout and they have little business calling it an american black ale when its not really in that category from my drinking experience. This beer maintains no head and doesn't even lace the glass further showing how watered down it is. DuClaw also should reassess its naming. Black Lighting is just a bad name and I would never have bought this beer if my work hadn't broken up all the 6 packs (which weren't selling for 2 months) and sold as individuals at 1.50 a pop. Love maryland and their brewing renaissance, but steer clear of this one.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2013 05:45:48 | More by Swift989
Photo of DrDemento456
DrDemento456

Pennsylvania

3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - A fairly dark pour some brown around the base of the glass. Head is minimal with just a 1/4 inch pulling back to a sticky lace ring.
S - Mild roast coffee, some chocolate malts hints and a touch of oatmeal.
T - Pretty smooth the flavors are not too roasty from the coffee, it has a mild hoppy bite mid palate, and the finish is rather sweet with soft hints of chocolate flavor. It would be perfect but the finish also houses a acidic note which is somewhat easy to ignore.
M - Light to medium, silky body, somewhat creamy.

Overall its not a bad black ale but I prefer Dark Horses version better. Easy to quaff back though!

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2013 04:11:05 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of Jeffreysan
Jeffreysan

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Very dark brown, almost black, with one/one and a half fingers of oatmeal colored head, that stayed around for a very long time, leaving rings on the glass as drunk, noting where previous levels of beer was located. Gorgeous.

Aroma: Very interesting and pleasing. Floral, yet also a lot of roasted barley; dark bread like pumpernickel, and some rye notes, caraway seeds. Faint hints of chocolate.

Taste: Very hoppy up front, which at first made me think that I wouldn’t like it, as I’m not a hops fan, but then the hops gives way quickly to TONS of BIG roasted malt and slight hints of coffee, but mostly roasted malt, that lasts forever. VERY long finish on this beer.

Mouthfeel: There’s quite a bit of carbonation in this beer, which gives off something of a cola mouthfeel, very effervescent, but not at all unappealing. Not smooth, but not cloying. Refreshing.

Overall: I liked this beer quite a lot. Like I said earlier, the hops forward flavor threw me for a second but I really, really liked the long roasty, malty finish that this beer has. Another winner from DuClaw, which is fastly becoming one of my favorite local breweries.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 04:07:13 | More by Jeffreysan
Photo of harrymel
harrymel

Washington

3.59/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled: unk

It's black, nice loose light tan foam. Smells like dark toasted malts, licorice, graham, some molasses, some bits of lighter hops. Nice malt nose. Flavor is graham, soil, lots of malts, sweet, some bits of smoke and vanilla. Full bodied with a sparkly carb and a dry finish. Overall, I feel this beer is miscategorized as a Black Ale, the hops are nearly nonexistent, but the base beer is a really nice stout - a little confused by this aspect, but a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2013 05:39:12 | More by harrymel
Photo of notchucknorris
notchucknorris

California

3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a deep brown/nearly black color with a monster tan head that lasts a long time.

S: Roasted malt, some faint earth, a touch of bready yeast and some faint earthy hops. A little bit of aftershave too.

T: Not really a whole lot going on. Some faint watered-down coffee, some roasted malt, a hint of espresso and some earthy hops.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2013 01:43:05 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of Darkmagus82
Darkmagus82

Virginia

3.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer is poured a nearly pitch black color with a one finger tan colored head floating atop the brew after pouring. The head fades over a moderate amount of time to leave a nice level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell- The aroma is on the sweeter side overall with a decent presence of chocolate mixed with a caramel and molasses smell. With these aromas are some lighter notes of darker fruits and some nut.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweeter roasted malt flavor with some dark fruit and molasses sugar. As the flavor advances some tastes of chocolate and pine hop come to the tongue. The hop is never too strong with the pine soon being replaced by a citrus hop flavor. This citrus hop is joined by some flavors of coffee and heavily roasted/burnt taste to leave a sweet and moderately roasty flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is average in its thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is rather average. Not bad for the roasted and slightly hopped flavors of the brew, but also nothing too exceptional.

Overall – A tasty darker, but very drinkable and lightly hopped brew. Not bad.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2013 01:59:30 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An unusual black ale in that it seems more porter than anything else. Roasted tone with minimal spice influence. Smooth feel but with a carbonation that somewhat nibbles at the tongue. Easy to drink. Not really what I want out of the style, but good enough I suppose.

I have to wonder if this is a fresh sample. With that in mind, I'll probably try this again if I know for sure that it's fresh.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2013 03:39:18 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of facundoCNB
facundoCNB

New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

a dark brown pour with 2 fingers of tan head.. seems to be slightly overcarbonated. smells of roasted grains, chocolate, toffee, grassy hops. again in the flavor, grassy hops up front, followed by slight oxidized taste, chocolate, dark roasted grains, very earthy flavors. almost like a hoppy black bitter coffee. very high carbonation which doesn't really work well with the medium body and dark flavors. not that impressed by this one. like all the other duclaw beers i received, i think this one was past its prime. i emailed them about bottling dates, and they said they are currently working on putting freshness dates on their bottles, as well as distributing to nj within the next year so hopefully i'll be able to taste these fresh soon enough.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2013 08:14:20 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of GiantMidget
GiantMidget

Pennsylvania

3.84/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Variety pack from Bryn Mawr beverage.

Poured into a tulip glass, about 1 inch head that remains while drinking.

Scent of coffee and slight mocha, with some breadiness.

This is a good black IPA, it has the characteristics on point with the hops and dryness. However it almost has more of a stout feel to the body to some degree as it's not quite as dry as I would like. But it is very balanced and is a smooth drink.
I can not complain whatsoever.

The mouthfeel is definitely full bodied as the flavor remains well after.

A good effort by Duclaw.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2013 02:46:46 | More by GiantMidget
Photo of DrinkSlurm
DrinkSlurm

Connecticut

3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from tap into pint glass at duclaw in Bowie pours a deep brown with an amber hue with some off whit head. Not much black here. Smells of dark roast but is crisp and very mild. Taste of slightly roasted malts and crisp water and hop. Its all very subtle but enjoyable. Its a bit too mild for me but has some nice drinkability. Solid brew but not mind blowing.

Serving type: on-tap

11-09-2012 00:48:19 | More by DrinkSlurm
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

4.45/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single finger tan head with excellent lacing on a clear deep dark brown amber body. Excellent aroma with lots of hops providing flor earthy and citrus notes. Mild but present roast aroma. Nice representation by both hops and roasted malts. Very well balanced for the style. Hops provide more of a grassy and earthy flavor. Medium to full body and moderate carbonation. This style is always hit or miss for me but this is one of the few that really integrate both roast and hops well.

Serving type: on-tap

07-26-2012 01:16:57 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of nickfl
nickfl

Florida

4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A poured with a small head of dark tan foam on an opaque black body. The head settles quickly and leaves good lace.

S chocolate nutty caramel and fruity, green hops

T thick, dark bread up front with some dark chocolate and pine in the middle. Finishes with more citrusy hops chocolate and some lingering, charred roast character.

M a thick body moderate carbonation and a dry finish

D very nice with a rich malt character in addition to its pungent hops.

Serving type: on-tap

07-26-2012 01:13:41 | More by nickfl
Photo of stephenjmoore
stephenjmoore

Maryland

3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black, almost stout like with a mocha colored head.

S- Roasted malts, chocolate malts, some chocolate an a hint of coffee.

T- Roasted malt from start to finish with chocolate and a dash of piney hops towards the end.

M- Creamy and roasty, but crisp too.

O- Good black IPA, nice mix of roasted malts and hops.

Serving type: on-tap

07-04-2012 17:35:51 | More by stephenjmoore
Photo of Florida9
Florida9

Illinois

3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Black color. Forms a ridiculously large, bubbly, over-carbonated, tan-colored head on a minimal pour. Some light lacing.

S: Aroma is full of dark roasted malts, carbonation, deeply roasted coffee, and char with just a hint of citrusy hops in the mix.

T: Taste is much of the same with a heavy dose of deeply roasted (borderline burnt) malts, char, dark chocolate, and some citrus hops on the finish. Finish is dry with a light, but persistent char flavor.

M: On the heavier side of medium. Mild to moderate bitterness though some of the bitterness is from the roasted malts. Over-carbonation is annoying distraction for this beer.

O: A decent beer with good potential. I liked the use of deeply roasted malts on this one, but the over carbonation really ruined it for me.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2012 00:42:36 | More by Florida9
Photo of beer2day
beer2day

North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Near opaque black pour with barely 1-finger of cream head, highlighted ever so lightly with hints of mocha. No retention and medium lace.

Chocolate, black patent, roast and light citrus hops define the nose. Getting a little cola as well. Very nice.

Light up front, roast malt and chocolate come in strong and dominate the finish. Citrus hop bitters underneath the chocolate. Very nice again.

Feel is right on for the style. Just heavy enough for the rich flavor, but keeping to style.

I'll look for this again on my next trip to VA.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2012 01:52:30 | More by beer2day
Photo of JerseyKirk
JerseyKirk

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Ruby red edges with a pitch black body. Nice white creamy head.

S: Chocolate, cream and some citrus.

T: Chocolate, cream, citrus and herbal notes.

M: Medium bodied with good carbonation.

O: Nice however the mix of chocolate and citrus seem to clash a little bit. Doesn't mix easily.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2012 01:46:58 | More by JerseyKirk
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark in color-bordering on black but not quite there. Light, fizzy head on top that is quickly gone. Ok aroma-some roasted grains and a moderate amount of hops. Decent roasted grain flavors up front. Strong hop bite as well. I am used to more of a floral hop flavor in the black IPAs I have had. Mild chocolate notes. Decent enough body. A pretty good example of the style but theres better out there for my money.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2012 01:31:17 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of thain709
thain709

Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a black body and a tan, one finger head...the head fell quickly to a thin cap and left only light lacing

S - Roasty aromas fill the glass...some smoke and charcoal notes can also be picked up...piney hops are in the background

T - The roast is the star of the show in the beginning...first sip brings a full on assault of dark roasted malts...they provide some chocolate notes towards the finish...the middle of the beer has a milky smoothness to it...the hops are not shy as they provide a lingering bitterness at the finish

M - Medium bodied...smooth and creamy...bitter hops and a bitter roastiness

O - I found this Black IPA to be rather enjoyable...roast up front, hops in the finish...pretty balanced...only complaint was the dead looking pour it produced

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2012 14:20:41 | More by thain709
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On draft at DuClaw in Bowie, MD.

The beer is dark brown, approaching blackness, with a dense khaki head that coats the glass in lacing. A fabulous appearance. The aroma offers hops, roast, pine, chocolate. Nice flavor, though a bit understated for my liking. Both hop and roast characters are lacking in intensity. Residual chocolate and pine notes. Smooth feel with moderately low carbonation. Easy to enjoy a pint, though nothing implores me to order a second serving. Overall, decent beer that has potential for improvement. Worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2012 03:34:30 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lives up to its name pouring black in color with a khaki head to it. Some faintly citrusy hops with a bit of sweet pineapple type fruit to it. A bit of pine and herbal hop character is there in addition to some molasses type sweetness and roasted malt. There is a light citric character to the flavor. Somewhat strong on the roast with maybe even some licorice. A mild sweetness, maybe molasses. Not quite as hoppy as the aroma. Medium in body and carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 08:40:25 | More by womencantsail
Photo of kevinv
kevinv

Texas

2.7/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a globe. No dating noted.

A - Pours a deep black with only the slightest bit of light coming through when held up to a light. About a 1/2 finger light mocha colored head formed, but dissipated fairly quickly. Lacing is non-existent.

S - Roasty and bready malts with a caramel undertone. A slight coffee note is present, but it's very light. Smells like a stout to me. No presence of hops in the nose (*See note).

T - I'm getting a dry bitterness up front, almost like what you'd get from old coffee. A light roastiness precedes a dry, citrusy resin. I expected this one to be more hop-forward given the description on the bottle. No signs of alcohol in the taste.

M - Medium bodied with a low carbonation. Oily finish.

O - Overall, I was fairly disappointed with this one. The hops were lacking, the bitterness at the front of the taste was....off. I picked it up just to have something different than what I normally drink. Can't say that I'd recommend.

*The "notes" on this beers profile says that it's available in the Spring. It's January right now, so I have no idea if another batch was brewed recently or if this is leftover. The weird thing is that the shelf at the store was completely full. Either other people know better or a mysterious case was found in the stockroom and thrown on the shelf.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2012 00:08:33 | More by kevinv
Photo of Minkybut
Minkybut

Virginia

3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was really black with a tan head. The beer ended up with good lacing but the head went away pretty fast. The smell of the beer was like coffee. The beer had a bit of a bitter finish but all in all I liked it and would buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2011 15:03:21 | More by Minkybut
Photo of sholland119
sholland119

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked tis up at State Line a couple of weeks back.

A-Dark, opaque, dark brown to black, huge frothy mocha head quickly dissipates.

S-A bit musty, moderate roast, a whiff of dark chocolate.

T-Nice. Good roast character without going overboard in the bitterness. Hop character is a bit lacking, which is the only shortcoming in the flavor.

M-Medium bodied, dry.

O-A nice black ale. Above average for the style in my opinion.

HV

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2011 01:25:58 | More by sholland119
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ the Arundel Mills location on 11/10/11. Served in a pint glass.

Pours black (although some ruby does come out along the bottom), with a ½ finger of mocha head. This has a bit of a lightly burnt look to it. Retention is decent here, with some rich edges and more of a wispier look across the center, leaving back a foamy cascade of light spotty froth. The aroma has a sticky blend of chocolate and caramel up front, which is followed by a dark and bitter smelling mix of roast and green citrus. A touch of leafy and herbal tones work their way in here as well.

The taste pretty much mirrors the aroma, with a sharp and green feeling citric bitterness (along with some intertwining herbal character) that is balanced by a thickish feeling blend of chocolate, toffee, and dark crunchy roast that flows across the back. The hops, roast, and sweetness all even out nicely here as this warm, as this finishes dry and bitter with some notes of lingering roast. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and firm feeling up front before giving way to more of a smooth crispness as this moves out. Alcohol is nicely hid.

After a terrible experience with this beer in the bottle, this was a much MUCH more enjoyable experience this time around. I found this to be quite flavorful but it did lean a little too much to the Porterish sides of things. This was still mighty tasty though and I’m glad to see a new staple beer of this quality on the taps @ DuClaw.

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2011 20:31:34 | More by Kegatron
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Black Lightning from DuClaw Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 91 ratings.