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Black Lightning - DuClaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black LightningBlack Lightning

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BA SCORE
85
very good

38 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 38
Hads: 100
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 6.4%
Wants: 8
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: oline73 on 03-10-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 38 | Hads: 100
Photo of ckollias
4.45/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Almost pitch black in color with a hint of amber highlights around the edge. Thick dark brown 3-finger head after a violent poor that quickly dissipates and leaves a gorgeous trail all the way down the glass and ends in a wispy lace.

S: Strong hoppy IPA aroma and hints of roasted malts in the background fill the nose.

T: Smooth rich hoppy flavor. Hints of pine and toasted malts cross the palate.

M: Medium body and carbonation

O: I normally have Duclaw beers on tap – but tried this bad boy in a bottle and wasn’t disappointed. Great smell and flavor – excellent balance between the hops and malt. (671 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.45/5  rDev +18.7%
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. (483 characters)

Photo of beer2day
4.44/5  rDev +18.4%
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. (537 characters)

Photo of vandemonian
4.37/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

DuClaw Black Lightning is a delicious black IPA with hop and coffee characteristics.

A: Black colour and a 5 mm head that fades pretty quickly. 4

S: Roasty, earthy malt with some pleasant hop characteristics. 4.5

T: Roasty malt and sharp hops into an earthy coffee finish. The finish is dry and very slightly bitter. Delicious. 4.5

M: Silky. 4.5

O: 4 (355 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
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. (458 characters)

Photo of Jayli
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours an opaque black with a 1/2 inch of light brown head. Head recedes at a moderate pace. Minor wisps of lacing are left on the glass.

S: Nose is roasted malts, coffee and citrus hops.

T: Taste starts with big roasted malts, some minor charred notes that hang in the back. Bitter baker's chocolate and coffee hit in the middle before moving in to a more prominent burnt malt flavoring that is accented by nice grapefruit, citrus hops.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium to higher carbonation, crisp and clean at first with a touch sticky finish.

O: Goes down easy, very tasty, not too filling, nice kick, very good representation of style. More and more Black IPA's are just hitting the spot for me. I had never heard of Du Claw before, but this is a fantastic offering for those who enjoy Black IPA's. (854 characters)

Photo of tugdriver7
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

DuClaw is bottling now. They'd done large bottles, but they've got 3 varieties in 6 packs now. Black coated, lightweight screwtops that really keep things fresh.

Still getting used to the "black IPA" craze, but this one was definitely the best so far. Deep, rich black with mahogany highlights from the bottle. Tan leather-colored creamy head that laced the glass nicely. Rich smoky malt in the nose with a stout-like smokiness and a roasted sweet malt flavor in the first sip, balanced nicely with a bitter hops bite that stops short of "spicy" or "fruity." Very nicely balanced, making it easy drinking. (607 characters)

Photo of thain709
3.94/5  rDev +5.1%
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 (780 characters)

Photo of Chaney
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the brewpub at Arundel Mills.

A: Dark, dark reddish brown, almost black, with about a one-finger, extremely foamy mocha head that kept a substantial amount of retention throughout.

S: Very faint, but I did get a few puffs of roast and coffee-like bitterness. I though this was supposed to be a Black IPA?

T: Definitely not a black IPA. Very roasty, with extremely bitter and bleached out sweetness. I would describe this as a "coffee" porter brewed with unsweetened baker's chocolate rather than coffee.

M: Very thick and creamy, yet exceptionally dry! The carbonation was good for this style. Surprisingly very impressive in this area.

O: Once again, the over-the-top bitterness hampered my judgment of this one a bit, but it was still damn tasty! (774 characters)

Photo of stephenjmoore
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
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. (321 characters)

Photo of sholland119
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
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 (432 characters)

Photo of GiantMidget
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (550 characters)

Photo of JohnnyS17
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an extremely dark black, no light is getting through this puppy! It is accompanied by a gorgeous, foamy, deep-tan head. The retention is great and there is nice lacing throughout the tasting.

The aroma smells like an un-enhanced black cup of java with hints of dark, bitter chocolate. I sense hints of barley and maybe a subtle hops aroma hiding behind the stronger scents. Those hops that were hiding in the aroma, come out a lot more in the taste. Also, the bitter chocolate is a more prevalent taste than the coffee. It finishes with a nice burnt roast flavor.

The body is a medium/full body. It is very smooth with lingering carbonation. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. The deeper I got into it, the more my taste buds warmed up to it. Quite an enjoyable beer that acts as a calming agent. Give me another! (836 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (339 characters)

Photo of facundoCNB
3.79/5  rDev +1.1%
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. (752 characters)

Photo of Rickythejeweler
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Jet black, 1 finger off white head, not much lacing going on.

S - Suprisingly hoppy, espresso, roasty.

T - Coffee bean, strong piney hops, dark chocolate, roasty malt.

M - Alot of carbonation, a pepsi cola-like burn/tingle, great dark chocolate aftertaste with coffee beans lingering.

D - I could only drink 2, it fills you up, very heavy, decent beer from DuClaw, Devil's Milk is still their best brew though!

P.S. - The ABV on the bottle is 6.4% (456 characters)

Photo of Jeffreysan
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a 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. With an ABV of 6.5%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

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. (1,268 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.75/5  rDev 0%
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. (365 characters)

Photo of JerseyKirk
3.75/5  rDev 0%
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. (289 characters)

Photo of oline73
3.74/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on-tap at the brewpub during the release event.

Appearance: Pours with a 1.5 finger tan head with very large bubbles. A layer remains throughout the pour. The color is almost black with a very little bit of light coming through at the edges.

Smell: Definitely the best part of this beer. Mildly sweet citrus hops dominate, but the roast is there. Overall the really nice smelling hops come through.

Taste: Again, the hops win here as well. Very bitter citrus peel hops coat the tongue, the roast is dominated and seems to fight with the bitterness a bit.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a lot of small bubbles. I would call the finish uber dry.

Drinkability: Overall, I think this is a good beer. It would be nice if there was a little bit more roast, but I'd definitely have more. (803 characters)

Photo of 57md
3.74/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (421 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
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! (627 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 05/07/11 notes. Got a bottle of this at RFD in Washington, DC. Poured into a pint glass.

a - Pours a very dark brown color, with two inches of tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, citrus hops, and toasted malts.

t - Tastes of coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, and citrus hops. Also some toasted malts, and a tiny bit of bitterness in the taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

o - Overall a pretty good Black IPA from Duclaw. Lots of roasted notes in the nose and taste, as well as some coffee in the taste. Would give another shot. (598 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
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. (1,455 characters)

Photo of Florida9
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
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. (781 characters)

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Black Lightning from DuClaw Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.