Black Lightning - DuClaw Brewing Company

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Black LightningBlack Lightning

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BA SCORE
84
good

38 Reviews
THE BROS
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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 Swift989
2.61/5  rDev -30.4%
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. (699 characters)

Photo of kevinv
2.72/5  rDev -27.5%
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. (1,343 characters)

Photo of MikeB20
3.33/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: 12oz bottle poured into a perfect pint glass.

A: Nearly completely black with dark brown highlights and a two finger brown head. Head retention is okay but lacing is fantastic.

S: Slightly sweet but assertive roasted malt with a hint of toastiness and caramel.

T: Mildly astringent intensely roasted malt. A good bit of bitterness, probably as much from the malt as the hops with the slightest citrus hop finish. Some charred flavors as well that I believe add to the astringent flavor. The bitterness lingers.

M: A little heavy on the tongue with moderately high carbonation.

O: I like the intensity of the roasted malt flavor but I think the malt has added a bitterness that isn't all that pleasing. A decent beer but not the greatest black ale I've had to date. (772 characters)

Photo of lackenhauser
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
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. (419 characters)

Photo of Minkybut
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
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. (290 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
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. (396 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on draft at the Bowie location of DuClaw, this beer came across as a really good porter but since they talked up the hops in it I got a little depressed.

Beer is dark brown to black, mostly clear, small tan head, some lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is a little sweet a little roasty. Interesting I suppose.

Beer is medium in body and pretty bitter at the end from this coffee like flavor. The overall beer is not spectacular but rather an average porter. Hops? Not that I can tell, perhaps a faint sense of them. Oh well, they all can't be great. (556 characters)

Photo of Viciousknishs
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours dark brown with a finger of light tan head. Retention is ok. Spotty lacing.

S- Predominately roasty nose with notes of dark molasses and espresso. Slight fruitiness and a hint of smoked meat. finishes with the utmost whisper of wintergreen hop. Black IPA? I think they forgot the IPA part.

T- Again largely roasted malt flavor with a touch of bakers chocolate and brewed coffee. Slight leafy hoppiness with an indiscernible combonation of roasted malt/hop bitterness. Finishes with a grainy malt flavor with some great longevity into the aftertaste.

MF- Smooth slick mouthfeel with a solid viscosity to the body. Average carbonation

D- Very drinkable

Overall this is a very solid slightly hoppier porter. As far as American Black Ales go I think they missed the mark.

Three words: ADD MORE HOPS!!! (813 characters)

Photo of Josephkeene
3.56/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at A.Mills duclaw.

Poured into a pint glass small coco brown lacing with a light head.

The smell is of chocolate with a little pine.

Tasting first comes with abundant chocolate and a nice piney finish.

Really well made black ipa!! (250 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
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. (460 characters)

Photo of harrymel
3.59/5  rDev -4.3%
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. (475 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
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. (541 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (1,207 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)

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 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 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 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 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 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)

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