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Black Lightning - DuClaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Black LightningBlack Lightning

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

38 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 38
Hads: 100
Avg: 3.71
pDev: 12.13%
Wants: 8
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company
Maryland, United States | website

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 kylehay2004
4.45/5  rDev +19.9%
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.

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Photo of oline73
3.74/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of nickfl
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
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.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
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!

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.66/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.81/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of Florida9
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of harrymel
3.59/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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Photo of Chaney
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
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!

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Photo of stephenjmoore
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.35/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Photo of 57md
3.74/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of sholland119
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
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

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Photo of Jayli
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

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Photo of ckollias
4.45/5  rDev +19.9%
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.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.79/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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Photo of thain709
3.94/5  rDev +6.2%
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

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Photo of beer2day
4.44/5  rDev +19.7%
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.

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