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Darkwater - Swamp Head Brewery

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very good

88 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 88
Reviews: 19
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 12.28%
Wants: 1
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Swamp Head Brewery visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  ABV ?

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Jdmpolk on 03-05-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 88 | Reviews: 19 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of trxxpaxxs
2/5  rDev -48.8%

trxxpaxxs, May 14, 2014
Photo of thereal_adam
2.5/5  rDev -36.1%

thereal_adam, May 31, 2014
Photo of Indytruks138
3/5  rDev -23.3%

Indytruks138, Sep 10, 2013
Photo of ox1574
3.23/5  rDev -17.4%

750ml poured into a Burial Brewery snifter
ABV 6.8%

A - Poured a very dark brown/amber. One finger tan head that quickly dissipated.

S- grassy/nutty/piney aroma when first opened. As the beer warmed up to 55 degrees or so, malt/caramel notes came out.

T - LIghter than expected due to its color. Piney hops and more bitter than I anticipated.

M - Low carbonation made the mouthfeel very light and watery.

O - Decent dark ale, easy drinking, I definitely wouldn't turn down another one!

ox1574, Aug 20, 2013
Photo of maximum12
3.23/5  rDev -17.4%

Thanks to the best human being in Florida, moose3285 for this extra that came clanking along with a truckload of other FL goodness. Dark glass 750ML bottle split with my wife.

True to the name, this beer is both dark & mostly made up of water, though there's red highlights in there, too. Carbonation is on the high side. A sniffle brings forth that typical odd clash of a 'black ale': heavy roast duking it out with citrus & pine hoppiness. Touch of smoke, chocolate as it warms. Strangely appealing.

Darkwater can't quite break the mold of a black ale. Heavy, heavy roast emerges immediately & goes toe-to-toe with a heavy hand of citrusy hops, with a quick lash of bitterness. Tastes like weak coffee with a handful of tea leaves thrown in (or hop leaves, I suppose). Vanishing chocolate & malt in the middle is washed away in a flash flood of bitterness on the end that tastes unfortunately like the dregs in the coffee pot. The weak coffee metaphor swells as the beer warms. Half a bomber? Well, OK, since it's here by my left hand.

Yet another beer where the aromatics don't translate well onto the taste buds. This one had real promise, but fizzled out; the combo of overpowering roast & thin mouthfeel left me wanting. Decent enough, but I'm more disappointed because I feel like this one was close. Something was lost in the translation.

maximum12, Jul 25, 2013
Photo of SirFreakOn
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

SirFreakOn, Aug 05, 2013
Photo of sleuthdog
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

sleuthdog, Jul 13, 2014
Photo of cpetrone84
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%

Pour is black with lots of tan head. Nose is light roast, hint of marshmallow, citrusy hops. Taste is sweeter, roast is very light, notes of dark malts, a good bit of citrus and notes of candied sugar. Gets a little sweet, strong carb and a light body. Flavors are a bit muted.

cpetrone84, Jun 23, 2014
Photo of jblain
3.4/5  rDev -13%

jblain, Sunday at 01:36 AM
Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

SmellsofMahagony, Oct 22, 2013
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

acurtis, Oct 21, 2013
Photo of Jaycase
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Jaycase, Jun 06, 2014
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

ygtbsm94, Sep 14, 2013
Photo of zekeman17
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

zekeman17, Aug 08, 2014
Photo of wiltznucs
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

wiltznucs, Aug 09, 2013
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

TheBeerAlmanac, Aug 31, 2013
Photo of Zach_Nolan
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Zach_Nolan, Sep 07, 2013
Photo of Lerxst
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%

On tap at Kickbacks, thanks Steve! Its always nice to walk in and have a beer you've never had before, much less one you never knew existed. So when I saw this offering from Swamphead, I had to have one. And away we go...

A-Pours black with no hints of light peeking through. 1/2" khaki colored head has good retention and leaves spotty lace.

S-Citrus and piney hops lead with a slightly sweet caramel malt backbone. Not terribly complex, but pleasant. The nose is understated, though. I more pronounced nose would easily bump this up to a 4, possibly a 4.5

T-A pleasant bitter hoppy bite greets me-citrus and pine with maybe a floral hint. The hops carry all the way through from front to back here, but the middle comes through with hints of roasted malt. The finish has a nice balance of everything and is slightly dry.

M-Just on the light side of medium body with the carb level on the lower side of the spectrum for other beers of this style (which suits me just fine!). Its nice, definitely slightly above average, but I would have liked a more luxurious mouthfeel here.

O-This is a good beer from an up and coming brewery. I can't say its world class, but its definitely worth a try for any BA.

Edit: I noticed the abv info above is just a ? but the board at Kickbacks said the abv was 7%, fyi.

Lerxst, Apr 03, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%

If there's a line where IPA meets Porter, then Swamp Head's Darkwater Ale is dancing across that high wire with ease.

A billowing head rises from the depths of the milky, dark brown ale underneath. Sandy in its froth, the mix of large and small bubbles is confident in its retention and laces equally as impressively. Its a fantastic looking ale that's easily mistaken for Porter.

But there's no such mistake as the first whiff reveals an unexpected sharpness from hops. White grapefruit, oranges, a pep of lemon and an array of earthy notes reveal its deviant hoppy side. What starts of piney turns grassy, bark-like, and with a toasted smoky-chocolate note.

To taste, the drier-than-usual Porter taste is toasty and with a hint of campfire and bittersweet chocolate. Roasted pecans, burnt embers and freshly sawn pine gives the beer a heft that's uncommon to IPA. But all that hop character that rises in the middle palate sure does. Less juicy and sweet, the sharper varieties of charred white grapefruit, orange peels, light lemon and juniper and stemmy sassafras close in on its accute resinous bitterness to finish.

Medium-dry in texture, the beer struggles to capture the full dryness of IPA with all that dark malt flavor and weight swirling about. Still, the ale achieves a mostly toasty-dry body with the assistance of hop dryness and warming alcohol late. But coming along also is some hop and grain derived astringency that gives the beer a palate sensation of tannin-rich wood spices.

Darkwater is a fantastic beer. But there's a difference between "Cascadian" or American Black Ale and a hoppy Porter. I'd love to see more vibrant (juicier) hop aroma and taste with a drier Karafa-lead IPA.

BEERchitect, Sep 05, 2013
Photo of TKEbeerman
3.64/5  rDev -6.9%

TKEbeerman, Sunday at 01:11 AM
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.69/5  rDev -5.6%

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 6.8% ABV, per the bottle label.

Appearance - Pours a dark brown with a khaki head. A couple fingers of head. Murky dark brown. Looks kinda icky, maybe that's just the association I make with the name of the beer. I just can't get the image out of my head of Swamp Head filling the boil kettle with scummy water drawn from some stagnant pond in the dead of Florida summer. But at least the head retains nicely.

Smell - Grassy hops, some grapefruit. Nutty and chocolatey. Equal parts hop and dark malts.

Taste - Hops at the start. Very grassy tasting. The roasted malts are more prominent. Less nutty, more coffee and roast. Combines with the grass hops to give it a bit of a harsh taste, but it's good.

Mouthfeel - As I said, it gets a bit harsh. Bitter from hops and roast. Thin, too.

Overall - This Black Ale category has so many variations, but I think this fits pretty well. Roasted malts, lots of hops, and not sweet. It's not an easy marriage of flavors to accept at first, but I quite enjoyed it.

Alieniloquium, Aug 09, 2013
Photo of Zonian1
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Zonian1, Jul 13, 2014
Photo of barongearmu
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

barongearmu, Jun 02, 2012
Photo of user785335
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

user785335, May 06, 2014
Photo of hopkrid
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

hopkrid, Sep 09, 2013
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Darkwater from Swamp Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.