Dark Element - Element Brewing Company

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Dark ElementDark Element

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

81 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 81
Hads: 193
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 9.25%
Wants: 48
Gots: 27 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Element Brewing Company visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: cbutova on 06-04-2010

Previously named "Dark Matter."

DARK ELEMENT
This New American Black Ale, our strongest signature beer, has the malt profile of an Imperial Schwartz Beer and the floral characteristics of an American IPA. Saturated in hops, this intrepid style offers smooth dark toffee and chocolate flavors without the roasted bitterness found in many "dark" beers.

65.5 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 81 | Hads: 193
Photo of HattedClassic
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice light brown head that dissipates fairly slowly and leaves quite a bit of lacing on the glass. The beer itself is a very dark brown that borders on black. The beer smell has very nice and very sugary toffee notes mixed in with roasted malt notes as well. The hop notes are present but are drowned out a little bit by the malt notes. The hops have a sweet orange scent to them. The taste is surprisingly different than the smell. The taste is dominated by the toffee and roasted notes while the hops are both bitter and sweet from before. The mouthfeel is medium bodied but on the heavier side. The beer goes down fairly smoothly without any problems and biting carbonation. Overall, a good American Black Ale and worth getting. (748 characters)

Photo of Altrurian
4.73/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The indulgence begins with the pour, which raises a picture-perfect tan head above a reddish mahogany elixir. The head, at least within the confines of my Ithaca-labeled weizen glass, is dense and long-lived, seeming as though, given the chance, it could be a permanent fixture. There is cascading in its lower quarters as it gradually succumbs to the rising liquid. The beer's aroma is pronounced and sweet, combining chocolate and vanilla with a subtle earthiness and a slight waft of volatility. The flavor varies as it traverses the palate, starting with a surprising near-bitter freshness. It culminates in a rich, cocoa-like semi-sweetness, with a finish that is clean, with the merest benevolent suggestion of alcohol. The mouthfeel is slightly more aggressive than expected, contributing to the beer's appropriateness as an accompaniment for a meal. Overall, an excellent entry from a thoughtful brewer. (911 characters)

Photo of HP1975
4.81/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow this is full of hop aromas, citrus, cascades, or something american!
On tap and served in a pint glass at BBQ place in Boston, humm where could that be?

Appearance is dark, dark brown to black. Not quite fully dark black as you can get some light through it. It has good clarity and tall foam that lingers and coats the glass.

The hop aromas are orange peel citrus.

The flavor backs up the nose well and reminds of a hoppy brown ale or black IPA

You would expect it to be fairly bitter but the mouthfeel is rather full and smooth. The higher abv is also well hidden in the mix.

Definitely a solid black ale. But it's Element so why would anyone expect anything other than excellence?

Serving type: on-tap (714 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Winooski Beverage Warehouse. Bottled a year previous when consumed. From notes.

A - Deep ruby pour with two fingers of beige head. Spotty lace and a finger of retention.

S - Dark malts, hops, dark fruit.

T - Really nice complexity. Rich malt and noticeable hops, but they've almost faded. Nice sweetness there. Rich.

M - Good carbonation, medium to full body. Sweet dark fruit and hop finish.

O/D - Pretty nice. The age has obviously faded the hops a fair bit but it was still enjoyable. (505 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

full flavored American black ale, we need more of these. dark like a stout on the pour, but drinks a lot lighter, despite the high abv, heady and rich, sexy and dangerous, I love this. smells sweet and hoppy at the same time, chocolate malt and northwest hops, high alpha stuff. the taste too, I need this with good barbeque, its got that hearty burly hoppy complexity, everything here works like magic, black magic I should say. hops really only in the finish, while deep roasty flavors of soil and minerals and bitter cocoa dominate the front end. overall a special beer, with all kinds of character. full bodied as they come, but you would never know its 8% abv. great first beer from element, got the special oak in the car and now even more stoked for that one! (766 characters)

Photo of cvm4
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled Sept. 6th, 2012

A - Pours a very dark brown with a billowing tan head. Pretty good lacing.

S - A bit oaky, astringent and not too hop forward. Mild roasted malt.

T - Hops at first mixed with some dark malts. Turns a bit sweet/toffee then a bitter finish.

M - Medium body and carbonation with a wet finish.

O - May'be the age has got to it, but I wasn't picking up some of the flavors others were. (409 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark brown in color (black when viewed from afar). It poured with a half finger high dense beige head that has excellent retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: Moderate aromas of dark malts are present in the nose along with some hints of roasted malts.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but is a little more complex with additional hints of toffee and a light to moderate amount of bitterness. The finish has some bits of roasted malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I thought that the toffee-like flavors of this beer were quite interesting, and these might have been accentuated a little by this beer being aged for eight months. (771 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Really A shwartz beer, a black beer and not a black IPA, freshly acquired by Peter FM. Roasty but not a black IPA, some hops but also some sourness in the finish. Lagerish in texture. Lacy on dark body.OK drinkability. Roast over hops is the smell.A little disappointing for the marketing, with a nicely wrapped bottle. (319 characters)

Photo of TheLostGringo
3.03/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Seen some of these Element Brewing Co. Beers on the shelf for the last year and have for some reason yet to have one, so tonight is the night.

Poured into a wide-mouth tulip glass and served at basement temperature. Feb 09, 2012 bottle date.

A: looks fairly dark at first glance but held up to light reveals more of a mahogany color. A nice couple of inches of head that slowly disepates into the beverage.

S: Getting mostly toffee and Pumpernickel perhaps a hint of hops, but not a lot.

T: Overly sweet, very malt forward, perhaps some bitterness in the finish from the hops but not sure if I am imagining it because it is suppose to be there.

O: Drinkable I guess, tastes more like a strong-ale then a combination of a Schwartz/IPA. Not something I would seek out again but drinkable. (792 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: The fudge brown pour is capped by a rocky tan head; very nice persistance and some webs of lace linger on the pint glass

Smell: Black bread and chocolate in the forefront, with some piney hops in the back

Taste: Black bread and chocolate, building with caramel flavors; the hops arrive in the middle and, after the swallow, balancing out the sweeter aspect, though the beer ultimately tilts malt forward

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: This bottle had been in the back of the fridge for a while so I guess a fresher bottle would be hoppier; still, an impressive beer (616 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.23/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at DC bottle share at Smoke & Barrel. Bottle dating April 20 - 2012.

A light tan head and somewhat creamy looking, with a kind of light red amberish brown body tinge. Somewhat clear also, quite nice.

Nose is strangely wood splintery oak. I am getting a weird sense of beechwood almost rauchbier going on. Not particularly hop forward either.

Palate is just a mish mash of things and all over the place. Hop front and mild resin, mixing with a good amount of pine, a soft clean and very crisp malt, with some off roast sense. Somewhat wet body seems to come through slightly, and doesn't highlight any of these flavors nicely.

I am not getting this brews angle here, this feels and tastes like a mess of things that just don't jive nicely with each other. Every flavor seems to be fighting for attention. It's not awful by any means just not digging it. (900 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
4.36/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark Element, April 2012 bottling...

I can't resist the allure of an unusual beer, so seeing this beer wrapped in paper was too much for me to resist - thankfully!

A: black-brown body, slightly translucent around the edges, fat pale foam head; lid of foam persisted; no lacing

S: hoppy toffee and mild roasted malt

T: delicious: toffee, caramel, slight mellow roastedness, some espresso, perfectly bitter and sweet at the same time

M: excellent drinkability, wonderful aftertaste, no astringency; smooth and easy drinking

O: this might've just jumped to the top of my black ales - easily on-par with Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale and Uinta's Dubhe (my current favorite black ales) - this beer demonstrates great craftsmanship and has a unique flavor that may veer slightly from the typical flavor profile of an American black ale, but I loved it. (860 characters)

Photo of ADZA
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another new brew for me and pours a kola hue with ruby highlights which leaves a three finger khaki creamy head and clingy lacing everywhere,the smell is dark cherries,chillis,piney hops,booze,milky coffee and grapefruit,the mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly carbonated with tastes of brandied plums,grapefruit,milky chocolate,mocha and finshed just like a bittersweet cappicino and overall i love the balance perfect balance of malts and hops and a nice benchmark for American Black Ales would drink again cheers. (519 characters)

Photo of socon67
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thnaks to CTSparky for trading one of these.

A - Pours brown with a reddish tone; rusty coloring. Light brown foam. Minimal carbonation; no lacing.

S - Smells of toffee, mocha, and sweet malts. Mild hoppy medley.

T - Flavors are of a beer balanced between malt and hops. Very complex. Sweet initial taste; almost a sasparilla like sugary sweetness. Finish has a hoppy vibe but without a bitter bite.

M - For something that seemed so well balanced, I didn't mind it quite as drinkable as I expected. Fun beer, but oddly I tired of it quickly.

O - Was looking for this guy for a while. A bit of a different beer, and a complex version of the style. Extra kudos for the bag over the bottle. (694 characters)

Photo of Beernuts123
5/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep ruby color when held to the light. Light lacy head that is slightly effervescent on the tongue, indicative of the bottle conditioning process.
Licorice, dark malts and lots of clean hop aroma on the nose.
Body is light and refreshing and taste is well-rounded with nicely balanced bitterness and dark/caramel malt flavors. Does not have an overly roasty back end which allows the hop aroma to clean up the finish.
Not a session beer, but wonderful with a fully flavored meat dish or a rich chocolate dessert. (515 characters)

Photo of alexgash
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, corked and caged. Brewed on Nov 17, 2011.

Dark maple syrup amber-brown. Tall, rocky, light cocoa brown head. Nice lacing. Light roasted malt on the nose, along with a complex array of licorice, root beer, sugary plums, Concord grapes, and musty herbal hops.

Lightly roasted barley up front. Becomes sweeter and fruitier very quickly. Coffee and herbal bitterness builds in the background. the malt shows notes of caramel, milk chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, and sweet Concord grapes. Nice balance of herbal hops and sweetish malt in the finish. Medium-full body. Prickly, bottle-conditioned feel. Nice and complex. not as hoppy as expected, but still delicious. (677 characters)

Photo of thatbentleyguy
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lucky to have Element as a relatively local place to fill a growler! Owners are always friendly and welcoming, and savings versus the 750ml retail price. $14 growler vs. $10.99+ retail for the 750 ml.

Dark Element was originally known as Dark Matter, but a conflict with Brooklyn Brewing necessitated the change to Dark Element.

Before Black IPAs were all the rage, Dark Matter appeared as an initial offering of Element in late 2009. They weren't trying for a Black IPA, but this reminds me of one, to an extent. It does have enough character of that Schwarzbier kicking around in there, plus a strong 8% abv to differentiate it from a run-of-the-mill 2011-2012 black IPA.

Dark with roasted malt, hoppy, and strong (two pints is more than plenty for one sitting), it pours a deep brown-black, mostly filtered of particulate, and with a thin head which dissipates quickly. Others note a denser head, but again I've always poured this from a growler! Nose is strong hops, and flavor is deep, floral, sticky, delicious hop bitterness balanced with roasty malt. Mouthfeel could be a little fuller - I prefer an unfiltered brew, but this is otherwise a great, original beer. (1,174 characters)

Photo of mltobin
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had been hearing about Element Brewing out of Mass for the past 6 months, so it was nice to finally try a beer from them. Dark Element pours a dark brown color with a short beige head. It has a nose with brown sugar, roasted malts, apple and hops. The taste contains dark chocolate, orange and hops. Mouthfeel is medium, bitter finish. A nice black ale, worth checking out. (375 characters)

Photo of Dope
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated January 2011. Hmm maybe I should have drank it back when I bought it. Let's find out!

A: A very dark brown pour with a tinge of red to it. Small tan head yet quite dense. Takes a while to fade and leaves a surprisingly nice wall of lacing.

S: Toffee, dark fruit and a little roasted malt. Maybe a touch of citrus character? Pretty subtle overall.

T: Nice roasted malt and toffee flavors. A little bit of hop character, mainly citrus and maybe grass? A bit of a chalky taste in the middle that I can't quite distinguish what it's from. Not unpleasant. There are some flashes of dark fruit once in a while, mainly raisin. There is some nice bitter coffee at the end and continues to linger in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, smooth and a bit chalky as mentioned above.

O: Hard to describe this one. It's not exactly a black IPA, at least not an overly hoppy one. Not exactly a schwarzbier. It's kinda in between. Roasted malt and toffee character is at the forefront but it's not a stout or a porter either. It is tasty though, I can tell you that much. (1,072 characters)

Photo of Ommy
3.38/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark Element pours dark brown, and looks incredibly a lot like cola, in both color and head.

And it smells like cola too! Just kidding :P
The nose is quite muted, but after some vigorous swirling I get a really musty, attic type smell. Very peculiar. I'm getting a lot more maltyness than hops. After letting it open up a bit I start to get a little bit of bread notes.

Thankfully the taste is a lot more pronounced than the nose. Ohh, a very interesting blend of tastes. It's semi-dark and rich but with a good chunk of the lighter sides of malts with the splash of hops.

Overall this is a beer that is quite good, new, and interesting. But it's not something I've fallen in love with. Definitely a buy though! (715 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle and served in a tumbler pint, the beer pours wit a ton of foamy, frothy, light tan head. The beer itself is a dark, almost black coloring, with some coppery-brown highlights around the edging. Aromas are bountiful and abundant, with a good, slick hops presence, a slight roasted character, and some tangy sweet malt backbone. Steady flow of carbonation along the sides of the glass on the initial pour that quiet down into an intermittent and slow flow after a short time of airating. Flavors are crisp in mouth, with a smokey presence on the forward tongue that fills the sinuses, followed underfoot by a resiny, wet hops character that is both strong and bitter. Fantastic and unique blending of flavor profiles. The dark roasted toffee malt does well to tie the other two tastes together into a very palatable blend. The aftertaste is mostly smokey, with a hint of bitter. The mid-bodied beer leans towards thin and sharp at times with the robust and strong flavor profiles, but finishes with a slightly resiny and drying feel. Good beer. (1,062 characters)

Photo of jneiswender
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Friend of mine got me this for my birthday. Poured a cola like body and a fluffy billowing capochinno head. Smelled of faint earthy hops and some roasted grain. Maybe even some light smells of dark cocoa.

Taste is earthy, burnt toast. Has a significant chalk taste. Low carbonation and nice body. Even at 8% abv the beer doesn't have any alcohol burn.

At first I was ready to really give this beer a low rating. Schwarzbier? Not even close. Black IPA? Also not there. This is where BA is right and brewers are wrong with style labels. Good version of an American black ale. Chalk flavor a little off putting though. (617 characters)

Photo of jimmy82063
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Welcome to Connecticut Element! (I know I am a bit late) the bottle date is 11/17/11...poured into a tulip glass.

A) Translucent brown almost a bit reddish...no lacing.

S) Get some floral notes.

T) This is pretty fantastic the sweetness of the malts is really balanced by the hop bitterness. I get some mild chocolate and coffee with the resinous hops. Would wonder what this would be like is the hops were featured more.

M) Light Carbonation.

O) Pricepoint is high but I look forward to trying more of their beers! (520 characters)

Photo of Gatch
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap @ The Horseshoe Pub in Hudson, MA.

A - Deep, ruby red with a short, light brown head. No lace.

S - Malty, boozy, caramelized sugar, tart apples.

T - Delicious malty coffee with a very pleasant boozy finish.

M - Smooth, little carbonation, and way too drinkable. (272 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jh1982 for bringing me one of these. Dark brown almost black pour, if not for the red edge to the liquid with a nice head. Aroma was roasty bitter.

Taste, plenty carbonated, seemingly like pilsner noble hops in its lively spritzyness and a body that is not as hefty as the color of the beer would lead you to believe. Peppery. Reminiscient of Stone's Juxtaposition, but this one has more roastiness to the body of it, whereas Stone's was hoppier and lighter bodied, despite still being black as night.

Pretty straightforward enjoyable beer. (552 characters)

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Dark Element from Element Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.