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Dark Element - Element Brewing Company

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Dark ElementDark Element

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BA SCORE
89
very good

190 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 190
Reviews: 82
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 47
Gots: 27 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Element Brewing Company visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  8.00% 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 190 | Reviews: 82
Reviews by TheGordianKnot:
Photo of TheGordianKnot
3.31/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to ActonBrewer for this one. 750 poured into a snifter...

A- Pours deep black with dark brown hues on the edges. Has an incredibly light, foamy head billowing up almost overflowing. Settles quickly but leaves a nice lace pattern.

S- Smells like a schwarz. Has a minimally roasty aroma and some floral tones mixed with citrus. A bit chalky, but overall a light and underwhelming aroma.

T/M- Starts with a nice earthy hop bite with a grapefruit tinge. Malt is a little rubbery and roasty. Finishes a bit hot, but not incredibly overwhelming. You could say the hop/malt is pretty balanced. Light body with moderate carbonation.

O- Better as it warmed, but overall a beer that is good but in no ways mind blowing. Would definitely drink again, but only if it's at the right price.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Beernuts123
5/5  rDev +24.7%
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.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #46 (Nov 2010):

A heady start, with a shade of ruby clinging to the brown darkness. Spicy with candied fruit, minty hops and cake-like maltiness, as a powdery yeast awakens the nostrils. Smoothness burrows in for the duration. Malt jumps from bitter dark chocolate to brown sugar to biscuity to dried grass, with a yeast flavor that does not let go. Hints of exotic fruit, papaya, star fruit and unripe mangos come to mind. A bit of broth and yeast in the roasty semidry finish. Yeah, complex no doubt. A slow sipper ... a sleeper brew.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.53/5  rDev -12%
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.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Thanks to connecticutpoet for this beer!

A: Poured a nice black color with one finger tan head on top. Left some decent lacing down the glass.

S: Nice roasted malt aroma, a sugary sweetness as well. Some piney hops, with a little bit of grass. Not over the top like others in the style.

T: Liked this one a good bit. Upfront there some light roast and chocolate malt that transitions to some pine and citrus hops. There is a little bit of dark fruit mixed in as well. Slightly bitter finish, but seems to fit nicely.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a slight creamy texture.

O: Quite enjoyable, liked the malt bill in this one more than most in the style, sometimes the roast/chocolate/coffee is too much and doesn't play well with the hops, but the malt here does.

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to DarthKostrizer for the bottleshare
Pours a dark walnut brown with a foamy tan head with good retention and lacing.

Malt dominates the nose which is surprising for the style. Notes have definitely subdued a bit by the aging. Subtle sweet pine hops are present with a sweet rich earthiness.

Flavor is good but again subdued a bit. But the balance between the deep earthy dark malt, mild oakiness and the dark sweet pines hop notes are very nice.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall I thought it was a very nice beer. Not at bold as many others of the style but there's nothing wrong with that IMO. Everything came together very nicely and it was amazingly easy to drink.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewed: 11/23/2010 Bottle in paper bag w/info and no lable on bottle.

Darkest brown shade, rootbeer look, thick and tan colored head, healthy and dense. slow dissipate with plenty of foam left over.

A strong and sweet scented, chunky chocolate, very roastie, vanilla extract, sweet blueberry pie, and a very complex hop aroma too..pine and fruity. Smells very much like some of the best Double stouts or RIS!

A thick, heady malty complexty, long and dense feel with chocolate brownies with a jazzy and very complex, earthy hop flavor that adds perfect balace. the hos add a pleasant bitter, earthy flavor that melds togather just perfect. The feel is full and hefty, thick with a dry, earthy kick that gives any huge stout a run for it's money!

Groovy brew right here folks!

Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Photo of socon67
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of tempest
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Speakorspasm sending this bottle my way. It poured like a baltic porter with a reddish brown body and a fluffy white tan head. This beer is sort of like an imperial brown or brown porter. There are big juicy citrus hops like a good DIPA, but then there's also mellow coffee, dry cocoa, and sweet maple syrup. At the same time, the body isn't too thick and is actually quite drinkable. The hops start with a candied grapefruit and roll into more traditional sharp citrus rind and floral spice while staying fruity all the way. Find this beer, there are few others like it.

Photo of jmerloni
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown to black. Head is billowing and pillowy but recedes quickly.

S - Roasted malt, coffee, not much fruitiness.

T - More complex than I figured based on the aroma. There is some fruitiness to this and the flavors are a bit of a labyrinth. There's an anisey flavor as well. Tastes a little bit confused. Got this at a bar and didn't know what style it was and thought it was a porter, but the fact that it's actually a strong ale does make more sense.

M - I have to use the word the reviewer before me used: silky. Smooth. It is thin but it's also almost oily in the mouth. Interesting mouthfeel. Very low carbonation - almost none. I think this brew might be good real thick-bodied.

D - Moderately drinkable but not really so. Might get it again.

Photo of bum732
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: Red-fruit citrus, rasberries mostly, some ground coffee notes, slight spices, cinnamon and perhaps vanilla, dark chocolate as it warms.

L: Very dark brown, bordering on black, light tan head, good retention with fantastic lacing.

T: Coffee malt and roastiness up front followed by a medium bitterness, some estery fruitiness. Finishes with a touch of oak and roasty dryness. Fairly clean throughout. More coffee sweetness and roasty as it warms.

M: Medium bodied with medium-low carbonation.

Hoppy without being to bitter, a nice clean roasty flavor. Really enjoyed this one.

Photo of edchicma
4.53/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an exceptional dark, dark brown..excellent head and outstanding lacing..impressive. Smell is a feast on the nostrils, malt, hops, yeast..coffee. Taste follows smell...rich, creamy malt with a distinct hop presence at mid palate. No harshness..some elements of a good barleywine, but much smoother. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy followed by a distinct hop presence that ends slightly dry. Excellent drinkability for the style.

Photo of jimmy82063
4.05/5  rDev +1%
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!

Photo of akorsak
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A paper-wrapped bottle from November 2010; purchased at Julio's.

A: The Black ale is a dark chocolate brown, murky and opaque on account of the blackness. The first pour generated a three-plus finger head that left plenty of tan lace behind.

S: Well-roasted, the malts are chocolatey with a distinct burnt aroma. Matching them step-for-step are big hops with a little citrus and a little pine (okay, a lot of both). A nice smeller that almost gets caught up on the dark malts.

T: The hoppiness is a treat, bold and bright with plenty of citrus. Piney resins linger beneath the citrus, adding more bite. The chocolate malts, burnt and heavy, are a stark contrast to the hops. That back-and-forth is a see-saw of flavor. Dark coffee flavors linger, driving home the full array of flavors. The resounding strength of the malts forces me to view this as a hoppy stout. Whatever you call it, it's good. As the ale warms, the schwarzbier and hops merge into one big sweet, burnt liquid. A real show-stopper of an ale.

M: The mouthfeel is at once resiny sweet and burnt with chocolate and coffee. The starker black beer flavors work surprisingly well in this environment.

D: At 8%, caution is the better part of valor. Slowing sipping through the bottle allows it to warm up and release the full sweet bitterness.

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jwale73 for this bottle. Poured from a 750ml paper-wrapped, corked & caged bottle into a Bruery tulip glass.

A: Dark brown with a nice head that dissipates into nothing especially as this beer warms up. Not as nice when I first poured it straight outta the fridge.

S: Really complex - oaky, burnt rubber, hops. Just a bold aroma that's pleasing to whiff.

T: When this is cold it has a nice smokey aspect - similar to a Schwarzbier. As it warms it mellows out and delivers more of a malty and hoppy character. I also pick up toasted marshmallow, subdued cognac, and butter pecan.

M: A little carbonated when you first crack this thing, but becomes quite elegant after a little time.

D: I didn't have any problems taking down the 750 over dinner and the span of 2 and a half hours.

Overall, a very nice beer and one to certainly make me eager to try other offerings from Element. Try the "bigger" brother to this beer (IMO): Harpoon Triticus (you're in luck because it was just re-released for this Fall).

Photo of ComputerBeer
4.9/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this beer is surprising! It looks like a porter, taste like an IPA but has some mouthfeel that is indescribable??? Creamer than a stout not thick like a barley wine??? Well done guys. I had this in a snifter and it laced all the way to the last drop. The head was not bright white nor dark. The aromas were classic Nouveau-American. Perhaps Centennial? Not overly bitter some alcohol warming in the finish

Photo of EgadBananas
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to rageagainst123 for this brew!

This pours a dark brown color with a nice amount of light tan head and lacing. This is a few months old due to my procrastination in opening this, so the hop aroma is not wildly pronounced. Dark roasted malts, chocolate and light coffee dominate the aroma. There are some piney, floral hop notes that make their selves known. That chocolate and roasted malt note comes out predominantly again in the taste, but, as with the aroma, there is a floral hop note, some pine and a slight bitter finish. It is slightly creamy, medium in body.

Despite the freshness (my fault), this is a wonderful American Black Ale for the the stout-like characteristics alone, and there's no doubt a fresh bottle would blow a few minds.

Photo of smakawhat
3.23/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.58/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This was one heck of a beer. I have to admit I had not looked it up since receiving it and it had been sitting in my fridge for the better part of a month or more. So I decided when I got home last night since I could not make it up to Charlotte for the stone takeover to finally open this behemoth from the fridge and I really did not see this one coming. Served cold, but allowed to warm to room temp during the session and served in my White Birch go to glass, this one was consumed on 10/06/2010.

One of the best pours I have ever seen, No question in my mind. A deep, dark color, black as night with a head four fingers high of chocolate colored foam. Immense looking and left so much lacing down the sides of the glass. I really was not expecting it to be as big as it looked and then once I really starting getting involved in the glass, all heck broke loose.

So I lean in to take a sip and I find a dense, and totally unexpected hoppiness that seams to come out of nowhere. Citrus hops is a darker then abyss glass, I was falling over at this point. Warming complicates it even further as dense roasted campfire like notes start to blend into the equation and really make this one worth its weight very, very quickly. Taking the first sips only served to confirm my initial impressions, this was unlike anything I have had in the past. Deep and resonant roasted malts provide a huge stepping stone to a crisp floral hop bouquet. Getting the two together in such a seamlessly smooth and clean flavor is remarkable. Rich and sweet and at times lightly bitter, this is a remarkable undertaking. Warming really let the malts shine with light chocolate notes and roasted flavors coming really to the forefront while reserving the light twang of fresh hops for a slightly dry, yet smooth finish.

Overall I have no clue as to what the ABV was on this but I could have drank it all night long. One of the most interesting, and completely complex things I have ever had. Truly remarkable and very well done indeed.

Photo of Ommy
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
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!

Photo of metter98
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Photo of HattedClassic
4.13/5  rDev +3%
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.

Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mu buddy Steve brought this to Holland on his vsit from MA. Thanks a bunch.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

Fantastic dark brown appearance with a nice two finger head.

Smells of candy, malts and hops.

A rollercoaster of flavors. Sweetness and roasted malts bits of coffee and dark fruits all completed by some nice bitterness.

Full creamy body, good amount of carbonation and the flavors and the bitterness linger for a while.

What a pick by my buddy Steve, who doesn't know anything about beer. I never heard of this brewery either and for a bottle to make it into Holland is quite special. This beers qualifies as special as well. it's aunlike anything I ever had., It's somewhere in between a dark, strong ale, a quad and a IPA. I''ll have this again for sure. Highly recomended!

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Dark Element from Element Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 190 ratings.