Dark Element - Element Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark ElementDark Element

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

192 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 192
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 |  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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 192 | Reviews: 82
Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev -0.2%
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

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 ADZA
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

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 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 alexgash
4.25/5  rDev +6%
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.

Photo of thatbentleyguy
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Photo of mltobin
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of Dope
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

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 GarthDanielson
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Photo of jneiswender
3.73/5  rDev -7%
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.

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 Gatch
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

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 beer4colin
3.51/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Union Brewhouse, 12 oz pour.

A - dark is an appraise name but not light capturing. Dark amber tones with a thin head.

T - good mix of char with a nice hoppy backbeat. I have had black IPAs that haven't had this amount of hops. Finishes with a nice sweet toast.

OA - A very nice offering.

Photo of Pintofbrown
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I really like the way this beer is presented. It is wrapped in paper, the actual bottle is free of any label, and it is corked and caged. Pretty spiffy!

I poured from the bomber into a shaker pint.

Appearance- The body has a dark brown quality to it, not completely black. Almost completely opaque, just a little bit of ruby highlights struggling at the side of the glass.

The head was a really nice, bubbly and lacy affair. It reached about three and a half-fingers before taking a break. The beige, cloud-like cap had plenty of cratering and tiny bubbles.

Retention was pretty good, and there is still a bunch of random chunks hanging on.

Smell- The head has a decent amount of hop character, as a black ale should. Mainly there are resiny-pine notes at play. Dark malt is a little sweeter rather than roasted, sort of toffee. It is not nearly as strong as the hop vibe though.

Taste- Well balanced. I am sure that there will be those that say the hops are not forward enough, but I really enjoy how they put these flavors together. The hops come through, and again, it is mostly that resin feel, and it lingers long in the finish.

The malt is sweet and leads off the drink. It is a little roasty, and has that slight toffee feel to it, just like on the nose. I also pick up a little bit of booze right before the finish sets in, but it is really subtle. This is almost balanced to the point that it mutes the opposing flavors out.

Mouth feel- Dark Element is very smooth and medium bodied. It has decent coating, and goes down pretty smooth for the higher alcohol content and slightly dry finish.

Overall- Although a little pricey, this is a nice black ale to have if new to the style, the hops are not bursting out of the malt. Also, the balance struck in this one promotes taking more drinks.

The nose needs to be substantially bigger, and the flavor profile, while balanced, is a little dull. Adding another layer of intrigue would help this one out immensely.

Photo of zeledonia
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Interesting bottle - labelless, corked-and-caged, and wrapped in a paper bag printed with the brewery and beer info. Bottled 17 May 2011. Enjoyed 25 November 2011, reviewed from notes

Pours dark brown, not quite black, and rather thin, with one finger of medium-tan head. Good retention and lacing.

Smell has floral, fruity hops. A little bit of orange, a little bit of grassy hops. Kinda weak, though. Didn't get much of the roasted malts in the smell.

Taste is a balance of chocolatey roasted malts, with a hint of char but not too much, with grassy lightly-bitter hops. A little bit of fruit. The hops remind me of a balanced IPA - they're present enough that you don't forget about them, but the bitterness isn't heavy or persistent.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body, good carbonation, nice smooth finish. Feels really nice in the mouth - it's slick, but in a good way.

This beer is a lesson in restraint. It's not overdone like so many in this style are. As a result, it has great, subtle balance. Not super-heavy on the hops or the roast. Doesn't have the sharp edges that so many black IPAs have. Nicely balanced.

Photo of scottfrie
3.44/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into 25oz snifter. Thanks to wyllder for this one. Bottled 5/17/2011.

A: Pours a very dark brown near black color with two fingers of dense light tan head that slowly faded into a thick frothy film leaving rings of sticky lacing.
S: I smell apple juice and grape juice for some reason. I get a touch of grassy hops as well. Fruity and hoppy.
T: Grassy hops and sweet fruit juice yet again. The finish is sweet with caramel and the aftertaste has a light citrus bitterness. I get a touch of doughy yeast and bread crust as well.
M: Medium-thin body, slick mouthfeel, low carbonation. The mouthfeel is a tad too watery but this beer goes down smooth.
O: Not a bad black ipa but not the best. I liked most of the flavors but I don’t know why I got so much fruit juice. The mouthfeel could be thicker but I’m splitting hairs. Overall not bad, but I probably wouldn’t drink this again.

Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SFLpunk for this one.

Look: Dark brown with brown circles around the edges 1/4 inch head and no real retention

Smell: Chocolate covered citrus fruits

Taste: Chocolate with citrus notes which creates and interesting fruity flavor. But what sets this apart from most east coast black IPA's is the balance it has good balance and it finishes with a nice coffee note

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium to high carbonation and just a pussy hair dry

Overall: To be honest I had such high hopes for this beer that is why I traded for it but it is a good black ipa but again cannot compete with west coast black ipa's

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 rowingbrewer
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark dark brown to almost black color with a decent tan head. the smell is where this beer shines. its lightly roasty and very hoppy like a black ipa. the taste is similar but the roastyness takes the cake with the hops being a backup flavor. the mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation. overall this beer is very good, but there are better black ipas out there for less money.

Photo of SFLpunk
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased at Liquors 44, Northampton. Bottled 3/02/11. 750mL brown glass cork, caged & paper-wrapped.

Pours a thin black with sudsy khaki head that has great retention. Nose is like a deeply roasted porter blended with pot. Super piney and resinous.

Palate is immediately bitter, with hop resin right up front then backed and intertwined with roasted black patent malt-like bitterness. There's lots of coffee and 80+% cocao chocolate flavors here. Body is fairly light and carries all this flavor by a thread.

Notes: Big, black and bitter. Yum...BUT there is an emptiness in the midpalate. Just seems a little too thin for me. On the other hand, it does a great job of capturing the "Black India Pale Ale," what with the paper-thin mouthfeel and big bitterness. Rated accordingly as an American Black Ale, not a Black IPA.

Photo of Satchboogie
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle (dated 3/2/11) poured into a tulip glass

A: Pours dark brown, almost black, opaque. Nearly 3 fingers of light brown head, fairly tight, that slowly dissipates and leaves fairly good lacing.

S: Hops are still there with leafy and floral character, lots of lightly roasted grains, a little chocolate, and a slight smoked character.

T: This has definitely become malt-forward now. There's a little bit of the floral and somewhat spicy hop character right up front with a touch of heat, but it quickly subsides to a big malt character. the middle is dominated by the lightly roasted grains: a touch of roasted quality in the background with a little smoke and bitterness. There's a little chocolate there as well. Finish is dry and leaves a little lingering bitterness (slightly leafy and floral).

M: Medium to slightly full bodied, moderate carbonation, fairly smooth and not overly bitter.

O: At 5 months old this beer is still drinking pretty good. Fresh, the hop character plays beautifully with the malt character and is easily my favorite of the "American Black Ale" category (mainly due to the lack of true roasted quality). My preference is definitely fresh, but still it's not bad right now.

Dark Element from Element Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 192 ratings.