Dark Element - Element Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark ElementDark Element

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

192 Ratings

(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."

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 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.

Photo of THECPJ
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

Appearance: dark brown black with a 1 finger off white head

smell: Roast, Black Patent, Malts, Pine, Hops,

taste: roast, black patent, malts, hops,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: well balanced black ale. Usually you get more hops or more roasted malts, but this one is balanced.

the CPJ

Photo of OtherShoe2
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a tan foamy head. Good retention and some sticky lacing.

Dark roasted malt, some smoky charred notes, and a definite hop/herbal note.

They didn't overdo the hops on this one. Assertive, very present, but not a distraction. Charred malt and coffee elements, with a hop oil bitterness hitting in a big wave. It stays but doesn't kill your ability to find a little cocoa, wood, and other complexities. Nice balance. Long bitter finish. This is even better as it warms.

Medium bodied and decently carbonated.

A good solid brew from this small brewer, Tasty and well made. Worth trying.

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

Pours a dark brown with a touch of yellowed head. Lots of lacing on the glass. Smells smokey and malty but with a solid hop presence. The hops are very pleasant on the tongue. Bitter but with a solid sweetness. Very well carbonated. Overall very solid. Smething im glad i tried

Photo of shangwang
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A friend from New England brought this during a recent visit and I couldn't wait to give it a shot.

Poured a deep brown color with a hint of ruby red; a finger-plus of french vanilla colored head that dissipated quickly and left chunky lacing with a watery consistency. The smell perplexed me- I got a wet leathery scent that I didn't enjoy and to be sure it wasn't the glass I poured a little into a separate glass and got the same thing. Did not dig it at all. Nevertheless, the taste was much more pleasant. Started with hints of toffee and roasted malt with a hint of leather, and at the back of the taste there was some minor roasty bitterness and subtle spices. Fairly mellow in that nothing dominates but plenty of malty flavor. The mouthfeel was pretty light with virtually no carbonation, and the finish left an echo of roast. Very easy to drink because the bitterness was muted.

Overall, it was enjoyable, but I kept hoping for a little more complexity in the flavor that never showed through. Still, a good brew and interesting flavor.

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 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 silentjay
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a thin dark brown/black that produces a beautiful, big-bubbled beachsand colored head that retains well and laces impeccably.

nice hoppy aroma reminiscent of fresh-cut flowers, with some pine and earthy/tree bark along with some decent citrus. deep roasted and chocolaty malts balance the intense hops, add to the bitterness and bring in some roast and sweet aromas.

earthy/piny/woody flavors hit first before some campfire and cocoa come into play. some coffee, some citrus, some tobacco, some chocolate milk. so many flavors fighting for superiority, with none coming out as dominant, but leading to a complex and tasty beer.

body of an IPA, medium bodied and prickly with a bitter aftertaste that lingers a while.

overall, an excellent beer. I have had this on tap a few times and loved it, but I think it may be even better bottle-conditioned. Rivals Stone's Sublimely Self Righteous as my favorite of the style. If this was a bit cheaper, I would drink this every week.

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

750ml cork and caged bottle into a goblet glass

A- Pours like coke, dark brown with some nice reddish hues on the bottom. On top is a huge fluffy 2 finger off white khaki head that isn't going anywhere.

S- Slightly roasted dark malts with a really nice pine hop presence that really shines through. Also getting some nice sweet chocolate notes in there as well, and strangely almost has a root beer note to it haha.

T- Just like the aroma you get some nice sweet and bitter hops up front that is followed by a combination of bitter chocolate and sweet coffee. Really well balanced.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a nice bitter finish.


Photo of Jeffo
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Doopie's mate Steve brought this one over for us from MA. Thanks man!

From a 750 into a snifter.
Bottled 12 Jan 2011

APPEARANCE: A dark, transparent pour produces a one finger, medium, light beige head with decent retention. Head fades to a light wisp and ring. Bistre brown, clear, and next to zero carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end and leaves a few dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Mild nose on this one. Reminds me of a strong dark Belgian ale. Caramel and toffee malt with dark fruits. Raisins and plumbs mostly. Spicy yeast notes and some fait floral hop notes. Not as hoppy as expected, but nice non-the-less.

TASTE: Much bolder than the nose, and quite different as well. A good dose of roasted malts up front with some deep, dark chocolate notes. Sweet toffee through the middle with some spicy yeast notes as well. Floral hops round out the profile at the swallow, moving into a roasted, floral, bitter hop aftertaste that’s bold and persistent. Much different than the nose had led on, but much, much more enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium-full body, medium carbonation and nicely creamy smooth on the palate. Goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry on the palate. Quite nice, and supports the flavors well.

OVERALL: Though the taste didn’t follow the nose, this was certainly a solid brew. The beer started off a little average, but the taste and feel finished it off in style. Lots of nice flavors and a good. strong palate to match. Really enjoyed this one. Apparently this one isn’t easy to come by, but it is definitely worth the effort. Would like to have it again at some point. A big thanks to Doopie’s mate Steve for tracking this one down for us. Cheers!

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

Impressive starting beige head that slowly recedes. Starts as 2/3 of the glass. Leaves an abundant amount of chunky lace. The color is ruby brown where a minimal amount of light passes through. Hard to tell, but I think it is completely clear.

Dark malt aroma with a mild level of sweetness. Excellent floral hop nose. The alcohol is notable but faint.

The malt is both drier and darker than the smell would indicate. The hop is also more prominent. The finish is bitter and long lasting. Strong yeast presence, seems like a well-made homebrew. Great blend of a very dry, dark ale.

Photo of celticfutblclub
4.29/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on cask at redbones for the NERAX kickoff party

A - nice brownish black coloring with a small head thats bubbly and exceptionally white.

S - you can instantly smell the vanilla and malts in this one. very inviting.

T - excellent malty body and that vanilla after taste is superb. definitely makes me want to continuously sip this one.

M - nice smoothness and good carbonation levels.

O - great beer very glad i had the chance to snag this on cask. first time i've had something by them as i thought they were a bit pricey at the store. very glad i got the chance to try this.

Photo of taez555
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Horseshoe Pub in Hudson MA

This beer pours a black body with a white head.

Taste is full to medium bodied with a big dark malt flavor. You can really taste th bitterness and hop in this beer, but it balances really well. Dark roasted malt, espresso, coffee. A great mix of taditional Porter flavors.

I wish I could say more about this beer, it sounds so average, yet its fantastic. All the flavors are there, yet in your face without being over the top or unbalanced. Its like model for the perfect Imperial porter. Great beer.

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 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!

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

Reviewed from notes. Tried alongside their 6:56, which is "Dark Element Squared". Growler fresh from the brewery.

On the pour, this one produced two fingers of head floating on a hazy brown body. Some lacing was evident.

Aroma was raisins, brown bread, darker malts, and caramel sweetness much like the bottled version. However, floral notes and hop resins were much more evident.

Taste was different as well. This one was strongly bitter, with light sweetness and fruitiness. Dark malt character came through, along with a bit of roasted flavor.

Mouthfeel was full and creamy. Good body.

High drinkability marks. It took me a few hours to finish the growler, and I had no problem, no flavor fatigue. Good to the last drop.

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