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The Great Dismal Black IPA - O'Connor Brewing Co.

The Great Dismal Black IPAThe Great Dismal Black IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

103 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 103
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 11.28%


Brewed by:
O'Connor Brewing Co. visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
The Great Dismal Black IPA, named after the wildlife refuge.
The Great Dismal Swamp, in Southeastern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina, once used as a part of the Intracoastal Waterway, is a dark, full bodied ale, extensively hopped both in bittering and aroma.
"Great with bold hop flavor, Dismal in color, Delicious all around" ~ 7.5% ABV 65 IBUs

(Beer added by: blackie on 11-20-2010)
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Ratings: 103 | Reviews: 39 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of spunktrunk
spunktrunk

Virginia

5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Been drinking this beer on tap at Cogan's Pizza in Norfolk for awhile. I've also had it in a bottle and I'll have to say on tap is much more delicious and you can actually get some good coffee aromas from it.

The only thing that is slightly misleading about this brew is the taste. Don't get me wrong its delicious, but its more of a stout with a hint of coffee. To me its lacking the tartness that makes a good double IPA.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2014 19:55:52 | More by spunktrunk
Photo of obywan59
obywan59

Virginia

3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From notes.
Sampled at the Chesapeake Grill on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Dark brown with ruby highlights. 1/2 finger light tan head with light but attractive lacing.

Rich malt aroma with good herbal hops.

Tart and bitter with dark roast malts. Rather hoppy.

Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Warming.

An excellent bew. Very rich and full flavored.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2013 02:29:40 | More by obywan59
Photo of Ri0
Ri0

Wisconsin

3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

poured 12oz bottle into snifter

A - Dark cola with a 1.5 finger off white head. Fades into a thin collar with almost no lacing.

S - Roasted and sweet malts, with hints of cola. It's somewhat Porter like. I don't pick up much for hops.

T - Starts with roasted and sweet malt with that cola flavor. Hints of bitter chocolate. I get a bit of hop bitter and tang on the finish. It has a very nice flavor profile for a Black IPA as the everything comes together nicely.

M - Medium to light body with decent carbonation. Some bitter on the finish.

O - This was a very nice Black IPA and it drinks easy. There is a sweet and bitter balance that holds the beer together nicely. Thank you Matt for this.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2013 23:57:11 | More by Ri0
Photo of adevans
adevans

North Carolina

4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - They said it didn't have a great appearance. The head dissipates quickly.

S - Lots of brown sugar for me, some toffee.

T - Roasted malts, some dry cocoa or chocolate. Pleasant. Not much hop bite, more a slow piney presence.

M - Good balance with the carbonation.

O - I like that this didn't overpower my palate with hops. The beer definitely has a dry-hopped character that melds well with the chocolate notes in the body of the beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2013 02:32:10 | More by adevans
Photo of Immortale25
Immortale25

North Carolina

4.26/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Dogfish Spiegelau glass. No freshness date.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 3/4 inch tan head that bears great retention time before slowly falling to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a solid sheet of surface foam. Frothy, resilient lacing clings to the glass.

S- Very sweet aroma with some brown sugar, heavy caramel and mild anise notes. Very enjoyable actually but has little hop character which is surprising.

T- The sweetness continues but now the dark roast of the malt steps in and shows itself. There's a considerable amount of bitterness but the forceful roast and sugar flavors win in the end. Quite drinkable for a 7.5 percenter.

M- Slightly thick with a small afterbite from the hops. Medium carbonation and a fullish body.

O- My first beer by this brewery and I have to say I'm quite impressed by the sweetness it exhibits. Also nods for the ABV-to-drinkability ratio. American Black Ale is definitely a better label for this one than Black IPA. Either way, thumbs up.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2013 02:56:59 | More by Immortale25
Photo of Merkinstandard
Merkinstandard

Virginia

4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

One of the first black IPAs I had the chance to try. I've come back to it a few times and have recommended it to several people.

From the first sip, I knew that dark malt partners with moderate hop bitterness very well. This is one of the best examples, and it is deceptively strong.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2013 02:17:27 | More by Merkinstandard
Photo of Ysgard
Ysgard

Virginia

4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

They are bottling now. I got this at the local grocery in 12oz 6-pack.

A: Ruby in the afternoon sun, with a head that appears in its own time after pouring.

S: A touch of chocolate, backed by some earthy-hop aromas.

T: Citrus, touch of toasty malts, piney bitter backend, then a porter-esque aftertaste.

M: Balanced, lively carbonation, but the body is slightly heavier than I expect for an IPA, which checks the carbonation nicely. Still, just a bit more body than I want. A bit of alcohol bite on introduction.

I like this more than I expected. I'd heard rumor of a batch that lost that hop character early on in their bottling program, but this is as good as I recall direct from the brewery.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2013 18:16:15 | More by Ysgard
Photo of AlexFields
AlexFields

Tennessee

3.25/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a dark near-black mahogany, decent head but not super impressive.

Smells like a barleywine--some malty raisins, grassy hops, pretty sweet.

Tastes like slightly bitter coffee, mild grassy hop character, touch of dry cocoa. Decent but not terribly hoppy really.

Decent mouthfeel--carbonation is really good but the body is a tad thin.

Reasonably good but nothing special, a bit disappointing.

6.4/10

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2013 04:29:50 | More by AlexFields
Photo of jvillefan
jvillefan

California

2.83/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

A: It is a very dark brown with a ivory white laced head that disappears very quickly.

S: Not very good. There is old dark fruit (not in a pleasant way) with some stale chocolate malts.

T: There is some indistinguishable dark malt. It doesn't have a specific coffee, chocolate, or toffee flavor available. There is some hop bite but not nearly enough to call it a black IPA.

M: There is some thickness to the body with an excellent carbonation bite.

O: It is an average black IPA, there are many way better ones that are easily available (Sublimely Self-Righteous). Not worth getting.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2013 00:07:41 | More by jvillefan
Photo of KomodoDragon
KomodoDragon

Virginia

4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Black but not a black out - light will make it thru. Small cream head, with the hops doing their thing and providing wonderful lacing.

S - I pick up so very little in the smell - perhaps some subtle coffee, but all very faint

T - A nice subtle transfer from roasted malts to bitterness. Presence of burnt grains, and milk chocolate feel.

M- Creamy and light

Ideal representation of the style. Properly balanced, yet full. Wonderful job allowing the ingredients to shine thru.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2013 03:49:45 | More by KomodoDragon
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with a very nice head that leaves a few shards behind

Smell: Roasty dark malt and charcoal, with hints of caramel and earthy hops

Taste: The roasty char flavors appear first, along with some chocolate and dark fruit; in the middle, the earthy hops add some bitterness but they are overwhelmed by the char; in the finish, it is the roasted malt and char flavors that again leave the dominant impression

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: I prefer a bit more hop character in my ABAs; this one is interesting, but is primarily about roast and char

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2012 13:36:43 | More by brentk56
Photo of n2185
n2185

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark brown with a finger of off-white head that fades into a thin ring with a little lacing.

S: Roasted malts with creamy chocolate up front with dry pine and grapefruit aromas from the hops.

T: Roasted malts here as well with bitter chocolate, some char, and an earthy, piney, hoppy finish that is lightly bitter.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer is nicely carbonated and avoids being too thick or watery.

O: A good black ale overall with a nice balance between the hops and the roasted malts.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2012 22:35:04 | More by n2185
Photo of teromous
teromous

Virginia

2.93/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: The beer is extremely dark. It is completely black, and shows very dark shades of brown when exposed directly to the light. The head stays at about half a thumb. It is colored off-white and nearly tan. The head is very nice looking. There is decent lacing.

S: It has a very interesting smell. There is a light floral hop characteristic, but then there is this distinct oak aged porter scent to it. If I didn't know it was a black IPA I would think it was a barrel aged porter from the smell. There is also a sweet smell to it...kind of like chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. There isn't quite as much of a breadth of hop character as I'd like to smell, but the scent is good.

T: I am a bit disappointed in the flavor. It is barely hoppy at all, and it is greatly overshadowed by the roasted malt flavor. The roasted flavor is very nice, and there is a nice bitterness to the beer. Much of the hop flavor is not present. Some of it comes back after the sip, but not while drinking.

M: The mouthfeel is nice and bitter, fairly dry, with a nice backbone of carbonation.

O: Overall I think this is pretty close to a good black IPA (as the label states) ABA/CDA whatever you wish to call it. I wish it had a more hop-forward presence to the flavor. If you are a stout or porter lover, you will undoubtedly enjoy this. If you are a standard IPA or IIPA drinker, you will most likely find it to be substandard. I feel that I can not give this an average score, because it does not live up to the expectations of an average black IPA where it counts the most...the flavor.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2012 01:55:00 | More by teromous
Photo of Minkybut
Minkybut

Virginia

3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I ppoured this beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The firtst thing you notice is the black color then the Xmas tree smell hits you. Like somebody bottled a spruce tree. The beer poured a okay head. However the taste was just too hoppy for me. If you like high hopped IPA beer this is good beer. I would like to try some more from this Co. since they are only about 50 miles from me. I will not try this one again though.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2012 00:57:23 | More by Minkybut
Photo of AleWatcher
AleWatcher

Illinois

3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into dimpled mug.

This was an extra from lambicking-- thanks man!

Very dark-- virtually black. Kinda cloudy... Some chunks floating around inside... Toffee colored head. Weak lacing, but decent retention.

Pretty full-bodied beer. Firm feel with plenty of carbonation. Oily residue with a coffee-like bitterness.

Lots of roasted malt with some sweetness up front as well. The beer has a strong bitterness that lingers for a good bit. Citrus hops poke through, but herbal/floral notes lead the way.

Overall-- not a bad black ipa. This is a style I would put low on my "list of favorite styles," but I try to be fair in reviewing styles such as this... This is a decent beer, but I don't find it refreshing. It isn't one I would drink or buy again, but it isn't a bad attempt at the style.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2012 02:05:57 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Surprisingly good drinkability and taste though overcarbonated. Pours fast disipitating off-whte head on black body. Roasted malt aroma. More IPA than roast in taste and that worked. Citrus hops are there and most drinkable. Worth seeking out.Thanks Radek.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2012 04:43:51 | More by Sammy
Photo of Kadonny
Kadonny

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. Gotten as an extra from a trade with Hanzo.

A: A deep dark brown color with a one finger light brown head. Nice glass lacing.

S: Earthy and herbal hops mix with some dark fruits and slight roastiness. Nice.

T: Roasted flavors start first with some charred wood notes. Some chocolate sweetness and slight coffee mix with dark fruit flavors and sweeten out the hops momentarily until the finish turns back to the earthy and herbal floral hops. Bitter prickly finish is real nice.

M: Medium mouthfeel, perfect carbonation and very little if any alcohol flavor. Again, nice.

O: A very nice black IPA that was not spectacular, but solid. I liked it.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2012 15:25:10 | More by Kadonny
Photo of rudolphjacksonm
rudolphjacksonm

Virginia

4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, dark reddish brown when held up to light, black otherwise with a tan head that dissolves into a little smokey residue layer on top. Not very much lacing to speak of. 4.0

S - Strong hoppy, floral notes up front with subtle smoked malt and firewood scents supporting it. Really interesting and unusual compared to what I'm used to, but it works really well! 4.5

T - Deliciously malty but not too sweet on the tip of the tongue, followed by mellow citrusy (citric acid? lemon zest? can't tell) flavors in the middle, and then a strong hop kick at the end. Really well-balanced. Simply put, I think the taste is fantastic and really well-done. 5.0

M - Light bodied with little carbonation tingle. I think this is fitting for the beer and works well with the taste. 4.5

O - The Great Dismal Black IPA is yet another example of Virginia breweries crafting cutting-edge brews. It's a brilliant cross between a porter and an IPA, and if you like either one I'm sure you'll enjoy this. 4.5

Serving type: growler

05-11-2012 01:06:48 | More by rudolphjacksonm
Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
TappaKeggaBrew

Ohio

3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep brown, with a fat finger of light-tan head. Lacing decent and tenacious.

S: A mixture of toasted malt, molasses, and fruit preserves.

T: Momentarily sweet malt, but with a stronger, longer-lasting tart/fruity flavor coming through. A slight flavor of Colombian coffee graces the middle. The finish is quite bitter, with a burnt flavor mixed in to make an acrid finale.

M: Moist, well carbonated, and a little dry at the end.

O: Decent, but if I'm going to have something so full-flavored, I'd rather go for an Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2012 02:36:32 | More by TappaKeggaBrew
Photo of jgreenearrow
jgreenearrow

Virginia

3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: The beer pours a deep opaque brown, nearly black color with a frothy tan head forming at the top of the pour. Some lacing remains on the sides of the glass.

S: Rich roasted malts and molasses dominate the nose. Some piney hop aromas are also present.

T: There is a slight sweetness at the outset with roasted malt and piney hops dominating the middle. The bitterness fades into a malted milk type sweetness in the finish.

M: The beer is light to medium bodied with good carbonation.

Overall, this is a decent beer. It drinks like a porter that is slightly hopped. The hops are definitely not as prominent as I would expect from a beer that bills itself as a black IPA.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2012 01:49:00 | More by jgreenearrow
Photo of paulginva
paulginva

Virginia

4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: This beer, poured from a tap into a pint glass, produced a 1" light tan foamy head that dissipated slowly leaving good head lacing. Carbonation was moderate in a murky very dark brown body.

AROMA: A complex melange of espresso, caramel, chocolate, some dark fruits, cinnamon and spices plus just a hint of alcohol.

TASTE: Light black coffee flavor with dark chocolate and caramel plus some light piny hops and dark fruits, spices and very light alcohol.

MOUTHFEEL: This beer had a medium body with a smooth texture, moderate carbonation and good body lacing that dissipated slowly. The initial flavor was lightly sweet with a lightly bitter finish with a hint of dryness at the end that lasted for a moderate length of time.

DRINKABILITY: This was sort of like a combination of stout and IPA. It was out of the ordinary, certainly, but very tasty. A nice dry sipping beer that I plan on having again soon. I don't think I'd have more than two in any session unless there were a designated driver available but other than that, it's easy to drink, has an excellent price to value ratio and is really quite memorable.

Serving type: on-tap

03-14-2012 16:19:36 | More by paulginva
Photo of legalpete19340
legalpete19340

Virginia

4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Came to the bar looking very dark brown, almost black with one finger of dark tan head. Laced like a champ.

S: Piney hops jump out but roasty malt is close behind. Notes of burnt bread. Has a nice bit of grapefruit and roasted seeds in the back.

T: Starts off with a smooth bit of pine and grapefruit then immediately smacked by a pine tree. The malts jump in with toasted oat bread and burnt malt. Everything ends with a strong spicy hop bite.

M: Medium with a good amount of fizz.

O: A strong performer. Impressed me. Had a nice balance of hops and malt. I could session a few of these. This is an exclamation point of a black IPA.

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2012 02:16:15 | More by legalpete19340
Photo of Jayli
Jayli

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on draft at Buffalo Wind Wings in Harborview, VA 10/9
Served in a pilsner glass

A: This beer pours an opaque, deep brown with light brown hues around the edges when held to the light. Two fingers of khaki colored, foamy head that retains for some time. Big sheets of sticky lacing are left on the glass.

S: Nose is burnt malts, bitter chocolate, and orange zesty hops.

T: Taste is roasted malts at t he forefront, bitter baker's chocolate and coffee. Burnt notes come through mingled with lingering coffee notes and orange, citrus hops.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, crisp at first and then creamy.

O: Goes down easy, very tasty, somewhat filling, nice kick, excellent representation of style. If we hadn't gotten the last pints of this, I would have drank it all afternoon. By and far, this would be a go to beer for me!

Serving type: on-tap

10-10-2011 20:57:25 | More by Jayli
Photo of floraday
floraday

California

3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hand bottled from miamilice, thanks buddy!

A: Dark brown almost black with nice tan head leading to good lacing

S: Lots of dark malt with faint hop aroma. Definitely the malts are heavy in this brew

T: Dark malts are dominate. Lots of coffee and caramel. Faint bittering hops towards the end

M: Creamy yet very dry. Some tannins for m the roasted malt. Slightly bitter on the palate

O: Nice, but I’m sure the brew lost a lot of its nuances from the tap to bottle. Would love to try if fresh

Thanks again miamilice, keep up the good work!

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2011 01:23:42 | More by floraday
Photo of whitemomba
whitemomba

Virginia

4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this hand bottled for me from miamilice (thanks man) in a recent trade.

A - Vigorous pour leaves about 2 fingers of tan colored head. Nice amounts of lacing. Black/dark brown in color.

S - Mostly roasted malts and coffee. Lots of hops as well. Smells very good.

T - Sweeter then i thought actually. Nice coffee/malty taste up front followed by a very nice hop bitterness. Very nicely balanced beer.

M - Very easy to drink. Not overly carbonated.

O - I really enjoyed this beer. I split the first bottle i got with a few friends and they really enjoyed it as well. Im a big fan of black IPA's.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2011 02:37:18 | More by whitemomba
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The Great Dismal Black IPA from O'Connor Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 103 ratings.