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

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The Great Dismal Black IPAThe Great Dismal Black IPA

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BA SCORE
88
very good

154 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 154
Reviews: 47
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 11.48%
Wants: 12
Gots: 27 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: blackie on 11-20-2010

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
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Ratings: 154 | Reviews: 47
Reviews by Mattyb79:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Photo of AndrewNations
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice and Dark Dark Brown. Almost black. Pours with a think white head that calms down within a few seconds of pouring. Overall, they nailed the color.

S - Not a whole lot on the nose just a faint bitterness and pine notes. Would like to get more here. Not sure if this is dry hopped but the practice does some great things for the nose. Amarillo = personal favorite.

T - One of the best representations of this style. I would like a touch more bitterness and less malt. Easier said than done but this for sure a nice beer. I think this is just a personal preference for a fairly new style and not necessarily a fault of the brewer.

M - Perfect. I like the body and the mid to low carbonation.

D - I could easily have several of these.

Serving type: on-tap / growler

Photo of ebby82
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at the taphouse in downtown Hampton.
Pours a very dark brown or light black into a pint glass. There is minimal head.

Aroma is of dark, roasted malts, and a definite hop presence.

Taste is primarily hoppy, but it retains the roasted malts very well.

Mouthfeel is average and the drinkability is good.

Of the black IPA's I've had, Victory's is better, but I like this one better than 21st Amendment's version. This version isn't as sweet as the latter, which is a good thing.

A good example of the type from a very small, new brewery in Norfolk. I'll be trying this again.

Photo of Brutaltruth
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great brew from my Dr. friend.

This ale pours a nice dark mahogany brown with a very nice light tan head that has true staying power, and solid lacing. Nose of chocolate, spicy hops, toffee, and earthy undertones. Flavors exceed the nose with a great chocolate/toffee malt back bone that gives way to lightly piney and spicy hops flavors that are not overbearing in any way. A SOLID brew that maintains balance through to the last sip with moderate carbonation, smooth lightly creamy mouth feel, and a light bitter finish. Outstanding. First brew I have tried from this company----looking forward to trying more.

Cheers

Photo of n2185
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of wollefdoogylloj
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really have a hard time reviewing beers for a couple of reasons. First, being new at this I don't provide the standard review but figure as long as I'm honest that's all that matters. Second is that I've not much in the smell department. I guess I can blame that on 24 years in the military.
Anyway, this beer is a wonderful deception. I've drank enough IPAs to know what to expect as the nectar breaches my lips to coat my tongue. It's DARK - polar opposite of pale. This feels and tastes much more like a very nice stout, one that I'd put up to the best out there.
The head was quick to rise and slow to dissipate, with Klingons all around the glass for the entire consumption. Nice smoky aftertaste mixed with coffee and maybe a wee bit of chocolate. The hops are there from start to swallow. Very nice if you're not after the typical IPA or want a little breakaway from the same-ol'-same-ol'.
Looking forward to visiting the brewery for Father's Day! I'll see if they'll let me take a photo or two to post.

Photo of Immortale25
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: shaker pint, deep chestnut in color with some garnet hues, served with a light layer of carbonation that still manages to retain well

s: big dark pine needle hops, nutty deep roasts with a balance of pale malt and light toffee sweetness as it warms, burnt sugar, pine bark, the roasts and hops work fairly well together where in other examples they have clashed, good start

m: moderately carbonated, body just around medium with a nice drying effect in the finish

t: loaded with big pine hops and sappy bitter bark flavors that power over the base beer of roasted malts balanced with pale and toffee malt, burnt sugars, dried nuts, brief sweetness in the middle as it warms, clean and mostly dry, toffee and bark, big bitterness lingering, warming

d: the few examples of the style I've had were over-roasted, but this one does fine by me, easily drinkable, don't see much of their stuff around nova but keep an eye out if you're in the hampton roads area

pint at the Taphouse, Hampton, VA

Photo of obywan59
3.86/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of Ri0
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of whitemomba
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

Photo of jl55378008
4.85/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Shared a pitcher at the new Green Leafe in Williamsburg, VA.

I'd never heard of this brewery before, and I was very impressed by this offering. It drinks very much like a good stout. The flavor and mouthfeel were the most impressive aspects of this beer. Not heavily carbonated, and the bubbles are very small, to the point of almost being creamy. It reminded me of drinking Old Rasputin on nitro, in some ways.

It's got solid a hop profile, and the bitterness is present but not overwhelming. Just enough to balance the dark roasted malt flavors, without overpowering them.

I'll definitely be having this again. I look forward to trying some of their other beers.

Photo of floraday
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
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!

Photo of Merkinstandard
4.14/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of AleWatcher
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of PhageLab
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Taphouse in Hampton. Very cool looking tap marker depicting the Great Dismal Swamp. Poured into a pint glass.

A - Dark brown opaque brew with a nice big fluffy brownish head that stuck around for a while. Nice lacing.

S - Some pine hops and a bit of toast, but the aroma is faint.

T - Effectively tastes like a stout mixed with an IPA. Very odd, but tasty. Nicely bitter with a good hop bite, but as soon as you think you're enjoying an IPA a wave of roasted malt and dry chocolate notes wash over you.

M - Medium bodied, mild carbonation, dry finish.

D - I caught myself drinking this one a little too fast, but I couldn't help it. By the time I was halfway done I realized that I really really enjoyed this beer. Definitely try it if you manage to find it.

Photo of Davepoolesque
3.27/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Eh, black ipa. It's serviceable.

Photo of JayQue
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dense brown color with ruby highlights showing throughout. Cream color medium size head fading to a covering of the glass. Filmy lacing on the glass.

Pleasant aroma of roasted malt, caramel malt and some floral hops. Tastes a bit like a barleywine light. The big flavor of malt, toffee and floral hoppiness is there without the alcohol bite or harshness.

Mouthfeel is crisp and rich with the right amount of bitterness.

Tasty and low enough in abv to enjoy a second one!!!!

Photo of teromous
2.98/5  rDev -24%
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.

Photo of Ysgard
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Photo of jmdrpi
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Drank 3 pints from the tap.

appears almost black, frothy white head that fades. nice hoppy aroma, a bit earthy. Very mild roasted aroma and flavor to balance out the hoppiness. No too bitter or sweet either way. Medium body and carbonation. Overall a nice beer, easy to drink a few of them.

Photo of spunktrunk
5/5  rDev +27.6%
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.

Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very dark, earthy IPA with a decent head and good, roasted malt tones. Taste and mouthfeel are both solid, and overall, this is a solid offering by O'Connor.

Photo of ramseye4
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Tarrant's in Richmond. I have never even heard of this brewery before, and I live in the state!
A=Pours a silky black with a two finger head ad great lacing. Its not quite as dark as the stout I also ordered, but its close.
S=toasted malt and oily hops, nothing too strong
T=Toasted malt, a bit of bourbon, and strong bitter hops comes out in the end
M=Full bodied medium carbonation
O=Pleasant surprise, nice tasting beer overall

Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

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The Great Dismal Black IPA from O'Connor Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 154 ratings.