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

45 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 45
Hads: 154
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 6.05%
Wants: 11
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
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 45 | Hads: 154
Photo of spunktrunk
5/5  rDev +25.9%
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. (425 characters)

Photo of guitarb
4.88/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had this many times, most recently on tap from Baron's pub in ptown in a 32 ounce mug.

When I first tried it, this beer went immediately to my top 5. It pours a dark black. Friends joked I was drinking 10w-30 motor oil. Very drinkable. I actually had two 32 ounce mugs last time I had.

If ever given the chance, enjoy this brew! (337 characters)

Photo of jl55378008
4.85/5  rDev +22.2%
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. (667 characters)

Photo of rudolphjacksonm
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
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 (994 characters)

Photo of whitemomba
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
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. (604 characters)

Photo of wollefdoogylloj
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
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. (1,014 characters)

Photo of stckhndlr
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at A.W. Shucks in Norfolk, VA

A- Pitch black w/ a 2 finger thick tan foam head. Thin lacing all down the glass as you drink.

S- This one was very complex. Every sniff presented a different aroma. Espresso coffee, caramel malts, vanilla, fruit, cream, dark cinnamon, and some spices.

T- Flavor of chocolate and dark roast coffee, good hop flavor, some caramel with some bitters on the back with a long finish.

M- smooth with a creamy medium body. Clean finish

O- Has the look and flavor of a stout with the carbonation and bitterness of an IPA. What a wonderful beer. By far one of this brewery's best. (618 characters)

Photo of Jayli
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
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! (839 characters)

Photo of Immortale25
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
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. (1,025 characters)

Photo of KomodoDragon
4.24/5  rDev +6.8%
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. (485 characters)

Photo of joedon
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Took a chance on this beer and was very pleased. Dark brown to almost black with a very thin head.

Dark, roasty malt smells with a bit of fruit.

Big flavors: lots of malt, hop bitterness, dark fruit and bread. This beer is almost like a hybrid between IPA and imperial stout.

Good, chewy mouthfeel and lingering flavors. Quite drinkable for a big beer.

Might like to brew one of these at home. (398 characters)

Photo of ncaudle
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from tap into pint glass.

pours very dark, not quite black, with a sizable head off-white that quickly dissipated leaving a nice lacing around the glass.

very hoppy aroma. not sure of the hop varietal but it was much more citrus than pine. not that much bitterness which was kind of surprising considering its a "IPA" but I'm not complaining. there's a little sweetness but I dont think it's coming from the malts...

light bodied and nice carbonation levels. easy drinker. (482 characters)

Photo of ebby82
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
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. (590 characters)

Photo of adevans
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
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. (442 characters)

Photo of paulginva
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (1,131 characters)

Photo of Ysgard
4.17/5  rDev +5%
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. (705 characters)

Photo of Merkinstandard
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
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. (284 characters)

Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (160 characters)

Photo of AndrewNations
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
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 (776 characters)

Photo of PhageLab
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (777 characters)

Photo of legalpete19340
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (640 characters)

Photo of Brutaltruth
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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 (634 characters)

Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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 (996 characters)

Photo of JayQue
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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!!!! (487 characters)

Photo of n2185
3.97/5  rDev 0%
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. (523 characters)

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The Great Dismal Black IPA from O'Connor Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.