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

Not Rated.
The Great Dismal Black IPAThe Great Dismal Black IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

51 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 51
Hads: 169
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 20.88%
Wants: 11
Gots: 34 | 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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first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 51 | Hads: 169
Photo of jvillefan
2.85/5  rDev -26.5%
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.

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Photo of teromous
2.98/5  rDev -23.2%
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.

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Photo of ohiobeer29
3/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A solid black ipdea had it from bottle pours black smells of IPA and malt taste is that of a poor man's founders black rye which was a nice surprise definitely a nice black IPA worth a try

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Photo of Minkybut
3/5  rDev -22.7%
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.

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Photo of AlexFields
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
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.


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Photo of VirginiaBeerMan
3.41/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very dark amber color with reddish hue and thin off white head and good lacing. Aromas were feint. Slightly dry feel with medium hop and lingering bitter, but not very much in the way of outside flavor. A fairly standard Black IPA. Good, but nothing particularly noteworthy.

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Photo of Beejay
3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very dark brown/black in color with a large tan head.

S: Chocolate and coffee come out first with a little bit of an earthy bitterness after.

T: Coffee with an earthy bitterness. The hops are a bit subdued at first but start to come out more in the finish.

M: Medium in body, with a fairly high carbonation.

O: Not too bad, but not astounding either.

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Photo of jgreenearrow
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of BigJK
3.57/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

thanks to Miamilice for the trade. 22oz bomber

Appearance: Dark looking beer with light sand head, about 1 finger width. Some slight lacing was left on the glass. Black, but not opaque to the light. Nice appearance.

Smell: Definite hoppy aroma, but not super fresh hops. Very apparent dark roast. Maybe some caramel roast type smell.

Taste: Slightly bitter, but good hoppy taste. Had some decent malt, residual sugar flavor to it. Not overly hoppy or overly roasty. Had a slightly odd aftertaste. Mostly balanced taste.

Mouthfeel: Nice feel, a bit on the watery, thin side, but probably fits the American Black Ale style. Carbonation was adequate, but did dissipate quickly

Drinkability: Very nice and easy to drink. A good black IPA, but not one I would run out for every week. Being on the west coast, I prefer more hop flavor due to lupulin threshold shift. A decent beer.

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
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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Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
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

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Photo of floraday
3.61/5  rDev -7%
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!

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Photo of clayrock81
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a blackish body w/ one-finger head that died slowly that left some lace. A hoppy aroma with strong, roasted (maybe even burnt) malts in there as well but not really much in the sweet malt for the nose. I enjoyed this beer and on tap may have added carbonation (which is large and gives a sharp, cutting edge to beer), but the roasted/burnt malts overpower the citric hops and the sweet malts for me. Still, even though I'd say this is a dry beer that needs sipped on, it has a touch of hoppy goodness for IPA fans and there are some minor sugary sweet malts (burnt chocolate, java, toffee...I am getting these sweet-like taste sensations). A hard to do style and this one comes out good.

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Photo of ramseye4
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
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

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Photo of dragonWhale
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got a chance to have a couple of pints of this beer and meet the brewer at a pretty cool new beer bar in Richmond. He was on his seventh or eighth stop of the evening, so our conversation was deep and meaningful, obviously. I asked him what he hopped with and he said he bittered with Amarillo and then used something that he mumbled and Cascade. What was the final gravity? It started at like 1.08 and ended at 1.04something. And I laughed and let him on his merry way. Perhaps later I shall get a chance to talk beer with him for real. It was hilarious though.
Dark brown, bit of red seams. Piney, a bit floral, the malt is not doing too much. Slight bit of roast, but not much, no sweetness. It finishes very thin and dry. A bit overattenuated for my particular taste, but, as a result, finishes very lightly as well. A good beer, worth trying out. Not too roasty, no big citrus and roast battle going on, which I feel is the downfall of many of these CDAs. Good show.

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Photo of nniicckkww
3.76/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap at Jack Quinn's in downtown norfolk. Black appearance with slight quarter inch head. I think I could have amassed a bigger head than the barkeep, but oh well.

Black/dark brown appearance. I didn't hold it up to the light. Not much aroma as it was quite cold served. Black IPA's are confusing to my palate. Hoppy. Delicious. Not much hop aromoa but it comes through in the flavor and finish. Nice bitterness. Good carbonation for the style. Not too much, not too little. Is it a hoppy porter? I don't know. This style seems trendy.

Nice and dry mouthfeel. I think this differentiates this beer from a stout. Good hop bitterness and slight flavor. Bitter finish. I had a 22 oz. mug. It's drinkable. A great bear. I just don't know about the black IPA style....

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Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of obywan59
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of malprep
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this beer in DoG cafe in Williamsburg, NC. Great craft Gastropub. This beer was great to go along with my English themed meal. Great presentation, perfect head, wonderful aroma, great taste and mouthfeel. Perfect to go along with my Shepherds Pie.

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Photo of tigg924
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours clear dark brown with 1/2 inch head and moderate carbonation. Taste is pine, dark chocolate, and cream. Overall the beer is slightly hoppy with a medium body. Tasty and worth seeking out. This is right up there with my favorites from this brewery.

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Photo of rjs246
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've tried black IPAs over and over and am almost always disappointed. This was a pleasant surprise. Very tastes with an almost porter like malt. Lots of hops balanced nicely. Really good.

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Photo of Kadonny
3.92/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of Ri0
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of n2185
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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The Great Dismal Black IPA from O'Connor Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 51 ratings.