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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.
BA SCORE
88
very good

49 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 49
Hads: 162
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.62%
Wants: 11
Gots: 29 | 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: 49 | Hads: 162
Photo of tigg924
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (257 characters)

Photo of uvachief
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle. No bottled on date. Aggressive pint glass pour results in huge white head that lingered forever. Nice dark purple brown color. Little light filters. Smell is hops but not overpowering. Taste is hops upfront but surprisingly not bitter. Smoother than I expected. Wouldn't say exceedingly hopped. Not north of 75 ibus I would guess. Love the black cherry tea color. Head just stays forever. Taste something sweet offsetting the bitter like licorice maybe. Unique. Not gritty or sandy like a lot of black ipas. Really smooth actually. Want to say some tobacco in there as well. Interesting complex ipa. Try if you get the chance. (650 characters)

Photo of rjs246
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (188 characters)

Photo of ohiobeer29
3/5  rDev -24.2%
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 (188 characters)

Photo of Brutaltruth
4/5  rDev +1%
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 Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.06/5  rDev +2.5%
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 JayQue
4/5  rDev +1%
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 jmdrpi
3.8/5  rDev -4%
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. (296 characters)

Photo of malprep
3.86/5  rDev -2.5%
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. (251 characters)

Photo of wollefdoogylloj
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
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 spunktrunk
5/5  rDev +26.3%
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. (425 characters)

Photo of obywan59
3.86/5  rDev -2.5%
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. (365 characters)

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. (700 characters)

Photo of adevans
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
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 Immortale25
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
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. (1,025 characters)

Photo of Merkinstandard
4.14/5  rDev +4.5%
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 Ysgard
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
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 AlexFields
3.25/5  rDev -17.9%
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 (408 characters)

Photo of jvillefan
2.85/5  rDev -28%
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. (588 characters)

Photo of KomodoDragon
4.24/5  rDev +7.1%
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 brentk56
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
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 (610 characters)

Photo of n2185
3.97/5  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. (523 characters)

Photo of teromous
2.98/5  rDev -24.7%
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. (1,580 characters)

Photo of Minkybut
3/5  rDev -24.2%
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. (421 characters)

Photo of AleWatcher
3.97/5  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. (802 characters)

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The Great Dismal Black IPA from O'Connor Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 49 ratings.