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

Not Rated.
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 jgreenearrow
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
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. (721 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 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 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 floraday
3.61/5  rDev -9.1%
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! (545 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 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 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 ramseye4
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
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 (441 characters)

Photo of BigJK
3.57/5  rDev -10.1%
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. (881 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 nniicckkww
3.76/5  rDev -5.3%
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.... (776 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 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 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 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 dragonWhale
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
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. (971 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 clayrock81
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
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. (694 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)

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