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Skunk Black IPA - Three Heads Brewing

Not Rated.
Skunk Black IPASkunk Black IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

130 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 130
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 14.01%
Wants: 11
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Three Heads Brewing visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Yes, Skunk Black IPA. Big hop aromas hover over this perfectly balanced, dark beauty. Who knew a skunk could smell so good? Discover why a hint of roasted malt is the perfect complement to big hop flavor. Get Skunked!
6.5% Alc/vol. 75 IBUs

(Beer added by: John on 12-05-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Skunk Black IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 130 | Reviews: 64 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Ale House in Vestal NY
Pours a surprisingly clear dark brown with ruby highlights when held to light. Creamy off white head shows moderate retention. Smells of pine and cirtus with hints of chocolate and coffee. Not quite porter like in the nose but the roast is definitely there. Pine and resinous taste mixed with a hint of chocolate and roasted grains. Medium body and carbonation level with a resiuos creamy mouthfeel. I really liked this one. Great Black IPA that almost ordered another one to my table.

Serving type: on-tap

07-31-2011 19:32:02 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of russwbeck


3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Black pour with a nicely sized light brown head. Full of big bubbles, the head has a nice retention and laces very nicely down the side of the glass.

S: Piney hops, a lot like an IPA. But the roastiness of a light stout/porter are certainly present. The smell finds a way to strike a nice balance.

T: The taste on this is so strange! It really starts off like a nice IPA. Hops fading into a slight malty backbone, but then BAM! Roasted malts and an extremely dry finish almost like coffee. Really taking my mind a while to decompress what exactly this is. I can't say it's terribly good, but it sure is interesting.

MF: Medium bodied with an ok amount of carbonation. No notice of the alcohol in any way. Sort of wanted it to be a bit fuller though.

O: You know what? This wasn't bad. One of my first leaps into this style so I'll hold my judgement until I'm a bit more seasoned. I didn't hate this.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2011 19:05:53 | More by russwbeck
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial nonic a deep dark cola color with a thinner but well retained beige head,aromas are full of piney hops and roasy/earthy tones,easily the best attribute of this beer in my opinion.Dry and heavily roasted on the palate,just alot of earth and roast,the hops come thu in a piney way in the finish but the beer is almost bitter in its dryness.I like dryer more bitter beers but this was just a bit to intense in its earthiness for me,for those who like the intense in you face kinda "rawness," this is for them.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2011 17:41:14 | More by oberon
Photo of DmanGTR


4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this several times before. Deep brown, almost black with a nicely formed off-white head that keeps a good cap on the beer. Pretty spots of lacing. I've never understood Black IPA's much. Most of them smell and taste like an IPA that has a bit of stout/porter mixed in it, or they taste like an overhopped stout/porter. This one in particular tasted like a roasty IPA. Lots of dankness and skunk here for sure but there is a smooth and non-overbearing roastiness and toastiness that adds a twist to it. Medium bodied with smooth carbonation. A nicely drinkable beer.

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2011 12:47:42 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of Kegatron


4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into an IPA flute.

Pours black, maybe a darker brown, topped with a couple fingers of foamy mocha colored head. This retains with a rich ¾ finger cap, which drenches the sides of the glass with a good bit of creamy sticky lacing. The aroma is a combo of floral and herbal tones, which sits on top of a layer of fresh citric grapefruit flavor. This is softened in the nose some by the presence of chocolate malts, while notes of smoky roast sit underneath and slowly rise up to encapsulate the other flavors.

The taste has some green citric hop flavor to it, which is well balanced by the chocolate and caramel sweetness of the malts. I think that the roast mostly takes the lead here though; adhering to those hops to help give this a fresh burnt bitter flavor that mostly trails a strong dry pithiness into the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a mostly softer silky creaminess to the carbonation that sees a good bit of oiliness to it on the edges. This does however leave just enough of a prickle on the tongue though to call this crisp. The alcohol is well hid here, with just a smidge of warmth on the tail end of the swallow.

This was another well done hoppy offering from Three Heads that seemed to find just the right mix of roast, sweetness, and hops to it, while a super easy feeling body kept this drinking very nicely for the size. The CBC seems to be doing right by these guys and the beers that they are putting out there. I’ve been impressed by these offerings from them so far.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2011 19:33:06 | More by Kegatron
Photo of TheBrewo


3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We pour a brew the color of watered-out cola, with light peeking through the bottom half of the glass. It holds a two finger head of chunky tan bubbles that retain well, leaving thick lacing as they depart. No sediment is noted and carbonation appears active. The aroma pops with bright hops, of pine and grapefruit varieties. As the beer warms, a deeper, bready roast begins to seep out, but it mixes subtly along with the base grain. There is also a slight sweetness, with licks of buttery molasses. Again, these all hide in the hop forest that makes up the bulk of the nose. As we sip, the first thing noticed is bitter, dark grain. There is a dry roast to the flavoring, which mixes quickly with bittering hops, as they catch up to speed. They impart a transient sweetness, only to become earthy, mixing inseparably with the malts, in a nicely balanced blend. As the sip peaks through the middle, all of the flavors seem to peter out almost entirely, leaving mildly bitter grain pressed against the back of the palate. The finish sees the triumphant return of the flavoring from the beginning, with earthen hops and a hearty malt darkness. The aftertaste breathes relatively cleanly, with bitter hops complemented by that same dark grain. The alcohol is also present, but only briefly at the onset of the exhale. The body is medium and the carbonation is medium. The mouth is wonderfully smooth, slurpable, sippable, and frothy, leaving us coated and satiated. The abv falls within range, and the beer disappears quickly.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the huge hop aroma and the earthen tones they delivered in the taste. From the nose we were expecting the hops to knock our socks off, but were slightly let down by how much of a backseat they took. Of course, this is a black IPA, so it could have gone either way, but if judging by the nose, which we were, we would have expected a more explosive hop character. This is not to say that we did not enjoy this one, because the aroma, mixed with the balance, mixed with the sipping mouthfeel, makes me wish we had another one of these on hand.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2011 02:31:29 | More by TheBrewo
Photo of gaugebozo

New York

3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Nice lacing, black like a stout. Not the amount of head listed below, but some residual suds.

S - hops, maybe a little chocolate

T - American Hops! Some mint, some citrus. Also light roastiness, and some crystal malt.

M - a little lite for an IPA, but still substantial

O - My first black IPA. At first you might say, "Oh you mean an Imperial stout?" but truly it's own style. The roasted malts are enough to give it more character, but not enough to turn it into a stout. Good american hop character. Higher in alcohol, but not it's only note.Would be decent without the roastiness.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2011 04:28:43 | More by gaugebozo
Photo of BeerAdvocate


3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #50 (March 2011):

Bring on the darkness ... and hops! Have not seen such great head retention for a good while ... we were tempted to float stuff on it, but we’d hate to taint this brew. Yup, it is black. Sweet oily hoppiness has mild hints of tangerine juice and fresh mint, with a faint edge of char in the nose and palate. Brown malt, faint dryness of charred malt, some chocolate graham cracker and a raisin component deep within. Hoppiness leads on far into the aftertaste. Mild burnt raisin and delicate alcohol warmth meet in the semi-roasted bitter finish. A pleasure to come by, an easy drink.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2011 13:40:14 | More by BeerAdvocate
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Super dark cola colored with some impressive off white brownish head. Some of the best lacing I have seen for this style.

S: More a malt forward example as far as the nose goes. Some roast and chocolate nicely balanced. The hops are there with some citrus making its way through but not really a hop bomb by any strech.

T: The citrus comes across more clearly in the taste. Nice hints of orange. I think that combination with the chocolate works best for the style overall. Just a hint of bitterness in the finish. Reminds me of espresso beans. Nice.

M: Medium body. A touch thin if anything. Carbonation is quite nice and to style.

D: A good example of the style. I have enjoyed the beers that I have had from them thus far. If anything I might dry hop this or dry hop it more to really get the nose to stand out more.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2011 22:03:06 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of dogfishandi

New York

3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle split with a friend. around fridge temp poured into a pint glass. no freshness info.

looks very nice. pours out a dark brown with some rubiness in the light. great retention and wonderful sticky lace with a light tan colored head.

smells almost entirely of hops. hardly any malt detectable. mostly pine.

the taste is similar. resinous pine, earthiness, grassy, with some citrus which is more of an afterthought. some malt is there, but nothing really roasty. lots of sharp bitterness. something not quite right with the mouthfeel, really attacks all of your mouth.

kind of a decieving brew. tasty, but tasted more of a really sharp piney ipa, rather than a black ipa. i didnt get much of the dark malts.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2011 02:17:33 | More by dogfishandi
Photo of BobCS

New York

2.23/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A - dark brown and clear (the liquid portion is very much like coca-cola in appearance), with a fine beige head

S - some citrus hops peak out in the aroma, but not as strongly as I was expecting given some reports

T - clean and aggressive hop character is there but completely overwhelmed by oxidation in the sample I am tasting. There is no freshness date on the 22 oz brown bottle, this was a relatively new addition to package store I bought it from, and I know this store typically handles it's stock with reasonable care. This sample is not light struck, but I believe it is heavily oxidized resulting in a tongue-coating wet cardboard that overwhelms the flavor and dominates the aftertaste before becoming filmy and soapy. The brewery hasn't been open long (just a few months) so it can't be too old, which suggests to me they have a packaging problem to work out.

D - This is definitely a drain pour I am afraid. I was looking forward to trying some Three Heads beers, since they are relatively local to me and relatively new. I will try again and re-review!

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2011 20:34:53 | More by BobCS
Photo of Hojaminbag


3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Skunk Black IPA has a dark brown to black body with a tan head that has good retention and lacing.

The aroma is packed with pine and citrus, with the roasted malt coming through as a complement.

The flavor begins the same way as the aroma, big notes of resinous pine and a piquant citrus flavor. The bitterness is palpable until the malt comes in, but quite honestly this is a pretty bitter beer throughout. The malt is roasted and only marginally sweet. The two join together to form and interesting flavor profile, with a hint of something that is almost minty in the middle.

Light, bitter, dry, pretty good. The bitterness makes a noticeable impression upon the feel of this one.

Three Heads brewing isn't messing around, this is their second hoppy beer I have tried that is good. I prefer The Kind IPA, but I prefer IPAs to hoppy black ales, so try both.

Serving type: on-tap

04-08-2011 16:16:53 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of yesyouam

New York

4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Three Heads Skunk Black IPA is a very dim brown-- almost black. It's topped with a big, frothy cappuccino head that has supreme retention and lacing. It has a loud pine and grapefruit aroma, perhaps a touch of roast or ash. It's medium-full bodied, soft and slick. The dry finish leaves me a little thirsty. It has a very cascadian flavor: pine and grapefruit peel. There's a touch of roast at the finish. It's on the bitter side, but I like that. Coffee is in the aftertaste. This is really good representation of the style. It's fun to drink.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2011 20:01:49 | More by yesyouam
Photo of BeerPhan86

New York

3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I went to RIT and this brewery was never around when I was in school (they just began in 2010), but their beers seem very hoppy and right up my alley so I was excited to find this at a local store. Black IPAs are popping up all over and while I have only had a few (Southern Tier and Otter Creek) it is a style I definitely enjoy quite a bit and I hope it keeps getting more popular.

A - Pours an opaque blackish-brown with a one finger light brown head. Good retention on the head and sticky lacing.

S - Piney and floral for the most part with slight hints of chocolate and roasted malt.

T - Somewhat sweet and dark up front followed by a blast of piney hops and a bitter, dry finish. Hints of chocolate and coffee in the finish. It's like someone mixed a porter with an American style IPA, and the result is quite delicious. Lingering taste is bitter and earthy and slightly metallic. I will admit it tastes less hoppy than the nose led on, but I enjoy what's going on here.

M - Very wet and smooth, not slick or oily like IPAs can tend to be. Slightly sticky on the lips. Carbonation level seems just right to me. Seems a bit too thin and watery though.

D - Probably too bitter for me to session but that seems to be par for the course for this emerging style.

Overall I was a little let down and expected a bit more bang from this. I'd have to say of the few black IPAs I have tried so far the Otter Creek Alpine has been my favorite. The Southern Tier Iniquity was incredible but more of an imperial of this style. Still worth a try and I can't wait to find their Kind IPA! If I was still in Rochester I'd definitely be hitting this place up with my growler.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2011 00:29:00 | More by BeerPhan86
Photo of jmdrpi


3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle. a deep dark brown, almost black, with red highlights. with an off-white head. decent lacing.

aroma is a rich pungent hop aroma. mostly piney.

as advertised, porter-like dark malt flavor with very strong hop finish, almost oily. mouthfeel is typical of an IPA, thinner than a porter or stout. but smooth, drinks nice.

a bit too unbalanced for me to consider it super drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2011 03:56:56 | More by jmdrpi
Photo of russpowell


4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this from indiapaleale, as part of my Fantasy Football BIF pay off! Brave name for a beer, the skunk on the label looks similar to a few I dodged on the way home the other night...Cheers Russ!

Pours an effervescent cola/black with a finger of mocha colored head. Very good lacing & above average head retention

S: Piney & herbal hops, faint chocolate notes & stronger caramel once warm

T: Follows the nose, wet charred grain, some baker's chocolate up front. Dark chocolate & a touch of vanilla hides behind herbal & lemon rind hops, there also a touch of mint that makes me think "Girl Scout mint cookies" then some more forceful woody hops. Finishes with woody & herbal hops, dark chocolate, a touch of coffee & dryness

MF: Medium bodied, firm carbonation, great balance

Drinks pretty easy, a nice take on the style

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2011 04:17:59 | More by russpowell
Photo of smcolw


3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bountiful, rich head. The liquid is very dark, near black color. Light shines through but indirectly--it makes the beer glow. Spotty lace.

Mostly roasted malts to the nose. Although this is a black IPA, there is very little hop.

In the taste, the rolls reverse. The hop is more pronounced while the malt takes a back seat. There's a touch of burnt toast. The bitterness shows up in the swallow, but overall this beer is decently balanced. The beer is relatively thin. Carbonation is on the low side.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2011 02:23:27 | More by smcolw
Photo of lovesoutherntier

New York

4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

pours very dark. smells of dark malts, and some floral hops. this beer has the taste of a black ale, with the hopping of an ipa. i know thats the idea behind this beer but wow is it well balanced for the style. taste and drinkability go hand and hand through the beer. for those who like black ipa's this is a must try. good job 3hb keep new ones coming.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2011 04:21:31 | More by lovesoutherntier
Photo of rll52485

New York

3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A black body with a brownish/tan head. Hold it up to the light gives it a bright red flare inside the glass.

S - A strong piney smell.

T - A mild pine/citrus taste with slight bitter. Expected a stronger taste from the smell.

M - Fairly smooth, lingers on the tongue for a moment. Nicely carbonated.

D - Would drink this again but not my favorite BIPA. Definitely has good drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2011 23:38:07 | More by rll52485
Photo of Thickfreakness

New York

3.03/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This is my first Black IPA. Been reading a bunch of reviews, and have been looking forward to it!

A- Poured into a tulip glass, it blossomed with a 1 1/2 finger creamy tan head that left a ton of lacing sticking like a web. Dark middle with ruby hips on this one! Looking good!

S- Hops, slight alcohol, and charred wood. Not quite smokey, but subtle hints of fire. Malt and just a note of fruit when inhaled. I'm liking this.

T- Definately charred Malts, smokey and toasty with a slight hop finish. Hops and grapefruit very faint against the dark malt... not so much IPA here... more like porter I think. Hmmm...

M- Very thin and watery... I was expecting something totally different from a beer this dark and roasty smelling. Char really covers up what little hop fruitiness is there.

D- Not bad, a little underwhelmed. Probably be good with really fatty and rich BBQ'd pork ribs or smoked fish... again... more smoked porter than IPA. Not bad, just not what I expected.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2011 04:45:32 | More by Thickfreakness
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark brown/black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a well balanced roasted malt and citrus hop nose. The taste is decent. It has a bone dry patent malt flavor; dry and earthy. It's light with lots of roasted malt character and a mild hop taste. The hop flavor is muted with the black malt flavor. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good beer. It could use a bit more hop flavor to balance the malt character.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2011 02:35:38 | More by WesWes
Photo of indiapaleale


3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, this is one of only two beers with the word skunk in the name? I am surprise. Love the label on this one.

Pours dark brown with some reddish highlihgts and thin, filmy head.

Aroma is noseful of hops. Lots of bitter, fresh, greeniness. Are they using citra or simcoe in this brew?

One sip and your tongue is slapped silly by bitter, astringent hoppiness. That flavor of citrus and pine dominates with a decent cherry-esque malt backbone.

I couldn't drink too many of these as my tongue would be destroyed. Still, I can't help liking this brew for what it is.

My first beer from Three Heads and I'm intrigued enough to hunt down some of the others...

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 02:52:06 | More by indiapaleale
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Decent though not my best ever black IPA. The name had scared me but in fact the aroma was a little hoppy. On tap at Pizza Plant. A good mouthfeel. A blackbier with a bitter charge in the finish.Dark not much head.My first from this new brewery contracting somewhere where I expected it would not be as well executed.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2011 23:00:02 | More by Sammy
Photo of PBoegel

New York

3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber into a Sam Adams perfect pint no freshness date on the bottle.

Very dark nearly black, head is beach sand tan tinted. Nice and rocky shows good lace as it drinks.

Smell, a bit too roasty for my taste, orange peel, mango and candied apple. Chocolate and cracked coffee beans.

Very roasty upfront in the flavor followed by citrus orange and lime tangy hops and then some raspberry. Roastiness lingers in the finish.

Good mouthfeel, touch of astringency, semi dry finish.

Not bad, this style is hit or miss for me. I really liked Alpine Black from Otter Creek, but for my taste the hops have to dominate like an IPA they need to be very fruity and citrus in tone with an underlying touch of chocolate and roast. I have to state to be honest though had this after "The Kind" and the hops were really fresh and upfront on that.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2011 18:15:10 | More by PBoegel
Photo of JAramini

New York

3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Village Beer Merchant in Buffalo, brought a growler to a party.

There is some variation among this style, some are dark roasty beers with a healthy amount of hops, others are IPAs with a touch of dark malt added. This beer is one of the latter. It's primarily an IPA, and a good one at that. The dark malts add a touch of roasted flavor and make the body fairly rich and full.

Citrus, pine, and some bitterness against a nice mouthfeel, good hop aroma, and a dark pour.

It's a style I have alternately enjoyed and hated, this is in the "good" column for me. Doesn't assault me with hops - it's hoppy but balanced. Worth trying, just a couple notches short of my favorite for the style - Southern Tier Iniquity. A stronger, more complex malt presence would improve it, otherwise it's definitely drinkable and good.

Serving type: growler

01-16-2011 18:26:08 | More by JAramini
Skunk Black IPA from Three Heads Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 130 ratings.