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Epitome | Carton Brewing Company

33 Reviews
For Trade:

Brewed by:
Carton Brewing Company
New Jersey, United States | website

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
We don't have many rules at Carton Brewing and those we have we made up for ourselves. In general though, we strive for drinkability through balance and harmonization of flavors. But even self-imposed rules are meant to be broken. With Epitome we decided to embrace the teenage metalhead in each of us and get discordant with a seriously hoppy, high gravity, black ale. The only notions accepted were to make it bigger, bolder, hotter & faster. A Beast. The ABV had to push past 10, the black had to be "none more," and the hops had to be American and piled on like a double bass drum kicking faster and harder. Drink Epitome because things worth doing are worth over doing.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX ... 6WbvjLR1Kg 

Added by Chas58 on 12-29-2012

User Reviews
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Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 279
Photo of Dopen993
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can into tulip. No date.

L. Pitch black with tan head, 1 finger at most. Moderate lacing.
S. Lots of hops and pine. Even getting some mango and tropical fruit. A bit unexpected from a black IPA.
T. Get some coffee Carmel and malt mixed in with some nice hops. Light on the citrus and pine and tropical.

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Photo of SmashAdams
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is quite a beer. When first poured the smell and taste are dominated by hops. As it warms I'm getting some of the toasty malts and slight chocolate. Very smooth despite the high abv. nb

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Photo of mothman
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can't tell this is a black ipa or a black ale at all. This is ipa all the way. Grassy, green, grapefruit flavors. No chocolate or malts. Very deceiving. Very awesome offering.

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Photo of gopens44
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Cut to the chase, tastes unreal. As a self proclaimed Cascadian expert, this is perfect tasting. Begins earthy piney bitter to start, fading into anise and finishes with a hint of molasses and picks up enough earthy bitter to give a full circle awesomeness before the dry finish of this full bodied beer. And for the record, Nose carries a nice foreshadow of the taste.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to SammyJaxxxx for this brew!

16 oz. Can

Poured into a Squatters True Pint glass a very nice black color, with some very nice carbonation, with an awesome thick/creamy two-finger plus tan head, which leaves some very nice thick/creamy sticky lacing behind. The nose is hoppy, with some nice malt notes, some nice chocolate/toffee notes, licorice, citrus/pine notes. The taste is very very nice, hoppy, malty, licorice, pine/citrus, chocolate/toffee. Medium body, ABV is hidden very very well. Overall, this is one helluva brew! Highly Recommeded!

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Photo of Nickwierda
4.51/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer really surprised me. I'm not too keen on black ipas (love Weez but many of the others I've tried haven't really been up my alley), but this one was different. The 10.3% abv dials up the sweetness a touch to accentuate the citrusy and piney hops and does a great job of blending those elements with the chocolate and roast of the malts. The result is a perfect balance between the two, which is both difficult to achieve and exactly what you need in a black ipa. Not too bitter, not too sweet, not too roasty: just right. Great, great beer.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on draught in a restaurant. It poured a dark mahogany-black in color with a relatively thin, milk-white head and almost no lacing. The smell featured dark, roasted malt and herbal hops. Since it was served from a tap, it was colder and there was less of a smell. The taste was a nice combination of malt and citrusy hops. It was really more malt-forward than I anticipated but the combination was really good. It was not very bitter. The feel was creamy and moderately carbonated. The 10.30% ABV was not noticeable. Overall, I really enjoyed this offering from Carton. For a "Black Ale" or "Black IPA" it was definitely more at the malt end of the spectrum than Wookey Jack, NightTime or Dark Penance. I'd definitely drink this one again.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown and settles into the glass as a near black. Sticky, foamy tan head sits on top. Aroma is roasted malts and dank, herbal hops. More of the dank hops come through in the flavor and crush the palate. Herbaceous, grassy, notes of licorice and charred malts. Feel is smooth and creamy, but prickly and potent at the same time. This is a ridiculously huge black IIPA that just has huge flavor and big dank bitterness.

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Photo of agreenman19
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

L - pours blacker than black. Can't see through it at all. Not even so much as an amber glint in the light. Mocha colored head. Fluff.

S - citrusy hops. Can't really smell the "black". Can't smell the booze, but you can tell it's going to have deep penetrating flavors. Grassy. Scallions.

T - lot of pine. Slight resin. The alcohol peeks through but is mostly well-hidden. The bitterness creeps up on you and you don't really realize it until a few moments after the sip and your mouth is throbbing. 100 IBUs at work!

F - one of the better aspects of this beer. Surprisingly light, but velvety and creamy as can be. Slip n' slides all over the tongue. For best results, take a sip while there is still a finger or so of heady. The way the foam caresses my lips is heavenly. Almost feels like it flips gravity upside down and is lifting my mouth upward! Great combination and a superbly soft and delicate feel.

O - solid beer, but nothing really stands out from the crowd, aside from mouthfeel. The can says Epitome... epitome of what?

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - Pitch black, didn't get much head. Some alcohol legs as expected
Smell - The nose on this beer blew me away. Tons of citrus, pine, some tropical fruits even. Not what you would expect a "black" beer to smell like.
Taste - A lot of roasted malts, citrus, earthy, pine, hop bitterness, touch of booze on the back end
Feel - Big beer, full body.

Overall - Not a black IPA fan myself but this one is great!! Carton really did an awesome job with this beer.

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Photo of Bdalik
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured in to a Carton teku glass.

Jet black. Although this is a black IPA, this is brewed with black malt extract to darken. It's still a beautiful jet black in the glass. Light brown, creamy head. Smells a lot like 0dub. Piney, dank and resinous. Touch of hot alcohol on the nose, but at 10.3, almost no booze. Tastes really smooth and hoppy. Upfront bitterness followed by pine and earthy hops. Essentially a triple IPA, I put this up there with the best of them.

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Photo of Phigg1102
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a finger of tight bubbles. Earthy and floral hops in the aroma with a touch of cherry. I love dark beers with great hop characteristics and this delivers, mostly piney hop flavors come through here.

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Photo of Yancey82
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dang! This is one awesome beer. Picked it up super fresh for the Black Friday release. Pours opaque black with a creamy tan head that lingers. Amazing nose of pine and wood. Great flavor that follows the aroma with a creamy mouthfeel. Go grab one if you can.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Ambulance brew pub after striking out on getting some cans. Pours dark with a thick - foamy head. Nice brew - smooth and tasty. Slightly heavy but that's expected. I would get it again but not sure I'd go crazy trying. Good brew overall

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had one of these on tap yesterday during the Carton tap takeover at the Cloverleaf Tavern. I'm not a big fan of American Black Ales but I figured that if anyone could brew a good example of one, it would be these guys. Strong, full-flavored, and balanced, this was not for the weak of heat but it was certainly impressive and worth savoring, since it took quite a while to finish off!

Nice brown hue to this as I poured it out with a bit of light that seeped in around the edges. Not a lot of head or lacing to this but there was enough carbonation to make up for it. Lots going on in the taste - citrus, pine, and menthol notes reinforced by a strong roasted and charcoal taste that gave this a lot of depth. The hops were earthy and reminiscent of a good West Coast IPA but there were enough reminders of a Porter too, with a strong amount of booze to tie everything in together. Dry in the aftertaste, this went down relatively smoothly given how much was going on here.

Not for the faint of heart, this beer is the reason why the style should be reclassified as a Black IPA. If there was such thing as an Imperial American Porter, this would be it as there was more than enough here to satisfy fans of IPA's as well as dark beers. The finish was a bit too strong and dry for me but this beer deserved the high rating that it has and was worth the madness at the takeover. Would love to have this out of a bottle!

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Photo of WesMantooth
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

As I dumped all 16 oz from the can into the glass, it produced a huge, off white/slightly kahki foamy head on top of the nearly pitch black body. Leaves a solid 1/4" ring and moderate amounts of laciness.

Aroma is big citrusy and somewhat floral hops. I don't notice any charred/roasted malt, but I do notice a slight dankness.

The taste is a blast of hops right off the bat. Very zesty and biting. Citrus - in the form of grapefruit, orange, and lemon. There is also some west coast piney flavor in there too along with the slight dankness I could smell. I never really notice a lot of roasted malt in this other than the aftertaste. There is a very strong bitterness long after finishing. I think the hop flavors just drown it out for the most part. It is a tad boozy, but not in your face.

The body is a solid medium. It is actually a little heavier than several porters. Carbonation is also on the higher end of medium I would say.

I am not real good with picking out hop varieties, but I do thing I can compare them to other beers fairly well. This one screams Great Lakes Chillwave to me. Both in smell and taste. This is where it became hard for me to score this because I love Chillwave, and I am really digging this.

I went back and forth with the taste from 4 all the way to 4.5 several times. I finally settled on 4. The main reason is, to me, I feel black ales should be as close to a 50/50 balance of a porter and an ipa as possible. Of course, that may just be me, but this is why Lagunitas Nightime and The Brew Kettle's Black Rajah remain my favorite in this style. All of that being said, this is one of the top 3 black ales I have had so far. It is a monster of a beer at 10%+ and 100 IBUs, but drinks so well. Much better beer than Founder's Dark Penance for reference. From my experience, I have a feeling that Carton beers may become more and more difficult to find in the near future.

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Photo of Jason
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

16oz tallboy from the brewery.

Amazing lace that lasts, loving the darkness. Pungent hops nose, lovely levels of hop oil, pine and soft citrus... Some dark bread as well. 100 IBUs is there but there is so much else going on that the hop flavor and dark bready base seem to show harder. Pine and citrus rind in the middle. Warming and a long lingering hop resin in the finish.

Pretty damn amazing... Seek this one out.

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Photo of PintSizedLover
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Extra i got in a trade. Thanks to PatsBlueRibbon1. AP: A vigorous pour of this opaque jet black ale, beckons a foamy 4 finger khaki head that dissipates slowly to a thin foamy head that lingers throughout the drink, with spotty lacing up and down the whole glass. AR: Funky wet pine predominate, with faint hints of roast and caramel syrup. Floral notes linger way in the back. TA: More wet pine, and loads of citrus, mostly grapefruit and orange peel, with some orange blossom notes hiding with faint bits of roast, and sweet caramel scones. The ABV is hidden well behind the IBU's. MF: Probably the biggest miss in this ale. I could use a little more carbonation, to make the bitterness a bit more aggressive. OV: I want more. I am so glad that this is didn't try to become a hoppy porty, which many dark ales try to do. This is a hoppy ale, with a dark side that is only expressed in its appearance.

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Photo of thedoubler55
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a pitch black in color, with a nice one finger tan head at the top, some nice lacing around the glass as drink it.

S: Nice notes of fresh hops, piney hops, grapefruit, and oranges, some malts coming through on the tail end as well, some hints of chocolate as well.

T: Lots of malts coming through up front, with a nice bitter backbone, roasted taste as well throughout.

M: Medium bodied, somewhat slick, mid carbonation.

O: Definitely One of the best Black IPA'S I have ever had, Carton is stepping up their game, and glad they are from my home state NJ! This beer was perfectly balanced, with an abundance of flavors, Awesome!

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Photo of HopBomb515
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black pour with a thick tan head that refuses to fade and leaves chunky lacing everywhere. Sweet caramel, lemon, grapefruit, light pine and coffee notes. Sweet caramel and soft coffee notes open up and give way mid palate to a burst of citrus hops that bring lemon and grapefruit flavors then finish with some light pine and light sweetness. Amazing beer. The mouthfeel is sublime. Enough carbonation to let you know it's alive, but supple and soft at the same time. Finish is dry and carries the hop bitterness and 100 IBUs beautifully. I must say, this beer is incredible.

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Photo of Gavage
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a black color with a 1/2" head that slowly falls to a thick surface covering.

Smell: loads of grapefruit, lemon, and a strong hop presence.

Taste: nice roasted malt base with tons of grapefruit, some lemon zest, dark fruits sweetness, some mild alcohol warming, and a strong bitterness.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp from start to finish, and there is a dry end with one. Long lasting aftertaste/

Overall: a wonderful flavored big beer that is bold and clearly hits the spot as a black DIPA. Super beer that should be seeked out by all.

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Photo of justintcoons
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%

10 oz pour on-tap at Barcade, Philadelphia into a stemmed snifter.

Near-black with a short tan head that dissipates quickly.

Grapefruit zest, pine, perfumey florals, caramel, and roasted barley.

Very Centennial forward. Boisterous amounts of grapefruit zest, dried pine needle, perfumey florals, and onion. Light backbone of caramel, roasted barley, and hints of dark roast coffee.

Medium bodied, crisp, and off-dry with a moderate bitterness.

Super bonus points for hiding the 10.3% abv so damn well. I kind of don't believe it.

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Photo of Tobes181
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite Black IPA, wish it came out more then once per year. This Black IPA is well balanced. Not overly roasty and not overly bitter. Carton nailed this one.

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Photo of Act25
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I was glad to see top reviewers on this beer. At the brewer, everyone was rejoicing in this deep dark iconoclastic beer.

A: What sets appearance apart are the density of the head, its long duration and its sticky lace. Color density the black with ruby highlights help out too.

S: Plentiful nose. Mountain, high altitude wet pine, with roast chocolate, hay, olive garden notes.

T: Follows smell but BOOM! Dark chocolate and roasted malt under pin mountain, wet piney hops, with a see-saw battle between bitter and sweet with the peppery, bitter, and almost floral/perfumey hops the winner in a long finish.

Superb with food in this case with rotille on arugula, blackbeans, grass fed ground beef, tomato sauce, pesto, peppers, jack cheese.

F: Another creamy dream on top of all the richness.

MIght have to return to rate this higher as it warms.

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Photo of SammyJaxxxx
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Poured into my DFH glass
A: The beer is jet black in color with a finger high head. Great lacing.
S: Plenty of resiny hops in the nose followed with chocolate and toasty malts
T: The taste has plenty of roasty toasty malts and resiny piney citrusy hops. There is a moderate amount of bitterness. This is like a hoppy Porter. (and I mean that in a very good way.)
M: It is medium-bodied with a nice bite.
O: This beer is way too drinkable for a 10% beer. It is the perfect beer for a morning tailgate on a crisp fall day. It tastes like a hoppy porter and that is a very good think. This beer is simply excellent. I hope that it becomes readily available.

Another great beer from New Jersey's best brewery

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Epitome from Carton Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 33 ratings.