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Squid Ink - Pacific Brewing Laboratories

Not Rated.
Squid Ink
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BA SCORE
87
very good

32 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 32
Reviews: 15
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 11.05%
Wants: 1
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pacific Brewing Laboratories visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: CliffBrake on 12-09-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 32 | Reviews: 15 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by jwjon1:
Photo of jwjon1
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, not quite black coloring with a tan, non sustaining head. Looks pretty good.

Smells of roasted malt. Can't pick up any hops in the nose. So much for this being a black IPA. At least it's black.

Before I can taste, it's readily apparent this is a sticky beer. Over pour has my fingers sticking to the glass. Lips, too, for that matter. Taste agrees with the nose: all malt. At least in the front and mid palette. Nice chocolate malts at that, with a thicker body than anticipated. Maybe some oatmeal in there to thicken it up? Very appropriate for a beer called squid ink: it has the body of a sauce thickened with ink. I like that.

Back end is bitter. There's your hops. It just takes a while for them to swim through the sticky malt forward brew this is.

Enjoyable beer. But it's lacking for a black IPA, which is the style the brewer refers this as. Black ale may be more appropriate, but its close to an imperial porter. And sticky as all get out.

jwjon1, Mar 26, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of McJibJab
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clean head gradually gave way to intimidatingly black brew.
Smelled and appeared heavier and more malt-forward than it proved to be... a good thing if you came looking for an ale, like I did.

I wish I could go back and taste this blind, because I suspect visual + olfactory-based expectations may have biased my impression of flavor! I do my best to dissociate these biases in the description below.

Squid Ink strikes a healthy balance between malt and hops. True to its color, it has substantial malty character; hearty, but not overbearing. Hops shine through after it first hits the palate, and the finish is crisp enough to remind you that (contrary to outward appearances) you are, in fact, drinking an ale, and yes, you would like another round.

McJibJab, Jun 13, 2012
Photo of buzzword
4/5  rDev +2.8%

buzzword, Aug 03, 2013
Photo of SamuelR
4/5  rDev +2.8%

SamuelR, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of KMcG
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this last Wednesday night at La Trappe during the first public offering by the brewery. The review is from notes taken on my iPhone.

A: The beer was served in a house tulip glass and the color was a dark like coffee. There was iittle head development, but a fine tan rime of head with nice lacing and legs remained through the session.

S: There was a roasted malt and coco aroma. The slightly sweet smell had notes of bright herbal and citrus fruit hops. This brightness nicely complimented the toasty dark ale smells.

T: Roasted malts are quite apparent - perhaps not too different than many black lagers; however, the real treat comes before the roasted sweetness, which gives way to a resiny grapefruit hop flavor. The finish is dry with a parsley bitterness.

M: This one starts with fine carbonation giving it a creamy quality that I haven't sampled in other black lagers, but yet has a bright hoppy tone. Quite drinkable.

KMcG, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of mc4z
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

mc4z, Jul 14, 2013
Photo of jaydoc
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

jaydoc, Feb 12, 2014
Photo of bwyu
4/5  rDev +2.8%

bwyu, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of BarleyMacDaddy
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

BarleyMacDaddy, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of sansho
4/5  rDev +2.8%

sansho, Feb 15, 2014
Photo of lpstar
4/5  rDev +2.8%

lpstar, Jul 23, 2013
Photo of mactrail
3.23/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Black IPA? This doesn't seem very hoppy, though brewer says this is 54 IBUs. Nearly black and lives up to its name in appearance, at least.

Tastes just like a big stout with just a scratch of hops. Winey finish with a hint of sweet vermouth. Pleasant nutty flavor with a touch of pecans and a little brown sugar. Finally it goes out with a hoppy bitterness, but it's quite earthy and grimy. A pleasant maltiness but overall it's not very interesting.

On tap at Pizza Inferno on Fillmore St.

mactrail, Feb 19, 2013
Photo of jjohnston87
4/5  rDev +2.8%

jjohnston87, Jul 18, 2012
Photo of Beerenauslese
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first experience with this at the Shotwell's bar release.

Lives up to its name with a dense black color topped by a tan head that dissolves to a ring of foam, leaving a bit of lacing on the glass.

Nose of dark roasted malt and orange/citrus.

Appealing taste of charred malt and orange. Has just enough sweetness to balance the char. Little bitter in the finish. Cascade hopping is nicely done along with some other hops adding more citrus/grapefruit rind. But it is not a hop bomb at all.

Body is medium for a stout, a bit dense for an IPA. It has a nice creamy mouthfeel.

Overall, borders on a medium body stout. But whatever you want to call it, I thought it is a good winter beer choice. Although it is not very complicated, it is smooth and pleasant. I enjoyed drinking this enough to have a second pint.

Beerenauslese, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of Rmbuns
4.24/5  rDev +9%

Rmbuns, Sep 29, 2014
Photo of GClarkage
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

GClarkage, Jul 07, 2014
Photo of StJamesGate
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft at Toronado, San Francisco.
Jet with white sheets.
Big leaf nose with some ash.
Deep chocolate truffle then squeaky lemon candy hops.
Powdery Lemsip finish and lean linger.
Medium, oily, chewy.

Splits the difference between a black-in-color-only IPA and a hoppy porter. Lots of lemon rind. Serious stuff.

StJamesGate, May 13, 2014
Photo of dkasper
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first time I had a dark ale from Pac Brew Lab was back when they were still doing tasting sessions out of their garage, so was excited to finally get around to having Squid Ink on tap. The dark ipa category is an odd one though, something like a thick ipa or a hoppy stout, kind of combining the characteristics of both.

The appearance nails the squid ink name, dark and murky looking. Scent had distinct pine in it, and taste was smooth and roasted-chocolatey, and fairly bitter toward the end, but not overly so. Really enjoyed the flavor of this beer and worth having a few rounds.

dkasper, Jul 05, 2012
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thick beer. Doesn't quite strike me as a black IPA since there seem to be no strong hop characteristics. It strikes me more as a porter. Regardless of classification, the beer is sound. Nice body, great consistency. The only drawback is a biting carbonation to it. Gnaws at my tongue a bit too much. Regardless. I like this beer. Nice execution from a new nano brewery. Keep it up gentlemen.

RblWthACoz, May 09, 2012
Photo of AgentMunky
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a footed tasting glass at City Beer Store.

A: Pitch black. Not much head. Impressive.

S: Dark sweet roasted malt. Grapes? Pleasant piny hops. More like a RIS or Alice Porter than an IPA.

T: Finished in Napa Cabarnet barrels. It shows. Interesting and excellent. Dark, malty, but well balanced. Dark fruit, slightly tart, with a dry hopped finish.

M: Smooth and viscous.

O: Highly recommended! Would have again. Too bad it's so hard to find. Feels like a wine barrel aged stout, with a big dose of hops.

AgentMunky, Aug 01, 2012
Photo of Garrett
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Garrett, Aug 08, 2013
Photo of elNopalero
4.19/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a rich black with a nice creamy head to it. Malty sweet notes dominate the aroma, followed by a light roast and some hop presence. The flavor is hoppy enough to scratch an itch but its definitely more on the malty side of things. Almost like a hoppy amber/porter with an orange preserves flavored character.

elNopalero, Feb 23, 2013
Photo of ngeunit1
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served a dark black with a thick frothy finger of chocolate head. Head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some good lace.

S- Aroma is a mix of roasted and burnt chocolate and caramel malt with some earthy hops.

T - Starts off with some slightly burnt sweet caramel malt with some pine and earthy hops. Through the middle, more burnt malts comes through with some chocolate, bitterness, and just a touch of dark fruit. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate malt with some bitterness and a touch of yeast.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a roasty and dry finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice malt and hop balance with some good roasted malt flavor. Could have used just a touch more body.

ngeunit1, May 24, 2012
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.5/5  rDev -35.7%

westcoastbeerlvr, Aug 03, 2013
Photo of magictacosinus
3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I had not heard of this brewery beforehand, but I consumed this out of their tap at the Academy of Sciences during one of their late night expositions - that's SF for you! Poured into a 12oz plastic pint out of their tap system, but it was over-sudsing so badly by the time I got there that they gave me two 2/3rd pints for the price of one. Sweet.

Pours a dark, near opaque color with an off-brown head that was about 3 fingers high. When I escaped the brutal crowds gathered around the stands and displays showcasing elephant taxidermy, I was able to finally see brownish tinged hue to this. I honestly do not have too many complaints other than the over-foaming factor plaguing this beer. It turned out to be pretty viscous and thickened for a 7% black IPA, and deserves every bit of credit for that.

At the nose I get classic West Coast aromas, ranging from pine, orange peel, lemon, and a bit of grapefruit, and then all kinds of other herbal flavors that I haven't quite encountered before in the style, ranging from mint, clove, roses, and rosemary. The malts provide, on the other hand, a roasted cocoa character that is subtle yet firm, as well as notes of light licorice, espresso, caramel, and roasted biscuits. Not as complex as I like it, but very pungent and aromatic at every first whiff... Definitely smells very fresh, floral, and earthy overall. I enjoy it for what it is.

This is definitely a middle of the road black IPA, but at least in touches on flavors that I tend to enjoy in the style. Very astringent at the front, with notes of pine, grapefruit, earthy honey, and orange, and then right at the middle the bitterness dies down and is replaced by the roasted flavors, which are sadly a little bit more muted this time around. Light caramel, some anise, roasted dry barley, but barely enough of a backbone to make way for the initial bittered flavors. Slightly watery at the finish, rather than resinous or thickened, which makes it relatively quaffable, in spite of the strong, ascending bitterness that envelops as this warms up. Carbonation is quite good, and the long lasting foam makes this creamy. I do wish this beer knew what it wanted to do, though. There's a lot of potential at both aspects, but neither fully comes through.

Not a bad SF black IPA - definitely miles ahead of Back in Black - and this is one that could grow on me. I tried their IPA offering at their booth as well, and it was quite floral and good. If everything goes right, these guys could become the leading hoppy aromatic brewery in SF (to mirror Drake's in the East Bay). A solid offering that falls a bit short on the malts, but the hops are lovely indeed. Can't wait to see more.

magictacosinus, Jul 27, 2013
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Squid Ink from Pacific Brewing Laboratories
87 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.