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Close Encounter - Pipeworks Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Close EncounterClose Encounter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

198 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 198
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 9.69%
Wants: 25
Gots: 27 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MasterSki on 03-14-2012

Close Encounter is a bold venture into depths unknown. The best of both worlds co-exist between a rich roasted malt er’n character and an aggressive hop presence that will probe your taste buds like +thing you have experienced before. Don’t fear the unknown, embrace it! You never know who or what you may encounter…
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 198 | Reviews: 37
Reviews by SkeeterBoganski:
More User Reviews:
Photo of deebo
2.81/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

A bomber given by a generous IL guy at Darkness Day eve. Batch 127.

A-Poured into a snifter, a thin finger of mocha head that laces the glass as it breaks down. Black as night.

S-Umm, very nice. I get a hint of grassy, earthy, slightly fruity hops with a very chocolatey malt quality. Other notes of rich roasted barley definite as well.

T-Unfortunately the taste doesn't hold up to the aroma. The rich dark malt overtakes everything in the taste. The hops add another level of bitterness beyond the burnt malt notes. Finishes a bit boozy. Kind of a mess.

M-A bit light in the body department. High carbonation.

O-Kind of a hot mess. Nice aroma, could use a better body and less bitter/astringent bite. A rough drink for 22 oz.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into nonic pint glass; inky black with a nice foamy thick brown head that leaves sticky delicate lacing as it fades slowly into a nice puck of foam. Smells of dark roasted malt, hint of smoke, slight coffee/chocolate, and some bitter hops with a scent I can't quite identify. Sort of herbal/minty maybe, bit of pine or citrus rind. Taste is big roasted malt, bitter and a little smoky; dark bitter coffee with a bit of baking chocolate. Then a small wave of alcohol comes in, carrying some spicy herbal hop flavors that bring out the bitterness in the malt. Mouthfeel is medium and creamy.
Overall it's quite different; it's separate both from a cascadian dark ale and a stout. It's somewhere in between, and it's also entirely something else. Not something I could drink all the time, but it's a neat beer.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a nonic)

A- This beer pours a jet black body wit a thick creamy cocoa head that takes up 1/2 the glass. As it fades it sticks in lumps to the glass and is supported by a sea of microbubbles.

S- The chocolate roasted malt is soft with a finish of resin hops that grows a bit stronger as it opens but is never really full in aroma.

T- The roasted black malt has nice chocolate notes and some cream flavor to it. The green pine hopes blend in the finish and the soft hop bitterness and roasted bitterness gently linger.

M- This beer has a nice medium mouthfeel with a gentle fizz and no alcohol heat noticed.

O- This beer has a nice balance of roasted malt and hops with the hops growing a bit as the beer opens. The flavors are softer than the artwork on the bottle but it is still very tasty.

Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Lakeview Liquors in August trip, so fairly fresh. Very roasty aroma and taste. Dry, some chocolate and light coffee. Dark black colour, some white head. Pretty smooth and drinkable, though still not the best In a great style. Nice bitterness, mild citrus.

Photo of WoodBrew
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am so jonsing right now....just the other day a co-worker and I were talking Chicago beweries and he mentions Pipeworks....I never heard of them....Check out the local Binny's....BAM....Close Encounters...WHAT? A hopped up Double Stout....I'm in. This beer is really good....follows a black IPA, but has more coffee stout taste. The beer poured an opaque black with a tan thin head that is lacing. The smell has a nice mix of coffee stout with fresh hops mixed in. The taste follows the scent. With the coffee and hops there is a subtle caramel hints. The mouthfeel is full bodies with smooth carbonation. Overall this is a great beer. I can't wait to find more from PIPEWORKS!!!

Photo of emerge077
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Bells tulip glass, it's jet black with a layer of creamy mocha foam on the surface. Long lasting foam and rings of tan lace all over the glass.

Grassy, with notes of turned earth and deep roast at first. Smooth and creamy, plenty of coffee, dark chocolate, blackened malt, and a lingering grassy pine bitterness. Starts out dry and barely sweet, also finishing dry with the hoppy aftertaste remaining for quite awhile. Comes across almost like an imperial black ipa of sorts. Uinta Dubhe comes to mind, one of few I enjoy for the style.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep pitch-black color ale with a large dirty brown color head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma consists of a powerful hops punch with some citrus notes and some herbal hops notes which are offset by some dry roasted malt notes. Taste is a powerful mix between some huge dry roasted malt offset by citrus and grapefruit hosp notes with an herbal finish. Body is full with somewhat of a creamy texture and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Well brewed with huge flavour and not necessarily something I would feel like drinking on a regular basis but glad I tasted it.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Robbie for this bottle! Batch #10.
Poured in to CBS snifter.

A - Black. Completely dark as night. One finger of light brown head.

S - A big fresh hop aroma up front with some citrus and lighter pine notes coming through. Roast and hints of chocolate in the background.

T - Bitter hop punch up front with some big citrus flavours present. A big roast profile hits the tongue next complimented by hints of cocoa and molasses. Bitter, dry finish.

M - Medium body with a great chew. Silky smooth. Light carbonation.

Photo of EgadBananas
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definitely pours stout dark. Frothy dark brown head, nice lace.

The hopping is definitely aggressive! Big notes of pine and resin, but unlike a lot of hopped up stouts, the big roasty, chocolaty notes punch through the hops.

The taste is definitely a bitter beast. Again though, the bold stout qualities (big roasted notes, chocolate, coffee) are easy to pick up too.

The feel is nice and full, almost chewy.

In a way, this reminds me of McNeils Dark Angel and like it, it's a very well made, hoppy, yet flavorful stout.

Thanks to injuredreserve for sharing!

Photo of ThickNStout
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle from Beer Temple (Chicago, IL). 8.99. Batch 93, 2012. Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours black with a two finger cap of thick lingering tan head. The head eventually fades to a thin wisp that grows easily when swirled and leaves good sized sheets of lace.

Smells piney and roasty with a hint of citrus and chocolate.

Taste is a nice mixture of pine, bitter dark chocolate, citrus rind, French roast coffee, oranges, wet grass, burnt caramel and a bit of alcohol. Plenty bitter and plenty roasty with very little alcohol presence.

Simultaneously creamy and slick with a medium full body and fairly high carbonation. Roasty and hoppy bittersweet finish.

Stradling a line somewhere between the hoppy double stout that it claims to be and highly roasty malty American black ale. This is an enjoyable brew with strong roots in both the roasty/ malty camp and the piney/ hoppy camp. If you are a fan of American black ales (I'm no fan of the term black IPA) or hoppy stouts this one is deserves your attention.

Photo of Etan
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Libbey tall tulip.

A: Pours a deep black with a huge, chocolate-colored head. The head is sticky and spongy, retains well, and leaves some monster lacing.

S: Big hoppy nose on this one. Grapefruit, pine, coffee, chocolate.

T: Bitter dark chocolate, some roasted coffee, and piney hop resin on the end. Not nearly as hoppy as the nose, but they're definitely there. Slight hop bitterness throughout.

M: Nice thick mouthfeel, but almost no carbonation on this one. Odd.

O: This had the makings of a great hoppy stout or black IPA, but the hops seem weak in the taste, and the lack of carbonation is detrimental. Still tasty, but not great.

Photo of Cresant
3.19/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Reviewed from notes. Poured this 22 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams glass. No batch # present. The body was potting soil black and had a head that was creamy & tan.

The smell was spicy. Root-beer like?

The taste was of bitter chocolate. There was minimal sweetness but there was a prickly alcohol burn.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied with a fine carbonation. Not my favorite Pipeworks beer but enjoyable.

Photo of BKBassist
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Batch 127, bottled 4/30/13. Enjoyed 8/8/13, from a tulip.

A - Looks like a stout. Rich and black. Big frothy head with a medium brown hue to it. Reasonable retention.

S - Chocolate milk, some roasted qualities.

T - A fairly strong hop presence for a stout. Maybe not quite into Black IPA territory, but there is a not of some tropical backbone. More roast in the body than the nose. A bit of rye like spice character.

M - Something between your darker black IPAs (Wookey Jack comes to mind) and a lighter stout. Not super heavy, light pleasant carbonation.

O - My first beer from Pipeworks, I like this quite a bit. I'm not bowled over with amazing, but I would definitely drink this again. It straddles the line between a roasty black IPA and a fairly hoppy stout quite well, not really settling into either world. Perhaps fresher it leans more into the IPA world.

Photo of DrinkingDuck
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A dark Black pour with a 3 finger cocoa brown head quickly dissipating to form a light ring of foam over the beer leaving light lacing around the glass as it is consumed

Smell: Roasted chocolate and hops along with a light hint of grapefruit aroma giving this brew an overall pleasant aroma.

Taste: Rich hop forward flavor with roast coffee and chocolate flavors ultimately combining for a pleasant finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied mouthfeel with light carbonation and no alcohol warmth detected.

Overall: This is overall an enjoyably flavorful Double Stout with the right amount of hoppiness to appeal to BOTH WORLDS of hop lovers.

Photo of Nugganooch
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber – Batch#57 into my Stone IRS Snifter glass
Notes taken on 10/13/13

Received in trade – Thanks Paul!

A: Pours a dark inky black body with the slightest crimson edge on it. Virtually pitch with no visibility. Produces about a half finger width of dark khaki foam with decent stay. Eventually falls out to a swirl leaving minimal dots of stick down the glass.

S: Smells of dark roasted malts with some cooked caramel sweetness, molasses, dark fruits, and a hint of black licorice spice. I am getting some wafts of alcohol as well. Very roasty with a touch of smoky char. Nice and stouty. Not particularly hoppy in the aroma.

T: Blackened malts with some coffee grounds, bitter dark chocolate, and an astringent sour charcoal ash. It is a little off-putting to say the least coupled with a high amount of hop bitterness. More spice and earthy hops, but mostly unremarkable in flavor. Finishes with a hint of dark berries with plum and just a touch of alcohol noted. This could have been really nice but the acrid char is a bit overbearing.

M: Thick body with a nice frothy smooth texture and high amount of drying lending to a much lighter finish. There is big astringent bite and some light alcohol warmth. Finishes with a rather clean coat.

D: I am down for a hoppy stout but this one didn’t quite work for me. A little heavy handed on the roast barley. Gets a bit harsh with the ashy char. Other than that it is a fairly decent brew that I am stoked to have had.
Love the concept, love the label artwork, didn’t quite love the execution.

Photo of WillCarrera
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle, batch numberrr.... you forgot to write it on there guys! Anyway I picked up from Binny's on April, 10, 2012. Poured into a tulip glass.

A-Pours black with a finger of creamy mocha head that settles down to a ring over several minutes, the head is nicely responsive when I swish it around in my glass. Leaves nice lacing.

S- Big pine and resin aroma, paired with an also quite strong coffee aroma and roasted grain, some char.

T- Dominated by a big piney hop flavor, some light citrus. Followed very shortly by a roasted malt flavor with coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Slight roasted astringency. Has a wonderfully long finish of bitter coffee and sweet chocolate.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth creamy feel, slight astringency.

O- One of the best Cascadian Dark ales (which is what it seems like to me more than a stout) that I've had in a really long time. Pipeworks has seriously been nailing every release lately, and this beer really lives up to the awesome lineup they've been building.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

Finally getting around to this bottle, something I picked up before the Expo last week. It pours an inky black-brown topped by a slightly fluffy finger of brown foam. The nose comprises minty greens, cocoa powder, roasted malts, molasses, and a small pinprick of grapefruit peel. The taste holds notes of grapefruit zest, dark chocolate powder, light roasted malts, light molasses, light pine, earthy greens, and a touch of mild char buried deep in the background. Some toasted pine needles linger on deep into the night, erasing much of the stout characteristics from my tongue, leaving me wanting more. The body is a light hefty, with a very light moderate carbonation and a fairly silky-leaning feel. Overall, a pretty solid hoppy stout. I'd've liked to see the balance between thick roast/chocolate and hops hang on through the finish, rather than have the stout take a dive and the hops dance about for a bit, but it's still tasty regardless.

Photo of Khazadum
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Back from time out and ready to review!

A- Super creamy froth, I'm talking thick creamy froth with some cystic acne scars disturbing your vision. Thick lacing, very sticky, long lasting. Its almost perfect.

S- Orange rinds, delicious grapefruit zest and pulp, some lightly toasted grains. Its about the hops in the nose, as you'd expect from this super hopped stout. There is a light pine zest off the finish as well.

T- Ooo, thats grapefruit zest, orange rind, lightly bittered vegetal bite. Milk stout sweetness. It finishes just a tad bit bitter. Like the perfect amount for a stout thats supposed to be hoppy, but not be a Cascadian Black Ale. The finish has a nice acrid bitter grain as well to complement the hops.

M- Super creamy... insanely velvety and smooth. The carbonation in the beginning pairs with a nice alcoholic bite... like mouth puckeringly crisp at times. This doesn't contend too harshly with the smoothness of it all though. Its both crisp and smooth. Both creamy and sharp. What a dichotomy.

I really love this beer. Its so awesome. It really has the power to be both hoppy, and presence of being a stout. I just wish I got more roasty nature, more toasted grain... something stronger in the flavor category.

Photo of KFBR392
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Great stout look. Pour with a medium bodied texture. A very dark brown color coming out, pitch black in the glass. Got almost a finger of head on the pour, which quick dissipated.

Smell: A lot of roasted malt with an interesting bright hop character. Chewy hops really make this an unique aroma. A lot of depth here which really makes it a treat.

Taste: Really follows the aroma well. The front is some mature malt which an oak texture. Yields to a very sticky heavy hop character which is incredible balanced. The aftertaste is a perfect mixture of all the flavors. The palette is beaten up by the hops but a dark fruit texture is very prevalent.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, oh yeah just awesome.

Overall: Pipeworks continues to hit it out of the park. A wonderful double stout which is very impressive from a small brewery. Nothing lacking in the body which mature and complex flavors.

Photo of brystmar
3.08/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bluebies!

Standardish stout appearance, great retention on the lace. Smells dry, hoppy, and oxidized.

Hoppy & bitter through and through. Surprising how much bitterness there is here. Roasted malts need more spotlight. Imbalanced, way too hoppy for a stout. Bleh.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

bottle picked up locally the other day while in Chicago. says batch number 93. enjoyed from a pipeworks snifter.

brew poured a watery black with a thin foamy mocha head. decent lacing and the creamy dessert like head stuck around for a while. as advertised the smell was roasted malts with an aggressive hop. taste was more of the same but lead with the hop. Hopper than darkness, but very nice. Reminds me of hoppy stout from a local fav, greenport harbor brewing. very enjoyable and hitting the spot right now.

Photo of taez555
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hand numbered, batch #57

Beer pours a thick black body with an off-white head.

Nose throws you off at first since it hits with a strong resin hop smell. As it warms the background chocolate notes start to peak through the forest. It's a very yin yang type of nose. One sniff is double IPA, the next sniff is imperial stout. I like it. :-)

Taste is thick and full bodied. Unlike the nose, the taste is all about the stout. BIg rich waves of chocolate and espresso. Nothing over the top, but enough to balance well with the high ABV. Hops tastes aren't as upfront either, with the bitterness kept mostly to the background for balance. I wish I could say more about this beer, but it's just, right. It's a perfectly balance well done big double stout. Tasty as hell and you could drink it all day long.

This is the second Pipeworks beer I picked up while visiting IL over the Christmas break, and gotta say I'm really impressed. This is a world class double/imperial stout. Kudos guys. I'd love to try more.

Photo of homebrew311
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: opaque brown with dark brown head, decent level Of lacing

S: deep earthy pine hop character, roasted pine needles and wood chAracter, a bit of dark chocolate present

T: dry and bitter up front, almost no malt sweetness , plenty of bitterness, notes of tobacco

Mf: not as heavy as it looks, high carbonation

O: lots of flavor, heavy on bitterness and earthy quality, worth a try

Photo of brentk56
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 19

Appearance: Pours an obsidian color with a creamy tan head that displays great retention and a patchwork of lacing

Smell: Waves of roasty chocolate and pithy grapefruit alternate

Taste: The hops don't even wait a millisecond for the malts to establish a presence, dominating the flavors, up front, with a bitter, piney character; though the dark chocolate flavors in the malt profile add depth by mid-palate, the hops dominate this beer from start to finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: As great as it smells, I was slightly disappointed by the flavor profile and would have liked to see a more rounded approach to the hop presence in this beer; I think this is a different beer from the Cascadian IPA as the malt bill is much more stout-like so I would agree that it is a very hoppy double stout

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to DrAwkward82 for sharing this one at AndrewK’s tasting.

Batch # 10.

Pours an opaque black with a dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and some herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with a medium amount of hop bitterness. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer and a nice version of a hoppy stout.

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Close Encounter from Pipeworks Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 198 ratings.