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Close Encounter - Pipeworks Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Close EncounterClose Encounter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

41 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 41
Hads: 246
Avg: 3.95
pDev: 22.53%
Wants: 22
Gots: 40 | FT: 3
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…
View: Beers (133) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 41 | Hads: 246
Photo of napdynmite
4.45/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a can. Smells like a roasty black IPA. Burnt pineapple, some apricot. The initial sip is pure DIPA with an orange candy and dark fruit side but plenty of citrus. But then things turn stoutward. Roasty and chocolate on the finish with plenty of bitter hops to close. I thought this was a complex and delicious offering.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
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!!!

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Photo of Mehinaman
4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

If Pipeworks had called this a Black IPA no one would have blinked. Regardless of the classification, it's an extremely tastey beer. Very strong taste of dark chocolate and especially coffee mixed with IPA hoppiness. An impressive beer all around

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
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!

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Photo of 312HopBomb
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber from Rogers Park Fine Wine and Spirits. My friendly neighborhood purveyor of craft beer. Served in a 70's vintage Goblet.

Appearance is black as night with mocha foam that reduces to a ring with thin foam across the surface. Low to moderate lacing.

My sensors pick up roast and piney hops but not real intense. A bit of citrus hops too. Like the other reviewers noted it smells more like a black DIPA. Similar to Odell Mountain Standard without the grapefruit aroma.

Taste consists of nice roasted malt (black patent?) and hoppy pine resin. Dry and well attenuated. No sweetness that I expected just focused on the hop profile with roast in the background. A nice roasted flavor that is not overshadowed by the hops. They are fighting for dominance but hops win by a nose. I really like this one. Not at all like Dubhe but very much similar to Odell Mountain Standard which is my current favorite of the black DIPA style (with Two Brother's Black Hop Juice right up there at the top of the list). This will be my local (Central Standard) substitute!

Mouthfeel is medium and nicely carbonated with a dryness that is pleasant.

The hype and anticipation was high but this first taste of Pipeworks did not let me down. I first read their blog two years ago and finally the fruits of their labor hit the Chicago market. I am excited that their new facility is located only blocks from my workplace. I see frequent growler fills (beginning at the end of summer) in my future when the taproom is pegged to open. Can't wait to share with my brother as he is pumped to sample their wares. Next up is Ninja vs Unicorn chillin in the fridge...yes!

A loud shout out to Pipeworks Brewing for a great intro!

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into Half Acre tulip.

A- pours a nice black/brown with a 2" dark mocha, almost cola colored head. Head takes awhile to reside and leaves behind lots of waves and swirly lacing.

S- big coffee and pine aroma is noticeable right away. Some roasted malts and ash in there as well.

T- some sweet chocolate followed quickly by big roasted malts, coffee and big pine bitterness. Leaves a slight ashy finish as well.

M- medium body and carbonation. Very drinkable and maybe just a little thin, but not in a bad way.

O- Pipeworks just keeps impressing me. Every beer so far is been solid. I wouldn't call this a imperial cascade Ike stone 15th or Hop Juice Black but more of a hopped up stout like the description says.

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Photo of taez555
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of Chaney
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

My lovely wife picked this up at a Binny's in Chicago when she went to visit family this past summer.

Served in a DC Brau tulip.

A: Poured thick, black, intense, and infinitely sticky. What more could one want?

S: I could literally smell this thing from several feet away. Is this a Black IPA or stout? Sorta reminds me of FFF Black Sun in that regard. Infinitely bright, fruity, and candy-like, but with a good bit of grainy char thrown in for safe measure.

T: Actually, the char hit the palate first, but then the semi-sweet goodness fill the mouth shortly after. Still, this is almost a black and tan: big stout infused with an East Coast IPA. However, it had this overall black cherry quality that was flat out awesome.

M: Thick and gooey, just the way I like it. RIDICULOUS lacing, and the carbonation was nice and low.

O: This blew me away. Obviously, a lot of the reviews on here didn't have the same beer I had.

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Photo of Florida9
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Appears black in the glass, but a very tiny bit of light is capable of poking through the edges, revealing an exceedingly dark brown beer. Forms a good inch plus of tan colored head that slowly reduces down to just the faintest surface coating. Some spotty lacing.

S: Lots of citrus hops mixed with a very nice roasted malt base. Grapefruit, pine, chocolate, and a hint of molasses.

T: Starts off with a good dose of hops. Mostly grapefruit with a little pine mixed in before the heavily roasted malts take over. Finishes with a moderate pine resin bitterness and some residual char.

M: On the heavy side of medium and rather light for the style. Carbonation, while not aggressive, is noticeable and is a bit heavy for the style as well. Mild to moderate bitterness.

O: If I had tasted this one blind, I'd guess it's a Black IPA (which is probably the reason I liked it), but the bottle clearly lists this as a double stout. The feel of this beer is light for the style and even the ABV would suggest that it's just barely breaching the Imperial Stout border. Regardless of the classification, I enjoyed this beer quite a bit and would certainly be willing to revisit it again.

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Photo of KFBR392
4.24/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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Photo of Treebs
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle served in a CBS snifter. Batch #7

A: Pours a dark black color in the body with dark brown edges where the light begins to penetrate. A thin dark khaki head forms on the pour and recedes to a thin collar.

S: Intense piney and citrus like hops hit you right away up front and slowly afterward the roastiness of the malts and some mild chocolate sweetness carry you to the finish.

T: The hops from nose have the same level of intensity in the taste. Nice pine and citrus hop flavors are up front, but the toasted malts and chocolate flavors come on quicker than the nose. They carry you into the finish where a light astringency paired with a mild hop bitterness await.

M: Medium bodied with a nice carbonation. This mouthfeel is exactly what I went in a beer like this. Nice solid stout feel, but with the drinkability of an IPA. There is a mild drying feel on the finish.

O: I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Whenever I hear the term "black IPA" I sort cringe in terror, but this beer is exactly what I had hoped every other one of those beers tasted like. I'm still putting this in the stout category, but it definitely straddles that line. Very well balanced. Recommend.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of Khazadum
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Binny's. Served in a Darkness tulip.

A - A few fingers of tan mocha foam settle to a thick cap, leaving glass-coating lace behind. Body is a very dark near-black color that suggests a much bigger beer.

S - It's hoppy alright - tons of floral and piney hops with a kiss of citrus in there as well. Malt character is largely cocoa powder and caramel, with a light roast character to it. Really nice stuff.

T - Unfortunately the taste isn't quite as good, as there's a bit too much bitter grapefruit and charry roast, and a tad less sweetness than I prefer. This is definitely borderline Black IPA in flavor, but it's got a bit harsher than I prefer and could use a tad more sweetness.

M - Surprisingly zesty carbonation, with a medium-full, chewy and mildly creamy body. Roasty finish, but with some residual stickiness.

D - Reminds me of old-school Storm King, but with more citrus and less pine in the hop bill. In any case, the Pipeworks guy seem to have hoppy beers in their wheelhouse. Might be a challenge to drink a whole bomber, but a glass was quite enjoyable.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of emerge077
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of Agold
4.14/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this at the (disappointing) Chicag Beer Fest. I will say that pipeworks was the only brewery that really brought out some awesome stuff (aside from GI bringing BCS '10 and Marisol which was pretty nice). Everyone else brought regulars, mostly stuff I could find off the shelf but the standout star of the night was pipeworks.

Poured much like a stout with very dark body and khaki head which receded to a ring around the glass. Aroma struck me much more like an IPA than a stout. Very similar to Ninja vs. Unicorn with regards to the hop profile. Very nice piney citrus aroma complemented by a nice amount of roast. Flavor had a similar IPA character with a bit more roast and cocoa than the aroma. There is a lot of piney flavors along with a bit of mild roast and cocoa. the mouthfeel is a bit light, but this plays more into the idea of a dark IIPA than the idea of a hoppy impy stout for me, which is probably how I would rather think of this beer.

I am not a huge fan of the black IPA movement, but I will say that despite the BA (and pipeworks) classification as an impy stout, this beer is by far the best cascadian ale I have come across. The darkness is not just a color, but a flavor which (to me) oddly complements the piney, resiney, mildly citrus hop character. Though they bill it as a hopped up Impy stout, it would be much better thought of as a dark IIPA.

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Photo of DrinkingDuck
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.07/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.04/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours thick far black with a thin dark tan head. Very thick consistency and some really nice lacing.

Smell is hop forward with lots of tropical like fruity hops overlaying some nice chared malt and some more complex dark fruit notes.

Taste follows the nose with topical fruit hops and some piney hop flavors. This is followed by a rich charred.

Mouthfeel is great, lots of bitterness both from the hops and roasted malt. Very thick and smooth.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.03/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle courtesy of grachdar. Thanks! Consumed 10/3, reviewed from notes.

A: Pure black with some fizz around the glass. Thick mocha head that settles to about a quarter inch.

N: Coffee and licorice. Roasted malt/malted milk. Dark chocolate, oats and grains. Some hop bitterness. Not bad.

T: Lots of dark-roast coffee. The licorice isn't as predominant in the body as the nose. Hints of baker's chocolate. Some pine and earth. This heavily leans towards the coffee, which is pretty nice seeing as there's no indication it's made with any. Alcohol is mostly non-existent.

M: Full mouthfeel and a pleasant level of carbonation.

O: A very good double stout. Rather than attacking the palate like an RIS, it fulfills the role between dry stout and its elder brother. Would definitely have again.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Close Encounter from Pipeworks Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.