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Close Encounter - Pipeworks Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Close EncounterClose Encounter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

54 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 54
Hads: 320
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 21.11%
Wants: 22
Gots: 56 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States | website

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 54 | Hads: 320
Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tall can w/o freshness info...there is a "20" on the bottom of the can...(batch number?)

Anyway this one pours very dark and stout like, dark mocha head that's slow to fade, leaving a thicker collar and respectable low sheeting.

Pungent dark and bitter chocolate, expresso on the nose

Full flavor stout with more chocolate and coffee all over the palate. Aggressive hopping in full effect. Nicely crafted More HQ brew form PW Brewing - well worth a try

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

7.0% ABV printed on the can. Pours a dark chestnut brown color with some red highlights shining through. In the glass, it's black, topped with a dark tan head of tightly packed bubbles. The aroma provides qualities of both a stout and a hoppy ipa - as advertised. Lots of citrus, grapefruit, clementine, pine, deep roasted malts, milk chocolate, brown sugar, some coffee, and an underlying earthy/spicy hop smell. The mouth feel is medium-thin, heavily carbonated, with a creamy roast texture and good balance of bitterness from both a char flavor and the hops. In the taste, I get roast characteristics up front, a clean char, roasted espresso, dark chocolate, molasses sweetness, followed by the bitter citrus rind, resinous pine, earthiness, and slight tropical hops on the back end. A good black IPA overall, but lacks the thick mouth feel for me to consider this a hopped up stout.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a one-finger tan head. Great lacing. Smells of dark malt, slight hops and little citrus.
Very big on the chocolate/nutty malt. A little licorice as well. Piney hops are abundant. Bitterness lingers. a medium body makes this an enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Beaver13
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 oz can. Pours dark brown black with a medium creamy brown head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet roast and piney hops with a little fruit.

The flavor is roast chocolate malt with lots of piney fruity hops and a little black licorice. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, a nice hoppy stout / black IPA.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good stout but not great. Pours a nice dark color with light head. Tasty but nothing overly special. I love Pipeworks but this one left me a tiny bit disappointed - their IPA's and Ales are outstanding. Stouts don't seem to be their strength. Not a bad brew - but not one I'll seek out.

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Photo of seedyone
4.51/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From a can at Home, NYC. Had no idea what to expect when this was recommended to me. Pours thick & creamy. Head is a deep beige & matches the sound of the pour. Aroma carries more chocolate than coffee but the blend is great.

This reminds me of a black & tan made with superlative brews.

I love a big chewy pint & this delivers. Makes up for it being 70F here in NYC on Christmas Eve.

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Photo of pkalix
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

definitely Black IPA meets stout kind of brew.... awesomely beautiful chocolate-y head. a little more weirdly bitter than i prefer, but overall a decent brew and always glad to try the stuff out of my "distribution reach".....

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Photo of JustinCider
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Black in color, like motor oil that should have been changed 5,000 miles ago. Foamy, dark tan head that leaves some impressive lacing.

S: Aromas of pine cones, chocolate, roasted coffee and citrus.

T: Hops start and hang around for the entire time, from the first sip to longer after it is swallowed. Roasted malt, and to a lesser degree, chocolate and coffee, show up in the middle, only to be outshone by the piney hops.

M: Smooth, medium bodied hybrid.

O: Heavily hopped stouts and ales are becoming more prevalent, much to the dismay of some purists, but I personally like the mix of flavors. This beer has some faint similarities to Three Floyds Dark Sun and Surly Blakker."

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Photo of JordonHoltzman
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from can (quite fresh) into a snifter. Nice can, although the can says 7% abv, not 8.5% like this beer's profile on here, which would make it a regular stout and not imperial.
Dark brown/black body, a mocha tan head that fades quickly but the lacing left on the glass is nice.
This is a hopped up stout, and the aroma has that. First, you get the roasted malts, coffee character is strong, and then you get some hop aroma.
Taste matches the aroma, coffee first, followed by a hint of pine, and some oatmeal. The hops add a slight brightness. A beer I'd buy again

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Photo of ksimons
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-almost black in color with a fingers worth of dark tan head that leaves a thin layer of lacing around the top

S-roasted malt and piney hop bitterness

T-taste is similar to the smell with a roasted malt backbone, dark chocolate, and a strong pine hop finish

M-medium body, moderate carbonation

Overall this reminds me much more of a Black IPA than a true stout. Wish there was a bit more sweetness to this one, but overall not bad.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16oz can, date stamped 101815 I believe it says
A - thick pillow of light brown head holds incredible retention leaving thick lacing on the glass as it fades
S - juicy hops meets roasted barley with some dark chocolate
T - heavy roasted malt helps to keep the juicy & piny hops at bay. Bittersweet chocolate, faint coffee, and burnt caramel round out the flavors
M - fuller body, moderate carbonation, finishes dry and very bitter with pine and roast lingering
O - fun to try this "hopped up stout". Not sure it fits into the stout category given its bitterness and hop forwardness, but at least they advertise that it's not your traditional stout - it's definitely more like an American Black Ale. Either way, it was very delicious!

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Photo of Dustin_Sallitt
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really balanced and well done hopped up stout. Nice citrus hops on the nose with a wave of roastyness going on. The taste is similar with a lemony orange citrus entering with slight roast before slight hop bitterness and an increased level of roast hitting you. This is what a hoppy stout should be.

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Photo of CHickman
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a tallboy can, it's pitch black color with a thick 2 finger creamy tan head that was full of bubbles of all sizes allowing those bubbles to pop on the hop of the head which looked like a percolating espresso drink. The head faded extremely slowly and barely moved for a few minutes. Once it receded it left outstanding foamy lacing coating the sides with rings as it went down. The artwork on the can is very cool as well.

Looks like an imperial stout but smells like a fresh hopped IPA initially. Very strong piney and citrus hops up front which I could smell far from the glass, the hops are the dominant aroma with char, roasted grains, coffee grinds and cocoa powder. The can states this is a "Hopped Up Stout" so these guys nailed it on the nose. Not even close to a traditional imperial stout nose, but it smells great.

Tastes pretty much like it smells: like a fresh hopped black IPA that has strong piney, grapefruit and citrus hops up front, smoked malts, char, roasted grains, coffee grinds, ash, bakers chocolate and cocoa powder. Again, not even close to a traditional imperial stout, but it's really tasty and has enough roasted and smoky notes to tame the fresh, juicy hops so it resembles some balance. The aftertaste is more ashy and smoke-like as the hoppy sweetness fades and is swapped out for the char. Gets better and more complex as it warms.

Mouthfeel is thick yet smooth and almost slick across the tongue; this brew is chewy with a heavy body feel, a nice bitterness that resembles both coffee and fresh piney hops, and the finish is ashy, hoppy, bitter, full of smoke and cocoa powder to the point that it almost seems to fade dry and powdery. Very enjoyable.

Overall I really enjoyed this beer but feel it's a black IPA. Regardless, I'd definitely have it again as it was really damn good and a combo of my two favorite styles (DIPA and imperial stout).

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Photo of paco1029384756
3.59/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black with a frothy pillow of tan head. Scent of roasted malts, black licorice, fresh grain, resin and some chocolate. Taste of bitter roasted mats, resin, black licorice, grass, dark chocolate, and a bit of coffee. This is definitely a Stout with a good dosage of hops, something it would be nice to see more brewers embracing.

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Photo of Mehinaman
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
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 mfnmbvp
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 fl oz. can, canned 10/19/2015 printed on the bottom of the can. 'Hopped up stout' Released in 4 packs of cans. They've revamped the recipe, and subsequently lowered the abv from 8.50% to 7.00% abv for the can release.

Poured into a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter.

A - Pours a dark black body, one finger of dark mocha head with good staying power. Leaves excellent sticky spotty lacing behind.

S - A creamy milk chocolate malt aroma. Lots of bright earthy, bitter, resinous hops to go along with it. Smells like a lot of other breweries' attempts at crafting a Black IPA.

T - Extremely dark, bitter, roasty, & charred. Tons of burnt roasted malts dominate over any hop presence in the taste. Charred / burnt roasty black malts mixed with a backbone of bitter, piney, resinous hops. Again, is this a Black IPA or is it a hopped up stout? Is there much of a difference to begin with?

Looking forward to the regular release of this, however.

Pipeworks Close Encounter -----4/5.

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Photo of napdynmite
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
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 deebo
2.81/5  rDev -29.4%
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.

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Photo of Cresant
3.19/5  rDev -19.8%
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.

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Photo of Chaney
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
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 Nugganooch
3.57/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
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 BurgeoningBrewhead
4/5  rDev +0.5%
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 BKBassist
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
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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Close Encounter from Pipeworks Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.