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Close Encounter | Pipeworks Brewing Company

very good
62 Reviews
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Close EncounterClose Encounter

Brewed by:
Pipeworks Brewing Company
Illinois, United States | website

Style: American Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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…

Added by MasterSki on 03-14-2012

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Reviews: 62 | Ratings: 368
Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear, dark brown in color with one inch head. Taste is pine, roasted malt, cream, and oats. Did not get much hops and only slight roasty bitterness. Did get a nice and layered oaty stout. Very enjoyable and smooth. This is one I would get again.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Blackish brown with a tan, foamy head.

Roasty and milky aromas up front, with minty hops and lots of roasted coffee aromas following up.

Nicely roasty and milky flavors at first, with bitter spice of pine coming in second, providing a very dry finish. After a short while it becomes very apparent that this really is exceptionally roasty. With all the hopped-up elements, the level of roasted flavors is big enough to keep this in stout territory.

Very frothy mouthfeel.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz can served in a tumbler. I think the canned on date is 3/7/16.

Pours black with a light brown head that flashes up high and then fades at a medium pace to a thick, chunky ring. Smell is coffee and a little yeast.

Taste is coffee and hops and strong roasty malts. Strange, not entirely successful combination. Not bad, but strange. It has a bit of dark fruity sweetness which makes it whisper "porter" in your ear.

Mouthfeel is surprrisingly light and slightly oily. Overall, a pretty good, but not great beer.

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Photo of jaypaul522
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark with a lot of thick head. No strong aroma, but hints of malts and hops. Taste was good, quite strong of malts, and then a mildly hoppy finish. The feel was medium to light, which wasn't stout-like. Overall a good tasting beer, with lighter than expected body.

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Photo of Dan_K
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep brown with 2 fingers of dense mocha bubbles. Coffee and chocolate intertwine with orange peel and pine on the nose. The taste of cocoa powder, orange flesh, and bitter pine dance across your tongue. A feeling of roasted bitterness, bitter pine, and a slightly sticky sweet feeling linger after the swallow. This stout is easy to consume and effortless to enjoy.

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

i cant imagine anyone not liking this. although i think its more black ipa than stout, its awesome beer, rich in flavor and feel, and another example of why pipeworks is so awesome. i see multiple listings here, and the label has changed on the four pack of pint cans this year, but i reckon the beer is the same. i love the beer, it looks like a porter, almost a porter on nitro, with a huge and dense micro bubble grayish tan head with excellent retention and well defined rings when i sip on it. it smells like centennial or some other heavy high alpha northwestern varietal, oils and sap, foresty and huge, and only exacerbated by a bigger dark malt grain base with some burnt coffee and soily notes, like compost and wet organic matter, growing medium, i bet this beer would sprout some seeds pretty well. almost no sugar in the flavor either, the only sweetness there is that honey hop thing, piney and awesome, but more than tempered by the bitterness of the dark malt. raw cocoa and unbrewed coffee grinds on the base, but flush and full, like some oats are involved too. i like these guys a lot, they sort of gender-bend some styles, but all of it is distinct and well done, and i am so glad they have found their way to colorado. this is one of the more interesting and delicious four packs i have procured in awhile. killer beer here!

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Photo of thepenguin
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a lighter shade of black with a small creamy tan head. Good foam retention and a decent amount of lacing.

S: Coming awful close to a Black IPA. Resinous hop notes of pine with some grapefruit, paired with some dark roasted malts.

T: On the drier side with very assertive piney hops and some dry roastiness. Has a long bitter finish with resinous hops giving way to .

F: Medium-light body with medium-plus carbonation.

Thoughts: Not a terrible beer but it really comes too close to a Black IPA without offering much nuance. It’s a bit too dry and light, and all around one-dimensional.

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

16 ounce can into snifter, no can dating. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 2 finger fairly dense and fluffy tan head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense foamy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toasted dark bread, light smoke/char, floral, grass, and roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus/tropical/pine hops and roast/bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toasted dark bread, light smoke/char, floral, grass, and roasted earthiness. Moderate amount of pine/citrus rind and roast/char bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon/orange peel, pine, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toasted dark bread, light smoke/char, floral, grass, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/tropical/pine hops and roast/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero astringent flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from hop/roast bitterness that increases through the glass. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately sticky/resinous, and lightly creamy/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Black IPA style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/tropical/pine hops and roast/bready malt flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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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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Close Encounter from Pipeworks Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.