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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: 318
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 21.11%
Wants: 23
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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Reviews: 54 | Hads: 318
Photo of cosmicevan
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
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 WoodBrew
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
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 KFBR392
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
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 inlimbo77
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz, Batch 57 1/14/13
Riedel unmarked tulip

A: Pitch black color. Poured out really deep brown. Got a nice full finger layer if tan head. Leaving sticking lacing sheeting. Some alcohol feet.

S: Nice roast character right away. Definitely a hoppy stout, nice pine aroma akin to a BIPA. Some coffee roast. Some dark chocolate.

T: Certainly a hoppy stout! Big pine hop bitterness up front, BIG. That pine really lingers, leading into a nice roast and chocolate flavor from the malts. Finish is fairly dry from hops. They linger.

M: Big medium. The lack of fluff and help from carbonation make it lighter than planned.

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Photo of taez555
4.3/5  rDev +8%
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 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.

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Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +0.5%
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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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
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 +0.8%
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 DrinkingDuck
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
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 brystmar
3.08/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3


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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +0.5%
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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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
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 Arbitrator
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass, from lurchingbeast. Thanks, Frank!

A: Pours an opaque, brown body capped with an inch of mocha-colored head. Retention is surprisingly good for a stout, leaving a hefty collar, a nice, swirly film on top of the beer, and even a few tendrils of lace during sips.

S: Hops on the nose: pine with a light floral scent. Chocolate and roast follow behind.

T: There's no mistaking that this is a hoppy beer: it leads with pine and grapefruit, closing with mint and floral exhalation. Very interesting. The mid-taste is where the stout part shines, bringing chocolate, roast, and mild elements of char. Bitterness is pronounced and sticky.

M: On the foamier side than I like; not a deal-breaker, but it is definitely a ding. Medium-full body.

O: This is solid, but nothing to write home about.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
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

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.78/5  rDev -5%
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.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
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 brentk56
3.9/5  rDev -2%
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

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Photo of Etan
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

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Photo of Florida9
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
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 MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev +5%
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 Khazadum
4.18/5  rDev +5%
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 shodrod
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(poured into a snifter)
This beer pours a dark, cola-like color with a lovely coffee-colored head that holds its shape nicely. The nose is met with plenty of hops and a hint of coffee. The coffee is the real player on this one; lots up front and the finish. Has the mouthfeel of a porter. Overall a tasty brew but from their description I was expecting a bit more hop profile.

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Photo of Treebs
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
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 +5.5%
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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Close Encounter from Pipeworks Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.