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Ugly - Alpine Beer Company

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39 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 39
Hads: 100
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 7.53%
Wants: 27
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ZX6Chris on 11-25-2010

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (45) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 39 | Hads: 100
Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to sleepyhead for getting this growler out to me. Served in a Captain Lawrence tulip.

Pours a nice dark brown color with an average creamy tan head that leaves behind some spotty lacing. The nose brings some nice roast along with a heavy presence of piney, resinous, and earthy hops. The flavor really nails down the balance between the hops and roast as well, with the pine combining quite well with the earthy and roasty characteristics. Mouthfeel hits fairly-hard on the bitterness. Medium body and average carbonation with a bitter, dry finish. Very solid brew.

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

Espresso brown body, not quite opaque. Clarity is excellent when held to the light. Huge resiny pine goodness on the nose, sharp and green. There's a hint of dry roastiness beneath. Palate has a big pine kick up front, followed by coffee-like roasted malt and a little orange toward the finish that makes me think of chocolate covered oranges. Light bodied, extremely quaffable though very bitter in the finish. Quite the palate wrecker, the coffee and pine sap bitterness sticks to the tongue for ages. Alpine nails it yet again, this is my new favorite India Black Ale.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.06/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ the source.

A: Pours black with a half-inch tan head which leaves stringers of spotty lace.

N: Floral and citrus hops with some roasted malts.

T: Well balanced citrus and roast.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Finishes clean with some dry and bitter roast.

O: Easy drinking and enjoyed.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer pours a dark brown color with some reddish notes and an off-white head.

S: As expected, plenty of hops on the nose. Lots of citrus and tropical fruit notes (pineapple and grapefruit, mostly) with a good dose of pine and a light grass aroma. There's a decent amount of roast and a hint of chocolate.

T: The flavor has a touch less roast and chocolate which makes it just that little bit better. It also allows the hops to really shine, providing the beer with a clean citrus hop flavor and lots of pine bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with carbonation perhaps a touch lower than medium, but I'll attribute that to the conditions/growler.

O: Not surprisingly, a good hoppy beer from Alpine. Solid Black IPA.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Thorpe429 for sharing a growler of this one.

a - Pours a pitch black color with less than an inch of off white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of pine hops, citrus hops, fruit, and light roasted malts. Not as much roasted characters as some other Black IPA's, and more hops in there, which I enjoyed.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, roasted malts, tropical fruits, pine, and fruity malts. More roasted malts than the nose, but the hops are there too.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

o - Overall a really nice Black IPA from Alpine. Would love to have again.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ArthurPendragon for this growler. Served in a Portsmouth tulip.

A - Superb looking beer. Slow-dissipating tan foam that settles to a thick cap and glass-coating lace. Near-black body that is uniform throughout.

S - Citrus hops, smoke, char, burnt toast, cocoa, and pine.

T - Some malt heft and less overt hop flavor, although there is a mounting palate-bruising bitterness that develops. There's a hint of ashy burnt malt that I don't totally dig, but it doesn't detract too much from an otherwise very enjoyable collection of flavors.

M - A little gritty and grainy. Medium carbonation and a medium body that is sufficient for the ABV, and a finish that is simultaneously dry and sticky. This might be my least favorite aspect to this brew.

D - Not as crushable as Hoppy Birthday, or my gold standard "American Dark Ale/Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale" - El Jefe. Still, it's definitely among the best for this style, and is a must-try for anyone who really digs this sort of beer.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by Thorpe429 at a recent tasting. Very nice beer. I really enjoyed it.

Beer is black and has a tan head, moderate to low carbonation, some lacing not a lot.

Aroma is HOPPY. Very citrusy / tropical fruist hoppiness. With my eyes closed I would have thought it was a big IPA.

Beer is medium to light in body and overall nice. The hop flavor carries the beer through the palate and the finish is appropriately bitter, there is a mild roastiness at the back but this is one of the best balanced dark ales I've ever had. The hops and the roast play well together. I'd have it again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

The beer is dark brown and appears nearly transparent, in spite of the dark color. The head is about 1/2" thick, and leaves some decent lacing behind. The aroma is primarily of citric hops, with mild roast. The flavor follows suit, and marries the roast with hops nicely. Flavorful and well balanced. A good brew, but nowhere near the quality of their regular IPA lineup.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Thanks to Arthur for opening this.

A: Very dark brown, bordering on black. Creamy beige head in the pint glass with good retention and thick sheets of lacing.

S: Prominent pine and grapefruit notes, the hops are potent and aromatic. Lower moderate roasted malt. Touch of chocolate. Awesome aroma. When the beer warms up quite a bit the chocolate and roast are more noticeable and very nice.

T: Low on the roast with a small chocolate presence, both of which only serve their hop masters. Pithy grapefruit with some flesh and big pine resin notes. Great hop flavor and quite delicious. Upper moderate bitterness with some evident alcohol.

M: Medium body. Sticky, creamy mouthfeel. Good carbonation.

Overall: A delicious Black IPA, one of the best I've had.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.01/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Jet black, even darker than some stouts, tan head, kicks it forever back on the patio of Alpine, lace holds very well, really, as perfect as a beer can look in this style. Aroma was of bitter, rather than fruity hops. Cascade, Chinook I'd guess, would have liked more dry hop aroma out of this, which isn't to say that it wasn't good, but its Alpine, I'm expecting close to all 5's for an ipa. Yes, they spoil us.

Taste, plenty bitter again, made me think if there were Nugget hops in it. Didn't taste roastiness from the malt (dehusked prolly), I think many reviewers simply see black color and figure it must be roasty/charred/smoky. It was a pretty light in terms of malt configuration, as opposed to appearance.

Was a little slow drinking, I dunno if it was because it was 11am when I had it, the peaceful setting outside, or the alcohol/bitterness was higher than expected in the mouthfeel. Either way, I still recommend this beer, but drink some Nelson, Duet, Pure or Exponential first if its available.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler poured into a Cigar City snifter, huge thanks to Alex... the body is a super dark brown, almost black, a black ale that actually is black, gasp. A light tope head, ok cap but great lacing... The aroma is outstanding, cocoa, smoke, a hint of pine and soap, works so well together.... The taste isn't overly hoppy, hops are less than the aroma, add a nice oomph at the end of your taste. Molasses, smoke that's a touch burnt, a little soap. Balanced and easy to drink.

One of the best black ipas I've had, well worth trying.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.67/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

523rd review on BA
Draft to Pint
@ Alpine Beer Pub

App- This was a dark brown with some good cling and a thin line of head. Wasn't the best looking beer I've seen.

Smell- Very dark scents, a little bit boozy and a little bit of burnt/roast malts.

Taste- This followed the nose, it was okay. I just don't think I am becoming a Black Ale or IPA fan. The flavors don't really work for me. The malts vs hops seem a bit unbalanced.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbonated. A little roasty note on the back

Drink- It was okay. A little bit above average overall. It doesnt mesh well with all thats going on in glass.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Brien's.

A: Anything but what the name suggests. Pretty much black with some ruby tinges when held to light. A big mocha colored head that looks a bit chunky as it disappears and nice lacing down the glass.

S: Grapefruit hop aromas along with some roasted malt.

T: Pretty malt forward along with some citrus hops, roasted malt undertones and a slight bit of floral hops on the finish. A hint of coffee in there as well. The mouthfeel was a little thin. Maybe my least favorite of all the Alpine beers I've had. That in no way means it's a bad beer, just not their best.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Alex by way of ArthurPendragon!

A - Pours black, light tan head, nice cap on top, some spotty lacing.

S - Hoppy, bitterness, lots of woody notes, some roast, citrus.

T - Lots of woody notes, hoppy bitterness, citrus, some roast. Some slight alcohol, but really well-hidden. A very woody/hoppy finish.

M - Light to medium, good carbonation, oily finish/slightly dry.

D - Another winner from Alpine...they know how to make a hoppy beer. Right up there with the best Black IPA's I've had to date. A must-try.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


O'Brien's Pub
San Diego, CA

Dark brown and nearly black with ruby red edges and a thick and creamy espresso head. Tons of lacing down the glass. Ugly? No.

The aroma is incredibly hop (pine) forward. This is what I hoped Sierra Nevada's Hop Smack would smell like. It's like walking through a dense pine forest. Behind the pine is a bit of roast and chocolate, but the pine hop aromas are front and center.

The pine aromas don't translate quite as thorougly to the flavor of the beer, though they certainly make their presence known. A moderate bitterness and more roast and chocolate than expected round out this beer's flavor.

Medium, though creamy, body.

One of my favorite black IPAs, and excellent on cask (though it was served far, far too cold; what gives, O'Brien's?).

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Photo of arizcards
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a growler at the brewery today for $12.96.

Beer poured black as night with a nice tan head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose is a blast of citrusy hops with a hint of roastiness.

Taste is big on grapefruit and pine up front, cocoa, and some roastiness try to balance out the hops but those wonderful hops win.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, low on carbonation, but big on smoothness.

Overall this is one of the best black ipa's i have had to date. It is the prototype of what i am looking for in this style. Definitely recommend this brew if you have the opportunity to visit this kick ass brewery!

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Black and totally opaque with a brown strip around the bottom a 1 inch head and great retention

Smell: Chocolate malt mixed with citrus hops

Taste: Great chocolate and coffee notes upfront with just a hint of citrus hops which makes this a great black IPA just wonderful balance

Mouthfeel: Medium to slightly full body and medium carbonation

Overall: Great black IPA on of the best around Period

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Photo of GbVDave
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 64oz growler into multiple pints. Thanks to HeatherAnn, Jay, Wil, and Chris for the assist. Extra special thanks to errantnight for this latest installment in our never ending trade!

A: Pours pitch black with slight hints of chestnut at the edges. A pillowy, dark tan head reaches about two fingers this and acts like it's going to hand around for the duration. Slowly but surely though, it settles into a finely bubbled collar that left just a little lace.

S: Initial blast of citrus (grapefruit and tangerine) leads into fresh pressed pine sap and then finally hints of smoke, bakers chocolate, and maybe espresso?

T: Exactly as above with an ever growing influence of smoke. The warmer it got the more prevalent the smoke and pine flavors became.

M: An under layer of sweet smoothness with a huge amount of bitter oilyness running roughshod on top of it. Killer finish of hoppy astringency and peppery smoke.

O: This could be the standard bearer for the style. Reminded me a lot of Half Acre's Sticky Fat.

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Photo of nickd717
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler thanks to largadeer.

Very dark brown in color with a one finger beige head and good lacing.

The aroma is excellent, extremely piney with coffee and roast playing a big role.

The flavor starts with piney hops, goes to coffee, charcoal, and dark chocolate, then back to hops in a big way.

Extremely resinous on the palate with medium-plus body and average carbonation. Just a tad heavier than I’d like on the mouthfeel. Hoppy as hell.

Really solid beer from the ’pine...as usual.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.76/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Type: 64-oz. draft growler
Glass: Manzanita pint glass
From: Alpine Beer Company in Alpine, Calif.
Price: $12.46
Purchased: Oct. 11, 2015
Consumed: Oct. 11, 2015
Misc.: N/A

Poured a rich, dark mahogany, closer to black color with 2-to3 fingers of dark, khaki-tan, frothy head, which settles nicely on the top. Very good uneven, layered, spiderweb lacing on the sides of the glass. Very good retention. The best part of the beer. (Sight - 4.50)

Surprisingly got a lot more hops than anything else on the nose. Was expecting a rich, meltier nose, but got Citra, grapefruit, earthy, Citra rind, pine, some resin, faint pineapple and mango (wishful?) and floral, backed by a touch of roastiness. (Smell - 4.00)

More balanced in the nose than the smell with a good mixture of malts and hops. First taste is earthy, bitter Citra rind, followed by roasty, gritty malts. Also pine, char wood, Nugget, resin, faint roasted chocolate, tropical, cooked vegetables and much less grapefruit than the nose. (Taste - 3.75)

Full body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Bitter, earthy, veggie finish, reminding me slightly of a New Belgium Ranger IPA. (Feel - 3.25)

Disappointed in this one overall and I’m pretty much a sucker for Black Ale’s. Wish I would have just got a pint at the pub instead of a growler. (Overall - 3.50)

3.76 | 85 | B+

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Photo of HalfFull
3.65/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep and dark brown into a pint glass with clear ruby highlights. Half inch of tan foam settles to a surface film in a few minutes and keeps for the pint. Spotty lacing ensues.

Nose is of sweetened chocolate and earthen pine hops. Bit resinous as are many an Alpine IPA but without the meaty texture.

Flavor is somewhat thin as the dark malts compete with the hops. Touch of cocoa powder on the finish. The 7.5% is quite well disguised as the beer comes off as a moderate black lager in a sense, with a bit of spice.

Offers a moderate feel and drink and improves with warming as the hop notes expand a bit.

Bottom line: An interesting beer and well done for the style, yet a style that misses me completely. And in this case, a waste of hops. Others might find more balance.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Hamilton's in SD. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Given in a standard pint glass. Appears damn black, with mocha colored head that dissipates somewhat slowly. Nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Such an odd smell from such a dark beer. Grapefruit, hops, citrus, char, cocoa, and roasted malts.

Taste - The first sip makes it seem more malty sweet but then the bitterness takes over. A definite burnt/char/roast flavor. Well hidden alcohol, slight pine. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, decent carbonation, slight oily feeling.

Drinkability - Pretty damn quaffable. Very happy I was able to try this while in SD. Don't like many American Black Ale's, but this one is pretty damn enjoyable.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.87/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at O'Brien's during 2012 CBC/WBC week. Pint glass.

A: Pours black, brown around the edges, with a few cm. of off-white head, some lacing and so-so retention.

S: Roasty malt and a little piney hops. Melds well, though the aroma is faint.

T: Mostly pine and bitter hops, some roasted, coffee, and chocolate malt but it takes a back seat.

M: Medium body and medium-light carbonation, too light for any crispness.

O: Decent version of a style, one I'm not that enthusiastic about. I would have expected more malt character.

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Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Toronado 11-28-10

Poured an almost black with a nice finger head as well as great lacing.

Smell was faint but of citrus and a slighttt burnt.

Taste was GREAT! First black IPA Ive had and I was very impressed. Ive been dying to try some Alpine Brewing company so Im glad I got the chance.

It tasted more of a citrusy IPA but it had a nice slight burnt malt backbone.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.06/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Briens Pub

A: My pint arrived looking black as night upon first glance. A closer study reveals a thinning root-beer brown rim to it. A tiny beige head settled out rather quickly leaving spots of lace about the glass.

S: Smells just scrum-diddley-umptous with resiney pine and citrus hops. All hops - no roast. A literal Black IPA.

T: The sticky resinous pine and grapefruit flavs really assert themselves here. Has me searching for the malts. Just a slight suggestion of a toasted caramel char to it. Nice high bitter levels that peak on the finish drying things out leaving them light and crispy. Hops linger fo' sure. Very tasty. One of the better Black IPA's I have come across yet.

M: Lighter body that is almost watery at times. Slight creaminess on the other side of the spectrum. Solid carb. Puckering hop bitterness that dries out the palate.

D: Close your eyes and this is another great tasting IPA from Alpine...but man is she Ugly. Pair with a paperbag or drink from behind!

U-G-L-Y Yo mamma ain't got no alibi. You UGLY!

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Ugly from Alpine Beer Company
92 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.