Ugly - Alpine Beer Company

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Ugly
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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

97 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 97
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 7.23%
Wants: 28
Gots: 3 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 97 | Reviews: 37
Photo of Tolann
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brought a growler back after visiting San Diego for Stone's 15th Anniversary. This really was the way to start our California vacation! Poured in to a globe glass.

A - Dark pour with a white head that foamed about 1 finger then settled to a thin lace with a ring that clings to the glass. Nearly opaque with a little ruby color on the edges.

S - First off is the roast, but it's coming alive with lots of hops as it shrugs off the cold. With a bit more warmth hops take over the roast.

T - Hops! Not real assertive but more bitter than what you pick up in the nose. Piney hops with a roast behind that you'd expect from a black beer. There's a slight feel of coffee and chocolate roast at the end. Total hops up front!

M - Not too carbonated. Finishes very slightly dry. Somewhat thin.

OA - Love it! So glad I brought this one home! This Black India Ale is definitely tops and I'm a huge fan of this style!

Photo of ehammond1
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask

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?).

Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of nickd717
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of Cavery
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap yesterday at Alpine. It's always nice to walk into the brewpub and see something you haven't had on the board. Cheers to that!

A: Light watery coffee with a deceptively dark stained wood core. Light foaming around the edge of the glass. More dark brown than black. Tons of dark wood stains show up all over the coloring of the body. Some high water mark lacing with waterfalls of lesser lacing.

S: Floral character that comes through like a hopped rye beer. Some connective tissues of grapefruit. Light watery coffee, almost more espresso like. Mild carob bitterness in the back. A nice helping of dried wood chips.

T: Up front there's tons of minerally dried leaves that crack towards espresso beans. Coffee grinds show up with a bitterness and reserved sweetness. Touch of watercress and parsley. Perhaps even a latent basil spice deep in there. Black pepper crunches throughout.

M: Light medium mouth with a soft low carbonation. Not flat at all, and quite fitting for the style. This drinks very smoothly, with a silk blanket of ruffling textures. The light bubbles are more satin like than velvet.

O: I think this beer is actually a great contribution to the style. This is a great middle-ground between dark coffee malts and hoppy florals. I thought the drinkability was outstanding. Reserved bitterness and sweetness that isn't exactly mild; it's just subtle. The flavor visits both ends of the stylistic spectrum in a way that you get a sequential experience of a darker beer and then of a Pale Ale. This is a subtle beer in style, while I think others try very hard to be over the top in trying to assert their beer's place. A beer like this doesn't have to be a blitz of conflicting flavors, instead it can make temporary visits to both ends of the spectrum. I'd like to see more in style go this direction.

Photo of peacebone116
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a growler on 8/16/2011 from the brewery. Poured into tulip glass and reviewed on 8/17.

A: Opaque dark brown--has an appearance similar to coffee--with a nice cream colored head. At first glance, this looks like a simple stout.

N: Coffee scents quickly give way to a nose of grapefruit & apricot/peach; i.e., the smell from the grains is quickly overpowered by a wonderful hop presence.

T/M: Incredible complexity of bitter coffee and bitter peach. The taste follows the nose quite well, as the hops actually bring out the roasted notes. Clean fruity finish with an incredibly light body that belies the color and alcohol content. This is a very easy to drink beer!

Overall, I was a huge fan of this beer. It exemplifies what I (emphasis on the word "I") expect from a beer that is called a Black IPA--it is an highly hopped India Pale Ale with a black body and slight contribution from a roasted malt. I am big fan of this take on the style and especially appreciate the clean hop presence (typified by Alpine Beers), the touch of roasted flavors/scents, and the light body. Cheers to Alpine! This beer is anything but Ugly!

Photo of GbVDave
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Photo of errantnight
3.9/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Quite a tasty brew, as always from the Alpine boys (when it's not a diacetyl bomb).

Pours a Rick black with a creamy, lasting head with excellent lacing.

Big citrus notes with a touch of pine on the nose. Really nice to sniff.

On the palate this is just a touch clean for my tastes. Hop bitterness is assertive but one note, body is medium but thin through the finish. Dry, and roast is mild if present at all, but no sweetness or grain character mid palate leaves this easy, but unengaging (that is, lacking in complexity) on the tongue.

It's actually quite a nice beer but could use more depth. Some of Nelson's rough edges would be welcome, here.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.01/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Photo of FosterJM
3.67/5  rDev -14.5%
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.

Photo of dmsohyea
4.13/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-tap at O'brien's, served in a pint glass.

A: Dark brown with a solid finger khaki head with large bubbles. Head retention is solid down to the end and lacing is good down the glass.

S: Smells like a little brown sugar with a hop flower sticking out of it. Some burnt scents, and some flowery hoppyness.

T: Very well balanced. Bitter upfront with a smoothing dark malty sweetness in the mid palate, then finishes decidedly bitter. A bit of stinging bitterness hits right in the middle of your tongue as with most other Alpine IPA's. It's actually very similar to Duet, but with an added complexity of the darker malt.

M: Some harsh, stinging needles turned me off a bit, but the medium carbonation and medium body were both right on target for the style.

O: I liked it. I would highly recommend this for a black IPA. Quite tasty, I prefer it to Stone SSR.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

Photo of mdfb79
4.12/5  rDev -4%
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.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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

64oz growler shared by Thorpe429 at his abode, thanks!

Pours nearly black with a sizable tan head into my Stone tasting glass. By just smelling this beer you would think that it is an American IPA as citrus hops dominate the aroma with no real roasted malt to speak of. Kind of tropical with hints of pine. Taste is equally a hoppy with some nice bitterness. The roasted malt shines through a bit more in the taste, but the hops really stand out. Nicely carbonated with medium mouthfeel.

Another fine beer from Alpine.

Photo of drabmuh
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of SpdKilz
4.42/5  rDev +3%
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.

Photo of LittleDon
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A pint at Downtown Johnny Brown's, San Diego.

Jet black, with just perceptible amounts of light visible. Tons of lace with fair head retention. Aroma is all C-hops, big grapefruit nose. High carbonation up front. Grapefruit and pine middle which is drier than most higher ABV IPAs. A hint of licorice. Finish is long and bittersweet. Medium body.

Photo of notchucknorris
3.98/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

Photo of jrallen34
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Photo of Sean9689
4.28/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Photo of HalfFull
3.65/5  rDev -14.9%
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.

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.58/5  rDev +6.8%
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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Ugly from Alpine Beer Company
94 out of 100 based on 97 ratings.