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Hopocalypse Black Label - Drake's Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Hopocalypse Black LabelHopocalypse Black Label

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

41 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 41
Hads: 141
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 3.76%
Wants: 63
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Drake's Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  12.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: KevSal on 02-04-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 41 | Hads: 141
Photo of MasterSki
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to largadeer for sharing this Drake's offering. Served in a tulip.

A - Transparent bronze body. Nice finger-plus of off-white foam, thin cap, and splotchy lacework.

S - Tons of pungent, dank, and catty hops, pine, tangy citrus, lemon and underripe oranges. There's a hefty candied malt backbone to support the higher ABV, but thankfully only a hint of alcohol present.

T - Juicy, with tons of citrus, mild tropical notes, and a surprisingly rich and complex malt backdrop - sugar cookie, caramel, and biscuit. The choice of Maris Otter is quite interesting but is quite successful. Nice moderate bitterness in the finish and well-hidden alcohol.

M - Medium-full body, medium-low carbonation, super dry, resinous and oily, with a hint of alcohol warmth.

D - It's Younger-esque in some ways, but the malt complexity is a nice twist and makes me believe that this might actually develop into an enjoyable hoppy barleywine in the future - this is a definite style-straddler in the mold of Boneyard Notorious Triple IPA. Drake's is really coming on strong with their hoppy offerings. 22oz would be a lot for one person, but it'd be worth the hangover. (1,158 characters)

Photo of AleWatcher
3.53/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another beer courtesy of Beerdy.
Served in a nonic pint.

So I found the DIPA to be way too boozy... This one is much better!

Very big pine resin bitterness on the finish-- hugely bitter and dry. Some toasted bready malt up front with giant piney hops and a touch of floral ones.

The beer looks very nice; clear, bright, golden body with a 2 finger white head. respectable retention and awesome rings of lacing.

As it warms, I get more than a touch of alcohol warmth, but it is better than the one I had last night.... Pretty warming sensation throughout my throat after each sip-- like aquavit.

Overall-- not bad... No where near the benchmark of the style, but certainly not unpleasant. (696 characters)

Photo of SoCalStout
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally had this on draft back in 2009, but didn't know the brewery at the time now I'm having this out of a bottle poured into my tulip.

Appearance: Pours a darker golden color with a red hue. Very nice sized fluffy head that eventually fades and leaves sticky thick lacing on the glass.

Smell: Floral hop aromas that leave grapefruit and piney resinous notes behind on the nose. There is some other fruits maybe tropical.

Taste: Citrus, piney herbal hop flavors folleed by a strong malt backbone. Alcohol sweetness coats your mouth, but it's never overwhelming, and very well balanced. Finishes slightly bitter with hints of sweetness and slight hop flavors remaining.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation that sits perfectly in the mouth. Very nice Imperial IPA that hides the alcohol well due to the balance.

Overall: Very nice well balanced Triple IPA that originally wowed me when I was first getting into IPA's, but now i feel that the beer does not live up to the name. Overall very nice and would definitely have again. (1,053 characters)

Photo of Sideswipe
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Huge thanks to Arbitrator for this unexpected treat!

The beer pours a deep coppery, orange color with four fingers of thick foam atop it. The head recedes slowly leaving sticky lacing and a thick coaster. The nose is loaded with citrus and floral hop aromas. Taste follows suit with big citrus flavors up front. Juicy orange, mango and passion fruit flavors give way to a wave of piney bitterness mid-palate. The malt lends sweet, bready characteristics on the back end. The finish is sweet, and bitter with just a hint of alcohol. The beer is full bodied, thick and viscous, with a low level of carbonation which imparts a creamy quality. This is a finely crafted brew from Drakes. Extremely tasty and drinkable. The 12.5% ABV is well masked by the mélange of hoppy, sweet flavors that make this a pleasure to drink. Drakes is fast becoming one of my favorite breweries (885 characters)

Photo of ShanePB
3.38/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle I received after winning KevSal's LIF. Poured into a tulip glass. Instructed to consume immediately so I did.

A: Fairly clear dark orange/copper body with a little bit of chill haze initially. Rocky, fluffy white head with great retention and huge sticky lacing. No complaints about the appearance here.

S: Sugar-coated candy orange slices, citrus fruits - pineapple and some peach. Very sweet smelling overall with plenty of bitter hop notes (floral and citrusy) especially considering this is over 100 theoretical IBUs.

T: Big sweet caramel malt up front, followed by the bitter hops coming in next. Citrus fruits again - pineapple, mango and peach are mid-palate. This seems to be much too sweet though it does have a nice hoppy balance. Alcohol has a detectable warming in the chest after swallow.

M: Well carbonated, bubbly and sticky in the finish. Nice mouth feel overall if it weren't for the heat in the chest.

This was good but honestly I think it would benefit from a lower ABV. It's a monster of a beer and not something I could drink regularly. Personally I thought it was too sweet which completely threw off the balance of the beer. With a lower ABV those residual sugars would be more controllable and I could see this being a superb beer. Thanks again Kevin for the opportunity to try this one! (1,332 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ah, my first hoppy Drake's beer in what? 2 years? I hear they've hugely improved. Thank you, Chris!

Pouring a clear burnished copper with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and lacing, this is a gorgeous DIPA. The nose is a pretty riotous explosion of hops. Fresh and snappy, there's dense layers of pine, grapefruit and plenty of tropical fruit. There's mango, guava juice, candied orange, overripe papayas, and behind it all, some alcohol. Juicy and fruity. Through it all, the 12.5% ABV _is_ well hidden. The malt character is a blend of caramel and a slight bready note (from the Vienna).

The palate opens rather bruisingly bitter, almost unexpectedly so, with aggressive pine, candied oranges, mango, honeydew melon and peach. Grapefruit pith is the most aggressive component here. Incredibly resiny, this has the oily consistency of pine sap, coating every inch of my palate in a way I haven't experienced before. Through it all, the mid-palate carries all the malt flavor, with a blend of caramel and Marris Otter malt flavor. The MO , in particular, adds a smoothness and fullness to the body without an increased sweetness in a very nice way. Oily and resiny on the finish, syrupy even, on the finish with an excellent blend of hop flavor and bitterness, the bitterness and fruity notes cling on to your palate with the intensity of climbers and their icepicks. I will say the carbonation is a little higher than I'd like, but I can't dock too many points simply because (IMO) this is a game changer for oily DIPAs. As for the alcohol, it is remarkably well hidden, even on the palate, despite the mild burn.

As this beer warms up, it tastes increasingly sweet. It's tragic, because this beer is rather fragile, and even in the best of conditions (sub freezing temps during transit cross country), the intensity appears to have fallen off, if release-day reviews of lighter bodies are to be believed (and I do). Scoring the overall impression of this beer is tough, because it does get fatiguing, but at the same time, it's unique. The high enough ABV ensures that your palate and your sobriety give out at about the same time, making this truly dangerous. Plus, this is the kind of beer that really needs to be brewed a keg at a time, not bottled and emptied in a day or two. Quite simply, a feat of brewing, and so hysterically over the top, the only beer I can honestly compare it to is White Knuckle circa 2008. (2,441 characters)

Photo of GrumpyJunglist
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to MiloHop for this one. Poured from a bomber into a sniffer.

A: a beautiful transparent golden color. Surprisingly not much head from the initial pour, maybe a fingers worth of head but a nice film of head hangs out in the glass.

S: An amazingly sweet hoppy nose. There is definitely some citrus hiding in there.

T: Very interesting, not a real kick in the teeth hoppy. At first it seemed boozy, then the hop slowly but surely creeps in and then it just gets hoppier and hoppier.

M: This is kinda nuts but it was hot, but I guess the 12.5% can do that. Beautiful hoppy after taste.

O: I have not had Pty, so I can't compare the two but it makes me wonder if there is any comparison here. Hopefully I get to try Pye within the next few days. Hope to see another run of Black Label for Drakes soon. (810 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2/10/2012

Bottle from largadeer, thanks! Snifter.

A: Pellucid orange with a substantial white sea foam head. Pretty good retention. It's lighter in color than I expected.

S: The aroma is deeply resinous and dank with herbal and floral notes. Citrus is vibrant, redolent of apricot, grapefruit, orange, and peach. Topical notes are present but faint. I detect a little honeydew melon. Malt is evident, imparting a little sugary bread and caramel.

T: Lower moderate sweetness with notes of caramel and bread. Grapefruit blends with orange, tangerine, and resinous pine. Tropical notes are restrained. Bitterness is at an upper moderate level but it's not harsh or astringent. There's a little sugary sweetness in the bitter citrus laden finish. Alcohol is surprisingly well hidden.

M: Upper side of medium body with medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is a little heavy, but that's not unexpected.

Overall: A beast of a beer but it hides the alcohol very well. Damn good. I can't think of another IPA of this size that I've enjoyed this much. It has a decent malt presence but it's really just a platform for the bright and expressive hops. Another hoppy winner from Drake's. (1,178 characters)

Photo of bbHOP
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Drake's barrel house - 10 oz. pour into Drake's tulip.

wow - I've been excited about trying this beer - really excited. here we go...

A: Pours a lighter amber with golden hues... half finger of head from the tap pour that fades into a nice ring around the glass... great lacing - sticky, thick, viscous lines spider-webbed all over the glass after a few swirls.

S: Hops! indeed. grapefruit rind, some light tropical fruit, piney resinous notes... not quite as intense as I expected - but really nice. Also picking up some doughy sweetness that tips the hand on the high ABV.

T: Wow - I am VERY impressed at the balance of this beer. Citrusy, slightly herbal hop flavors right alongside the strong malt backbone of this brew are both present from the get-go, and continue on. Spicy, doughy alcohol sweetness as it coats your mouth... but it's neither overwhelming, nor is the sweetness cloying - and I am still getting the hop character coming through... wow. Finishes slightly bitter with hints of sweetness and slight hop flavors remaining.

MF: Full, as one would expect for this weight... but not syrupy or overwhelming. Really liked the finish - some drying bitterness, but also a bit of sweetness to offset. again - balance.

O: What can I say - I loved this beer. Surpassed my expectations - and they were actually quite high. The balance and perseverance of the hop flavors throughout were impressive in the face of such an extreme ABV. Really loved the way the spicy sweet malt added flavor and complexity without overwhelming. They seem to be out of bombers... time to break out the growler and head back to the barrel house to enjoy this while it lasts. (1,678 characters)

Photo of PaulStoneAnchor
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: After being poured the head lasts for a few minutes before reducing back into the beer. The foam leaves almost no lacing as well. The Black label also has an orangish golden hue to it.

S: Lots of Candied citrus, lychee, apricot, and tangerine

T: Bursting with lots of candied citrus, tangerine, ginger, lychee, and apricot. It also has a little honey in the background as well.

M: Lightly carbonated, but with a rich mouthfeel.

O: This beer is fantastic! So much flavor and aroma, its hard to be that its 12% as well. This drinks like a flavorful sessionable beer. The one thing I really, really, enjoy with this beer is that you get a lot of sweet hoppiness, but it also has a nice malt background as well. For a 12% Triple IPA, this is pretty balanced. This has to be one of my favorite triple IPAs. (811 characters)

Photo of natemort13
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the DIPA white label two days ago, let's see how this one stacks up.

Bubbly thin head that recedes quickly into a single ring around the glass with flecks of head in the middle. That even disappears after a few more minutes. Very slick on the glass. Beer pours a deeply red amber with highlights of orange.

Citrus explodes all over the nose. I get lots of mango and pineapple with a hint of pine to back it up and then caramel malt behind that. Some orange. Very smooth on the nose...I recall the white label being a bit abrasive. Sweet citrus with almost no tartness. As it warms I get several hits of some serious booziness.

Taste is surprisingly sweet at first. The malt and sugar really comes out. Super dank hops show up on the mid palate. There's a stinging booziness to it. The finish is lingering hop bitterness and alcohol burn on top of the sweet malt backbone. The sugary sweetness kinda overwhelms the finish, not in a good way.

Mouthfeel is very syrupy. Hardly any carbonation. I prefer some pop from the carbonation in my big ipas, and this I find lacking.

Overall this is a very ambitious and impressive triple ipa. I'm finding it tough to score because it's so all over this place. Marking it down for the syrupy mouthfeel and sugary taste. Overall tho, an ipa with very dank characteristics that is very enjoyable. Glad I could get my paws on it. (1,372 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle into a glass. From the release. Thanks to me for generously buying it for myself.

A: Pours a slightly hazy reddish-amber body with orange tint against the light. A vigorous pour yields a pinky finger of off-white head. Nice streaks of lace down the glass.

S: The aroma is billowing and embracing. I found the tap version a little muted, or perhaps that was the result of having it right after the cask Hopocalypse (greatness!). This one captures more delicate fruity aromas, with tropical notes of pineapple, papaya, peach, tangerine. It has a strong caramel presence that lends a candied note to the above fruits.

T: Tropical fruit flavors of pineapple, papaya, and mango are accentuated by an underlying sugar cookie and caramel sweetness. The mid-taste brings out subtler flavors of peach and tangerine; these are hitting all the points on my checklist of enjoyment. I absolutely love tropical citrus flavors in DIPAs. The aforementioned malt flavors dominate the finish, giving it a nearly syrupy, sugary burn that pulls into the aftertaste. A little resin / oiliness emerges after the sugar dissipates.

M: This is where the beer is a bit rough. Its sweetness leaves a residual sugar burn on the back end that mostly covers up the bitterness, though there is some lingering oiliness afterward. The mouthfeel is borderline syrupy, making it a bit tough to drink; it forced sipping. The coverup sugars are a telltale sign of this beer's gravity, but you don't taste much booze.

O: This being released the day after Pliny the Younger, in the same rough area, will raise the inevitable question: how does it compare? Well, it's no Younger. It's much sweeter, with a sugar burn on the back end (which complements the enamel-peeling bitterness quite well). The heaviness makes it less drinkable and forces sipping. It has its strengths, and I'm very glad that this is available locally (assuming they ever make it again), but in a side by side, I'll give the nod to Younger.

Drake's is really knocking them out of the park lately. Good job, guys. (2,071 characters)

Photo of nataku00
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a tulip at the release. Beer poured a dark clear orange with some thin white soapy head leaving some light lacing and a bit of alcohol legs. Many tiny bubbles floating slowly up throughout the beer.

Nose was nice, but a little muted for such a big beer. Tropical fruit hops, mango, pineapple, papaya, peach, some sweet orange peel along with some lighter floral aromas. Good amount of caramel malt on the nose as well. Just not as pungent as I thought it would be.

The tropical fruit are a bit stronger on the tongue, plenty of mango pineapple and peach, sweet orange flavors before the bitterness comes through with some citrus peel and floral hops. Nice caramel malt sweetness to complement the hop bittering. Finish is medium, with light tropical and citrus bitterness lingering lightly. Very juicy flavors.

Medium body and with a decent soft carbonation that really lightens it up. Surprisingly drinkable for such a high abv imperial IPA, smooth flavors with most of the alcohol hidden. Still would have liked the aroma to be a little stronger but otherwise an excellent beer. (1,105 characters)

Photo of Philousa
4.01/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Imbibed on tap at Drake's Barrel House on 2/5/2012.

Pours a metallic gold with great clarity. Very little head around the edge of the glass but doesn't stick or lace. Acidic, citrusy aroma. Very floral, nectary. Robust amber-like body even smells a bit thick. There is no question that this thing has a ton of hops in it and smells great because of it. Taste is acidic off the bad and super bitter. Floral and orange citrus, viscous body, almost caramelish. Very dry finish.

The hops carry their weight, there's no question about it. The malt is where I'm critical. I'm always super picky about the malt and body of a triple/imperial IPA, because it takes a delicate touch to balance these huge beers well without the aid of oak or hard liquor flavors to distract the palate from the malt bill. As a result, I'm usually a bit disappointed by huge IPAs such as this one. This wasn't the case with Drake's Black Label Hopocalypse, though I do think the mouthfeel was too acidic and was flirting with being syrupy. That said, I still couldn't pick up on the super high ABV and it wasn't sweet like some DIPAs. It was a great experience to go to the brewery and try it out with the crowd. I'm looking forward to enjoying the two bottles I was lucky enough to take home. (1,267 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bomber purchased at Drake's.

Clear pale orange appearance, fairly effervescent though it doesn't pour with a large head. Doesn't look terribly heavy for a 12.5% beast.

The aroma is pretty intoxicating, definitely alcoholic but in no way harsh or sharp. This is one instance where an IPA smells better from the bottle than the keg. It was slightly muted on tap, but the bottle has a huge nose. Peach, pineapple, grapefruit and guava backed by a lightly sugary malt backbone. It's impressive how rounded this smells for such a massive beer.

If the nose was good, the taste is even better. It's like fruit purée, with big pineapple and peach flavors up front, backed by lighter notes of papaya and mango. Moderately sweet and impressively light-bodied for its size, it's hard to believe that this is 12.5%. The finish exhibits a light resiny bitterness that's met by lingering notes of tropical fruit and alcohol.

When I think of DIPA this strong, I think sweet, heavy, borderline barleywine beers with substantial caramel malt backbones. That isn't the case here; it comes from the Younger school of deceptively drinkable and light-bodied yet massively alcoholic IPAs. While it isn't bone-dry, it isn't all that sweet either. Compared to, say, Hopslam, this is lighter in body, less sweet, but more aromatic and even a bit more drinkable. Pretty impressive stuff; Drake's has been killing it lately and this beer is no exception to that trend. (1,446 characters)

Photo of KevSal
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the bottle release. This is their beefed up Hopocalypse, a triple ipa.

10 oz pour into drakes snifter, second pour out of a fresh keg

a- nice orange hue with a two inch head. Looks thick in the glass, like syrup, it's deceiving. I really like the way this one looks

s- good hop nose upfront with some nice malty sweetness after. Not the hop attack I was hoping for, and somewhat muted than the banquet I was hopin for. Still this one smells good. Lots of citrus and juicy fruit.

t- here's where it really pulls its weight! This guy tasty great! Nice hops upfront and in the after taste, nice maltiness throughout. Not as malty as I was expecting, less than denogenizer actually. Very good balance between hops and malt. No alch whatsoever, pretty outstanding

m-nice thick body that coats the tongue, I'm lovin it. I might need another.

o- nice execution on a triple ipa, it's got fantastic balance (for my taste buds). Does not do the name justice however if your looking to blow up with hops but this guys got great balance. Can't wait to see how it taste out of the bottle. Btw 2 bottle limit at the brewery (brewery only) right now, if your around it's definitely worth it.

Honestly it takes a lot of balls to release a triple ipa the same weekend as younger, and I have to say its pretty darn delicious. I rarely order the same thing twice let alone 3! Drakes has come quite a long way since i first tried them, and this one really shows what they're made of. Maybe next year along with younger days we'll see drakes black label days. (hopefully not so I'll still be able to enjoy this guy in peace next year lol.)

Bottle: opened one tonight unintentionally, the cap broke one me, so crap I guess I have to drink it lol. Split with the gf's dad. Fruity aroma filled the room with this one. Taste followed suit. Delicious. My gf's dad is a big bmc drinker (actually hates the hops) when we polished this one off he asked me "got anymore of that juicy big one?" (1,981 characters)

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Hopocalypse Black Label from Drake's Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.