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Specialty Beer XXX Black Double IPA - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Specialty Beer XXX Black Double IPASpecialty Beer XXX Black Double IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

81 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 81
Hads: 172
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 7.48%
Wants: 30
Gots: 13 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-17-2009

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Specialty Imports' specialty wine and beer import business, Midnight Sun Brewing Company brewed a very special beer--a black double IPA--to honor this Alaska company's long-term success.

This Specialty Beer Black Double IPA celebrates Specialty Imports' success in importing and distributing the world's best wines and beers to the appreciative folks in Alaska. This "Specialty Beer" brings together smooth, dark malts with intense aromatic hops to create a wonderfully balanced yet committed-to-flavor ale.

87 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 81 | Hads: 172
Photo of arizcards
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a bomber from the Holiday Wine Cellar in early September for $11.99. Bottled on
12/17/13.

Beer poured black with an OK tan head that his dissipated quickly.

Nose is roasty with citrus hops.

Taste is to the style, starts off roasty and concludes with a major citrusy pine finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly smooth.

Overall this is a pretty good brew but not worth it at the price point. (415 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark brown black color with a nice light tan head and good lacing

S-dark malt, coffee, pine, citrus, chocolate

T-dark roasted malt, citrus, chocolate, coffee, pine, moderate bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth but with a bite

O-one of the better black IPAs (in this case DIPA), harmonious blend of flavors (337 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at City a Beer Store San Francisco. Dark black color, looks like a stout. Aroma is mildly hoppy but mostly just dark malts. Flavor is more if the same. In fact this really felt like strong porter more than a black IPA which was fine with me as J didn't feel like the hops conflicted with the malts. Decent beer. (318 characters)

Photo of draheim
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz into a tulip. Pours a not surprisingly black w/ a 1-finger mocha head, some patchy lacing.

Aroma is simultaneously chocolatey, roasty, and brightly hoppy. Nice piney hops interplay with the chocolate undertones to produce an almost minty quality. Nice.

Taste is likewise a blend of deep bitter roast, bittersweet chocolate, and clean piney hops. Sometimes this combo doesn't work for me, but here it does. I don't detect any alcohol either.

Mouthfeel is smooth and slick, medium bodied with a crisp bitter finish. Lingering aftertaste.

Overall a really nice, smooth black IPA, right up there with some of the best I've had. (632 characters)

Photo of cherche
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle with a 12/17/2013 date poured into a stemless wine glass

a: pours very dark, almost black with a mocha colored 1 inch head, fades fairly quickly but enough retention for me.

s: hoppy at first followed by a malty, almost porter smell (coffee, cocoa) - not as hoppy as some of my favorite black ipas but the malty, porter smell combined with the hoppiness is a nice combo.

t: similar to the smell, very slight hoppy front end that is then dominated by those porter flavors the smell has. makes for a very enjoyable taste.

m: thicker than a standard ipa, lighter than the porter flavors might make you think - i think it is the right feel for this beer though and really enjoy it.

o: great beer. unique enough to be different but not so out there to taste crappy just for the sake of being different. really enjoy it and would suggest it for anyone who enjoys ipas and/or porters. good stuff. (907 characters)

Photo of Ego
3.89/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

a beer inspired by current events

eyes...
talking head... sizzling really, nice deep cocoa tone running about one finger thick, nearly jet black presentation, the head sticks and rolls around well, good uniform bubble construction, a formidable looking beer

nose...
pretty hoppy.. but smoky-ish, really bright stinging hops with almost a porter blanket underneath, definite molasses, not sure I love it but it is damn interesting

taste etc...
ummm, velvety... like a really malty DIPA with a roasty kick, some bitterness that blends more into the euro chocolate zone, nice roasty undertones that meld into hops coated in molasses then meld into bitterness that almost spikes medicinal (almost), the abv also seems to hit harder than what is listed on the bottle

verdict?
tasty, I can't say I love the hybrid but this is an interesting and well made brew. worth a try (870 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

not as hoppy as I wanted it to be, but mine has a little age on it, so maybe they have faded some from the intended. jet black pour, almost shiny black, with an inch or so of fast fading tan lace head. it smells bitter more from roasted barley than from hops, but there is a nice west coast sort of sticky hop element to it that's complimentary. near burnt dark malt aroma gives way to a partially charred taste, which is an interesting way to start off what people now call Cascadian dark ale. the hops don't come in until the finish, and by then the palate is a little tired of bitter. still, a very flavorful brew, and it works on a chilly fall night, but it lacks the depth and pungency I was hoping for with it. a well made beer no doubt, with a velvety feel uncommon in the style. good enough carbonation to keep it moving, and a well concealed alcohol strength. overall a neat example of the style, but I like them a little more aggressively hopped than this one was. again, could be my error not theirs for holding on to the bottle for almost a year. (1,058 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, w/o any freshness/brewing date info that I can find

Pours near black, under a looser dark tan head that quickly fades, but leaves nice high sheeting and more then ample fields and strands of lacing.

Milk chocolate on the nose.

More chocolate on the palate, with some cafe au lait and mellow hops in the finish.
Quite smooth and well rounded on the tongue. Pleasing and enjoyable take on the style.

Tasty and moderatly hoppy black ale. (453 characters)

Photo of cvm4
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep black, not viscous, with a one finger light tan head.

S - Roasted malts, subtle sweetness (cocoa nibs?) and piney hops.

T - Again with the roasted malts, mildly burnt chocolate that brings some sweetness and a mild piney hop finish. It pretty much follows the nose to me. I'm not sure how old this bottle is, but to me it seems like the IPA part of the beer takes a backseat to the black ale portion.

M - A thicker body for the style with medium carbonation. Can seem cloying with the sweetness.

O - Tamp down the sugar/sweet portion and ramp up the IPA hoppy portion of the beer and I think this could be a winner. (637 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a half finger high dark tan colored head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark, roasted malts are present in the nose. No hops are perceptible, but there seems to be enough to subdue some of the roasted aromas.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of dark roasted malts along with hints of pine resin hops and a light to moderate amount of associated bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This Black IPA has a very good balance between the malts and hops as it's neither too roasty nor too bitter. (736 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a true pint, the beer is jet black, with a thin, filmy, low profile, off-white head that clings to everything. Aromas of heavily roasted malt sweetness, with a piney, resiny, rich hops presence. Very subtle citrus scents, with hints of smoke as well. Flavors are roasty and malty on the forward tongue, with chocolatey notes and a creamy sweet backbone. Floral and citrus hops highlights, bringing a peppery spice and lightness to the beer. Very balanced, and leaves a great cling along the glass. Aftertaste of roast coffee, alpha acid, grapefruit, and pine. Tons of bitterness in the finish, leaving a drying, resiny lingering invitation to keep on drinking. Very tasty. (698 characters)

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a snifter.

L - black as stated on the bottle, there's a nice sized beige head that did settle down but left some nice trails of lacing.

S - a good shot of citrus hops with a roasty background.

T - starts out sweet and roasty at the same time with a citrus rind bitterness on the finish, a pleasant experience.

F - medium bodied, it feels silky smooth.

O - I like it. (393 characters)

Photo of Kuaff
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

The appearance is really quite fantastic. It's not the blackest of blacks, as it becomes a dark transparent brown when there's only a little left in the glass, but it's pretty darn black. The head is a good three or four fingers of light brown, billowy, fine foam with an aggressive pour.

It smells like a perfect blend of an imperial stout and a double IPA. The sweet, malty, slight chocolate aroma of a stout is there, but there's also that familiar strong hoppy smell. The stout characteristics remind me a quite a lot of the aroma of Old Raputin, which is a very good thing.

The taste does the same thing the smell does! This is my first black ale (or black DIPA, if you prefer), and it really is an amalgamation of a stout and an IPA. It's got that roasty, choclate after-taste, but also the juicy hop tanginess of a really good double IPA. I didn't know such a wicked fusion as this was possible...

I think it wouldn't have hurt for this to be a tad bit more carbonated, but this is just knit-picking. It's kind of thin, and very drinkable for being 8.5% ABV.

Overall, this is outstanding. A marvelous combination of two of my favorite styles which I think really has to be tried to be believed. (1,247 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.28/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a Teku snifter.

Appearance - Almost black. Clings to the inside of the glass. Nice surface wisps.

Smell - Green pine hop aroma. Lots of nutty and chocolate malt. Very sweet smelling.

Taste - Very sweet. Less intense hoppiness. Much more sugar and chocolate. Overwhelms the black IPA aspects. Meh.

Mouthfeel - Very thick. Too sweet. Medium carbonation.

Overall - The sugars take over and kill most of the good flavors. Starts off well though. (472 characters)

Photo of Kendo
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bomber into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is black with a 1-finger, tight-bubbled light-brown head. Leaves behind good lacing.

S: Some roasty notes, a touch of hops - but not terribly strong in the nose all around.

T: Roasted barley malt, some charcoal or char and a lingering touch of chocolate malt at the finish. Hops are piney, and first impression is that they're not as strong or as juicy (citrusy) as I'd like. However, as it warms up a bit (or as my palate adjusts to the roasty flavors), I get more grapefuit and juicy hops. Alcohol is noted at the finish, both in heat and as a drying element. Heat felt in belly. Finishes with lingering roastiness that borders on burnt at times.

M: Good feel to this beer - quite smooth, with modest carbonation. Medium-to-full in heft, but drinks lighter.

O: Good. I was hoping for better, but this is solid. (888 characters)

Photo of woemad
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased at Enoteca in Post Falls, Idaho, for $9.99. No freshness date. Different label than the one picture above, and it appears Specialty Beer is no longer a part of this beer's name.

Poured a nearly black-looking dark brown that took on rubyish highlights on it’s edges when held up to direct light. Big, sudsy-looking tan head that left lots of lace on the sides of my glass.

Citrusy hops stand out the most in the scent department, with some slightly bitter coffee notes in the background. Definitely a hop forward beer, which is just fine for anything labeled an IPA, Black or otherwise.

Much more malty than the nose led on, with citrusy and piney hops wrapped in a cloak of milk chocolate and coffee. It’s almost like a stout, except that the hops are a little more sharp than is generally the case.

Resiny and coating mouthfeel. Don’t pare this up with any food that can be described as delicate tasting!

A very tasty beer. This beer goes down remarkably easy considering it's abv percentage. Once again Midnight Sun has not let me down. I’d definitely drink this again. (1,106 characters)

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip.

Appearance: Opaque black, not as "black" as some stouts with a superior dark brown tint and a very light tan head rising to about 1/3".

Smell: This brew is light, smells good but still of light hops and malts.

Taste: For what this beer lacks in scent it beyond makes up for in taste, rich malts and smooth but heavy hops. Malty and hoppy not exactly super floral as some DIPAs but still good.

Mouth: Medium carbonation and oh so sticky, with an after finish that feels a slight sour but

Overall: Pretty good brew, not the best Black IPA I have had but does satisfy the taste buds. Would I buy it again, maybe. It's a little pricey I will add that so If you have a go to black IPA (which I already do) it might be a safer bet. If not you can always split the 12 bucks with a friend. Salud! (816 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: almost pitch black body - hint of ruby peeks through - with a thick dark tan head; scattered lacings

S: chocolate roasted malts, dark deep fruit; earthy, piney hops

T: lotsa of dark malt flavors, like espresso sweetened with cane sugar; buried dark fruit and dark caramel; bitterer on the finish than the front

M: crisp, bittering finish, smooth, slightly sticky, slightly coating

O: a delicious black ale - reminded me of other great ABAs like Stone's Sublimely Self-Righteous, Uinta's Dubhe, Dark Horse's Special Black Ale, and Dark Element. If any of those strike your fancy, this is a safe bet. Lots of roasty dark malts and well-represented hops. A little on the sweet (as opposed to dry/bitter) side of an ABA. (723 characters)

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

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a very dark brown, appearing black in the glass. Two finger tan head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, aromatic grassy, somewhat piney hops and a hint of citrus and chocolate. Flavor is dark toasted malt, aromatic piney hops and coffee, finishing with a light, almost floral herbal hops. Medium bodied. The taste progression is great with interesting herbal and light fruit flavors in the aftertaste. I really enjoyed this black IPA. (510 characters)

Photo of atalayafr
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-Very dark with a medium head that subsides quickly.
S-Strong hop smell with noticeable alcohol.
T-This is where this beer comes alive. Abundantly hoppy, high alcohol flavor.
M-Moderately carbonated. Lingers on the palate quite awhile.
O-A good IPA, not too overwhelming and very drinkable. But still with plenty of hops and good IBU presence.
S-22oz bottle. (359 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

8.5% ABV confirmed. 22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap acquired at a local SoCal beer store for $12.00 USD and served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude, Los Feliz, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are average; this brewery has been very hit and miss for me.

Served straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger dark khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and above average retention (~2 minutes) for the high ABV. Body colour is a solid nontransparent opaque dark brown-black. A bit cola-esque. Not jet black by any means. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Standard fare for a black IPA. Nothing unique or special here, but no overt flaws.

Sm: Caramel, floral hop character, a touch of vanilla, milky malty sweetness, spruce, chocolate, light subtle espresso, and timid roast. Intriguing and spot on for a black IPA. The dark elements are well integrated with the hoppy notes here. I'm curious to see how this one goes down. A mild strength aroma.

T: Bold milk chocolate with a hint of crisp bitterness, timid roast, a bit of spruce, wonderful light espresso, delightfully well integrated espresso, floral hops, a bit of piney hop character, and some bitter grains. The marriage of dark notes like roast, espresso, and chocolate with lighter IPA notes like the floral character works well here, but then the hops are rather tame. It could use more bold pine notes and hop character to really satisfy the needs of the style. That said, it's quite well balanced and impressively well executed. I definitely like it. Complex and even a bit subtle - especially the espresso. I'm fairly impressed. Chocolate is dominant.

Mf: Nicely smooth and wet, aiding its refreshing yet filling feel. Good body. Good palate presence. A touch oily from the hops. Heavy on the palate but welcome. Nicely thick. Good if slightly overdone carbonation.

Dr: One of the better beers in the style I've had to date. Midnight Sun's IPAs have often disappointed me, but this black IPA hits the mark. Well executed and worth trying. A great beer to ease you into the style. It's not the best I've had, but it's solid. I'd have this on-draught, though it is rather pricey. $7-8 would be a much more acceptable price for this brew. Hides its ABV well. Very drinkable.

Low B (2,414 characters)

Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big beer, very tasty and well integrated roast and citrus hops.Sweet pine,spruce. The hops rule, the roast, the chocolate, is substantive and yet not obtrusive.Though some charring, clean, not astringent. Warming alcohol. Long finish.Trade with Andrew. (252 characters)

Photo of SHODriver
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a small tan head that recedes to a small pool
S: Smells of roast malts mixed with chocolate and some piney citrusy hop aroma
T: tropical fruit flavor kicks things off along with a dash of roastiness and a little bit of pine and a touch of chocolate. Aftertaste is oily piny hop goodness and a fair bit of roastiness
M: about what you would expect from a double IPA. Not a lot of carbonation going in but it is there.
O: An enjoyable beverage that is pretty drinkable (486 characters)

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

Appearance: Pours out a befitting black body with a small, sudsy, light beige head.

Smell: Dark chocolate paired with toast and robust roast, though what I'll call a laid back roast character. Hop accents of citrus peel and temperate wood resins.

Taste: A bite of chocolate of bitter variety followed by a sip of espresso delivering a full roastiness without breeding any astringency. Soothed by some sweet, helpful caramel. Hoppiness bringing about some florals, citrus, and light resins. Medium-light bitterness. Just the right amount of alcohol warmth. Fairly dry finish with a lingering bitterness, still quite light.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: An agreeable black ale. (722 characters)

Photo of Beerenauslese
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown body, almost black, with a tint of reddish brown at the edges. Poured in a tulip to a 3/4 inch tan head, dissipates quickly to a ring with some moderate amounts of sticky lacing.

Smells of dark roasted malt, milk chocolate, and orange hops.

Tastes of smooth chocolate and roasted malts, and orange rind, with a lightly bitter dark chocolate finish. The flavor is pretty good, but I have had others that are more complex like Drake's 2011 Jolly Rodger.

Body is medium as is the carbonation, producing a creamy mouthfeel.

This is another good black IPA, a double with 8.5% ABV, the alcohol is not very noticeable. (629 characters)

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Specialty Beer XXX Black Double IPA from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.