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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

170 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 170
Reviews: 81
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 8.54%
Wants: 30
Gots: 11 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 170 | Reviews: 81
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Billolick
4.02/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of daveytheformer
3.41/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce into a nonc

Pours black with a slight reddish hue when held up to the light. Tan head that fades to some lacing.

Smells like roasted malt and a little bit of hops.

Tastes are very malt forward with a noticeable hop bitterness rounding out the flavor.

Mouthfeel is thin with decent carbonation.

Overall is not something I'm really into but don't hate. From what I'm aware of this is a decent representation of the style just not the best.

Photo of lnashsig
2.83/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to AugustGarage for the chance to taste this-however I am not a huge fan of this beer. Poured into a bourdeaux wine glass (I was at a party, they had no fitting beer glasses). Pours a silky black color, a little bit of white foam that leaves very little lacing. Smell- some citrus hops flavors, but I can smell the alcohol heat already. Taste- definite hops presence, but nothing there to counter. A real lack of malt flavor, aside from some cloying sweetness. Big alcohol heat makes this a real tough beer to drink. My biggest peeve with this beer is how badly the alcohol is masked...and its not even that big of an IPA at 8.5. Mouthfeel- this lacks carbonation to a fault. Makes this even tougher to drink. Drinkability...bad. I wasn't inspired to finish the second half of the bottle, and left it for some friends to try. I am becoming more and more skeptical of the "black IPA" style in general...is this a farce, or a true style?

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black DIPA (DIBA) brewed by Midnight Sun to commemorate Specialty Imports 30th Anniversary.

Pours a nice deep black with some ruby highlights around the glass. A nice pillowy head of tan foam retains very nicely and leaves good lacing.

Nose is mostly big west coast hops and bitter dark malts. Not alot of sweetness in the nose, mostly just standard big IPA hops.

Flavor is very nice. A good portion of west coast hop flavors in here, along with a nice malty backbone. There is a tiny bit of a roasty flavor in here, like a burnt...something. Maybe a bitterness from the malts, hard to say considering there is so much bitter hop flavor in here. The finish is nice and dry, and hop flavors linger on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very nice, carbonation is dead on, and this is nice and smooth without being too slick, and has a great dryness on the finish.

Drinkability is once again pretty good. The 8.5% in here really doesn't show up too much.

Overall a very complex and interesting IPA. or, IBA...er DIBA. yeah. Anyway, certainly one to grab in this new world of melding styles. A very cool beer.

Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev +3%
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.

Photo of augustgarage
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Seal brown, very dark but clear I think, with very faint auburn highlights. A thin cap of buff foam recedes to a lasting collar and thin slick. Average retention. Decent lacing.

Fresh hearty C-hops in the nose; earthy temperate-rain-forest-floor notes; a bit of citrus; vague smoke and black malt.

Cocoa powder, chocolate malt, light coffee, darkly toasted almonds...just a hint of char - leading into the bitterness from hops followed by a bit of citrus and a sharper pine note. The malt dominates, but the interplay between acrid and hoppy notes is unusual and interesting. Finishes dry and moderately astringent.

Medium-light bodied, low but sufficient carbonation, gently warming with a lingering smokey aftertaste that seems to cling to the palate.

Perhaps a bit too much specialty malt in here...lowering the drinkability a touch. More a hop-forward porter than anything else...

Photo of nickd717
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, I'm ticking a lot of Black IPAs (aka CDAs) recently. This was a very good and interesting one.

Pours deep, dark reddish-brown with a substantial light tan head and some good lacing on the glass.

The aroma is roasty and smoky with chocolate, caramel, citrus, pine, and resin.

The flavor is really unique. If I had to describe it, I'd say it's like a scotch ale/porter/DIPA hybrid. A little smoky and maybe even peaty with huge caramel malt, chocolate, roast, orange/grapefruit, pine, and resinous hops.

The palate is full of hop resins, with medium-full body and average carbonation.

A success for Midnight Sun if you ask me. Really breaks the mold for this emerging style.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

Photo of atalayafr
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

Photo of jgrgas
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to get an imperial pint at Bailey's Taproom via a special delivery from Alaska (kudos to Saraveza for recommending Bailey's for the second 1/6th barrel). I believe this occasion marks the only time Midnight Sun has been on draught in Portland, as well as my first review on BA.

Pours a dark brown, almost black, tan head, minimal lacing.

Like others have stated, the aroma is dominated by hops, though I picked up a noticable spicy hop note woven between the citrus hop aromas.

The aroma moves into the flavor nicely, as citrus and spicy hop flavor dominates the intial reception, though without any acerbic back of the tongue bitterness. The hop flavor quickly moves into a dry roast, pleasantly acidic from the dark malts, balancing out the flash of west coast IPA notes. The malts and hops work together exceptionally well. Both characteristics have their place in this beer without butting into one another. It was an extremely gratifying experience to have both the hops and dark malts distinctive and smooth.

I've had issues with Black IPAs before, mainly finding them to be unbalanced (I'm reminded of a few where the roast/coffee notes completely destroyed any chance at labeling it an IPA). Each time I try the style I am nervous that I will either find something unfocused or a beer that would be more appropriately termed a hoppy porter/stout. This beer is an example of what I would truly call a Black/Dark IPA and I would drink it often if it was available.

Photo of GRG1313
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black carmel brown with an off-while/light khaki head.

Nose is very IPA with a fresh pineapple assertive smell that is almost strange considering the color. One expects something "roasty." Nice nose although a bit one dimensional and simple.

Mouthfeel is medium full and creamy. Rich and complex with nice balance and an "expensive, thick and rich" quality.

Flavors are big and assertive. Front palate is very much like a bitter and fruity IPA that then quickly goes to big roasted malts/grains and espresso. Layers of rich bold flavors and the big alcohol comes through with richness and without a hot character. This is a really complex and nice effort. The best of both worlds...IPA and there is a rich "roasted" quality as well.

Very long bitter espresso/grapefruit skin finish.

Photo of Docer
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: (4.0)
- Rich dark brown brew.. can't see through it... heavily poured into a glass.. rendered about a finger and a half of light mocha colored bubbly foam. Settled to some creamy spotting like a nice porter. Big bubbles left about.

Smell: (4.5)
- Lovely roasty chocolate and bitter coffee touch.. perfectly sweet and grassy bitter with hops. Nice grainy malt, and plenty of bittering hop here.

Taste: (4.5)
- Yum. Perfectly solid and balanced brew. Taste is rather light actually, but melds so well. Chocolate grainy malt, bitter husky barley flare.. light coffee skunk, and grassy earthy bitter hops.. perfectly melded. This is a really good Black IPA.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- Creamy medium to heavy body.. though the flavor was certainly smooth and drinkable. Bitter dryness, and chewy. This is a light meal in a bottle. Carbonation is just right, and leaves a slight chalky finish as it should.

Overall: (4.5)
- A beer I would buy many more of if more available. On tap I am sure this beer would be bliss. It holds up to my favorite CDA's and has certainly found its spot at the top. Get it.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 received in trade from AkBelgianBeast.. Frank hooked me up big time.. I had never heard of this brew before... and was super stoked to find it in a great box of exclusive MS bottles.

I shared this with Buckeyeboy and SAS... My portion went into my chimay goblet.

nice 1" head... descent lace atop a very dark brown... yet somehow clear brew...

The nose is not as hoppy as expected.. PNW hops are very present.. pine and some minor grapefuit.. but the dark malt come out in full force.. coffee and some dark fruitiness..

Flavor is a little light for an expected PNW DIPA .. with very light espresso.. and minor chocolate.. not as bitter (from malts) as I was envisioning.. the hop bitterness has a resinous quality.. the dark malts lend more to a lite coffee .. some caramel sweetness helps tie everything together.. but it is a little bit of a cluster.. great flavors... but they all are just a big derby of qualities.. Great body and carbonation.. more oily dark malts as it warms.. nice overall package.

Pretty substantial brew.. Glad I enjoyed it with other BA's.. Huge thanks to Frank .. It is gonna take me a while to work through the plethora of brews.. but I am gonna try.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

black as night with a light colored head that rose up about an inch and a half before settling down into a nice broken crown that stayed throughout the session. The aroma was very bright, lots of citrus here, orange and tangerine mostly and a wonderfully bright lemon like aroma that rose up, not at all what you would have expected from something that looked so fark. Nice medium body with a smooth and mellow carbonation and a lightness to it that again was outside what I was expecting. Smooth flavor, clean, crisp, loaded with bitter citrus hops. Lots of grapefruit and pineapple here.

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

22 oz bomber from AKBelgianBeast (thanks), shared with the king's watch as we slayed giant derelict rats.

Nearly black pour, mocha brown in the glass with a tan head. The nose is a mix of grapefruit, dark roasted grain and coffee. The citrus hop aroma is surprisingly harmonious with the chocolatey malt base. The combined bitterness of the roasted malt and hops makes for an intense beer on the palate, but it manages enough restraint to remain quite drinkable. Grapefruit and charred toast flavors are prevalent with an undertone of smoke. Bitter, resiny finish with a lingering hop bite.

Photo of metter98
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of SHODriver
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
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

Photo of tl00camaross
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured pitch black with a thin tan head and decent lacing. Piney hops dominated the smell with a light roasty character and boozyness towards the end. Taste comes across the same with hops dominating except the boozyness hits you in the middle and leads to a nice roasty aftertaste. Still suprised just how boozy this tasted even at just 8.5%, but not a total knock on it for me. Carbonation is perfect in my opinion nice and crisp like a good IPA. A pretty good beer but at $10 a bottle, I can find better offerings.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.57/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Dan. Served in a Captain Lawrence tulip. Currently the #24 American Black Ale. Reviewed from my tasting sheet.

Pours nearly black with a small tan head, not much lacing, and a thin collar throughout. The nose carries some good resinous pine and roast plus some earthiness in the background. The flavor drops off with the roast coming through too much and not bringing enough hops. Mouthfeel is very dry, though it tastes like it's coming from the roast rather than hops and bitterness, which isn't ideal. A bit of a disappointment from a brewery that's normally dead on with its beers.

Photo of Bubba83
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Tyranena Nonic at around 45 degrees. Thanks Bryan Brick for getting this one in at K&L.

Initial impressions are good. A rather simple label of text, but it manages to stand out. Pours into the glass in a silky fashion, body color is a very dark cola color. It's not completely opaque by any means, and clarity is good. I kinda like the fact that it's not completely black. A very nice two finger width helping of creamy smooth tan head top it off and provides good retention and excellent dispersed lacing.

A very appealing brown porter malt smell kinda switches it up for the style. Cocoa powder, cola, and toast and mild roast are accentuated by a big floral/citrus hop punch, likely from the Amarillo. A very nice contrast and seems well constructed.

Yum! Some nice cola flavor up front, but not quite that sweet. The cocoa and the roasty bits kind of bring up the rear and ramp up through the sip. Meanwhile, a beefy toasted grain character comes through and finally a big smacking of indiscriminate citrus, spruce tips, and spicy herbal quality finish things off. Complex, yet everything is working together here.

A nice silky smooth mouthfeel. The head is quite milky and the carbonation is kept in check, relatively low in-fact. Medium thickness coats well, and it finishes somewhat dry, but it's not giving me dry mouth.

A great example of a Black IPA. I like it a lot. I think keeping the roast in check really helps balance the flavors in the beer. Something about really roasty black IPAs just doesn't mesh quite right with the American hops for me. This one just hits the spot and does everything right. I'd love to put this side by side the mighty Sublimely Self-Righteous ale and see who comes out the victor.

Photo of Ryan011235
4.41/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 2/20/11

Bottled the third week of either November or December (notched between the two)

Much appreciation to Nickd717 for the chance to try this

Medium brown color; settles dark - caramel brown at the base with crimson and ruby highlights. The head poured just shy of two fingers. Thinner layer of retention and copious amounts of ringed lace. Looks really nice.

The aroma boasts a good bit of pine and some citric notions, though the latter isn't at the fore. Some earthy hops, too. The malts take a back seat to the hops. Subtle roastiness and hints of dark bread. Pretty vibrant overall without much, if any, booze. A little coffee and cocoa as it warms.

Dry throughout, the taste is otherwise rather mercurial. Sticky, resinous pine bitterness leads off, bolstered by a mild citric juiciness. The mid-section finds roasted flavors and some toasted bread emerge. Onward still, the finish is bombarded with an intensely dry, roasted coffee/espresso flavor.

Medium-full body with some resiny intrigue. Carbonation is moderately low and is spot-on for this beer. Though it isn't at all hot, there is a undeniable warming sensation after about a third of the bottle. The finish is dry and very roasty.

What can I say? This is a freaking great CDA. It gets better with each sip. Even at a few months old this is one of the best I've had. This is also my first Midnight Sun beer; they're killing it right out of the gate. Definitely recommend. Thanks Nick!

Photo of womencantsail
3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Bobby for providing this tick.

A: The pour is a dark brown color featuring a substantial amount of reddish hue, with a thin layer of tan foam.

S: The nose is not all that much like other Black (D)IPAs I've come across. Fairly roasty with a bit of coffee, dark chocolate, and smoke. The hops are rather woody, and not the usual resinous piney sort.

T: Again, this beer leans more towards the "black" part of the name rather than the IPA. Soft roast notes along with some coffee and hints of smoke. The hops are subtle, providing a bit of bitterness and citrus flavor.

M: The body is slightly watery with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: This was a total miss for me. I usually enjoy this style and Midnight Sun has made some pretty nice beers, but I can't say this is one of them.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.94/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Specialty Beer XXX Black Double IPA from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 170 ratings.