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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

164 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 164
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 8.79%
Wants: 29
Gots: 12 | 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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-17-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 164 | Reviews: 80 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CEDAMA
5/5  rDev +25.6%

CEDAMA, Feb 09, 2013
Photo of lakersfan16
5/5  rDev +25.6%

lakersfan16, Nov 18, 2011
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.

mikesgroove, Jul 15, 2011
Photo of Laklimell
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Laklimell, May 07, 2013
Photo of JoeyStats707
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

JoeyStats707, Jun 08, 2014
Photo of twelveinches
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

twelveinches, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of petermethot
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

petermethot, Jun 26, 2013
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Sometimes XXX just means 30."

--label

Pumpernickel brown with slim cherry and orange accents along the edges. It isn't a black hole, nor should it be, but the beer is definitely opaque. The cappuccino colored whipped creamy crown looks great, lasts, and lays down lovely looking lace. We have ourselves a looker.

This is exactly how a black DIPA should smell. The bottom end is anchored by roasted-chocolate malt and the top end features the fantastic citrus fruitiness of Amarillo and Columbus hops. Excellent choices all around.

XXX Black Double IPA is very well-crafted ale that is a perfect combination of two of my favorite styles, DIPA and American double stout. Kudos to Midnight Sun for getting the proportions of malt and hops just right. Seven months in the bottle have undoubtedly tamed the lupulins to some extent, but this is still impressively hop-soaked beer.

Specifics include bittersweet chocolate, a small splash of cold coffee, black tea leaves, loads of orange and grapefruit zest, and a handful of spruce tips. Any more or less of <anything> and XXX wouldn't be as good. If big hops scare you (hey, that's crazy talk!) then wait until the winter snows fly before cracking the crown.

Body/mouthfeel is the only place where there's even a slight chink in the armor. Even then, warming firms things up and smooths them out in wonderful fashion. In the end, this score just does manage to keep pace with all the others.

Midnight Sun delivers the big beer goods much, much more often than not. If there are any American craft brewers looking to venture into Black DIPA territory, they need look no further than XXX Black Double IPA for the blueprint. Thanks to sprucetip for yet another fantastic beer from one of this country's finest breweries.

BuckeyeNation, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of magnusdave
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

magnusdave, Dec 04, 2013
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.

jgrgas, Mar 12, 2009
Photo of Docer
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

Docer, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of Ryan011235
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
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!

Ryan011235, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of ccrida
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a my tall Midnight Sun glass, Specialty Beer is a blackish brown with a creamy light brown head that leaves scattered, sticky lace.

Smell is nice citrus and black malts, that distinct black IPA aroma that really makes this it's own unique style. This one's as good as any other, a bit more earthy, which I dig. As it warms, the caramel comes out and provides a nice counter-point.

Taste is good, really nice mix of tasty porter with a big hop blast, citrus, resin, but not to much of a bite or overly bitter, just huge hop flavor. Again, there's an almost stem like earthy hop taste here that I really like, plays well with the rich chocolate flavor. This has got to be my favorite black IPA so far.

Mouthfeel is smooth, very creamy as usual for MSBC, a bit oily, medium bodied.

Drinkability is pretty high, very tasty. This one really makes me wish more breweries put out a black IPA. Again, the best of the bunch so far, having had most of the mainstream offerings from the NW.

ccrida, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of chickencoop
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into my kids cinderella plastic sippy cup. Huge overflowing tan head, big ass chunky bubbles. Smell was malt dominated, a smoky maltiness. Taste was more porter than ipa, but what do i know. Nice sweet mouthfeel, very drinkable and very smooth at 8.5%. I like this for a one time bomber, and if your into the black IPA's, solid. I've beeen pounding a ton of velvet merkin from firestone and this is a tad hoppier, different style, but pretty much the same. This is top notch if you can find it, ledgers/ berkeley....

chickencoop, Mar 03, 2011
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.

Bubba83, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of madvermin
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this one to kick start the super bowl festivities, and boy did it get things going. Appeared jet black, with a nice grayish head that was not ample, but certainly held its own. No tinges of color on the sides, even when held in the light. Lacing was phenomenal - this one was a great looking beer.

Smell was of roasted malt, toasted grain, coffee, and some non-specific hop bitterness. It was crisp while still being full bodied in terms of aroma, although the lack of a specific hop smell was a bit off-putting.

Taste more than made up for that though, with an awesome combination of strong roasted coffee and a clean hop bitter body. Toasted grain and dark chocolate fight an ongoing battle with an awesome leafy, earthy bitterness that doesn't quit. Finish is a fantastic blend of black coffee and hops, both of which end bitter, that leaves your mouth semi-parched and aching for more.

Really a fantastic, chewy beer in terms of texture, and coated the palate like a champ. Drinkability was great too, as you couldn't taste the abv at all, and each sip led you to want that next one. Finest beer I've had thus far from Midnight Sun, and that's saying something.

madvermin, Feb 07, 2011
Photo of cherche
4.36/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | 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.

cherche, Feb 08, 2014
Photo of John_M
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to Adam (CCRIDA) for this fine beer.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with excellent head retention and lots of sticky lacing all around. Oddly, the appearance of this beer just got better and better with prolonged air contact. On the nose, this is quite the interesting beer. Initially I got some coffee and chocolate, with the beer smelling more like a dry stout then anything else. However, underneath the coffee, vanilla and chocolate, there is some serious hoppy citrus going on as well. Flavors on the palate generally replicate the nose, except there is a licorise component to this beer as well. The coffee, chocolate, licorise, coupled with the hoppy bitterness, is an odd combination, but much to my surprise, it worked quite well. The beer starts off with some modest sweetnesss initially, but the finish is all dry, hoppy citrus and licorise. Mouthfeel is pretty full, and the finish is long and smooth, with a nice hoppy bitter bite at the very end. Drinkability is good, with the alcohol for the most part pretty well disguised.

An interesting beer and quite delicious. I confess I was skeptical at first, but this is clearly another winner from Midnight Sun. Thanks again Adam!

John_M, Aug 29, 2009
Photo of boralyl
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - This is my first "Imperial India Black Ale" that I have tried (to the best of my knowledge). It's definitely the appears like the anti DIPA. Poured into a tulip glass I get 2 fingers of light brown head. It has great retention and leaves globs of lacing. The beer is almost pitch black.

S - A pretty heavy malty aroma comes off of the beer. Roasted malts, and light coffee and the most pungent. Towards the end of the nose piny hops and citrus become present.

M - A medium-full bodied beer with moderate carbonation. It's smooth and creamy most of the way, but towards the end you get some of the hops oils showing up.

T - A mix of roasted malts, coffee, citrus, and pine. It seems like a bad idea to for all of these flavors to be combined, but it actually works. The roasted malts are balanced by some west coast hopiness. The hops linger in the finish, a good combination of citrus and pine, leaving some bitterness. It finishes pretty dry.

Quite an interesting brew. Even though you get a roasted malt flavor, it's easy to tell this is an Imperial IPA, and not a stout of any kind. It's got a west coast IPA taste and finish that most certainly screams Imperial IPA. Check this one out for sure, they are also oak-aging this one and releasing it in Fall 2009.

boralyl, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of Kuaff
4.34/5  rDev +9%
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.

Kuaff, May 12, 2013
Photo of Kadonny
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this as an extra from Dabecassis in a trade. Thanks David! Poured from a bomber bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: A jet black color with a perfect one finger off white head. Full glass lacing that does receede.

S: Citric hops with some earthy and floral notes and a heavy roasted malt smell. Chocolate and some licorice. Wow!

T: Wow, this isn't a stout? Flavor starts with the citrus and earthy hops that gets quickly beaten down by the huge roasted flavors. Dark chocolate, licorice, tar and roasted malt flavors take over that remind me of a hoppy stout. Hops come back to finish out with a huge bitter finish. Again, wow.

M: Full, bitter, prickly, alcoholic and nice carbonation.

D: Pretty good but the alcohol does limit drinkability.

Overall a beer that really reminds me of a hoppy stout more than a black IPA. Storm King anyone? Still, it was really enjoyable and a wonderful beer. This is the first that a beer that was an IPA really tasted like a stout...really. Still a very nice beer that I enjoyed immensely.

Kadonny, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a pitch black color with good carbonation and a dirty white cap

S: Cocoa, coffee and some citrus

T: This beer is pretty sturdy. Plenty pf black malt here, the citrus and pine come in about halfway to the very end. Some cocoa, coffee, roasted notes are present throughout

M: Well carbonated, nice amount of booze and hop bittering

D:Very good

barleywinefiend, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of mikereaser
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep rich black with 2 inches of foamy tan head that is just sitting on top taking its time disappearing. There is lots of lacing already forming. The aroma is roasted malts and coffee. Nice light aromas. Wow, the flavor isn't what I was expecting. Nice roasted malts are complimented by a fair amount of juicy citrus hops. Some coffee and chocolate come through in the finish along with a slightly burnt flavor. Its nice and smooth, light enough to drink alot of, and boy do I want to. Nearly 9% and you wouldn't know it. This is a beer i'd love to have more of.

mikereaser, May 17, 2011
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

AKBelgianBeast, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of PretzelCity
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

PretzelCity, Aug 04, 2014
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Specialty Beer XXX Black Double IPA from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 164 ratings.