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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

167 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 167
Reviews: 81
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: 167 | Reviews: 81 | Display Reviews Only:
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 t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
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 Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of GRG1313
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
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 metter98
3.98/5  rDev 0%
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 kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +0.5%

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.

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

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 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 westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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 StonedTrippin
3.78/5  rDev -5%
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.

Photo of zeff80
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a dark, dark brown color. Opaque with a small, off-white head of bubbly foam. It left some sticky patches of lace.

S - It smelled of citrus fruits with a good roasted malt nose. It was a really great blend of strong aromas.

T - It taste of bitter piney hops with a citrus-like tartness. Good roasted maltiness is reminiscent of a big porter.

M - It was crisp, sharp and very smooth. A medium bodied ale with snappy, dry finish.

O - This is a really tasty black ale. I would love to find more of this.

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of MasterSki
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ChrisPro for sharing. I'm guessing this is from January 2011? Served in a wine glass while consuming Thai BYOB.

A - A finger of white foam settles to a thin cap, leaving behind spotty lace. Dark brown body with some reddish tints.

S - Not much hops left here. Nice chocolate and caramel malt flavors, minimal alcohol. For an aged Black DIPA this has turned into a nice porter-esque beer.

T - Taste is again mostly chocolate and nutty malts. There's a bit of herbal hop flavor in the finish as well as a low level of bitterness. Again, it's somewhat bland at this stage.

M - Medium body, low carbonation, extremely silky-smooth texture, no alcohol, and a very clean finish. Best thing about this beer.

D - This was probably much better nine months ago, but it was still pretty enjoyable. Easier to drink than the oak-aged version although lacking in complexity. Will revisit when a fresh batch is released. I appreciated that there was actually a beer underneath the hops instead of bitter and astringent black malt, like in so many Black IPAs.

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of drabmuh
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I think this was mdfb79's bottle, maybe. Thanks Dan! Consumed out of a snifter. At the time of this review this beer is #28 on the best of American Black Ale list.

Beer is black with a thin brown head that leaves a little lacing behind.

Beer has a piny aroma to it, mild citrus. There is perhaps a little bit of roast.

Beer is medium in body and mildly sweet on the front end. Overall the beer is fine but not as hoppy or as bitter as I assumed it would be. There is more roast at the back end but there are some nice pine notes in the midpalate. Overall this comes off as a hoppy porter more than a IPA that has some roasted barley in it. I think I'd skip it the next time around.

Photo of mdfb79
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 07/07/11 notes. Brought this one to a small get together. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my Fantome tulip.

a - Pours an almost black brown color with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Some light lacing left on the glass.

s - Smells of citrus hops, roasted malts, pine hops, and chocolate. Some definite hops in the nose, pretty good.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, chocolate, and pine hops. Hops are not as strong as the nose, but still present.

m - Medium body and light carbonation. Pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a good Black IPA, but like most, heavy on the roasted characteristics. Better than the other Black IPA we tried that night, North Peak's Furry. Would give it another shot.

Photo of kojevergas
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
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

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Specialty Beer XXX Black Double IPA from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 167 ratings.