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Blackball Belgian IPA - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Blackball Belgian IPABlackball Belgian IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

28 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 28
Hads: 80
Avg: 4
pDev: 11%
Wants: 15
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Karl Strauss Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian IPA |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: crvcac on 03-04-2011

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (95) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Blackball Belgian IPA Alström Bros
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Reviews: 28 | Hads: 80
Photo of Sammy
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Subtle and masterfully done. A little like a black IPA, with some Cascadian. Deep yellow with retained head. Nice use of spices. Very good drinkability and refreshing. Hoppy, but not at DIPA level, even more bitterness would be interesting.Bottle from Ronald Bland.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle pour at the BevMo Holiday Beerfest held at Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, and Belgian yeast. Taste is much the same with a medium yeast and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I think this one smells better than it tastes.

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Photo of brentk56
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a massive head; great retention that leaves some strands behind

Smell: Quite a bit of toffee, with coriander, orange pith and vinous grassiness

Taste: Spicy from the outset, with pithy citrus (accentuated by the Curaçao), vinous grassines and coriander elements blending atop the toffee malt; after the swallow, there is a building sweet biscuity flavor that lingers, though the bitter, herbal flavors act as a counterpoint

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: An interesting take with a lot of complexity, but a little too sweet for my liking

Thanks, jodan, for the opportunity

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap in Universal City.

A: Pours a clear amberish copper with just a whisper of white head which clings to the rim. A swirl brings a 1/4-inch head again.

N: Mild bready yeast, faint citrus and spices. After warming up this becomes more floral and estery.

T: Yeast, sweet malt and spices. Again, upon warming get more esters and floral notes. Alcohol heat also becomes evident.

M: Medium body and light carbonation. Semi-dry finish with bready yeast.

O: Served much too cold. Give this time to open up as it warms. For me, just an O.K. Belgian IPA.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer pours a fairly clear light amber color with a large white head.

S: Starts off fairly sweet. Caramel and toffee malt notes lead it off, but the hops begin to come through shortly after. Floral and grassy hop notes provide the bulk of the "IPA" character, and there is a fair amount of spice and yeast to the aroma as well.

T: Not as sweet as expected, luckily. Strong spice (clove and all spice) and yeast flavors with a moderate breadiness. Some grassy hops and a hint of pine with a moderate hop bitterness.

M: Medium in body with a medium to high carbonation.

O: One of the more enjoyable Belgian IPAs, but it could have used a bigger hop profile.

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Photo of mactrail
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber with a golden glow in the Saxo tall tulip. Lovely foam and inviting appearance. Spicy aroma with fruit and hops.

Starts out with some malty sweetness with an edge of bitterness. After a few sips, you realize that the subtle Belgian character has crept up, filling the mouth with the dry and yeasty taste. It's less bitter overall than many beers using the Belgian yeast. The hoppiness is also less extreme than most in this category. Fruity like a Tripel, with pineapple in the front. Green apple as the flavor melts in your mouth. Rich and flavorful with a dry finish.

Another modestly-priced 22-ouncer from Karl Strauss. Some may quibble with the house style of malty and mellow, but this one is totally likeable. Clean and well made.

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Photo of Jason
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz brown bomber with no freshness date.

Bright brassy color, great clarity and a massive dollop of head on top ... a sight to see. Peachy fruitiness runs over the top on the nose, warming peppery alcohol, leafy hop, sweet grain and some phenols and yeast within. Big fruity sweetness upfront of malt and smashed over ripened peaches, that slowly breaks away to let in the alcohol, phenols and more important ... the hoppiness that relies more on flavor than its bitterness even though it does have a big enough sting to break through the beer.

Pretty drinkable for its size, still sippin it though. Job well done here, very enjoyable.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours burnt orange with a full white head, leaving a ton of thick coating lace. Very good head retention.

S: Orange and banana esters with a hint of coriander like spice with some herbal hops, flowery finish. Garden like at times.

T: Peppery throughout with a lot of grass and light pine and cedar. Some orange and lemon flavour, nice mix.

M: Crisp carbonation, fairly soft on the palate after the initial attack, mildly long aftertaste, clean.

O: This is a really good beer, nice flavours. Karl Strauss has certainly been impressing in their bomber releases lately.

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Photo of Zorro
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear coppery colored ale with a small yellowish white colored head.

Smell is strong hop and coriander in about equal proportions. Spicy with a strong herbal scent and more than a little tobacco leaf scent. Herbal with a honeysuckle malt scent and a strong black pepper aroma on the alcohol fumes.

Starts out malty and a bit woody, lots of caramel aftertaste. Bitter like biting down on a whole black pepper corn with something of the same mild burn and strong pepper taste. Aggressive coriander flavor, slightly tongue numbing in fact. Strong spice bite at the beginning of the taste with a much more mellow aftertaste. Tasty and aggressive BIPA.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall really more of a 4.25 than a 4.5. Tasty and aggressive BIPA, just needs a little more caramel in the malt to really be something special.

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Photo of cbutova
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes taken at the hipster mecca Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, CA.

A- Murky orange plastic cup pour. Small foamy white head falls fast to a ring, poor retention. Lace is sparse as the pour suggested. Rare lace spots on the cup as time goes on.

S- Estery and spicy belgian yeast with an added fruity feel, probably the hops bringing tropical and stone fruits. Orange zest, banana, clove and a fair amount of hops overall.

T- Spicy yeast the biggest here for me with a lot of clove, pepper and herbs. Like a fruity wit to me as the hops hint with citrus, floral and spicy notes. Vanilla, apricot, cedar wood, phenols, apples big and some sweet malts also come to mind.

MF- High carbonation bites the palate in a pretty creamy body. Moderately thick texture overall and dry spicy finish.

Strong yeast feel and a nice citrus stone fruitiness lingers from hops and yeast. Big yeast spices but not too much or harsh and everything works pretty well together.

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Photo of Dope
3.61/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Bottle foams over as soon as I pop the cap. Hastily pours a super cloudy orange. Big super fluffy offwhite head. Fades super slowly with impeccable retention. Almost fully solid wall of fluffy lacing.

S: Lost of raisin in this one. Also has a lot of ...dusty/dirty aroma?

T: More raisin with a little citrus. Sharp, grainy malt with lots of yeast. Earthy in the middle. Drying in the finish with that dusty, yeasty flavor I mentioned in the aroma. Some spicy bitterness in the finish as well. Long lingering dusty aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, drying.

O: Odd beer, I wonder if I got an old bottle. Impossible to tell because of no bottle date. Has lots of belgian yeast aspects but not much else. Almost no hoppiness to balance it out. Has a sort of blandness to it that I can't quite describe. Not horrifying but nothing special.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.35/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: I was expecting this to be a lot darker. Pours a medium brown color with a pretty decent foamy head.

S: There are some hints of Belgian yeast, but otherwise, this doesn't feel that "Belgian" to me. I pick up some tropical notes and some citrus hop notes, but the hops smell faded.

T: I don't know, this one just didn't do much for me. Tried it with two other guys and they weren't impressed by it either. Citrus hops, a slight Belgian yeast creaminess and a little tangerine, but nothing that really pops out at you.

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Photo of rawfish
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy amber, with a small-ish finger high head. Decent retention that leaves plentiful spotty lacing upon the glass.

Fruity esters of apricot and nectarine blend well as the hops come in with a lemon zest and light pine aroma. Distinct Belgian spices on the end that increases as the beer warms, clove and yeast.

Solid malt profile of bready grains and a touch of honey that part easily to a pine and citrus hoppiness that lays it to you in the flavor rather than the bitterness. Spices and yeast on the after taste, clove and some soap and powder as it warms. Drying finish.

Average body that gets a bit heavy near the finish, fantastic, active carbonation that ends crisply without much drawn bitterness or aftertaste.

Bold hops, just enough Belgian spice and phenol influence to keep it interesting on the palate. Very refreshing and clean delivery. Enjoyed this quite a bit. These specialty beers are cut above Karl Strauss' regulars. Keep it up.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fresh bomber poured into a large wine glass. I mistakenly thought this would be a Black IPA, or perhaps the first Belgian Cascadian Dark Ale. Alas, it's just a Belgian IPA, and that's a good thing. Pours a clear light amber with a tinge or orange and sports an inch of nearly white foam. Decent retention and lacing follow.

Nose is a blend of citrusy cascade hops and some belgian yeast notes. A definitive malty sweetness permeates the equation for balance. Notable spice notes abound.

Flavor is a bit subdued relative to the nose and with a generic citric maltiness drowning out the spicy/yeasty/ hoppy notes to a large degree. Becomes a bit more spicy/effervescent with some warming.

Feel is thin initially, warming to add some spice and a spritzy feel of carbonation. Finish is pleasant yet a bit brief throughout the spectrum. Overall a nice take on the style; decent yeast profile and added spice, bit malt forward and somewhat subdued in the hops department however.

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up two growlers from Karl Strauss Brewery downtown for $17. and poured them into a Westmalle chalice.

A: Pours a clean deep copper hue with a good head that lingers for a while, but leaves very little in the way of lacing.

S: Nice floral hop aroma up front - herbal earthy pine, very familiar Belgian yeast strain in the mix as well - possibly La Chouffe or something along the same lines, wood and just a hint of spice at the very end - no trace of booze (very nice for an ABV of 8.5%).

T: On point with the nose, but even more bitter hop that is earthy and resinous, followed by a good balance of sweet malt and Belgian yeast - really good take on the style. I have to say though - at the end of the day, this is just a really good take on a traditional Belgian Tripel and not so much a Belgian IPA.

M/D: Medium-bodied, sticky with a mellow carbonation that lends nicely to the style - finishing smooth and creamy - very drinkable; polished the 1st growler on my own no worries - had to struggle to leave the other one for tomorrow night.

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Photo of beagle75
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint glass.

A: Clear, light amber color with one finger of persistent off-white foam head. Moderate lacing remains on the glass.

S: Subdued caramelized grain with a pronounced aroma of savory herbs--but stops short of crossing into herbal caricature. Faint peppery phenolics become more assertive as this beer warms, but no alcohol is detected.

T: Begins fairly sweet, with substantial crystal/aromatic malt and dynamic yeast metabolites that contribute some needed savoriness to balance the sweet. Acidity is mild, staying agreeable, adding just a touch of a citric edge. The middle is dominated by husky caramelized malt that is accented by subordinate black pepper. Moderate bitterness, featuring the most focused herbaceous hops of the entire taste, develops in the finish. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium viscosity, slightly syrupy on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: This is a very malt-focused, yet surprisingly appealing, strong IPA. Belgian character is present, but not far-ranging, developing some well-placed black pepper qualities that remove it far enough from standard IPA territory to keep it from being mediocre.

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Photo of Eriktheipaman
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow all 4's haha.

Pour this one lightly because it gives off a giant white head that leaves amazing lacing.

The smell is very sweet. A nice blend of herby esters and a citrus from the hops. Very complex.

As someone stated below I agree it is almost more of a Triple. The taste is of the Belgian yeast but with a pretty high bitterness. You can also pick up on the herbs on the back as it warms up and also creates a dryness.

A good beer that is exactly what I would expect from a "Belgian IPA".

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Photo of BucBasil
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a tulip at Karl Strauss Universal City, CA.

A: The beer is a dark orange/amber color. Head was offwhite or very light tan and had ok retention.

S: Fruity and slightly piney. Citrus rind and spices. Light malty character underneath and a light sweetness that might have come from a touch of yeast.

T: I'm not sure how this is a Belgian style IPA. It's a bit more fruity I guess than a regular IPA and with a hint of creaminess in the back. A bit of spice in there as well and a biscuity malt balance atop a big citrusy and floral hop character. I'm a fan.

O: Very drinkable and refreshing. If the ABV weren't so high this could be an "All day IPA" It's everything I want from an IPA, but I'm still not sure what specifically makes it "Belgian." It doesn't match up with Poperings or De Ranke. I think this might be better off just being an IPA. It almost reminded me of DFH 90 Min in that it was balanced with a good kick. No matter how it's classified, it's an excellent beer.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a snifter

A: Pours a nice hazy golden orange with a big white head that fades to a layering and leaves a ton of sticky lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is belgian candied sugar, sweet malt, and some citrusy hops. Very sweet smelling but the hops balance it out a bit.

T: The taste is bitter grapefruit hops, sweet sugary malt, cloves, and that belgian yeast flavor. The bitterness lasts on the finish but this is also pretty sweet.

M: The feel is medium bodied and creamy.

O: My first Karl Strauss beer and it was pretty tasty. Decent belgian and ipa flavors. Recommended if you like the style.

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Photo of MadCat
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes

Appearance: Nice yellowy color with good white head

Smell: Fruity, with some hop, nice maltiness, a little alcohol, and some nice yeasty phenols

Taste: Fruity and malty up front, then some alcohol and phenols, finally nice hoppy notes. Some bitterness, but mostly flavorful hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, full carbonation

Overall: Very good, interesting take from a non Belgian brewer. Would be interested in seeing some other Belgian style brews from Karl Strauss.

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Photo of Dsimenson
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On-tap served in a pint pilsner. Half inch creamy head, then lovely concentric rings of lacing down the glass. Aroma is rich and heavy, hops, citrus, and a bit of caramel. The flavor of this IPA is truly amazing, creamy, complex, balanced, with hops, malt, and a hint of vanilla that I have not detected in other IPAs. Mouth feel is about the thickest creamiest IPA I have ever had. Overall I rank it as high as Dogfish Head 90 min IPA, although it has a slightly different character. Outstanding!

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Photo of benpopper
3.35/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, but not quite black. There is quite a bit of head that falls quickly and leaves some good lacing.

Not getting alot of what I would expect from a belgian, the yeast seems to take a back seat to the hops and citrus in them.

Tastes rather dull in my opinion, not bad, just average I guess. There is a bit of citrus from the hops, a little yeastyness, but that is about it.

Really want super impressed, but it was easy to drink, not anything I'd even think about pouring out.

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Photo of myelo
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

On tap at Strauss restaurant in downtown San Diego. Very interesting beer -- fruity spiciness with coriander and Belgian yeast with some malt backbone and citrus hops. Medium body with moderate ethanol warmth. Worth seeking out, at least on tap.

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Photo of crvcac
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this beer on cask last night at Karl Strauss downtown. Don't think it's even available for purchase yet!

A: Gold copper in hue with a slight chill haze. Can't truly comment on the head seeing as it was on cask, however, I have a feeling this is going to be a sticky one with nice lacing.

S: Smells fantastic. Reminds me of their Big Barrel Double IPA with a belgian twist. Lots of grapefruit, orage zest, curacao, tropical fruits, belgian spices.

T: Amazing. This is a great rendition of a Belgian IPA. The perfect blend of spices and tropical fruit flavors. The orange and grapefruit are bold and compliment each other nicely.

M: Very well balanced. Malts provide the needed backbone to balance the beer while the hops lend a very appropriate and highly quaffable bitterness.

D: Smooth. Dangerously smooth. The 8.5% is hardly detectable. This one will get you if your not careful. Pour me another please!

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Photo of Armand
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was actually a good beer. Had this when I went out for a beer to a bar with some friends, but there was nothing on tap that I'd like. I think there was amber Karl. I just went home and had this as I needed a beer, and wanted something good.

A: Blonde/brown with some light that snuck it.
S: Nice and hoppy.
T: This was actually really good. Citrusy.
M: Went down smooth.
O: Will have it again for sure. Wish this was on tap when I'm up for a good hoppy brew.

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Blackball Belgian IPA from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.