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Blackball Belgian IPA - Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Blackball Belgian IPABlackball Belgian IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

79 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 79
Reviews: 29
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 13
Gots: 9 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: crvcac on 03-04-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Blackball Belgian IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 79 | Reviews: 29 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BrewTasting
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

BrewTasting, Nov 26, 2012
Photo of jdougherty
4.75/5  rDev +17.3%

jdougherty, Nov 20, 2012
Photo of mactrail
4/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

mactrail, Oct 30, 2012
Photo of BoRaeCho
3/5  rDev -25.9%

BoRaeCho, Sep 19, 2012
Photo of jasewaaang
4/5  rDev -1.2%

jasewaaang, Sep 16, 2012
Photo of wethorseblanket
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

wethorseblanket, Aug 18, 2012
Photo of rawfish
4.13/5  rDev +2%
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.

rawfish, Mar 03, 2012
Photo of codynevels
3/5  rDev -25.9%

codynevels, Feb 01, 2012
Photo of kenzak
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

kenzak, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of CEDAMA
5/5  rDev +23.5%

CEDAMA, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of brentk56
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
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

brentk56, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Exiled, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of sergio1va
4.72/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle. Great foam appears as you transfer this beer from bottle to glass and the great aromas of hop extract emerge, inviting you to savor this beer. No sign of the IBUs on this brew but after a few sips it seems to hover around 50 to 60.
The color of this brew is of a light copper color with a white foam head. The immediate reaction on the palate is that of a definite hop profile and a subtle dry finish. A spicy flavor is definite in every sip but overall well balanced so as not to discourage finishing this great beer. Wouldn't mind re-buying this beer for a second take, only problem is that it will be hard to find.

sergio1va, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

nmann08, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of Zorro
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Zorro, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of HalfFull
3.63/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

HalfFull, Sep 11, 2011
Photo of GregSVT
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

GregSVT, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of Halcyondays
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Halcyondays, Aug 24, 2011
Photo of beagle75
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

beagle75, Jul 01, 2011
Photo of Armand
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

Armand, Jun 27, 2011
Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Jason, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

womencantsail, Jun 02, 2011
Photo of benpopper
3.33/5  rDev -17.8%
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.

benpopper, May 31, 2011
Photo of BucBasil
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

BucBasil, Apr 21, 2011
Photo of Eriktheipaman
4/5  rDev -1.2%
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".

Eriktheipaman, Apr 19, 2011
Blackball Belgian IPA from Karl Strauss Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.