Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Art Of Darkness - Brewery Ommegang

Not Rated.
Art Of DarknessArt Of Darkness

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

132 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 132
Hads: 671
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 24.94%
Wants: 41
Gots: 119 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Brewery Ommegang visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Edwaka01 on 02-13-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Let us now acknowledge the dark arts of brewing. Our limited edition Art of Darkness Ale is deep, dark and magical, with champagne-like carbonation and rich matiness from a complex recipe of multiple barley and wheat malts, as well as flaked oats.

Using no spices or flavorings, Art of Darkness gains all its rich aromas, tastes, and apparent spiciness from the malts and Ommegang's proprietary house yeast.

There are no secret ingredients or magical incantation. There is only Ommegang brewers' creating the finest quality dark, strong ale of complex and deep character.

Art of Darkness is a fine ale to enjoy immediately, and is excellent to cellar.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 132 | Hads: 671
Photo of DavoleBomb
2.93/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a goblet.

4.0 A: Black color. Almost two fingers of frothy tan colored head. Retention is good and a short ring of lacing is left.

3.5 S: Lots of roastiness in this. Molasses, light ashiness, and dark caramel. Even the fruitiness comes off with a bit of extra darkness, like stir-fried or grilled plums, dates, black currants and figs. Clove-y phenols from the yeast.

2.5 T: Taste is a bit of the let down. The roasty flavors in the nose dominate the taste and it doesn't work. From first taste to finish, this is overly charred and has an almost tannic finish. It's not a horrible taste, but it's bad enough to put this below average. Much of the fruitiness gets lost to the roast, but the fig and dates are still pretty apparent. Less clove-y than it smells.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good spritzy carbonation with a very faint creaminess. Normally I'd rank this higher, but the burnt aftertaste prevents that.

2.5 D: This is more of a Belgian stout than a BSDA, but whatever. It's overly roasty and unbalanced and that's no good. I expect more from Ommegang.

 1,081 characters

Photo of jbertsch
3.03/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle aged 1 year.

Pitch black appearance, even when held up to light. 1 finger of beige head.

Aroma is not significant. Most notable is the belgian-like yeast. Faint cocao and a hint of cherry.

Rather than distinct flavors, this is really a blend of flavors that are hard to pin down. Some christmas spices sit over dark grains, with a hint of chococlate, leather, and tobacco, and brown sugar... But you really have to search hard for those flavors.

Medium body. Not as belgian-like in the mouthfeel. Almost more brown ale-like.

Overall a decent beer, but it's a bit too non descript, without much character. I've come to expect more from Ommegang.

 660 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.23/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml brown glass bottle with hood-and-wire cap over a cork served into me Guinness goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery - with which I've been fairly impressed so far.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured slowly per the label's instructions.

A: Pours a 2 finger head of slight tan hue, good cream, good thickness, and great retention for the high ABV. Colour is a predictable solid black. No yeast particles are visible, likely due to its nontransparency. No bubble show. Opaque. A healthy appearance that encourages me to try it.

Sm: Dark malts, pleasant biscuity yeast, cream, slight roasted barley, and oats (when I look for them). A pleasant aroma that suits the style. Mild in strength.

T: Slight cream on the open gives way to the dark malt body with smooth rolled oats, out-of-place wheat, light chocolate malt, and vague slight hints of roasted barley - though nowhere near enough. Interestingly built. The wheat in particular sticks out, negatively impacting the balance. Except for that, the balance is nice. The beer isn't as complex as I'd expect from Ommegang, but I'd hardly call it simple. Some subtlety is apparent, but it's not impressive. Some layering is going on. I don't detect any hops. The yeast is also surprisingly restrained, but I'll keep tabs on it as I approach the bottom of the bottle.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but surprisingly sparse in terms of cream. It could use far more; the creamy quality that is there is nice. Good thickness and carbonation. Suits the flavours nicely.

Dr: Drinkable but not Ommegang's best beer. I have nothing against it, but for the price it's something of a disappointment. It's not yeast enough for the style, and wheat malt was just a poor addition outright. I do like it, but I wouldn't have it again or recommend it to friends. Probably best only for hardcore Ommegang fanatics. To its credit, it hides its ABV quite well. I don't know that I really look forward to consuming the whole bottle meself, but c'est la vie.

High C+

 2,129 characters

Photo of CopeTech
3.26/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a pretty beer,it has nice fine head and delicate lacing. Surprisingly uninspired for an ommegang strong dark. The aroma is faint and slightly sour. Perhaps guinesslike with a belgium yeast.
The taste holds true to a belgium dark, but fades quickly leaving you to wonder where are the monk's subtiltiesand depth.
The color is more of starbucksthan of a quad.
I expect a mature strong beer to take advantage of the full yeast lifecycle not hide from it.

 460 characters

Photo of kencarman
3.27/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This is an unimpressive beer from a VERY impressive brewery. Dark as Hell, tons of head that doesn't want to stop: off white. Plenty of malt with some sweetness and a hint of sour, and Brett. No hops except bitter as warms. Malt indistinguishable, but no Brown, no Patent. All pils? But where did the dark come from? Nothing all that interesting, IMO. Mouthfeel heavy with malt. Aroma really tough to get much at all. Hops: after warms bitter asserts a tad, but nothing to get excited about.

Ommegang can, and get, done better. Buy Ommegang, the breweries namesake beer, if you want anything like this.

 604 characters

Photo of JasW
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Disappointment reigns here. Ruining everything is a tart, acidic undertone. If it weren't for that, this might be a more than decent BSDA. As it is, it is subpar, and an unexpected swing and a miss from an otherwise terrific brewery.

 233 characters

Photo of AdamBear
3.34/5  rDev -15%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-dark rustic brown with a light brown head

S-dark Belgian Malts, sweet caramels, and soaps...boozy almost. 

T-comes in with mild dark grains and faint dark fruits. Its somewhat syrupy and leaves a faint smokey after-taste. A forgettable beer.

M-watery medium carbonation with a watery finish

O-This was just a mild and boring dark Belgian ale. Definitely doesn't deserved to be bottled. Not bad tasting though! And it does go down fairly easy.

 449 characters

Photo of founddrama
3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bit more of a bitter bite when compared to something like Local 2. Still a very serviceable Belgian style ale. (Borderline 4? My expectations were high.)

 155 characters

Photo of teromous
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pitch black with a very thin off-white head on it that disappears into a small ring around the rim of the glass and small islands of bubbles. Small droplets of lacing.

S: Cocoa comes to me immediately. Then alcohol comes through, along with some light candy scents. The candy scent is similar to one of those old fashion root beer barrels...not the root beer scent but that sweet smell that accompanies it. It smells pretty good but I think it could possibly use some aging to get rid of the alcohol scent.

T: I'm approached with a combination of banana and fig flavors. Immediately following is a coffee flavor. I get a slightly iron taste to the beer as well. Some of the alcohol comes through, but there is a burnt character that masks it.

M: The mouthfeel is relatively bright with carbonation. Despite the limited head, there is a fizzy quality to the beer. I'm not overly fond of the carbonation level. It has a full mouthfeel, and has a welcome dryness.

O: I felt that the beer was a little too roasty for a Belgian Strong, and that it was a bit overcarbonated. I wanted more phenolic character, but it was masked behind the roasted flavors. Much of its Belgian yeast character was not brought to the forefront. It's not a bad beer at all. I felt that despite everything, it was a relatively average beer. I will enjoy my beer, but won't be looking for this beer anytime soon.

 1,390 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a nearly solid black color with just a thin of light tan head hat had low retention and mild lacing.

The aroma had a fair bit going on, malt, yeast, spice, and some fruitiness. The flavors were pretty similar, just a bit more clarified. The body was thinner than I expected, and had semi=sweet finish that lingered a bit.

Drinkability was good, but not great, I split the bottle with a friend, and that was plenty. Overall, a pretty nice brew, and one I'm glad I tried. I probably won't grab another bottle, but if I see it on tap I'll certainly have another.

 593 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tasting glass at Buzz in LA. From notes. Reviewed 23 February 2013.

A: Ruby-dark and clear. Light head.

S: Dark sweet with spicy yeast and some artificial spices. Straightforward BSDA.

T: Sweetish, harshly spiced, and generally medicinal. Not to my liking.

M: M is for mediocre.

O: Meh. I wouldn't have another, but if you like BSDA (and I generally do) definitely try it.

 389 characters

Photo of PeterIngemi
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Split a 750 with my gf pimoured into a duvel snifter

A: pours dark dark brown... Appears black after pour... With an almost obnoxious 3 1/2 finger head that dissapates slooowly... The head is a tannish color and leaves thick lacing... Would have given a 4.5 instead of 3.5 if it wasn't for the huge everlasting head.

S: earthyness, Belgian spice, dry chocolate, almost a mentality twang? I think this may be from the Belgian spice blending with other aromas.... Faint faint coffee bean.

T: follows the nose with a heavier accent on fruity Belgian yeast. Some chocolate a bit of earthyness... I feel like the yeast dictates more of the flavor hear then the malts.... It is very well balanced.... In a way.... Reminds me of seduction without the cherries. Infer a touch of Clove a bit of fruitiness and a bit of bannana from the yeast all over a lightly chocolate backbone.

M: rather medium but more towards the light side with very hitting effervescent carbonation, that I would say is a bit on the high side.

O: not overly impressed here, I expected a richer, more full bodied almost stout like here... And that it was not.... Perhaps this would be better with some age if the yeast were to mellow out. A decent brew and worth tryin.... But I don't see myself going back for seconds.

 1,289 characters

Photo of axeman9182
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle, allowed to warm some before being poured into my petite Duvel tulip.

Art of Darkness pours a solid black, with three plus fingers of light tan colored foam. Head retention is pretty good, and lacing is on the spotty side. The nose is very nice, with lots of plum, raisin, and fig. There's a little bit of roasty grains and clove-like phenols present in the background. The roast and phenols come way to the foreground in the flavor profile. That combination, present in that intensity, ends up coming off as a bit harsh/astringent. Sweet-ish dark fruits are still present, but somewhat drowned out by the other aspects of the flavor profile. The body has just a touch too much heft, but it's paired with a very active, expressive carbonation. Art of Darkness seemed promising at first, but just missed the mark for being a great take on a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It's the latest in what's been a string of very "meh" beers for me from Ommegang.

 961 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and slight dark fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with a slightly sour fruity flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty 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 with some interesting aromas and flavors but nothing all that exciting.

 616 characters

Photo of korguy123
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into Lefft goblet

A- Heavy, opaque, super dark brown almost black pour with brown around the edges. Sitting on top is a long lived light tan head. Lacing is good.

S- Dark stone fruits, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves. The oat adds a new aroma to this, almost oatmeal stout like.

T- Figs and dates, brown sugar, cloves, a touch of banana. Roasted char in the finish adds a bitter taste in the back end.
The oats again add a different taste in the finish but seems more "same old, same old"

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation, slightly chewy. Alcohol is very minimal.

O- I get the difference with this beer, but it just seems to be very similar to almost every other BSDA out there. Maybe it's just me... who knows?

 735 characters

Photo of impending
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


750ml into a tulip. Pours a very deep copper mahogany, dense tan head with an encouraging pour, nice initial lacing.

Aroma is sweet, spicy and yeasty with a dab of camphor rounding the finish.

Never sweet never bitter. Little dark semi sweet chocolate, little cherry raisin vanilla. Mild phenolic backbone. Roasty, belgian stoutish. Medium rich bodied mouthfeel.
tasty with warmth but no outstanding components

 426 characters

Photo of thagr81us
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into Trappe Door tulip. Poured a massively dark reddish brown with a two finger light khaki colored head that subsided to a minimal amount very slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark fruit, bread, earth, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet amlt, dark fruit, bread, earth, and very subtle sweet alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a fairly decent brew. While the flavor and aroma on this one was fairly complex, it just left a little to be desired if I am completely honest. All of the right aspects for the style were definitely present, but I just wish they would have come across a little more balanced. Worth trying if you get the chance though.

 783 characters

Photo of oline73
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on-tap at Max's, served in a sample glass.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark brown/mahogany with a layer of off white head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Fruity malt with some hints of cherry and dark fruit. There is a mild herbal not as well, but the malt is the thing that's standing out.

Taste: Definitely malt forward, which is to be expected. There is a sweetness, but it is delicate. Mild fruit notes are there, but less than the smell. I'm getting some warm alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

OVerall: I think they did a good job of what they set out to do. I would have another, but I don't think I'd spend the money on a whole bottle.

 737 characters

Photo of Kevin73
3.56/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a mostly opaque reddish brown with a thin tan head that disappears quickly. One of the darkest quads I've ever tried. Also one of the driest. A fairly high carbonation is apparent from the first pour. The smell is yeasty and not much else. The taste is rye bread, malts, a hint of hops and very little sweetness of any kind. The beer is a bit boozie a result. Mouthfeel is good, nice carbonation, and not too thin. Basically my only complaint is it needs some sweetness to balance it out. Otherwise worth a try.

 517 characters

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Belgian tulip from a 750mL bottle from February 2012.

It's got a light, foamy head that's just a massive beast. The body is a dark black with no visible carbonation. 4.25

Dark fruit and a funky yeast aroma are dominant. Despite two and a half years of age, there's a bit of astringency. 3.75

Raisiny with yeasty funk and astringency. There's some floral flavor and oaken bourbon with the taste when it's watered down.

The yeast I think takes this beer in some unpleasant places. It's effervescent and slightly funky with a faint bourbon astringency. 3.25

Damn, this is a bit of a disappointment. The flavors aren't great and the pungent bourbon flavor is unpleasant.

 687 characters

Photo of Vixie
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nearly opaque black with a tan head that doesn't last long, leaving some nice lacing across the top.

Nice strong smell to this one. There's dried fruit, mainly raisin and prune, also a bit of brown sugar and cookie dough.

Starts out on the sweet side, more of a fruity sweetness like raisin. Also a hint of Belgian candy sugar, and finishes with a peppery spice.

Decent feel, there is a lot of tongue tingling due to the carbonation, but fairly smoothy overall.

Overall a pretty good beer, but not a great one. It seems to be lacking the complexity I expect from this style, but is still a good beer. It would be interesting to see how this beer ages, very possible aging would bring out more depths of flavor. Worth a try, I am tempted to get another bottle and age it just to see what it does to the flavor.

 823 characters

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml corked and caged bottle served in a Tank 7 tulip. Poured a dark brown with some reddish hints. Big tan head, lots of carbonation in this one. Yeast spice in the aroma with a little dark malt. Belgian yeast spice predominated in the flavor. Some chocolate malt and a little dark fruit. Medium bodied. The spice was a little to over the top for me.

 352 characters

Photo of Stinger80OH
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into a standard 12oz mug, AOD is dark with a 1-2 finger head with good retention throughout as some lacing.

S: Dark fruits such as fig, grapes, and dates as well as a slightness of orange are abundant on the nose. Slight booziness too but not overwhelming for a BSDA.

T: As above, dark fruits dominant with a small touch of dark suger/burnt caramel on the back of the palate. Minimal booziness.

M: Soft, not too sweet given its fruity characteristics.

O: This is an average BSDA and given its price point, I probably wouldn't be inclined to buy it again. If you like this style of beer though and you like Ommegang, then its worth checking out.

 660 characters

Photo of TheItalianStallion
3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a dark cola color with a 1 inch head of beige foam that caps the beer perfectly. Random spots of lacing throughout the glass.

S: Somewhat weak aromas of sweet fruits with some belgian yeast funk. Faint grape as the beer warms.

T: Flavors of sweet fruits with some yeast notes. Finish is dry and very sweet. Alcohol is masked well for 9%.

M: Medium body with a crisp mouthfeel and high carbonation.

O: This beer wasn't horrible, but I wasn't blown away by any means. It could be that I've had beers of this style that were more complex, or maybe I'm just not a huge fan of this beer in particular. I am a huge fan of Brewery Ommegang however, and this is the only beer I've had from them that I didn't like. In my opinion, it was over carbonated and a bit too sweet for my tastes. I love Brewery Ommegang, but I most likely won't drink this beer again. To quote Billy Bob Thornton in the movie Bad Santa "They can't all be winners!"

 987 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours mahogany with 2 fingers of tan head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit, plums & raisins, some phenolic notes

T: Plums & figs with phenolic twang & some boozeyness up front, a bit of dark chocolate too. Green apple skin as this warms, a bit of figs & carob, along with black currants as this warms & more dark chocolate. Finishes dry & boozey with more apple skin, figs & carob

MF: Medium bodied, firm carbonation Booze warmth & dryness throughout this sampling

An alright Belgian Dark, perhaps too young to sample. To me this bottle looks to be a year or 2 from optimum. The last few beers from Ommegang haven't really wowed me. Pretty good, not great

 674 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Art Of Darkness from Brewery Ommegang
88 out of 100 based on 132 ratings.