Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Join The Buzz! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

Art Of Darkness - Brewery Ommegang

Not Rated.
Art Of DarknessArt Of Darkness

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

132 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 132
Hads: 668
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 8.91%
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

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
Reviews: 132 | Hads: 668
Photo of Infamous7100
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark mahogany with some orange tints around the edges.
S: dark fruits, mainly plums, figs and raisin. Smells great.
T: very complex. The immense malt is balanced by the dark fruits present in the aroma. Sweet, but balanced by the warming booze toward the back.
M: some high carbonation and full bodied. A nice, boozy sweet hang for the aftertaste.
O: do yourself a favor and pick the up. Very complex, tasty and improves as it warms. All kinds of different nuances come through in time. Well done by Ommegang. (520 characters)

Photo of One2Remeber
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Thick, ultra creamy khaki head. Deep, dark brown body. Looks like a India Black Ale. Head stays around for a short couple minutes but leaves coating the glass with a sticky film.

S: Dark mild fruits (prunes), dry spicy yeast, hints of toffee.

T: Candy (red licorice) with an intense soapy/shampoo finish. Spicy yeast combines with a grainy, heavy malt taste for a crazy taste bud experience.

M: Mild carbonation, fizzes for a bit before leaving a sticky, syrup feel.

O: Does not blow palate away in flavor, yet is quite enjoyable. Going out on a limb and comparing it to a Scottish Ale with Belgian yeast. (640 characters)

Photo of ummswimmin
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I ran across this great find in a local wine store that doesn't do well in their beer purchases. You get about 25 options (outside of 20 different packages of BMC). I'm not going to complain. I'll just enjoy this very well made Belgian Strong Dark.

The foam on this beer is very fluffy and sticky on the pour. The resulting lacing is really nice on the glass.

I like the smell on this glass. You really breathe in the caramel and rich flavor.

Overall, this was a very well made beer. If you run across a bottle, then I recommend picking this up. (548 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 Cyberkedi
4.36/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, opaque, brownish sable with a very thick and somewhat persistent light tan head. The sample I got fizzed quite a bit, so I recommend having a towel handy when you crack open a bottle. Aroma has notes of caramel and molasses plus hints of licorice and pear. Superb flavor has a malty core and fruity, caramel and molasses tones, hints of horehound, licorice and honey. Smooth, firm-bodied texture does not have a lot of fizz, but it still pleases. Let this "dark side" seduce you while you have the opportunity. (524 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 donkeyrunner
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

@ Greenland Cafe, Salem MA

Dark brown with a Georgia clay colored head. Quick to skim and swirl like a spit wad floating in my beer.

Faint, but smells distinctly like when I mix chocolate whey protein powder with coffee. And gingerbread cookies. Aroma is slightly smokey like smoked salmon without the salmon.

Tastes like mocha ice cream with a ginger snap in back. Has that Belgian stout there but not there flavor that I find typical of the style. Oaty, silky mouthfeel.

Better in the bottle than draft. Really needed to breathe before I appreciated it fully. (567 characters)

Photo of Dope
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A very dark brown pour, borderline black. Huge fluffy light brown head adorns it. Head retention is primo - it doesn't seem to be moving at all even after a few minutes. Once it mostly fades away (finally), it leaves nice thick tufts everywhere. 1/4" of head seems to remain at all times.

S: Wonderful belgian yeast with lots of bread and banana. Nice spice to it as well. A bit of roasted malt but mostly dark fruits instead. Cherries, figs, raisins mostly. Sweet molasses with a touch of caramel. Maybe even chocolate? Get something different each time.

T: Loaded with thick, sweet dark fruits. Again, lots of cherry with raisin, figs and banana. Bready with cloves and some other strong spices that I can't identify. Some anise. Some earthy bitterness on the back end. Hints of chocolate in the aftertaste.

M: Fairly high carbonation, makes this one feel lighter than it really is - quite airy. Astringent and drying in the aftertaste.

O: I thought this would be a belgian stout but there is only just a hint of roasted malt in this one. Very fruity and sharp with spice. Well balanced. Carbonation a touch high but not unusually so. (1,145 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Prohibition Pig, Waterbury, VT

Served in a mini-snifter, a dark brown nearly black beer, with a small cap of eggshell head; not much retention, but it did leave some nice soapy lacing while it lasted. Roasty malt aroma, dark sugars, a bit of dark fruit, bready. Taste is woody, malty, pumpernickel, caramel, with notes of figs, prunes, and licorice. Mouthfeel was about medium, would've been thin for a porter, but about right for a strong ale. Pretty nice overall, but nothing that I'd go out of my way for. (530 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Mahaffey's the other day.

The beer pours a fairly dark brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is very attrative, as I get rootbeer, cherry, chocolate, a hint of brownn sugar and considerable underlying spice. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this fairly sweet beer, with dark fruits and prunes seeming to dominate otherwise. There is some licorice as well, but it's not excessive, and seemed to blend in well to the flavor profile. The finish is really well done in this beer, and there was sort of sweet, creamy aspect that I liked. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, which I think works well for this beer. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile.... it could have been anything from 7% up to 12% and I wouldn't have been any the wiser.

I thought this was a pretty nice beer from the folks at Ommegang. (849 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: two finger thick tan head with nice lacing on a dark brown with little light getting through body.

S: lots of dark fruit, mostly cherry, plum and raisin. 

T: a lot more malty than others in the genre. The fruitiness is mild. Caramel and mild toffee notes to the finish.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall: malt heavy beer for the genre. Glad I tried this one, nice and unique (409 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Big Texas Beer Fest.

The beer pours a very dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma is has some roasted malt, as well as some dark fruit, chocolate and Belgian yeast notes. The flavor is similar, with the chocolate and dark fruit notes going very well with the yeast and roasted malt notes. Tastes a lot like a Belgian imperial stout. Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. (412 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer pours an extremely dark brown into black coloring with a light, frothy, half an inch of foamy head on the pour that settles into a sparse filmy coating. Aromas are effervescent and very well blended, with a roasted grain backbone, earthy notes, some smokey highlights, and a light sweetness throughout. Flavors are equally dynamic, with a smoked and roasted sugary caramel backbone, hints of blackstrap molasses throughout, bitter coffee characteristics, and a dry hopping at the end that cleans the palate. Very well layered and blended flavor profile. The more you drink, the more reveals itself to you, with highlights of cocoa nib, fig, date, and more as you go. Tasty beer. The aftertaste is minimal thanks to the hops presence, with a touch of tangy caramel and booze. The finish is clean and quick. This is a beer that is heavy on flavor while light in mouth. Good brew. (923 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives pitch black, with a nice head that leaves a boatload of lacing behind

Smell: Roasty, with black bread and fruit elements; licorice, too

Taste: Black cherry, red wine grape and fig along with a roasty character, up front; some chocolate, licorice and pie spices arrive at mid-palate, along with a tart cherry aspect; after the swallow, the fruity elements dominate though there is a slight tartness on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: Interesting fruit flavors with a touch of tartness; a beer with a difference (578 characters)

Photo of jlindros
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Ommegang tulip with a decent fizzy 1 finger darker mocha colored head that wants to fade quickly but doesn't, fades fairly slowly with some marks of lacing, over very dark molasses brown colored beer with hints of murky ruby light sneaking through.

Nose has some dark malts, dark crystal malts with some caramel and light molasses aromas, plenty of biscuity malts, a bit of flaked oats, a nutty malt that also seems to bring a hint of earthiness, and hint of a root beer like cola aroma. A bit of booze comes through there as well, with hints yeast spice and touch earthy hop.

Taste starts fluffy with plenty of carbonation coming through making the mouth foamy. Dark malts course through, with some earthy nutty malts, light root beer like earthiness again, as well as some biscuity light toasty malts, more darker brown malts, hint of caramel molasses like sugars. Light flaked oats bring a hint of creaminess and fluffy feel, and I think the wheat adds a light textured flavor. The yeast brings more of the earthy spicy flavors, as well as some light earthy hops and a hint of grassy hops, with a light bitterness that almost seems more to come from the yeast than the hops. A bit of booze finds its way through, but still seems to drink fairly well. The finish dries a bit but not a lot, plenty of lingering earthy nutty malts and root spices with the yeast, light syrupy flavors, and even a hint of cocoa.

Mouth is a bit fuller bodied, textured and smooth at the same time, with tons of carbonation.

overall an interesting beer, not sure if I would pay that much for it again, but at least a nice one to try. Decent malts, hops are a bit too far away on teh back end though, booze is about right, nice carbonation and body, decent all around beer. (1,771 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 Chaney
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presently this is ranked #6 in the Belgian Dark Ale category here on BA.

A: Poured a dark brown, Coca-Cola color, with a luxuriously foamy mocha colored head that I gave up on it ever dying down after a few minutes.

S: I definitely got some Belgian funk, but the concentrated dose of that gave way generously to a very fresh, filtered water quality that was divine. Lots of dark fruit notes as well.

T: This was basically a liquified "Fig Newton" with the organic and processed sugar quality all in one. The figs even lingered after each sip. Not the sugar part, but the actual grainy fruit.

M: Creamy and quite delectable, with the lacing on the glass and palate being quite substantial. In terms of sweetness, you should definitely pair this with something hearty.... or just have it as a dessert.

O: There was nothing really complex here, but just good old fashioned Belgian ale brewing. Really good stuff, and at a great price! (936 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 Vec2267
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - black with a great tan head, wonderful lacing

S - a complex mix of aromas where nothing dominates, roast malts, yeast twang, fruity, earthy

T - yeast twang and sour roast malt dominate, I prefer sweet to sour so this prejudices me against this beer, a lot going on, dark fruits, cocoa, alcohol

M - the carbonation that made the great head also makes it sparkle, light given the flavor profile

O - the sour aspects diminish the beer for me, though I can still appreciate the craftsmanship, the usual complex, quality beer from this brewery even if it did not hit my sweet spot (583 characters)

Photo of webmanspidey
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle in an Ommegang chalice. This is a deep translucent brown color with an inch of foam. Smell has a lot of wine characteristics, led by some grape, cherry, and bubblegum. There are some other mild spices like cloves present. The taste is sweet with a lot of grapes, banana, and nuts. Alcohol is masked very well. Mouthfeel is fairly thin and fizzy. (352 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part Belgian Strong Dark Ale, part Belgian Stout- Ommegang delivers a complex beer of roast and fruit flavor, and doing so with a surprisingly simplified palate.

Pouring with a voluptuous and billowing tan head, the beer carries the bubbly nature of champagnes but with the dark brown (almost black) color of hearty stouts. A mild garnet highlight plays through the modest haze in uncanny clear fashion. High level of foam retention and lace speaks volumes to the quality for which Brewery Ommegang is known.

Somewhat mild aromas tackle the olfactories with balanced elements of roasted barley, charred fruits, biscuit, and peppercorn- all wrapped in a thin envelope of caramel and light bread.

Malty sweetness hits the taste buds with the taste of fresh baked bread, bread crust, starch, and underlying caramel sweetness. The roasty char of grains play on the tongue with the taste of coffee, cocoa powder, and burnt embers at mid palate that seem to overshadow sweetness and bridge into the mild fruity flavors of burnt berries, currants, red grapes, and apples. Although esters are mild, their fruity effect is varying and command just enough attention to keep the beer interesting beyond the simple flavor spread.

Medium bodied throughout, the ale's sparkling carbonation prevents fuller texture and ushers in a highly drinkable and zesty bite that ushers in a finish of roasty-dryness, alcohol warmth, and peppery bite.

Where the Art of Darkness doesn't portray the breadth, earthy boldness, or assertive complex sweetness as many darker strong Belgian ales, it's relies on a simplified palate that's exquisitely balanced, more yeast-neutral, and somewhat subdued to celebrate its shear drinkability in understated fashion. (1,733 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 carlton012
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I love Ommegang almost anything, and will try every brew of theirs, this was a great brew. I love it because it had those same flavors of my Ommegang brew (abbey ale), but those flavors were very mild; the rest of the beer is big and bold. I love the appearance because it looks like a slightly watered down cup of black coffee with a lot of head on it. Plus, who doesn't like a liberal beer? Bravo! (399 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 EgadBananas
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown. Light tan head in the snifter. Aroma is bakers chocolate, nutty sweetness, slight spicy Belgian notes. It was almost cake-like in a way. Taste carried that cake-like sweet chocolate nuttiness. Slightly sweet, but there was an earthy Belgian note to balance the chocolate. Nice full body, creamy and with a solid carbonation presentation.

Had never heard of this, but I rather enjoyed it. I didn't care too much for Seduction, but this was a treat. (474 characters)

Art Of Darkness from Brewery Ommegang
88 out of 100 based on 132 ratings.