Grainstorm Black Rye IPA - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Grainstorm Black Rye IPAGrainstorm Black Rye IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

115 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 115
Hads: 657
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 9.14%
Wants: 40
Gots: 65 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co. visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  7.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: acelin on 12-06-2012

Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the root cellar, along comes Grainstorm, a big, wet wallop to the senses. In the glass, dark and turbulent clouds gather. A high-pressure system of pungent hops collides with a stationary front of barley, wheat, and rye. The forecast: a veritable monsoon of flavor, with surges of roasty malt, microbursts of hops, and a chance of golfball-sized hail. The extended outlook calls for unseasonably pleasant enjoyment.

65 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 115 | Hads: 657
Photo of Ed_Johnson
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark caramel with massive tan head.
The nose was nice and different with Piney hops and lightly spicy rye.
A bit of sharp bitterness up front with a good finish featuring barley, rye and a little roasty malt.
Overall a good beer. (230 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Best by Nov 2014, opened Jan 2015

A - A great looking beer. Three fingers of creamy light tan head with great retention and lace. Dark maple syrup body.

S - Soft nose. Caramel, brown bread, molasses, rye, and a backdrop of tangerine.

T - Absolutely delicious. Creamy caramel, an awesome dry roast coffee note, burnt toast, pumpernickel bread, woody bitters. Great balance.

M - Outstandingly smooth. Medium-full frame.

O - A fantastic beer. Stellar balance of roast, sweetness, and bitters for a style that all too often goes roasty for roasty sake. (562 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%

Boulevard brewers introduce us to the turbulent atmosphere that their locale has to weather. No, it has nothing to do with the actual weather, but the brewing climate that their Smokestack Series has to offer. If Grainstorm is what they encounter, then please- let it rain down!

The black IPA is instead a very dark brown, only differentiating from black along its margins. But with the piercing citrus character of white grapefruit, the nose turns from black and towards pale. Emulating IPA for a moment, the initial hoppy taste soon weaves in burnt caramel sweetness and toasty breadiness to bring the senses back to black.

And those burnt sweetnesses resonate on the fatter portions of taste, seeming porter-like early on. But like IPA does, the malts fade, taking with it the bulk of sweetness and chocolate to leave a roasted char behind to work in tandem with citrusy hops, and a spicy huskiness that stems from the early palate to its deep finish.

Drying wonderfully, only the shell of malt leaves its starchy substrate behind which supports the earthen rye bite, the acute pine bitterness and roasted acidity extremely well. Pretending to be "imperial", the body suggests something bigger, but its dryness refutes it all and promotes a more drinkable palate. (1,270 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look:Dark caramel brown. Massive tan head.
smell: Nice and different. Piney hops up front with lightly spicy rye.
taste: much like the nose. a bit of sharp bitterness up front with an interesting finish, a mix of all that stuff, barley, rye and a little raosty malt.
overall: Pleasant and different. Nice job. (309 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.84/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful dark amber-tinted brown with lush piles of foam in the Bacchus fluted nonic. Expansive lacing in the glass and a clot of foam in the very last sip. Modest aroma.

Rich and darkly roasted grainy flavors. Bitter finish but not overly bitter. Some malty sweetness to start but dry as the charred barley taste takes over. First I think there is a hint of Belgian yeast, and then the malt reasserts itself. Burnt sugar with a winey lingering tannic taste. I don't taste the rye as much in this one, though after some sipping the spicy grain taste develops, along with a surprising candy note.

Quite drinkable and interesting. A dark brew with a more distinct flavor. From the 750 ml bottle purchased at Liticker's Liquor in Ocean Beach. They should put this in cans and lose the stupid cork nonsense. (806 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown that is close to black and has a massive offwhite head that dies slow and leaves lace patches down glass. A strong bit of citric hops are in the aroma along with hints of rye and roasted malts. Roasted malts and rye are prevalent and the wheat gives the beer both a fuller body and smoothness that is second to none. There are hints of sweetness (chocolate or caramel is my guess) as well as a good amount of citric hops on the backend. Well balanced beer and one of the few "black IPAs" that is able to draw out all the characteristics of both styles. (571 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Batch Number G14035-1. Best by date: 11-2014.

Pours an opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, spicy rye, cocoa, and slight char aromas. Taste is much the same with dark roasted malt, rye, citrus zest, and cocoa flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a great balance of roast, citrus zest, and rye aspects all around. (637 characters)

Photo of dethomp
4.52/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A - Amazingly special. Immediately on pouring into pint glass small bubbly foam rose, threatening to overflow. Visible beer depth was just 1/2 inch, topped with foam of 4 inches. This beer requires patience before you can fast it. (Perhaps my glass should have been a lower temperature?)

S - To me it the rye smell was first very strong, too strong. This time my patience resulted in a smoother and more appealing and enticing smell.

T - Very smooth but still fulfilling. Boulevard's rating of 65 IBU is just right.

M - Again, a fine mix of a good amount of smoothness with bitterness.

O - A fine experience. Neither dull nor overpowering. For me the best part is how it changes to become better. An excellent rye.

I highly recommend it. (743 characters)

Photo of dbossman
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Black with a huge, steady brown head; good lacing

S: Tropical fruits explode as the cork comes out: pineapple, mango, grapefruit and then comes the spicy bready malts--man, this beer smells amazing

T: Tropical hop forward and those flavors then blend so well with the spicy rye--such a nice testament to how a beer can be hoppy and yet balanced; some alcohol becomes evident in the finish

F: Creamy and yet sticky; this is a nice feeling beer; such good texture from start to finish

O: A really nice beer; such a great example of what rye can add to a beer (563 characters)

Photo of farrago
4.01/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Be careful with the pour or it will fill half the glass, otherwise it’s a few fingers of light tan, very uniform microfoam, looks like it was intentionally whipped up, very good retention, the lacing is pretty much a solid sheet down the glass side, rarely breaks into streaks. The liquid is a kind of muddy brown like pond water, semi-opaque, displays a yellow cast near the surface, through it all you can easily see the hyperactive bubbles bursting upwards. The nose is all but totally grapefruit citrus, the rye is consistent but not showy, well cooked country bread notes, light pepper spice, same for the nectarine to peach fruit scents, very smooth and focused, all about that citrus. In the mouth it’s medium-bodied and the carbonation really gets it churning, overaggressive. When it does settle into the palate, the grapefruit leads again however the raw graininess is assertive. Some cocoa, the roast is not high-toned, more baked, bready. Pine adds to overall bitterness rather than sweetness, the fruit also tart, a mix of pineapple, nectarine and apple more than peach or apricot. Not trying to hard, that said, the finish while clean could use more flavor, quibbling. Hard not to consume happily. (1,215 characters)

Photo of whynot44
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark opaque reddish brown, almost black, with a massive foamy tan head that eventually subsides to just a skin that lasts forever and continues to produce some nice sheets of lacing.

The aroma is pine resin, citrus, faint dark roasted malts and spicy rye.

The taste is complex with plenty of pine and grapefruit up front, backed up with spicy rye, hints of coffee, chocolate, apples, plums and blackberries. The finish is dry with lingering pine resin aftertaste that makes you want more.It sounds odd but is very well balanced to produce a really tasty brew.

Medium to full bodied but smooth and easy to drink.

Overall this is very enjoyable, plenty of hops for the hopheads but not so overpowering that you can't enjoy the malt background as well. Another really nice brew from boulevard. (803 characters)

Photo of jwhancher
4.19/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Gift from my brother as a b-day gift. Cork led off with a massive pop, the a huge dense rocky head persisted for quite some time. Beer looks dark brown - can't really see through- except for some ruby highlights.

Aroma smells fruity and juicy. Berry fruits like melon, raspberries, blueberries. Kind of like popping a piece of juicy fruit gum into your mouth and inhaling those flavors. After the fruitiness fades, some spicy hop aromas make an appearance. No real malt in the aroma.

Dark grainy character in initial flavor: likely the rye and dark malts. Seems like black patent was most likely used. Hop flavors intermingle well with the malts giving this a nicely balanced & complex beer. Firm bitterness throughout. Feels medium bodied with some lingering bitterness and a touch of creaminess from the still persistent head.

First Boulevard beer I've had, and I like it. I like it a lot Jerry. Am glad to get the happiness in the nose yet a great balance in the flavor. Very well done. (995 characters)

Photo of Beaver13
3.43/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, best by 11/2014. Pours brown with a huge and growing creamy light tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is roast, sweet chocolate malt, rye and piney hops.

The flavor is sweet chocolate malt, spicy rye with big roast piney bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little watery.

Overall, a nice black IPA with lots of piney hops, roast and some rye. (395 characters)

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at Bier Station as this Boulevard spring seasonal hits KC for it's second year of existence. I like it quite a bit, so it seems about time to update my score and do a full review. Poured into a small Belgian tulip glass.

Appearance - Pours a deep brown hue, almost black, with just the faintest rim of coffee color right around the edges of the glass. Atop the body sits a one-finger sudsy head of latte foam colored bubbles--just a slight twinge of khaki. Retention is moderate, with the foam dissipating to a healthy buildup around the rim of the liquid, and a small island of accumulated foam in the middle, separated by a moat of black with a thin film across the top. Rims of lace are present as I drink it down, with some soapy sheets of lacing in places and eventually a mottling of spots all around the glass long after the liquid has gone.

Smell - Different from many "black IPAs" in that the roasted characteristics are very much in the background on this take. Instead, the nose is led by fragrant citrus and herbal grass and pine--the "IPA" side of this bipolar style. Following the hoppy drum major in this parade of flavors is a corps of rye spice and earthiness.

Taste - Much like the aroma, the citrus is big and almost juicy. Not an adjective I've often used to describe this style, but there is a great deal of orange zest and tangerine flesh to given this a wonderful pungency that is kept in check by the spicy rye and roasted malt. Some faint esters waft through the other flavors, and at the very end, there is a lingering bitterness, like almost-burnt toast, to make sure the "black" part of this ale is more than just the color.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied and moderate carbonation, with a feel that is slightly juicy and highly drinkable for the style, with low bitterness.

Overall, this isn't like a lot of examples I've had in the style, but I personally think it sets it apart in a good way. Much less rich and overbearing than some of it's black rye IPA counterparts, it's a fitting spring take on the style. (2,055 characters)

Photo of JBuckwalter
3/5  rDev -25.9%

I may need to preface this review with the acknowledgement that I may have bought a bad bottle; however my overall impression of this beer was very disappointing (especially after reading others' reviews).

The beer poured dark brown, wonderful head with great lacing. Great color and head retention, but then comes the tasting. Malty, malty, malty. It tasted like someone liquefied a loaf of dark rye bread and coffee grounds, and poured it into a glass. Now with a name like "Grainstorm" I guess this should be expected; however, because the beer is quoted to have 65 IBU, I awaited the hops in balancing the beer out. The hops never shown through. Any bitterness at all was simply bitter on the tongue similar to a mug of cheap coffee, with no perceivable hops flavor or aroma.

Overall, this is not a bad beer, but not a good one and very unexpected coming from Boulevard. With some balance it could have been fantastic. I will purchase again and update review if I just happened to buy a bad bottle. (1,007 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a finger of tan head on a black body.
The aroma is a solid burnt wood, molasses, roasted malt and lemon. Nice.
The taste is grainy all over, burnt and roasted malt, mild lemon bitterness and finishes with a little honey sweetness. Nice balance.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
Very enjoyable. The malt takes a front seat to the hops. (356 characters)

Photo of spoony
3.91/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From a 750 ml bottle (batch 2012-1, best by August 2013) into a snifter.

A-A normal pour produces a fat finger, maybe a finger and a half, of grayish-brown head. The head fades within a minute and leaves no lacing. The beer is the color of eastern-Montana asphalt...a sort-of reddish-blackish-brown. Light gets through the edges, but the brew is mostly opaque.

S-The smell is zesty. I get big doses of orange peel, rye spice, and wheat grain. The barley is also quite noticeable and less roasted/charred than in many examples of this style. For being past its best-by date, my bottle still has a good whiff of hops and bitterness.

T-The taste tracks the smell pretty closely with lightly bitter citrus peel that combines with the rye and barley to give a very zesty flavor. The grain is very up front here with wheat and barley both being distinguishable flavors. The finish is drying and lightly bitter.

M-The feel is medium body and carbonation is average strength. There is a pleasant oily coating that reminds you of the hops in here.

O-This is a nice, but not amazing, take on a black ale. I know my bottle was probably beyond its prime by a few months, but the hops are still up front and provide a nice citrus-peel bite that offsets the barley and wheat flavors. It lacks the cocoa that many black ales rely on, and instead, relies on rye spice and roasted barley, which mostly works, but this beer gets a bit grainy at times. A solid effort in an increasingly crowded style. (1,487 characters)

Photo of hreb
3.82/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750mL bottle served in pint glass. Beer pours with a brownish tinge into opaque blackness, with a massive dingy head. Aroma suggests Cascade-y IPA. Flavor is similarly C-hop forward, with a little bit of roasted malt, and just a hint of rye grainy goodness on the back of the palate. Flavors are good but not all that complex -- a little disappointing given black rye IPA/CDAs have so much to offer. Still a really good beer...but 10 out of 10 times I'd rather have a Wookey Jack :) Carbonation is a little bit too strong. Bonus points for the massive head though. (564 characters)

Photo of bnes09
3.51/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish, brown, near black color. Almost opaque with ruby hues on the bottom. Thick head billows over the beer and retreats gradually leaving foamy remnants on the glass.

Wheat, rye and pine aroma.

Dense malty character, mostly rye and toasted wheat. Pine and herbal hop, slightly stale tasting but adds lots of bitterness. Imperfect balance and a little rough around the edges.

Medium bodied. Rough, grainy texture. Dry finish.

To be fair this bottle is 1 month expired and the hops may have lost some of their pungency. However, according to the bottle date, they gave this beer a 17 month shelf life. Overall, pretty average for a black IPA. (653 characters)

Photo of drpimento
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fabulous beer? mmmm the penultimate fab beer. Whatever; pretty friggin good brew. In most of my scores it was just a hair under the next up rating. Anyway, poured at a great temperature with giant, foamy, frothy, medium tan head that never settles and a bit'o lace. Aroma is slightly gamey, hops, dark roast malt, weed, dry forest, mustiness. Appearance is a very dark but clear cherry garnet with a few bubble trails. Flavor's a slightly sweet acid at the very first and quickly followed by bitter and the resin & citrus flavors . Roast is also predominate and include dark ripe fruit. Finish is like flavor, tapers slow, and is fairly drinkable. (647 characters)

Photo of BeerImmediately
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Batch #2012-2. Best by Aug 2013. 750 into big tulip

Huge pop on the cork. Pours with a huge, fat, rocky, tan head. Body is just as it should be - deep, opaque, and dark-brown to black. Tons of sticky lacing.

Aromas are a little light. Primed by dark malt which yields to unsweetened baking chocolate. Little touch of sweet spice. As it warmed, I picked up plenty of urinal cake (strange, but true). The hops come through in the finish with some bubble gum and faint sweet pine.

Soft on the palate. Really clean. Great, great balance between the hops and malts. Leads with bitterness, as it should, but pretty nice balance overall. Grapefruit. Semi-sweet chocolate. Cinnamon. Syrup. Some orange peel bitterness. Minor effervescence in the mouthfeel. Finishes good and dry.

Overall, not the top 3 in my Black Ales to date, but smooth and easy drinking relative to some bruisers. (884 characters)

Photo of bsp77
4.14/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from tap into Tulip.

Appearance: Black with thin but persistent tan head and light lacing rings.

Smell: Citrus and pine, chocolate, grains and spicy rye.

Taste: Slghtly smoky chocolate with nice layers of citrus and pine. Grainy malts with definite notes of rye. Finish is bitter and spicy with some pine and roasted bite.

Feel: Medium to full bodied, creamy and smooth, but a little chalky and grainy. Dry finish.

Overall: Another very good Smokestack beer from Boulevard. (500 characters)

Photo of beertunes
3.21/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to Justin (OKComputer) for this one. Caged and corked 750 poured into full goblet. Bottle code 2012-3, best by 8/13. Poured a solid black color, no translucence, with well over an inch of tan head that had very good retention and moderate lacing.

The aroma was fairly neutral, some light Rye, and very low hops. On the tongue, the Rye was a bit brighter and sharper, especially on the finish. The floral and citrus hops played a very subdued role.

The body was the typical medium of the style. Drinkability was pretty good, we didn't struggle in the least with the bottle. Overall, a nice pleasant CDA, not among the elite of the style, but worth a shot if you see it. (677 characters)

Photo of falloutsnow
3.61/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: Batch 2012/2, best by 8/2013
Glass: New Belgium globe glass

Boulevard's Grainstorm is an interesting Black IPA with a fairly minor roasted notes that play up the hops and supposed rye in this beer. As a whole, this reminds me of a weaker in aroma and flavor Three Floyds' beer (particularly the Black Sun Stout). Not bad, but not particularly impressive, one that I don't think I'd go back to again, especially considering the 750ml bottle format.

Pours a massive head of many centimeters, dark tan to light brown in color, made up of small and medium-sized bubbles. Retention is excellent, the foam lasting for several minutes in a slow fall to a thin cap of lace atop the body of the beer. Lacing is similar, a complex pattern clinging to the walls of the glass. Beer's body is a dark brown color, opaque, with light bringing out a hint of dark mahogany color. Carbonation is not visible through the opaque body.

Aroma primarily of mild pine resin, with lesser grapefruit/citrus, with backing of smooth cacoa nibs (roasted malt). Aroma is not bad, but not surprisingly light and not particularly prominent.

Overall flavor is of pine-like, moderately bitter and citrus-showing hops with a bit of roasted malt character for a bit of complexity; the rye is generally low. Front of palate is of light, pale malt sweetness with just a touch of smooth, "watered-down" milk chocolate and burnt toast flavor. Mid-palate is of pine resin and mildly fruity hop oils and yeast esters, grapefruit-like hops with medium-high bitterness and mild burnt bread and cacoa nibs. Back of palate picks up roasted malt, pine resin hops, bitterness, and mild ethanol. Aftertaste is of spicy, bitter hops with accents of slightly tangy rye, pine resin, and lingering acridity from roasted malts.

Beer is medium-heavy to heavy in body, with carbonation of medium-high intensity, resulting in a beer that is slightly fizzy, foamy, and finds an equilibrium somewhere in-between: in general, too much carbonation. Ethanol is lightly felt on the tongue and in the nostrils, a bit strange for a 7.7% ABV beer. Closes dry, leaving substantial stickiness coating the lips and tongue after each sip. (2,208 characters)

Photo of sommersb
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 07-29-2013
Freshness: Best by 08-2013
Packaging: 750ml brown bottle, corked and caged
Glassware: Globe glass
Purchased: Received in a trade

Appearance has a huge and creamy tan head, on a black beer with ruby highlights. Head retention is excellent with a good amount of lacing.

The smell features moderately hoppy IPA-like aromas of citrus and pine, plus some spiciness of the rye grains.

Taste is similar to a hoppy IPA plus roasted notes and perhaps some smoke. Kind of like a hopped-up porter. I like how it mellows at room temperatures.

The mouthfeel has a medium level of carbonation and heavy body like a big stout. Finishes with bitterness of the hops and also a bitterness of the dark roasted grains.

Overall, a delightful black IPA. Not a style I usually reach for, but Boulevard has done a really good job on this.

Big thanks to Cameron (TheBishopCo) for this bottle! (896 characters)

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Grainstorm Black Rye IPA from Boulevard Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 115 ratings.