Alaskan Double Black IPA (Pilot Series) - Alaskan Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alaskan Double Black IPA (Pilot Series)Alaskan Double Black IPA (Pilot Series)

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very good

123 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 123
Reviews: 51
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 9.23%
Wants: 38
Gots: 20 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 08-18-2010

The aroma of Alaskan Double Black IPA consists of fresh, citrus notes from Northwest hops and the heavy, dry bouquet of roasted grains. Brewed with an array of dark malts, Alaskan Double Black IPA features the distinctive flavors of coffee and bitter chocolate with a subtle toasted sweetness. Large hop additions late in the boil, and dry-hopping after fermentation, lighten and refresh the overall perception and flavor of the beer. It finishes with a dry palate and lingering warmth and bitterness.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 123 | Reviews: 51
Reviews by Ryan011235:
Photo of Ryan011235
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 3/25/11

Stamped A020911

Mid-range cola brown that exhibits deep hues in the glass with dark ruby and grape juice highlights. One finger head reduces to a thin, smooth layer of retention (second pour had three fingers). Lacing starts off as solid swaths that dry and become webbed grids and, even later, specs.

To some degree the aroma reminds me of a hoppy porter. Roast offers a tangy notion that's blended with earthy hops and hints of nuts. Sugars are present but it smell far from sweet. Molasses, unsweetened cocoa, caramel. Wisps of smoke, especially as it warms. Lightly floral. I picked out a stray, dulled citric hint once. It seems to have something of a cola vibe, actually.

While alcohol heat was mostly absent in the aroma, one sip finds Double Black IPA to be a warming critter. The aroma also seemed tame and this beer tastes anything but. Lots of roasted malts and a touch of smoke. Bittersweet chocolate is ramped up and is most prominent through mid-sip. Some dry, roasted coffee creeps in toward the finish. Moderate bitterness throughout. Some pine and remnants of citric zest on the peripheries.

The feel leaves me torn. On one hand it's a smooth, reasonably viscous, full bodied beer. Carbonation however, is far too high. The first sip was nearly painful with sharp, scathing carbonation. The up side is that the carbonation dissipates over time and of its own accord; I didn't have to swirl much away. Undercurrents of grit. After it opens up it is far more enjoyable. Finishes roasty with coffee and some residual bitterness.

Aside from the carbonation and the nose being on the weak side, I've found this beer quite enjoyable. Definitely one to let warm up, too. Not at all a CDA but a solid beer regardless. Worthwhile to give it a shot.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into several taster glasses. Big thanks go to sholland119 for generously breaking this one out for us to enjoy.

Pours black, topped with about ¾ of a finger of tight mocha colored head. Nice smooth and creamy retention on this, leaving back rich spotty lacing that hangs all down the sides of the glass. The aroma is floral and leafy smelling, with notes of bitter citrus and some light spiciness. Rich chocolate roast and some tangier smelling caramel sit underneath. This has a pleasant flavorful smoothness in the nose.

The taste is mellow and balanced, with notes of green rind and bitter fruit being balanced with chocolate and toffee sweetness before heading into a dry roasted finish. Bit of lingering spice and pine on the tail-end of this and I'm also getting a certain amount of slick herbal tones that weave themselves in and out of the other flavors. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a soft and silky feel to it but still retains some presence in the mouth as well. No alcohol detected here at all, as this drinks just effortlessly.

A little different take on the Black IPA, with a much more mellow and soft approach to the flavors but I think that it worked extremely well here as it melded all of that robust character into a smooth and really approachable mix. I'd love to track another bomber of this one down.

Photo of Beaver13
3.61/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle. Pours a dark brown black with a big creamy tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is roasted malts, cola and some black licorice.

The flavor is roasted malts and black licorice with a little chocolate and molasses leading to a big charred / roasted bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full with smooth carbonation.

Overall, it seems like more of a hoppy stout to me than a black IPA. Instead of fruity hops, I get the roasted bitterness.

Photo of Jason
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz brown bomber.

The tan head rises quick but rolls around slow, there is some body here as well as some major stickage on the glass. Sublte berry, minty, herbal and leafy hop aroma that melds well with the creamy dark maltiness. Big bodied with a deep creamy smoothness. Big malt charater struts its stuff with hints of dark malt but nothing roasted enough to confuse the beer with other styles. Hop bitterness is a bit tamer that anticipated though the complex flavors that unfold make up for it. Alcohol rides in with a clean warmth and a blackberry fruitiness. Slight roasty finish with a spicy hop kick that sticks to the taste buds for a good while.

Not as hoppy as I expected but this beer style is still being defined, super tasty and drinkable.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to 5000 for sending me this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma is chocolate and roasted malt with a little bit of pine. This does not smell like some of the hoppier Black IPAs that I have tried.

The flavor is like the smell. I get quite a bit of roasted/burnt malt and chocolate, with some piney hops. I also get some cream in the flavor and a low amount of bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of moundbz
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

really good, smooth smokey taste with a nice bitter Pale ale finish

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this back at Hopfest at Brouwer's Cafe. Solid, dark and black looking dipa, slight ring of head to it, good clinging lace. Aroma was not huge in terms of hops.

Taste, lots of bitterness, but not a lot of hop mouthfeel. Hid the alcohol decently, came across more like it looked, like a hoppy porter or stout moreso than a dipa. The only things reminiscient of dipa territory would be the caramel malt flavor and the high bitterness.

Photo of hopsbreath
3.29/5  rDev -18%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours very dark brown but not quite black. Tons of fluffy beige head forms atop this brew. No lacing shows up.

Smell is lemon zest, pine sap, banana esters, and cocoa dust.

Tastes like a malty IPA. A little peach, semi-sweet chocolate, and tangerine pith all work together to make this a pretty good CDA.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for s relatively big beer. Low carbonation make this pretty smooth and the finish is a little gummy. Meh...

Drinkability is kinda low. It seems to have another percent or two ABV than what is listed. In all its a little difficult to drink more than about twelve ounces.

This is an OK CDA. It doesn't hold a candle to Sublimely Self Righteous. That is the king of this new burgeoning style.

Photo of bum732
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: rich chocolate and brownie mix, some roasted coffee, lots of gingerbread, toffee, hops subdued.

L: Black, some light through, cocoa like tan head that dissipates leaving great lacing.

T: Chocolate malt with some coffee bitterness. Some leafy hoppiness on the background that is hidden by the chocolate presence. Medium bitterness finishing with roasty dryness and touch of hop resin. Very little fruitiness from the hops.

M: Medium carbonation, medium-full body.

A nice black IPA, more malt driven than hops, or perhaps my bottle was old. Really enjoyed it and would definitely have again.

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

Appearance - Black with a tan head. Looks a lot like a latte

Smell - Light citrus hops, quickly followed by smoky malt. The hops become more pronounced.

Taste - First impression is that of a porter. Then there's a slow roll to a gentle hops bitterness that clears the pallet. The finish is bittersweet, or dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel - Much lighter than expected for the taste, almost a mental disconnect. It is bright at first sip then immediately the malt sets in. It almost clears the pallet itself.

Drinkability - At 8.5 ABV this is certainly not a session beer. It is nice on a fall night. For me it's interesting, but not enough to spend $8.00 for another bottle.

Photo of Docer
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle I snagged up at Belmont Station.. guy working at the counter this time around was a cool dude.

- Big fluffy tan/beige head... leaving a nice solid finger lingering around in my tulip. Jet black brew... can't even tell if it is cloudy or not. Looks great.

- For a minute there... the massive amounts of grassy, pine-like, and floral hops threw me off.. I guess I am expecting a porter? Very hoppy.. almost made me think it soured. Light sweet cream, grain.. and a slight funky sour quality...

- Creamy smooth and hoppy! Like a desert of an IPA. Like chocolate, oats, grain... bitter balance of floral, citrus, and grassy hops... very tasty and balanced.

- Medium bodied... light creamy sweet and bitter dry.. mouth watering. Almost lays a thin bed of candy upon the tongue on the aftertaste. Great carbonation.

- Overall I am very impressed with this brew. Alaskan never fails with the hoppy brews... and their regular IPA is an inexpensive favorite of mine. Definitely balanced and solid.

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 9/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a dark, dark ruby red with a thin, attractive dark brown head. Aroma of smoky malt and hops. Medium bodied. Dark and smoky malt and dark fruit start merging into hoppy middle and finish with the dark malts staying present. Very different and tasty.

Photo of RyanK252
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours deep brown with a ruby tone, some light makes its way through, with a frothy tan head that hangs around, settling slightly to a solid layer and leaving lots of foamy lace.

S: Roasty malt, coffee, hints of baker's chocolate, a little dark fruit, pine, and a little citrus.

T: Roasty malt, a little coffee, burnt toast, and chocolate (especially as it warms), citrus, lemon, pine, hints of dark fruit, and a little sweetness.

M: Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, creamy smooth.

O: Really enjoyable brew. Glad I snagged this bottle when I saw it.

Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.39/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a black as the devil's asshole at midnight at the bottom of well on a moonless night with heavy cloud cover. It is rather dark.

The head is very thick., long lived and a nice tan color. the head settles very slowly leaving a decent bit of lacing on the glass.

The nose is smokey, tart and has hints of coffee, raisins, alcohol, earth and grass some citrus.

The taste is a nicely done malt that has been dominated by the hopping that then falls way to the master flavor of the roasted grain. Strong notes of bitter and floral hops combine with dark chocolate, coffee, bourbon, raisins and cherries with a shallow note of vanilla. Very drinkable and complex flavors to be enjoyed

The mouthfeel is rich and just right for the style.

Overall an very drinkable and pleasing beer from Alaskan. I highly recommend it.

Photo of GeezLynn
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just received this from JohnGalt1. More great label art from ABC.

Poured into a Duvel glass, this definitely lives up to its name as it is black from the bottom up to an eggshell white head. Head recedes to a collar/island but is easily revived.

Fresh C-hops hit the nose first, but it doesn't take long to realize this isn't a west coast IPA. A hefty dose of sweet chocolate malts accompany the piney hops and I'm guessing that this one could be a more roasted example of the style.

Flavor progression follows the aroma pretty well in that hops are easily noticed, but fade into a rich, roasted malt. Lots of coffee, chocolate, pine and a little EtOH bite. Finish is drawn out, slightly bitter and roasted, but pretty mellow.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Good body and medium to low carbonation.

Seems like many beers in this style turn out acrid and bitter with too little cohesion between the malt and hops. This one was closer to a hopped up stout for me and was considerably more enjoyable. Wouldn't hesitate to grab this one off the shelf, although 12 oz is plenty for me.

Thanks Toby!

Photo of ebrauser
3.89/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 bomber to a pint glass. A couple months old, but not sure how it affected the taste. Hops flavors were still good and fairly sophisticated.

Appearance: Ruby brown with thick brown/beige head.

Smell: Chocolate and figs, with subtle hops and alcohol.

Flavor: Bitter hops and dark chocolate. Spicy and malty beginning with a bitter chocolate finish. Hops begin to develop as I continue to drink, turning into a very good, thick IPA. Dark malts replace the abundant hops of a classic DIPA, making this more of a hoppy porter.

MF: Smooth and creamy, not coating, and easily drinkable because it is so good! Next time I get one, I'll drink it immediately.

Photo of vkv822
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle into tulip.

Pours black with a very faint deep ruby hues towards the edges. The head is bubbly, tan and two fingers thick, with fairly good retention.

The aroma is of roasted malts, blended with very light citric hop notes.

The flavor is again predominantly of roasted malts, while the hop notes take a backseat and really only add some bitterness to the end. There is a definite boozy note to the finish as well. As the beer warms the hop notes do come alive a bit more, though they do stay quite subdued.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with good carbonation and is a bit resiny.
While this is an enjoyable beer, I would have liked to see a bit more balance between the malts and hops.

Photo of GreenCard
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown to black, almost opaque; good clarity; huge layer of tan fine-beaded foam with excellent staying power and lace

Aroma: dark malts and roast; burnt caramel; coffee grinds; floral and citrusy hop scent

Flavor: you're hit first with a roasty malt thwack that slips in a fair amount of acidity, too; then an herbal hop flavor and coffee bitterness combo; finishes semisweet with a lingering roastiness

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, zippy carbonation, slight astringency; alcohol warmth in the belly

Photo of flexabull
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Alehouse.

Pours a flat black color with a pretty good off white head.

Aromas are hoppy, with earthy and fresh resiny hops. There are subtle note of chocolate as well.

Taste is nice. Bitter chocolate up front, some roasted malts, and subtle nutty flavors. Finish is crisp, there are earthy hop flavors there, but they are subtle.

Mouthfeel is good. Smooth, creamy, and full.

Drinkability is good, this is a nice Cascadian Ale, with nice hops on the nose, and good malt flavors.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Deep brown with a smaller tan head. Good Retention and lacing left on the glass.

S - Hops and brown sugars.

T - Piney hops up front, followed by sweet roasted malts.

D - A touch thick in the mouth for an IPA. A slight bitter bite as well.

Photo of kojevergas
3.07/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Branded copper colour pry-off pressure cap. Generally appealing label art. 650ml. (Late) 2014 vintage. Pilot Series.

7.7% ABV. Reviewed live as a black imperial IPA per the label. Served cold into a pilsner glass at low altitude in Austin, TX, and allowed to warm a bit during the course of consumption. Expectations are average; as much as I like Alaskan I'm frequently disappointed with black (imperial) IPAs, which are still part of a young style which is ludicrously difficult to brew with balance in mind.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: This healthy 4 finger wide head mushrooms out of the glass, exposing its apt khaki colour, notable creaminess, and apt fullness. It boasts a smooth, even consistency and a soft appearance, but could be more supple. Retention is impressive - easily 9 minutes. Leaves a light coating of lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque solid black with no visible yeast particulate or hop sediment.

Appears well-carbonated. Overall, it's a conventional appearance for the style but isn't unique or special. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect, but with an uncommonly good head retention.

AROMA: I'm immediately not a fan of the hop profile, which is comprised of cotton candy, bubblegum, mint, herb, and leaf. There's actually not enough hop bitterness - which is usually the opposite of my issue with black IPAs. The cotton candy and bubblegum hop notes dominate, which is off-putting coupled with the sweet caramalt and dark malts. What does work is the well-executed chocolate note on the backend - likely a result of simple but effective chocolate malting. There's also a kiss of roast on the finish.

Constructively, a more piney and/or evergreen-dominant hop profile is usually the way to go in this style. Hell, why not spruce given Alaskan's yearly experience brewing with it? Overall, this suggests an overly sweet brew and is missing the roasted barley that should be at the heart of the dark malt build.

Aromatic intensity is average.

There's no yeast presence, off-notes, or overt booze.

TASTE: I may have misjudged the hop profile. While it's certainly not the pine/evergreen/spruce hop profile that I'd usually go for in the style, it does have a certain appeal; the bubblegum largely disappears beneath the dark malt sweetness, and the cotton candy isn't as obnoxious as I'm accustomed to. The faint mintiness does work well - reticent though it may be - and the leafy and herbal notes could definitely be worse. I do think that though this hop profile works better than the aroma suggested, it still lacks the fundamental hop bitterness needed to balance the sweetness of the admittedly generic dark malt and chocolate malt backbone.

There's no roasted barley presence - which is criminal, and I struggle to find any coffee whatsoever. While I wouldn't call this a balanced black IPA build, it's not the cloying nightmare the aroma suggested. Depth, duration, and intensity of flavour are average. It's not a very complex, intricate, nuanced, or subtle brew, but there's deliberation and intent behind the ingredient choices - which is a lot more than I can say about attempts at the style from, say, Stone Brewing.

This hop profile is by no means citrusy - and that's a good thing in this style. But more of a resinous flavour would help.

Finally, it's worth noting that while this is fairly imbalanced, it's nowhere near as badly executed as most beers in this new - and still very young - style. It's by no means a gestalt build, but there're the beginnings of cohesion here.

TEXTURE: Medium-bodied, unrefreshing, smooth, fairly coating, wet, adequately thick, and approachable. It's not the sticky mess it could be, and its mild creaminess plays well with the chocolate malts. But this texture doesn't even come close to elevating the beer, and fails to draw additional depth of flavour from the taste. Overall presence on the palate is decent albeit wanting. It's well-carbonated.

OVERALL: A more drinkable black IPA than the vast majority I've tried, but nevertheless forgettable. I trust Alaskan, and methinks this is merely a casualty of the style's youth. I wouldn't get it again. I'd like to see Alaskan continue to hone their attempts at this style, and - if I may be prescriptive - would love to see a spruce tip black IPA from them at some point. You could do far worse in terms of pricing. If you already consider yourself a diehard fan of the style, I'm sure you'll like this offering. But the discerning drinker will be unimpressed.

Low C+

Photo of notsoprobeer
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color is near black with a tan colored head. Aroma is very IPA-esque. It's a bit of a surprise to smell floral when you're looking at a black beer. It has the roasted malt taste of a porter but is balanced with the hoppy bitterness of an IPA. Also picked up some coffee flavors. Body is medium and it has a nice creamy mouth feel. Although it has a high alcohol content of 8.5%, you wouldn't know--it's very smooth.

Photo of garymuchow
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

$3.99 bottle.
Sweet and sticky hop aroma with some herbs. Darker malts that only hint at roast. Deeper and darker fruit with lighter sweetness.
Very large dark foamy head. Very dark body with garnet highlights.
Nice blending of hop and malt flavors for a very enjoyable whole experience. Malt is closer to roast and holds some sweetness too. Less distinct hop flavors, but tasty and enjoyable - more herbal, woody, rustic, outdoors, autumn and blending to a soft but persistent and pleasing bitterness.
Moderate feel and no bigger. Pleasing sticky feel makes it seem heavier. With the alcohol it feels like its size.
This seems more malt forward than hops, but an enjoyable blend nonetheless. Solid.

Photo of mactrail
3.12/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours black with a frothy beige foam in the Kasteel chalice. A good deal more carbonated in the mouth that is good for it. This tastes like a stout gone a little wild in the bottle. Flavors are clean enough, though it gets tiresome with the insinuating bitter and burnt taste. A touch of fruit and rusty water.

If the code 040515 is "Drink by" rather than "Bottled on," that would explain why it seems past its prime. This is so fizzy on the tongue it's silly. From the 22 oz bottle purchased in Washington.

Photo of thecarster1
3.14/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a- bomber poured into a snifter, dark brown black coloring, full fingers worth of tan head that fades slow leaving nice trailing and bubbly and wispy lace.

s- i'm getting some major alcohol esters in the nose, it's definitely off putting. bone dry malts, very little hops.. this is no good.

t- thankfully better than the nose. roasted malt front - bitter chocolate, coffee beans, some smoke, those dark flavors linger long in the finish as well, but give way to some mayor hopping, citrus and strongly bittered that linger long. this is some mild sweetness mid sip that is a welcome touch.

m- medium to full bodied, slick, coating.

d- this is a solid black ipa, glad for the chance to try this, all except for the nose. it's ok but nothing i would go out of my way to seek out again, that said it's no drain pour.

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Alaskan Double Black IPA (Pilot Series) from Alaskan Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 123 ratings.