Obscurite - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

114 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 114
Reviews: 28
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 9.18%
Wants: 0
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: MLaVioletteJr on 02-17-2014

A complex black stout brewed with Belgian candy sugar. Delicate chocolate aromatics cascade into coffee, dark fruit and vanilla flavors.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 114 | Reviews: 28
Reviews by Billolick:
Photo of Billolick
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, with best before notching area on the side of the label.

Pours darn near black, very dark tan head, leaves a thick collar and larger spots of lacing.

Dark grains and black coffee on the nose.

Flavorful stout, with more coffee, as well as dark chocolate, light smoke/wood, dark grains and some alcohol in the rear and in the finish.

Enjoyable, heady sipper.

More User Reviews:
Photo of utopiajane
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours the darkest brown/black and with a bit of thickness to it. Sports a fat creamy head of chocolate colored foam that lasts and lasts. Leaves alcohol legs and a wet lace as you drink. Nose is a touch of hop floral and a bit of candi sugar. Then a roast that is bold but also has a softness, dry woody yeast and a bit of vanilla. A smooth chocolate over top of that and a brief whiff of black licorice. No dark fruits in the nose except for a berry type sweetness. No alcohol either.

The taste is like a wonderful contradiction between textures and flavors. The malt is soft, smooth and silken. Weak coffee. The carbonation is ample but does not bite . The roast is dry and bold as brass even a touch bitter. Then there is a bit of wood, and a bit of vanilla. The chocolate is bittersweet and just when you thought you would have to give up on any dark fruits there is some ripe cherry. Candi sugar is not too sweet. This finishes dry and with a dramatic bit of smoke and char, plus a touch of bitter form hops which seemed to have disappeared until now. Only a bit of warmth from the alcohol as you drink and the lingering bitterness of the roast in the final moments.

Ithaca tried this bit of smoke character in their beer double zilla and I loved it . I like it very much in this beer too. This is a stout but gentle in the mouthfeel. Expansive malt brings bold and roast flavors to a softer more delicate palate. It is not unctuous or too complex. Simple straightforward and belgian in it's bearing. Drinks very well and well done!

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #88 (May 2014):

Inviting yet slightly brash at the same time, massive with a deep maltiness to boot. No matter how pleasing the sweetness starts off with every sip things get serious. Firm roasted character with a big warming alcohol tell the real story. Ends up being a lot more fun to sip than anticipated.

STYLE: Belgian Stout | ABV: 10.1% | AVAILABILITY: Rotating

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Box of Belgians landed on my doorstep thanks to a six pack sampler from good pal wvsabbath, this brew is a tribute to Troubadour Obscura , Obscurite'. Belgian style stout, looks great in the glass, pitch black when held toward the light, nice tan mocha head forms fine Belgian style lacing. Aroma hints of cocoa, milk chocolate, herbal hops, bitter yeast notes. First sip is a nice experience dark fruit plums, raisin in the finish, upfront dark roasted malts provide hints of acidic coffee and raw cacao dark chocolate notes. Alcohol is evident and marries with the dark malt profile leaving only a bit of burn on the back end of the palate, I feel this rough ethanol flavor would fade with a bit of age, still a young Box of Belgians just released from Ithaca. I'm pretty well versed with Belgian ales due to my long standing relationship with the Sharp Edge. Great overall finish I really enjoyed this Belgian style stout, very tasty full flavored even with the rough edges I understand where they were going with this one.

Photo of CloudStrife
3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 01/22/14.

A: Pours a very dark brown appearing black in the glass with a thin khaki head on top. Fairly quick to dissipate, it leaves a few spots of lacing.

S: Certainly got a Belgian kick to this stout. A dose of licorice, candied sugar, smokiness, roasted malts and a touch of alcohol. All are fairly strong making you realize this is going to be a serious brew.

T: As with the aroma, this is one intense brew. Initial sweetness hits your tongue with a mix of licorice and heavily roasted malts. Then a mix of Belgian flavors works its way into the mix giving you that classic yeast flavor. Aftertaste finishes with a lingering malt and Belgian yeast.

M: Medium to full body with a pretty sticky mouthfeel. Pretty hot brew alcohol wise, certainly a sipper.

Overall a little intense now and not something I'm really into. Has the potential with the roastiness and Belgian qualities but the sweetness and hotness is a bit too much for me.

Photo of Gmann
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black color with a short dense brown head that settles into a light cap.

The aroma is of roasted malt with caramel sweetness. Carob and a subtle raisin note. Kind of faint.

Much bolder in the flavor department. Big roasted malt flavor, RIS territory. Strong anise and carob notes. Scorched caramel. Candi sugar and what taste like milk sugars provide sweetness. Some subtle phenols from what I assume is a Belgian yeast strain. A bit medicinal. Some dark fruit notes round out the flavor profile.

Moderate feel with fizzy carbonation. Doesn't really have a stout type of feel. Sweet and roasty bitter on the palate. Good balance, almost clean but does have a lingering roasty bitterness in the finish.

A very nice Belgian inspired stout. I would say it is mostly stout and not a BSDA. Great roast flavor.

Photo of KTCamm
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at Morris Tap and Grill as part of Ithaca top takeover. Late spring 2014.

Pours dark black, light tan ring of foaming. Coffee/espresso nose. Lighter roaster coffee bitter taste.Sugary too and hints of vanilla bean. Carbonation is on the lighter side. Has a good taste, but not remarkable.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Bakers chocolate coloring with a saddle brown tinted head of 1.5 inch magnitude. Great retention . lending to a thin, skimmy milky covering. Lace coverage behind measures in the 50% coverage of the vessel.

S: The nose is of freshly grounded coffee beans, oily, roasty fresh, with vanilla, dry chocolate hints on the trial end. Moderate in strength it smells like a dry milk stout aroma wise.

T: The flavor is dry milk chocolate, with some creamer. Yeasty notes of banana are fresh with some pancake batter, and bittering chocolate. Fresh dough with a dry barnyard fade closes things out.

M: dry and bittering, creamy, light to medium bodied with a lingering chalky aftertaste.

O: Overall pretty good yeast factor, dry chocoalte creamy and bittering, consumed at the higher end of the drinking spectrum.

Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +2%

12 ounce bottle, best before May stamped on the label. What year, I 'm not exactly sure because the stamping on the bottle is smudged so I can't tell when this was bottled. I'm guessing 2013 since that's when the label is dated. Served in a Great Lakes Brewing chalice, the beer pours dark brown/black with a half inch tan head. Both the head retention and lacing are good. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like roasted and burnt/charred malt, chocolate, vanilla and coffee. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some dark fruit and a bit of anise noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick and syrupy with low/moderate carbonation. I liked this brew, but I thought it was more regular stout than Belgian-stout like. With that being said, I think it's worth trying since it's still good and tasty.

Photo of spokeydonkey
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pours a dark brown/black with a dark tan head that sticks around for a while. Minimal lacing on the glass despite the robust head.

Smell is of roast with minimal Belgian ester notes and no discernable hops. Smells like a rich stout.

Taste is balanced heavily towards roast barley. Slight sweetness up front gets elbowed out of the way by bitter, smoky notes. A bit harsh, like overextracted espresso. I'm not getting much character of the belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel is on the light-medium side for body with a bit of astringency at the end that comes in with the roast notes.

Overall I wouldn't seek, this out. It's out of balance for my palette towards the roast side.

I've tried all the varieties in the box of hops and the IPAs are the clear winners here. The tripel is decent, but not as complex as other tripels out there and this one's the weakest of the bunch.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Single bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY, along with the other entries in this Box of Belgians mix pack from Ithaca.

Pours a deep, dark black. Great look to this one, no light penetrate through, looks thick and meaty. About a one inch head or so, ok lacing down the glass.

Smells like burnt sugar, chocolate, and roastiness.

Interesting tastes. Chocolate, slight oak, roasted/burnt malts, slightly sour twang, tobacco, leather, and a weird sugary flavor that I can only describe as sour rock candy. Never had the flavor before in a beer, and it's interesting. Not sure I completely like it.

Full bodied mouthfeel, strong carbonation that gives the stout a bit of a bite.

A good Belgian stout, with some unexpected flavors.

Photo of metter98
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high tan head that died down, leaving lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of dark chocolate malts are present in the nose along with notes of Belgian yeast and hints of roasted malts.
T: The taste generally follows the smell, except that the taste also has some notes of dark fruits. Hints of roasted coffee beans are also noticeable in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer tastes like a hybrid between a Belgian Stout and a Belgian Strong Dark Ale and has a nice mix of flavors of chocolate and Belgian yeast. Despite having an alcohol content of 10.1%, no traces of alcohol are perceptible in the taste.

Photo of DrDemento456
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Really looking forward to this the only "American" Belgium Stout that comes to mind is Tiny from Weyerbacher and I loves that shit. $2.69 for the single.

A - Well damn is this a pretty stout. Deep dark opaque blackness with well over an inch of mocha tinted head.
S - Vanilla and chocolate highlight with a hint of lactic sourness. Smell doesn't seem very roasty or dry from the yeasts.
T - Slightly acidic with roasts and bittersweet chocolates. Hops are mixed pretty well with the chalky yeasts but in all it's kind of medicinal. I don't like it.
M - Medium bodied and quite thin dispute the massive ABV. Pity

Overall I loved their other takes on Belgium beers and even though this one is on style I couldn't see having another. Just not a great beer in my opinion.

Photo of BB1313
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on 1/21/14. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours black with a little light getting through; small mocha head that fades and leaves decent retention and lacing. The aromas are full of chocolate. Lots of malts and very subtle yeast. Some anise/black licorice in the mix as well. The flavors seem to match the nose. More chocolate with hints of coffee. Vanilla is there. It's bittersweet. Finishes dry for the most part. It's ultimately has more stout qualities than Belgian qualities, but it's a nice combo. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and feels somewhat thin. It has active carbonation and is easy to drink. There's an extremely subtle warmth in the finish, but no booziness at all. Alcohol goes unnoticed for the most part. It's a nice beer to relax with.

This is a nice brew. They nailed it, but left me thinking of what this could be at the same time. Nice chocolate flavors and stout characteristics make this enjoyable.

Photo of Duhast500
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a stemmed glass.

The color is a dark black with slight maroon highlights and a finger of foamy brown/tan head and some nice lacing.

The smell is dark malts with some toffee aroma. There is a slight chocolate aroma here in the nose that really has deep coco and a slight coffee bean aroma.

The taste is big dark malt flavor that is the first flavor to make its presence known. There is a slight brownie flavor that is pretty nice that leads into a porter-like toasty flavor. Dark chocolate with a slight caramel flavor try's to come out before a slight bitterness marks the end of each sip. Roasted malts come out in a slight aftertaste that adds to the flavor profile.

The feel of this beer is medium bodied with a drinkable body that leads into smooth finish. Things are smooth throughout this beer and have silky texture that lets it just slide through the pallet.

Photo of micromaniac129
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very nice smelling beer with a rich sweet roasted malt base. Hints of chocolate milk, char, and alcohol are present too with just a hint of cherries at the very end.

It pours a deep rustic brown that appears black in my glass. The head is quite sizeable and formed late in the pour. It's long lasting with some spotty lacing.

The taste was good too and mainly followed the nose. It had a nice roasted character that dominated, but not overbearing. Malty coffee and sweet chocolate came through to balance the taste.
The feel is pretty thin given that it poured looking quite velvetty. Char and ash can be felt along the palate and ends with a rather robust alcohol warmth.

I liked the beer but thought the body was a bit thin and alcohol a bit high.

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a chalice.

A: Pitch black pour with a coffee colored head. Retention is good. Wispy and spotty lacing.

S: Booze soaked plums, currants, blackberries. Candi sugar. Dusty and earthy yeast. Quick whiff of bubblegum. Licorice. Woody and soot-like roasted malt scents. Ashy and smokey.

T: Plums, red grapes, currants, blackberries. All of these are wrapped in a thick blanket of sooty and woody roasted malt flavors. Acrid, smokey, ashy. Blackstrap molasses sweetness at its core. Candi sugar. Mild medicinal phenols. Hints of alcohol. Long ashy and smokey finish.

M: Medium-thick body. Slick with a slightly coating feel. Carbonation scrubs firmly but gently.

O: A very solid brew. Difficult to believe it's 10%. It does not drink like it.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Whatever the base beer of this is, it's really good. Great smoked tones. Chocolate malts. Mild molasses. Thick body. This is great. A nice sipper that would go well with a lot of different foods. A nice take on a style you don't see much of, and rarely like this. Keep up the good work Ithaca.

Photo of Slatetank
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I picked this up at Brass Rail, enjoyed chilled from the 12oz in a pub style glass.

A- Color is black with opaque clarity and thick pale tan head that falls to a ring with fine bead and copious lace. The smell is reminiscent of dark cocoa with slight woody, almost cedar-like aromatic yeast ester and light malt roastiness in the nose. The feel is very dry, lots of carbonation with low sweetness and gentle burnt edge with some liht hints of spice, mellow bitterness with a mild creaminess in texture but finish is harsh and borders on chalky.

The taste is a wild ride of malt and yeast with lots of roasted flavors right off the bat with some gentle woody notes which almost verge on aromatic woody spice with some hints of cocoa and light earthy yeast flavors which bring more of a mineral and burnt flavor out from the malt which is very roasted like french roast coffee, but has a more burnt taste almost smoky but not really the yeast brings a slight pepper quality to the flavor that finishes dry with low alcohol. Overall I like this but it was probably the new-ness and even though I think it is unique it is not as drinkable as it could be -a good attempt at stout/belgian blend but misses the mark IMO.

Photo of cbl2
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by 5/2014.

A - Pours a thin black with a quarter inch of tight dark tan head that is slow to settle.

S - Anise, roasted chocolate malt, tar and a touch of coffee.

M - Expansive chewy mouthfeel.

T - Notes of cocoa, licorice, dark ripe cherries and a bit of bitter baking chocolate. Alcohol is present, but not too assertive for 10.1%. Finish is lingering anise, and chocolate.

Photo of dijon
4.78/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was an absolutely delicious beer, unfortunately there were only 3 in the pack. This was a beer that you just have to go back and take another sip. Silky mouth feel, well blended. If you like Stouts and Belgians this is a beer for you. I wish I had one right now so I could provide more details on the aroma and flavor. The current overall rating of 88 is low for me, but you need to like the style to love the beer.

Photo of BourbonJersey
4.64/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with some dark khaki colored head, but not much. Tiny bits of visible carbonation.

Smells dark and roasty, some coffee notes in there as well; surprised there's not more Belgian influence on the nose as there was with the 2 previous offerings I've had out of the Box of Belgians.

The Belgian yeast, however, does very prominently stand out in the taste - strong coffee and banana. And while this does sound strange, and a little unappealing, the combination is actually quite delicious. It creates a sweet/bitter harmony that is complemented with some dark chocolate, (burnt sugar/caramel) and roasted (almost burnt) malts - this combination creates a nice mix of sweet and bitter up front backed by moderate smokiness and subtle spice.

It's a strange combination that I wouldn't have expected to work, but it does. Moderate carbonation, alcohol is completely hidden for 10.1% ABV.

Probably my favorite out of the box so far.

Photo of DIM
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%

Black body with a lumpy, long lasting khaki colored head.

Not an overpowering nose; roasty cocoa, hints of vanilla, and maybe a whisper of fruit.

This is much more dramatic on the tongue than in the the nose! I tasted a nice combination of roasted cocoa with an underlying sweet chocolate batter. There was also a little vanilla and just a trace of fruit before a huge, lingering roasty char finish. Is it the candi sugar only thing that makes this a Belgian stout? I couldn't say I was able to discern any Belgian yeast character.

This was largely one dimensional, but it tickled me just right.

Photo of thecheapies
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just about black beer with a finger and a half of light brown whipped topping. Laces slowly.

Belgique flair to a rich stout-like aroma of roasted chocolate malts, dried berries, savory yeast muck, notes of cinnamon, coffee, and phenols. Medicinal aroma with a depth charge of espresso wafting around cocoa and estery fruit.

Very rich. Dark malts, roast bitterness, prune, cocoa, coffee, raisin, medicinal notes, and fusel. Great fullness to the flavor. Definitely a Belgian stout with all of the complex goodness of a BSDA. Peeking through is the cinnamon that my nose detected; not sure if it's actually in here. Not trying to be Keizer Blauw or Rochefort 8. Wistful, alluring, and satisfying.

Full body with a deep plunge into richness and decadence. Perhaps, lip-sticky. Supple carbonation with an afterbite that I like. Winner winner...

Again, it's no showman; but, me likes what me tastes. Hearty, warming, and swift in its delivery. I don't think you'd be disappointed.

Photo of Flounder57
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a nonic.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger mocha head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything.

Smell: Roasted coffee, toffee, caramel, milk chocolate, oats, and warm booze.

Taste: Same as above with some Belgian spice and mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full bodied, medium carbonation, a little chewy, and a little booze.

Overall: Pretty awesome Belgian stout or strong dark ale. More please.

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Obscurite from Ithaca Beer Company
88 out of 100 based on 114 ratings.