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Swordfish - Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub

Not Rated.
SwordfishSwordfish

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

41 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 41
Hads: 85
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 8.92%
Wants: 3
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: barleywinefiend on 04-03-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 41 | Hads: 85
Photo of hackmann
4.38/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: black body with a two finger tan and creamy looking head that leave some massive lacing on the glass.

Aroma: nice hoppy presence that reminds me of soft pine; roasted grains in the mix, a touch of semi-sweet chocolate

Flavors: the hoppy notes come through with a tasty mix of pine and citrus rind; the toasted malts are present with roasted grains, bitter chocolate bite, toasted … slightly burnt caramel, I think you can even throw in coffee … medium roast coffee

Mouthfeel: low carbonation, nice bitter style (it does have a 65 IBU), the malts are doing their job for some balance, lingering roasted notes on the aftertaste, a touch of 99% dark chocolate bitterness, not heavy like a stout – closer to a porter in mouthfeel

To the Point: to me it is a tasty dark ale and perfect on this cold fall day here in Michigan. (844 characters)

Photo of hreb
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served in pub glass. Bottled on date is ambiguously either March 2011 or 2012, though I just bought it from the store recently, so who knows. Beer pours black, with a nice looking light brown head. Strong, immediate coffee aroma. "Cascadian Dark Ale" usually translates as "Black IPA", and "Double" is a bit redundant given that we are only talking about 7.5% ABV and 64 IBUs here, but so far, judging from the aroma that is, this thing is straight RIS -- and a good one, too.

Note that if this beer really is as old as 2012 or even 2011, there is a good chance that any dry hopping aroma has been lost, which is why it smells like stout to me, given that the grain components may be less volatile and subject to loss over time than the aromatic hop compounds. In which case, maybe this review is not totally fair and should be discounted.

But when it gets to my mouth, that's where it gets tricky. The up front flavor is 100% IPA (black or otherwise). Hoppy, even citrusy. Very west coast IPA. But afterwards a totally different flavor enters the palate: roasted coffee, toasted grain. It becomes much more like a stout towards the finish, and a pretty good one, too. (1,194 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled in March 2012. Pours a fairly pitch black color with a nice 2 finger dense khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some good spotty lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of grapefruit, pine, roasted malt, biscuit, nuttiness, cocoa, orange, herbal, and floral. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of grapefruit, roasted malt, pine, orange zest, herbal, floral, biscuit, char, grass, nuttiness, and cocoa. Good amount of piney bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, roasted malt, pine, biscuit, char, herbal, and grass on the finish for a good bit. Great balance and complexity of all flavors; with very balanced roasted/hop flavors which I really like. No cloying flavors at all after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy, slick, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with almost zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an very excellent Black IPA. Great balance and complexity of flavors; very good malt balance and very smooth to sip on. Highly enjoyable offering. (1,149 characters)

Photo of jimbus
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a deep black body beneath a light khaki, frothy head. It's fits the bill in appearance for a cascadian dark ale india black ale black ipa or whatever you want to call it. Very impressed with the first smell - hops make their presence known to the olfactory system, accompanied by their trusty side kick, roasted malt. As an IPA guy, I'm giving the thumbs up to the aroma here. Taste follows suit nicely - bitter, hoppy, with nice roasted malt character, and a bit of sweetness on the backside. Mouthfeel is solid and this is definitely a beer that I would pick up again. (581 characters)

Photo of TCgoalie
4.17/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 5/4/11

Poured into an 8 ounce hotel highball. Black with some lace from the head receding...thats about it.

The smell is pleasant with aromas of biscuit, grapefruit, and lemon.

The taste mirrors the smell with biscuit and grapefruit. I'm loving the grapefruit here. Solid balance, very nice!

Sticky mouthfeel which is full and satisfying.

I am a big fan of this style of beer and this is a very good offering. I would gladly have this again if I could get it back home. (485 characters)

Photo of drpimento
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very good beer! Poured at a good temperature with a nice, fluffy, foamy, tan head that slowly settled down and some lace. Color is a clear garnet. Aroma is hop, malt, roast, fruit. Flavor's like nose; fairly dry, bitter and carbonic tang up front, with the bit of malt/fruity sweet in back. Body and carbonation good, although there's a little astringency in the finish. Also the finish is quite long, boozy, and resinous. (422 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, March 2011 date tick. The next in their "Reel Ale" branding series (reely, I mean...) of somehow more realistic beers, ones that, I infer, their brewmaster gets all warm and fuzzy over.

This beer pours a very dark chestnut brown colour, with cola highlights, and one finger of foamy, somewhat creamy beige head, which settles evenly, leaving a decent multilayered drooping curtain mosaic of lace around the glass. It smells of grapefruit and sweet orange citrus, and roasted bready malt, echoing a slight sour edge. The taste is still big up front with the grapefruit and pine hops, with a lesser, but still prominent, toasted, sort of nutty bready malt playing sanity offset. The carbonation is moderate, the body medium weight, and generally smooth. It finishes in the same consistent manner, softly bitter citrus hops and roasted malt.

I am fond of the Fish Brewing Company's offerings, and for some reason, when I hear "Olympia", I think Cascadia, probably from the family summer excursions of my youth. A prototypical example, if not exactly a progenitor, of the style, and quite enjoyable throughout. It being Fish, the hops hold sway, without overdoing it, and I'm all the happier for it. (1,210 characters)

Photo of 100floods
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in March of 2011. Opened in October of 2011.

Pours a very deep, ruby-mahogany red leaning on a mostly brown hue, with bit of a creamy off-white head. With the sun on its back it appears pretty thick in it's color.

Pine and grapefruit aromas with a noticeable resin aroma. Very fresh, very clean. Definitely hoppy.

Big hop bite. Earthy. Big tangy/grapefruit flavors. Hoppier than most Black IPAs I've had thus far. There is also a nice thick toasted malt flavor in there as well that balances the beer nicely, and it has faint characteristics of bigger brown ales, without loosing the Black IPA character. The malt character seems to really encourage the hoppier notes to shine. Notes of resin as well. Although this does not have the alcohol percentage of a double IPA it definitely does a good job of bringing out big flavors. This seems like a style that I would like without the high ABV. Each sip ends with a sharp hop bite (and a hint of toast) that is amplified by the carbonation.

Of all the Black IPAs I've had thus far, this definitely is true to form AND is true to its Northwestern roots. I definitely think 22oz might be a little more than I can handle. A pint would have been suffice, but I'm more than happy to see this bomber through. (1,262 characters)

Photo of Sky2625
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle dated March 2011 to a standard pint glass (notes from 7/15/11).

A - Pours dark brown/black, but with medium body that isn't so thick that it appears syrupy. 1-finger creamy beige head with medium to large bubbles, good retention and good lace. Shines ruby/mahogany when held up to the light.

S - Medium heavy pine/citrus hop with a hint of chocolate malt. Scents stays steady and uniform.

T - Medium intensity pine hop flavor throughout, finishes with a mild spicy burn (not quite boozy, but similar). Not much bitterness for what the pine flavor seemed to indicate. A bit of semi-sweet chocloate and dark roast malt at the finish. The pine hop dominates, and the remainder of the flavors are subtle but well-balanced.

M - Smooth medium body with a pleasant level of carbonation biting at the edge of the tongue.

D - This particular bottle tastes like a dark brown hoppy IPA. It tastes great, with its good intensity of hop, but its missing the chocolate stout flavors that are prevalent when I've had this on tap. Still a GREAT beer and VERY easy to drink.

If you can try this on tap, do so. If all you can get is a bottle, it's still a must-try, but just know the bottled version isn't Swordfish in its fullest glory. (1,254 characters)

Photo of Docer
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap before and loved it, but I will review based off of my current bottle I purchased today.

- Super dark murky thin brown.. off-white finger of head quickly down to a bit of lace and some large islands of bubbles.

- Crisp light malt of cocoa, breadiness.. grassy hop, and some great floral qualities. Little subdued.. but rather decent. I find most black IPA's mask the full robust character in the smell.

- Light sweet chocolate malts, caramel cream, bitter zesty hops, and some citrus character. Quite balanced, smooth, and full of hop character. Melds very well together. Not quite understandingt some of the more poor reviews previous to mine.

- Medium bodied, perfectly carbonated, and a bit chewy and dry. Creamy for sure. Very nice smooth brew.

- Not quite a double in my eyes.. or is it? I am one for creating the triple style as well which some of my favorite brewers have started to do. This is a very robust, and well hopped black IPA.. the brewer has done a very good job. Easily sits up there within my top 5 black IPA's. (1,052 characters)

Photo of arizcards
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber from Total Wine at Arrowhead in mid May for $6.99. Bottled in March 2012.

Beer poured cola brown with a nice tan head that is leaving lacing behind.

Nose is true to CDA style, nice citrusy hops with some chocolate and slight roastiness.

Taste holds true to the nose, chocolate malts form a nice backbone, roastiness is slight. Citrus and resiny hops finish strong and become the dominant theme but not overwhelming and unbalanced.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall i like this brew. CDA's tend to present a lot of flavor and in some cases not blend well. But this brew is well crafted and something i would try again. (669 characters)

Photo of scratch69
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- Dark brown with a fingers worth of tan head. Nice amount of clinging lace.

Smell- Citrusy hop aroma with notes of chocolate and roasted malt.

Taste- Chocolate with a bit of roasted malt at first that is quickly overtaken by a bitter hop flavor. The hops blend in nicely and do not overpower the other flavors.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied and crisp. Slightly creamy mouthfeel.

Overall- A nice example of the black IPA style. One of the better ones that I have tried. (516 characters)

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

New beer from Fish which is good as they seemed to stick with the same brews from years ago . This is a very good CDA with lots of hops but with a dark malt finish that really anchors the beer. I liked the balance and the fact that the IPA part was not forgotten. Luckily I can get this in bottles in BC. (304 characters)

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

22oz bottle.

Pours opaque black with mahogany edging and a thin, tan head. Errant dots of lacing and a placid surface for the duration.

Aromatics are laced with roast, char, pine, and a bit of grapefruit. Slightly resinous and plenty roasty with shades of dark chocolate and Kahlua.

On the fuller side of medium bodied with a crisp but clingy mouthfeel.

Spruce dew with roasted malts and charred bits lead off the palate. Bitterness is somewhat firm but doesn't clash with a roast.

Finishes with a blend of pine sap and Kahlau-spiked coffee and chocolate.

Tasty enough but by no means a "double black IPA" in my book. The hopping is fairly muted in this beer. Still very happy to see Fish coming out with a new beer though!
Thanks to Andre for the opportunity. (767 characters)

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

I've never heard of this beer or this brewery, but I was at the store and thought I'd take the plunge.

Served in a Duck Rabbit snifter.

A: First of all, the webby lacing was ridiculous! Additionally, the brew was black, although it didn't look that way as it poured out of the glass, and the mocha, sawdust-looking head settled after a while. Nice!

S: Dark malt, with a fairly bright and hoppy citrus component poking through. This was somewhat understated, yet still present.

T: This was tasty. It was sort of a West Coast IPA/Porter Black & Tan. Lots of dark malt, but with an equal amount of citrus. There was nothing musty or syrupy here... just a nice example of the style.

M: Creamy, fresh, and not a sweet bone in this one's body (pun not intended). Like I stated before, the lacing was ridiculous.

O: I love surprised like this. I'm generally not a huge fan of this style, but I like to branch out every so often. I'm glad I did! (944 characters)

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

On tap at Bailey's Taproom PDX, $5.50 imperial pint 4.23.11.

One finger dark tan head over dark brown body with some nice reddish highlights when raised up to the light,, no visible carbonation, slow dissipation with nice lacing. Some tropical fruit and caramel in the nose and big dose of roasted malts with some resiny hops on the backend. Taste mirrrors nose, but hard to pick up the fruitiness due to huge resiny hop presence, yummy. Mouthfeel just on the heavy side of medium, ok effervescence. Totally out of balance, which is just the way I like my CDAs. Very nice! (573 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a jet black with good carbonation which left behind a nice white cap and some lacing

S: Black malt and plenty of citrus

T: Black, roasted malt with immediate booze kick and citrus hops

M: Medium body, warm from booze, citrus, pretty clean and dry

D: Good (276 characters)

Photo of andrenaline
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours almost pitch black with a ruby red tint on the edges, a finger of beige soapy head, with solid retention and some nice sheeting lacing.

S - Sweet citrus hops, a bit earthy with cedar and pine, and a touch of dark cocoa and espresso.

T - A nice hop bomb off the top, with the earthy cedar and pine coming through nicely. The dark roasted malts are more subtle, but do linger on the palette with some nice cocoa and a touch of espresso coming through. Certainly more hops than roasted malts, but tasty nonetheless.

M - Comes across a tad thin, but goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness.

O - A solid sample of the style and easily drinkable. The higher ABV is incredibly well hidden and a nice hoppy ale that would please most hop heads. (764 characters)

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.89/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - pitch black with a thin covering of tan head that quickly dissipated to ransom islands
S - grapefruit juice, pine, licorice and light molasses
T - molasses and brown sugar malts with hops of grapefruit, perfume, and pine
M - lowish carbonation with a slightly syrupy start, bitterness builds through finish
O - a very tasty balanced treat with the ABV very well hidden, this was a little flat which was reflected in the appearance and feel, but that may be a one off, well worth a purchase (493 characters)

Photo of MADhombrewer
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle date is March 2011. Poured into a crystal stemed water glasses.
Appearance- Black but when held up to the light you can see some crimson. Off white head with small lacing.

Smell- Small bit of everything. A little roasty malt flavor as well as some piney and weed like smell. Also some dark wheat sourdough bread character.

Taste - Nice roasty notes. With some hop flavor. Good bitterness. Very even, roasty and hoppy.

Mouthfeel- For a Black IPA I think this has a good mouthfeel.

Overall- Good Black IPA. The Back IPAs that I remember to be the best are Widmers BX-114 and Alaskan Double Black IPA. This one fall just short. If you want to know the style, though and this is the only one available, get it. (722 characters)

Photo of hopsolutely
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber pours an almost opaque black, with reddish amber hues only when held up to light. An impressive coffee coloured head with reasonable lacing. Mouthfeel is oily yet crisp, while the lingering bitterness in the finish is thoroughly enjoyable but overwhelms other impressions.

A rather simplistic aroma of roasted dark malts does not do the fantastic hop bomb in the flavour the justice it deserves. Sweet tropical fruits meld with coffee and dark tones. Complex yet well balanced, with a delightful bitterness at the end.

Perhaps not typical for a "Cascadian Dark Ale", but definitely one I'll seek out to purchase again. (627 characters)

Photo of Rutager
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a deep brown-red, almost black. Less than half a finger of creamy light tan head.

Smell. Roasty dark malts and nice grapefruity hops. Smells good.

Taste. Roasty, toasty dark malts, Bitter citrus hops and a lasting, bitter herby-citrus finish.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with lower carbonation. A little alcohol warmth.

Overall. Pretty decent Black IPA. Not the best of the style, but I did enjoy it. (424 characters)

Photo of liamt07
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Pino, bottled March 2011. 22oz into some tulips.

Poured a dark brown/black with some burgundy highlights. Tan head of some bubbles and light lacing. Nose has some big citrus hop notes, loads of orange and some pine. Notes of chocolate and caramel are fairly prominent as well. Taste has more chocolate, roast and some subdued (perhaps faded) hop notes reflecting that of the nose. Although faded, they still manage to impart a good juiciness to the flavour. Good weight to the mouthfeel, medium full body and lingering roastiness. Quite nice and hoppy, freshness surely plays a role in bumping this down a notch or two. Could imagine this being significantly more satisfying when fresh. (705 characters)

Photo of IronDjinn
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 650 ml brown bottle. Pours out a deep black hue that exhibits a translucent mahogany when held to direct light. Creamy beige head that forms a short cap, and leaves thick patches of lacing.

Big aroma of Cascade hops the moment the cap is popped off the bottle, and it remains the prominent character. Mild grainy dark malt in the far background.

Mild rounded roasty malt up front, concord grape/cherry sweetness shortly afterwards, with a spike of grapefruit and pine from the hops in the middle, with mild cocoa nib and soft coffee popping up in the finish alongside the hops. The coffee and dark malt fade away quickly in the aftertaste while the hops linger on greatly in their sticky citrus way.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, with a slick texture that is thin at times although fuller on the finish, and moderate carbonation.

It certainly delivers on the 'ol American hop fix, the dark malt is fairly mild although has some depth for what it's worth. Worth checking out at least once for the hopheads in the crowd. (1,024 characters)

Photo of hoser
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Only the second one to review this beer, wow. A thin but vibrant head. Although this is called Double Cascadian Dark it tastes like a single. A hoppy stout at best as malt on this shines through more than the hops. Drinkable and enjoyable yes, can taste the Fish house yeast in this beer. (288 characters)

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Swordfish from Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
86 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.