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Pitch Black IPA - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pitch Black IPAPitch Black IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

785 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 785
Reviews: 317
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 12.4%
Wants: 29
Gots: 37 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: JohnGalt1 on 11-21-2009

Originally brewed as a 2010 one-time release called W'10, now a seasonal called simply 'Pitch Black IPA'

availability: January - April
bitterness: 65 IBU
alcohol by volume: 6.5%
original gravity: 16° PLATO

Malts:
Two Row Pale, Caramel 10 L, Special Roast, Carafa Special II

Hops:
Bittering: Alchemy
Aroma: Alchemy, Cascades
Dry Hop: Cascade T-45
View: Beers (74) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 785 | Reviews: 317
Reviews by StJamesGate:
Photo of StJamesGate
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cherry black with a puffy, pitted tan head that surprisingly sticks around.
Orange oil, brown sugar syrup, ash, leather and licorice sticks on the nose.
Cola, licorice sweets, a roasty bite and then mild orange rind and pine sap hops.
Thin, crisp, a bit of cling.

Alchemy hops are seemingly a blend of Warrior and Millenium.

Watery and not hopped enough for a CDA. Plays almost like a hoppy schwarzbier. Heard Widmer was the best of the CBA; this is a disappointment.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint a deep dark brown with a one finger beige colored head that never really settles completely.Wow love the big resiny/prickly hops in the nose,molasses and roast out the profile out,very nice.Dry and roasty with a healthy doe of resiny hops on the palate,a little molasses-like sweetness comes into play as it warms,but it stays on the dryer side.I think this a great ABA,its Pacific northwest in its big hop notes,a damn good beer.

Photo of tectactoe
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours black as the name suggests, some brown hints along the top and very edges; tan head settles to a thin layer, medium lacing down the glass. Aroma starts off sticky, heavy, and dank with heavy hop oils and resinous layers unfolding left and right. The taste follows right through, overtaken by a solid hop profile; dank, oily, resinous. Slightly peppery, very faint citrus flavors, wet grapefruit rinds. Overall the hops are mostly wet and spicy. The backbone of this beer is very malty and it does a nice job of toning down the hops. Slight roasted character in the background; leaves a bready aftertaste which is very reminiscent of dry rye bread. Medium body, medium-high carbonation, just a touch of stickiness on the palate.

Not a bad beer at all. Black IPA's always surprise me, even though I know what to expect. It's like that purple colored Ketchup. Tastes like ketchup, but it just looks weird. Nice hop profile and a good balance with the roasted malts. Definitely a better brew than I was expecting.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep black with some dark brown edges along with a khaki head that leaves some spotty lacing as it falls. Aromas kick off with some solid roasted malts and a blast of floral and citric hops with Cascades taking their place nicely. Quite enjoyable with a cocoa/coffee undertone.

First sip brings tasty roasted malts upfront with touches of coffee, cocoa and caramel. The hops flow in quickly bringing citric and floral accents along with a nice dose of bitterness. Good balance overall as it finishes with some lingering hops.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied with good carbonation - just an easy drinking brew overall. A solid black IPA that I was glad I picked up and tried. Hope Widmer keeps brewing this one.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled Feb 02 11
Cool-looking bottle; I liked how it tapered.
In a pint glass the beer was black with a medium-sized tan head. Abundant lace.
Roasted malt aroma, a little coffee. Lots of floral/herbal hops.
Coffee and chocolate taste. Good piney hops.
A smooth, balanced beer.
Would drink this anytime.

Photo of Beaver13
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours a dark brown with a smallish creamy light tan head that quickly goes to a thin film that leaves some lacing.

The aroma is roasted malts and some piney fruity hops.

The flavor is roasted / charred malts and a little fruit with a good sized burnt, piney bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and kind of watery.

Overall, a decent black IPA...a bit pricey at $9 for a 4 pack though.

Photo of mikechance
2.64/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A --- deep black with a nice 1/2" head

S --- malts, raisins, grass

T --- caramel, coffee, roasted malts

M --- light body, watery, light carbonation

O --- Disappointing. Compared to all the other solid Black IPAs on the market this one doesn't measure up. It's closer to a roasty Porter than an IPA. Not crazy about it.

Photo of Jason
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with a bottled on date on the label.

Froth walks up the glass, black color admits to not being pitch. Roasted aroma is soft, hops aim at floral and mild resin pine ... smells great. Yeah, it is smooth ... creamy with a big enough body for this fresh new style. Hops don't let go even though the flavors drop from its balance bitterness to a slow pull of herbal and wild flower flavor. Roasted malt feigns coffee but slowly pulls back. Bit of fruit and spice in the middle. Unsweetened cocoa and oily hop in the semi-dry end.

Yes, labeled as a Black IPA but all brewers should run with the re-named "American Black Ale" style and stay away from Black IPA all together. Regardless, very tasty and very easy to drink.

Photo of Billolick
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, "Feb 2 11" on the label, bottled on date??

Pours real dark brown, dark mocha head. Nice fine lacing. Earthy nose with some lite citric hop notes.

Easy drinking dark ale, hops are mutted, nice smooth chocolate notes, more earth.

Pleasant and nicely balanced. Quite smooth over the tongue.

Nothing real special going on here, but this is a well crafted and quite sessionable brew.

Photo of tigg924
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, dark brown in color, clear, moderate carbonation

Smell: chocolate,wood, floral and pine hops

Taste: big pine hops with some floral hops in the mix, charred malt, and some chocolate

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, light body, bitter with some sweetness in the back

Overall: A very drinkable black ipa. I could drink a couple of these. I tend to like this style and this is a good representation. My favorite from the brewery so far.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours black with a cream-colored head. The aroma is piney hops with some roasted malts. The flavor is mainly piney hops, but there is some citrus hops in there as well. There is also a roasted malt backbone which is very interesting. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of smares2
4.54/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Not being a huge IPA fan, but generally a fan of darker bitter beers, this selection caught my attention. It did not disappoint.
Appearance: pours smooth, decent amount of head but more thin and airy than most dark beers. The beer itself was deep brown-black like a porter. Impressive. The sort of beer that makes Bud Light defenders wince just looking at it.
Smell: I'll be honest, I didn't take an intentional smell until the beer was mostly gone. Nothing struck me by that point.
Taste: great hop/malt balance. The full taste palate seems to endure, rather than having stage 1, stage 2 effect. The maltiness lingers hand in hand with the hops. Strong roasted barley presence.
Mouthfeel: more lively than it looks; a bit more active than a porter it resembles visually.
Drinkability: smooth on the tongue, good aftertaste balance makes it a fine slow sipper. Overall taste makes you happy to tip more often.

A definite winner. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys dark ales, porters, and hops.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank this with elrogish up in WA last week, thanks bro. Can I call it light black? Easy enough to see through, average viscosity, average stuff. Aroma was pretty plain, didn't come across hoppy or fruity.

Taste, just right down the middle. Bitter, hoppy, but pedestrian. No major discernable flavor, but no off flavor. Not roasty, coffee, chocolate, don't taste them. Maybe a mild toffeeness to it. Would put the ibus around 45. Dry finish, yet smooth enough for easy drinking. A decent beer at a good price. Kind of a go to for people new to the black ale emerging phenomenon.

Photo of chinchill
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brown, not black. OK, but given the name Pitch Black this earns a small deduction on appearance. Clear with small tan head that quickly reduces to just a ring.

Smooth but little too thin and watery.

Excellent and rather strong citrus hops aroma and flavor with surprisingly little bitterness. This makes for a particularly pleasant finish and aftertaste. At first, I missed having a bit more of the bitterness from a typical IPA hop hit, but I grew to like this better with repeated tasting.

Easy recommendation for those who love hops but have trouble with excessive bitterness.

Photo of rwathree
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, poured into tulip glass.

A: Nice. Not quite "pitch black," but dark, near-opaque, a little brownish red at the edges when held to light. Yields about a 1/2 inch cream head that leaves a nice sticky lace on the glass.

S: On first whiff I get the hops, though the Cascade citrus doesn't stand out. On another, I get more coffee notes, a little bit of sugar.

T: Nothing's really standing out here. I was expecting more of those coffee notes to come through in the taste, or at least something other than hop bitterness. Again, the citrus notes that I'd expect from the hop aren't coming through, and I don't know what they're losing out to...okay, on a third sip I get some toffee, so that's redeeming.

M: Kind of thin, kind of gritty. Going downhill...

D: On the other hand, goes down easily. This might be because of its failures in the last two categories, but I can imagine having a few of these at a backyard barbecue. This would actually be pretty good with smoky wings or ribs.

I wasn't expecting much from this -- I'm lukewarm on Widmers for the most part -- and nothing's really changing that. I wouldn't turn away a pint, but I can't imagine paying that much for a 4pk any time soon.

Photo of jbphoto88
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I wouldn't go as far as saying pitch black IPA but widmer brothers brewing comes very very close. Think deep brown that is so rich in color that it's downright inky with ruby highlights only in the thinnest of areas. The head is a frothy cap of yellow khaki foam. Very even with some lasting power.

The nose is rather pleasent with more of a roasted grain scent then a hoppy wiff. The cones are there though and please the olfactory glands with light citrus. Mild nose all together but all the pieces are in the right place.

This is a solid black IPA with again the strongest flavor coming from the grains. Sweet, roasted grains with caramel notes, subtle hints of chocolate and coffee. The hops fade into the background and take more of a supportive role here in flavor town.

My favorite part of this brew is the way it feels in your mouth. The carbonation is smooth with small bubbles but adds a nice crisp texture to the brew. Also the hops have a nice presence here with a clean bitterness balanced by the sweeter malts. A really good beer and a great cheap find at costco. Well worth checking out.

Photo of Brenden
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is a dark red-brown. The head that develops is off-white, very light in color considering. It's also tight, creamy and dense, between one and two fingers tall, and drops plenty of sticky lacing in its wake.
The aroma shows a nice interplay between hops and malts, with an intersting mix of both crackery and roasty notes. A touch of smoke/char is present, and the hops that pull through are earthy with some citrus and just a little floral. There's a tinge of acridity and the dry malts with the roasted note are just a little odd.
The taste follows suit with a few exceptions. A little bit of the caramel drops off and charred flavors come out a touch acrid. A nuttiness comes out as well that I appreciate. The hops offer a little bit more pine resin in the bitterness with citrus also give a little bit of rind. Otherwise the same herbal, grassy and earthy characters come through.
The body is medium, but what seems to happen is that it starts off with more depth and a bit creamier, then something drops off and it goes lighter with a bit less character and activity. It's interesting, but a sharp crispness up front and relative smoothness save it from mdeiocrity.
This is a good ABA to try, but as with what other Widmer offerings I've tried, not a beer to pick up with other beers readily available.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I'm a big fan of Widmer's Anniversary brews and when I saw this one today I just had to try it.
It's good, but...
Pours a deep, amber black with a tan head that was slightly disappointing. Bubbles were too large and it broke apart too quickly.
Aroma is primarily citrus (grapefruit) hops without a lot of sweet malt which surprised me considering the amount of black malt they had to use. Slight wet newspaper scent which I could have done without.
The brew is smooth on the tongue and the carbonation doesn't overpower, nor do the hops overly dry the mouth.
The taste is a surprising balance of the malt and hops. Like a faint dusting of sugar on your fresh cut grapefruit, the malt mellows rather than sweetens allowing the IPA hop goodness to come thru in all of it's glory.
Unfortunate metallic aftertaste MAKES you take another sip, just to clean your mouth.
It reminds me of Mendicino's Black Eye Stout, a brew I was particularly fond of.

Photo of biboergosum
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A pint at a pub in the Basque Quarter of Boise, ID.

This beer appears a clear, very dark cola colour, with a half finger of creamy off-white head, which leaves some sparse stringy lace around the glass as it quickly fades. It smells of toasted bready malt, and mild citrus hops. The taste is light roasted chocolate malt, and soft bitter, earthy hops. The carbonation is on the low side, the body medium weight and smooth. It finishes off-dry, the same two components carrying through to the end.

A nicely drinkable, understated black IPA. I could see this as a transition beer for the style.

Photo of McD0uche
3.34/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Pours a very dark black/brown color that lets little to no light in. The head is barely noticeable and quickly subsides into a few frothy bubbles. Lacing is nonexistent. Nothing extraordinary here.

S: A complex mix of malts, hops, grapefruit, chocolate, and cherries. Not overpowering or lasting, but enjoyable and appealing.

T: Grapefruit, tangy, malts, a hint of chocolate. A bit too sweet for my liking, but overall good.

M: Tart. Feels a little acidic on the tongue. Oily finish. Definitely not the best feeling on the palate.

O: Well, this wasn't too bad, but I wasn't impressed with it either. The mouthfeel sort of killed it for me. There are probably better black IPAs out there. No memorable qualities come to mind for this beer and I doubt I'll remember it for too long. 3/5

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours near black with light penetrating only the thinnest edges to reveal a brown edging. Head is light tan and 2 finger thick, great retention, and the resulting lace is thick and clings to the sides like Spider-man.

Smell - Prominent pine hop aroma, with notes of citrus and some roasted coffee malt notes.

Taste - Surprisingly, the roasted malt is at the forefront, with coffee and a slightly bitter chocolate getting their share before a pine and citrus hop comes in to balance things out. Finishes with a harmonious balance of flavors riding it out into the depths of the abyss, then a touch of smoke makes an appearance, clouding up any trace of the previous character as it fades to the end.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Somewhat creamy. Very little bite from the carbonation.

Overall - Not big on the pine hop character, but the citrus is there to keep it in check. Great malt/hop balance for a CDA. Not sure I could drink more than a few of these at a time, but a standout amongst it's contemporaries in a fairly new style of beer.

Photo of HugePlume
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Lots of buzz in my office about black IPA's. Had to find one to give this style a try. Poured a 12oz bottle into a pint.

A- Very dark, coffee like appearance. Held to light only a slight hint of red around the edges. Very good lacing.

S- Smells like an IPA. Hoppy at first, as it warms more of a malt nose present. Not strong, but certainly unique which I think is the goal.

T- Taste is a tug of war between bitter hops, floral hops and malty notes. Initial hop flavor is mild, quickly building into a floral pop that finishes with a deep smoky malt finish that lasts quite long. Unique.

M- Light mouthfeel, a little watery. Carbonation appropriate for the body.

D- Initially I think of this as a utility micro. Good for many meal choices, or a party with hours d ovres of many styles. Hoppy and malty doesnt match it with any particular food, but makes it a choice for any.

Photo of tdm168
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, dark black with faint reddish brown hues. There's 1/4" of dense, cappuccino head with great retention. The nose has notes of roasted malts and pineapple-like, citrusy hop aromas. The taste is rich, roasted malts with a hint of chocolate followed by notes of pineapple, citrus, and pine. The mouthfeel is medium bodied though a little thin at times; great carbonation and very smooth.

Overall, this is a good black IPA. It toes the line between black IPA and hoppy stout. It does come across a little thin at times, but it's balanced and smooth. It's worth looking into.

Photo of secondtooth
4.11/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Widmer's hefeweizen is well-known and one that I've always found to be a top-notch session wheat beer, but this one's escaped my radar, and sad that is.

This is (no surprises, please) pitch black, with a big head of off-white bubbles, and an intricate, spider web of lace.

A decent mild hops nose -- grapefruit and floral.

What a taste! All sustained citrus sweetness (orange, grapefruit) with some pine, and a bitter finish. Very tasty, and one I'd seek out again.

Photo of hreb
3.49/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle dated Jun 03 13. Served in pint glass. Beer pours actually more brown than black, though totally opaque in the glass, with a medium foamy chestnut head. Aroma is decent, but more big malt brew than IPA, like a brown ale or even a coffee stout. Flavor confirms it: roasty, nutty flavors, with a strong mocha flavor. Like an overly fizzy chocolate stout. Besides the fizziness it has the thinner mouthfeel of an IPA, too. But -- not to say that this brew is too sweet -- I really don't get any particular hop character. To call this an IPA is a sham. Beeradvocate calls it American Black Ale, but this is no CDA either. Still, it's decently enjoyable for what it is, even if it misses the style guidelines.

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Pitch Black IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 785 ratings.