Pitch Black IPA - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pitch Black IPAPitch Black IPA

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BA SCORE
86
very good

316 Reviews
THE BROS
89
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 316
Hads: 789
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 10%
Wants: 30
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
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 316 | Hads: 789
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Schooners Patio Grille in Santa Clarita, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a 1/2 inch tan head that fades to an oily film on the top of the beer. Thin foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted dark malt and a pungent herbal hop aroma. Taste is of roasted dark malts with citrus zest and herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is also a bit of a roasted coffee bean flavor I am picking up too. Very mild bitterness on the palate after each sip quickly fades. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good black ale with a nice balance between the roasty malt and the hop flavors. (673 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Half finger head on a deep amber body with nice lacing but poor head retention.

S: Nutty, vanilla, oak, bourbon and overall sweet. Nice aroma.

T: Flavors are more hoppy with mostly pine and lighter on the roasted malt than I expected.

M: smooth, a little thick and moderate carbonation.

Overall: For me this is more like a Black IPA; Hoppy with roasted malt as oppose to a roasted malt beer with hop notes somewhere in the background. (441 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is close to being jet black in color—when held up to a bright light, traces of reddish amber are noticeable along with a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high dense tan head that died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark and roasted malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell and has additional hints of citrusy hops and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels nearly medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation and a slight amount of crispness.
O: This beer drinks very easily although it seemed like it would have been better if the aromas and flavors were a little stronger. (776 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

In the Black IPA vein, this beer takes a more mild approach than most aggressively hopped and malted varieties. Where the drinkability good, the lightness of body shows its limits.

Very dark garnet in color with deep brown low lights, the beer carries a surprisingly white head for it's dark color. Regardless, the beer is not as dark as its namesake suggests. Froathy and creamy, the foam forms heartily, retains very well, and laces impressively- it's what's expected from high-hopped beers.

Toasty aromas fill the rim with hop suggestions of fresh cut grass and tree bark. Slight caramel scents bridge the gap between the dry roast and sharp hop characters.

Medium toast, mild char, and walnuts provide the bulk of flavors that sit on the front of the tongue. A quick transition through mid palate brings less caramel sweetness and more toast. The acrid toast bite welcomes the hop flavors of grasses, hay, and a sharp and earthy flavor that reminds me of grapefruit rinds and pine. Though pleasant enough, the beer has only a simplistic complexity that leaves me wanting more.

Medium weighted, the beer seems to be heavier that it actually is because of the toast character. Early creaminess turns dry, arid, and with a roast bite quickly, inviting a mild grain astringency along with the hop bitterness.

As with most Widmer Bros. beers, this one is on the right track, but better flavored hops and a more malty-rich body would compensate nicely for the aspects of the beer that have unnecessary bite and lack of intrigue. (1,531 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured out as a deep brown color. The head was foamy looking and had a tan color to it. The smell of the beer gave off some lively hops on the nose with a bit of roasted malts underneath that. The taste was fairly well balanced I thought between the citrusy hops with the roasted malts. The mouthfeel of the beer was sharp and yet smooth at the same time. Overall I thought that this beer was pretty good and wouldn't mind drinking it again someday. (454 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pitch Black IPA is not pitch black. It's lucent mahogany with generous brick red and apricot orange highlights. The upper third of the glass contains a wonderful looking crown of caramel nougat colored foam that is no slouch when it comes to laying down lace.

Grapefruit zest-like hops (Cascade) dominate the nose. Since this bottle is only about six weeks of age, that isn't surprising. Kudos to the brewers for adding 65 IBUs worth of the little suckers. Black maltiness? Not so much.

This is a solid American black ale that, again, benefits from being fairly fresh. Once the hop character start to fade, the taste score will probably fall pretty quickly. Of course, that's true of most highly hopped beer.

Juicy white grapefruit and Mary Jane are still well out in front, but at least the caramel and roasted malts are now contributing and are keeping this offering from tasting like a straight-up IPA. Good mix of sweet and bitter, with the latter winning handily. The back end is nice and tight... just like I like 'em.

The mouthfeel falls a fraction short (light-medium for the style) when compared to the rest of the beer's attributes. That said, it doesn't impinge on my enjoyment and it's well-suited for either gulping or sipping.

Those of us who never got the chance to try W '10 are grateful to Widmer Brothers from bringing it back in the form of Pitch Black IPA. This is a tasty little American black ale that is scratching my 'gotta have hops' itch this morning. (1,482 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
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. (594 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, dark, dark brown color with a one-finger, light brown head of foam. It left some sticky patches of lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt with notes of pine and tropical fruits.

T - Good roasted malt taste with touches of caramel. It had a citrusy hop bitterness with some pine.

M - Smooth and crisp with a dry finish. Medium bodied and easty drinking.

O - This is a pretty nice black ale. Another solid brew from Widmer Brothers. (458 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
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. (458 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: The beer pours a very dark brown, not quite black, with some reddish highlights. A finger of khaki colored head.

S: Not the best hop aroma. A bit of pine and some floral hop notes. Subtle tropical fruit notes, mostly pineapple, with quite a bit of roasted malt. A slight sweetness of toffee.

T: A bit astringent from all the roasted malt. There are some floral hops, some grassy hops, and a bit of pine. Some toffee and bread sweetness, perhaps some hints of pineapple.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

O: Too much roast and not enough hop flavor. (563 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a pitch black body with a scant, light beige-colored head depositing some sheer, gauze-like lace on the descent.

Smell: A sprinkling of licorice over energetically roasty malts hit the nostrils firstly, then notes of citrus, well-chilled coffee and a vague hint of muted chocolate and dark fruits.

Taste: Lightly sweetened, thanks-but-no-cream coffee, some subtle semi-sweet chocolate morsels, and, of course, the roasted malts. Very limited hint of dark fruit. A drop of lonely vanilla. Earthy, citrusy hops ricocheting between lemon and grapefruit. A blip of resin. Moderate bitterness. Sweet and fruity on the finish, though there is some encompassing, lingering bitterness present.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: It's got some punch to it, but it's also still fairly smooth. These beers are going from unique to hackneyed in a real hurry with every brewery racing to produce one. (929 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
2.85/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap @ the Widmer Gasthaus (Portland, OR) on 9/4/11. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a pitch black in the glass, with a ½ finger of light mocha head. This retains mostly with a foamy ring but does have a decent looking flare-up to it, leaving back some light spotty froth. The aroma smells very floral, with an extra touch of spice and pine embedded in the nose as well. Grapefruit and sweet malts combo to add a green twang to this; while darker roast finishes things off in the back. I think that this is focusing a little too much on that green twang here overall.

Malts are prominent up front of the taste, with chocolate character and some tangier feeling caramel as well. This melds into that green citric bitterness before finishing with a roasted backend. Dry pith, spice, and pine all linger fairly strongly. That green bitterness here is just coming on too strong and really throws the profile here off at times. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and sharp on the tongue but is a bit creamier and smooth feeling on top, which helps this go down. For 6.5%, the alcohol here is very well hid.

I just wasn’t digging this one. That flat tasting green citrus flavor just controlled too much of the taste here and ultimately made this a fairly bland drinking experience. It’s too bad to, as the nose showed some promise. (1,333 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap 3/19/2011 at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, floral hops, chocolate and a touch of citrus.

T: The taste starts with a strong hops bitterness and then some mildly sweet flavors of chocolate and citrus come in. The malt character is hearty and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is very dry and slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, it's a solid beer but there are better ones within the style. (769 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.41/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark color with some brown around the edges. Good head and lacing. Plenty of carbonation. Some malt with a tart and burnt flavor. Woody mouthfeel. Some hints of fruit, but more like burnt raisin toast. Hops are not immediately on the attack but aftertaste is long and bitter. There is a peculiar cereal flavor I don't like much.

I remember liking this better the first couple of times. Still it's worth a try for being interesting. (437 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked this up in the mix-a-six cooler, enjoyed chilled from a Duvel tulip.

The color is deep black and opaque as promised with a thick fluffy beige cap from a vigorous pour. There is a tight bead and lace sticks like a film. The smell is worty-again with Widmer's IPA aroma, very malty smell with a piney note in the background and slight sweet blend of caramel fruitiness with subtle dark brown sugar and fig-like earthy notes. Ther is a slightly woody essence which hints at alcohol in the ester.

The feel is somewhat full in body with a moderately sweet texture and moderate bitterness, overall well balanced with semi-dry middle and mild carbonation for the style with clean mildly oily finish. The taste is very good with nice blend of plum-like fruit and toasted grain with light herbal notes in the hops with pine and bittersweet chocolate flavors adding some earthy elements in the finish.

The overall vibe from this is more of a stout than a hop-forward black IPA, the balance is what makes me say that which I like, I just think it could be a little more dry and bitter. If you like less malt flavor in your IPA's you may enjoy this less, I like it for what it is which is a pretty decent beer. (1,214 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Real nice nose on this one. Has that fruity tone to it you'd expect from the style. Flavor is pretty good, though it doesn't really live up to the fragrance at all. Pretty easy to drink, but not really bringing a mass of complexity. Just hits ya in the mouth, and it's good. Just not overly memorable. (301 characters)

Photo of Jason
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (734 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good, lasting head and excellent ring lace. Not quite "Pitch Black", more dark brown where a touch of light passes.

Nice balance of some black patent and (I believe) chocolate malt on the initial smell. There is some hop in the background. It's even behind a mild alcohol presence.

Better hop bite in the taste, but it's not up to the IPA levels one would expect. Nice darker malt flavor--mostly semi-sweet chocolate. Appealing but thin bodied. Low carbonation as well. (471 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Widmer Pitch Black IPA. "Always Bet On Black." 6.5% ABV. "Embrace the Dark Side." Smooth, dark, and hoppy. Series 924. And so on, and so forth. Let's crack this open.

Indeed, it is pitch black in color, roasty tan head, mmm, enticing.

Aroma: there we go, grassy, piney, hovering over black malt, cocoa and coffee. Ah, hoptastic, it is, big time.

Tasting it, …there we go. Black malt, dark and tasty, low roast, minor toast, some chocolate happening. The hoppy buzz keeps on top of the palate.
After all the black IPAs/black ales I try, I'm still not 100% crazy about them. A big so what, is how I feel. I don't want grassy hops over a dark ale. And if I yearn for something hoppy, I don't want the dark malts. Peanut butter in my chocolate, that sort of thing.

Earthy, malty, and tasty. But, eh…not the sort of thing I'm going to turn to, again and again. Just doesn't thrill me. I hope this fad dies off soon, actually. (931 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
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. (592 characters)

Photo of WesWes
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a solid pale and roasted malt scent. It's dry with a touch of earthiness. It has a wonderful citrus hop aroma. It's not over the top, but well integrated into aroma. The taste is decent as well. It has an earthy pale and black malt flavor. It's bitter, but on a mild level. The hop character is good. It goes down easy and finishes dry with a slight citrus hop edge. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an easy drinking beer; well balanced with good hop character. (638 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Bud American Ale glass.

Pours about a finger of khaki tan head. Very good retention leaving a lot of sticky lace. Color is a dark caramel brown, almost to the point of black.

Aroma: It smells as a regular IPA would, but with roasted malts added in there. Lots of floral hops but the roasted malts really cover a lot of the citrus notes which are one of the best aspects of an IPA.

Taste: This is an interesting beer. It has a lot of floral and grassy hops, but there is also a ton of malts as well. I think I have only had one other black ipa so this is pretty unique. There is a little citrus fruit in the background, but not a lot.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, but very creamy as well, and very roasted. Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Ends sticky and roasted.

Overall, this is a very unique beer. I liked how creamy the beer was for an IPA. It was just weird to see the malts and the hops battle it out. It is definitely worth a try. Pretty drinkable as well. (987 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (283 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap @ 1702, Tucson; April 2010
The beer arrives with a frothy, one-finger thick, brown-tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a dark, black-leaning, concentrated brown color, when held up to the light it shows a brilliantly clear, brown hue. The aroma has an earthy, herbal hop note to it as well as some up front pine aromatics. Upon second inspection it yields aromas of grapefruit zest, lychee and it develops even more citrus character as it warms up. The hop character is definitely dominant to the grain; the malt does seem to accentuate the earthy and herbal hop notes here and there is a touch of toasted malt character noticeable in the nose.

Herbal, peppery hop flavors are found as this beer first hits my tongue and the finish has a lingering pine-like flavor. Citrus oil and grapefruit zest linger on the tongue in the long finish. The malt is a touch more noticeable in the flavor than it was in the nose; this has a smooth malty finish with some dark grain notes and perhaps even a touch of cocoa. It is interesting how the dark malt plays up the herbal and hop pine flavors (at least compared to a standard IPA). The body has a certain creamy quality to it, but this is definitely a beer with a good quaffability quotient. A back-drop of citrus and a hint of lychee anchor the hop notes along with a smooth, not overly aggressive bitterness. Nice, this is definitely an enjoyable brew (1,411 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
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. (584 characters)

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Pitch Black IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 316 ratings.