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Pitch Black IPA - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pitch Black IPAPitch Black IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

742 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 742
Reviews: 313
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 26
Gots: 27 | 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:
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

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

Bittering: Alchemy
Aroma: Alchemy, Cascades
Dry Hop: Cascade T-45

(Beer added by: JohnGalt1 on 11-21-2009)
View: Beers (78) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 742 | Reviews: 313 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of grittybrews


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

Enjoyed this quite a bit in its previous release as W'10, but didn't get around to reviewing it until the current version.

Poured deep black with a faint ruby tinge into a tulip with a finger of loose khaki head. Strong, citrusy Cascade hop aroma with a touch of caramel sweetness; not much roasty character yet.

Moderate carbonation and a creamy but somewhat thin mouthfeel. Mild citrus character up front followed by toast and hints of caramel and chocolate sweetness on the roasty finish, which slowly transitions back into hoppy bitterness as it lingers.

I've always enjoyed this particular black IPA, and I still do! Tasty, well-balanced, and easy-drinking, although it doesn't go too far to either extreme in the intensity of its roasty/hoppy flavors.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2011 04:20:17 | More by grittybrews
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2011 16:23:52 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of shand


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

This brew sure isn't lying about the black part! Probably the darkest black IPA I've seen, with a head that retains pretty decently. The aroma is toasty with a touch of citrus and tropical fruit hops. The taste pretty much follows the nose, with toasted malts, coffee, and chocolate coming in at first and the hops coming in for an oily finish. Pretty good.

The mouthfeel is a bit on the light side, but I thought it worked just fine, and the drinkability was quite good. A pretty good black IPA from Widmer, I rather enjoyed this one. Not worth killing yourself over, but worth a drink for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2011 00:23:37 | More by shand
Photo of Bung


3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. Black pour with some brown around the edges. Just a layer of off white head, laces pretty well.

Some piney and herbal hops, faintest roast and anise.

Taste, a well balanced but milder mix of flavors than some. Slight malt and roast coffee mix with the piney and lighter citrus hops. Finishes with more citrus and pine than some of these American Black Ales.

Body is a bit thin, I'd dare say watered down. Carbonation is nicely active. Drinks quite easy, but that is no longer a number category above.

I guess this has the problem that most Widmer brews have for me, they are just a bit too toned down.

To me this was just an English IPA mixed with small amount of Schwarzbier or something similar.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2011 02:51:12 | More by Bung
Photo of output01x


3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

A vigorous pour yields a 1.5 finger tan head that diminishes almost immediately. The body is nearly "pitch black" but does give some crimson red traces when held to light. Lacing appears as curtains clinging to the glass.

Fresh floral hops hit the nose at first whiff. Sweet caramalyzed malt follows.

Strong malt with a slightly hoppy presence is the first flavors on the tongue. Citrus follows but is quicklh swept away by dry bitterness.

Light carbonation helps to prevent the thick body of this beer from becoming too sticky. It coats your mouth well but doesn't overstay its welcome.

The 6.5% ABV seems a little light as this beer is packed full of flavor and body. While the thicker body does detract from the drinkability slightly, the great flavor makes up for it.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2011 06:22:40 | More by output01x
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

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

Bottle marked Feb0211-07:52-WA. It pours into my classic early 90's era Widmer pint glass. Sampled on March 14, 2011. The color is dark brown with ruby highlights when held to the light with a small but long lasting beige head. It has all the aroma of a decent IPA, full of hops. The body texture comes in at about medium. The taste is vibrantly hopped with a sharp almost sour tingle on my tongue. Nicely done.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2011 22:09:06 | More by puboflyons
Photo of raszputini

North Carolina

3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a foamy, airy head. The nose is fruity with the hops dominating - (maybe cascade?). Moderate, slightly oily mouthfeel. It tastes of roasted malts and maybe a little chocolate and finishes with defined hop character. I've recently gotten into black IPAs and this is one of the better ones so far.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2011 02:46:33 | More by raszputini
Photo of MrOH


4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the darkest CDAs I've encountered; it's actually black, albeit with reddish brown around the edges. 1 finger light tan head that quickly dissipates. Decent lacing.

Pungent, resiny pine and citrus nose, with a touch of weak coffee waaay in the back. Wish it was a bit more potent.

Yeah, orange at first, then grapefruit, then weak coffee, finishing with pine. Nice and dry. The dark malt character is fleeting and subdued, the hops are the stars of this show. This is the second beer of this style that actually tastes the way I think these beers should.

Dry and medium-light bodied, with medium carbonation.

Goes down easy and is tasty. I could definitely have a couple

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2011 00:30:27 | More by MrOH
Photo of Scotchboy


3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a fresh bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Pours opaque and nearly black, with ruby hues around the edges of the glass. Very little head but what there was was mocha colored.

Smell seems pretty one dimensional but pleasant: citrus and grapefruit dominate with a little roasted malt in the background. Balanced.

Taste is citrus and grapefruit, a little resinous and piney, with a toasted malt backbone with hints of coffee.

Feels light and well carbonated in the mouth. Pretty drinkable, but nothing spectacular,

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2011 01:57:41 | More by Scotchboy
Photo of jpro

South Carolina

3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a growler at CBX for a little weekend treat...

A: Served in a standard shaker pint... Looks black, but upon closer inspection, perhaps its more of a dark brown with some garnet on the edges; a one-finger almond head leaves some sheets and spots of lace.

S: Grapefruit and piney hops are in the forefront, but not quite as kickin' as I was expecting; some sweet malts and toast in the background are there for good support.

T: Hoppy bitterness, but again, kinda subdued - at least compared to other Black IPAs... some grapefruit rind and light piney-ness; deep caramel / burned sugar sweetness on the finish; hmmm... about the finish... its a touch bland and feels like its missing something.

M: Medium-full body and pretty creamy; low carbonation; a tad thin / watery, though.

D: Its a good brew - definitely not as aggressive as other Black IPAs out there, though (although, I see that Ba has this listed as an American Black Ale - not the Cascadian Dark / Black IPA). Its not too "in your face," which helps drinkability, but the blandness leaves something to be desired.

Serving type: growler

03-06-2011 19:33:18 | More by jpro
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-05-2011 17:44:12 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Birchgrove77


3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a four-pack labeled 2/4/11.

A- Not quite black, very deep brown with garnet hue around the edges. Pillowy, off-white head diminishes to about quarter-inch. Touch of tan lace lingers around the rim.

S- Picked up a touch of roast and bread with a nice amount of herbal hop notes.

T- Quite enjoy this. There is a nice touch of roastiness that reminds you of a nice cup of coffee. When at serving temperature there is a hint of citrus, but that quickly dissipates. Hop bitterness exists but is nicely balanced with a bit of astringency and earthiness. Pickup a little saltiness on the finish.

I really kind of enjoy this beer, but am unsure how much I would want of this beer. The bitterness is nice and the dark malts provide a nice balance, but better examples of this style exist.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 03:44:05 | More by Birchgrove77
Photo of ktrillionaire


3.3/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A - Slightly deeper than cola, capped with a dirty tan head and tons of lace. Looks the part of a Black IPA.

S - Smells like lightly citric hops, offering notes of tangerine and lemon blossom, atop a gently impactful malt base. The malt contribution is mildly roasty and somewhat nutty.

T - The taste is along the same lines as the nose; it is, however, less potent or specific in flavor. The general sensibilities include a slight chicory roastiness and a lingering general green bitterness. Nice tasting, solid, but certainly not outstanding.

M - A tad thinner than I'd like, and the carbonation lacks persistence.

D - I like it overall; it's easy drinking, though definitely not a stunner.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2011 02:44:22 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of SFLpunk


3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Front label dated Feb 02 11, 06:59 WA.

Pours a thin black with some late cascading off-white head that stands up like frothed milk. Nose is all about dark roasted espresso and bitter chocolate with some earthy-herbal notes too.

Palate is medium-light bodied with some bittersweet chocolate notes up front that are quickly swept away by hop bitterness. Black patent malt in here maybe? Dark coffee beans and a little smokey cream note and then it's back to hops and earth. No citrus here which is appreciated. Finish is a little confused between roasted notes and hops.

Notes: A decent ABA, but not my favorite. Shows a little more dark roast than I want in a beer that's actually labeled "Black IPA." Just call it a Black Ale and it would score a bit better.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2011 06:43:47 | More by SFLpunk
Photo of Brad007


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

Picked this up today and I do want to add that it's rare to see new Widmer releases.

Pours a dark brown, not quite pitch black color into my glass. Hmm. Close enough.

Citrusy hops are followed by just a hint of dark fruit and coffee in the nose. Very subtle.

A muted citrus hop presence clashes with just a hint of roasted coffee. It's a bit "rough" in some spots with a bit of alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel is rather thin and full of lingering flavors as mentioned above. Carbonation also takes away from the enjoyment of this example.

It's certainly a step above Magic Hat's example but nowhere near the Hill Farmstead or Stone examples I've had. If you don't want to be socked in the face by an overload of citrusy hops, then this will probably work for you. It's not Blackwatch but it'll do in a pinch.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2011 00:30:58 | More by Brad007
Photo of Zorro


3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Newly brewed bottle, bottled on Feb 02 11. NOT the W'10 this is labeled as "Series 924 Pitch Black IPA."

Not quite black in color, this is a clear very dark brown colored beer. Small tan colored head.

Smell is strongly hoppy with a strong grapefruit and mint aroma. Patent malt there is a slight coffee and smoke aroma. Pine scent and the scent of carrot you get when you mix C type Hops with patent malt. Unexpected aroma of orange.

Taste starts out Strong hop with a coffee and smoke aftertaste. Good bitterness both from hops and malt. Nice smooth flavor but the taste is more subdued than the scent.

Mouthfeel is smooth.

Good drinkability but it could be more flavorful.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2011 03:15:50 | More by Zorro
Photo of Airyk12


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

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle:

Pours a rich brown color, with a slight reddish tint. Nice tan head with great retention and lacing.
Definite notes of Cascadian hops in the nose. Citrusy smells, combined with sweeter, more fruity hints. Notes of malt and coffee.
Taste is exactly what the smell predicted: Bitterness from Cascade hops followed by citrusy fruit and a roasted coffee flavor. Rich, but not as bitter as I expected.
Decent carbonation, with an almost creamy feel in the finish.
Definitely something sessionable for fans of the black IPA; maybe not the best representation of the style, but still great.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2011 07:25:38 | More by Airyk12
Photo of champ103


3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours pretty much pitch black. A bit of ruby/brown highlights around the edges. A two finger tan head rises with good retention. Some nice rings of lace is left behind as well.
S: Toasted malt of chocolate and coffee up front. Some sugar sweetness in the nose. Even some black licorice as well. Finishes with an oily hop bitterness.
T: Follows the nose. Big and lushes malt. Toasted chocolate and coffee are big. A light oily hop bitterness in the finish. The hops are there, but not the main show. Which I like.
M/D: A medium to full body. Very creamy and smooth. Easy to drink. I could quaff a few without a thought.

I like this a lot. This is what most examples of the style should be. Probably the best "Black IPA" that I have had. Something I would recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2011 01:35:45 | More by champ103
Photo of davidexactitude


4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Every brewery should use this CDA as a guideline for all future "Black IPA" endeavors.

This is a hop forward brew with a well-balanced toastiness...perfect for the winter or cold weather. Pairs great with a spicy bean stew and/or a severe snow storm.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2011 04:43:26 | More by davidexactitude
Photo of emmasdad


3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a couple of these in a mixed sixer at Lukas a couple days back. Poured jet black, with a mocha colored head. Aromas of piney hops and some light roasted malts. On the palate this one is fairly light bodied and easy to drink. Flavors of pine, lightly roasted malt and coffee. A very enjoyable black ipa.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 04:12:38 | More by emmasdad
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

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2010 15:00:57 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of beagle75


3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

A: Dark brown color, not quite opaque at the center, with greater light transmission at the edges. Beige foam diminishes rapidly, leaving no head. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Roasted malt and smoke are most pronounced, with muted hops and slight solvent also detectable. The smoke largely disguises the aroma qualities of the hops.

T: Off-dry roasted malt and coffee quickly give way to very thin hop bitterness. Although these qualities struggle to find harmony with each other, there are hints of oak present that add interest. A bitter finish lingers, but does not overpower the palate.

M: Light-medium viscosity leaves the mouth cleanly--this beer comes across as less resinous that a typical west coast IPA, but does not burden the palate with smudges of lingering savory roast as some others of this style may do. Carbonation seemed noticeably over-abundant at first, but diminished to a more tolerable level by the end of the serving.

D: This beer is not a particularly noteworthy contribution to its style, but then most others of its peer-group come across as exceptionally crafted brews. While some of the flavors detected here are genuinely interesting for the style, Widmer fails to bring all of the qualities together into a refined final product. A good black IPA should, in the end, be greater than the sum of its disparate parts, and this one is not.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2010 16:47:11 | More by beagle75
Photo of deereless


3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with ruby hues visible, thin head and minor to no lacing - 3.25, S: Some interesting aromas involving what I perceive as lemongrass, there is also a good deal of charring and some faint melon of all things, citrus is present but muted - 3.50, T: Lots of dark speciality malts and a solid hop bitterness, coffee grounds and grapefruit - 3.50, M: Mouth feel is medium though borders on thin, quite slick while still having a hint of grittiness - 3.00, D: A drinkable dark IPA, quite good - 3.50

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2010 01:10:23 | More by deereless
Photo of aeminter


4.6/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Almost pitch black...there are some garnet hues around the outside when held to a light. The head is thick and moussy coffee color with excellent lacing.

S - Mmm, intense hoppyness...citrusy, perfumey hops.

T/M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Complex, but not as hoppy as the aroma would suggest. The malts are a bit darker and more to the forefront than in a traditional IPA. There is a little roastyness and sweetness, but the hops still make their presence known.

So, it's not a traditional IPA. It is still a great beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2010 05:35:36 | More by aeminter
Photo of jacobseyb


3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass, black in color with some reddish tints. Head is one finger, offwhite and dissipates quickly to crown the beer. Minimal lacing. Hop aroma is present on the nose, with some slight citrusy hints. Flavor has more citrus but not a wham bam hit of hops. Feel is good and crisp, not a lot of oiliness, but nice nonetheless. Definitely drinkable and something I'll pick up again.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2010 03:00:11 | More by jacobseyb
Pitch Black IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 742 ratings.