Pitch Black IPA - Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pitch Black IPAPitch Black IPA

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BA SCORE
85
very good

779 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 779
Reviews: 315
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 12.66%
Wants: 28
Gots: 35 | 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

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

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

(Beer added by: JohnGalt1 on 11-21-2009)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 779 | Reviews: 315 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty standard one finger head, I poured it pretty aggressively, it was fighting me, trying to not give me very much in the way of head. The head is just slightly off white, and is now almost gone, not surprising, considering it didn't give me much head. Decent lacing throughout, the body is black, that's for sure, but pitch black? No. There is clearly hints of red and brown in this beer, even when not directly held up to the light. Overall the beer looks ok-good, I have a problem with the seriously small head retention and the fact that it's not pitch black, but it's got a good look overall, nice lacing, plenty of bubbles still sticking around the rim and middle of the beer. The smell is very nice, it's got a very nice roasty smell to it, nice malt note, and a little hops. I've had an excellent black IPA before (Otter Creeks Alpine Black IPA), and I doubt this will be an excellent black IPA, it smells good and all, and it has all the necessary components for a good black IPA, it just doesn't seem as well balanced as the Otter Creek, and it's probably lacking in hops. We will see, it's a good smell, but comparing it to the other black IPA's I've had, it's only ok-good. Yeah the taste is exactly what I thought it would be, it's a really solid beer, but not as good as the other black IPA's I've had. It's not as smooth as some, and it doesn't have as much flavor. It's got a nice hop and malt flavor, but it's not as bold as it should be, and the taste is a little rough going down, like I said, not as smooth as the Otter Creek. I think the mouthfeel is what's making it not as smooth, too much carbonation. The balance on this beer isn't too bad, it's got a nice hop to malt ratio, which is critical in this style, it's just not enough flavor. If the balance is right it doesn't really matter if there isn't enough flavor. Overall a good beer, just not a great black IPA. I wouldn't mind drinking this beer at all, just not if I was presented with some of the other black IPA's I've had instead.

Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked this beer up at Spec's in Kingwood tonight because there isn't much of anything there that I haven't reviewed already, and I had a good Black IPA when judging the Southern Star ProAm competition (their style in 2011). Let's give this one a shot as this style seems to be getting more popular lately.

Appearance: Like it says, it pours pitch black, but not Imperial Stout dark. The foam is a light tan and started fading immediately. After a pretty reserved pour, it was only about 1/4" high at the peak, and then fell leaving lace in its wake. There is some spotty lace left all over the glass when drank, so the beer looks pretty good overall.

Aroma: The aroma in this beer is already nice. It definitely has the American Citrusy hops required for anything that says IPA on the bottle, but it also has some Schwarzbier qualities to it that are different. There was a defined nuttiness to the malt right after the pour. The malt still has the feeling like it is from European ingredients, and I am thinking that it was carafa malt that they used for the color as this is really familiar to me and is how I make a Schwarzbier. There is a dark caramel to mild toffee coming out as the beer warms, but the whole time the hops continue to be a force in the aroma.

Taste: The flavor has a little more acidity to it than I was expecting from the aroma. It is still very bold, but is leaning more toward the malt in the finish, which I think is a good thing or the acidity from the dark malts might be overpowering. The beer is medium bodied with ample to slightly low carbonation. The finish is quite balanced and is giving more chocolate as the beer warms. The hops are a player, but to be honest, the beer seems to be tipped slightly toward the malt for the remainder of the finish. The alcohol stays reserved the whole time and gets mixed up with the acidity in the finish, so you don't really notice it until you have drank most of the glass, and that is just the warming effect.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer and one of the better ones that I have had from this brewery. The beer itself seems rather simple, like they took a good Schwarzbier recipe and changed it to American hops and bumped up the flavoring additions quite a bit. That is what you can expect with this beer, and I like it. Some people may be turned off by the malty balance in the finish, so it may be reminiscent of some American Brown Ales in that respect. Either way, this is a pretty good and I will enjoy the other three in the 4-pack.

Photo of zeff80
3.98/5  rDev +5%
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.

Photo of biggred1
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark chestnut brown with clear ruby highlights and a creamy chocolate milkshake head that leaves sheets of tan lace on the glass. The nose is tropical fruity hops and roasted malt in perfect harmony. Rich and roasty coffee-like Carafa malt and fruity hops are well balanced and pleasant. Medium bodied and highly carbonated. dry and chalky finish. I bought a few of these new Widmer IPA's on a whim and I am pretty impressed, the brewers at Widmer can make pretty darn good beer if they want too.

Photo of flexabull
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on my birthday, 3/3/11.

Pours a deep and dark brown color, with a big, rocky, white head.

Aromas are of dark malts, ripe fruits, and earthy, citrus hops.

Taste is malty up front, some dark fruits, and hints of cocoa. Finish is crisp, with some earth and mineral hops. Flavors are on the lighter side for beers of this style.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, a little on the thin side though.

Overall, a nice black IPA. Not as big as others in the style, but still flavorful enough, and well worth trying. Another good offering from Widmer, a brewery that seems to be on the rebound.

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

Picked up a four pack from Total Wine in mid April for $6.99. Bottled on March 03, 11.

Beer poured a dark brown with an off white head that is leaving plenty of lacing behind.

Nose has hints of cocoa with hints of floral hops.

Taste is cocoa powder balanced out by a nice dry hop.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, not overly smooth, decent carbonation.

Overall this is a good beer, a slightly different twist for the style with the cocoa. Glad i tried, definitely worth a shot.

Photo of Thads324
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A : pours a deep brown, almost black, with a really big and thick head. The head is spherical and a golden tan color. great ringing around the edges.

S : A start of musty hops, followed by a blend of subtle citrus hops and a wheat-like malt sweetness. Undertones of malt are sweet and smell warming.

T : The beer starts with a sweet grain flavor with an oatmeal texture to it. Followed closely by a good bitter hop that carries through the remainder of the beer. The tail end of hop is complemented with a very subtle roastiness, like the bottom of a strong coffee. The hops are tingling and bitter, with a bit of citrus.

M : The oatmeal type beginning is a nice feel, as is the bitter hop that is lead throughout most of the beer by the carbonation.

Pretty nice offering, and I am sure it is even better closer to the brewery. not much else that isn't already said above...

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle purchased as part of a four-pack purchased at McKinnon's. Pours a nearly opaque black body with slight ruby-red highlights and a thin film of khaki-colored head. Grapefruit, pith, chocolate, coffee play equally in the aroma. Grapefruit, pith, orange, lemon, chocolate, and a bit of espresso. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Hoppy but balanced with dark malt flavors. Really good. One of the best Widmer beers I've had. I'd definitely buy this one again.

Photo of plfahey
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Deepest brown to black with some slight ruby highlights and apparently brilliant clarity. Moderate sized khaki head with decent retention and some very nice lacing.

Aroma-Nice hop bouquet to start things off-orange and grapefruit citrus along with a touch of pine, followed by light background malt notes of caramel and faint roast.

Flavor-Sweet citrus fruit (grapefruit) hop flavors up front are slowly taken over by a moderate roast flavor, but in the end the flavor ends up rather balanced between the two. The malt flavor shows hints of bittersweet chocolate and coffee, with a faint note of toast. There's a nice play in the long finish between roasty malt and piney hop flavors, with moderate bitterness coming from both parties. Like I said, the finish carries on for quite a while, with a very satisfying and balanced aftertaste.

Mouthfeel-Medium body with moderate prickly carbonation. Relatively smooth.

This beer isn't flashy overly exciting, but it's very well balanced and strong across the board. Seeing as how I've been underwhelmed with most products from Widmer, I consider this to be an exceptional member of their line-up. I'll definitely be drinking more of these in the future.

Photo of Derek
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dated Feb 02 11

A: Black with a tan head, thin ring of retention leaves some nice lace.

S: Grapefruit, pine, hints of underlying caramel.

T: Pine, grapefruit and rind, tangerine, hints of dark caramel and roasted nut, good bitterness, alcohol is subtle.

M: Body on the lighter side of moderate, light hop acidity.

D: A good drinker, nothing stellar, but it works.

Photo of LazyL
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My pint glass appears almost black with a creamy tan Stout style head. The nose is subtle molasses with some mild pine, citrus and floral notes. The taste is only mildly bitter with some herbal hop notes and a bit of banana on the finish. The mouthfeel is creamy and overall is very similar to a Porter. A dark IPA not so much as I think its a little light on the bitterness side, but American Black, maybe.

Photo of bort11
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. A light tan head stands a half inch above the surface, then drops down to a lacy cap. Lacing paints the walls of the glass as the the head recedes. The body color is a solid dark brown, nearly black, with dark mahogany highlights around the edges. It looks exactly like a stout.

The smell is a great big dose of Cascade hops, which breaks the deception of the eyes. This is an IPA, no matter that your eyes say stout. Taste also confirms the IPA status. West Coast Cascade hops are predominant. It is piney, with a resinous finish. Malts are subtle, keeping balance but letting the hops take charge.

The mouthfeel has a solid medium body. It is slightly creamy and oily. The hop oils leave a slick after feel. It is not unpleasing, but odd.

Photo of gkunkle
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich black/ deep brown color with a thin off white head. Head dissipates into splotchy film on top of the beer. Slight smell of hops, buy what comes through most strongly is coffee. Taste is hoppy with hints of chocolate/coffee coming through. Mouthfeel feels right. Mild carbonation. Overall, this was surprisingly peasant, I wasn't sure what to expect from a "black IPA"

Photo of OldIronLungs
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass with carbonation that eventually rose to a finger of chunky light tan head. Very very dark brown, but not black.

Very light roasty nose, some citrus/floral hops.

A bit more roast up front, but in a good balance with the more piney hop character. Prickly carbonation and a slick bitterness at the end; some subdued coffee and chocolate. Good body for the style, not overbearing, clean.

A perfectly drinkable black ale - I agree with others that it's a little too roasty for the "Black IPA" denomination. Solid American black ale.

Photo of teromous
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Well, it's pitch black. Even holding it up to a light won't do much to diminish the opacity. It pours a lumpy tan head with large and small bubbles. The head drops down from about 1/2" to 1/4" pretty fast.

S: It smells of hops, and I can actually smell some roasted scents. It smells very much like a west coast style barley wine.

T: It's pretty mellow for an IPA. It's strange because the category listed on this website is just "black ale" which really suits the character. It doesn't really have an IPA hop character. There are slight roasted notes, and a decent amount of bitterness. It tastes pretty malty, and essentially has the character of a weak barley wine.

M: The mouthfeel is good, it has a nice carbonation level and it covers the mouth well. It doesn't leave any dead space of flavor in the mouth.

O: Overall it really wasn't anything special. It was a good dark ale with a decent level of hops and bitterness. I would probably look for a better one but this one would be alright in a pinch.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
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 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 PicoPapa
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle with Feb 02 11on the bottom right corner. Pours a black color with brown hues and a thin layer of head that disappears quickly. Fair amount of lacing. Light citrus aroma along with some sweet coffee. Roasted malts as well. Taste has very little hop presence. Mostly tastes of coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malts. Not really getting any of the citrus I smelled. Mouthfeel is light and watery. Overall this beer is pretty average. Once is enough.

Photo of sk8man121
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into tumbler.

A: Pours a dark brown with garnet highlights. 1-finger mocha head with good retention. Nice lacing on the glass.

S: Lots of hops in the nose. Citrus, pine and bubblegum, with a toffee backbone from the roasted malts. Very pleasant.

T: Deep chocolaty malts battle with assertive hops at the front of this one. Grapefruit and wood in the background. Nice, smooth toffee finish.

M: Starts sticky from the hops, and ends smooth and velvety from the roasted malts. Very nice carbonation, and excellent mouthfeel overall.

O: While I must admit I was skeptical about black IPAs at first, between this one and Otter Creek's excellent offering, I can safely say there's more to this "style" than mere gimmickry. Sure, this (along with black IPAs in general) is a pretty schizophrenic brew, but it works, and for reasons that are difficult to pinpoint. And isn't that what makes for a great beer in the first place?

Very nicely done.

Photo of welldigger888
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful deep garnet, then held to light and it was a nice bright deep garnet, nice. Nice off white head that laced ok.

Roasty toasty malt with a nice helping of hops.

Smooth roasted malty, BAM, nice hop bitterness with some piney hits as well.

Seems a bit thin, shame, because I really like this brew. The carbonation is good just seems that it is watery.

At the right price this would be a go to beer for me, that said $8 a 4pk & the thinness will hold this back for me.

With all due respect, was out in Portland in early 2010 when this was rolled out, seemed better maybe fresher. The $6.99 sixer price was real nice to.

Photo of avalon07
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a cloudy texture. There was a big, foamy, off white, long-lasting head. Excellent lacing.

S: Aroma was dominated by hops, with a hint of chocolate.

T: A nicely hopped-up flavor, with some chocolate and a little bit of malt thrown in. A decent, but not mind-blowing flavor. Pretty well done.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied. Easy going down.

D: An interesting, drinkable beer.

Photo of jmerloni
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice pitch black color, as advertised. Can't see through it. Head is medium and sticks to the glass pretty well.

S - Yummm. Roasted chocolate, bready, hops.

T - Dark chocolate, almost no malt here.

M - Dry dry dry and that has a lot to do with the lack of maltiness in this beer. There's no maltiness at all here. Medium bodied and appropriately carbonated.

D - Kind of boring. Respectable - I think it does what it's supposed to. It's just pretty boring overall, and I don't think I'd ever get this again. But I'm interested in the brewery. This is the first I've tried from them.

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

I don't think I have tired a black IPA, and this was a good one to start with. It has a beautiful black and brown color while pouring, but pretty black in the glass. Has a cream colored head, pretty small. Smells like an IPA, very hoppy. Tastes like hops too. This is a really good beer. Even though it has a strong hops flavor, it aslo has nice coffee type aftertaste. I will definitely try this one again!

Photo of cjgator3
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Pours a dark black, not quite pitch black though, with an off-white head with solid retention and lacing.

S- The aroma is a touch roasty with hints of chocolate and fresh hops.

T- The taste like the aroma is dark roasted malts up front with some bitter coffee flavors and some hops in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is between light and medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, Pitch Black IPA is a solid beer worth checking out. I am a fan of the Black IPAs, and this one did not let me down.

Pitch Black IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 779 ratings.