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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

749 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 749
Reviews: 313
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 26
Gots: 29 | 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)
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Ratings: 749 | Reviews: 313 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hoplover82


4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours clear and almost pitch black with accents a deep red rose colors and a large/medium creamy espresso crema colored head that has very good retention and excellent lacing.

S-Has a slight dark roasted malt aroma with floral and pine hop as the foundation in the nose. Also some coffee in the nose. I'm sure it'll get more interesting as it warms. OH YES!!! Indeed, as the beer warms significantly, the pine hops come to the front and shine oh so brightly and delightfully. And the coffee aroma still is there but way in the back now. I believe there are some fruity esthers as well! Hmm...

T-I get coffee and bittersweet pine hops along with a long lingering floral/pine hop finish. There also is some caramel sweetness to this that is so lovely. The pine hops are the star in this show, (which I love)!

M-It has a full creamy body that coates the mouth well yet finishes long and dry with a hoppy aftertaste that I find well pleasing. There was a slight graininess that was unpleasant, but as it warmed, it went away completely. Enjoy this one way off the chill.

D-This beer goes down quite well. And if sipped on, one could session this easily. I think I'll get some more actually. I got this in a make your own 6'er and I want more. I would suggest this to any hop lover like me. CHEERS!

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2010 05:35:38 | More by hoplover82
Photo of patobandito

New Mexico

4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown-black color. Good thick coffee colored head. It dissipates quickly, but it leaves a good lace. Smells of floral hops, a bit of citrus. The malt sneaks in a bit on the finish of the smell, with a roasty smell. The taste is where this gets interesting. Starts off with the hoppy bitterness. Floral mostly. A bit of citrus, but not much. Then the malt kicks in with authority. Lots of roasty, toasty goodness. None of the flavors ever become overwhelming, they balance out relatively well. The main detraction from this one is it is a bit thin on the mouthfeel. One would expect a bit of a fuller beer. But its quite drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2010 03:41:26 | More by patobandito
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2010 01:56:12 | More by mothman
Photo of josiahschlender


4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To be honest, I don't spring for Widmer brews as often as some of the other local offerings in Portland, but the black IPA limited release caught my eye for sure.

Given a vigorous pour, a big cocoa dusted head that leaves tons of lace sits on top of a quite dark brown with red highlights. Not the typical look for the IPA! Will the color be reflected in the flavor?

Lots of very fresh spruce tip hops on the nose, nearly overpowering the dusty, burnt malt aromas that pick up momentum as the beer warms. The best intensity and quality nose I can remember from a Widmer offering!

Those dark malts ended up being mostly looks. I can discern the more burnt, roasty flavors especially at the end, but they're pretty subtle considering the color of this brew. They definitely managed to capture a sweet caramel maltiness to balance out the big citrus and evergreen hop flavors. Appropriate bittering on a nice, long-lasting finish.

Medium body and carbonation, good balance on the feel.

It took me a few bottles into my sixer to come to appreciate this beer, but I'm liking it more and more. It has more hops than many IPAs out there, and mixes it up with some of the dark flavors without overdoing it. Great job with a hard brew to pull off, Widmer! Enjoy this one fresh to get the full effect of its excellent hops.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2010 22:33:27 | More by josiahschlender
Photo of ElGordo


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

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Body is a dark brown with chestnut highlights, crowned by a small, creamy, off-white head. Aroma of roasted dark malt balanced by a nice, hoppy bitterness. Notes of cocoa powder, pine resin, and grass float in the background.
Palate is somewhat bitter up front, both from husky malt and from assertive, grassy hops. Notes of pine, cocoa, and a touch of grapefruit, along with a flourish of sweetness from the malt right before the swallow. Finish is a lingering hoppy bitterness.
Body is full and a tocuh creamy, especially on the swallow. Overall, a great example of the Cascadian Dark Ale style. Now if they'd only put that description on the bottle...

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2010 05:57:04 | More by ElGordo
Photo of BuckeyeOne


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

I'm confused. What's the difference between a black IPA and a hoppy porter? I picked up a sixer of this at a chain grocery store to share at a party with a couple of BAs and a house full of wine and whiskey drinkers. It went over OK.

It poured a nice dark cola color with a fine head. I wouldn't have called it 'pitch black' like Abyss or anything, but it was dark.

To be honest, it smelled pretty thin. I didn't really catch any strong aromas, but the roasted malt and citrus hops were there.

It tasted pretty good, though. I wasn't expecting anything special and didn't get anything special. The party I took this to was a dinner potluck and the beer matched well with the smoked ham, etc. that I had on my plate.

I don't think I'd buy this again. It was a nice party favor but not something I'd choose over SN or any other fine session IPAs I can get.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2010 21:27:04 | More by BuckeyeOne
Photo of ArrogantB


3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really dark brownmore than black but that was the least of my complaints. It smelled weird, sort of hoppy and then brown ale. The taste was more of the same, mostly dark malts with a slight bit of hops, like a hoppy brown ale but not an IPA as far as my tastebuds are concerned. Still, not a bad beer but not a true black IPA like Stone 11.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2010 03:43:54 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of Reidrover


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

12 oz single, carrying on my tradition of having all the 'w" series beers. Appearance, black beer luscious tan head. smart and handsome! Aroma is mainlly of hops though the malt breadiness is there in the back. Taste well this is somthing quite unique, actually quite stong hopping as expected from a PNW IPA, then the hop biterness is somehow accented by bitter -sweet roasted maltiness with a slight hint of bread. Very nice on the palte thick and intrest holding..very bitter aftertaste lingers for some time. Overall an excellent beer from the brothers. I think they need to make this a regular winter seasonal.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2010 04:20:51 | More by Reidrover
Photo of madtappers


3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a very good BLACK IPA, but there are better ones on the market.

Served in a standard pint glass. Pours pitch balck with a nice carmel color head. Great aroma of citrus hops to the nose. Taste reminds me alot of Drifter and Brrr with more of a malt backbone.

For a beer for the masses this is a great beer, and thank you Widmer for being the first to get this style to market for everyone to try. I know it is not the first but, it is the first mast market BIPA!

Enjoyed the beer alot, would have another but not a session beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-13-2010 01:08:20 | More by madtappers
Photo of Buebie


4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A semi rigorous pour produced little more then an inch of light brown head. Consistency of beaten egg whites. Receding to leave full coverage lace rings and a thick collar.
Color is black with deep reddish hues. With the color this beer is not what it seems. I like that masked curtain appeal to the beer.

Aroma is is malty with honey buttered biscuits, caramel, pretty sweet aroma with a candy likeness, maple syrup, and citric hops gushing in aroma.

Taste is delicious, plenty of malt backing, upfront sweet and buttery, caramel corn, hops midway being a citric cascade type flavor. At the swallow things switch up as large amounts of potent fresh grain flavors come through, special b likeness with coffee and a toasty nutty flavor. Finsihing with bitter chocolate grains, coffee, burnt sugar, mild bittering hops and a wonderful malt toffee flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium with plenty of carbonation, a lighter feel to it, still with just a touch of slick creaminess.

This beer is fantastic! Well rounded with astoundingly awesome balance. I will be picking up more of this beer, loved it!

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2010 20:33:50 | More by Buebie
Photo of BDJake


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

Keep in mind this is my first "black IPA" I've ever tried, so I'm kind of reviewing this according to preference, since I don't have much else to choose from in the black sector.

A- the darkest form of brown possible before going black, with a tan head that leaves a thin cap and decent lacing, much like an average porter

S- dry and hoppy, with a bit of graininess to it

T- piney hops on the forefront, with the dark malts adding a different dimension than often one-sided hop bombs that come to mind in IPA discussions, all in all a nice overall bitterness

M- silky and smooth, with the right amount of carbonation

D- goes down easily, won't kill your tastebuds or fill you up immediately either... a pretty solid release by Kurt and Rob, and an excellent gateway into an interesting style

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2010 03:44:56 | More by BDJake
Photo of RJLarse


4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought a six pack of W'10 at a grocery store. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a black color, clear and translucent, not pitch black. There are some red hues streaming through when held to the light. Modest bubbly beige head, breaks up quickly. It looks like a Coke in the glass.

Smell is a mild pine scent.

Taste is also piney, with a roasted grain and a hint of caramel flavor. There is a dry bitterness to the beer.

Mouthfeel is light and clean, with a dry bitter aftertaste.

All in all a drinkable beer. I don't think the darkness adds much to it, in fact I think it is reminiscent of the Broken Halo IPA. I'd have expected a black IPA to be a bigger beer, and less drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2010 00:01:14 | More by RJLarse
Photo of velosuds


4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz. bottle into a clear pint glass. Bottled on 12 09 09. Single purchased from local grocer for $1.25. Wish I had bought more. And I will soon.

A-pours a beautiful dark brown, nearly black hue with a two finger light brown head with modest retention and lacing.

S-Aroma is very nice. Piney and citric Cascade hops and dark earthy malts.

T-Inital citrusy hops are sufficiently hoppy and bitter to be an IPA, but not overpowering since it was balanced by deep, bready malt flavors reminiscent of oatmeal and brown sugar. I like this alot. Probably the best beer I have had from Widmer Brothers.

M-Substantial yet smooth, even delicate. A good sipping beer but a thirst quencher too.

D-This very drinkable. At 6.5% ABV it is at the lighter end for an IPA. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 05:39:56 | More by velosuds
Photo of BevMoAndrew


4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served into a Bruery tulip glass at about 45 degrees.

The Widmer Pitch Black IPA pours like a swartzbier with a thick, creamy off white froth, good lacing, & good retention. Hoppy aromas of freshcut grass, grapefruit, orange peel, spiced/noble hops, slight smokiness, & bitter chocolate flacks that follow through as flavors on the palates along with a definite hop bitterness (good balance), creamy texture, & long finish. Overall, this is a fantastic beer & one that I'd highly recommend!

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2010 06:26:47 | More by BevMoAndrew
Photo of RKeyser


3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black / very dark red. Great clarity. Just right carbonation with lingering creamy head.

Aroma: Smells like an IPA. Nice, crisp cascade hop smell. Pine and slight citrus, exactly what a NW hoppy beer should smell like.

Hop Taste: Nice side-of-tounge bitter, but not huge for an IPA. Probably mid-IBU range for an IPA. Cascade-y with something else for bitterness. A little 1D but appropriate.

Malt Taste: Very clean roast profile; great roasted / biscuit taste but no burnt or astringent bitterness. Like the browned top of a well made biscuit, without any flouryness or cloying sweetness.

Overall: Very good. Surprisingly very good. It's not wildly complex in terms of hops or malt, but they picked the right flavors to showcase. Good malt flavor that still let's the hop flavor shine through.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2010 04:40:36 | More by RKeyser
Photo of wagenvolks


4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a beer mug. (Review 850!)

Not quite pitch black, but close, as Widmer's W'10 displays a deep, seal brown hue with ruby-cola highlights at its edge. Pretty good head retention to the khaki foam, and nice lacing too. Biscuity, roasted chocolate malts hit the nose first with notes of gingerbread and cookie dough, while the hops add an excellent balance of musty, foresty pine and citrus.

Very solid flavor profile on this Black IPA, with a touch of black patent malts adding some roast and dark chocolate notes. The hops steam-roll in for the finish to add a piny bitterness that smacks with resin and grapefruit peel. Slight warmth from the alcohol, too. Great mouthfeel, with a medium body and a well-designed, low carbonation level that adds just enough bubbliness to liven up the back of the palate. W'10 is one of the better releases from Widmer as of late, and I very much look forward to the rest of my six-pack.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2010 01:02:08 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of DanOLeary


4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Signature Widmer hop profile with citrus aroma up front and what I always perceive as a slight hint of earth/grassy notes in the background. There may be a small amount of roast coming through in the nose but it is nearly all hops. Nicely done hop aroma but not a big hop nose.

Appearance: Widmer describes this as a "Pitch Black IPA" and I certainly wouldn't argue. This is a coal black beer with a tan head that holds fairly well, but does drop to a thin crown relatively quickly. The sticky head holds some lacing along the glass. The only chance at seeing through the blackness is near the top where the beer blends to a ruby-brown.

Flavor: Initial hint of citrus hop bitterness followed quickly by a dark bread-like malt flavor. Pumpernickel bread wouldn't be too far off. Slightly grainy but not unpleasant. The bitterness comes back pretty strong in the finish with a nice citrus bite on the tongue. Lingering bitterness lasts until the next sip.

Mouthfeel: Light body with prickly carbonation. The body leans to somewhat watery at first but it does round out some through the middle. This Black IPA finishes clean and crisp with a nice hop reminder.

Overall: An easy drinking IPA that helps define this seemingly new style of IPA. The body is what I find most lacking with this brew, I'd like to see more richness here. It's worthy to a hop lover but don't expect to be bowled over by this one. That being said, the more I drink this beer the more I like it. It's very well rounded and while the mouthfeel isn't the biggest it's an IPA that doesn't disappoint on the hops. If I didn't hate the word "drinkability" so much, I'd say this W'10 rates high on that list.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2010 03:26:35 | More by DanOLeary
Photo of Docer


4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first 6-pack of this, and definitely not my last.

- Nice dark brown brew poured into a pint glass... can't see through it... nice off white head down to a bit of sticky lacing all about.

- Wonderful Cascade Hop aroma... semi-sweet malt and grain... oaty.. zesty... fruity.... good.

- Perfect hops... blends extremely well with a sweet chocolate and oatmeal-like malt that isn't thick and syrupy... not at all a malt bomb which I love about this... and the zesty fruity and pine cascade hops are seriously great.

- Really a light bodied dark beer... little sticky, but that lingering zesty sweet sticky fruit hop is bliss.

- Overall this beer is the best I have ever had from Widmer, and wish this was year around. This is certainly my go to beer for as long as it can be.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 03:35:28 | More by Docer
Photo of lonestar4lunch


4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours dark as to be expected, a very deep cola color. Nice lacing hangs around the top then fades quickly. The aroma is of sweet hops, reminds me a lot of their Broken Halo.
The taste has a strong hop presence in the beginning and finishes with a nice, light roasted malt. There is a slight caramel flavor that is the middle ground between the hops that kick off the flavor and the malts that finish.

There is a mild, very smooth drinkability to this IPA. The finish is crisp and the hops leave a nice dry twang. Very drinkable and really enjoyed this one. Another great season for Widmer.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 00:50:24 | More by lonestar4lunch
Photo of froghop


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

pours a clear dark brown with a small tan head, and good lacing.

smell is of grapefruit, malt, some caramel, and a little pine.

taste is creamy, pine, a touch of coffee, grapefruit, some caramel, malt, and a touch of cocoa, ends a little dry and nicely bitter.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2009 23:14:26 | More by froghop
Photo of clearlydiluted

New York

4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: brown near black with a tight head.

s: citrusy hops bear out alongside slight hints of roasty malts

t: the hops come in first followed by a slight roasty malt note and followed a lingering hop bitter.

f: mediumish body, not at all heavy.

overall a decent brew. I don't know if I like the competing roast/citrus notes, but nevertheless a solid offering by widmer.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 23:19:51 | More by clearlydiluted
Photo of psychoholicagogo


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

Found this stocked at the local Winco, surprisingly.

Poured out a nice dark black, as suggested by the label, with garnet highlights. White to mildly off-white head which was thick and luxurious, leaving impressive amounts of lacing.

Mild to moderate aroma displaying moderate maltiness, hints of coffee and chocolate dominated by a floral-citrus hop bouquet. Hop forward but well-supported with mild roast and dark chocolate flavors.

Flavor leads with a mildly assertive hop bitterness that persists into the finish, where it is supported by roast additions. Hints of dry cocoa with some sharpness are present. Medium bodied but still quite drinkable.

An enjoyable pint worth repeating.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2009 06:23:34 | More by psychoholicagogo
Photo of tkdog


4.83/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this last night with a friend on tap at the local. I hadn't heard of it, but readily accepted the bartender's recommendation.

Nearly as dark as a porter, but with the mouth feel and hops of an IPA. Good complexity, all in all a fine seasonal ale.

I've just found a six pack at the store and will be trying the bottled version tomorrow.

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2009 06:12:13 | More by tkdog
Photo of JohnGalt1


4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mug poured tonight at the Front Door.... Great tan head... nice lace and retention... the brew is perfectly black until you get to the bottom and see a crystal clear deeeep brown with deep ruby highlites.

Nose has quite a bit of citrus hops and some sorta fruity hoppiness too.. lite dusting of dark malts and mild dry cocoa.

Flavor mirrors the nose with a nice bitter bite at the front of the palate ... there is more roasty maltiness than the aroma suggests... quite a bit of bright citrus hoppiness... finish is a little dry with the roasted malts adding some minor astringency.

Lite/medium body.... pretty drinkable... I really like this one.


Serving type: on-tap

11-21-2009 04:50:06 | More by JohnGalt1
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Pitch Black IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 749 ratings.