Illustration Ale | East End Brewing Company

very good
26 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Illustration AleIllustration Ale

Brewed by:
East End Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DavoleBomb on 07-03-2010

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 51
Reviews by chadmoe1:
Photo of chadmoe1
4.92/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on 2/17/12 and shared with my wife and some good friends.

A -- Dark Brown, big 3" light brown head, lots of nice lacing stuck to the glass

S -- Roasty, caramelized, toffee malts, spicy, fig/currant/raisin notes; maybe a bit of chocolate flavors

T -- Chocolate and roasted malt flavors mix with figs and raisins...flavors intermingle with a nice lingering aftertaste

M -- Medium carbonation, smooth and a bit thick

O -- Amazing beer. Very complex in my opinion. Aroma and taste are an outstanding mix of chocolate/toffee and fig/raisin/currant flavors that pop out at different points during smelling and tasting. It was actually difficult to characterize the taste because of the how the two distinct flavors jump out. Hope to pick up another one and age.

1L Bottle, RR snifter. These bottles had five different label artwork styles and this one was done by Jason Lex. Really cool dinosaur drinking a beer, with an old man in a rowboat in his belly, drinking the beer the dinosaur is chugging. Not sure what it means, but it looks cool, considering Pittsburgh's association with dinosaurs and Carnegie.

 1,117 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of DWolf
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Zonian1
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Stigs
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from 1L bottle into Chimay chalice(s)

A - agressive pour yields a quarter inch of loose frothy Frosty colored foam, quickly falls to a thin film and ring. the beer is very dark brown/ruby colored and significantly hazy.

S - begins with some sweet ripened dark fruits...notably figs and plums. more sweetness abound with dark chocolate and banana. faint ash, tobacco, and cloves add bitterness and spice for balance.

T - sweetness again right off the bat before a swift bite of tobacco and subtle smoke. figs and ever so slightly tart black cherries bring the sweets up a notch again, joined by molasses and a somewhat biting alcohol burn that lingers. other light notes of toffee, belgian yeast, and cloves add another dimension. very complex, one of those beers where you can "guide" the flavors along your tastebuds with different results each time.

M - body is on the lighter side with subtle carbonation. starts creamy then turns chewy from all the sweetness. mild alcohol burn at the back of the throat. leaves the mouth feeling sticky.

D - rich and complex, ABV is certainly noticeable but this is hard to put down after every sip. not a style i am normally fond of but two of us had no problems doing a number on this large bottle.

 1,252 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1.5 Liter swing top bottle into several glasses.

Pours a clear ruby, topped with a soft foamy covering of light off-white head. This retains with a thin frothy layer that flares up to about a solid ¼ finger when swirled, throwing some good looking spotty lacing up on the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of dark fruit (cherries are really coming out), bread, sugars, yeasty spice, and some light herbal smelling earth character in the back. Gentle warmth gives this a touch of thickness in the nose.

The taste has LOT of fruit flavor going on with it, with (once again) cherry tartness taking center stage but I'm also getting some darker notes of fig and black currant as well. This is tempered by the sweetness of malts, with sugary bread and candied caramel in particular doing a good job here. The finish on this actually has a good bit of toasty and smokey textures going on with it, while some yeasty notes of earth and spice linger on the lips as well. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with soft smooth creaminess to it, while some slickness and beef run underneath the feel. Pretty darn easy sipper as well here for the size but I'm still glad that I had a few others to help share the bottle with.

Really interesting Belgian Dark here, with a ton of yeasty character doing a lot of different things at times. That dark tart cherry flavor really drives this though and is so strong that it actually threatens to override some of the other nuances. All in all, I found this a very enjoyable effort from East End.

 1,530 characters

Photo of Saxboy10
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of thagr81us
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to DavoleBomb for sending me this one in a trade long past! Served from swing-top bottle into a Green Man snifter. Poured a massively dark brown with a minimal light tan head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, dark fruit, alcohol, and caramel. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark fruit, banana, roasted malt, plum, and bread. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. This one had really held up quite well sitting in my cellar for this length of time. There was no sign of the 9.4% ABV at all which was nice. It really mellowed out and made all of the subtle flavors come forward rather than being muted. Definitely worth trying if you have a bottle of this one still in your cellar as it is drinking pretty good currently.

 862 characters

Photo of vwbus7
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of iadler
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Florida9 for bringing this to the tasting. One of the coolest labels and bottles I've seen. Poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark brown with a small head that leaves tiny spots of lacing

S- Dark fruits including plumb, black cherry, fig, raisins, brown sugar, roasted and caramel malt and some earthiness.

T- Caramel and roasted malt with fig, bakers chocolate, black cherry, plumb and caramelized raisins.

M- Medium carbonation and body that is very smooth with the alcohol being hidden very well.

O- This was a very enjoyable belgian dark ale. Well-balanced and the age made this beer very smooth.

 617 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.67/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass as I didn't know the style beforehand. Shared 1L bottle with a buddy.

4.0 A: Relatively clear medium/dark brown color. Two fingers of creamy/frothy hybrid head with average retention and not much lacing.

4.5 S: Interesting to say the least. Peppery spiciness, semi-sweet chocolate and toffee, and graininess like a good Oktoberfest. Also a light hay funkiness. Very pleasant.

5.0 T: Interesting taste as well. Sweet toffee and caramel. Slight funkiness with peppery yeastiness. Some milk chocolate and the slightest touch of sourness. A touch of alcohol as well.

4.5 M: Thicker medium body. Good carbonation. Lots of creaminess. Very good here.

4.5 D: This is a winner. Super complex with lots of great flavors. Goes down very easy. I also think it may be a new style: "imperial dark saison".

 822 characters

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.52/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of outoffocus
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of dpnelson1978
3.89/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1L bottle into glass snifter.

A: Hazy deep brown body with a small tight head that quickly gives way to a thin creamy head. No lacing.

S: Sweet molasses, and raisin. Free of hops. Really nice solid profile.

T: Tons of sweet molasses, and raisin over a caramel backbone. Slightly boozy but again very solid. Could use more nuance, but I can't really complain.

M: Medium body with low to medium carbonation and a ton of residual sugar.

D: One liter bottle? No problem! This goes down easy for such a potent offering.

O: My first taste of East End is an impressive one. The beer isn't cheap, but is worth every penny.

 626 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
4.11/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Thanks to DavoleBomb for this bottle!

More breweries need to go with these huge swingtop bottles. The brew inside pours a dark mahogany, highlighted with bright garnet, topped by about a finger of tan foam. The nose comprises solvent, cherry brandy, maple syrup, oak, figs, and buttery pound cake. The taste holds notes of tart black cherries, cloves, blood orange, chocolate, tart fig (as I told a closeby friend of mine, that may be the first time those two words have gone together in my head), plums, almonds, brown sugar, and Belgian yeast. Whoa. The body is a light heavy, with a light carbonation and an almost chewy feel. Overall, a very nice BSDA that kinda surprised me with its great complexity of flavor and its subsequent enjoyment.

 781 characters

Photo of Morey
3.5/5  rDev -14%

Photo of sideshowe
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of OriolesFan1008
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of northbayrugger
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%

Photo of KAP1356
3.92/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Shared with kecarl7 at Kite and Key in Philadelphia. Poured from a 1L into a chalice...

A - Poured a really dark brown, dark amber color with some purple highlights. A .5 finger tan head forms and quickly recedes to a film of the same color.

S - Loads of dark fruits (dates, raisins, figs, some prune) right off the bat. Cherries are also detected. Belgian yeast along with clovesd and some peppery spice.

T - Cherries come out some more here with the rest of the dark fruits behind it. Slightly funky and slightly tart. Belgian yeast and some nice light spice rounds things out nicely.

M - Lighter to medium bodied beer with a nice creamy texture while still having a solid amount of carbonation.

O - Really enjoyed this one. The flavors were all there and Scott seemed to really nail the style here. Well done. Aside from Gratitude and Toaster, this might be one of my favorite offerings from him.

 926 characters

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -26.3%

Photo of themanilow
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of BigRizz62
4/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of joepais
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Much thanks to an awesome BA who sent me one being that it is my favorite style. I wasn't disappointed the1 liter swing top was split between friends into snifters we were greeted with a slight white head that faded fast leaving a small ring of bubbles around the glass. The body was a classic dark brown to black. The aroma of a farm house yeast was the first thing I noticed then I got some sweet dark fruit and caramel came thru. Flavor wise I thought this brew was quite interesting a sweet dark farmhouse I thought it was very reminiscent of a red wine flavor wise. The mouthfeel was a tad light for me I wished for more body. To me it was light and fizzy. Don't get me wrong it worked but not true to my expatiations of the style.
Overall I like the brew but not a strong dark in any way. It really was more like a hybrid to me.

 834 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Bartrash for this brew.

1L Swingtop

Poured into a chalice a nice browninsh color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is very nice, malty, sweet, with some very nice figs, raisins, plums notes, licorice, and caramel. The taste if very nice malty, with tons of dark fruits, sweet, licorice, with some spice notes, and caramel. Medium body. Very Drinkable, this is an awesome brew, glad to have gotten a chance to try it, recommended. Thanks Pete!

 528 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Illustration Ale from East End Brewing Company
4.07 out of 5 based on 51 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.