Penombre | Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

very good
199 Ratings
no score
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Brewed by:
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
Quebec, Canada

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Sammy on 05-30-2008

For Trade:
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Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 199
Photo of ThickNStout
2.21/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

12oz bottle from La Duchesse D'Aiguillon (Quebec City). 2.39. I can't decipher to the notched 0&1 mean. Served in a Microbrasseri Charlevoix goblet.

Pours near black with a quarter finger light tan head. Small bits of lace.

Smells of coffee, roast malts and just a whisp of pine.

Tastes of burnt coffee, smoked malt, char, bark and traces of flower pedal. In the back therw is also a hint of something "off".

Lightish body with moderately high carbonation. Long roasty finish.

Deinately the weakest link I've found in Dieu du Ciel's otherwise strong line up. Drinks much more like a garden variety stout than an ABA, with almost no hop character to speak of. I have to assume/ hope that I got an infected, old or bad bottle. I just can't believe that my experience is what the brewers intended.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

11.5 fl oz brown glass bottle with branded black twist-off cap and appealing label art purchased at a CO bottle shop and served cold into a nonical pint glass at high altitude in Castle Rock, CO.

Reviewed live as a Black IPA per the label. 6.5% ABV. 2014 vintage (First notch at '0', second notch at '9'). Imported by the Shelton Bastards.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 2 fingers wide. Pale khaki colour. Nicely creamy and thick, with a gorgeous rolling soft consistency and shining complexion. Retention is pretty good - ~8-9 minutes. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

BODY: Deep dark amber-black. Nontransparent. A biteen translucent. No yeast or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's an appealing appearance for a Black IPA, but is far from unique or special. The head is well above average.

AROMA: Spruce and evergreen hop notes dominate, with a bit of subsidiary pine and resinous character. A kiss of roasted barley lurks beneath the surface, alongside subdued dark malts. Sticky and sappy.

The key thing I look for in a Black IPA is balance, and so many examples of the style have a fundamental imbalance because the dark malts clash with the hops. That does not appear to be the case here, so I'm hopeful this will be one of the better Black IPAs.

Aromatic intensity is above average. This aroma exhibits no off-notes or overt alcohol, and is suggestive of a deep, multifaceted brew.

TASTE: Hm. It's got a surprisingly brief flavour duration, and the flavour intensity is merely average. It takes me a while to acclimate to the flavour profile as a result.

Once I do, I notice its simplicity and overt plainness. It's not boring or shallow, but there isn't a whole lot going on here, and unfortunately it does suffer from the abovementioned clash of dark malts and hops - though to nowhere near the extent that most beers in the style do.

The predictable dark malt base does harbor some buried roast - which just isn't evocative enough for my tastes, and the hop profile bears notes of spruce and evergreen, with some subsidiary resins and even a hint of candied and bubblegum notes. No pine is here to be found, but it would likely help.

I don't dislike it, but it's rather pedestrian.

TEXTURE: Full-bodied and creamy, with a porter-like smoothness and wetness that suits it well. Thickness is apt. It has a coating mouthfeel and a nice overall presence on the palate.

While this texture complements the taste nicely enough, it doesn't elevate the beer or accentuate its flavours. Generally well-executed, but not custom-tailored specifically to this unique taste.

OVERALL: It's one of the less imbalanced Black IPAs I've come across, but I still think this is the product of a style that's still in its infancy and hasn't quite found its legs. This is easily one of Dieu Du Ciel's weaker offerings, and I wouldn't pick it up a second time. Drinkable, but forgettable, with no stand-out characteristics. Oddly, I find myself noticing now that the best Black IPAs I've had are all brewed outside the U.S. I think this succeeds largely because the hop bitterness is very toned down compared to American attempts at the style; it basically drinks like an overhopped porter.


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Photo of Noxious26
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

341ml brown bottle poured in a pint glass. Purchased from Zyn in Calgary on Remembrance Day weekend.

Pitch black with just a hint of cola coloured highlights when held up to the light. Big foamy beige head is about 1.5 inches on the pour. So thick it looks like you could stand on it. Recedes to a thick cap.

Burnt malt with a coffee aroma and hints of herbal hops.

Lots of burnt flavour. Kind of like a stout rather than a Black IPA. The hops come through in a long finish to add a bitter hops effect to the bitter burnt flavour coating the tongue.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The burnt quality is a little harsh.

Not really to style. Way to much burnt malt for a black IPA. Hops are almost imperceptible. This would be a decent stout, but it's not a very good version of the style they're labelling it.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.39/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated 1 1 at 42 degrees into imperial pint
Aroma of toasted malt
Head large (6.5 cm), light brown, creamy, mostly diminishing to a center hill with a partial 3 mm layer.
Lacing good
Body dark amber with slight haze
Flavor begins moderately bitter with some maltyness; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Flavor ends bitter
Palate light to medium, watery, carbonation soft

An unremarkable beer, supposedly a dark IPA, but with no discernable hops input, just some toasted malt bitterness

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Photo of 4ster
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a large wine glass. Brewed date 12/12.

A: Pours opaque, very dark brown, verging on black. Light milky brown head that settles into a decent froth with large bubbles. Retention eventually dies down.

S: Very faint hop smell, but not getting much else out of this glass. Light to almost non existant on the nose.

T: Quite similar to the smell. Not much hitting up front in the way of malts...there are hints of coffee towards the end which follows up with a fairly bitter hop aftertaste, but that is about it.

M: Pretty smooth beer off the start, medium carbonation but I get a burning alcohol at the back of my throat on the finish. Had this beer with food so I will caution for now that it could have been emphasizing some spice or something in the food, not entirely sure.

O: For starters, being from the West Coast I am used to some pretty amazing Cascade Darks (similar style to this) and as such am fairly disappointed in this brew. Add to the fact it comes from DDC makes me wanting more. It was dark but just not much else. The dark just overpowers the IPA hop profiles and not in a good complex malt way... To note, this is I believe the first time they have offered this beer in bottle form and not having tried it on tap, perhaps it has just lost something in the translation. Either way it needs some work. It s drinkable but not much more.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tap: Poured clear black color ale with a small foamy head with good retention. Aroma of bitter hops with light aromatic notes. Taste is not the most complex with medium bitter notes and a dry caramel malt notes. Body is about average with good carbonation. OK but not really a style a dig and not the most complex beer from this fine brewer.

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Photo of papat444
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 341ml. bottle, bottled 12/12.

Appearance: A dense brown body, easily 3-4 fingers worth of a nice chocolate milk colored head. Lasts a good while, rocky foam that climbs well onto the glass.

Smell: Hoppy a bit, mild roasted notes, some grapefruit, mild coffee.tame

Taste: Flavors surprisingly tame, milky coffee mixes with some hops which are a cross between grapefruit & wood.

Mouthfeel: First thing i notice is the smoothness of the body, not rugged but creamy. Bitterness is an afterthought.

Overall: A subdued IPA , not a real hoppy one. Good but i've yet to see one beat Dunham's.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured this one into a snifter. The alchemy inspired artwork is inspirational! Penombre means "Twilight" in French, by the way.

Penombre pours into the glass an opaque, dark brown with a tawny film that barely manages pencil-width before receding to a ring.

This black ipa has a sweet nose: white bread drizzled with honey, slight coriander spiciness. It is hard to pick anything else out. Where are the hops?

The palate reiterates that white bread sweetness throughout the drink, however a roasted malt also joins the fray, helping to smooth out the sweet. As the beer warms this opens up a bit and resembles dark chocolate. Hops are only noticeable at the finish where a growing resin-y, aspirin-like bitterness slowly grows, meshes well with the roasty and sweet malt. The lack of any other kind of hop flavoring makes for a let down.

Penombre pleases with medium-bodied heft and bubbly carbonation on the tongue. Once that long, bitter finish takes hold though, the beer dives to dryness.

Penombre comes across a bit like a one-trick pony. The hops exists only to bitter up the finish; the malts coalesce with a big and roasty blast to compliment the hops. The nose could use some tweaking, far too sweet for how the beer turns out, and faint. I wanted to really like this beer, but this is a less than inspirational bipa.

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Photo of Haydn-Juby
3.56/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Looks great in the glass. Porter like in appearance with about a finger of darkish tan head. Ruby red highlights when placed in the light.

S: Slightly roasted malts maybe just a bit of hops but not enough that i could easily pick out any variety.

T: A bit of a let down honestly. I didn't get too much hops at all. Bitterness is solid. The roast character is nice and gives some slightly coffeeish notes but its not overwhelming.

M: A thin body but its nice and drinkable the way an IPA should be IMO.

O: It felt more like a porter to me honestly. It was a good beer but I wouldn't call it a black IPA. If someone gave me one without telling me i'd probably call it a robust porter.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.59/5  rDev -6.3%

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, citrus zest, and slight char aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, earth, and char flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop and roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with lots of char and earth qualities that somewhat dominate over the citrus zest presence I am getting in the smell.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.59/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

no doubt a quality brew, but i have a bit of a hard time calling it a black ipa. it drinks quite a bit more like a brown ale slightly accentuated by bittering hops. i dont get the dark enough bitter barley roast, and i certainly dont get much hop flavoring aside from the bitterness. that said though, i like this beer quite a bit. rich and grain driven, dark chocolate brown in color and frothy, but not much head ever lasts here. its got a chocolate malt nose too, with some darker hints, but it never takes off into full dark ale mode for me. the hops, oh the hops, i wish they added some pine notes to this, it would really pop off. instead, its pure bitterness, not aggressive, but enough to cancel the grain sweetness and leave an odd drying feeling on my palate. flavorful beer and quite tasty, but short of what the style dictates, at least to me. gentle but abundant carbonation and a full body. a good fall and winter ale that i quite enjoy, but an amendment to the hopping here could make this world class. excuse me please for being a gung-ho american hophead always looking for more.

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Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Explicit cross between an IPA and a porter, enjoyed on-tap at Mondiale 2008. Very fresh. Bubby off-white head on dark scotch-like body, very lacey. Very roasty Above average carbonation that is sharp on the tongue and is mouth-drying. Not as drinkable.

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Photo of tittymcj
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a very dark brown in light, with almost no head and light lacing throughout.

Smell was just like a normal IPA. Light sweet smell but also hints of roasted malts and even some caramel.

Taste is mostly sweet malt, with some good caramel flavor. Not much dark or roasted about the taste.

Mouthfeel is very light and fizzy with carbonation.

A bit thicker than a normal IPA, makes it a little less drinkable than average.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Served in a footed glass at the Mikkeller bar in SF.

A: Dark. Opaque. Little head.

S: hops and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

T: bittersweet. Interesting and worthwhile. At the end of the day though, a hoppy-malty mishmash.

M: solid but unexceptional.

O: I liked this beer a whole bunch. I love Dieu du Ciel, so...biased. Still. Recommended.

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Almost opaque dark brown with a ruby shade, a yeasty coat, and slightly active. Thick creamy and frothy brown 3-4 finger head, lasting around 15-20 minutes, with a bit of legs, good lacing and swirl effect. Flavors of pine, coffee, dark chocolate, plums, cherries, orange peels, black liquorice, wild yeast, wet barley and dry leafy hops. Milky medium body with soft crispy carbonation. Extra strong finish, deeply herbal and coarse, dense tongue coat of thick grass and earth mixed with straw and dark malts. Chalky while sharp. Soft barrel aged feel of whiskey. Nice smooth and tender body. Lack balance and accessibility, overwhelming finish. Although for those looking for very bold IPAs will be well served. The quality is really high, but I'm a little disappointed. While the flavors are quite tasty, the finish really kills my throat.

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Photo of FLima
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Brown color with a thin head with low retention but keeping a constant ring and some laces.
Aroma of coca cola, coffee and chocolate.
Flavor with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, mint, some grapefruit, caramel, apple, earthy and herbal hops. Dry, bitter and roast aftertaste that won't go away.
Creamy medium body with low carbonation.
No sudden punch in the face here, a very smooth and tasty beer.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours black with a creamy one finger light sandy colored head. Really nice lace left behind after each sip and decent retention.

S: Lots of spruce and pine with a bit of citrus peel, chocolate and earthiness. Sort of a strange smell, but not a turn off.

T: There's a damp piny hop flavor that hits first, then some roasted malt, day old coffee, charred grain husk and some light bittersweet cocoa. A bit of lingering pine resin on the finish with some burnt espresso. Interesting, but I wouldn't say this is one of the better ones I've had from them.

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Photo of dcmchew
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black (very dark brown up towards the light), half finger creamy tan head that slowly reduces to a sticky lace.
Nice roasted malt smell, with rich chocolate, faint cappuccino and lots of burnt sugar. The IPA part shines through, with a big leafy character, pine, minty herbs. Licorice, vanilla and some subtle fig and raisin too.
A robust roastiness hits first in the taste, lots of dark malts and dark chocolate, powdered with ground coffee bean and a bit of cream. Licorice and raisin follow, just for a bit, followed by the big green hops, with pine, ribgrass, maple leaf, bitter grass and spruce. Bitterness gets bigger and bigger as the roast and the hops pile up, creating an ashy, dry charcoal, tobacco, rough bitterness that continues into the aftertaste (leafiness and chocolate too, but way too subtle).
Medium to heavy bodied, oily, medium carbonation.
It felt a bit too roasted for me, and the finish gets even rougher as you drink it, cancelling all the tastiness. More balance would've helped.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from recent trip to the Montreal Dieu du Ciel brewpub. (6/9/09)

Deep mahogany, clear with fluffy tan head with good retention. Big simcoe-like hop aromas. Palate has lots of leafy hops piled on a choco/toffee malt body. Finish is clean and light with bitter hops and citrus.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a tulip glass. Essentially pitch black, maybe just a touch brown, with a moderate amount of tan head comprised of small bubbles. Aroma is decidedly porter-like, nutty chocolate and coffee malts with just enough grapefruit pith and mango to remind you that this is technically a "black IPA". A brown sugar sweetness develops nicely over time. Smells and tastes a tad funky as well, not in a bad way. On the palate I get some dried fruit, dried citrus peel (grapefruit and tangerine), and bitter earthy notes, root cellar and cruciferous salad greens along with wood char, raisins, cacao powder, black coffee, and walnut meat. An almost maple-like or fenugreek sweetness emerges late. A bit prickly and aggressive but I will concede that the malt flavors develop nicely. This is what I imagine those aggressively hopped porters of yore to taste like (see Steele's excellent book on IPAs for details). Tasty but the hops do not shine through as well as in other examples of the style. The malt bill and execution is top notch, however.

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Photo of smcolw
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Good beige head that leaves a lot of streaming lace. Dark brown color, but light does pass through the center of the glass

Surprisingly mild smell. I do detect the burnt malts and the peppery hop. Perhaps a bit of cream.

The taste starts mild, but slowly shifts to a variety of flavors--the strongest being the burnt malt. Strong toast element. The body is a bit watery but the carbonation is low. So, it seems balanced. I sense alcohol, but given abv and flavor, that seems odd to me.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Either it’s the toastiest IPA I've ever had or the hoppiest Porter that I've ever had. Regardless, its results are chocked full of the charm that I've grown to love about Dieu du Ciel.

In grand Porter-like fashion, the beer pours dark "bark" brown and basically opaque. The dense looking ale releases a creamy sandy-tan head that whips right up with a gentle swirl of the glass. Its lacy retention coats the glass with intricate patterns.

As hearty as the beer looks, its aromas are just as prominent: cocoa, heavy toast, light coffee, and roasted nuts continue the Porter theme, but the bright and zesty character of IPA chimes in with grapefruit and pine needles. Underlying burnt sugars seem to support the wood and citrus notes with a cream-like sense.

Its full flavors start with the char of toast, fresh ground coffee, burnt walnuts and cocoa. The light background of dry toffee fades at middle palate and makes way for the charge of hops to come. Starting citrusy with white grapefruit and freshly zested oranges, the toast soon fades and leaves the sticky, resiny taste of pine to dry the taste and usher in throat-gripping bitterness to close its taste.

Firm bodied, the beer has full impressions as the mind thinks IPA to start, but the dry toast character keeps the beer light so the turn toward IPA is a bit more manageable in the middle. Finishing toasty-dry, warm, and resinous- the beer has a linger of mild roast astringency and stemmy hop bite.

It really is a tale of two beers- where intrigue takes the tasted buds back and forth from hop to toast and back again. But I would rather it make up its mind. Either relegate the toasted malts to a color-correction role only, or push the sweetness a bit to balance the hops properly.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a Dogfish Head Ale glass.

A nice dark walnut brown with just a hint of red to it for the body, complete with a two finger creamy very light cocoa brown and tan top. Creamy head settles to about a finger nice and slowly, not large but seems to be hanging around well.

Aroma is chocolate milk, and whoppers candy. Soft sweetness, and some nice dry husky soft grains. Milky, hints of lactose, but not very hop forward or discernable or obvious on that front. Hints more of porter and milk stout.

Palate brings the ale, and the character changes quite dramatically. Sweetness replaced with very noticeable dry roasting malts. Finish is very noticeable hop bitterness of pine and sharp dry earth. Very bitter and sharp. Body hints at a little creamy character, but sort of gives some light pale alt airy malt, backbone subdued with some tight carbonation.

It's a bit misleading at first, quite aggressive on the palate, but also in control. An unexpected hop blast but not quite IPA territory either. An interesting style blur, but drinkable and fun.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ The Farmhouse (Burlington, VT) on 2/19/11. Served in a wine glass.

Pours black, with some more ruby hues coming out along the bottom, and is topped with a ¼ finger of creamy mocha colored head. This retains with more of a thin wispy look but does keep some heavier bunching on the edges and actually leaves back a good amount of foamy spotty lacing. Malts take control of the aroma initially, with notes of coffee and chocolate giving this a roasty tanginess in the nostrils. Hops are giving off some green floral accents but mostly seem relegated to the back of the nose.

The taste has a hearty crisp bite to it. Not only of green citric bitterness but also roasted malts, which then proceed to separate themselves and spread crunchy dark roast across the back of the profile. Luckily there is no shortage of sweetness present, as notes of cocoa and toffee help soften and balance some of that sharp bitterness out. This finishes very dry and earthy, with a good bit of lingering pithy bitterness (maybe a tad too much so). The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a firm crispness that really brings all of those hops and roasted malts out to play. I'm picking up no alcohol up here in the body, which keeps this relatively smooth and helps settle the overall presence of this down some.

I found this to be fairly aggressive for the style but it never did quite get too overly so, as the balance and overall ease of the body helped bring things back down just in the nick of time. This is definitely one that I was initially shaky on but it won me over by the bottom of the glass. I'd gladly check this one out again sometime.

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Photo of Yoonisaykul
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

My first beer ever in a Dieu Du Ciel brewpub. My first Black I.P.A seemed like a good choice.

A- darkest brown. Not much head but the thin layer that's left is not letting up. Minimal lacing. Nothing impressive.

S- this wasn't easy since I was close to the oven cooking pizzas and nachos. I can basically say roasted malt and hops all wrapped up in a creamy sweet alcohol package. Its all pretty soft. Hard to pickup distinctly.

T-subdued floral hops. A bit like the rosated malt was trying to hold back the hoppiness. Considerably malty but most of the malt you get comes from smell. If you try and isolate taste, its mostly hops. Roasted malt aftertaste though.

M- great. Light yet full. Medium carbonation.

D- very good. Tasty but not that sessionable.

Very tasty black ipa. I think this was my first one. Good first experience but I'm waiting for way better.

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Penombre from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
3.83 out of 5 based on 199 ratings.
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