Dark Penance
Founders Brewing Company

Dark PenanceDark Penance
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American Black Ale
Ranked #41
Ranked #4,282
4.06 | pDev: 9.85%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Dark PenanceDark Penance
Notes: A heavy malt foundation includes Crystal malt for sweetness and just enough Midnight Wheat malt to push the color to black. The bitterness is huge, but balanced by malt sweetness and alcohol burn. The hop flavors and aromas range from citrus to floral to pine thanks to a delicious blend of hand-selected Chinook and Centennial hops.

100 IBUs
Reviews: 341 | Ratings: 2,553 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of gatornation
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark black with a khaki head. Smell is roasted malts and piney hops. Taste has a huge malt presence coupled with bitter hops,some floral and citrus noted ,mout feel full bodied.

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Photo of BIABrewer
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An intensely hopped and richly flavored black IPA. a sharp hop bitterness is balanced by an evident malty sweetness. Aroma is mostly of pine and grapefruit with faint hint of citrus. The mouthfeel is thick but not syrupy and seems needed to provide further balance to the powerful hop presence. I absolutely love the way this beer came together.

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Photo of dcotom
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12-ounce bottle into a Glencairn glass. Deep, dark blackish brown in color, like a dark-roast coffee. Thick, cushiony tan head that left some nice sticky lacing. Although this sample was old, it still retained a lot of the intensely bitter hop character. The strong malt backbone contributes sweetness, with notes of burnt coffee, prune, and licorice. Silky mouthfeel, with lots of lingering licorice and pine-resin bitterness on the finish. Well done!

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance was a black color with barely any head. Lacing was messy thing and all over the place. The smell started off with roasty coffee to bitter piney dark leafy fresh damp coffee bitterness. It fared quite nice as an American Black Ale underneath my nose with a resounding floral resin. The taste was mainly roasty with a nice underscore of bitter. Pine empowers the roasty coffee to blend yet slyly allows a slight spicy almost rye presence to come about. A nice sweet to spicy aftertaste bleeds into the finish. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a great sipping feel about it. Carbonation runs slyly underneath to accommodate a good sharpness in the bitterness. Overall, imperial black ale, yup, definitely works for me, I’d have again.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought On-line
12 oz. Bottle

Poured into a glass a very very nice black color, with some awesome carbonation, there is a very nice one-finger plus thick, creamy, off-white head, with some very nice thick sticky lacing left behind. The nose is very hoppy, with some citrus/pine. The taste is also very nice, hoppy, citrusy/piney. Medium body, ABV hidden very well, with a very nice bitter/dry finish. Overall a very nice brew.

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Photo of TerryMills
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a nice frothy cream head..

Very good strong malty taste and a silky smooth mouthfeel , you don't get the hops till the very end and they bring out some fruity flavors and a very slight bitterness.

This could easily move into my list of favorite ipas, only bought a single but I will be going back for more..

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 9/14/15; drank 11/1/15 @ the Yarchives.

Brown/black appearance.

A rough pour yielded a huge tan head; a curtain of frothy lace.

Wheat, orange citrus & roasted coffee bean notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Milk chocolate & orange citrus flavors up front; a dry, coffee accented finish. No booze heat. An above average black IPA.

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Photo of DJ-Hophead
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

355 ml bottle Beautiful Beers, Bury St Edmunds,- Pours jet black with a large creamy foam head. Medium carbonation. Nice lacing. Aroma - large resin hit on the nose, some fruit notes citrus - grapefruit. Taste - starts with resin notes on the front, light citrus background, roasted malts, finishing with a long dry bitter finish which really lingers. Great resin fronted serious bitter black imperial IPA.

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Photo of MMOSNN
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

14-month-old bottle poured in a goblet.
Look - super deep dark brown with a one-finger khaki head, medium retention, nice lacing.
Smell - strong notes of roasted malts, then pine resin, some bitter coffee and citrus.
Taste - mostly follows the nose with the addition of boozy notes. The roasted malt character blends really well with notes of pine resin and it finishes with a sweeter citrus punch.
Feel - good carbonation, chewy mouthfeel, sticky finish.
Overall, a great example of the style in that it blends complex malty characteristics with crisp hop aromas and flavors. The body is also impressive, especially considering this bottle is over a year old. I'd like to age this a few years to see where it goes.

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Photo of 911CROFT
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

355ml bottle into a Spiegleau IPA glass. Paid £4.15 for a single.

Pours an opaque, very dark brown, almost black body, that when held to the light allows some ruby tinges to be observed near the edges of the glass. Incredibly fine carbonation is visible below a dense, two-finger in height, light tan coloured head that slowly reduces to a thin cap, leaving behind thick bands of sticky lace.

The simple but bold and commanding nose leads predominantly with a combination of pine, grapefruit pith, and dark roasted grains. Modest sweetness is faintly perceptible underneath with notes of black liquorice and burnt sugars, while hints of char become evident towards the back end. Taste follows almost exactly. Resinous pine and grapefruit pith lead the hop forward structure in roughly equal parts. Underneath, dark roasted malts and semi-sweet toasted grains form a flavourful but light malt backbone, managing to capture a slightly charred profile whilst avoiding intensely smoky and ashy characteristics. Mid-palate, hop bitterness lightens briefly, revealing traces of bittersweet burnt sugars and liquorice before pine and grapefruit quickly re-emerge. In the mouth, a medium body and modest amount of fine carbonation give an initially soft, smooth and creamy texture. Hop presence peaks shortly after the swallow. Resinous pine and oily grapefruit peels provide an assertive and astringent bite, considerably drying the palate in conjunction with lingering roast and traces of caramel to form a well-rounded bitter finish.

Overall this is an excellent beer. Big and bold, simple but well crafted, it makes no excuses for being a straight-up 100 IBU monster. Complexity is perhaps a little lacking, but the simple roasted backbone provides enough sweetness to soften bitterness, maintain interest and create balance, without overshadowing the hop profiles integral to any IPA. Recommended.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle to snifter, cleansing palate after raspberry beer tasting. Due to that, this eating will be adjusted over the 4pack I have.

LOOK: Dark black, off white head, small but lasting.
AROMA: smoke, ash, lightly toasted malt,
TASTE: oats, malt, light hops, pine
FEEL: medium body

Good drinking beer with lots of flavor.


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Photo of Marius
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Kihoshk, pre-CBC. Pine and citrus hops, dark and hoppy and a bit sticky, with some caramel, chocolate and a bit of cocoa thrown into the mix. Good stuff.

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Photo of Absolut
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

shout out to quality liquor store. bought online. received via mail. fresh, quality. mmmm

pours black like a stout. smells and taste citrusy after malt, its a wonka beer.

plays tricks on the mind. looks like a stout, pours like a stout, smells like a pale ale, tastes like a ipa with a stout follow.

broke my mind

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Photo of mlockman
3.71/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Even months after bottling, this beer is phenomenal. Despite its high IBU, the malt backbone of this brew prevents the "hop-bite" on the palate that deters so many drinkers from hoppier brews.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with a ruby tinge. Its too dark to see carbonation. Topped with a finger of beige head.

Smells of dark malts and tar with chocolate, fruity grape juice, brown sugar and a slight lilac note. Black liquorice as well.

I get liquorice, cocoa powder, lilac and molasses, grape juice as well. They blend together well and are in great harmony. Hints of citrus and pine. New notes on each sip. I get cedar too.

Medium thick body, slightly oily, slightly tannic, slightly resinous, but all in balance. Like a a heavy imperial drinking smooth and light.

Its really got a lot of the qualities of a good imperial stout as far as complex notes , but drinks smooth and much lighter. I got this on wish beer.com, drank in Chiang Mai June 7th, 2016. Really noteworthy!

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Photo of morky92
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I'm Getting Intense, Not Talking Nonsense
I Made Up My Mind, Not Sitting On The Fence
I Don't Always Know The Right From The Wrong
I Do My Best To Figure It Out And Work It Out In The Long
I Try To Do A Lot More Than I Can Chew
Balance Out My Ambition's
What I've Got To Do

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Photo of matjack85
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I had this on tap at Quencher's Saloon in Chicago. $5 for a 10oz brandy snifter.

The beer was pure black and made a ½-finger of beige head which lasted a bit and left lots of nice lacing.

Big roasted malt smell along with some fruits, pine, and alcohol as well.

This beer is more hoppy than malty despite the smell. Major grapefruit flavor along with other tropical fruits, pine, and coffee. Malt and caramel do their best to keep it balanced but they lose out to the bitterness (100 IBUs!).

Creamy and full bodied with mild carbonation.

Can't complain about it not being bold and full of flavors, but still, I did not care for it as much as most people did.

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Photo of Everydayoff
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottle poured into an oversized wine glass.

Black as night as a color, massive bubbly tan head arises and stands with excellent retention before slowly sinking to everlasting foamy layer of crown. It is there until the last sip. Nice and refined lacing in form of patch and spot cling along the way down.

There are many scents dwell in the aroma. Licorice, coffee, roasted, sweet bready malt, creamy chocolate, buttery, pine, citrus, hint of dark fruits, and spice, all of these are nicely packed up providing truly tempting smell.

So sweet and bready at first with a generous malty goodness, then come roasted and toasted profile reminiscence of roasted coffee bean as well as char woodiness. Hops reveal thereafter with a persistent bitterness along with citrus, herbal and peppery notes. The aftertaste is still lingered with a solid bitterness and peppery from hop that is so tasty and delicately swept all over the palate. Alcohol is also there at the end if carefully notice but it is partly concealed by the complexity of malt and hop.

Full and syrupy body with some chewy mouthfeel, rather smooth through medium carbonation but well and crisp enough to carry along well, finish is very dry.

This beer is hefty and complex in all dimensions but is contradictory not too hard accessible. Thanks for great quality of malt and hop that make it so drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of kitch
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 fl oz bottle bottled on 14th September 2015 and poured into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: It poured a deep dark dark brown colour with a one finger tan head that dissipated fairly quickly to a thin layer but left nice spotty lacing.

Aroma: Sweet roasty malt with some light pine and citrus orange in the background.

Taste: Light roasty coffee and chocolate with nice spikes of pine and citrus bitterness which lingers on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall: A nice Black IPA that balances the sweetness, roast and bitterness.

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Photo of Harrison8
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a foamy, bubbly khaki-brown head. Head retention is fair, with a good ring of lacing left behind. Wheat, smooth biscuit malts, and pine hop bitterness form an aroma that plays with your mind. The taste follows suit, bouncing back and forth between crystal malt smoothess with bitter pine hop spikes. Definitely on the bitter side of things. Feel is medium-thin, with some extra harshness on the back end. Overall, a good brew, but certainly limited on only a few occasions where I'd willingly pick it up. The bitterness really hits hard on this one.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of anon
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahh black IPA's. Always a pleasure giving one of these a go, far less prevalent than it's non-black counterpart but usually just as golden.

This one pours nearly black, but there is some deep mohogany/ruby coming through in the light. Small khaki coloured head, with exceptional retention and lace. Almost looks like coffee.

Roasted malt and grain are what I first pick up on the nose, with undertones of pine resin and charred fields of wheat. Tastes heavy on dark crystal malt and the midnight wheat malt helping, giving it that roasty goodness. Nice pine resin attribute from the helping of Chinook and centennial hops, combining with black licorice, light molasses, Oak and roasted coffee beans. Balanced very well with the bitterness lingering but not overwhelmingly so.

An excellent take on the style.

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Photo of BeernOnThe4thOfJuly
4.26/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Black with a small, off-white head. Piney fruitiness mixing with some sweet malt in the nose. Strongly bitter, but there's a definite juiciness if you look for it. Has a coffee quality, as well. Finish is full and succulent. Hops lingers. My first black IPA. Very unique and complex. I'll have to look into this style a bit further.

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Photo of Beejay
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Dark black in color with a medium tan head filled with frog eyes.

S: Dark malt and molasses with a hint of booze, and a dank earthy bitterness with notes of citrus.

T: Caramel malt, and burnt sugar with a very strong earthy bitterness. A fairly good balance of sweet and bitter, with the bitterness lingering on long into the finish.

M: Medium in body, but heading towards a more syrupy heavy feel. Moderate carbonation, and a drying bitter finish.

O: Overall a pretty good brew.

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Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

An extremely potent and powerful black IPA, with a good balance between the hops and roasted malts. A solid blending of two worlds here, but the high ABV reserves it to a sipping beer.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is another one from the shopping list of desires I never even thought of - Founders, aka probably at the top of my “stuck on a desert island - can only choose one brewer for the rest of your life (inexplicably) even though theoretically you could start your own brewery with all the coconuts lying on the beach and that odd wild hop garden meters away from your house” list*, brewing a Black IPA, huzzah!

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Presents a deep dark reddish brown body with a thin light khaki head that drops back to a lace ring with speckles in the middle... appetizing to say the least... to say the most? I want to shrink myself down to the height of 1 cm, climb up the side of my Duvel tulip - undoubtedly a tall order - and dive right in. 9/10.

S: It’s Founders Centennial IPA with sex added. It’s hard to go past those big earthy/dirty, wet hop pine/grapefruit notes without tripping over into a bed of pure hop ecstasy - they don’t make it easy at Founders do they? Overall aroma is hoppy and alluring with a smattering of roasted/toasted biscuit malts simply there for the ‘Black’ in the Black IPA. 8/10.

T: Liquorice is the immediate thing that slaps me right in the brain - liquorice! I’m a bit gobsmacked as I was not expecting that, but there you go - Founders manage to sneak in a surprise for me again, you wily devils :-P Apart from this it’s all textbook Centennial IPA flavours: Earthy/dirty, wet hop pine/grapefruit notes with a toasted biscuit base and caramel. The only reason it fails the same score is because please; we’ve already got Centennial - what does Dark Penance bring to the table? 8/10.

M: Mid to heavy, Chewbacca Founders stylez, with a creamy dense carbonation. 9/10.

D: This is very much a Black IPA with the ‘IPA’ bit in bold italics font, highlighted and underlined with sparkles on top... in other words there is not enough malt intensity or char in the flavour or aroma to differentiate it from their already loved and popular Centennial IPA. But hey, it certainly doesn’t suck by any stretch of the imagination, and that liquorice note in the flavour was... interesting. However we need a little something more for a Black IPA to stand out in our established amber IPA crowd. #IPAsSoAmber 8/10.

Food match: [copy pasted from my Centennial review] Spicy hot soft taco.

*Admittedly I’m still working shortening the title of this list, any suggestions?

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Dark Penance from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 2553 ratings